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Sixth Forms

Volume 14: debated on Monday 30 November 1981

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asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether his decision on Manchester sixth forms was made on the advice of Her Majesty's inspectorate of Schools.

My right hon. Friend seeks and receives advice from all those concerned in his Department, including Her Majesty's inspectors of schools, when he considers proposals made under sections 12 to 15 of the Education Act 1980. It is not my right hon. Friend's policy to disclose what advice he receives from his officials.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will give a definition or examples of "other compelling educational considerations" for closing sixth forms as contained in his circular on post-16 education provision.

It is not possible to determine in advance where the balance of educational advantage will lie in particular cases. As the draft circular makes clear all statutory proposals, including those which would have the effect of removing existing sixth form provision, will continue to be considered on their merits in the light of all matters relevant to the case.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will give a definition of what constitutes a "school of proven worth" and a "successful sixth-form" in connection with his circular on post-16 education provision.

Where the draft circular refers to schools that

"have already proved their worth under existing arrangements",
my right hon. Friend has in mind those schools which have demonstrated their success in the provision they make for sixth-form education and in his judgment can continue to do so. Where statutory proposals are submitted to him which would have the effect of removing such sixth-form provision, my right hon. Friend will consider them in the light of all relevant factors and, in particular, of the evidence about the size, range and quality of existing sixth form arrangements including information on examination success.