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Secondary Education (Croydon)

Volume 20: debated on Tuesday 16 March 1982

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asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science why, in announcing his decision on the reorganisation of secondary education in Croydon, his Department described the sixth form college system as novel and untried.

Croydon's proposals would have established a tertiary, not a sixth form, college. What was novel and untried was that the college would have been organised in five separate, semi-autonomous centres.

In view of that reply, will the Secretary of State make it clear that he is not trying to signal to local education authorities that they should avoid proposals involving either sixth form or tertiary colleges, because that is the impression that he has given so far in no less than three decisions? Will he make it clear that he is not trying so to change the role of the Secretary of State that he wholly excludes from consideration a system that has been tried and proved successful in a number of education areas?

I am not trying to exclude any particular solution. I am trying to put down the balance of arguments as I see them, following the draft circular that has been out for consultation in the last few months.