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Non-Maintained Schools (Closures)

Volume 33: debated on Tuesday 7 December 1982

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asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is the total amount of money his Department claimed back from schools that closed in the non-maintained sector; and how much of this money is outstanding in respect of 1981.

In the past five years the Department has claimed £224,195 in repayment of capital grant from non-maintained special schools which have closed. Claims made up to the end of 1981 have been paid in full.

When such sums are saved because schools for the handicapped are closed, should not that money go directly to benefit handicapped people rather than into the Department's general kitty, as is about to happen in the case of Palace school in Ely?

I have read in the Official Report the Adjournment debate in which the hon. Gentleman raised this matter. I do not accept that what he implies is happening or might happen in this case, as the Government have kept up the real value of taxpayers' money per pupil going to special schools. The non-maintained special schools—in this case the unique school run by the Red Cross—can close by their own decision without any application to the Secretary of State for Education and Science being necessary.