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Schools (Reorganisation)

Volume 115: debated on Thursday 7 May 1987

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asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science when he expects to publish the report by M r. Angus Mitchell of the efficiency scrutiny of procedures for the reorganisation of schools in England; and if he will make a statement.

The report is being published today, together with a summary of the conclusions I have reached on its recommendations.I am grateful to Mr. Mitchell for his report, a copy of which I have placed in the Library. I have accepted a number of his recommendations, including his proposals that the Department should update the published guidance on its criteria for the consideration of proposals to reorganise schools, and that the Department should take steps to accelerate its own procedures. My aim will be to decide all proposals, wherever practicable, within six months of their publication.I am also proposing to consult the local authority associations and other interested parties about his recommendation for a code of practice on the ocnsultation procedures to be followed before proposals for school reorganisations are made. I could not, however, accept other recommendations, particularly those which would have changed the framework within which the character

director of statistics and the authors of the Centre for Policy Studies' report, "Comprehensives: Counting the Cost", to consider his Department's statistical bulletin 13/84 and its relevance to proposals for the reorganisation of secondary schools;

(2) if he will state the findings of his Department's statistical analyses of examination attainments at 16-plus; and what differential performance they show as between local education authorities with 15 per cent. of pupils in grammar schools and fully comprehensive local education authorities assuming that social class factors are held constant.