To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will give his reasons for approving the closure of Pilgrim upper school, Bedford; what criteria he used in reaching his decision; how many representations he has received from parents opposing the closure; if he will reconsider his decision; and if he will make a statement.
My right hon. Friend's decision to approve the proposal by the Bedfordshire LEA to cease to maintain the Pilgrim and John Howard upper schools and to establish a new upper school on the John Howard site was taken after careful consideration and on the balance of all the relevant facts and arguments, including the views of objectors. The criteria underlying my right hon. Friend's decisions on proposals of this kind are set out in detail in the Department's circular 3/87.A total of 2,066 statutory objections to the proposals were submitted to the authority, together with 527 non-statutory objections and a petition signed by 300. The authority also received a number of representations in support of the proposals, together with a petition signed by 3,286. My right hon. Friend has no power to change his decision.