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Grant-Maintained Schools

Volume 173: debated on Thursday 24 May 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many schools have so far opted for grant-maintained status; and how many applications are at present being processed.

My right hon. Friend has so far approved 37 proposals for grant-maintained status and has announced that he is minded to approve a further three proposals subject to agreement with the governing body about minor modifications to admissions arrangements. Eleven proposals have been published following parental ballots in favour of an application for grant-maintained status and will reach my right hon. Friend for decision shortly. The governing bodies of six schools where parents have voted in favour of an application have yet to publish proposals.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many primary schools have shown an interest in seeking grant-maintained status.

No ballots have so far been held at primary schools on grant-maintained status. Of the 37 schools which my right hon. Friend has so far approved for grant-mantained status, 35 are secondary schools and two are middle-deemed secondary schools. Recently numerous of the larger primary schools have requested copies of the DES booklet "Grant Maintained Schools: Questions Parents Ask".

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what percentage of opt-out ballots have resulted in a decision in favour of grant-maintained status; and at how many schools there has had to be a second ballot.

Parental ballots have been held at 89 schools—parents at 68 of these schools (75 per cent.) have voted in favour of an application for grant-maintained status. Second ballots have had to be held at eight schools because the turnout in the first ballot was below 50 per cent. A second ballot may also be held at a school where at least 12 months have elapsed since the first balloting took place. One school has held a second ballot in such circumstances—in this case parents voted against an application in 1989, but in favour of an application in 1990.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many of the schools which have opted for grant-maintained status are (a) grammar schools, (b) voluntary-aided schools and (c) single-sex schools.

Of the 37 schools which my right hon. Friend has so far approved for grant-maintained status (a) 14 are selective and 23 are non-selective schools; (b) six were voluntary-aided schools, six were voluntary-controlled schools, one was a special agreement school and 24 were county schools; (c) 13 are single-sex boys' schools, six are single-sex girls' schools and 18 schools are co-educational.Of the three schools which my right hon. Friend has announced that he is minded to approve for grant-maintained status

(a) one is a selective school and two are non-selective schools; (b) all three are county schools; (c) one is a single-sex boys' school and two are co-educational.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is the average turnout figure in parental ballots taken in schools on whether to obtain grant-maintained status.

The average participation rate so far in parental ballots is 67·5 per cent.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what information he has on the level of rises or falls in admissions to grant-maintained schools; and where such changes have taken place.

Information about admissions to grant-maintained schools in September 1990 is not yet available. However, earlier this year the Grant Maintained Schools Trust carried out a survey of applications for places for September 1990 at a number of grant-maintained schools. It found that applications had increased by 40 per cent. on average over last year at those schools for which it had information. For example, at Baverstock school in Birmingham there were 350 applications for 210 places, representing an increase of 50 per cent. over last year. At Hendon school there has been an increase of 100 per cent. in applications over 1989.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science which local authorities are selling back services to schools which have become grant-maintained.

Detailed information is not collected by the Department. But our understanding is that many local authorities are selling services to schools which have become grant-maintained. For example, Lincolnshire LEA is offering to sell a range of services including payroll, school meals, ground and property maintenance, advisory, architectural and financial services and in-service training for teaching staff. Grant-maintained schools in Lincolnshire have bought a number of these services on a selective basis.