To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many pupils attend city technology colleges.
Currently, we estimate that there are some 8,000 pupils benefiting from a CTC education.
I thank my hon. Friend for that reply. Does he agree that city technology colleges provide a real alternative education for children in the inner city? Is he aware that in south-east London—and serving my Dulwich constituency—is Haberdashers' Aske's city technology college, which has received more than 800 applications for 180 places? Is that not proof positive that CTCs are popular both with parents and with pupils?
I agree. The popularity of all the CTCs is beyond challenge. Despite deep and unremitting opposition from, in particular, the Labour-controlled councils of Lewisham and Southwark, Haberdashers' Aske's CTC has succeeded in attracting an overwhelming amount of interest from parents. My only regret is that the college is not able to take more of my hon. Friend's constituents.
Surely the Minister—and all the other Ministers and other Tory Members—know that the CTCs are really private schools, siphoning off millions of pounds of public money. Is it not true—as my hon. Friend the Member for Bradford, South (Mr. Cryer) pointed out—that as much public money goes to one CTC, to which parents who have not gone through the normal process will have access, as to all the other schools in the area, and that it goes there at the same rate? The other schools have to share little or nothing while the city technology college gets the lot—and it is public money.
I imagine that this may well be the hon. Gentleman's last contribution to Education Question Time. I note that his question was as full of ideological claptrap as all the others that he has asked during his career in the House.