BIG NEW SCHOOLS PROBE
Ministry plan and N.U.T.
TWO surveys, one by the Ministry of Education and the other by the National Union of Teachers, which will examine priorities in the school building system, were announced this week. This follows the recently-announced cuts in the school building programme for 1963-64, which have affected the Catholic community in all parts of the country
The NUT survey will send a questionnaire to every school in England and Wales, asking them how often applications for grants were made and what results were obtained in each case. It will also deal with the effect of the cuts in the minor works programmes, and will ask for details of alterations and improvements made during the last five years.
Other subjects which will be covered in the survey are: The extent of overcrowding; the number of improvised classrooms; the range of equipment and the age and location of buildings.
Details of the Ministry survey, which is expected to take the form of a questionnaire to he sent to the Local Education authorities in England and Wales, have not yet been released. A spokesman said that the results of the survey would be a "standard reference" for the working of the priority system in the future.
BIGGEST CUTS IN THE SOUTH
By JOHN HORGAN
MEANWHILE, comments on the Minister's decision to defer many school projects have conic from many parts of the country.
London and the Home Counties appear to he the most affected, and the North of England and "overspill" areas seem to have been favoured.
A Ministry of Education spokesman confirmed that the present pattern of priority favoured the North, and described the cuts in minor projects as "a temporary Treasury measure". Bishop Cashman, President of the Westminster A rchd iocesan Schools Commission, described the situation in Middlesex, where four out of six applications Nacre refused, as "below pare. The London allocation, he said, was "fair enough", and in Hertfordshire, the cuts had affected the County and Catholic schools equally. "At present". he pointed out, "an overall provision is made and very often we come in at the end of the queue". Mgr, Edward Mahony, secretary of the Southwark diocesan Schools Commission, said that less than half the projects submitted had been approved.
"This does not meet our needs at all," he commented.
"The greatest single factor is that there is no major building programme for the whole of Surrey."
Canon Vincent Hurley, secretary of the Brentwood Diocesan Commission for Education, said that four projects out of seven put forward, had been refused. "The Ministry has not taken account of the priority in which we submitted our projects," he commented.
In Liverpool city, only two projects out of six have been
approved. and urgent projects in Southport and Wigan have had to be deferred.
"We are not being victimised," a spokesman said. "Our projects have been cut at the same rate as the county ones. At the same time, we are very disappointed." In Nottingham, Canon J. McLean, secretary of the Diocesan Schools' Commission, said that he was " very disappointed " with the allocation. Only two projects in the diocese have been approved and many urgentlyneeded primary schools have had to be postponed.
From around the country. comments Were more favourable. Middlesbrough: "We are not too
worried about it," said a spokesman, "Two of our applications have been refused, but there is a tremendous amount of building going on a big back-log is being wiped out.
Lancaster: "We have no complaints . said one expert. "One secondary school at Carlisle; however, which is urgently needed, is still outstanding. We must take refusals as part of the Government's policy."
Clifton: An urgently-needed primary school at Swindon has not been approved.
Northampton: "We have not come off all that badly in comparison with the national average," I was told.
Safford: Only six schools are scheduled for the 1963-64 programme, but there is hope that the situation will improve later. One reason for the small allocation is that a number of overspill housing projects are behind schedule."
Shrewsbury: Three out of five projects have been approved. The Cheshire County Education Committee is to press the Ministry to reconsider the cases of the other two, both in the "dormitory suburbs" of Manchester.
Menevia: "It hasn't affected the major building programme very much. but five of the six minor projects, which form the bulk of the programme, • have been refused."
Birmingham: Ten projects have been approved, but many more refused. There is a large building programme in progress, however, and a spokesman said that it would "misrepresent the facts" to give the impression that progress was being severely hampered.
Leeds: There have been no serious cuts, but, as a spokesman said, "We are always disappointed when we can't build something we want. The cuts were expected, in a way."
Cardiff: Two urgently-needed primary schools, one in Cardiff, the other in Newport, have not been approved. A spokesman commented that "We need our primary schools so that we can organise the structure of our secondary schools.
Portsmouth: No major projects on the 1963-64 programme have been cut. "We are not being neglected," said a spokesman, • Plymouth: An urgently-needed school near Torquay has had to be deferred, but on the whole the programme has not been too severely affected.
Rodman and Newcastle: Many Low Week conferences had claimed the educational experts in the diocese, but one spokesman said that, so far as he knew, there had been no serious cuts in their programme.
George Hourquebie, 36-yearold Durban lawyer, has been elected to parliament in a Durban by-election, becoming the first Catholic in the 160-membeei House of Assembly in 14 years. Hourquebie was the candidate of the United party, largest opposition party in the republic.