Minister: It will be hard to unscramble all-in system …
Education Secretary Mrs. Margaret Thatcher said yesterday she thought it would be very difficult for Northampton's comprehensive education system to be “unscrambled” when the new county education authority takes over in 1974.
“The Ministry position on this is quite clear” she said. “A local authority can make any proposals for change it wishes, but it cannot make any changes which affect the character of a school without going through a complicated legal process.
“It is my experience that schools are very difficult to unscramble, and I wouldn't get too worried about it. I think you'll find that when the two authorities are combined they will work along very well together. And I don't see why you shouldn't have different systems in different parts of a county.”
Mrs. Thatcher was commenting during an interview with the Chronicle and Echo after she had opened the new Northampton College of Education in Boughton Green Road. Her reply helps to answer fears felt among some people in Northampton that the town's schools system will be endangered when borough and county unite in 1974.
Asked about her day in Northampton, Mrs. Thatcher said: “We have had a very happy day. I've seen three wonderful schools and have been most impressed with all Northampton Education Committee is doing.”
And she said of the new college itself: “The facilities and the architecture are excellent.”
During yesterday morning, Mrs. Thatcher visited Duston High School and Fairfields Special School and had a “typical school lunch” at Lumbertubs Lower School in the eastern development area of the town.