Mrs Thatcher puzzles Tories
Education Secretary Mrs Margaret Thatcher faced local Conservatives this week for the first time since she made her decision on Bromley's plan for all-ins—and made it clear that she does not like paired junior and senior schools.
Speaking to Revensbourne Conservatives' John Hunt supper club, she said:
“A junior secondary school which takes children from 11 to 13 is too small to make a real school. And transfer to a senior school at the age of 14 is too late for those who will leave at 16.”
Mrs Thatcher clearly puzzled her audience when she said she “thought that she had turned down all Bromley's proposals for transferring children at 14.
She said: “I thought we turned down three pairings, including one with a change at 13 which was educationally unsound and which would have meant a long distance between the two schools.”
In fact, Mrs Thatcher gave the go-ahead last year for three pairs of schools with transfer at 14: Aylesbury-Princes Plain, Coopers-Craybourne, and Cray Valley-Edgebury. She is also allowing the pairing of Hawes Down and Marian Vian, with transfer at 13.
She rejected the Rock Hills-Kentwood and Beaverwood-Mottingham pairings, both with the break planned at 14, and Bullers Wood-Quernmore, where it would have been 13.
Mrs Thatcher gave her view on pairing schemes after the vice-chairman of the Marian Vian governors, Major Neil Galbraith, of Pine Avenue, West Wickham, had criticised the school's coming link with Hawes Down.
He said that he was in favour of purpose-built comprehensives. But he felt it “very wrong” that Marian Vian girls should have to travel “up to four miles” to the senior school in West Wickham.
Mrs Thatcher replied that she could not comment on a detailed local matter.