§ Mr. Geraint Howells
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what further steps he proposes to take to encourage small rural schools in Wales; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Wyn Roberts
I continue to be concerned that we should maintain and improve the quality of education in rural areas of Wales. The Government have given specific help, through education support grant, to improve the quality and range of curriculum provided in rural schools. The measures included in the Education Reform Bill are intended to improve the quality of education in all schools, including small rural ones, and my right hon. Friend will be monitoring the effects of its implementation. It is for local education authorities to determine in the context of falling school rolls how to preserve and enhance the quality of education in rural areas. My right hon. Friend has consulted the Welsh Joint Education Committee and the Welsh Counties Committee about a draft circular on "Educational Quality in Wales" which covers these matters among others; he is now considering their comments.