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Quantock School History: Parliamentary Records

Commons Written Answers, 12 March 1997

[Following his question of 27 February to the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Mr. Jamieson again refers to the funding of Quantock School by the Hong Kong government. The answer is again provided by the Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Mr. Jeremy Hanley.]

Subject: Hong Kong

Mr. Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement about the funding of the education of employees of the Hong Kong Government being educated in British independent schools.

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Mr. Jeremy Hanley): Policy on the payment of education fees for the children of employees of the Hong Kong Government is a matter for the Hong Kong Government.

Mr. Jamieson: Is the Minister aware that education is a highly valuable British export and that some foreign Governments, such as Hong Kong, are paying for pupils to attend private schools here, some of which - for example, the Quantock school in Somerset - have been shown by the Office for Standards in Education to be seriously deficient? What measures does he propose to ensure that the Hong Kong Government receive the Ofsted report on Quantock school and, more importantly, what does he propose to do to make sure that the good reputation of many excellent schools and universities in Britain is not undermined by a small minority of seriously deficient private schools?

Mr. Hanley: I can assure the hon. Gentleman that we make available information about British schools and colleges to countries throughout the world, not least through the British Council. As for the report to which the hon. Gentleman refers, what the Hong Kong Government choose to read is a matter for them. Perhaps it would be helpful to the hon. Gentleman, however, if I say that the Quantock school is not on the list of FCO-approved schools.