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Mr. Ron Davies : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will state the area in hectacres which he assesses merits consideration for inclusion in a nitrate-sensitive areas scheme, and the level of funding he intends to allocate to the scheme in its first year.
Mr. Ryder : I am seeking the views of interested parties on all aspects of the nitrate-sensitive areas scheme including potential areas and compensation arrangements and I will make a further announcement when those consultations have been completed. I reassure the hon. Member that the Government have undertaken to pay compensation in the event of substantial restrictions going beyond good agricultural practice.
Mr. Ron Davies : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what information he has concerning the incidence of hydatid diseases ; what action he is currently taking to monitor the disease ; and what research his Department is conducting or funding into it.
Column 13that, nationally, about 3 per cent. of sheep may be affected, although the problem is greater in Wales, particularly in Powys. The condition results from the ingestion by sheep of the eggs of the dog tapeworm by direct transfer from dog faeces or through contaminated food or water. The Ministry, in conjunction with the Welsh Office Agriculture Department, has undertaken a six-year control programme in Powys in which all dogs have been de-wormed at six-week intervals free of charge. This has resulted in a significant reduction of hydatid infestation. The Department is not currently funding research into hydatid.
Sir John Farr : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will indicate his timetable for the introduction of a new sheepmeat regime ; and what prior discussions with farmers he will be having in this connection.
Mr. Ryder : Discussions on the EC Commission's proposals for changes to the sheepmeat regime have made little progress. Negotiations may therefore continue for some time. My officials and I shall continue to maintain regular contacts with representatives of farmers throughout these negotiations.
Sir John Farr : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if, in view of the repetitious nature of the information required from farmers and horticulturalists by virtue of the Agricultural Statistics Act 1979, he will arrange for such returns in future to be on an annual or biennial basis.
Mr. Ryder : Most of the information required under the Agricultural Statistics Act 1979 is collected annually, in the June agricultural census. This covers farm holdings above a specified threshold size and results in a wide range of statistical data which are necessary for Government purposes and are also much valued by the industry. Twenty per cent. of holdings are smaller, and are enumerated only every five years or so.
Information on some items is also collected at other points in the year, to meet particular needs, but normally only from a sample of farmers. The need for statistical surveys, their content and their frequency are kept under regular review.
Mr. Waller : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what information is available to him about the legal position relating to the supply of untreated milk in each European Community member state.
Mr. MacGregor : Detailed information is not readily available but I am aware that other member states impose various restrictions on the sale of untreated milk and I understand that in Denmark sales are prohibited with the exception of sales from one small family dairy in North Zealand.
Mr. Malcolm Bruce : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Derby, North (Mr. Knight) of 25 May, Official Report, column 1111 if he will make it his
Column 14policy to extend consumer freedom of choice by abandoning plans to outlaw the sale of green top milk to the general public.
Mr. Malcolm Bruce : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, pursuant to his reply to the hon. Member for Derby, North (Mr. Knight) on 25 May, Official Report, column 1111, whether he will also make it his policy to require milk treated with bovine somatotropin to be labelled before going on sale to the general public.
Mr. Ryder : No. I fully recognise the need for consumers to be given adequate information to enable them to make an informed choice. However, the BST hormone occurs naturally in milk and it is not possible to distinguish between the natural hormone in the milk and that induced by the treatment of the cow with BST, since the detectable levels of the hormone in the milk are within the same range in both cases.
Mr. Malcolm Bruce : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what representations he has received urging that the responsibility for food quality and safety be removed from the auspices of the Ministry of Agriculture ; what has been his response ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Ryder : There is a firm link between agricultural production and the rest of the food chain, and therefore sense and logic in having the whole of the food chain within the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. This enables policy changes to be assessed for the whole of the food chain rather than just part of it for which it might have direct responsibility. I do not think that there is any evidence to suggest that the Ministry does not give sufficient emphasis to the health implications of food. Indeed our overriding concern is that the food supply should be safe, wholesome and properly labelled.
Column 15appointments in the four years up to March 1987 were taken up by former teachers. But we are increasing our efforts and have recently announced a new £2 million education support grant programme to support measures to support returners. I look to authorities to come up with imaginative schemes aimed at women in particular, which might include child care facilities and more flexible employment arrangements, such as part-time working and job sharing.
26. Mr. Irvine : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what are the latest figures he has available as regards science and mathematics graduates going into teaching ; and what are the corresponding figures for five years ago.
Mr. Butcher : In the year ending March 1986 (the latest for which figures are available) the numbers of new entrants to teaching in maintained nursery, primary and secondary schools in England with degrees (including B Eds) in science and mathematics were 1,710 and 860 respectively. The corresponding figures for the year ending March 1981 were 2,040 and 800.
Mr. Butcher : Since our action programme was launched nearly three years ago the decline in recruitment to teaching in the shortage subjects which we witnessed up to 1986 has been reversed. We shall continue and reinforce our action programme to ensure that we have the well-qualified teachers that we shall need in our schools in the 1990s.
Mr. Jackson : We plan shortly to publish the factual analysis of the Department's survey of student unions. We are considering separately what action might best be taken and in due course will consult all those concerned on our conclusions.
Mr. Amess : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what recent representations he has received (a) supporting and (b) opposing automatic membership of student unions ; what percentage the latter represents of the former ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Jackson : Since April 1988 we have received 55 letters expressing a view on automatic membership of institutional student unions. Of these, 20 (36.4 per cent.) supported and 35 (63.6 per cent.) were against automatic membership.
Mrs. Rumbold : Preparations are well in hand. Statutory orders for mathematics, science and English have been laid ; the National Curriculum Council has distributed guidance and training materials free ; and LEAs' training programmes, supported by Government specific grants, are under way.
Mrs. Rumbold : My right hon. Friend laid on 19 May the Education (National Curriculum) (Modern Foreign Languages) Order 1989 which specifies those languages eligible to be taught as the national curriculum foundation subject. The order includes the mother tongue languages of some ethnic communities in this country. A school would be able to offer any of these languages towards the national curriculum requirements, provided that it also offered at least one of the European Community working languages. Pupils would choose one modern foreign language from those offered by the school.
38. Mr. George Howarth : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what plans he has to ensure that teachers are fully prepared to implement the national curriculum in primary schools next term.
42. Ms. Mowlam : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what steps his Department is taking to ensure that adequate resources will be available to ensure full access to the national curriculum for children with special educational needs, where appropriate.
Mr. Butcher : The Government are making specific grants available to local education authorities to support the introduction of the national curriculum. In this financial year, there will be support for over £100 million expenditure. It is for authorities to decide how much to spend within this total in order to ensure full access to the national curriculum for children with special educational needs, where appropriate.
14. Mr. Skinner : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he has any discussions with local authority associations with regard to careers education ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Butcher : My right hon. Friend has not done so recently but he and my right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Employment and for Wales have promoted the widest collaboration in careers education and guidance through the "Working Together" initiative which they launched two years ago.
20. Mr. Teddy Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will take steps to review the identification and educational treatment of dyslexia in school pupils ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Butcher : It is for individual local education authorities in the exercise of their statutory duties under the 1981 Education Act to make provision for the identification of children with special educational needs and the provision of appropriate education to meet their needs. My right hon. Friend has no plans at present to amend these statutory procedures.
Mrs. Rumbold : Contracts have been let for the development of standard assessment tasks in the core subjects and technology for seven- year-old pupils. Work has already begun to develop, trial and pilot these SATs in preparation for the first unreported assessments in summer 1991. The first reported assessments will take place in summer 1992. Assessment arrangements for other foundation subjects will be phased in later.
Mrs. Rumbold : The national curriculum system of testing rests on the establishment, for each foundation subject, of programmes of study and attainment targets. These will be introduced for mathematics and science for five and 11-year-olds, and for English for five-year-olds, this autumn. Those pupils will be assessed in these subjects on a trial basis when they reach the ages of seven and 14 respectively in 1991 and 1992, and on a reported basis in subsequent years. Contracts have already been let for the development of standard assessment tasks for seven-year-olds and bids for SATs for 14-year-olds are under consideration. Assessment arrangements in these subjects for 11 and 16-year-olds and in other subjects at each age will be phased in over succeeding years.
31. Mr. Doran : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will make a statement on the representations he has received from Scottish universities regarding his White Paper on student loans.
46. Mr. Darling : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will make a statement on the representations he has received from Scottish universities regarding his White Paper on student loans.
Mr. Jackson : We have received responses to the White Paper from each of the Scottish universities or their student bodies, and from the Standing Conference of the Universities of Scotland. They are being taken into account, along with all other responses, as we proceed to develop a scheme for the introduction of top-up loans.
24. Mr. Nicholas Brown : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether his Department has issued advice to careers departments in secondary schools in the past year ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Butcher : Her Majesty's Inspectorate published "Careers education and guidance from 5 to 16" in its "Curriculum Matters" series last year. This has informed local education authorities and schools, and authorities drew upon it when preparing the statements of future policy which they submitted recently to my right hon. Friend and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Employment.
Mr. Jackson : The programme of co-operation in the scientific, educational and cultural fields between the United Kingdom and the USSR for 1989-1991 provides for the number of Russian language assistants currently in the United Kingdom to be increased to a maximum of six a year from academic year 1989-90.
29. Mr. Jim Marshall : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what plans he has to enable schools to take advantage of opportunities provided by the European Community of other member nations in assisting the teaching in their schools of languages that are currently unavailable to schools in England and Wales.
35. Mr. Michael : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what proposals he has to enable schools to take advantage of opportunities provided by the European Community for other member nations in assisting the teaching in their schools of languages that are presently unavailable to schools in England and Wales.
Mr. Jackson : My right hon. Friend is not aware that there are opportunities relating to the teaching of languages in schools provided by the European Community that are available to schools in the other members states but not in England and Wales. He informed the House on 24 May of the agreement on 22 May over the terms of the Community's Lingua programme. The programme is concerned with the support for the improvement of foreign language competence through initial and continuing vocational education. This includes the training of foreign language teachers in schools in the United Kingdom as in other member states and our schools will benefit in equal measure.
Mrs. Rumbold : The national curriculum will include a modern foreign language as a foundation subject at secondary level to be studied by all pupils between the ages of 11 and 16. From this autumn, pupils will have to study a modern foreign language for a reasonable time in the first three years of secondary schooling. This requirement will be extended to the last two years of compulsory schooling later. Schools will be free to offer a second foreign language during the 11-16 phase or in the sixth form, in addition to meeting the national curriculum requirements. This reflects the Government's policy on modern foreign languages in the school curriculum which was set out in my right hon. Friend's policy statement "Modern Languages in the School Curriculum" published in January 1988.
Mr. Jackson : This report was commissioned by the Advisory Board for the Research Councils in June 1988 and Mr. Morris presented his report to the board at the end of April. The board is now seeking the views of the research councils on the report before submitting detailed advice to my right hon. Friend later in the year. In the meantime the chairman of the board has sent the report to my right hon. Friend and a copy has been placed in the Library. He would not wish to comment on the report until he has had the opportunity to consider the board's advice.
36. Mr. Hind : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will make a statement on the number of schools which have established governing bodies containing parent governors as required by the Education Reform Act.
Mr. Jackson : The committee of inquiry into discipline in schools has recommended that the Government should develop a post-school education strategy aimed at promoting socially responsible parenthood. I am considering this recommendation.
40. Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what representations he has received concerning the initial teacher training course at the faculty of education at University College, Cardiff.
Mr. Butcher : My hon. Friend the Minister of State discussed the 1989-90 capital allocation with a deputation from the Cornwall education committee whom she saw during her visit to the county on 12 April. A number of hon. Members, the chief education officer of the authority and members of the public have written to Ministers on this subject.
Mr. Jackson : My right hon. Friend last met the Director General of the City and Guilds of London Institute on 17 November 1987. A range of vocational education issues were discussed with the chairman and senior members of CGLI. Opportunities have arisen since that time for a number of informal discussions with both the Secretary of State and myself.
My right hon. Friend has a meeting arranged with the chairman and Director General of CGLI for 14 June when he intends both to review the achievements of CGLI and discuss the initiatives suggested in his speech to the Association for Colleges of Further and Higher Education on 15 February 1989.
Mr. Alfred Morris : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will update the figures of participants in the MRC/INSERM trial of zidovudine given in reply to the right hon. Member for Manchester, Wythenshawe on 22 February, Official Report , column 636 .
Mr. Harry Barnes : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what plans he has to encourage the provision of creches to attract experienced teachers with their own children back into the profession.
Mrs. Rumbold : Our education support grant programme for 1990-91 includes support for expenditure of £2 million on local recruitment of returners and mature new entrants to the teaching profession. We are looking for imaginative proposals from local authorities which we can support, and which might include the provision of childcare facilities for teachers' children.
Mr. Cran : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether electronic surveillance listening devices are used by his Department or by any organisation or agency acting on its behalf ; and if he will make a statement.