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Mrs. Ann Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Education (1) what outstanding moneys were owed by the organisation Choice in Education to the Grant Maintained Schools Centre Ltd. as at February 1993 ; for what purpose the money was originally transferred ; and why it was outstanding ;
(2) which staff employed by Choice in Education had salaries paid from Grant Maintained Schools Centre Ltd. funds ; when such payments were made ; and when Choice in Education was recharged.
Mr. Robin Squire : My right hon. Friend has no responsibility for accounting arrangements concerning those activities of the Grant Maintained Schools Centre Ltd. which are not grant aided. The centre's auditors have certified that Government grants have been used for purposes approved by my right hon. Friend. No part of any Government grant to the centre was used to fund Choice in Education.
Mrs. Ann Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Education what weaknesses in the financial systems operated by the Grant Maintained Schools Centre Ltd. were identified by his Department's internal report of February 1993.
Mr. Robin Squire : The Grant Maintained Schools Centre Ltd. has addressed the weaknesses in financial systems mentioned in the Department's internal report. The auditors' report on the company's accounts for 1992-93 include clear statements that following improvements in its systems the centre is maintaining adequate financial controls and that Government grant was used for the intended purposes.
Dr. Wright : To ask the Secretary of State for Education which appointments since 1979 to public bodies or posts for which he is responsible have included candidates nominated by the Chief Whip's office ; if any nominees by this source have been appointed ; and if he will give details.
Mr. John Gardiner
Mrs. Brigita Amey
Mr. Alan Cox CBE
Mr. Philip Halsey CB LVO
Mr. Mike Harding
Mrs. Gill Rostron
Mrs. Anna Vinton
Mrs. Gorman : To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many contracts for the inspection of schools have been let this year in each local education authority ; and, of these, what proportion have been let to an inspection team (a) from the same local education authority and (b) from another local education authority.
Mr. Robin Squire : The arrangements for inspecting schools under the Education (Schools) Act 1992, including the awarding of contracts to registered inspectors, are a matter for Ofsted. I have asked Professor Sutherland to write to my hon. Friend.
Mrs. Wise : To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many school inspections have now been published by the Office for Standards in Education ; and how many of these resulted in an overall assessment of (a) good, (b) satisfactory and (c)
Mr. Bayley : To ask the Secretary of State for Education when he expects the Audit Commission to publish comparative tables on efficiency of administration and support services in the different local education authorities.
The Audit Commission will publish national comparisons of performance in 1995 across a broad range of services, including the provision of an educational service. Before then, each local authority will publish details of its own performance in a local newspaper circulating in its area.
(2) how many hours per week the new property controller will work in the Further Education Funding Council ; and what remuneration and allowances he will be given.
Mr. Boswell : The new head of property services at the Further Education Funding Council will be responsible for leading a team of professionally qualified building advisers and support staff who advise the council on capital policy matters and provide guidance and assistance to colleges on estate management and the development of accommodation strategies. His appointment is full time and is on civil service terms appropriate to a grade 6 special appointment on a fixed-term contract.
Mr. Bayley : To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many complaints were received about the accuracy of the data published by his Department about the public examination results achieved by schools, further education and sixth form colleges in the 1992-93 academic year.
Mr. Robin Squire : The Department has received 146 complaints. Investigation of these complaints has indicated 47 errors for which the Department or its contractors were responsible ; 34 errors for which the school or college was wholly or partly responsible ; 11 errors for which no responsibility was attributable ; and 54 instances where the complaint was unsubstantiated. Fewer than 1 per cent. of schools and colleges had incorrect entries in the tables as a result of an error by the Department or its contractors.
Mr. Steinberg : To ask the Secretary of State for Education what is the cost of advertising grant-maintained schools in the national press (a) in total and (b) in the last year for which figures are available.
Mr. Robin Squire : The total expenditure on advertisements designed to make factual information about grant-maintained schools available to parents, governors and schools is around £400,000, of which £200, 000 relates to the 1992-93 financial year and around £200,000 to the current financial year.
Sir John Hannam : To ask the Secretary of State for education what has been the financial allocation through the disabled student's allowance by the local education authorities in England and Wales to students with disabilities in higher education in each year since 1990-91 to (a) students studying in Scotland and (b) students studying in England and Wales ; and how many individual students this represents.
Mr. Boswell : Returns from LEAs in England and Wales show that the gross value of disabled students' allowances made by them as part of mandatory awards was £869,000 in the 1990-91 academic year and £1,960,000 in 1991-92, the latest year for which figures are available. These two figures are not directly comparable because the data collected for 1990-91 were incomplete. Disabled students' allowances form part of the student's total maintenance requirement. The net grant payable may be lower once his resources have been taken into account. Mandatory awards are made to students who are domiciled in England and Wales in respect of their attendance on courses in the United Kingdom. Information on the number of students in receipt of disabled students' allowances and their places of study is not collected centrally.
Mr. Bayley : To ask the Secretary of State for Education if he will list the companies commissioned by his Department in 1992-93 to carry out polling and market research about the views of parents of school pupils in the course of preparing an updated parents charter ; and if he will list the areas of research, the questionnaires used and the groups questioned.
Mr. Robin Squire : Research on a draft text and design of the parents charter was carried out in 1993-94. The identity of the company commissioned to carry out the research is commercial in confidence.
As is usual in qualitative research, the research was conducted through group discussions rather than via a questionnaire. The research covered the readability and content of the text, and its relevance and value for parents. It also looked at the effectiveness of the design and layout, and the preferred distribution route to parents. The research groups were a representative mix of parents, reflecting a number of socio-economic categories, both urban and rural areas, and different geographical regions.
Mr. McMaster : To ask the Secretary of State for Education if he will list the subjects on which his Department or its predecessors formerly answered parliamentary questions but which are now referred by him to an executive agency.
Mr. Robin Squire : The chief executive of the Teachers' Pensions Agency has, under the terms of the agency's framework document, responsibility to deal directly with parliamentary questions on day-to-day operational matters and on those matters for which the Chief Executive has delegated authority.
Ms Gordon : To ask the Secretary of State for Education what extra resources will be made available for the financial years 1994-95 and 1996- 97 to assist education authorities with the provision of classes for three to five-year-olds in maintained primary schools.
Mr. Robin Squire : The local government finance settlement for 1994- 95 takes account of the broad range of pressures on local authorities, including the projected number of pupils aged under five in maintained schools, as published in the Department's annual report. The settlement reflects the fact that it is up to each local authority to decide what provision to make for children aged under five.
Dr. Lynne Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Education if he will list the names of those who made submissions in response to the draft circular on religious education and collective worship x/94, published in October 1993 ; and when he expects to publish the results of his consultation.
Mr. Robin Squire : My right hon. Friend has received 327 submissions in response to the draft circular on religious education and collective worship : 108 from LEAs or standing advisory councils on religious education ; 62 from church or religious groups ; 134 from educational groups ; and 23 from other groups and individuals. Individual submissions received are treated as sent in confidence. It would therefore be inappropriate for my right hon. Friend to list the names of those who sent them, or to publish them. The comments received were taken into account in the final circular 1/94, published on 31 January.
Mr. Robin Squire : Religious education concerns the development of children's knowledge, understanding and awareness of religious beliefs and practices ; the encouragement of respect for those holding different beliefs ; and the development of the ability to make reasoned and informed judgments about religious and moral issues.
Humanism is not a religion and should not be taught in religious education lessons as if it were. A syllabus may, however, include teaching about people, such as humanists, who do not believe in God but nonetheless have a code of moral values, or give examples of secular equivalents to practices which have a religious background such as the marriage service or the taking of an oath. The detailed content of an agreed syllabus for religious education is decided by a local agreed syllabus conference.
Mr. Robin Squire : My right hon. Friend, has received 24 letters from members of the public since the School Curriculum and Assessment Authority (SCAA) published its draft model syllabuses for religious education on 25 January. The SCAA has invited comments on the models during a consultation period of two months.
Mr. Bayley : To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many changes have been made to the national curriculum since the guide to the national curriculum was published in 1991 ; how many revised versions of the guide have been published since then ; and if the current version is up to date.
Mr. Robin Squire : The second edition of the "Parent's Guide to the National Curriculum", published in June 1992, contained two changes to the curriculum on which the Government were consulting at the time the first edition was published. This current version does not reflect the changes to key stage 4 resulting from the Dearing report, which have not yet been given statutory effect.
Mr. Bayley : To ask the Secretary of State for Education what proportion of parents had received by July 1993 (a) a written report on their child's progress in school and (b) a reminder of their right of appeal and how to use it in cases where the local education authority or school governors refuse them a place for their child in the school of their choice.
Mr. Robin Squire : Under the current reporting regulations schools are required to send a written report to all parents on their child's progress at least once in every school year. It is for individual schools to decide when to do so. All admission authorities are required by law to remind parents of their right of appeal when informing them of a decision not to allocate a place for their child at their preferred school.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : The conditions will allow further education colleges to retain the proceeds of sale of Exchequer-funded land and buildings without reference to the annual supply procedures, within specified limits agreed by the Secretary of State. These conditions are among those set out in an amendment to the financial memorandum between the Department and each FE college board of management, a copy of which I will be placing in the Library.
Sir Hector Monro : It is no longer cost effective to continue pursuing collection of the betterment levy. In the 1992-93 financial year, five amounts of the levy and interest totalling £39,125.56 were written off. There remain five cases outstanding in Scotland totalling £7,880.59 and I have decided that these should be written off also.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : My noble and learned Friend the Lord Advocate issued the following statement on 3 February 1994 : "A specialised Crown Office Unit was formed in May 1991 to investigate allegations that persons living in Scotland were responsible for war crimes committed during the Second World War. Extensive and thorough investigations of these allegations were carried out by the staff of the Unit in the United Kingdom and overseas. The results of these enquiries were reported to Crown Counsel.
After careful consideration Crown Counsel have decided that, as matters stand, there is not at present sufficient available evidence for a criminal prosecution in any of the cases reported to them. Since no war crimes cases remain under active investigation in Scotland, a specialised unit will not be maintained. As with all serious enquiries, however, it will remain open to the criminal authorities to resume their investigations, should fresh evidence be brought to their attention. Any new allegations will, of course, be treated on their merits and investigated as their circumstances require."
Mr. McMaster : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list the subjects on which his Department or its predecessors formerly answered parliamentary questions directly but which are now referred by him to an executive agency.
Column 175parliamentary questions on subjects covering operational matters carried out by them under the terms of their framework document. Such replies are then published in the Official Report.
Mr. McMaster : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list the projects which (a) have been completed, (b) are under way, (c) are legally committed and (d) are planned under the Barrhead regeneration strategy ; and if he will make a statement.
1. The landscape and environmental improvements at Main Street, Cochrane Street, Levern Water, Glen Street areas.
2. Corridor enhancement at the Barrhead/Hurlet Road.
3. Surveys and reports on traffic shopping, and housing conditions in the town centre and townscape/floorscape study.
4. Tenemental refurbishment at Walton Street, Henry Street/George Street and Main Street.
5. New build housing developments at Henry Street/George Street and John Street.
1. Further landscape and environmental improvements at Main Street, Glen Street, Levern Water.
2. Main Street widening and realignment.
3. Further townscape/floorscape studies, and floodlighting study.
Column 1764. Tenemental refurbishment at Mill Street/Cross Arthurlie Street, and Barnes Street.
1. Further landscape and environmental improvements in the town centre/Levern Water area.
2. Commercial Improvement Area Grant scheme for property improvement.
3. Public car park at Carlibar Road.
4. Further tenemental refurbishment at Cross Arthurlie Street, Cochrane Street.
5. Further new build housing at Glen Street, Cochrane Street, Carlibar road, Cross Arthurlie Street.
6. Women's Centre, Main Street.
7. Land acquisition at Cochrane Street, Glen Street, Cross Arthurlie Street.
Barrhead was designated in May 1993 as a smaller urban renewal initiative, led by Scottish Homes. An action plan, building on the achievements already made, is currently being prepared.
Mr. McMaster : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will publish a table showing how much (a) has been spent, (b) is legally committed and (c) is planned by (i) Renfrewshire Enterprise, (ii) Strathclyde regional council, (iii) Renfrew district council, (iv) Scottish Homes, (v) the private sector, (vi) other Scottish Office agencies or departments and (vii) other organisations on the Barrhead regeneration strategy since its inception.
Money spent Project |Renfrew |Renfrewshire|Strathclyde |Scottish |The Scottish|Private |Total |District |Enterprise |Regional |Homes |Office |Sector |Council |Council |£,000 |£,000 |£,000 |£,000 |£,000 |£,000 |£,000 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Landscape/Environmental |118 |365 |- |- |- |- |483 improvements Surveys/Studies |11 |21 |4 |- |- |- |36 Tenement Refurbishment |- |- |- |11,900 |- |- |11,900 and new build housing |------- |------- |------- |------- |------- |------- |------- Totals |129 |386 |4 |11,900 |- |- |12,419
Money legally committed [TITRE ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Landscape/Environmental |210 |80 |- |- |- |- |290 improvements Surveys/Studies |10 |5 |- |- |- |- |15 Roadworks |- |- |2,200 |- |- |- |2,200 |-------|-------|-------|-------|-------|-------|------- Totals |220 |85 |2,200 |- |- |- |2,505
Money planned to be spent (subject to approval/completion of procedures) Project |Renfrew |Renfrewshire|Strathclyde |Scottish |The Scottish|Private |Total |District |Enterprise |Regional |Homes |Office |Sector |Council |Council |£,000 |£,000 |£,000 |£,000 |£,000 |£,000 |£,000 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Landscape/Environmental |160 |160 |- |- |- |- |320 improvements Tenement Refurbishment |- |- |- |6,000 |- |12,000 |18,000 and new build housing Commercial Property |38 |- |- |- |112 |150 |300 Improvements Public Car Park |- |- |100 |- |- |- |100 Women's Centre |- |- |88 |- |264 |- |352 Land Acquisition |170 |- |- |- |- |- |170 |------- |------- |------- |------- |------- |------- |------- Totals |368 |160 |188 |6,000 |376 |12,150 |19,242
Mr. McMaster : To ask the Secretary of State for the Scotland when he last met representatives of the Roman Catholic Church to discuss the provision of primary and secondary education in Scotland ; and if he will make a statement.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : My officials met representatives of the Catholic Education Commission in Glasgow on 28 September 1993 to discuss this issue. My right hon. Friend and I have since corresponded with the Church authorities on a number of occasions and we have indicated our willingness to meet them to discuss matters further.
Sir John Hannam : To ask the Secretary of State for the Scotland what has been the financial allocation through the disabled students allowance by the Scottish Office Education Department to students with disabilities in higher education in each year since 1990-91 to (a) students studying in Scotland and (b) students studying in England and Wales ; and how many individual students this represents.