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Lord James Douglas-Hamilton [holding answer 23 January 1995]: No such evidence has been received. I understand that the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority has not received any application for the use of ovarian tissue for research purposes in the period since I wrote to the hon. Member on 2 August 1994.
Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what assessment he is making of the impact of 40-tonne lorries on secondary roads and bridges in Scotland.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton [holding answer 23 January 1995]: Regional and islands councils, as local roads authorities, are responsible for assessing the impact of 40-tonne lorries on secondary roads and bridges in Scotland. Bridges which form part of the trunk road network are being assessed, and strengthened where appropriate, by the Scottish Office.
Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what assessment he has made of increased help for new unitary local authorities for the strengthening of bridges.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton [holding answer 23 January 1995]: Bridge assessment and strengthening is one of the Government's special objectives in determining local authority capital allocations for roads and transport in Scotland. Full consideration is given, within the resources available, to the proposals contained in local authorities' transport policies and programmes documents and financial plans for bridge assessment and strengthening. There will continue to be arrangements to ensure that adequate financial resources are available to cover necessary work when the new unitary local authorities assume their responsibilities.
Mr. Kirkwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) what is his policy in respect of the future management and disposition of common good funds by the new unitary authorities in Scotland after April 1996;
(2) if he will require new unitary authorities to restrict decisions on the disposition and management of common good funds to the new councillors representing the area for which the common good fund was established;
(3) if he will ensure that the new unitary authorities are unable to apply common good resources to any subject which can be financed by normal local authority funds.
Mr. Stewart [holding answer 23 January 1995]: Subject to complying with the current statutory requirements, local authorities have complete discretion as to the management and disposition of common good funds. Authorities must have regard to the interests of the inhabitants of their area and, with common good property, must have regard to the interests of the inhabitants of the area to which the common good related prior to 16 May 1975. The existing arrangements will continue to apply after April 1996.
Management and disposition of common good funds may be addressed in the decentralisation schemes which will be drawn up by the new councils. Community councils will be formally consulted on the draft schemes, which will also be subject to public consultation.
Mr. Charles Kennedy: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when he expects to publish the new national planning policy guideline on retail development; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Stewart [holding answer 23 January 1995]: I expect to issue a draft national planning policy guideline on retailing for public consultation very shortly.
Mrs. Fyfe: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland in what circumstances churches are classed as business users for water rates; and, if he has any plan to reclassify charitable bodies, including churches.
Mr. Stewart [holding answer 23 January 1995]: All occupiers of premises connected to the public water supply may be liable to pay water charges. Churches are liable to pay either the non-domestic water rate, at the reduced levy applicable to such premises, or metered water charges.
We have no plans to change this prior to restructuring of Scotland's water and sewerage services. At that point,
Column 163it will be for the new water and sewerage authorities to determine future methods of charging for their services.
Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list operations cancelled by Aberdeen Royal Hospitals in each month since June 1994.
Mr. Lang [holding answer 23 January 1995]: This information is not collected centrally. The chairman of the Aberdeen Royal Hospitals NHS trust has been asked to provide the information to the hon. Member.
12. Mr. Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what representations she has received relating to the City of Westminster Bill [ Lords ]; and what was her response.
Mr. Robin Squire: There has been correspondence with Westminster city council about the need for clause 9 of the Bill which would relieve the local education authority of its duty under section 12 of the Education Act 1980 to build a new school at Moxon Street. No other correspondence about this aspect of the Bill has been received.
13. Mr. Pike: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what representations she has received from local education authorities regarding the 1995 96 annual capital guideline figures since their announcement.
Mr. Robin Squire: To date, some 14 LEAs have written to officials, identified concerns on the telephone, or made a request to bring a delegation to see me.
16. Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how much central Government support for capital spending in schools has changed in real terms between 1986 87 and 1993 94.
Mr. Robin Squire: Between 1986 87 and 1993 94, there was a 57 per cent. real terms increase in central Government capital support for schools. That covers spending on local authority and voluntary schools and, since 1989, grant-maintained schools.
17. Mr. Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Education if she will make a statement on the education standard spending assessment of Hereford and Worcester county council.
Mr. Robin Squire: The increase in Hereford and Worcester's education standard spending assessment for 1995 96 is higher than the national average. Allowing for the reform of inter-authority recoupment, the authority's provisional education SSA will be 2.3 per cent. higher than in 1994 95.
18. Mr. Haselhurst: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what assessment she has made with regard to the progress of Ofsted.
Mr. Forth: Her Majesty's chief inspector of schools, the head of Ofsted, is responsible for the new school inspection arrangements. The Secretary of State shares with him the objective of ensuring that all publicly funded schools are independently inspected on a four-year cycle. The new arrangements have got off to a good start. By the end of this academic year, roughly half of all secondary schools, and a significant minority of primary schools, will have been independently inspected and a copy of the report sent to every parent.
19. Mr. William O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Education if she will make a statement on the progress of the working party established to consider the provision of nursery and pre-school education.
24. Mrs. Helen Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what progress she is making in achieving a nursery place for all children over three years of age.
Mr. Forth: The task force, established by my right hon. Friend, is consulting widely and is considering a range of options to achieve the Prime Minister's commitment to provide a pre-school place for all four-year -olds whose parents wish them to take it up. As the expansion is achieved, we want to ensure that it will add to the choice parents have among a range of provision--public, private and voluntary. My right hon. Friend will be making an announcement about progress in due course.
Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how much Government funding was given during 1994 for the provision of nursery school education within the Greater London area.
Mr. Forth: For the purpose of determining standard spending assessments, the education component of standard spending, net of specific grants, is divided into five sub-blocks--under-fives, primary, secondary, 16-plus, and other education. There is no SSA for nursery school education as the under-fives sub-block notionally includes spending on rising fives in primary schools as well as pupils in nursery schools and classes. The total of the under-fives SSA sub-block for London local education authorities in 1994 95 is £189.87 million.
20. Mr. Gill: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what assessment she has made of the adequacy of current class sizes and academic achievement in local education authority schools in Shropshire.
Mr. Forth: Average class sizes in Shropshire are lower than average class sizes nationally. In 1994, 46.2 per cent. of 15-year-olds in Shropshire maintained schools obtained five or more GCSE grades A*-C, compared with 38.2 per cent. for LEA-maintained schools nationally.
21. Mr. Waller: To ask the Secretary of State for Education if she will make a statement about the
Column 165development of research links between universities and industry.
Mr. Boswell: There are many examples of universities and industry working together for their mutual benefit. We have asked the Higher Education Funding Council for England to take into account in its funding for research the policies set out in the White Paper "Realising our Potential: A Strategy for Science, Engineering and Technology". This includes developing the method for rewarding universities and colleges which collaborate in generic research with industry.
22. Mr. Barry Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many education authorities have a three-tier system in their schools.
Mr. Robin Squire: In January 1994, 32 local education authorities were operating a three-year system in all or in part of their area.
23. Mr. McFall: To ask the Secretary of State for Education when she last had a meeting with the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals regarding the impact of Government policy on higher education.
Mr. Boswell: My right hon. Friend last met the Committee of Vice- Chancellors and Principals on 2 December 1994, and discussed a range of matters, including matters relevant to the impact of Government policy on higher education.
25. Mr. Gerrard: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many disabled pupils in Britain who were in mainstream primary schools have been denied mainstream secondary places in 1994.
Mr. Forth: This information is not available centrally. The special educational needs code stresses the need for careful planning for transfer between phases: if parents remain dissatisfied with a local education authority's decision about their child's special educational needs they can appeal as appropriate to the SEN tribunal or an independent appeal committee established by the relevant admissions authority.
Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many schools in Britain in 1994 have had adaptations to allow full access for disabled students.
Mr. Forth: This information is not held centrally. From May this year, we will be conducting a survey of the accessibility of all schools. This survey will be completed biennially and comparing these results with those produced in future years' surveys will provide an indication of the amount of adaptation undertaken during that period.
26. Mrs. Angela Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Education if she will make a statement on school budgets in Derbyshire for 1995 96.
Mr. Robin Squire: It will be up to Derbyshire county council to decide what to spend on the various services for which it is responsible, including schools. Derbyshire's
Column 166education standard spending assessment will increase by 0.7 per cent. in 1995 96.
27. Mr. McCartney: To ask the Secretary of State for Education if she will visit the Makerfield constituency to discuss the funding of local education authority schools.
Mr. Robin Squire: My right hon. Friend has no plans to do so.
28. Mrs. Anne Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what plans she has to address the issue of student poverty.
Mr. Boswell: There is no evidence of widespread student poverty. For those eligible for mandatory awards and student loans, the total support available has risen slightly in real terms since 1990 when loans were first introduced. It will increase by 2.5 per cent for the 1995 96 academic year. Other students can apply to local education authorities for discretionary awards. The access funds can provide additional assistance to full-time students in particular need.
29. Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what proportion of pupils on the assisted places scheme receive a free place.
Mr. Forth: Over 40 per cent. of assisted place holders received a free place in the academic year 1993 94.
30. Ms Church: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what research her Department has undertaken into the relationship between class size and educational standards.
Mr. Forth: The Department has not undertaken such research itself, but monitors work generally in this field.
Mr. Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what additional funding and resources she proposes for children with special needs in the next financial year.
Mr. Forth: Education standard spending assessments will rise on average by 1.2 per cent. in 1995 96 and the special educational needs code of practice will encourage schools to make most effective use of their budgets for special educational needs pupils. In addition, grants for education support and training from the Department for Education to local education authorities in support of special educational needs will increase by some 15 per cent.
Mr. Ieuan Wyn Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what plans she has to make provision, in the entire education service from nursery to higher education, for children identified as being affected by attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Mr. Forth: The responsibility for making provision for school children with special educational needs, including,
Column 167those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, rests with schools and local education authorities. The code of practice on the identification and assessment of special educational needs, issued by the Secretary of State under the Education Act 1993, gives guidance to schools and LEAs on their responsibilities towards all pupils with special educational needs of all kinds. District health authorities and NHS trusts must inform the parents and the appropriate LEA when they form the opinion that a child under the age of five may have special educational needs.
The Further Education Funding Council and LEAs are statutorily required to take account of the needs of students in further education with all kinds of learning difficulties. In higher education, the Secretary of State's initial letter of guidance to the Higher Education Funding Council for England asked it to consider how it could best meet the needs of students with learning difficulties. Universities are able to make the provision they consider appropriate for students with learning difficulties.
Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what assessment she had made of the proposed system of league tables on the morale of the teaching profession.
Mr. Forth: School and college performance tables are now well established, not least because they help ensure that the achievements of individual schools and colleges are fully recognised. The views of the representatives of the teaching profession are sought each year on the format and content of the tables.
Mr. Harry Greenway: To ask the Secretary of State for Education if she will make a statement on the future of religious education and the daily act of worship in schools.
Mr. Forth: The Government have no plans to change the law requiring religious education and daily collective worship to be provided for all registered pupils at maintained schools. These activities make an important contribution to pupils' moral and spiritual development.
Mr. Byers: To ask the Secretary of State for Education if she will investigate the circumstances surrounding the extension of the employment contract of the chief executive of the Student Loans Company; who took the decision, if she approved the extension; and what considerations led to the contract being extended.
Mr. Boswell: The decision to offer Mr. Harrison an extension of his contract as chief executive was taken in November 1993 by the board of the Student Loans Company, with the agreement of my right hon. Friend's predecessor and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland.
Mrs. Maddock: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many employees for which her Department is responsible were women (a) in 1991, (b) in 1992, (c) in 1993 and (d) in 1994; and, of these, how
Column 168many were (i) at grade 7 level, (ii) at grade 3 level, (iii) at executive officer level, (iv) at administrative officer level and (v) at administrative assistant level.
Mr. Boswell: The number of women employed by the Department at the specified grades over the past four years is as follows:
|1991 |1992 |1993 |1994 -------------------------------------- Grade 3 |0 |0 |0 |0 Grade 7 |31 |44 |39 |45 EO |208 |218 |269 |280 AO |403 |410 |446 |416 AA |265 |287 |224 |208 Overall |1,096|1,150|1,186|1,233
Sir Nicholas Scott: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what plans her Department has for encouraging the use of the private finance initiative in education.
Mr. Boswell: In December last, we issued the booklet "Education Means Business" which sets out opportunities for private investment in education. This was sent to all higher and further education institutions, grant-maintained schools and all other secondary schools, maintained special schools, local education authorities, diocesan bodies and teachers' organisations together with banks, solicitors and accountancy firms and other businesses that have expressed an interest in PFI and education. Copies were placed in the Library of the House.
The Higher Education Funding Council for England, the Further Education Funding Council and the Funding Agency for Schools maintained registers of businesses and education providers who are interested in pursuing privately financed projects and put interested parties in touch with each other.
The Department--working together with the higher education funding councils and the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals--is organising a conference for universities and the private sector to encouraged further private investment in higher education. It is to be held on 23 March at the Queen Elizabeth II conference centre. We are considering whether it would be beneficial to organise similar conferences for the further education and schools sectors. The Department's PFI unit is arranging a number of visits to schools and LEAs with the objective of promoting PFI.
As announced at the time of the last Budget, we are making changes from 1 April 1995 to the allocation of capital and recurrent grants to both higher and further education funding councils. This will enable them to give higher and further education institutions more flexibility to decide how to finance capital projects and, in particular, more scope to use private sector finance. In addition, further education institutions will have the same ability as the higher education institutions to use Exchequer-funded assets as security for loans.
Mr. Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for Education if she will set out for each of the next steps agencies in her Department, whether they have acquired their own headquarters buildings and, if so, at what
Column 169purchase cost or annual rental; how many support staff they have acquired which were not required when their operations were within her Department; how many of them publish periodical journals and at what annual cost; how many have fleets of executive cars or single executive cars and at what annual cost; how many have spoecifially designed logos and at what cost; how many have corporate clothing and at what cost; and what is the cost of specially designed and printed corporate stationery.
Mr. Forth: The Department has only one next steps agency, the Teachers Pensions Agency. The operational and managerial matters of the Teachers Pensions Agency are the responsibility of its chief executive, Mrs. Denyse Metcalfe. I have asked her to arrange for a reply to be given.
Letter from Denyse Metcalf to Mr. Gerald Kaufman, dated 23 January 1995:
As Chief Executive of the Teachers' Pensions Agency, I have been asked to let you have information about the Agency as requested in your Question to the Secretary of State for Education about the operation of the Department's Next Steps Agencies.
The TPA was launched as an Agency in April 1992 and has continued to occupy premises in Darlington on a site shared with the Department. It has no separate headquarters building. As well as sharing a site with the Department the Agency also obtains most of its support services from the Department under a Service Level Agreement, although it has its own Personnel and Training Section of 5 staff of whom 2 were additional posts in support of delegated freedoms stemming from the Agency's Framework Document.
The TPA produces an information sheet which it sends to the employers (approximately 3,500) of the Teachers' Superannuation Scheme members each term. The cost of this publication is £6,000 annually.
The Agency has one `pool' car which is owned by the Agency and used by the Chief Executive and other staff for seminars and visits to employers. The annual cost of the car in 93/94 was £1,900. The Agency has a logo which was produced as a result of an `in house' competition for which a token amount of £150 was paid to the member of staff who produced it. The Agency has not corporate clothing and the use of a logo on stationery does not result in any increased costs.
Mr. Blunkett: To ask the Secretary of State for Education if she will list for (a) English, (b) mathematics and (c) history the publications, guidance and teaching material which has been sent to schools concerning the national curriculum since 1988; and if she will give the cost for each subject.
Mr. Forth: The table shows the information requested in the case of the statutory documents setting out study requirements for the current national curriculum in English, mathematics and history. For the revised national curriculum which comes into effect in August 1995, however, the statutory documents for the 11 subjects and the two supporting compilations were produced as a single project. It is not possible therefore to disaggregate the production and distribution costs of the individual subjects, but the production cost and the estimated distribution cost of the entire revised national curriculum are shown, along with the names of the relevant documents. Distribution is currently under way.
The table also lists publications since 1988 relating to non-statutory curriculum guidance and the assessment of pupils in English, mathematics and history, although in
Column 170some cases the documents cover all three core subjects--English, mathematics and science. I will write to the hon. Member with cost details as soon as possible.
1. Statutory documents containing attainment targets and programmes of study for the current National Curriculum |Production |Distribution |costs |costs |£ |£ ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- English in the National Curriculum |840,000 |242,000 English in the National Curriculum (1991) |<1>757,000 |<1>198,000 Mathematics in the National Curriculum |231,000 |74,000 Mathematics in the National Curriculum (1991) |736,000 |153,000 History in the National Curriculum <1>These figures are estimates.
2. Statutory documents containing Attainment Targets and Programmes of study for the revised National Curriculum coming into effect in August 1995
English in the National Curriculum
Mathematics in the National Curriculum
History in the National Curriculum
The National Curriculum
Key Stages 1 and 2 of the National Curriculum
Production cost--entire National Curriculum--£1,167,000
Estimated distribution costs--entire National Curriculum-- £255,000 3. Non-statutory curriculum guidance, and publications related to assessment of pupils
a. Curriculum guidance
1989 Non-Statutory Guidance (Key Stage 1)
1990 Non-Statutory Guidance (Key Stages 1-4)
1990 Aspects of English
1989 Non-Statutory Guidance
1991 Non-Statutory Guidance
1990 Using and Applying Mathematics (Book A)
1990 Using and Applying Mathematics (Book B)
1991 Mathematics Programmes of Study:
INSET for Key Stages 3 and 4
1993 Mathematics Programmes of Study:
INSET for Key Stages 1 and 2
1991 Non-Statutory Guidance
1992 History at Key Stage 2: an introduction to the
non-European study units.
1993 Teaching History at Key Stage 3
1993 Teaching History at Key Stage 1
1993 Teaching History at Key Stage 2
b. Assessment of pupils
The core subjects--English, mathematics and science
Key Stage 1
1991 Children's Work Assessed
1992 School Assessment Folder
1992 Core Subjects Reference Notes
1992 Core Tasks
1993 School Assessment Folder
1993 Children's Work Assessed
1993 Core Tasks
1994 School Assessment Folder
1994 Core Tasks
1995 Assessment Arrangements
Key Stage 2
1994 School Assessment Folder
1994 Children's Work Assessed
1995 Assessment Arrangements