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Mr. Forth: My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has set a target to provide, over time, a pre-school place for all four-year-olds whose parents wish them to take it up. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State and the official task force have been consulting widely with a view to drawing up detailed proposals on the expansion.
(2) what plans she has for the funding of nursery education for four-year- olds; and what consideration she is giving to a model based on a split between purchasers and providers. 
Mr. Forth: In drawing up proposals to implement my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister's commitment to provide, over time, a pre-school place for all four-year-olds whose parents wish to take it up, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State is examining all the
Column 162options for funding, including voucher systems and a
Mr. Forth: My right hon. Friend receives representations about truancy from a variety of quarters. To provide practical help to schools, the Department is currently supporting locally-devised projects to a value of some £14 million in over 80 English local education authorities under the truancy and disaffected pupils programme of the grants for education support and training scheme 1994 95. In December we announced further support for some 90 projects in 1995 96, to a value of £15.6 million.
22. Mr. Nicholas Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Education if she will make a statement on progress in promoting the acquisition by school children of basic literacy and numeracy skills. 
Mr. Forth: The Government's reforms--notably the national curriculum and testing--are already helping to raise overall educational standards, as recently confirmed by the chief inspector of schools. But the results of the national tests for seven and 14-year-olds in English and mathematics underline the need to continue to raise standards, which is why we have put more emphasis on basic literacy and numeracy in the revised national curriculum.
Mr. Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for Education if she will list all the visits she has made since the start of the current parliamentary Session to the constituencies of other hon. Members, without prior warning to those hon. Members, for any purpose connected with her departmental responsibilities. 
28. Mr. Beith: To ask the Secretary of State for Education if she will make a statement about education funding in Northumberland following the visit to schools in Northumberland by the Minister of State on 9 March. 
Mr. Robin Squire: None. It is up to local education authorities to determine local capital expenditure priorities, and to make the best use of the resources available to them in the light of local needs. But LEAs will be aware of the national priority criteria, agreed with them 10 years ago, which the Department uses to calculate credit approvals.
Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what is her response to the representations that have been made to her by engineering bodies and others about the shortcomings of some mathematics teaching in primary and secondary schools, in relation to the education and training of engineers in Britain. 
Mr. Forth: I refer the hon. Member to the reply that I gave him on 10 February, Official Report , column 438 , which stressed the Government's commitment to higher standards in mathematics. The national curriculum will improve standards by establishing demanding expectations for both teachers and pupils. The full beneficial effects will only be seen in the medium term, however, as pupils progress through the curriculum: the first pupils to embark on the mathematics national curriculum as five year-olds in 1989 will not complete the curriculum as 16-year-olds until the year 2000, before moving on to further and higher education.
Meanwhile, the findings of the Engineering Council's review of the changing mathematical background of undergraduate engineers, which was published at the
Column 164beginning of March, will helpfully inform current discussion about the teaching of mathematics.
Mr. Blunkett: To ask the Secretary of State for Education (1) if she will make a statement on the future responsibilities of local authorities in respect of the funding of schools which have not opted out; 
(2) if she is considering removing the responsibility for funding all schools from local education authorities. 
Mr. Robin Squire: My right hon. Friend has no plans to change the present responsibilities of local education authorities for funding the compulsory years of education in the schools which they maintain. The official task force which my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State established to draw up proposals to implement my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister's commitment on the provision of pre-school places for four- year-olds in considering funding mechanisms as part of its work. The 1994 competitiveness White Paper announced that the Government would be looking at the practical implications of learning credits for all 16 to 19-year- olds. The Government have commissioned consultants to consider the costs and benefits of various options, and will be considering the next steps in due course.
Mr. Bryan Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Education (1) whether the Further Education Funding Council, England, collects data on the remuneration of principals and chief executives of colleges for which it has funding responsibility; 
(2) what is the average salary increase of principals and chief executives of institutions funded by the Further Education Funding Council, England, in the years for which figures are available. 
Mr. Boswell: FEFC guidelines on accounting policies recommend that colleges should disclose the emoluments of senior postholders in their accounts, which are publicly available. Information on average salaries for senior postholders is not collected by the Department. However,
Column 165the FEFC has some data which might be helpful and has undertaken to write to the hon. Member as soon as possible.
Mr. Bryan Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what plan the Student Loans Company has to provide compensation to students who have suffered extensive delays in the processing of their loan applications. 
Mr. Boswell: It is for the independent assessor to decide, in line with his terms of reference, whether compensation is appropriate in any case which may be referred to him for consideration. A copy of the assessor's terms of reference was placed in the Library on 19 July 1990.
Mr. Robin Squire: None. We encourage local education authorities to remove surplus places, where that is practicable, thereby redeploying funds to be spent for the benefit of pupils rather than wasted on unnecessary capacity.
Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what has been the total spend of her Department on encouraging research partnerships between industry and universities in each of the last 20 years. 
Mr. Boswell: Public funds for English universities are distributed by the Higher Education Funding Council for England in the form of block grant for each university to spend at its discretion. Since its establishment in April 1993, the funding council has allocated some £20 million a year to reward institutions for income earned from work with external sponsors of research, including industry. Comparable figures for earlier years are not readily available.
Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many university academic and research staff are now on permanent contracts and how many on short-term contracts; and what were the figures in 1990 and 1985. 
Responsibility for employment conditions of academic and research staff, however funded, rests with the universities as employers. The Higher Education Statistical Agency, which has now assumed responsibility for collection of statistics on staff, students and finance in all United Kingdom higher education institutions, will identify, in its 1994 95 academic staff record, data on staff numbers in institutions on permanent or other form of contract.
The Universities Statistical Record has collected staff data on behalf of former UFC-funded universities, but does not distinguish by type of staff contract.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what plans she has to review the legislation preventing educational centres from being classed as independent schools if they have fewer than five children.
Mr. Robin Squire: The provisions of the Education Act 1944 governing the registration and monitoring of independent schools apply only to those educating five or more full-time pupils of compulsory school age. We have no present plans for legislation to extend those provisions to other independent institutions which are generally subject to separate monitoring arrangements.
Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Schools also has the power to inspect independent schools. Independent schools are defined as institutions which provide full-time education for five or more pupils of compulsory school age. Independent institutions caring for children under compulsory school age are generally subject to separate monitoring arrangements.
Mr. Hinchliffe: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what was the total expenditure, in each local authority, for major discretionary awards in the last financial year for which figures are available.
Expenditure on Major <1>Discretionary Awards-England and Wales 1992-93 LEA name |£000s ----------------------------------------- Corporation of London |25 Camden<2> |81 Greenwich |385 Hackney |659 Hammersmith and Fulham |308 Islington |444 Kensington and Chelsea |622 Lambeth |479 Lewisham |813 Southwark |315 Tower Hamlets |274 Wandsworth |667 Westminster |1,306 London Residuary Body |389 Barking and Dagenham |128 Barnet |19 Bexley |675 Brent |399 Bromley<2> |717 Croydon |310 Ealing |431 Enfield |253 Haringey |0 Harrow |24 Havering |150 Hillingdon |223 Hounslow |94 Kingston upon Thames |780 Merton |166 Newham |126 Redbridge |446 Richmond upon Thames |703 Sutton |278 Waltham Forest |569 Birmingham |1,418 Coventry |178 Dudley |206 Sandwell |165 Solihull |259 Walsall |314 Wolverhampton |43 Knowsley |1,160 Liverpool |2,384 St. Helens |175 Sefton |645 Wirral |1,836 Bolton |282 Bury |60 Manchester |254 Oldham |268 Rochdale |206 Salford |17 Stockport |186 Tameside |117 Trafford |421 Wigan |158 Barnsley |791 Doncaster |286 Rotherham |404 Sheffield |68 Bradford |1,941 Calderdale |349 Kirklees |1,686 Leeds<2> |2,813 Wakefield |789 Gateshead |268 Newcastle upon Tyne |120 North Tyneside |398 South Tyneside |430 Sunderland |837 Isles of Scilly |0 Avon |4,603 Bedfordshire |487 Berkshire |1,185 Buckinghamshire |880 Cambridgeshire |1,265 Cheshire |7,184 Cleveland |2,935 Cornwall |1,435 Cumbria |4,387 Derbyshire |528 Devon |7,753 Dorset |4,598 Durham |3,801 East Sussex |963 Essex |5,917 Gloucestershire |2,201 Hampshire |6,147 Hereford and Worcester |1,791 Hertfordshire |1,938 Humberside |3,655 Isle of Wight |265 Kent |5,699 Lancashire |5,019 Leicestershire |6,939 Lincolnshire |2,026 Norfolk |2,287 North Yorkshire |5,631 Northamptonshire<2> |1,060 Northumberland |293 Nottinghamshire |5,018 Oxfordshire |1,097 Shropshire |1,676 Somerset |1,513 Staffordshire |1,148 Suffolk |3,001 Surrey |1,741 Warwickshire |56 West Sussex |1,183 Wiltshire |1,439 Clwyd<2> |919 Dyfed |0 Gwent |1,131 Gwynedd |688 Mid-Glamorgan |1,065 Powys |766 South Glamorgan |670 West Glamorgan |983 England and Wales<3> |153,426 Source: F503G. Notes: <1> Awards made at 50 per cent. or more of the mandatory rate. <2> Incomplete returns received from Camden, Bromley, Leeds, Northamptonshire and Clwyd. <3> England and Wales total is grossed to compensate for incomplete returns in 1992-93.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton: My right hon. Friend is not aware of any reported cases of human illness which have been shown by laboratory investigation to be associated with the consumption of Lanark blue cheese, although not all cases of food poisoning are reported.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton [holding answer15 March 1995]: Any registered pharmacy in Scotland can provide pharmaceutical services outwith the national health service. Only pharmacies contracting with a health board and included in that health board's pharmaceutical list can provide NHS pharmaceutical services.
Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement indicating what guidance the Scottish Office has issued to Scottish health boards in relation to the operation of mixed-sex wards in Scottish hospitals.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton [holding answer 20 March 1995]: The Scottish hospital planning notes draw together the best current knowledge of appropriate space, performance and cost criteria for health care needs. This guidance also provides advice on the grouping of beds in wards. It emphasises that careful consideration is needed when planning for accommodation within a range of single and multi-bed rooms. The position is being further reviewed.
The patients charter, published in September 1991, makes clear that patients have a right to be treated with dignity and respect and, in particular, with respect for their privacy.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton [holding answer 20 March 1995]: While there are no specific rights at present under the patients charter in Scotland in respect of mixed-sex wards, the charter does state that patients have a right to expect that they will be treated with dignity and respect and, in particular, with respect for their privacy.
Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how much each health board has spent on capital investment on GP practices in each health board area in Scotland for each of the last five years; and how much of this expenditure went on GP fundholding practices.
Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) what discussions the Scottish Office has had with Ayrshire and Arran health board relating to the concluding of its proposed contract with Irvine Care Ltd;
(2) what delays have occurred in concluding the contract between Ayrshire and Arran health board and Irvine Care Ltd; and if he will make a statement.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton [holding answer 20 March 1995]: Contract negotiations between Ayrshire and Arran health board and its providers are a matter for the health board. The board has kept the Scottish Office informed of progress in this matter.
Delays arose as the board entered detailed discussions with the provider and the Community Health Care Trust on a range of issues including the application of the transfer of undertaking and protection of employment regulations.
Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) when Ayrshire and Arran health board expects to conclude the contract for the replacement of Ravenspark hospital with Irvine Care Ltd; (2) when Ayrshire and Arran health board now plans Ravenspark hospital to close; and when it plans the replacement facility for its patients to be opened.
Ravenspark hospital will remain open until such time as replacement provision is available for present residents. Any formal proposal for the closure of Ravenspark hospital must be subject to a public consultation exercise and the final approval of my right hon. Friend.
Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what staffing requirement has been agreed by Ayrshire and Arran health board and Irvine Care Ltd for the replacement facility for Ravenspark hospital; and if he will indicate how this compares with current arrangements.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton [holding answer 20 March 1995]: This is a matter for Ayrshire and Arran health board. Staff levels and skill mix form an integral part of the contract between the health board and Irvine Care Limited. The levels agreed are broadly comparable with existing provision.
Mr. Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what was the total number of civil servants employed by (a) his Department, (b) the agencies under his Department's responsibility and (c) public and other bodies under his Department's responsibility, for each year since 1992, divided into (1) full-time equivalents, (2) overtime, (3) casuals and (4) other; and whether he will also provide for each year his estimates of (A) civil service job reductions due to privatisations, (B) civil service job reductions due to contracting out, (C) civil service job reductions resulting from other transfer of responsibilities, (D) the total of all other staff undertaking work for the Department or its agencies without being categorised as civil servants, including external consultants, researchers, agency secretarial staff and staff substitution and (E) total manpower expenditures, in 1994 prices. 
Mr. Lang [holding answer 20 March 1995]: The civil service covers the permanent staff of central Government Departments and next steps agencies. The staff of other bodies are outside the civil service.
Appendix 4 of the Scottish Office departmental report for 1995, CM 2814, gives details of the number of civil servants employed by the Scottish Office, its associated departments and agencies, including full-time equivalent staff and casuals--from 1993 onwards--while appendix 3 of the report gives details of civil service paybill. Equivalent information in respect of the Forestry Commission, for which I am also responsible, is given in table 13.3. of the report. "Public Bodies", published annually since 1982, contains staffing information for those bodies not covered by civil service statistics.
The annual publication "Civil Service Statistics" gives details of the number of staff leaving the civil service. Copies of all of these publications are available in the Members' Library.
Column 172The remaining information sought could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Dr. Godman: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many (a) police officers and (b) civilians are currently employed in each of the police forces; and what were the comparable figures for 1979.