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Disability Rights Commission for Wales

Mr. Wigley: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what consultation took place between himself and the National Assembly for Wales on the appointment of the Disability Rights Commission for Wales. [107015]

Ms Hodge: My right hon. Friend the First Secretary of the National Assembly for Wales and his officials have been consulted at every stage of the recruitment process

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to appoint a Commissioner with special knowledge of Wales to the Disability Rights Commission.

Summer Camps

Mr. Maclean: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will make a statement, including the cost, on his proposal that all 16-year-olds should attend summer camps. [107495]

Jacqui Smith: I refer the right hon. Member to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Daventry (Mr. Boswell) on 18 January 2000, Official Report, column 389W.

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Science Teachers

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment how many recruits for the teaching of (a) Physics, (b) Chemistry and (c) Biology in secondary schools were recruited into initial teacher training courses in each of the last five years. [107176]

Ms Estelle Morris: There are no national data available for secondary initial teacher training courses in Physics, Chemistry and Biology. Data are available for secondary initial teacher training Science courses. Recruitment to Science for England over the last five years is given in the table.



TTA Survey of ITT Providers

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment how many Physics teacher trainees he expects to be in his target figure for recruitment into initial teacher training courses for Science teaching in secondary schools in (a) 2000-01 (b) 2001-02 and (c) 2002-03. [107180]

Ms Estelle Morris: There are no secondary initial teacher training targets for Physics. Physics is included in the secondary target for Science. The DfEE secondary initial teacher training target for Science in England for 2000-01 is 2,690. Indicative targets for 2001-02 and 2002-03 are also 2,690.

Mobile Phones

Mr. Ottaway: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what estimate he has made of the impact on schools' budgets of the use by parents of mobile phone numbers as a point of contact for school staff. [107610]

Jacqui Smith: We have made no such estimate. It is for individual schools to determine, and agree with parents, the most cost-effective way of contacting parents in particular circumstances.

School Transport

Mr. Breed: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what statutory requirement applies to the provision of transport for children to their nearest state school; and what obligation there is for local education authorities to fund such transport (a) from the nearest bus stop to the school and (b) from the child's home to the bus stop. [107568]

Jacqui Smith: Local Education Authorities must provide free transport for a pupil of compulsory school age who attends his or her nearest suitable school, if it is beyond statutory walking distance from the child's home. These distances are two miles for pupils aged under eight, and three miles for those aged eight and over. If these criteria are not met, a Local Education Authority must still decide whether free transport is necessary, taking

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account of a pupil's age, the possible routes he or she might take to school, and a parent's wish for denominational education where the parent adheres to the denomination of the school. Free transport may be provided from the child's home or from a bus stop convenient to the pupil's home.

Teachers' Review Body

Mr. Singh: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will make a statement on the report of the School Teachers' Review Body. [108105]

Mr. Blunkett: The 2000 report of the School Teachers' Review Body has been published today. Copies are available in the Vote Office and the Library of the House. This is an historic pay round, centred on modernising the pay system for the entire teaching profession. I am grateful to the Chair and members of the Review Body for their important work.

I asked the School Teachers' Review Body to ensure that, in making its recommendations, six key considerations were taken into account:

I have considered the report carefully against these considerations and am satisfied that they are met. I have decided to accept the Review Body's main recommendations. They are in line with the Government's prudent and disciplined approach to public spending and its commitment to deliver high quality public services and low inflation.

My proposals, which include minor modifications of the STRB recommendations where indicated, are as follows:

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In Wales, following decisions by the National Assembly, local authorities will be able to increase spending on education by £75 million in 2000-01, compared with 1999-2000.

Additional specific funding will support the costs of the reform of the qualified teachers' pay system from September 2000. This will take the form of a new Special Grant in England and specific extra allocations to local authorities in Wales.

In the initial years of the new pay system, the Government will make additional funds available in England to support extra costs incurred by schools as follows:

In addition, the Government will in England make a specified amount of extra resource available for the same period of time as the threshold grant to support the costs to schools of high-performing heads, deputies and Advanced Skills Teachers progressing up their individual pay ranges from September 2000. This will help ensure that excellent achievement among these teachers is recognised and rewarded more consistently--an issue to which the Review Body has drawn attention in paragraph 147 of the current report. The DfEE will consult stakeholders on the operation of this funding, including the most appropriate mechanism for distributing these funds.

In Wales, funding for the pay consequences of teachers' pay restructuring will be made as additional increases to local authorities to enable them to meet the costs of the various elements. The National Assembly is providing an additional £14.5 million in 2000-01, bringing the overall increase in local authorities' spending power in 2000-01 to £91 million. The National Assembly has been consulting on the arrangements for distribution of those additional amounts.

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Taking account of this funding, the additional costs arising within Education Standard Spending from 1 September 2000 are estimated as £7.5 million in respect of the assimilation of classroom teachers to the new pay system and of restructuring the pay of special school heads. Other assimilation costs may arise depending on local decisions by schools; the Review Body is therefore unable to estimate the overall level of such costs.

Next Steps

I am grateful to the Review Body for recommending a general increase at a level which is fair and which can be implemented without staging. I hope teachers will welcome the fact that they will receive their pay increase in full on 1 April this year. I will now initiate consultation with the teacher associations, the employer organisations and other interested parties, as required under section 2(1) of the School Teachers' Pay and Conditions Act 1991, before I make provision by order for teachers' pay and conditions in 2000-01.

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