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LORD CHANCELLOR'S DEPARTMENT

Litigants in Person

Mr. Chope: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many civil actions, other than in the small claims court, have been commenced in each of the last five years by litigants in person. [157360]

Jane Kennedy: Figures showing the number of trials in the county courts conducted by litigants in person are set out in the table.

Litigants appearing in person during county court trials
England and Wales figures, 1996-2000

YearNumber county court trialsClaimantDefendant
Litigants in person
199619,6082,4003,550
199715,5111,5903,020
199814,2021,0801,900
199913,4378801,660
200015,3971,2302,280
Percentage in person
199619,60812.218.1
199715,51110.319.5
199814,2027.613.4
199913,4376.512.4
200015,3978.014.8

Mr. Chope: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if he will publish guidance for those wishing to pursue civil claims as litigants in person which fall outside the scope of the small claims court. [157359]

Mr. Lock: The Court Service publishes a comprehensive series of leaflets, which explain basic court procedures starting from making a claim to enforcement procedures. They all include information that goes beyond the small claims procedure.

The leaflets are specifically aimed at litigants in person and use plain English in a question and answer format. Since the Court Service launched its Welsh Language Scheme on 9 August 2000 some Court Service leaflets are now also available in Welsh.

The leaflets are available free from any county court office or from the Court Service website. Advice agencies such as the Citizens Advice Bureaux also supply some Court Service leaflets to their customers.

EDUCATION AND EMPLOYMENT

School Achievement Awards

Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment (1) when it was decided that improvement awards should be given to all schools showing an improvement of at least 2.2 in the Key Stage 2 average point scores between 1997 and 2000; and what consultation was carried out prior to deciding the criterion; [157357]

6 Apr 2001 : Column: 308W

Ms Estelle Morris: We consulted relevant national bodies about the design of the School Achievement Awards Scheme in May and June last year. We proposed then, and confirmed in September, that about 30 per cent. of maintained schools in England would receive awards, that about three quarters of these awards would be for improvement, that schools would be ranked by the differences between their Key Stage test or GCSE/GNVQ average point scores in 1997 and 2000, and that improvement awards would be given to the highest ranking schools. The minimum increases in average point scores required for improvement awards were consequences of this process.

Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will make it his policy not to disadvantage schools which have been notified of a financial award by his Department which is based upon an administrative error; and if he will make a statement. [157385]

Ms Estelle Morris: As the hon. Member knows, a number of schools were incorrectly told that they would receive a School Achievement Award. We have made it clear to them that they will receive the financial value of the award.

Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what estimate he has made of the cost of the error made by his Department in identifying schools which had won achievement awards in 2001. [157384]

Ms Estelle Morris: The cost of additional awards will be £1.9 million.

Sex Education

Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what estimate he has made of the use of homosexual role-play in school sex education classes; and if he will make a statement. [156774]

Jacqui Smith: We have made no estimate of the extent of this type of role playing in schools; Ofsted have reported no such incidents. The Learning and Skills Act 2000 places a statutory duty on schools to protect pupils from inappropriate teaching and materials. Our Sex and Relationship Education guidance is clear that teachers should be able to deal honestly and sensitively with sexual orientation. There should be no direct promotion of sexual orientation.

6 Apr 2001 : Column: 309W

Best Value

Mr. Gapes: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what consultations were held between his Department and the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions about the content of Best Value Performance Plans required of local authorities. [156444]

Ms Estelle Morris: My Department has been consulted about published documents on Best Value, including the final version of the statutory guidance on Best Value Performance Plans in DETR Circular 10/1999. Officials from both Departments meet regularly to discuss the implementation of Best Value.

Mr. Gapes: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what plans he has to change the year of calculation for education targets in best value performance plans to a school year basis. [156441]

Ms Estelle Morris: Our aim in introducing best value performance indicators has been to minimise burdens on local authorities by linking them to existing data collection exercises. Some of the education performance indicators are calculated on a school year basis, apart from those for expenditure and for special education needs. Compiling these on a school year would create work for local authorities, and make education expenditure indicators out of line with those for other authority services. Furthermore, any significant change in calculation method would mean that local authorities lose historical trends over time.

Class Sizes (Shropshire)

Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will list for each year since 1992 the average primary school class size for schools in Shropshire; and if he will make a statement. [156568]

Ms Estelle Morris: The data requested have been placed in the Library.

Information on class sizes as at January 2001 will be published in a Statistical First Release 'Class Sizes in Maintained Schools in England January 2001' on 6 April.

The latest infant class size data for September 2000 were published in a Statistical First Release 'Infant Class Sizes in England 2000' on 1 November, copies of which are available from the Library, or alternatively can be accessed from the Department for Education and Employment statistical website www.dfee.gov.uk/statistics. Figures from this release show that since September 1998, 324,000 five, six and seven-year-olds have benefited from the Government's infant class size initiative. In September 2000, 30,000 children were in classes of 31 or more children, compared with 171,000 in September 1999. This demonstrates that the Government are delivering early our infant class size pledge, which is supported by some £620 million.

Teacher Training

Mr. St. Aubyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what proportion of those who completed a teacher training course were full-time teachers three years later in each of the last three years for which figures are available. [155649]

6 Apr 2001 : Column: 310W

Ms Estelle Morris [holding answer 29 March 2001]: The information is in the table.

Percentage of teachers who were in full-time teaching in the maintained schools sector in the third year after completing their Initial Teacher Training

Year of completion of Initial Teacher TrainingPercentage
199466
199565
1996 (provisional)66

The number of regular teachers (excluding short-term supply) in the maintained schools sector in England at January 2000 was 404,600, the highest for 10 years and 6,900 higher than January 1998.

There was a growth of 2,300 in the number of people recruited to train as teachers between 1999-2000 and 2000-01, the first such increase since 1992-93.

From April 2001 new graduate recruits can expect to earn £17,000 a year (up 6 per cent. from the previous year) and starting salaries in Inner London will rise to £20,000 (up 9 per cent. from the previous year).


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