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Written Answers to Questions

Tuesday 3 July 2001


Playing Fields

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many applications were (a) made, (b) granted and (c) refused, and in how many

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cases in which requirements or directions were made under Schedule 22(3) that proceeds or land should be paid or transferred to the local authority under section 77 or Schedule 22 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 for (i) the disposal or (ii) the change of use of land used as playing fields by schools in each year since 1 October 1998. [842]

Mr. Timms [holding answer 26 June 2001]: The information requested is shown in the table. This relates to applications to dispose of areas equal to, or larger than, a sports pitch. The table also shows the number of applications that did not result in the loss of any areas larger than a sports pitch. In the case of all approved applications, any proceeds were used to provide new or improved sports or education facilities at maintained schools.

Applications under section 77 and Schedule 22 of the school standards and framework Act 1998 to dispose, or change the use, of school playing fields larger than a sports pitch(1)

Applications received35684917169
Applications approved(4)(5)9544323129
Approved applications where there is no permanent loss of playing field larger than a sports pitch(6)32012843
Applications rejected02002
Applications withdrawn361010
Schedule 22(1)(3) direction made(7)10304

(1) 'Sports pitch' means an area of open grassed land equal to, or larger than, the Football Association's recommended area for games played by under-10s of 2,000 sq m, and which has a configuration making it suitable for use as a sports pitch

(2) The School Standards and Framework Act came into force on 1 October 1998. Figures for 1998, therefore, cover applications received and applications determined between 1 October to 31 December 1998

(3) This covers the period from 1 January to 22 June 2001

(4) Applications may not have been approved in the same year that they were made because of the time needed to assess them. There are 28 applications not yet determined

(5) In all approved cases, any proceeds were directed back into providing better sports or educational provision

(6) Not all approvals result in the loss of playing fields. Some proposals involve the granting of a lease in which the playing field remains in place, or they may involve the transfer of ownership but no change of use

(7) No directions made under Schedule 22(1)(3) have transferred land back to a local authority

Modern Languages

Dr. Starkey: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many students obtained GCSE and A-level examinations in (a) Urdu, (b) Bengali, (c) Gujerati, (d) Hindi, (e) Mandarin, (f) Cantonese and (g) modern languages in each of the last five years. [1299]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The number of students of all ages who obtained GCSE and GCE A-level passes in the various languages over the last five years are shown in the table. Figures for Mandarin and Cantonese are not available, data for Chinese as a whole have been provided instead.

(a) Urdu5,6586,6606,3706,4976,677
(b) Bengali2,1162,2202,1462,1522,041
(c) Gujerati1,3131,3091,0261,1891,200
(d) Hindi
(e)(f) Chinese1,9562,0481,9371,9172,028
(g) All modern languages450,244444,639460,186472,010476,050
GCE A-Level
(a) Urdu833837591746725
(b) Bengali99981083753
(c) Gujerati
(d) Hindi3119138
(e)(f) Chinese9728871,0741,1651,225
(g) All modern languages32,93732,34031,29830,22427,455

Departmental Response Times

Mr. Allen: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what plans she has to increase the speed with which her Department communicates with hon. Members. [1300]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Department intends at all times to inform constituency MPs on announcements and to ensure letters are posted on the letter board the day before an announcement is made.

MPs were notified of the new Beacon Schools on 20 June, in advance of the announcement the following day. We will continue to provide early notice to MPs of announcements which affect their constituencies.

LEA Councillors (Disqualifications)

Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if the disqualification for serving as a councillor on the local education authority applies equally to teaching staff of (a) foundation schools, (b) voluntary aided schools and (c) community schools. [1334]

Mr. Timms: Yes. Teachers are disqualified from being councillors for their school's maintaining local authority, regardless of whom the contract of employment is with.

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Teacher Training

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what information her Department collates on the number of people leaving teacher training who enter teaching; and if she will publish those figures. [1617]

Mr. Timms [holding answer 2 July 2001]: My Department collects the number of teachers awarded Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) each year. Data are then obtained from employers' returns to the Teachers' Pensions Scheme (TPS) to show which of these newly qualified teachers have entered teaching by the following 31 March in the maintained sector in England and Wales, the parts of the independent sector that are members of the TPS, full-time further education lecturers in England and Wales, and lecturers in higher education who are members of the TPS. The service of teachers is subsequently monitored at 31 March every year.

There were 24,740 teachers in England who obtained QTS in 1998, having followed a BEd or PGCE course. 18,140 (73 per cent.) entered full or part-time teaching in England by 31 March 1999 and a further 150 (0.6 per cent.) were teaching in Wales, as follows:

QTS following BEd or PGCE awarded in 199824,740
Not in service by 31 March 19996,45026
In service in England by 31 March 1999
Maintained schools17,11069
Independent schools8003
Total in service by 31 March 199918,14073
In service in Wales1500.6
Total in service in England or Wales18,29074

(8) Includes further and higher education

Other teachers with QTS following a BEd or PGCE, not recorded above, may have had service in Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, or parts of the independent or HE sectors that are not members of the TPS.

AS Levels

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what procedures are in place to ensure consistency of marking for AS levels (a) within and (b) between examination boards. [1959]

Mr. Timms: The procedures to ensure the consistency of marking of AS levels within awarding bodies are contained in the GCSE and GCE A/AS Code of Practice. A copy of this document, published by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) and its counterparts in Wales and Northern Ireland, has been placed in the House of Commons Library. The QCA monitors compliance with this Code of Practice. It also looks at consistency between awarding bodies on a sample basis each year. In addition, the QCA has established an international panel of experts to review the QCA's arrangements for maintaining A level standards against best practice.

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many pupils have entered for the AS level examination this year. [1960]

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Mr. Timms: The total number of students who have entered to sit the AS level examination in England and Wales will not be available until the autumn. However, there have been over 800,000 subject entries for AS examinations this summer. Many students will have entered for more than one subject.

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