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Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills, pursuant to her answer to the hon. Member for Epsom and Ewell of 7 November 2001, Official Report, column 246W, if she will make a statement on the circumstances that led to those closure proposals. 
Mr. Timms: Seven proposals were decided by the Secretary of State. The circumstances varied in each case. Some were published by the LEA, or school governors, to address changes in local demand for sixth form places, some featured as part of a wider reorganisation of schools in the area, others arose from the need to rationalise places to deliver more cost effective provision. The remaining six proposals were published after September 1999 and were decided under local decision making arrangements, introduced by the School Standards and Framework Act 1998. Under these arrangements those publishing or deciding proposals are not required to send details of the background to the proposals to the Department, and we therefore cannot comment on the circumstances leading to these proposals.
Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what plans she has to allow schools with sixth forms to make direct representations to local Learning and Skills Councils regarding sixth form funding. 
Margaret Hodge: This is a matter for the Learning and Skills Council. I have therefore asked John Harwood, the council's chief executive, to write to the hon. Member with the information requested and to place a copy of his reply in the Library.
Alistair Burt: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what submissions she has received for the review of student finance following her announcement of such a review; if she will list those submissions; and if they will be taken into account before she publishes her proposals to reform student finance. 
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Alistair Burt: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will call for submissions to her review on student finance from (a) the National Union of Students, (b) Universities UK, (c) the Association of Colleges, (d) the Student Loan Company, (e) the Association of University Teachers, (f) the National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education, (g) the Standing Conference of Principals, (h) the National Bureau for Students with Disabilities and (i) others; if she will publish their submissions; and if she will make a statement. 
Alistair Burt: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what discussions she has had with other Government Departments in relation to her review of student finance; if she will place such submissions in the Library; and if she will make a statement. 
Margaret Hodge: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has written to Ministers responsible for higher education in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and to Ministers in other Government Departments, to advise them that a review is taking place. Treasury and the Inland Revenue are represented on the review. We plan to consult on any proposals to emerge.
Alistair Burt: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what submissions she has received recently on the student loans system; if she will list such submissions; and if she will make a statement. 
Margaret Hodge: We receive submissions, correspondence, etc., from a range of individuals and organisations, on a regular basis. It is not our practice to make correspondence with the Department public. We will be consulting on proposals that emerge from the review of student finance.
The criteria used by the Department to assess basic need are contained in the "Guide for the Schools Capital Allocation Round" issued to local education authorities annually, copies of which have been placed in the Library.
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Mr. Timms: No schools in the state sector are run by private firms. The legal responsibility for running a school rests with the governing body and head teacher, even where they are supported by expertise from the private sector.
Mr. Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what representations she has received in the last year from local education authorities wanting to hand the running of a state school over to the private sector. 
Mr. Timms: There have been no representations in the last year from local education authorities wanting to hand over the running of a state school to the private sector. State schools cannot be run by the private sector, although local education authorities and schools may enter into contracts for support to governing bodies.
Mr. Timms: We intend to introduce a new grant to contribute towards performance points for leadership group members, post threshold teachers and high performers on the main scale. We believe their skills, expertise, commitment and leadership are crucial to the success of the teaching profession. We propose to make available £100 million in financial year 200203 and £150 million in 200304, in addition to existing threshold funding.
We will be consulting shortly on the details of the new grant to support the cost of performance points. Details of the consultation will be posted on the DfES website to enable schools to comment on the proposals.
Mr. Timms: Crossing the threshold gives teachers a substantial and permanent pay increase by moving them to an upper pay scale. The Government have always accepted that this means a substantial and permanent increase in the overall cost of teachers' pay. Our financial planning will continue to take account of that.
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Mr. Timms: Verification of threshold assessments involves professional dialogue between heads and assessors about assessment methods and individual applications. Assessors overturn heads' judgments only when it is impossible to reach agreement. In the first round of threshold applications this happened in only 0.2 per cent. of casesa clear indication that the system worked.
Mr. Timms: The Department was carrying out a pilot of 41 learning support units in schools in 1997. This lasted from 199697 to 199899. The units were funded by the predecessor of our "Social Inclusion Pupil Support" Standards Fund grant.
Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will state the percentage of re-marked papers at (a) GCSE, (b) AS-level and (c) A-level which resulted in marks being (i) increased and (ii) decreased in each of the last three years. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: In 1999 the awarding bodies were asked to re-mark 0.5 per cent. of GCSE papers, of which 11 per cent. resulted in a change of grade; and 3.3 per cent. of GCE A-level papers, of which 13 per cent. resulted in a change of grade. In 2000 the awarding bodies were asked to re-mark 1 per cent. of GCSE papers, of which 11 per cent. resulted in a grade change; 3.8 per cent. of GCE A-level papers, of which 16 per cent. resulted in a grade change; and 1.5 per cent. of AS-level papers, of which 15 per cent. resulted in a grade change. All of these grade changes were upwards as until 2001, grades could only be raised or remain the same as a result of a re-mark.
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