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Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will make a statement on the Government's policy regarding the selling of school-owned land for development purposes. 
John Healey [holding answer 22 January 2002]: Land at maintained schools is owned and held by a number of different bodies depending on the origins and category of school in question. Normally, only the governing bodies of foundation schools own their school land. At voluntary schools, the site ownership is usually split between school trustees and the local education authority, although at voluntary schools that were formerly grant-maintained, governing bodies will own the land transferred to them from the local authority. Local education authorities own land at community schools. It is also the case that some governing bodies may own land that is gifted to the school, but such land is usually held on specific trusts.
Governing bodies of foundation schools have always needed the Secretary of State's consent before they could dispose of any land. At any other category of maintained school where governing bodies own land they may be required to obtain consent from the Secretary of State before they sell their land. In other cases the sale of land will be subject to the terms of the trust on which the land is held. The sale of trustee owned land at schools has always been governed by the terms of the trust under which the land is held.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what her estimate is of the (a) annual cost and (b) total value of the empty properties owned by (i) her Department, (ii) her agencies and (iii) other public bodies for which she has had responsibility in each of the last four years. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The estimate of (a) annual cost of the empty properties owned by (i) my Department, in each of the last four years is £304,000 in 200001, £270,000 in 19992000, £173,000 in 199899 and £180,000 in 199798.
The estimate of (b) total value of the empty properties owned by (i) my Department, in each of the last four years is £290,000 in 200001, £146,000 in 19992000, £133,000 in 199899 and £125,000 in 199798.
Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will make a statement on the level of funding for the Bidwell Brook Community Special School in Dartington from the targeted capital fund in 200203; and for what reason funding was not made available in this financial year. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis [holding answer 28 January 2002]: Up to the end of this financial year, where statutory proposals at special schools have involved building work, local education authorities have been able to apply to the Department for capital support through the Annual Capital Guidelines. Resources are held in reserve for later
29 Jan 2002 : Column 231W
allocation and released as and when the local School Organisation Committee approves the proposals and the accommodation and building plans, including costs, have received a satisfactory assessment from the Department's building consultants.
In the case of Bidwell Brook, although the School Organisation Committee had approved the statutory proposal, substantial changes have had to be made to the building plans. These revised plans are currently with the Consultants for assessment. The resources in the reserve have now been fully allocated. The local education authority has accordingly submitted a bid to the Targeted Capital Fund for 200203. We expect to announce allocations by March 2002.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what recent assessment she has made of teacher shortages in Portsmouth; what steps she is taking to improve the situation; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Timms: Information on the number of teacher vacancies in local education authorities is collected once a year in January as part of the annual census of teachers and vacancies. In January 2001 there were 59 vacancies for full-time teachers in maintained nursery, primary, secondary and special schools in Portsmouth. In recognition of the position in Portsmouth we have made £280,000 available directly to schools to fund local recruitment and retention initiatives. In addition, Portsmouth will also receive assistance through the £250 million Starter Homes Initiative which will enable teachers, as key workers, to purchase homes with the help of £10,000 free equity loans. We have also announced our proposal to accept the School Teachers' Review Body's recently announced recommendations, including a further above inflation pay increase of 3.5 per cent. for all teachers and that good, experienced, teachers should in future be able to receive a £2,148 pay increase on crossing the threshold after five years instead of seven. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State set out our longer term proposals for teachers and teaching in a pamphlet, "Professionalism and Trust", published in November 2001.
Mr. Willis: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many applications there were from (a) teachers already in service and (b) others for the Fast Track teaching scheme by 31 December 2001 broken down by subject. 
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|Subject||Number of applications|
|Business and Economics||18|
|Design and Technology||19|
|Modern Foreign Languages||63|
Where applications arrived after the closing date of 31 December 2001, but had been delayed for reasons beyond the applicants' control, they were accepted up to 7 January 2002. Processing of applications from teachers already in service had not begun by 31 December 2001.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what grants have been made from the Technology Colleges Trust in each of the last four years to contribute towards the £50,000 of sponsorship money needed by schools seeking specialist status, broken down by (a) year, (b) school and (c) amount; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the average cost is of a place in a maintained school for a secondary pupil between the ages of 11 and 16 years, including (a) the average spending per pupil needed to provide, maintain and equip school buildings and (b) the average administration cost per pupil, specifying the elements of capital spending and administrative costs that have been included in that figure. 
Mr. Timms [holding answer 25 January 2002]: The information is not available in the exact form in which it has been requested, but the average level of total recurrent funding per secondary pupil is almost £3,700 in 200102 and the average level of capital funding per pupil (excluding PFI credits) is £230 per pupil.
Mr. Alan Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many parent survey forms were issued by Ofsted; what the average response rate was, and what the total cost was in the last year for which figures are available. 
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Mr. Timms: Parents' views are an important part of the evidence base for an inspection. To ensure that parents have an opportunity to express those views, a parents' meeting must be arranged by the school prior to an inspection. In addition, schools are invited to distribute the parents' survey form. The decision to do so is entirely a matter for the school and any costs associated with the survey are borne by the school. An analysis of the data held by Ofsted is currently being undertaken. Once complete the results will be made available to the House through the Library.
Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many complaints she has received about the performance of the EdExcel examination board (a) each month between June 2001 and 18 January 2002 and (b) since 18 January 2002. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis [holding answer 28 January 2002]: The number of complaints which the Secretary of State received about the performance of the EdExcel examination board (a) during each month between June 2001 and 18 January 2002 and (b) since 18 January 2002 is set out in the table:
|Number of complaints|
|118 January 2002||1|
|1824 January 2002||12|
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