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Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many applications for permission to develop on school playing fields have been (a) submitted to her Department, (b) approved and (c) rejected since the new scrutiny arrangements were introduced in July 2001. 
John Healey [holding answer 1 March 2002]: All applications to dispose, or change the use, of school playing fields received since 16 July 2001 have been scrutinised by an independent School Playing Fields Advisory Panel. The panel comprises representatives from the National Playing Fields Association, the Central Council of Physical Recreation, the education organisation Learning through Landscapes, the National Association of Head Teachers and the Local Government Association. The purpose of the panel is to advise on the extent to which applications meet the published criteria, and to recommend either acceptance or rejection.
There have been 25 applications since 16 July 2001 to dispose of areas equal to, or larger than, a sports pitch. We are still assessing 17 of these applications and have approved the other eight, five of which are at school sites that are either closed or due for closure. Of the approved applications at the three operating schools, two will provide sports halls and a new all-weather pitch. The other approved application involves the granting of a lease as part of a Private Finance Initiative scheme to provide modern education facilities.
Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) how many (a) analogue and (b) integrated digital television sets her Department has purchased in each of the last 24 months; and if she will make a statement; 
My Department alongside other Government Departments has the ability to call off the contracts, which have been negotiated and set up by the Office of Government Commerce to purchase both analogue and integrated digital television sets.
Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what initiatives the Government have in place to increase the number of students taking mathematics and physics A-level. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis [holding answer 4 March 2002]: Mathematics and science are at the heart of our agenda to raise standards. Pupils have a statutory entitlement to study both subjects within the national curriculum. In recognition of their importance for adult and working life,
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we propose to keep them as 'core' subjects for 14 to 16-year-olds in the Green Paper: "1419 extending opportunities, raising standards".
Science Year is a key initiative to encourage young people to continue their study of science beyond the age of 16. We want young people to view science as relevant to the modern world and as the basis for rewarding careers. "Science and Engineering Ambassadors" is an initiative being developed through Science Year. Ambassadorsprofessionals in science, engineering, mathematics and technologywill act as role models and mentors for young people and will offer support to teachers.
Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will make a statement on the retention rate of students (a) on engineering-based GNVQ courses and (b) on non engineering-based GNVQ courses. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis [holding answer 4 March 2002]: The retention rate (whole length of the course) for students on engineering GNVQ courses is 78 per cent., compared with 76 per cent. for students on non-engineering GNVQ courses.
Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will make a statement on the effect the student funding system is having upon engineering and science graduates choosing to continue into postgraduate study. 
Margaret Hodge [holding answer 4 March 2002]: The number of home postgraduate students in science, engineering and technology rose from 69,201 in 199495 to 87,747 in 200001, an increase of 27 per cent. Recent changes to the student funding system apply to undergraduate rather than postgraduate students. The Government have already taken steps to improve the competitiveness of PhD stipends to ensure that doctoral study remains an attractive option for graduates with the minimum level for research councils' PhD stipends rising to £9,000 per year by 200304. The Government have also commissioned Sir Gareth Roberts to review the supply of high-level engineering and science skills.
Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what steps she is taking to ensure that (a) National Training Organisations discharge their outstanding legal and professional obligations before winding-up and (b) adequate continuity of business is maintained in the interim before sector skills councils are established to replace them. 
John Healey: Government are withdrawing National Training Organisation (NTO) recognition on 31 March 2002. A body with this status will be free to continue business after this date if its board decides. A board that decides to wind up its organisation will be subject to normal rules, usually discharged through liquidation procedures, to safeguard third party interests. Where public contracts are concerned alternative arrangements will be made for the delivery of this work by another competent body. We have agreed to provide contracts up to 31 August 2002 to ensure that essential work in the public interest will continue after NTO recognition ends
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Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what recent representations her Department has received from (a) schools, (b) local education authorities and (c) the police regarding the prevention of drug abuse in schools, since June 2001. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: Successful drug education programmes convey both knowledge and skills, particularly social skills, with the aim of enabling pupils to make informed choices. The Department for Education and Skills works very closely with schools, local education authorities and the police to ensure they are involved in the policy making process. In the last eight months officials have received correspondence from schools and parents; have worked closely with local education authorities on a drug, alcohol and tobacco education training package for teachers and have discussed drug education with the Metropolitan police and the Home Office via correspondence and at several meetings.
Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if literacy and numeracy hours will be compulsory in schools with (a) earned autonomy and (b) exemptions related to innovation. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: There is no statutory duty on primary schools to teach the literacy hour or a daily mathematics lesson. The proposed exemptions available under (a) Earned Autonomy and (b) the Power to Innovate relate only to exemptions from statutory requirements on schools or LEAs. Therefore, the literacy hour and daily mathematics lesson cannot be subject to exemption under either of these provisions.
Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what representations her Department has received regarding exclusions from school in connection with possession of, or dealing in, illegal drugs since June 2001. 
The Department's guidance on exclusion in general is set out in Circular 10/99 as amended. The document "Revised Guidance on Exclusion from SchoolDraft for Consultation" published on 24 January also covers the subject. Copies of both documents are in the Library.
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authorities in determining whether to report offences involving the theft of mobile phones to the police. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The DfES is concerned for the safety and security of school pupils and staff, and in 1997 issued guidance on school security jointly with the Home Office. This guidance, "School Security: Dealing with Troublemakers", deals with incidents, including thefts, that occur on school premises, and advises schools and local education authorities that offences of theft need to be reported to the police. The guidance does not preclude a pupil or parent reporting any such offence independently.
However, we recognise that school pupils are vulnerable to theft on the way to and from school. If a mobile phone is stolen in such circumstances, it is then a matter for the victim and their parents to report it to the police. They may also wish to inform the school so that the head teacher and local education authority may be able to see if any pattern of crime is arising, and to consider the need for advising pupils and their parents of any consequent action.
Mrs. Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many cases involving the theft of mobile phones were dealt with by school authorities, without the involvement of the police, in the last two years. 
The reporting of criminal incidents to the police is the responsibility of the head teacher of a school. Guidance was issued to head teachers in 1997 by the then Department for Education and Employment, jointly with the Home Office. This guidance, "School Security: Dealing with Troublemakers", advised schools and local education authorities that offences of theft need to be reported to the police.
The procedure by which such offences are reported should be determined by discussion between schools and the police. In the case of the schools which they maintain, local education authorities also have a key role in monitoring overall security policies. But the primary responsibility for planning a school's security arrangements rests with the governing body of the school.
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