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Environmental Protection

Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what steps her Department has taken to promote the implementation of Principle 10 of the 1992 Rio Declaration; [46563]

Mr. Meacher: Whilst not formally revoked, the ECE Sofia Guidelines are effectively superseded by the Aarhus Convention. The Aarhus Convention is the primary vehicle for the promotion of Principle 10 of the 1992 Rio Declaration. The Government strongly support this Convention and signed the treaty when it opened for signature in 1998.

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The majority of the Convention is already implemented in the UK. This Department is responsible for some of the necessary legislative amendments, in particular to the Environmental Information Regulations 1992. These will be made as soon as possible after the EU draft Directive on Public Access to Environmental Information is adopted to replace Directive 90/313/EEC. The Government intend to ratify the Convention as soon as all of the necessary legal provisions are in place. This date will depend on the legislative timetables of the devolved administrations.


Young People's Services

Phil Hope: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how the implementation of the Children and Young People's Unit Core Principles for Government will be evaluated. [46328]

Mr. Denham: Departments will be encouraged to develop an evaluation strategy as part of their implementation of the Core Principles over the coming year. The Unit will monitor action across Government, including on evaluation and will publish reports on the progress made. The Unit will be in an excellent position to identify and disseminate: (a) real innovation in how Departments consult and engage with children and young people in the formulation and delivery of their policies, and (b) mainstreaming strategies through which engaging children and young people becomes part of Central Government's wider work in consulting with the public.

School Playing Fields

Mr. Wyatt: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many school playing fields were sold in (a) 2000–01 and (b) 2001–02; and what acreage this involved. [44447]

John Healey: In the financial year April 2000 to March 2001, the Department approved 38 applications to sell areas of school playing field larger than a small sports pitch for the under 10s, that is greater than 2,000m 2 . The total area involved was 540,000m 2 , or about 131 acres. Of this total, 40 acres were at closed or closing school sites.

In the financial year from April 2001 to date, the Department has approved 18 applications to sell areas larger than a school sports pitch for the under 10s. The total area involved amounts to some 280,000m 2 , or about 69 acres, of which 39 acres are at closed or closing school sites. The Department does not know how many of these approved applications have resulted in actual sales. In all cases, we have ensured that the remaining playing fields would meet the full needs of the schools involved and of other schools in the local area.

Some of the proceeds from these approved applications are earmarked to provide 13 new sports halls and to improve other sports facilities at schools, such as new all-weather pitches and to bring other, poorly drained, pitches back into use. In other cases, the proceeds are to be used to improve educational facilities—for example, by providing modern, up to date, teaching

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accommodation, such as science and technology classrooms. In a number of cases, the proceeds are to be used to help build new schools or to enable multi-site schools to consolidate on to one site.

Higher Education Funding

Mr. Steinberg: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what planned expenditure on higher education was in 1996–97 and each of the subsequent five financial years; and what the total outturn spending on higher education was in each of those years excluding proceeds of tuition fees. [45256]

Margaret Hodge: Publicly planned expenditure for higher education in England is set out in the annual Grant letter issued to the Higher Education Funding Council for England. The data set used in calculating the out-turn for public and student contributions to fees differ from that used in calculating publicly planned expenditure on fees. The tuition fee data for planned expenditure are for all students, including students from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, at English HE institutions, while for out-turn the figures are based on students from England at English HE institutions. The two sets of data are not therefore directly comparable. The figures, excluding all planned tuition fee income, are:

Publicly planned expenditure excluding fees(2) Out-turn excluding fees(3)

(2)Figures reflect Grant Letter announcements and include ear-marked capital, allocations for access and widening participation paid via institutions, HE expenditure for the British Academy and directly funded DfES small programmes. They exclude public and student contributions to tuition fees and funds paid to students for their maintenance support.

(3)The differences between planned and actual expenditure are explained in part by the different coverage used for tuition fees and by in year adjustments.

School Sixth Forms

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) how many representations she has received from schools which will lose sixth-form funding as a result of the transition to Learning and Skills Council funding; [45406]

Margaret Hodge: My right hon. Friend has received representations from a number of headteachers, deputy headteachers and chairs of school governors. However, through our Real Terms Guarantee, we are ensuring that no school sixth form can lose compared with its 2000–01 funding levels, provided pupil numbers are maintained. For sixth forms that are reducing in size, the guarantee will be maintained but at a proportionately reduced level.

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The Learning and Skills Council has calculated two figures for each sixth form—its RTG and its LSC formula allocation—and they will receive the higher of these two. The Financing of Maintained School Regulations 2002 have been amended to ensure that sixth forms funded through the LSC formula see some benefit. Schools should gain at least one third of the potential benefit from the LSC's allocations for 2002–03. We intend to amend the regulations further for 2003–04 to ensure that such schools have a minimum two-thirds gain in that year.

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Linda Perham: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment she has made of the (a) age profile of university lecturers in engineering departments and (b) likely future teaching capacity of those departments. [45831]

Margaret Hodge: The latest provisional data, as collated by the Higher Education Statistics Agency, show the age profile of academic staff in engineering disciplines to be:


Source: Higher Education Statistics Agency's Staff Record 2000–01.

Higher education institutions are responsible for planning their own future development including academic posts.

Special Advisers

Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many special advisers there were in her Department; and what their salaries were in each of the last five years. [46952]

Estelle Morris [holding answer 10 April 2002]: The Department has two special advisers in post as at 9 April 2002.

In relation to special adviser salaries I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on 10 April 2002, Official Report, column 11W).

Departmental Staff

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many and what proportion of the staff of her Department are part-time employees. [47170]

Mr. Ivan Lewis [holding answer 10 April 2002]: I refer the hon. Member to the reply given by the Parliamentary Secretary for the Cabinet Office on 10 April.

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