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4 Mar 2003 : Column 953W—continued

Classrooms (Yeovil)

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills whether (a) Westfield Secondary School and (b) Grass Royal Junior School in Yeovil will be required under the departmental school net capacity formula to have three classrooms removed; and if he will make a statement. [100413]

Mr. Miliband: The net capacity is intended to provide a single, robust and consistent method of assessing the number of pupil places available in schools.

By comparison with the number of pupils on roll, the net capacity can indicate the number of places that are surplus or additional places that are needed. It is for individual authorities to determine how best to balance the supply of places in their area to ensure that schools serve the needs of their local communities and provide good quality education in the most effective way. The Department does not require authorities to remove capacity where there is a surplus.

Exam Results

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what impact his federation of schools proposal will have on the availability and publication of each school's exam results. [100049]

Mr. Miliband: Exam results for schools in federations will continue to be published for individual schools as at present. In addition, we will also publish results for federations.

Higher Education Funding

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much was spent on higher education in England, in real terms at 2000–01 prices, in each year from 1989–90 to 2003–04 (planned), (a) in total, and (b) per student; and if he will make a statement. [99822]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The data are shown in the table.

Publicly planned funding for higher education in England (£m)(9)Unit funding (£)(10)
1989–904,3807,720
1990–914,3707,030
1991–924,6406,680
1992–934,8606,190
1993–945,1205,850
1994–955,3705,690
1995–965,4005,440
1996–975,1405,080
1997–985,0404,930
1998–995,0804,930
1999–20005,2904,920
2000–015,4104,860
2001–025,6804,900
2002–035,8004,930
2003–046,1005,080

(9) Rounded to nearest £10 million.

(10) Rounded to nearest £10.

The unit of funding fell by 36 per cent. in real terms between 1989–90 and 1997–98. As a result of the 2002 Spending Review, publicly planned funding will rise by 16 per cent. in real terms by 2005–06 compared to 2002–03; and the unit funding will rise by 7 per cent. in real terms between those years.


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Learndirect

Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what his policy is on Learndirect selling its products free of charge; and what assessment he has made of the impact of this on competition. [100047]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: Ufi Ltd. was established by the Government as a private company limited by guarantee. It is funded through a combination of public funds and commercial earned income. The public funds are allocated and used to enable Ufi/learndirect to provide education and training programmes as part of the wider public service of further education and adult learning. They include adult literacy and numeracy programmes offered as part of the Skills for Life initiative. For these programmes Ufi/learndirect hubs and learning centres receive funding through the Learning and Skills Council. In addition Ufi/learndirect offers a range of other programmes with fees charged on a commercial basis for employers and learners who wish to buy them. These programmes are primarily oriented towards workforce development.

Local Authority Spending

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will list for each local education authority in England and Wales, for each year since 1997, their (a) total spending, (b) spending per pupil and (c) spending per pupil at (i) nursery, (ii) primary and (iii) secondary stages of education. [96657]

Mr. Miliband: The information requested has been placed in the Libraries.

Playing Field Sales

Mr. Hawkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what plans he has to prevent the sale of school playing fields provided for under-eights; and if he will make a statement. [100327]

Mr. Miliband [holding answer 3 March 2003]: Before October 1998, there was nothing to prevent a local authority selling a school playing field if it wanted to. Section 77 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 was introduced in October 1998 to protect school playing fields from indiscriminate disposal. Section 77 requires local authorities and schools to obtain the

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written consent of the Secretary of State before disposing, or changing the use, of school playing fields and applies to all maintained schools, irrespective of pupils' ages. In addition, the Education (School Premises) Regulations 1999 prescribe minimum areas of team game playing fields for those schools with pupils who have attained the age of eight years. Although the regulations do not require team game playing fields to be provided for pupils under eight years, section 77 protects all areas of playing fields which have been provided, whether in response to regulatory requirements or otherwise.

Applications to dispose, or change the use, of school playing fields are assessed against the following criteria:


Only those applications that meet the criteria are approved. All applications made since July 2001 have been scrutinised by the independent School Playing Fields Advisory Panel to make sure that they conform to the published criteria. 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.

Pupil Deprivation

Angela Watkinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what factors are taken into consideration in assessing deprivation in pupils. [100220]

Mr. Miliband: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Tamworth (Mr. Jenkins) on 11 February 2003, Official Report, column 692W.

School Circulars

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will list the circulars that have been sent by (a) the Office for Standards in Education, (b) the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority and (c) the Teacher Training Authority to (i) primary schools and (ii) secondary schools since 1 February 2002. [99487]

Mr. Miliband: The information is as follows.

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(a) This is a matter for the Office for Standards in Education. David Bell, Ofsted's chief executive will write to the hon. Member with the information requested and a copy of his reply will be placed in the Library.

(b) This is a matter for the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority. Ken Boston, the authority's chief executive will write to the hon. Member with the information requested and a copy of his reply will be placed in the Library.

(c) This is a matter for the Teacher Training Agency. Ralph Tabbererr, the Agency's chief executive will write to the hon. Member with the information requested and a copy of his reply will be placed in the Library.

Specialist Schools

Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what his Department's policy is towards the Specialist Schools (Selection by Aptitude) Bill. [100818]

Mr. Miliband: The Bill seeks to repeal the provisions of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998, which enable schools with a specialism, not just those designated under the Specialist Schools Programme, to give priority to up to 10 per cent. of pupils who can demonstrate an aptitude in one or more of the prescribed subjects.

We do not believe it is necessary nor desirable to remove the flexibility which enables the admission authorities for schools with a specialism, where they wish to do so, to give limited priority to pupils with a particular aptitude for the relevant specialism. Allowing limited use of aptitude in this way makes it possible for pupils who, for example, show a capacity to be trained or developed in sport or the visual arts to get a place where they would not have been able to do so under the school's other admissions criteria.

The basis on which schools may use aptitude as part of their admissions criteria is set out in my Department's statutory guidance document, "School Admissions Code of Practice".


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