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17 Jan 2005 : Column 807W—continued

Sunderland Royal Hospital

Mr. Cummings: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the provision of orthodontic surgeons at the Sunderland Royal hospital; and what plans he has to increase their numbers. [208988]

Mr. Hutton: This is a matter for the Chair of City Hospitals Sunderland National Health Service Foundation Trust. I have written to Mr. David Graham, Chair, informing him of my hon. Friend's inquiry.

Treatment Costs

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will estimate (a) the total cost of using the independent sector to treat NHS patients and (b) the cost of treating those patients in the NHS in each year since 1997. [208121]

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Mr. Hutton: The information requested is not separately identified in the annual financial returns of national health service providers.

Waiting Times

Mr. John Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many patients in the (a) Solihull constituency and (b) borough of Solihull waited for more than six months for foot and ankle surgery under a podiatric surgeon in 2004. [208422]

Dr. Ladyman: This information is not available in the format requested.

The table shows the time waited for foot and ankle surgery for patients within Solihull Primary Care Trust (PCT), which includes residents from the Solihull constituency and the borough of Solihull, during 2003–04.
Waiting list and booked cases: Count of finished in year admissions distribution of time waited for foot and ankle surgery for Solihull PCT in national health service hospitals in England 2003–04

Time waitedNumber
Under 3 months76
2 to 6 months81
6 months and over25
Total admissions183
Mean days113.6
Median days110

1. Figures have not been adjusted for shortfalls in data ie that the data are ungrossed.
2. Hospital episode statistics (HES) are compiled from data sent by over 300 national health service trusts and primary care trusts (PCTs) in England. The Department liaises closely with these organisations to encourage submission of complete and valid data and seeks to minimise inaccuracies and the effect of missing and invalid data via HES processes.
3. Time waited statistics from HES are not the same as the published waiting list statistics. HES provides counts and time waited for all patients admitted to hospital within a given period, whereas the published waiting list statistics count those waiting for treatment on a specific date and how long they have been on the waiting list. Also, HES calculates the time waited as the difference between the admission and decision to admit dates. Unlike published waiting list statistics, this is not adjusted for self-deferrals or periods of medical/social suspension.
4. A finished in-year admission is the first period of in-patient care under one consultant within one healthcare provider, excluding admissions beginning before 1 April at the start of the data year. Please note that admissions do not represent the number of in-patients, as a person may have more than one admission within the year.
HES, Department of Health.

The figures are different to those given in my reply to the hon. Member of 14 December 2004, Official Report, column 1082W, because processing of hospital episode statistics can lead to changes in the data over time.

Walk-in Centres

Mr. Dobson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the (a) social class, (b) income, (c) health, (d) morbidity and (e) mortality characteristics of the patients expected to use NHS walk-in centres at or near major railway stations. [208318]

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Mr. Hutton [holding answer 13 January 2005]: All national health service walk-in-centres are open to anyone. We expect those who use each of the seven new centres to be sited at or near major railway stations to reflect the socio-economic characteristics of the local working and resident populations. A survey conducted by MORI in November 2004 confirmed that these centres would be welcomed and used by those who work in the vicinity. Actual use of these centres will be monitored as part of our planned evaluation.


Academy Schools

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what the minimum financial requirement per annum for public companies setting up academy schools is; and whether it has to be in cash; [207970]

(2) what the minimum financial requirement per annum for private companies setting up academy schools is; [208013]

(3) whether academy schools are allowed to borrow (a) on financial markets and (b) from banks. [208029]

Mr. Stephen Twigg: In general, Academy sponsors are required to provide 10 per cent. of the capital costs of establishing an Academy, up to a cap of £2 million. The balance is paid by the Department. Capital sponsorship in most instances is in cash, but can be in kind (for example ICT equipment) if the sponsorship shows value for money and appropriate to the needs of the Academy (and can be from a single person or company or group of sponsors). There is no requirement for sponsors to contribute to Academies running costs.

The Trusts which run Academies may borrow from the financial sector. However, like maintained schools, they would require the Secretary of State's consent to do so. The Secretary of State would only be likely to grant consent where a reasonable need to borrow was shown. Academy Trusts cannot borrow against assets that have been given to them for nil consideration (for example, land transferred from local authorities).

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) whether academy schools will be required to take the same proportion of disruptive pupils as other local schools; [207971]

(2) whether academy schools are required to be specialist schools; [208008]

(3) whether academy schools are (a) allowed and (b) required to be selective. [208055]

Mr. Stephen Twigg: Academies are established in disadvantaged areas and are local schools for local children. In all cases, their admission arrangements are agreed with the Secretary of State as a condition of the Funding Agreement; they are consistent with the Code of Practice on admissions to maintained schools and with admissions law, as well as the Code of Practice on Special Educational Needs. Academies are required by their Funding Agreements to take part in their local Admissions Forum, and to have regard to its advice.
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Academies must also participate in the co-ordinated admission arrangements operated by the LEA for the area where they are situated.

In general, Academies showed a decrease in the number of permanent and fixed terms exclusions in 2003/04 compared to the previous year for the schools which they replaced.

Academies are required by their Funding Agreement to offer a broad and balanced curriculum with a specialism in one or more subjects.

Academies are required by law to cater for children of all abilities. Like maintained specialist schools, academies are allowed to admit up to 10 per cent. of pupils each year on the basis of their aptitude for the specialism concerned, where the specialism is covered by the relevant regulations.

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the main differences are between city Academies and City Technology Colleges; and what proportion of public funding each receives. [208005]

Mr. Stephen Twigg: The main differences between Academies and City Technology Colleges (CTCs) are around admissions and funding. A CTC is able to select those applicants who are most likely to benefit from the college's emphasis on science and technology, have the strongest motivation to succeed and intend to continue in full time education or training up to the age of 18. Unlike CTCs, Academies are required to comply with the codes of practice on admissions and admissions appeals, and to the admissions law as it applies to maintained schools. They are required to take part in local co-ordinated admissions arrangements. Academies must have regard to the code of practice on SEN and to the statutory guidance on inclusion.

Both CTCs and Academies receive 100 per cent. of their recurrent funding from the Department. CTCs and Academies are treated on the same basis for ongoing capital funding once open, in that the Department would generally fund 80 per cent. of such costs with the trust finding the remaining 20 per cent., though where work arises through statutory requirements the Department would meet all the costs.

The Department funds CTCs through a funding agreement with the Secretary of State. One fifth of the initial capital cost was paid by private sector sponsors who continue to contribute 20 per cent. towards all capital projects. The Department funds CTCs' running costs on the basis of a direct comparison with budgeted spending for secondary schools in the LEAs from which the CTCs collectively take their pupils. An overall average cost per pupil is derived from this comparison and applied to all the CTCs.

The Department also funds Academies through a funding agreement with the Secretary of State. Sponsors pay 10 per cent., up to a cap of £2 million of the capital cost of the project. The Department funds Academies' running costs on a comparable basis to maintained specialist schools within the LEA where the Academy is located
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Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills whether national teachers' pay scales apply to city academies; and whether they can pay higher salaries. [208006]

Mr. Stephen Twigg: Academies are not bound by the Teachers Pay and Conditions of Service. They and their staff will be able to negotiate pay and conditions arrangements to meet the particular needs of the Academy and its pupils. Where Academies replace existing schools there will in many cases be a transfer of undertakings under the TUPE regulations.

We want Academies to respond innovatively to the challenges they face and the ability to negotiate their own pay and conditions is part of the increased flexibility they need to do that.

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) how many academy schools are operating; and how many more are planned; [208007]

(2) what targets have been set for the establishment of academy schools by May; [208015]

(3) how many (a) agreements have been reached and (b) expressions of interest have been received (i) to build new academy schools and (ii) to transfer existing schools to academy schools. [208009]

Mr. Stephen Twigg: There are currently 17 academies open across England. As announced in the Government's Five-year Strategy for Education, published in July 2004, our target is for 200 academies to be open or in the pipeline by 2010. No further academies are planned to open before May 2005.

Twenty-nine Funding Agreements have been agreed between the Secretary of State and academy sponsors. Of these, four are for entirely new academies and 25 involve the closure of predecessor schools. A further 35 expressions of interest have been received and approved, of which five are to be new academies and 25 are to involve the closure of predecessor schools. Five projects which had had approved expressions of interest have been abandoned in the feasibility stage. Two expressions of interest have been received but rejected as they were unsuitable for the programme. One further expression of interest for the replacement of an existing school has been received but has not yet been approved.

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the source of public funding for academy schools is; how it is calculated; and whether it is set at the same level per pupil as for local authority schools in the same area. [208011]

Mr. Stephen Twigg: The Government is committed to funding Academies on a comparable basis to other schools in their areas with similar characteristics. Each Academy receives a General Annual Grant from the Secretary of State to meet its normal running costs. This grant is calculated on the basis of the funding formula of the LEA in which it is situated, with an additional allowance for the money which LEAs hold back from maintained schools but which is for their benefit. General Annual Grant also includes a per pupil allowance in relation to the Academy specialism. Funding Academies on a comparable basis to other
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schools ensures the successes which they achieve are directly applicable to other schools in the same areas and circumstances.

In addition, Academies are eligible to receive Standards Fund grant, and certain other grants routed through LEAs, on the same basis as neighbouring maintained schools.

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) under what circumstances academy schools are permitted to close; and whether the land and property of an academy school that closes (a) reverts to the local authority and (b) can be sold or used for other purposes; [208014]

(2) who will own academy schools' land and buildings; and what the terms of ownership will be. [208053]

Mr. Stephen Twigg: An Academy would be permitted to close in only rare circumstances and where interventions had failed. For example, if the Secretary of State had major concerns about the management of the Academy, where there were continued low standards with no sign of improvement or where the Academy Trust was found to be in significant breach of its Funding Agreement and had not remedied those breaches.

Ownership of any existing buildings or land required to establish an Academy is transferred from the current owner, usually the local education authority, to the Academy Trust before an academy opens. The Academy Trust is a charitable trust set up by the sponsor, responsible for the building and running of the Academy. Should the Academy close, ownership of the land and buildings would revert to the previous owner.

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills whether her Department maintains a list of approved bidders for academy schools. [208054]

Derek Twigg: Yes. The Department also maintains lists of approved companies to provide Project Management Services, Construction Project Management Services and design teams. These have been drawn together through Official Journal of European Union (OJEU) tendering exercises.

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) whether academy schools are required to have sixth forms; [208071]

(2) whether all academy schools have sixth forms. [208072]

Mr. Stephen Twigg: Academies are not required to have sixth forms. Of the seventeen academies that are currently open, fifteen have, or will have, provision for sixth form students.

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