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School Playing Fields

Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) how many school playing fields there were in each London borough in each year since 1992; [2476]

(2) what percentage of schools in London have access to (a) a swimming pool and (b) playing fields. [2503]

Jacqui Smith: This information is not collected or held centrally.

Hugh Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many school playing fields have been sold, and for what reasons, in each year since 2001. [1734]

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Jacqui Smith [holding answer 6 June 2005]: Section 77 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 requires local authorities and schools to obtain the written consent of the Secretary of State before they can dispose of any part of a school's playing field. Schools are only allowed to dispose of genuinely surplus areas of playing field. All sale proceeds from approved applications are used to provide new or improved sports or education facilities at maintained schools.

The following table shows the number of applications to sell school playing fields larger than a small sports pitch for the under 10s, that is, larger than 2,000m 2 , that have been approved in each year since 2001. Of a total of 79 approved applications, 31 were at closed or closing school sites. Of the 48 approved applications at operating schools, 33 involved proposals to improve on-site sports facilities, such as new all-weather pitches, sports halls or improved grass sports pitches. In the remaining 15 cases the proceeds were to be used to provide better education facilities at schools, such as new classrooms and performing arts facilities.
Calendar yearApproved applications
2005 (to date)2

1. The table includes applications to sell school playing fields from local authorities, foundation, voluntary and former grant-maintained schools.
2. All sale proceeds are used to provide new or improved sports or education facilities at maintained schools.
3. Sports pitch" means an area of open grassed land which is equal to, or larger than, the Football Association's recommended 2,000m(8) area for games played by under 10s, and which has a configuration making it suitable for sports, whether laid out as a sports pitch or not.

Schools (Hammersmith and Fulham)

Mr. Hands: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will make a statement on secondary schools on special measures in the London borough of Hammersmith and Fulham. [2092]

Jacqui Smith: Hurlingham and Chelsea School and Burlington Danes School were both judged by Ofsted to need Special Measures in spring 2004. Both schools are currently implementing agreed action plans to bring about recovery. Ofsted is monitoring each school's progress.

Social Exclusion

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment she has made of links between social exclusion and the behavioural problems of children and young people. [2204]

Jacqui Smith: Research conducted by and for the Department shows there is a link between social exclusion and behaviour and that there is a complex interaction between risk and protective factors that can lead to the development of antisocial behaviour among children and young people and to later social exclusion.
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In addition, research suggests that this could be a two-way relationship, with behavioural problems both leading to, and resulting from, social exclusion.

The Department has commissioned a number of pieces of research to explore these issues in more detail as well as looking at what interventions are effective in reducing the risk of these negative outcomes. Some key examples of this are: Support from the Start: working with young children and their families to reduce the risks of crime and antisocial behaviour", Preventing Children's Involvement in Crime and Anti-social Behaviour: a literature review"; and Offenders of the Future? Assessing the Risk of Children and Young People Becoming Involved in Criminal or Antisocial Behaviour".

In addition, the Youth Cohort Study shows that pupils' poor behaviour and poor attendance at school are associated with a greater likelihood of not being involved in education, employment or training at ages 16 to 18 and lower attainment at GCSE. The Social Exclusion Unit's Bridging the Gap" report showed that these factors increase the risk of social exclusion. The report also concluded that related risk factors for non-participation in education, employment or training include mental health problems, educational disaffection, use of drugs or alcohol and involvement in criminal/antisocial behaviour.

These issues are acknowledged in the Green Paper Every Child Matters" and in the development of the Change for Children Programme, signalling the Department's commitment to improving children and young people's outcomes. The Government's aim is for every child, whatever their background or their circumstances, to have the support they need to: be healthy, stay safe, enjoy and achieve through learning, make a positive contribution to society and achieve economic well-being. As part of this the Department is committed to improving behaviour in schools, and has implemented a range of policies (such as the Behaviour Improvement Programme) aimed at tackling the issues of poor behaviour and poor attendance in order to reduce the risk of negative outcomes in later life for young people.

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment she has made of links between social exclusion and the behavioural problems of children in early years education. [2205]

Jacqui Smith: Research evidence, such as my Department's Effective Provision of Pre-school Education (EPPE) study, shows a link between social deprivation and the risk of poor social and behavioural development in the early years. It is also known from research that good quality pre-school education and child care can have clear positive effects on children's social and emotional development in the early years and into primary school.

In recognition of the importance of young children starting to develop good social skills in their earliest years of life the Department has a PSA target to (a) improve children's communication, social and emotional development so that, by 2008, 50 per cent. 1 of children reach a good level of development at the end of the Foundation Stage; and (b) to reduce inequalities
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between the level of development achieved by children in the 20 per cent. most disadvantaged areas and the rest of England.

The Department has also appointed the Institute of Psychology, King's College London to develop a training programme on young children's personal social and emotional development to support the Birth to Three Matters" and Curriculum Guidance for the Foundation Stage" documents.

Teacher Assaults (Coventry)

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many teachers in Coventry have been assaulted by pupils in each year since 1997. [1271]

Jacqui Smith: This information is not collected centrally.

Tomlinson Inquiry

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the cost of the Tomlinson Inquiry into 14 to 19 Education was. [2323]

Jacqui Smith: The cost of the working group on 14 to 19 reform, chaired by Sir Mike Tomlinson, was some £1.3 million over the 18 months lifetime of the group. In addition, the running costs of the departmental staff supporting the working group amounted to some £400,000.

The working group did a great deal of valuable work which helped to inform the White Paper, 14 to 19 Education and Skills, published in February and to build consensus on the need for reform.


106 Agreements

Anne Main: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will (a) relax the criteria for 106 agreements to enable local authorities greater discretion and (b) require developers of smaller developments in an area to contribute to a common 106 type fund. [1696]

Yvette Cooper: It is for local planning authorities to decide whether or not to negotiate a section 106 agreement as part of a proposed development.

Current policy guidance on the appropriate use of these agreements (also known as planning obligations) is set out in DOE circular 1/97. This gives the general advice that they should be sought only where they are necessary, relevant to planning, directly related to the proposed development, fairly and reasonably related in scale and kind to the proposed development, and reasonable in all other respects.

Revised draft guidance was issued for consultation in November 2004 and the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister will publish the final version later this summer. The new circular will give further advice on the pooling of contributions secured through section 106 agreements.
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