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School Building Maintenance

Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what estimate has been made of the requirement for school building maintenance for (a) primary, (b) secondary and (c) other schools in North East Milton Keynes constituency in the last five years, expressed at current prices. [12919]

Jacqui Smith: Data on school buildings maintenance need has been supplied to the Department twice; firstly in 2000–01 and secondly in 2003. For primary, secondary and other schools in North East Milton Keynes, the 2000–01 data showed £4,014,000, £5,114,000 and £2,465,000 respectively. The 2003 data showed £2,920,000, £3,938,000 and £1,422,000 respectively. Costs have been updated to current costs. In addition to backlog repair work, the figures cover work needed over a five-year period from the dates of the assessments, including cyclical and scheduled maintenance.

Central Government capital support for investment in schools has increased from under £700 million in 1996–97 to £5.5 billion this year and will rise further to £6.3 billion by 2007–08. Progress is being made year-by-year in improving the quality of the school building stock.

Secondary School Places

Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many places were available in (a) wholly selective and (b) partially selective secondary schools in England in each year since 1997; and how many applications for these places there were in each year. [11551]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 18 July 2005]: The available information on school places is shown in table 1. The capacity figures are taken from the surplus places survey. The survey does not identify selective and non-selective schools. There is no data available for 2002 as the survey was not carried out in this year. 2005 data is currently being collected from local education authorities.
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Information showing the number of pupils in wholly selective (grammar) schools and other maintained secondary schools is provided table 2. The Department does not hold information on schools that are partially selective.
Table 1: Maintained secondary schools:Capacity figures—England


n/a = not available.
(34)1997 to 2001 capacity figures calculated using more open enrolment formula.
(35)2002 to 2004 capacity figures calculated using net capacity measure.
Surplus Places Survey

Table 2: Maintained secondary schools: number (headcount) of pupils in grammar schools and other secondary schools—England

Maintained secondary schools
Position as at
January each year
Grammar schools(36)Other secondary schools(37)Total
2005 (38)154,0703,158,1003,312,160

(36)Grammar schools were designated by Order in 1999, prior to that schools designated themselves in returns to the Department.
(37)Includes middle schools as deemed.
Totals may not appear to equal the sum of the component parts because numbers have been rounded to the nearest 10.
Annual Schools' Census

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Information on the number of applications for places in schools is not collected centrally.


Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment she has made of the impact of excessive television watching on children's learning progress; and what representations she has received on this subject. [11557]

Beverley Hughes: The Department has not assessed the impact of excessive television watching on children's learning progress. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, has not had any meetings on this issue. However, current international research evidence points to the following:



Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development whether the G8 countries have reached agreement on the prosecution of war criminals from Darfur by the International Criminal Court. [13076]

Ian Pearson: I have been asked to reply.

United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1593 of 31 March—sponsored by the UK—referred the situation in Darfur to the International Criminal Court (ICC). The ICC Prosecutor announced his intention to launch a formal investigation into Darfur on 6 June. At the G8 Summit on 6–8 July, G8 leaders called on the Government of Sudan to comply with UNSCR 1593 which places a legal obligation on Sudan to co-operate with the ICC. They also called for the Government of Sudan to apprehend and bring to justice those responsible for violations of human rights; and to disarm the Janjaweed and other militias.
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GM Crops

Mr. Meacher: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what contingency plans the Government have in place to deal with contamination, either by accident or by terrorist action, of imported food and animal feed with potentially harmful biopharmaceutical GM crops. [11821]

Caroline Flint: I have been asked to reply.

Imported food and animal feed are subject to checks carried out on the basis of risk assessment by local port health authorities at the point of entry into the United Kingdom. Routine checks are carried out to screen for the presence of genetically modified materials in feed.

Statutory powers exist under general food law and under the Food and Environment Protection Act (1985) to remove contaminated products from the market or to restrict the movement of products from a designated area.



Mr. Burstow: To ask the Leader of the House how many letters to his Office from hon. Members in session (a) 2004–05 and (b) 2005–06 remain unanswered, broken down by those which are (i) one month old, (ii)two months old, (iii) three months old, (iv) four months old and (v) over six months old. [13844]

Mr. Hoon: No letters to my Office from hon. Members for the session 2004–05 remain unanswered, and 94 per cent. of letters requiring a reply were answered within our target of 15 working days.

For the current session 10 letters remain unanswered which are under one month old. We expect to answer these within our 15 working day target.

Parliamentary Questions

Norman Baker: To ask the Leader of the House if he will make representations to the Procedure Committee to examine changing the rules of the House to allow written parliamentary questions to be tabled and answered in recesses within the same guidelines which apply when the House is sitting. [14103]

Mr. Hoon: I have no current plans to propose changes to long-established practice in this respect.

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Leader of the House what systems his Office has put in place to monitor the length of time taken by each Government Department to answer individual parliamentary questions. [14439]

Mr. Hoon: My Office takes an active role in encouraging good practice among Departments in answering parliamentary questions, and co-operates closely with the Cabinet Office in ensuring that appropriate and up-to-date guidance is available.
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Ministers are responsible for ensuring that they respond to parliamentary questions in a timely manner. Ordinary written questions should be answered within five days and named day questions on the day named.

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