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12 Sept 2005 : Column 2491W—continued


Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, how many teachers are currently employed in (a) Catholic maintained schools and (b) non–Catholic maintained schools; and if he will detail the average gross salary paid to teachers in each category for the last financial year for which figures are available. [11352]

Angela E. Smith [pursuant to the reply, 11 July 2005, Official Report, col. 820W]: Regarding teachers' salaries, there are 7,063 teachers, including 522 Principals, employed in Catholic maintained schools and the individual average gross salary paid to these teachers (excluding Principals) in the 2004–05 financial year was £30,371.27. There are 168 teachers, including 22 Principals, employed in non-Catholic maintained schools (these are Irish medium schools) and the average gross salary paid to these teachers (excluding Principals) in 2004–05 was £26,093.92.

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will list the appointments made by boards of governors that were subsequently changed on the recommendation of the Teachers Appointment Committee in each of the last five years, broken down by (a) sector, (b) school type, (c) Education and Library Board area and (d) date. [11369]

Angela E. Smith: Boards of Governors of controlled and Catholic maintained schools do not make appointments of staff; this is a matter for each Education and Library Board or the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools respectively. In the case of controlled schools, the Boards' Teaching Appointments Schemes provide for the Board of Governors to draw up a personnel specification for the vacant post, to interview those applicants who meet the agreed short-listing criteria, and then to submit the name of one candidate to the Teaching Appointments Committee for ratification. The Education and Library Boards have informed me that no Teaching Appointments Committee has overturned any submission for the appointment of a classroom teacher during the last five years.

For Principal and Vice-Principal posts in controlled schools, Boards of Governors submit up to three names for consideration by the Teaching Appointments Committee, who then undertake a selection process from the names listed. Under the Teaching Appointments Schemes the Teaching Appointments Committees are not obliged to appoint one of the candidates listed. I have asked for further information from the Education and Library Boards about numbers of instances where a Teaching Appointments Committee has decided not to appoint any of the candidates nominated by a Board of Governors, and will write when this is available.
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The Council for Catholic Maintained Schools does not have a Teaching Appointments Committee for the purpose of appointing teachers to their schools. Appointments procedures are delegated to Boards of Governors in line with their Teaching Appointments Scheme; the selected candidates are ratified, and their appointment made, by Council.

Voluntary grammar and grant-maintained integrated schools appoint and employ their own staff.

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many teachers have been the victims of (a) assault and (b) sexual assault in schools in Northern Ireland in each of the last 10 years. [13903]

Angela E. Smith: Information on the number of physical attacks on school staff, which have led to suspension of pupils have been recorded since 2002–03, and on expulsions since 2003–04. The information is published on the Departments website at:

Information on any sexual attacks is not held separately.

Telecommunications Masts

Mr. Peter Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many telecommunications masts there are in Northern Ireland, broken down by telecommunications company. [14512]

Angela E. Smith: The term telecommunication mast covers a wide range of applications but in this instance is taken to mean cellular mobile communication masts (as opposed to radio and television broadcasters, utility companies, the emergency services, taxi companies, government services, aeronautical radio, and the paging industry)

The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment does not have information on the number of telecommunications masts in Northern Ireland or the details of ownership. Telecommunications is a privatised industry subject to the independent regulator, the Office for Communications (OFCOM).

Telephone Inquiries

Mr. MacNeil: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what facilities his Department has to deal with telephone Inquiries in (a) Welsh, (b) Scots Gaelic and (c) Irish Gaelic. [14702]

Mr. Hanson: Central guidance for Northern Ireland officials on meeting UK Government commitments in respect of Irish as set out in the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages has been developed by the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure and agreed by all Northern Ireland Departments and other Government Departments operating in the Northern Ireland.

Telephone inquiries received in Irish are dealt with in that language if the official receiving the call is confident that he/she can do so. If the official is unable to carry out a conversation in Irish, the caller can be directed or diverted to either an Irish-speaking member of staff, should one be available, or an Irish language voicemail facility.
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There are no official obligations in Northern Ireland in respect of Welsh or Scots Gaelic, although, where practicable, Departments would endeavour to accommodate the needs of persons speaking those languages.


Mr. Peter Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many tyres were scrapped in each of the last five years in Northern Ireland; how many tonnes this amounts to; and what his best estimate is of the proportion of the tyres which were (a) disposed of in landfill sites and (b) illegally dumped. [14513]

Angela E. Smith: The Environment and Heritage Service (EHS) does not hold detailed data for the quantities of tyres scrapped in each of the last five years but it has commissioned a data survey for the waste tyre stream. Its findings estimated that 16,000 tonnes of used tyres were generated in Northern Ireland in 2000; less than 1 per cent. was estimated to have been landfilled and 30 per cent. were estimated to have been disposed of to unknown destinations.

I am aware of the problems generated by the illegal disposal of tyres and EHS has recently made contact with tyre depots remind them of their responsibilities.


Mr. Peter Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the level of unemployment was in each of the last five years in Northern Ireland. [14495]

Angela E. Smith: Labour Force Survey estimates of the level of unemployment in Northern Ireland for each of the last 5 years can be found in the following Table 1.
Table 1: Number of unemployed persons in Northern Ireland

Period (Spring)Unemployment

NI Labour Force Survey


Benefit Claims

Mr. Paul Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions under what circumstances claims for (a) income support and (b) other benefits are considered to be active even though payment has been stopped. [12369]

Mr. Timms [holding answer 18 July 2005]: For income support and most other benefits, claims remain active where: a question arises about the claimant's entitlement to that benefit and further investigation is required to resolve the question; an appeal is pending; or, benefit is recoverable for some reason. In these circumstances, the claim would remain active until the issues were resolved.
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For jobseekers allowance and incapacity benefit, where a claimant is not entitled to receive a cash benefit, but meets the other criteria, they may nevertheless receive National Insurance contribution credits for the duration of their claim.

Many social security benefits are subject to overlap rules. Where somebody is entitled to two such benefits only one will be paid. However, an underlying entitlement to both benefits remains and both claims would remain active whilst the circumstances of entitlement exist.

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