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24 Nov 2010 : Column 368W—continued


Pensions: Annuities

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he plans to introduce transitional measures for those yet to secure a retirement income who will reach 75 years before his Department removes the requirement to purchase a pension annuity. [13900]

Mr Hoban: The June Budget announced the intention to end the existing rules that create an effective obligation to purchase an annuity by age 75 from April 2011, including transitional arrangements for those yet to secure an income who will reach age 75 in the meantime. These ensure that those up to the age of 77 will not be required to annuitise their pension savings while the changes to the legislation are put in place.

These transitional arrangements were included in the Finance Act 2010 introduced after the emergency Budget which received Royal Assent on 27 July 2010. The relevant parts of the legislation setting out the transitional rules are section 6 and schedule 3 to the Finance (No. 2) Act 2010. The transitional measures are also explained in Budget Note 22, which can be found on the HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) website at:

Public Expenditure

Mr Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the spending of each Department in 2008-09 prices was in (a) 1996-97, (b) 2009-10, (c) 2008-09; and if he will make a statement. [25149]

Danny Alexander: Spend for 2009-10 and 2008-09 are sourced directly from the public expenditure statistical analyses, July 2010, Cm 7890. Due to changes in the budgeting framework and machinery of government the Treasury is unable to provide figures which are fully consistent back to 1996-97. The Treasury only maintains the last five years on a consistent basis (i.e. updated to reflect the changes highlighted above). The data for 1996-97 are sourced from PESA 1999-2000, Cm 4201.

The data provided are, therefore, not fully comparable.


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PESA 1999-2000, 2008-09 prices

1996-97 outturn

Departmental expenditure limits

Education and Employment

18,811

Health

45,344

DETR - Main programme

12,981

DETR - Local Government and Regional Policy

42,053

Home Office

8,642

Legal Departments

3,527

Defence

28,713

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

1,414

International Development

2,814

Trade and Industry

4,471

Agriculture, Fisheries and Food

2,848

Culture, Media and Sport

1,288

Social Security (administration)

4,719

Scotland

17,329

Wales

8,693

Northern Ireland

7,192

Chancellor's Departments

3,875

Cabinet Office

1,552

Annually managed expenditure

Social Security benefits

120,513

Housing Revenue Account Subsidies

5,618

Common Agricultural Policy

3,932

Exports Credits Guarantee Department

91

Net public service pensions

6,714

National Lottery

489

Total departmental spending

353,624



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PESA 2010, 2008-09 prices

2008-09 outturn 2009-10 estimated outturn

Total spending by departmental group:

Education

62,999

66,478

Health

108,674

117,712

Transport

13,260

14,399

CLG Communities

12,307

13,688

CLG Local Government

25,433

25,585

Business, Innovation and Skills

22,795

26,576

Home Office

10,560

10,899

Justice

10,166

10,670

Law Officers' Departments

731

721

Defence

40,488

44,129

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

2,145

2,265

International Development

5,830

6,870

Energy and Climate Change

4,079

6,702

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

2,864

2,971

Culture, Media and Sport

6,733

6,970

Work and Pensions

143,356

153,756

Scotland

29,590

30,553

Wales

14,382

15,383

Northern Ireland Executive

15,470

16,530

Northern Ireland Office

1,582

1,444

Chancellor's Departments

161,576

79,449

Cabinet Office

9,306

9,608

Independent Bodies

798

841

Allowance for Shortfall

-

-2,557

Total departmental spending

705,125

661,642


Revenue and Customs: Telephone Services

Simon Hughes: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many complaints HM Revenue and Customs has received about the availability of its VAT helpline in the latest period for which figures are available. [25610]

Mr Gauke: HMRC contact centres received eight complaints in October 2010 from customers who were unable to get through to its VAT and Excise helplines.

Tax Yields: Savings

Mr Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the revenue attributable to tax on savings income in each year from 1990 to 2010; and if he will make a statement. [25672]

Mr Hoban: Figures for the revenue arising from the taxation of savings income from 1997-98 to 2010-11 are shown in the following table. Figures for the years before 1997 are not available.

Income tax from savings (£ million)

1997-98

4,140

1998-99

5,490

1999-2000

4,230

2000-01

3,480

2001-02

3,420

2002-03

2,770

2003-04

2,780

2004-05

3,760

2005-06

4,640

2006-07

5,120

2007-08

7,080

2008-09

5,360

2009-10

1,660

2010-11

1,850


Taxation: Graduates

Matthew Hancock: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make an estimate of the amount of net revenue to the Exchequer which would be raised by a graduate tax of 2 per cent. of graduates' income for 20 years. [15349]


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Mr Gauke: Making an accurate estimate of the amount of yield from a graduate tax of 2% of a graduate's income over 20 years is dependent on a variety of criteria and behavioural impacts. We are therefore unable to provide an estimate of the yield as requested. To do so would be misleading on the basis of the evidence we have available at the present time.

Taxation: Inspections

Charlotte Leslie: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how many inspections HM Revenue and Customs and its predecessors have carried out in respect of small and medium-sized enterprises in each year since 2000; [20519]

(2) how much revenue accrued to the Exchequer as a result of inspections of the tax affairs of small and medium-sized enterprises in each year since 2000; [20520]

(3) what estimate he has made of the cost to HM Revenue and Customs and its predecessor of inspections of small and medium-sized enterprises in each year since 2000; [20521]

(4) what criteria HM Revenue and Customs takes into account when determining whether to investigate the tax affairs of a small or medium-sized enterprise. [20851]

Mr Gauke: We are not able to provide the information requested without incurring disproportionate cost. However, we are able to provide information since the creation of our small and medium enterprise (SME) customer group in Local Compliance. The criteria of this customer group will not exactly match those of the small and medium-sized enterprises asked about because SMEs are managed by many areas of HMRC such as Charities, Assets and Residence (CAR).

2007-08 2008-09

Total settled interventions (number)

210,000

220,000

Total revenue accrued (£ billion)

1.5

2.0


Due to the nature of the way these data are collated we are not able to break down the cost to HMRC of small and medium-sized enterprise interventions.

HMRC determines to investigate cases on the basis of an identified risk or as part of our ongoing random inquiry programme. HMRC uses a range of information sources and risk identification systems to identify SMEs that potentially may not have declared the correct amount of tax.

Trading Funds

John Thurso: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he has made an assessment of the effects on the economy of the commercial activities of Government trading funds. [25282]

Danny Alexander: Government have not undertaken a specific assessment on the effects on the economy of the commercial activities of their trading funds. However, these bodies make an important contribution to the economy, at the regional and national level, both through
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their own employment base and since public data which they produce can be used by other companies to produce value-added data products which can help stimulate growth.

Working Tax Credit

Mr Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the effect on (a) work incentives, (b) levels of employment and (c) public expenditure of raising the minimum hour requirement for working tax credit from 16 hours per week to 30 hours per week; and if he will make a statement. [25667]

Justine Greening: People who work less than 30 hours are not generally entitled to working tax credit. However, the qualifying requirement is lower for some groups because they face greater barriers to working longer hours. For single adults with a child, or those with a disability, the qualifying requirement is 16 hours.

The new universal credit, introduced over two Parliaments, will replace the current complex system of means-tested working-age benefits with a simple streamlined payment. The universal credit will improve financial work incentives by ensuring that support is reduced at a consistent and managed rate as people return to work and increase their working hours and earnings.

Cabinet Office

Employment: Pendle

Andrew Stephenson: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what proportion of the working population in Pendle constituency is employed in the (a) public and (b) private sector. [25904]

Mr Hurd: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Stephen Penneck:

Government Departments: Devolution

Fiona Bruce: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what plans he has for a review of the role of devolution champions in Government Departments. [25728]


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Mr Maude: The Government are committed to taking forward the devolution settlements in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as a key part of their political reform agenda. Senior leadership, including devolution champions, within UK Government Departments have an important role to play in maximising departmental capacity to deal with the issues raised by the devolution settlements. This is part of a wider approach to enhancing the capacity of the UK Government to deal with devolution issues. We keep the approach under review to ensure it continues to meet this objective.

Ombudsman

Gavin Shuker: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office if he will bring forward proposals to regulate the use of the word ombudsman to limit its use to dispute-resolving bodies and other official organisations. [25606]

Mr Maude: Cabinet Office guidance "Ombudsman Schemes-Guidance for Departments" provides advice to Departments when setting up Ombudsman schemes or similar complaint-handling schemes, including the use of the term 'Ombudsman'.

A copy of the guidance has been placed in the Library of the House and can also be accessed on the Cabinet Office website at:

Unemployment: Older People

Mr Laws: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many and what proportion of people between the ages of (a) 50 and 55, (b) 55 and 60 and (c) 60 and 65 are not in employment; and if he will make a statement. [25668]

Mr Hurd: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Stephen Penneck, dated November 2010:

Table 1: Number and proportion of people of who are not employed in the UK
Quarter three 2010
Not seasonally adjusted
Age Thousand Percentage( 1)

50 to 54

823

20.7

55 to 59

1,026

28.9

60 to 64

2,084

56.0

(1) Percentage of relevant age band population.
Source:
Labour Force Survey

Working Hours

Mr Laws: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many people worked (a) less than 16 hours per week, (b) exactly 16 hours per week, (c) more than 30
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hours per week and (d) more than 35 hours per week on average in each year from 1990 to 2010. [25677]

Mr Hurd: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Stephen Penneck, dated November 2010:

Usual weekly hours of work in the UK( 1) , Quarter 3 each year, 1992 to 2010
Thousand

Less than 16 hours per week Exactly 16 hours per week More than 30 hours per week More than 35 hours per week

1992

2,432

289

18,881

17,230

1993

2,417

299

18,693

17,094

1994

2,434

313

18,787

17,217

1995

2,542

331

19,471

17,849

1996

2,533

375

19,452

17,822

1997

2,516

377

19,751

18,074

1998

2,459

411

19,970

18,277

1999

2,478

432

20,151

18,435

2000

2,435

428

20,240

18,394

2001

2,260

468

20,424

18,596

2002

2,411

524

20,489

18,541

2003

2,411

524

20,489

18,541

2004

2,312

537

20,591

18,574

2005

2,285

573

20,982

18,894

2006

2,319

581

20,978

18,874

2007

2,270

596

21,161

19,011

2008

2,270

667

21,242

19,100

2009

2,313

700

20,469

18,379

2010

2,388

770

20,406

18,244

(1) Total usual weekly hours worked by people aged 16 and over in main job including paid and unpaid overtime.
Source:
Labour Force Survey

Education

Academies

Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many schools in (a) Don Valley constituency, (b) Doncaster local education authority area and (c) England had registered an interest in becoming an academy school on the latest date for which figures are available. [11642]

Mr Gibb: As at 19 November 2010, two schools in the Don Valley constituency, seven schools within Doncaster local education authority and 1,936 schools in England had registered an interest in becoming an academy.

A list of all outstanding and non-outstanding schools that have registered an interest in converting to academy status was published on the Department's website at:


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on 25 June 2010.

Vernon Coaker: To ask the Secretary of State for Education which schools have been informed their application for academy status in September 2010 (a) has been granted and (b) has not been granted. [12553]

Mr Gibb [holding answer 6 September 2010]: The list of schools that have applied to convert to an academy has been published on our website at:

The list of schools that opened in September has also been published on our website. Ministers are still considering applications from schools and are keen to work with schools to convert when they feel ready to do so.

Academies: Kent

Mrs Grant: To ask the Secretary of State for Education (1) how many enquiries about Academy status he has received from schools in Maidstone and the Weald constituency; [21484]

(2) how many Academy schools he expects to open in Maidstone and the Weald constituency in (a) 2010 and (b) 2011. [21485]

Mr Gibb: No academies are due to open in Maidstone and the Weald in 2010. However, the St Augustine's Academy will open in September 2011, replacing the Astor of Hever Community School.

10 schools in the Maidstone and Weald constituency have expressed an interest in converting to academy status, of which two are judged to be outstanding by Ofsted. Neither of those two schools has yet applied to convert.

The latest list of primary and secondary schools within England that have expressed an interest in academy status is available at:

Academies: Special Educational Needs

Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what mechanisms exist to safeguard the interests of (a) hard to place children, (b) children with special educational needs and (c) other children with specific needs educated in academy schools; and what mechanisms there are to safeguard the interests of the parents of such children. [7675]

Mr Gibb: Before the Academies Act 2010, academies were already required to use their best endeavours to meet any special needs of pupils, have regard to the Special Education Needs (SEN) code of practice, have an SEN policy and appoint a suitable person to co-ordinate SEN provision.

Where an academy fails to meet its SEN obligations, the Young People's Learning Agency, on behalf of the Secretary of State, has the role of ensuring that these obligations are met. Academy parents and pupils also have the same rights of access to the First-tier Tribunal
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(Special Educational Needs and Disability). In practice this means that children in academies already had very similar rights and protections to children in maintained schools.

Where a child has a statement of SEN, the local authority retains both the funding for the appropriate provision, and the responsibility for ensuring that it is provided. As a result of the Academies Act, any new academy and any existing academy which moves to the new Funding Agreement (the contract between the Academy Trust and the Secretary of State) is under exactly the same duties as maintained schools in relation to children with SEN.

In relation to admissions, academies must comply with the School Admissions Code and School Admission Appeals Code in the same way as maintained schools. This protects the interests of hard to place pupils and pupils with a statement of SEN. All maintained schools and academies must participate in their local authority's Fair Access Protocol in order to ensure that unplaced children, especially the most vulnerable, are offered a place at a suitable school in their home local authority as quickly as possible.

Building Schools for the Future Programme

Mr Crausby: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what plans he has for construction under the Building Schools for the Future programme in Bolton. [3580]

Mr Gibb: Following the Secretary of State's announcement on 5 July and 6 August 2010, the position for the Building School for the Future programme in Bolton is as follows:

Position

Bolton St Catherine's Academy

Unaffected

Essa Academy

Unaffected

Kearsley Academy

Academy-decision on any capital allocation to be taken in the next few months

Bolton Muslim Girls' School

Stopped

Ladybridge High School

Stopped

Little Lever Specialist Language College

Stopped

Rumworth Special School

Stopped

Sharples School

Stopped

Smithills

Stopped

Westhoughton High

Stopped


The decision to end the wasteful and bureaucratic BSF programme does not mean the end of the capital investment in schools. Future capital spending will be prioritised on the basis of the outcome of the Capital Review by Sebastian James, due to report by the end of the calendar year.

Glenda Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education if he will estimate the costs incurred by (a) the London Borough of Camden, (b) the London Borough of Brent, (c) Hampstead School, (d) Jack Taylor's School, (e) Royal Free Children's School and (f) Queen's Park Community School in respect of their preparation and presentation of bids for inclusion in the Building Schools for the Future programme. [11832]


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Mr Gibb: The cost to local authorities of reaching the point of entry to the Building Schools for the Future programme (i.e. reaching the Remit meeting) is not held. It is likely to be relatively low given that the only requirement at this stage was the completion of a 20 page Readiness to Deliver statement, which was based on information the local authority would normally hold.

The typical cost to a local authority of reaching Outline Business Case approval once it has entered the programme is estimated at £1.67 million.

For projects that have entered in to procurement, the additional cost to progress from Outline Business Case to Close of Dialogue is estimated at £1.7 million.

The figures stated above are on the basis of a Building Schools for the Future (BSF) Local Education Partnership procurement with two sample schemes.

The Department for Education does not hold data on the cost to individual schools of the BSF programme. This will vary locally depending on the arrangements between individual local authorities and schools.

Education Maintenance Allowance

Kate Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what estimate he has made of the number of individuals who are expected to (a) have their income reduced and (b) fall below the equivalised poverty threshold of 60 per cent. of median household income as a result of removal of education maintenance allowance; and what estimate he has made of the average amount by which the income of affected households will change as a result of this measure. [21918]

Mr Gibb: The EMA take-up data for England show that around 650,000 young people received EMA during the 2010/11 academic year as at 31 August 2010.

From 2011/12 education maintenance allowances will be replaced by an enhanced learner support fund that will be administered by schools and colleges themselves, targeting those young people who face a real financial barrier to participation.

Estimates of the number and proportion of children living in poverty are published in the Households Below Average Income (HBAI) series. HBAI uses household income, adjusted (or 'equivalised') for household size and composition, to provide a proxy for standard of living. The data are sourced from the Family Resources Survey (FRS)(1 )which collects detailed financial information across a range of income streams including income from the education maintenance allowance. There are concerns as to the reliability of EMA data on the FRS with a small number of relevant cases and amounts received being, in some instances, inconsistent with the implied entitlement. Therefore estimates of the impact of the removal of EMA on child poverty rates should be treated with some caution. However, data from 2008/09 suggest that the removal of EMA will have a negligible impact on the number of children in poverty.


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Education: Autism

Mr Buckland: To ask the Secretary of State for Education if he will take steps to ensure that children with autism receive adequate support and assistance during the transition from primary to secondary education; and if he will make a statement. [19590]

Sarah Teather: Schools, and for children with special educational needs (SEN) statements, local authorities have responsibilities to ensure that children with SEN, including children with autism, make successful transitions between primary and secondary education. There is statutory guidance on this transition in the SEN code of practice. Advice is also available from other schools and local authorities, autism specialists and guidance previously published by the Department, such as 'Supporting pupils on the autism spectrum', published as part of the Inclusion Development Programme, and from the Autism Education Trust, which the Department funds and which has published a Transition Toolkit. The Department is aware that the transition from primary to secondary school can be particularly difficult for children with autism because of their resistance to change and will monitor research which is being conducted on this issue, such as that which is being carried out currently by the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Trust.

The Government aim to publish a Green Paper on SEN and disability shortly. The Green Paper will set out how the Government intend to make the SEN system better for children with SEN, including those with autism, and their families.

Free Schools

Stephen Mosley: To ask the Secretary of State for Education in respect of how many independent schools an application to participate in the free schools programme has been approved. [22228]

Mr Gibb: As of 5 November 2010, three free school proposals from existing independent schools have been approved to progress to the business case and plan stage. The Free School programme aims to improve choice and drive up standards for all young people, regardless of their background. I welcome applications from independent schools that increase the diversity of provision in their area and provide an opportunity to bring high quality places into the state sector.

Stephen Mosley: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what his policy is on the provision of support for participation by independent schools in the free schools programme. [22229]

Mr Gibb: The Free School programme aims to improve choice and drive up standards for all young people, regardless of their background. I welcome applications from independent schools that increase the diversity of provision in their area and provide an opportunity to bring high quality places into the state sector. Any independent school becoming a free school will of course not be able to retain any form of selection by ability. Free schools will be all-ability schools required to abide by the admissions code.


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Free Schools: Academies

Lisa Nandy: To ask the Secretary of State for Education whether a free school may achieve academy status under the provisions of the Academies Act 2010. [21616]

Mr Gibb: Free Schools will be set up as Academies under the provisions of the Academies Act 2010.

Free Schools: Teachers

Kevin Brennan: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what the (a) minimum qualification, (b) minimum age and (c) maximum age requirement will be to teach at a free school. [20146]

Mr Gibb [holding answer 28 October 2010]: Innovation, diversity and flexibility are at the heart of the Free Schools policy. We want the dynamism that characterises the best independent schools to drive up standards in the state sector. In this spirit we will not be setting overly prescriptive requirements in relation to qualifications: instead we will expect business cases to demonstrate how governing bodies intend to guarantee the highest quality of teaching and leadership in their schools. No school will be allowed to proceed unless its proposals for quality teaching are soundly based. Ensuring each Free School's unique educational vision is translated into the classroom will require talented people with a diverse range of experience. As is the case with all schools, Free Schools will be subject to employment law and the Equalities Act 2010 with regard to age requirements.

New Schools Network

Lisa Nandy: To ask the Secretary of State for Education (1) what assessment he has made of the merits of developing a formal funding agreement with the New Schools Network; and if he will make a statement; [21622]

(2) whether the contract awarded to the New Schools Network was advertised prior to its award; [21623]

(3) pursuant to the answer of 6 September 2010, Official Report, column 357W, on the New Schools Network, what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the applicability of HM Treasury guidance to his decision (a) not to develop a formal funding agreement with the New Schools Network and (b) to enter into a funding agreement with the New Schools Network; [21624]

(4) what advice he received from his Department in respect of the application of competitive tendering procedures to the allocation of funding to the New Schools Network; [21625]

(5) what consideration he gave to inviting other eligible organisations to bid for the funding awarded to the New Schools Network. [21626]

Mr Gibb: My officials have now finalised a grant agreement (rather than a contract) with New Schools Network (NSN) to provide advice to groups wishing to establish free schools. The Department considered carefully the options for securing the requisite services from an external organisation. Given the need for specialist skills and experience to be in place quickly it was decided to
24 Nov 2010 : Column 380W
award a time limited grant to NSN. In doing so the Department took account of the UK Public Procurement Regulations 2006 and the Compact Commissioning Guidance. There have been no discussions with the Treasury on these matters.

NSN has championed the development of parent and teacher promoted schools and has been providing advice and support to those interested in establishing new schools since 2009. It has also been developing networks among interested groups and individuals. This experience makes it ideally placed to fulfil the role. The Department has given similar grants in the past, such as to the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust, the Youth Sport Trust, the Holocaust Educational Trust and the National Literacy Trust.

Schools: Admissions

Rehman Chishti: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the admissions policy used by (a) academies and (b) other maintained schools. [22279]

Mr Gibb: The chief schools adjudicator has, in his annual report, published on 1 November, reported that he and his adjudicators consider that arrangements are getting better.

Nevertheless, I have indicated my intention to review the admissions framework, including the Admissions Code, with a view to making it simpler, fairer and less bureaucratic.

Schools: Playing Fields

Lisa Nandy: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what plans he has for requirements to provide outdoor space at (a) free schools and (b) academy schools. [21618]

Mr Gibb: Academies and Free Schools are subject to the requirements of the Education (Independent School Standards) (England) Regulations 2010. These regulations require that there should be appropriate arrangements for providing outside space for pupils to play safely.

The terms of reference for the current review of capital investment in schools, early years units, colleges and sixth forms include the review and reform of the requirements on schools including regulations, design requirements and playing field requirements.

Teachers: Pay

Andrew Stephenson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what recent representations he has received on (a) the teacher pay structure and (b) eligibility for teaching and learning responsibility payments; and if he will make a statement. [10063]

Mr Gibb: The Government want to reform the existing rigid national pay and conditions rules to give schools greater freedoms to pay good teachers more.

The Department consulted teacher and head teacher unions, employers and governor representatives on changes to the School Teachers' Pay and Conditions Document (the Document) and the accompanying statutory guidance for September 2010. The main changes result from
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decisions made following a series of recent School Teachers' Review Body (STRB) recommendations, including changes to pay scales to implement the 2.3% pay increase, and to pay arrangements for teachers of pupils with special educational needs (SEN). We received nine responses to the statutory consultation on the Document which ended on 30 July, which were broadly supportive of these changes.

In addition there was a request to amend the teaching and learning responsibility (TLR) provisions; and eight requests to refer the matter of a proposed upper limit on leadership group remuneration to the STRB. Outside the consultation, seven teacher and head teacher unions also wrote to the Secretary of State about the proposal to implement an upper limit on leadership group remuneration. The Secretary of State wrote to the Chair of the STRB on 4 August to say that consideration of a limit on head teacher pay will be included in a future remit.

The Department also recently consulted on changes to the statutory guidance which accompanies the Document. Nine responses were received to the statutory consultation which ended on 25 August. Although the responses were broadly supportive, three consultees made reference to the award of TLRs; six consultees suggested revised wording for the statutory guidance on SEN allowances for teachers which have informed amendments to the statutory guidance.

UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what steps his Department is taking to implement
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obligations under Articles 7, 23 and 24 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in relation to his Department's policy responsibilities. [21127]

Sarah Teather: The Department for Education is committed to the UN convention on the rights of persons with disabilities and to improving outcomes for disabled children and young people. The UK Government will report to the UN Committee in July 2011, setting out how implementation has been achieved across Government.

We are determined to raise the achievement and well-being of children with special educational needs (SEN) and disabled children. We are aiming to publish a SEN and Disability Green Paper. The Green Paper will consider how we can achieve better educational outcomes and life chances for disabled children and young people and those with SEN-from the early years through to the transition into adult life and employment. The Green Paper will seek to make radical improvements to the entire SEN and disability system for disabled children and young people. It will explore issues such as school choice, early identification and assessment, funding systems and family support in order to make life better for children with SEN and their parents.

We have carried out an open 'call for views' exercise and we intend to engage directly with disabled children, young people and parents of disabled children as part of the Green Paper consultation process.


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