Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page

Grammar Schools

Lord Peston asked Her Majesty's Government:

11 Jan 2000 : Column WA102

Baroness Blackstone: The requested information is as follows:

a b c d
Petition area and typeDate of request to set a thresholdDate on which threshold was setThreshold figure
Barnet (group of 3 schools)1 September 199925 November 19997,209
Birmingham (group of 2 schools)1 September 1999threshold not yet set
Birmingham (group of 6 schools)1 September 1999threshold not yet set
Kent (whole area)1 September 1999threshold not yet set
Ripon (stand-alone)7 September 199926 October 1999587
Sutton (whole area)27 September 19992 December 19997,375
Trafford (whole area)1 September 199913 December 19998,518

Secondary Schools

Baroness David asked Her Majesty's Government:

    For the latest year available, how many:

    (a) Secondary comprehensive schools in England (excluding the sixth form) are of sizes below 301, 301-500, 501-700, 701-900, 901-1,100, 1,101-1,300, 1,301-1,500, and over 1,500 pupils; and

    (b) Secondary grammar schools in England (excluding the sixth form) are of sizes below 301, 301-500, 501-700, 701-900, 901-1,100, 1,101-1,300, 1,301-1,500, and over 1,500 pupils; and

    What is the range of sizes of sixth forms in secondary comprehensive schools in England and what is the range of sizes of sixth forms in secondary schools in England.[HL353]

Baroness Blackstone: The information available is shown in the following tables.

Number of comprehensive schools and selective grammar schools, by size in England1--January 1999

Number of schools of size
0 to 300 371
301 to 500 24224
501 to 700 59592
701 to 900 75240
901 to 1,100 6757
1,101 to 1,300 3930
1,301 to 1,500 1140
1,501 & over 360
Total 2,844164

1 As defined by the number of pupils of compulsory school age.

11 Jan 2000 : Column WA103

Number of comprehensive schools and maintained secondary schools, by size of sixth form1 in England--January 1999

Secondary ComprehensiveAll Secondary Schools
Sixth Form of size1
0 to 50104121
51 to 100281329
101 to 150384420
151 to 200344391
201 to 250218283
251 to 300111139
301 and over129148

1As defined by the number of pupils in school above compulsory school age.

Holiday-taking and Disability

Baroness Anelay of St Johns asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What conclusions were reached at the Department of Employment Conference for People with Disabilities (held on 14 December) with regard to holiday-taking and disability; and whether they would publish both the proceedings of the workshop that focused on this issue and the Government's response to its recommendations.[HL440]

Baroness Blackstone: The "accessibility" conference, which my department held in co-operation with a number of other government departments on 14 December, ranged widely over access issues. Workshops covered access to further, higher and adult education; access to employment; access to the National Health Service; using direct payments to empower people with learning difficulties; and whether disability was a barrier to tourism. Discussions in each of these workshops led to a worthwhile exchange of information and experiences and the dissemination of good practice. The workshop on tourism was facilitated by the English Tourism Council (ETC). It provided DCMS and its sponsored body the ETC with a greater understanding of the key difficulties facing disabled travellers. This will assist them in their aim of making English tourism the most accessible and welcoming in Europe.

A conference report, which will include a summary of each workshop, will be available in due course. It will be sent to everyone who attended the conference and will be available more widely.

Primary School Pupils: Spelling Tests

Baroness Cox asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will give further information about the new spelling tests for primary school pupils reported in the press on 12 December; which agency is developing the tests; and which age group they are intended for; and[HL480]

11 Jan 2000 : Column WA104

    Whether they will make sample copies of the new spelling tests for primary school pupils available for inspection by Members of the House of Lords.[HL481]

Baroness Blackstone: Spelling will continue to be tested through the statutory key stage 1 and key stage 2 national curriculum tests. It also forms part of the optional tests for year 3, year 4 and year 5 which most primary schools take advantage of. As part of the National Literacy Strategy the department has produced a spelling bank booklet that contains lists of words and ideas to help in the teaching of the key stage 2 spelling objectives set out in the National Literacy Strategy Framework for teaching. These lists provide the basis for the informal spelling tests that, as part of the National Literacy Strategy, they are encouraged to undertake regularly. Copies of the spelling bank have been placed in the Library.

Gurkha Pensions

Lord Walker of Doncaster asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they will complete their examination of Gurkha pensions.[HL455]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): The examination of Gurkha pensions and gratuities is now complete. Within the terms of the tri-partite agreement (TPA) between India, Nepal and the UK Gurkha pensions will be increased to allow for a welfare related cash uplift to take account of Indian government benefits in kind that will at least double the pension payments for all Gurkha pensioners. Increases will be introduced from 1 April 2000. Pension increases will continue to be paid immediately after 15 years' service and, where appropriate, passed on to the widow and then a child up to the age of 25 years. Pensions will be reviewed in the normal way and will benefit from cost of living increases each year. The Nepalese Government have made representations throughout this examination and both the Nepalese and Indian governments have been notified of the increases.

Meningitis C Vaccine

Lord Clement-Jones asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether there are now adequate supplies available of meningitis C vaccine; and[HL155]

    Whether there will be adequate supplies for the next phase of the meningitis C vaccination programme.[HL157]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): Deliveries of the new meningococcal C conjugate vaccine began on 25 October and have continued each week since then. The implementation of the meningitis C immunisation programme is vaccine supply led and

11 Jan 2000 : Column WA105

as soon as each new delivery of vaccine is received from the manufacturers it is distributed to pharmacies and general practitioners.

Since the start of the programme up to and including 26 November, a total of 1,734,560 doses of meningococcal C conjugate vaccine had been distributed throughout the United Kingdom. The immunisation of young people aged 15, 16 and 17 years began from 1 November and the immunisation of babies when they are due for their routine vaccines at two, three and four months and around 13 months began from 29 November. Supplies of conjugate meningococcal C vaccine for the first part of the childhood programme (two, three, four and 13 months) have been increased and deliveries to GPs and pharmacists from 29 November onwards have also increased. From the information we have received from the manufacturers, I am advised that there will be sufficient vaccine to immunise the whole of the target group by the end of the year in line with the plan as set out in the Chief Medical Officer's letter of 18 October, copies of which are available in the Library.

Public Health Observatories

Lord Clement-Jones asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What progress is being made in setting up the promised public health observatories.[HL241]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: The White Paper Saving Lives: Our Healthier Nation, copies of which are available in the Library, announced the establishment of public health observatories. Plans for these are currently being developed in each National Health Service region of England. Public health observatories will support the implementation of Saving Lives: Our Healthier Nation by working closely with the NHS, local authorities, government offices for the regions, regional development agencies and NHS Executive regional offices. They will form a national network of public health expertise and undertake surveillance of population health.

Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page