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Written Answers

Volume 476: debated on Monday 2 June 2008

Written Answers to Questions

Monday 2 June 2008

Innovation, Universities and Skills

Daresbury Laboratory: Skilled Workers

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what progress has been made by the Science and Technology Facilities Council on implementing its policy to retain key skills at Daresbury laboratory; and if he will make a statement. (206311)

STFC is aiming to retain important skills at the Daresbury Science and Innovation campus to resource the range of scientific research investments being planned for its future. I have most recently announced a £25 million investment by St. Modwen, a private sector developer that will be investing in a new (Vanguard House) business incubator facility at Daresbury to accommodate the rapidly growing (over 65) science and technology-based companies at the site, and new start-up science and technology businesses emerging in part from Daresbury’s own leading scientific research programme. STFC has also tabled proposals for a new computer science centre at Daresbury (Hartree) and, in conjunction with its sister campus at Harwell, a new detector systems centre. These proposed centres would add to the existing Cockcroft Institute for accelerator research and the contribution that Daresbury is making to the preparatory phase of the New Light Source project. Taken together, I believe that the portfolio of facilities and projects at Daresbury will continue to sustain and develop its leading edge skills—which are highly valued by me and my Department. We are fully committed to the development of the Daresbury Science and Innovation campus as announced in Budget 2006.

Learning and Skills Council for England: Bureaucracy

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills if he will make a statement on measures undertaken to date pursuant to the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) pledge to reduce bureaucracy, as indicated on page nineteen of the current LSC Statement. (205317)

The Government are committed to reducing bureaucracy at all levels within further education to release providers' energy to focus on the needs of individuals and employers. Through its deregulation agenda the Department and its intermediaries have already for example:

reduced the number of intermediary bodies—Ofsted and the Adult Learning Inspectorate have been brought together in one inspector body, QIA and CEL are being brought together into a single body which will provide support to FE colleges and providers;

reduced the administrative burden on colleges and independent providers—there is now light touch inspection for the best performers, a reduction in audit requirements is saving about £12 million in administrative time per year and recognition as an awarding body has recently been reduced from an average of 10 months to two-three months;

introduced Impact Assessments of policies on front line delivery.

The LSC is committed to reducing bureaucracy. As a result of the restructuring begun in 2005-06 the LSC expect to realise annual administration savings of £40 million by the end of 2008-09. The LSC are also committed to making administration efficiency savings during the current spending review period of 5 per cent. year on year.

The LSC have made significant administration efficiency savings since it started operations in April 2001. Administration costs as a proportion of total expenditure has fallen from 4.6 per cent. in 2001-02 to an anticipated 1.6 per cent. in 2010-11.

I have asked Mark Haysom, the LSC Chief Executive, to write to the hon. Member with further information on action being taken. A copy of his reply will be placed in the House Library.

Letter from Mark Haysom, dated 2 June 2008:

I am writing to you at the request of Bill Rammell in response to your recent question about the LSC pledge to reduce bureaucracy.

In our Statement of Priorities published in November 2007 we highlighted eight areas where we are committed to simplifying the education and training system for the benefit of learners and employers.

Funding methodology.

The LSC has implemented a reduction in the number of funding streams from six to three which will reduce administrative complexities for FE colleges and training providers and provide a clearer link between policy objectives and funding arrangements. It is expected that this will result in increased access and participation for 16-18 year-old learners and increased awareness of learning opportunities for adult learners.

Customer interaction with FE system

We are continuously looking for ways to improve this, for example we have just introduced a single Helpline, Assessment and Payment Body to improve the customer (learner) experience, by having a single point of reference, single portal, and single phone number for all interactions in relation to nationally administered financial support programmes for learners.

Single brokerage service

A common brokerage framework has been introduced to ensure consistency across LSC regions, and to improve the service to employers we plan to go further by transferring the skills brokerage service to regional development agencies (RDAs) to enable its integration with the Business Link service.

New Standard

This has now been launched as the Training Quality Standard. It recognises provider responsiveness to employer needs and provider excellence in a particular vocational area; two areas that employers have told us are critical for success. It will give employers a simple and straightforward way to compare training providers.

Framework for Excellence

This is a balanced scoreboard of performance indicators that will enable learners and employers to make more informed choices and decisions, thus contributing to improved levels of satisfaction, increased retention rates, greater investment by individuals and employers, a sharper focus on economically valuable skills, and better and more relevant outcomes. A large scale pilot has just been completed and version 1 of the Framework is scheduled for roll-out to all FE colleges and work-based learning providers from August 2008.

Regional skills strategies

The LSC no longer produces 47 local plans with a range of priorities and initiatives but rather brings these together into nine regional plans. These regional plans set out how the LSC's funding will be used to support national priorities as identified in our Grant Letter and Statement of Priorities, and regional priorities identified by regional development agencies.

Qualifications and Credit Framework

With the QCA we are developing a simple and flexible structure that allows achievement to be built incrementally through the accumulation and transfer of credit. This will encourage and enable more learning that is appropriate to individuals' and employers’ needs, For 2008-09 the LSC will be encouraging providers to adopt QCF provision where it is available.

Simplification of business processes

The LSC continues to support the operation of the Bureaucracy Reduction Group (BRG) as the FE sector-led gatekeeper group for bureaucracy. The BRG has scrutinised the operation of a number of the LSC's major programmes and has helpfully identified areas where improvements could be made. For example, its recent scrutiny of Train to Gain resulted in a 10 point action plan to reduce bureaucracy in this programme. The report and recommendations of this scrutiny can be found on the BRG website

(www.fe-brg.org.uk).

In order to continue to tackle perceived bureaucracy and improve efficiency the LSC is developing a Simplification Plan. This will set out the actions the LSC is taking across a range of activities in addition to those highlighted above. It is expected that this will be published in July 2008 and I will send you a copy at that time.

Measurement: Wines

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what assessment he has made of the effects on perceptions of alcohol consumption of the phasing out of 125 ml measure wine glasses in favour of 175 ml glasses. (206573)

Under existing legislation, both 125 ml and 175 ml measures may be used for the sale of wine by the glass. We have no evidence that the use of 125 ml glasses is being phased out. Alcohol policy as it relates to health is the responsibility of the Department of Health. It has launched a public education campaign to improve knowledge of the alcohol units contained in everyday drinks, and how drinking can affect people’s health.

Physics: Research

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what assessment has been made of the future effect of the recent reductions in funding for physics research and astronomy projects in the UK on the UK's industry and economy; and if he will make a statement. (207456)

Research Council expenditure on physics research is already in excess of £500 million per annum and is expected to increase over the CSR—comprehensive spending review—period.

The science budget is at its highest ever level and will enable the UK to maintain its leading position in research excellence, give rise to greater exploitation, as well as helping to build a stronger economy.

Research: EC Action

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills (1) what progress has been made in the UK towards meeting the Lisbon agenda target that the EU should invest three per cent. of its gross domestic product in research and development by 2010; and if he will make a statement; (207370)

(2) progress has been made towards the Government's target to invest 2.5 per cent. of the UK's gross domestic product in research and development by 2014; and if he will make a statement;

(3) what assessment he has made of the Lisbon agenda target that the EU as a whole should be investing three per cent. of its gross domestic product in research and development by 2010; for what reasons the Government set a target of 2.5 per cent. by 2014; and if he will make a statement.

The 3 per cent. Lisbon target applies to the EU as a whole, not to individual member states. Individual member states need to set targets in relation to their own circumstances. The Government felt that the UK target, set out in the 10-year Science and Innovation Investment Framework in 2004, was an appropriate and challenging target given the level of UK's research and development and the structure of the UK economy. In 2006 the UK spent 1.75 per cent. of gross domestic product on research and development, up from 1.74 per cent. in 2005. As a whole the EU27 spent 1.84 per cent. of gross domestic product on research and development in 2006, the same as in 2005.

Science and Technology Facilities Council

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what assessment has been made of the effect of the £80 million shortfall in the annual Science and Technology Facilities Council fund announced in December 2007; what steps have been taken by his Department to address the shortfall; and if he will make a statement. (207369)

We have made no such announcement The STFC's budget will rise by 13.6 per cent. by the end of the CSR period making it the third largest Research Council by budget This amounts to an additional £185 million over that period and a budget in total of £1.9 billion over the same period.

Students

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what recent assessment he has made of (a) overall developments in trans-European student mobility, (b) the European Credit Transfer System, (c) the Europass CV, (d) the Europass Mobility, (e) the Europass Diploma Supplement, (f) the Europass Certificate Supplement and (g) the Europass Language portfolio. (204588)

The information requested is as follows:

(a) The Government are keen to see an increase in the numbers of British students who take the opportunity to include a period of study abroad as part of their course. Within Europe, we have seen a welcome increase this year in the number of UK students taking part in the EU's Erasmus programme. Interim figures for 2007-08 show that well over 10,000 UK students have taken part (including some 2,800 work placement students). And the UK continues to be one of the top destinations for students from other European countries taking part in the programme.

(b) The Government believe there is scope for further adaptation of the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) to ensure that it effectively reflects the greater importance of the assessment of learning outcomes. In response to these and other member states' concerns, the European Commission is reviewing the ECTS users' guide, which is expected to be completed later this year.

Items (c) to (g) refer to the five documents that make up the Europass portfolio, a method introduced by the EU to record formal, informal and non-formal education. The operating agency for Europass in the UK, the National Europass Centre, has been promoting the portfolio in its entirety through organisations such as universities, FE colleges, vocational training organisations and UK accreditation bodies. There is increased interest in the use of Europass and it is expected that the introduction of the European Qualifications Framework will lead to greater take up of Europass documents in the future. The Government believe that Europass will assist in the recognition across Europe of formally or informally acquired skills and encourage mobility within the work force.

Students: Debts

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what estimate his Department has made of what will be the average personal debt per student at the end of a degree course; and if he will make a statement. (196904)

We expect students who entered higher education in the 2006-07 and 2007-8 academic years to graduate with an average level of debt of around £15,000.

Student loans have very different features to most commercial loans, Graduates only repay once they are in work and only when their annual income reaches £15,000. Interest is charged at the rate of inflation, so students only pay back in real terms the amount they originally borrowed.

In July we announced plans to introduce greater flexibility in the repayment of student loans by allowing borrowers to take repayment breaks of up to five years.

A generous package of support is available to students, particularly those from low income households. In 2006-07 over half of eligible full-time students received a full or partial maintenance grant of up to £2,700, From 2008-09 onwards, the minimum threshold (of household income) for a full maintenance grant of up to £2,835 per year will be extended from £17,500 a year to £25,000 a year; with a partial grant available up to an income threshold of £60,005. This will mean that two thirds of all eligible students in England entering higher education in the academic year 2008-09 are expected to be entitled to a full or partial non-repayable grant—compared to just over half now.

Teachers: Training

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many applicants there were for teacher training in secondary school (a) mathematics, (b) physics, (c) ICT and (d) modern languages in each of the last three years; and how many and what proportion of applicants for such courses in 2009 have been successful. (201399)

I have been asked to reply.

The number of applicants to secondary initial teacher training (ITT) is not collected centrally. The number of applications made to mainstream postgraduate ITT is collected; however the number of applications to undergraduate ITT courses is not available. The number of applications for employment based ITT is not collected centrally.

The following table shows the number of applications to postgraduate secondary ITT courses in England for (a) mathematics, (b) physics, (c) ICT and (d) modern languages in each of the last three years for which complete data are available.

Number of applications

2005

2006

2007

Mathematics

3,250

2,840

2,590

Physics

520

490

450

ICT

1,620

1,440

1,120

Modern Languages

2,220

2,060

1,760

Notes:

1. Figures are rounded to the nearest 10.

2 Some applications for postgraduate ITT courses are made independently of the Graduate Teacher Training Registry and are not included in the figures.

3. Figures include trainees to secondary courses and do not include trainees to middle year's courses.

4. Data are as at the end of the application process so are subject to change.

5. Membership to the GTTR changes between years, therefore the higher education institutes covered may vary.

6. Modern languages include French, Spanish, German, Italian, Russian and other modern languages.

Source:

Graduate Teacher Training Registry (GTTR).

The figures are published on the GTTR website at:

http://www.gttr.ac.uk/stats.html.

Finalised data relating to the number of applications and the proportion which have been accepted on courses in 2009 are not available until February 2010,

Women and Equality

Departmental Coordination

To ask the Minister for Women and Equality which Departments have established (a) ministerial committees and (b) permanent groups involving senior civil servants to liaise with the Government Equalities Office. (201428)

None of the other Government Departments have established ministerial committees or permanent groups specifically in order to liaise with the Government Equalities Office (GEO), although GEO is a member of a number of cross-departmental groups. The GEO has also set up a number of groups, such as the Equality PSA Delivery Board in order to liaise with other Departments.

Local Government: Disabled

To ask the Minister for Women and Equality how many people with disabilities were employed by each local authority in each of the last three years, broken down by disability; and what proportion of employees that represents in each case. (207210)

I have been asked to reply.

Information on the number of people employed by each local authority who have a disability is not held centrally.

Prime Minister

Departmental Public Participation

To ask the Prime Minister (1) how many sessions of Ask the PM he plans to hold in the next 12 months; and if he will make a statement; (207547)

(2) how many (a) full-time and (b) part-time officials will be working on the Ask the PM blog; and if he will make a statement;

(3) how much he expects the Ask the PM blog to cost in the next 12 months; and if he will make a statement.

As I set out, this will be a regular event. There are no additional staff and all costs will be met from within the existing budgets.

Wales

Departmental Computers

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales whether he has issued guidance to staff in his Department to switch off personal computers when not in use; and if he will make a statement. (208090)

My Department issued guidance to all staff in June 2006 to switch off their personal computers and networked printers when not in use.

Reminders are sent to all staff periodically.

Departmental Internet

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales pursuant to the answer of 21 April 2008, Official Report, column 1347W, on the departmental internet, how much bandwidth per month his Department purchases; how much of this is burst bandwidth; what the maximum burstable rate is; what resiliency has been purchased; how many servers host the website; and what backup solution is in place. (207633)

The Wales Office departmental internet uses 1 megabit per second, none of which is burst, although the maximum burstable rate is 2 megabits per second. No resiliency has been purchased, but the company who hosts the website has a complete backup. The website is hosted on one server.

Food

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how much food waste his Department generated in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. (208149)

My Department does not have any catering facilities in house, and therefore does not routinely generate food waste.

Scotland

Computers

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he has issued guidance to staff in his Department to switch off personal computers when not in use; and if he will make a statement. (208089)

The Scotland Office shares an information technology system (SCOTS) with the Scottish Executive, which is responsible for the development, administration and maintenance of the system.

The Executive is shortly to introduce a new energy saving initiative that automatically shuts down computers which are not in use. The 'Nightwatchman', as the new software is known, will be installed on all computers across the network throughout the next month or so. This software will help to save energy and reduce carbon emissions by ensuring computers are shutdown when not in use.

Departmental Pay

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how much was paid in end-of-year performance bonuses to (a) all staff and (b) staff at senior civil service level in his Department in the 2007-08 financial year; and how many payments were made. (207478)

Staff in the Scotland Office are seconded from the Scottish Executive (SE) and the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) who each have bonus schemes, part of which relate to annual performance appraisal. The Scotland Office does not hold information on bonus payments under the annual performance appraisal systems. Under the Special Bonus Scheme of the SE and the Reward and Recognition Scheme of the MoJ, the Office may also directly authorise bonus payments for special effort, achievement and commitment; the following table shows the number and cost of such non-pensionable bonuses:

FY 2007-08

Total number of bonuses

6

Total cost of bonuses (£)

2,150

Members of the Senior Civil Service in the Scotland Office are also seconded from the Scottish Executive and the Ministry of Justice, their bonuses are assessed under a framework set by the Cabinet Office. The Office does not hold central information on such bonuses.

Planning: Wind Power

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland pursuant to the answer of 14 May 2008, Official Report, column 1638W, on planning: wind power, what account he takes of the effects of planning advice in Scotland in formulating planning guidance for England on the siting of wind turbines; and if he will make a statement. (207722)

The formulation of planning advice for England is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.

Electoral Commission Committee

British National Party: Finance

To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission what steps were taken against the British National party for its late declaration of donations, fundraising abroad, the destruction of financial records and other irregularities referred to in the BBC Radio 4 programme File on Four in February 2008. (206597)

The Electoral Commission informs me that it has taken enforcement action against the British National party on three occasions, fining the party a total of £1,750 for late submission of accounts and campaign expenditure reports. The individual civil penalties are listed as follows:

31 August 2007: Fined £1,000 for late submission of party’s 2006 Statement of Accounts;

24 October 2007: Fined £250 for late submission of Accounting Unit 2006 Statement of Accounts; and

21 December 2007: Fined £500 for late submission of Scottish Parliamentary campaign expenditure return

In addition, on two occasions, the BNP has submitted quarterly returns of donations late. Its quarter 1 2003 return was late by one day and its quarter 3 2006 return was two weeks late. However, the Commission did not begin imposing fines on political parties for late submission of donation returns until quarter 1 2007.

In relation to allegations of fundraising abroad, the Commission has made inquiries into this issue and was not satisfied that there was sufficient evidence to establish that the British National Party had accepted impermissible donations.

Regarding the alleged destruction of financial records and other irregularities referred to in the BBC Radio 4 programme File on Four, the Electoral Commission reviewed a small number of shredded papers but was not able to establish that they provided evidence of a possible offence under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000.

Political Parties: Finance

To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission (1) what donations were notified to the Commission (a) on time and (b) late in each year for which figures are available; who the donor was in each case; on what date each donation was (i) received and (ii) notified; and what steps were taken in each case of late notification; (206594)

(2) what donations were notified to the Commission (a) late and (b) on time where the donation was found to be impermissible in each year for which figures are available; who the (i) donor and (ii) donee was in each case; and on what date (A) the donation was received and (B) the Commission was notified in each case;

(3) what donations were notified to the Commission (a) late and (b) on time by each political party in each year for which figures are available; and what steps were taken against each political party for late notification in each case.

I am advised that the answers to the hon. Member’s questions are voluminous. I will therefore write to the hon. Member, have a copy of my letters placed in the Library, and ask the Electoral Commission to place a copy of the letters on their website.

Communities and Local Government

Apprentices

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many (a) apprenticeships and (b) advanced apprenticeships there were in (i) her Department and (ii) the agencies for which she is responsible in the most recent year for which figures are available. (206805)

There are no apprenticeships or advanced apprenticeships within my Department. However, we will be participating in the Apprenticeship Pathfinder in September 2008 which is being facilitated by Government Skills. The Fire Service College had one apprenticeship during 2005 which resulted in the person being taken on as a permanent member of staff. None of my other agencies or the Government office network have had apprenticeships or advanced apprenticeships.

Community Relations

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether the Community Empowerment White Paper will be published before the summer recess; and what the timetable is for subsequent legislation. (207563)

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State announced on 5 March that she would publish a White Paper on empowerment in the summer. On 14 May the Prime Minister announced that the Government intend to introduce a Bill on community empowerment, housing and economic regeneration in the fourth session.

Conference Centres: Harrogate

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will hold discussions with representatives of the Harrogate International Centre on provision of funding to the centre by her Department and the Yorkshire Regional Development Agency. (207803)

Yorkshire Forward, the Regional Development Agency is currently in discussions with the Harrogate International Centre, at a senior level, about the possibility of investment in its refurbishment and awaits the outcome of a feasibility study expected later this year.

Council Tax

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) pursuant to the answer of 24 April 2008, Official Report, column 2254W, on council tax: parish councils, and with reference to the answer of 14 June 2007, Official Report, column 1169W, for what reasons her Department is not able to calculate the average parish council tax precept; (203087)

(2) what the average parish precept on Band D council tax was in England in (a) 2007-08 and (b) 1997-98, averaged across parish areas only;

(3) if she will publish the methodology by which her Department has previously calculated the average Band D council tax parish precept in parished areas.

Information on precepts and band D council taxes set by individual parish and town councils is not collected by the Department. The only information on parish precepts reported to the Department by local authorities is the total amount of parish precepts due to be collected by each billing authority. For this reason, a precise average cannot be calculated.

Recent estimates are available in Local Government Financial Statistics England at:

http://www.local.communities.gov.uk/finance/stats/

No estimate is available for 1997-98.

Council Tax: Valuation

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) how many homes were revalued for the purposes of council tax at the point of sale in each region in each year since 1997; (206052)

(2) how many homes revalued at the point of sale for the purposes of council tax were (a) revalued to (i) a higher band and (ii) a lower band and (b) the same council tax band in each region of the UK in each year since 1997.

Regulation 4 of the Council Tax (Alteration of Lists and Appeals) Regulations 1993 requires that a banding is reviewed following improvements (a “material increase”) at the point of sale (a “relevant transaction”). The number of such reviews, broken down by region and whether they resulted in (a) a higher band or (c) no change, were:

Financial year

Region

(a) Higher band

(c) No change

1997-98

East Midlands

539

2,889

1997-98

East of England

1,008

4,273

1997-98

London

545

2,229

1997-98

North East

322

1,601

1997-98

North West

626

3,557

1997-98

South East

1,511

6,617

1997-98

South West

900

3,688

1997-98

West Midlands

513

2,737

1997-98

Yorkshire and The Humber

358

1,609

1998-99

East Midlands

450

2,530

1998-99

East of England

896

3,634

1998-99

London

481

2,660

1998-99

North East

267

1,490

1998-99

North West

590

3,044

1998-99

South East

1,351

6,400

1998-99

South West

796

3,400

1998-99

West Midlands

446

2,264

1998-99

Yorkshire and The Humber

419

2,889

1999-2000

East Midlands

491

2,742

1999-2000

East of England

916

3,900

1999-2000

London

566

2,604

1999-2000

North East

285

1,379

1999-2000

North West

735

4,754

1999-2000

South East

1,284

6,154

1999-2000

South West

754

3,341

1999-00

West Midlands

611

2,919

1999-00

Yorkshire and The Humber

362

1,747

2000-01

East Midlands

414

2,257

2000-01

East of England

1,071

4,373

2000-01

London

735

3,364

2000-01

North East

254

1,286

2000-01

North West

596

3,120

2000-01

South East

1,548

6,746

2000-01

South West

818

3,883

2000-01

West Midlands

558

2,945

2000-01

Yorkshire and The Humber

391

1,825

2001-02

East Midlands

463

2,421

2001-02

East of England

1,167

4,652

2001-02

London

832

3,881

2001-02

North East

228

1,137

2001-02

North West

698

3,455

2001-02

South East

1,718

7,372

2001-02

South West

901

4,170

2001-02

West Midlands

505

2,666

2001-02

Yorkshire and The Humber

403

2,200

2002-03

East Midlands

585

4,183

2002-03

East of England

1,173

4,529

2002-03

London

914

4,110

2002-03

North East

231

1,258

2002-03

North West

741

4,229

2002-03

South East

1,620

6,669

2002-03

South West

871

3,536

2002-03

West Midlands

558

3,032

2002-03

Yorkshire and The Humber

434

2,305

2003-04

East Midlands

644

4,019

2003-04

East of England

1,165

4,325

2003-04

London

1,092

5,375

2003-04

North East

258

1,466

2003-04

North West

689

4,056

2003-04

South East

1,826

7,039

2003-04

South West

836

3,565

2003-04

West Midlands

676

3,287

2003-04

Yorkshire and The Humber

556

3,133

2004-05

East Midlands

548

4,064

2004-05

East of England

1,348

4,693

2004-05

London

934

3,127

2004-05

North East

259

1,427

2004-05

North West

596

3,372

2004-05

South East

1,572

6,567

2004-05

South West

923

4,566

2004-05

West Midlands

596

3,056

2004-05

Yorkshire and The Humber

549

2,822

2005-06

East Midlands

494

3,172

2005-06

East of England

969

3,456

2005-06

London

860

2,745

2005-06

North East

244

1,068

2005-06

North West

433

2,785

2005-06

South East

1,685

6,451

2005-06

South West

836

3,821

2005-06

West Midlands

555

3,057

2005-06

Yorkshire and The Humber

540

2,925

2006-07

East Midlands

371

2,224

2006-07

East of England

966

2,843

2006-07

London

672

2,064

2006-07

North East

203

1,045

2006-07

North West

441

2,276

2006-07

South East

1,583

5,048

2006-07

South West

888

4,828

2006-07

West Midlands

454

2,055

2006-07

Yorkshire and The Humber

462

1,863

2007-08

East Midlands

185

1,193

2007-08

East of England

563

1,788

2007-08

London

764

2,414

2007-08

North East

131

615

2007-08

North West

274

1,457

2007-08

South East

986

3,149

2007-08

South West

474

1,305

2007-08

West Midlands

254

1,365

2007-08

Yorkshire and The Humber

207

804

Reviews resulting in (b) a lower band could apply at any time and are not linked to a “point of sale”.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what research (a) her Department and (b) its agencies have commissioned on council tax revaluation in the last 12 months from (i) within her Department and its agencies and (ii) external bodies. (207562)

Departmental Pay

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much was paid in end-of-year performance bonuses to (a) all staff and (b) staff at senior civil service level in (i) her Department and (ii) its agencies in the 2007-08 financial year; and how many payments were made. (207468)

The numbers of bonuses paid to all staff and the cost of these in the 2007-08 financial year are given in the following table:

Number of bonuses

Cost of bonuses (£)

Senior civil servants (SCS)

104

686,000

All staff below SCS

391

332,350

Total

495

1,018,350

In Communities and Local Government, bonus payments are made to those members of staff who are found to have made a significant contribution towards the achievement of the teams, and/or Department’s objectives. Individuals are expected to show that they have exceeded the requirements set for the achievement of the objective and have demonstrated exemplary behaviour in doing so. Our senior civil service staff members are also assessed against a range of factors, such as:

The achievement of their Prime Objective which focuses on the way in which they lead, manage and develop their staff;

Degree to which business objectives are met;

Delivery for Ministers;

Demonstration of skills such as judgement, leadership and the PSG skills;

Effective resource management

Details of bonuses paid in the Department’s agencies is not held centrally.

Departmental Procurement

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Brentwood and Ongar of 15 May 2008, Official Report, column 1685W, on departmental procurement, when the purchase order department became operational; and whether the database covers expenditure by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. (207599)

All purchase orders raised by the Department and its predecessor, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister which was formed in May 2002, are recorded on the Department's financial system.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Brentwood and Ongar of 15 May 2008, Official Report, column 1685W, on departmental procurement, what the financial trigger for a purchase order being required for expenditure is. (207600)

Departmental Public Participation

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what (a) surveys, (b) questionnaires and (c) other services were provided by polling companies for her Department in financial year 2007-08, broken down by company.[Official Report, 9 July 2008, Vol. 478, c. 9MC.] (200017)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Fareham (Mr. Hoban) on 29 November 2007, Official Report, column 681W.

Between then and the end of the financial year, the Department has undertaken the following work from polling companies.

Andrew Irving Associates Ltd.

Quantitative survey on the Code for Sustainable Homes

Pre and post tracking research on the effectiveness of the ‘Pull your Finger out’ fire safety campaign

Fire Safety Research into the Holiday Accommodation Sector

COI

Fire fighting careers research and recommendations

Fire Kills Literature Review

Fire Kills campaign recognition omnibus survey

Workshops on the importance of the English language to building communities

Survey of planning professionals about whether Planning Portal services met their needs

Cragg Ross Dawson Ltd.

Energy Performance of Buildings Directive research

Dorset County Council

Housing related research

GFK NOP Ltd.

HIPs consumer awareness, qualitative, and omnibus research

Accountability of local council services—omnibus survey

TH Seagrove

Telephone survey of tenant activists on their awareness etc. of landlords work in terms of the Respect agenda.

IPSOS Mori

Third tranche of 2007 employee survey and the production of aggregated results from the full 2007 employee survey

Senior Civil Service survey

Employee engagement workshops

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what consultants have been contracted by her Department to conduct public participation activities in the last three years; and how much expenditure her Department has incurred on each such contract to date. (206213)

Disabled Facilities Grants

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) how much she has allocated to disability facility grants for each of the (a) last and (b) next five years; what estimate she has made of the average local authority contribution to such grants over the same periods; and what estimate she has made of the overall cost to the public purse of disability facility grants over the same periods; (207459)

(2) what assessment she has made of the likely effect of the removal of the obligation on local authorities to contribute 40 per cent. of disability facility grant awards on the (a) level and (b) effectiveness of such awards; and if she will make a statement.

The Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) is a mandatory grant used to provide adaptations to the homes of disabled people. Local authorities in England report to the Department their annual DFG expenditure through the Housing Strategy Statistical Appendix. The 2006-07 Housing Strategy Statistical Appendix report is the latest available data and is available at:

http://www.communities.gov.uk/housing/housingresearch/housingstatistics/housingstatisticsby/localauthorityhousing/dataforms/357553/hssa200607/

Communities and Local Government do not hold information on how much local authorities plan to spend on DFG in the next five years.

The following table details funding for the past five years and Communities and Local Government funding for the current Comprehensive Spending Review period.

£

DFG

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

2009-10

2010-11

Government contribution

99,000

99,572

111,294

120,723

138,250

146,081

156,000

166,000

Total including LA contribution

194,890

210,922

221,289

232,828

259,389

274,356

n/a

n/a

Note: 2007-08 and 2008-09 are estimated returns provided by the 2006-07 Housing Strategy Statistical Appendix.

Prior to 2008-09 Communities and Local Government contributed 60 per cent. of the value of the DFG to local authorities up to an agreed allocation with the local authority funding the remaining 40 per cent. Many local authorities have been spending considerably more than the 40 per cent. match funding element of the DFG on providing adaptations. The mandatory nature of the DFG remains in place with the legal responsibility for delivering the scheme resting with local authorities. It is therefore expected that the removal of the 60:40 split will have no impact on the level of local authority investment.

Relaxing the ring fence will enable local authorities to bring together different funding streams, allowing greater flexibility and freedom in administering the programme. It will also empower local authorities to design services which fit with local delivery arrangements and the needs of individuals. Local authorities will, for example, be able to use DFG funding to cover the costs of moving home, where this is a more appropriate solution to adaptation.

Faith Communities Capacity Building Fund

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will make it her policy to review the granting of funds under the Faith Communities Capacity Building Fund to the New Kadampa Tradition; and if she will make a statement. (207497)

The Faith Communities Capacity Building Fund covered the period August 2006 to March 2008. The fund has now finished and all monies have been distributed. The Government will not be reviewing the allocation of funding.

Fire Services

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) on what date the new networked fire control rooms provided by EADS will be in operational use; (207524)

(2) what liability fire and rescue authorities will have for the costs of each regional control centre (RCC) company (a) before and (b) after each RCC becomes operational;

(3) if she will publish the FiReControl project timetable for each (a) Government Office region and (b) fire authority; and on what anticipated dates fire and rescue authorities will become responsible for the operating costs of each regional control centre.

A Regional Control Centre (RCC) becomes operational when the first Fire and Rescue Authority (FRA) transfer calls to that RCC. Within a region, FRAs will then cut-over sequentially. The programme is detailed in the following table. All FRAs should have transferred its calls to the RCC network by September 2011.

Prior to cut-over, CLG will meet the running costs. As each FRA cuts over it will meet its share of the costs of running the RCC. How costs are apportioned between FRAs within a region is a matter for each region to decide.

Fire and Rescue Authority

Control room functions cut-over

East Midlands

Derbyshire

October 2009

Leicestershire

January 2010

Nottinghamshire

March 2010

Lincolnshire

May 2010

Northamptonshire

July 2010

North East

Durham and Darlington

January 2010

Tyne and Wear

October 2009

Cleveland

March 2010

Northumberland

March 2010

South West

Somerset

October 2009

Devon

January 2010

Dorset

March 2010

Avon

May 2010

Cornwall

July 2010

Wiltshire

September 2010

Gloucestershire

January 2011

West Midlands

Staffordshire

January 2010

West Midlands

March 2010

Shropshire

May 2010

Hereford and Worcester

September 2010

Warwickshire

July 2010

South East

Hampshire

May 2010

Royal Berkshire

September 2010

Oxfordshire

January 2011

Kent

March 2011

East Sussex

May 2011

Buckinghamshire

Jul 2011

Isle of Wight

September 2011

Surrey

September 2011

West Sussex

July 2010

North West

Cumbria

March 2011

Cheshire

March 2011

Lancashire

March 2011

Greater Manchester

September 2010

Merseyside

January 2011

Yorkshire and Humberside

West Yorkshire

January 2011

South Yorkshire

March 2011

Humberside

May 2011

North Yorkshire

May 2011

East of England

Essex

July 2011

Norfolk

September 2011

Cambridge and Peterborough

May 2011

Hertfordshire

September 2011

Bedfordshire and Luton

July 2011

Suffolk

July 2011

London

London

November 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what effect she estimates the FiReControl project will have on the council tax precept on individual fire and rescue authorities over the next three years; (207525)

(2) what funding has been set aside by her Department to finance any new burden costs associated with the implementation of regional control centres;

(3) what liability or financial burden fire and rescue authorities will bear for any cost overruns in delivery of the FiReControl project;

(4) what changes will be made to the funding of fire and rescue authorities as a consequence of the FiReControl project.

The FiReControl Project should have no impact on council tax precepts for Fire and Rescue Authorities. In line with the Government's commitment on new burdens, a specific grant of £92,200,000 has been allocated to cover the net additional cost to Fire and Rescue Authorities of the FiReControl Project over the period of the Comprehensive Spending Review 2007. Any cost overruns in the delivery of the project will be met by Communities and Local Government.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment has been made of the cost of ensuring that planned accommodation moves as part of the FiReControl project comply with critical national infrastructure requirements. (207530)

The new FiReControl network will be part of the Critical National Infrastructure (CNI). This includes buildings, facilities management arrangements, IT and people. This has always been a requirement of the project and no separate assessment has been made of the cost of meeting requirements for individual components.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when the FiReControl business case will next be updated. (207531)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Peterborough (Mr. Jackson), on 14 May 2008, Official Report, column 1631W.

Fire Services: Mentally Ill

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many fire fighters were diagnosed with mental health problems in each year since 1997. (208066)

Information on the number of firefighters diagnosed with mental health problems is not held centrally. Available information is for ill-health retirements on grounds of mental health, from 2001-02, and is set out in the following table. Figures for 1999-2000 and 2000-01 are for all Fire and Rescue Service staff and relate to ill-health retirements on psychological grounds.

Ill-health retirements in England on psychological1 and mental health2 grounds

All staff

1999-2000

134

2000-01

137

Firefighters

2001-02

140

2002-03

127

2003-04

114

2004-05

79

2005-06

53

2006-07

27

Notes: 1. 1999-2000 and 2000-01. Figures relate to all staff, separate figures for firefighters are not available. 2. 2001-02 to 2006-07.

Floods: Planning

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will consider introducing changes to planning regulations and guidance to tackle levels of flood risk in the East Thames corridor; and if she will make a statement. (206038)

Sir Michael Pitt's interim conclusion from his inquiry into the lessons learned from the floods last summer, is that the new Planning Policy Statement 25 ‘Development and Flood Risk’ (PPS25) is sound but should be rigorously applied by local authorities. Work on achieving this is already well in hand. The Practice Guide to PPS25, which will provide practical advice to local authorities on implementing the policy, is due to be published shortly.

Green Belt: East of England

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what changes or reviews of Green Belt designation the East of England Regional Spatial Strategy proposes; and in which locations. (207564)

The East of England Plan proposes green belt reviews to provide for essential housing and business growth focussed on the new towns to the north of London. The reviews will take place at Harlow, Hemel Hempstead, Stevenage and Welwyn/Hatfield. The East of England Plan will, however, result in a net increase in green belt since it also proposes compensating green belt extensions north of Harlow and west of Stevenage.

Housing: Sustainable Development

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when registered social landlords will be required to build to (a) Level 4, (b) Level 5 and (c) Level 6 of the Code for Sustainable Homes. (207445)

The Housing Corporation set out in their Design and Quality Strategy that new build schemes funded through their National Affordable Housing Programme for the three years 2008-09 to 2010-11 would meet level 3 of the Code for Sustainable Homes. They have committed to increasing the minimum requirement to Code level 4 for their next programme starting in 2011-12, with a view to achieving Code level 6 by 2015, if the technology needed to achieve this cost effectively is available.

Improvement and Development Agency: Freedom of Information

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether the Improvement and Development Agency is subject to the provisions of (a) the Environmental Information Regulations and (b) the Freedom of Information Act 2000. (207526)

The Improvement and Development Agency (IDeA) is not subject to the provisions of either the Environmental Information Regulations or the Freedom of Information Act (FoI), but they comply with requests made under the legislation as if they were.

Local Government

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether joint committees created between local authorities under sections 101 and 102 of the Local Government Act 1972 may (a) impose stipulations on the use of whole council elections in each partner local authority, (b) impose stipulations on the number of councillors per ward in each partner local authority and (c) place additional statutory obligations on the elected members of each partner local authority. (206811)

Such joint committees cannot impose stipulations on the use of whole council elections or on the number of councillors per ward in each partner local authority: nor can they place additional statutory obligations on the elected members of each partner local authority.

Local Government Finance: Recreation Spaces

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what funding her Department is providing to local authorities for (a) improvements to park facilities and (b) floodlighting and artificial sports pitches in parks in 2008-09. (207070)

Local authority expenditure on these facilities can be funded from unhypothecated grant, council taxes or fees and charges.

In addition, the funding we are providing for the Thames Gateway provides support for a range of public realm projects, often through local authorities, which may include park facilities, floodlighting and artificial sports pitches in parks. This includes £35 million to the Thames Gateway Parklands programme, to celebrate and enhance the gateway’s character and some of this funding may be allocated to local authorities to provide such facilities. Decisions on the allocation of funding under this programme to particular projects have yet to be taken.

Local Government: Greater Manchester

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether the negotiations on the multi-area agreement for Greater Manchester will address (a) the number of councillors per ward, (b) additional statutory obligations on the elected members of and (c) the use of whole council elections in each local authority in Greater Manchester. (206747)

The Greater Manchester authorities have not proposed, as part of the Multi Area Agreement they are negotiating with Government, any changes to the number of councillors per ward, additional statutory obligations on the elected members of and the use of whole council elections in each local authority in Greater Manchester.

Parking: Valuation

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether the number of parking spaces within the curtilage of a retail development is taken into account by the Valuation Office Agency and contributes as a value significant or site positive feature towards its rateable value. (207565)

The presence and number of car parking spaces within the curtilage of a retail development is a factor likely to contribute to its rental value, and—to the extent that it does—therefore to be taken into account in arriving at rateable value.

Planning: Dorset

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what discussions her Department has had on planning issues with landowners in (a) Lytchett Minster and (b) Lytchett Maltravers in Mid Dorset and North Poole constituency in the last 12 months. (207847)

The Department has not held any discussions on planning issues with landowners in Lytchett Minster and Lytchett Matravers in the last 12 months.

Playgrounds: Vandalism

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many public playgrounds have been closed due to vandalism and anti-social behaviour in the last four years; and what steps her Department is taking to address this matter. (204943)

Information on the number of public playgrounds that have been closed in the past four years due to vandalism and antisocial behaviour is not held centrally.

There are a range of measures available to local agencies to deal with antisocial behaviour committed in and around playgrounds or any other public place. Antisocial behaviour tools and powers are normally used in an incremental way and should always be used in a way that is proportionate to the behaviour committed. Warnings, acceptable behaviour contracts (ABCs), dispersal orders, parenting contracts and orders are normally used to tackle low-level antisocial behaviour. For more serious cases of antisocial behaviour, antisocial behaviour orders (ASBOs) may be used.

Post Offices: Non-domestic Rates

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many post offices were recorded on the Valuation Office Agency’s ratings list in England in the most recent period for which figures are available. (203039)

The number of properties with a description of ‘post office and premises’ appearing in the rating lists for England as at 31 March 2008 was 3,211. This does not include many post office facilities in premises primarily used for other purposes, such as shops.

Children, Schools and Families

Academies: Energy

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families which city academies in each region are most energy efficient. (206190)

Academies: Halifax

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families whether Peter Clarke played a role in the process by which the Ridings School in Halifax was considered for academy status; whether Peter Clarke is employed by his Department; and if he will make a statement. (206210)

The Ridings School has not been considered for academy status. A decision to close The Ridings School was made by Calderdale Council on 29 October 2007. I can confirm that Peter Clark is employed by the Department of Children, Schools and Families as a Senior Education Adviser.

Advanced Extension Awards

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what plans he has for the future of advanced extension awards; and if he will make a statement. (207119)

We set out our plans for the future of Advanced Extension Awards in the consultation document, “Promoting achievement, valuing success: a strategy for 14-19 qualifications”, published in March 2008. Advanced Extension Awards (AEAs) overlap in purpose with the stretch and challenge being introduced into A level from September 2008. Our 14-19 Expert Group advised that, as part of moves to simplify the qualification offer, we should work with the awarding bodies to withdraw AEAs as new A levels are introduced. We are doing this and expect the last AEAs to be taken in 2009.

Children: Armed Forces

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) what assessment he has made of the educational performance of children who have one or both parents in the armed forces; and if he will make a statement; (207157)

(2) how many and what proportion of 15-year-olds with parents in the armed forces achieved five GCSEs at grades A* to C including English and mathematics in each year since 2001; and if he will make a statement.

In January 2008, the School Census collected a services children indicator for the first time. No analysis has yet been carried out on prior academic attainment of the children flagged as being service children. To carry out this analysis would go over the disproportionate cost threshold. Analysis on GCSE attainment in 2007/08 is not yet possible.

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what steps he is taking to improve the educational outcomes of children with parents in the armed forces; and if he will make a statement. (207165)

We are working closely with the Ministry of Defence on the Service Personnel Command Paper and have regular contact with them on educational issues facing children of service personnel. This year, as part of the Annual School Census, the Department has begun collecting details on these children and this will allow us to look at their attainment over time.

Children: Asthma

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what guidance his Department has provided to (a) local education authorities and (b) schools on the management in schools of (i) asthma and (ii) other long-term medical conditions of children. (206535)

This Department has issued guidance, available to local authorities and schools, entitled “Managing Medicines in Schools and Early Years Settings”.

The guidance was published in 2005 jointly with the Department of Health, and specifically addresses what schools can do to help children with asthma and other medical conditions.

In the same year we also produced, with the Council for Disabled Children, a handbook entitled “Including me: managing complex health needs in schools and early years settings”. This handbook is a practical guide to help local authorities, schools, early years settings and health providers develop policies and procedures to support children with medical needs.

Departmental Manpower

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many (a) UK citizens born in the UK, (b) UK citizens born abroad and (c) foreign nationals were employed as staff by his Department and its agencies in each of the last five years. (206542)

The information about UK citizens born in the UK or abroad, and foreign nationals, could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. All potential new appointments to the Department for Children, Schools and Families are subject to nationality, passport, proof of identity and reference checks and clearance before contracts of employment are issued.

Departmental Pensions

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what the effect on his Department's expenditure would be of increasing the employee contribution to each pension scheme for which his Department is responsible by one per cent.; and if he will make a statement. (200729)

Increasing the employee contribution rate for the teachers’ pension scheme (TPS) would have no impact upon the Department's expenditure, as the cost would be borne by members of the scheme.

Departmental Vetting

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families whether (a) UK citizens born in the UK, (b) UK citizens born abroad and (c) foreign nationals recruited to his Department and its agencies are subject to (i) UK and (ii) overseas criminal record checks; and if he will make a statement. (206471)

Since 2002, it has been my Department’s policy to complete enhanced Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checks for all individuals (regardless of place of birth) who occupy certain ‘regulated’ posts as defined by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (Exceptions Order) 1975. These posts involve direct contact with children or vulnerable adults. From 12 December 2007, following an amendment to the aforementioned Order, my Department has also completed enhanced checks for all individuals (again regardless of place of birth) who occupy posts with access to sensitive or personal information about children or vulnerable adults.

The Cabinet Office’s Baseline Personnel Security Standard Good Practice Guide indicates that in certain circumstances overseas checks may be required. My Department complies with this guidance and ensures that appropriate checks are carried out where a lack of UK residence requires it.

Ecology: Education

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what steps his Department is taking to increase the number of pupils studying for examinations in subjects relevant to the understanding of climate change. (206186)

The Department has produced new resources over the last academic year to embed sustainability in the curriculum and encourage young people to learn about issues like climate change. As part of the Action Plan for Geography, teaching resources have been developed for the new secondary curriculum to be taught in schools from September 2008, and these include modules on climate change. Environmental interaction and sustainable development are key concepts in the new Key Stage 3 geography curriculum. Making the curriculum more relevant for pupils and reforming teaching and learning through the Action Plan for Geography are likely to have a positive impact on the numbers of pupils choosing to study for geography GCSE.

Issues affecting climate change are also covered in the secondary science curriculum. The Government are committed to increasing the number of young people studying for science qualifications and to help achieve this aim it has put in place a robust programme of work supported by £140 million investment over the next three years. This includes introducing a statutory entitlement for all students to study science courses leading to at least two GCSEs from September 2007; introducing a non- statutory entitlement from September 2008 for all pupils achieving level 6 at key stage 3 to study triple science GCSE, supported by the triple science support programme now in place; providing additional incentives to recruit more high quality science graduates into teaching; improving the quality of teaching by making available good quality continuing professional development through the network of Science Learning Centres; and providing good quality advice to key stage 3 pupils about the wide range of careers available to those who study science. The Department has also just embarked on a national communications strategy aimed at informing pupils, parents and others of the exciting opportunities that are open to students when they study science.

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what proportion of schools provide courses including teaching on (a) ecosystems, (b) microclimates, (c) renewable energy and (d) sustainability. (206188)

All of these areas are covered by the statutory Key Stage 3 programme of study for geography, and renewable energy and sustainability are also covered in the Key Stage 3 and 4 programmes of study for science, so all schools should be teaching them.

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what recent representations he has received on the efficacy of farm schools in educating children on environmental matters. (206192)

The Department has not received any recent representations on the efficacy of farm schools in educating children in environmental matters. However, through the our Growing Schools programme, we work very closely with organisations that promote children's understanding of food and agriculture, and the environmental issues linked to them, either through visits to farms or through growing within the school grounds.

Through the Growing Schools programme we have also supported the Year of Food and Farming, and funded the School Farms network to produce a resource to make the case for growing and keeping animals, and to guide schools step by step through everything from container growing to setting up school farms. The programme is also developing a new resource which considers how non-food crops are being used to produce renewable materials and fuels, and has close links with the Sustainable Schools Action Plan which shows how farms can help to highlight the sustainable "doorways" of food and drink, energy and water and local well-being.

General Certificate of Secondary Education

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many students who gained five A* to C grades at GCSE including English and mathematics in 2007 had not previously attained the required standard of level 4 or above in English, mathematics and science at Key Stage 2. (206867)

19,363 pupils who achieved five or more A* to C GCSE grades including English and mathematics in 2007 at the end of key stage 4, had not previously attained level 4 or above in either English or mathematics or science at key stage 2. This was 6 per cent. of all pupils who achieved five or more A* to C GCSE grades including English and mathematics in 2007; including pupils in the independent sector.

Of these 19,363 pupils, only 621 pupils had valid data for their prior attainment at key stage 2. This represents 0-2 per cent. of those pupils achieving five or more grades A*-C including English and mathematics.

Missing prior attainment may be due to a pupil attending an independent school where national curriculum testing at the end of key stage 2 is not compulsory. There will also be no key stage 2 result for any pupils that were not resident in England when they were aged 11. Disapplied pupils and those pupils who were absent from school when the tests took place have been included in the figures.

Gifted Children

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what private organisations are involved in the delivery of the gifted and talented programme; when the contract with each expires; what functions each is undertaking; and if he will make a statement. (205989)

The Department has contracts with the CfBT Education Trust to manage the YG&T—Young, Gifted and Talented—Learner Academy and with Capita to provide training, guidance and support for leading teachers of gifted and talented education and educators. Together the DCSF, CfBT and Capita manage and deliver the national programme for gifted and talented education at national level. Information on the duration of contacts is commercial in confidence.

Mathematics: Education

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families when he expects to publish the final report of the review of the teaching of mathematics by Sir Peter Williams. (206353)

Sir Peter Williams is expected to publish the final report of the Review of Mathematics Teaching in Early Years Settings and Primary Schools in June 2008.

National College for School Leadership: Expenditure

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what the annual expenditure was of the National College for School Leadership on (a) staff costs, (b) publicity and printing, (c) education and training and (d) other costs in the latest period for which figures are available. (207021)

The annual expenditure of the National College for School Leadership on staff costs, publicity and printing, education and training and other costs are:

2007-08

£000

Staffing costs

11,124

Print and publicity

4,415

Education and training

192,073

Other

23,400

Total investment

111,012

1 Spend (net of income) on programmes to deliver core college purpose. Majority of funding goes back to schools in subsidies, advice and programmes.

2 Includes spend on ICT, which supports on line access to programme materials.

The purpose of the National College for School Leadership is to improve the lives and life chances of all children throughout England by developing world-class school leaders, system leaders and future leaders for the wide-ranging challenges of leading 21st century schools.

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how much the National College for School Leadership spent on publishing and publicity in each of the last five years. (207022)

The National College for School Leadership expenditure on publishing and publicity in each of the last five years was:

£000

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

Advertising, marketing and public relations

409

523

737

1,534

1,963

Design and print (including spend on materials for programmes)

1,851

6,010

3,373

3,574

2,107

Multimedia

415

1,018

2,252

686

345

Other

512

285

0

0

0

Total spend on print and publishing

3,187

7,836

6,362

5,794

4,415

The purpose of the National College for School Leadership is to improve the lives and life chances of all children throughout England by developing world-class school leaders, system leaders and future leaders for the wide-ranging challenges of leading 21st century schools.

Newham Sports Academy: Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families if he will make a statement on funding for the Newham Sports Academy. (207269)

The only academy which is in feasibility is Stratford City Academy, The capital funding will be in the region of £35 million. This has been calculated by Partnership for Schools and is in tine with Building School for the Future and National Framework funding mechanisms. The academy will be an all age academy, providing 1,832 places for pupils aged three-18 years, The funding be will provided by the Department for Children, Schools and Families, the London borough of Newham and the sponsor, Lend Lease. The final amount will be confirmed at Outline Business Case stage later this year.

Like other academies, Stratford City Academy will receive revenue funding based on the local authority school funding formula, and national formulae applicable to other grants.

In addition, Ian Stewart, an independent reviewer, has been appointed to lead a review into a potential educational legacy at the Olympic stadium. He has been consulting with the Olympic Development Authority and London Development Agency, among other key stakeholders, including community groups, and will report to Ministers at the end of June.

Primary Education: Admissions

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families if he will commission research on the impact of (a) the latest code on admissions and (b) changes in the housing market, including the effects of rental provision and house prices, on the volatility in the demand for primary school places. (207332)

September 2008 represents the start of the first school year since compliance with the School Admissions Code became a statutory requirement. The code and related admissions legislation help ensure that school places are awarded openly and fairly. During the summer we will be consulting on a number of measures that will further strengthen the code and enhance the admissions process. As with all policies it is important to have a clear picture of their impact and we will be carrying out a comprehensive review of all aspects of the admissions process in the future. We have no plans to commission any research into any links between the housing market and school places.

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) what account has been taken of trends in and forecasts of demand for primary school places in capital allocations for primary school buildings over the next three years; and if he will make a statement; (207337)

(2) what financial support from his Department is available to local authorities which experience an unexpected increase in demand for primary school places; and if he will make a statement.

Capital investment for primary schools is allocated by a number of factors, including pupil numbers and pupil growth. Local authorities can also request extra capital, if they have exceptional pupil growth; we have just made such allocations to four local authorities to cover the next three years. As regards unexpected increases in demand, we would expect local authorities to reprioritise within their overall capital allocations from central Government. Government support for local government investment programmes is at unprecedented levels, and includes £1.9 billion extra in the next three years through the Primary Capital Programme.

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what data his Department collects on the number of unplaced children due to enter their first year of primary school in September in each London borough; and if he will make a statement. (207341)

Local authorities are under a duty to make sure that every child of compulsory school age has a suitable school place. However, we do not collect data about primary school offers or data about the number of unplaced children.

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what discussions his Department has had with London boroughs on the provision of primary school places for September; and if he will make a statement. (207342)

The Department has had no discussions with London boroughs on the provision of primary school places for September.

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) what guidance and assistance his Department provides for local authorities planning for the future provision of primary school places; and if he will make a statement; (207343)

(2) which bodies are responsible for providing statistics, data and advice for local authorities planning the future provision of primary school places; and if he will make a statement;

(3) when the data sources and analytical frameworks for predicting the future demand for primary school age children by local authorities were last reviewed for their accuracy; and if he will make a statement;

(4) what factors are taken into account by his Department when forecasting future demand for primary school places; and if he will make a statement.

Planning for future provision of school places is the statutory responsibility of local authorities (LAs). It is for each LA to ensure there are sufficient school places to meet the needs of the population and to review the position regularly. The Department has published guidance to help LAs make accurate projections of pupil numbers on a rolling three-year basis for school funding purposes. The guidance is available at:

www.teachernet.gov.uk/management/schoolfunding/Resources/pupilprojectionguide/

However, the Department is currently looking at LA forecasting methodologies for future medium and longer term pupil place requirements with a view to developing best practice guidance to help LAs forecast as accurately as possible. Each LA is responsible for researching its own advice, data and statistics for the planning of future provision.

Primary Education: Appeals

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what avenues for appeal are available to parents who are not satisfied with the primary school place offered to their child for September 2008 by their local education authority's co-ordinated admissions system; and if he will make a statement. (207335)

All parents that are not satisfied with their offer of a school place have the right of appeal to an independent panel, Parents can also appeal for a place at any of their preferred schools for which they did not receive an offer of a place.

Pupils: Per Capita Costs

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how much funding was provided per pupil for schools in (a) Northamptonshire and (b) England in the most recent period for which figures are available. (206833)

The revenue per pupil funding figure for Northamptonshire local authority for 2007-08 is £4,170. The England average for 2007-08 is £4,530. Figures are in cash terms.

Reading: Young Offenders

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what information his Department holds on the reading age of people in young offender institutions; and if he will make a statement. (207503)

Data available to the Department on young people’s literacy levels in Young Offender Institutions (YOIs) has improved under the roll out of the Offender Learning and Skills Service.

Data from the Learning and Skills Council’s (2006-07) initial literacy assessments on young people (for young people placed by the Youth Justice Board into YOIs) is as follows:

1,367 young people were judged to be at Entry Level 1 or 2 (the reading age expected of five to seven-year-olds)

2,219 young offenders were judged to be at Entry Level 3 (the reading age expected of seven to 11-year-olds)

2,506 young offenders were judged to be at Level 1 Literacy (the reading age expected of 11 to 14-year-olds)

976 young offenders were judged to be at Level 2 Literacy (the reading age expected of 14 to 16-year-olds)

54 young offenders were judged to fall below Entry Level 1

Schools: Admissions

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families which maintained schools asked prospective parents to make a financial contribution as part of the process of school admission in each year from 2005 to 2008; and if he will make a statement. (201087)

The Department does not routinely check the content of schools’ admission arrangements as they are subject to a local consultation process. In our recent analysis of the published admission arrangements for 2008 in three local authority areas, we found that seven out of 570 schools had included a statement or request regarding financial contributions in their admission arrangements; and six of these schools confirmed this when we wrote to them asking them to verify our findings. This is a small minority, but we are very clear that schools cannot ask for a financial contribution as part of the admission process and wherever this is found to be happening we will not tolerate it. Even if voluntary, linking a charge to the school admission process suggests that parents who will pay the voluntary charge will be given priority if the school is oversubscribed.

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what assessment his Department has made of the difference in the costs to local education authorities of registering a new child in (a) primary and (b) secondary schools at (i) the start of the school year and (ii) another time. (206845)

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what (a) rules, (b) best practice guidance and (c) financial incentives and penalties are relevant to the management of surplus school places by local authorities in (i) primary schools and (ii) secondary schools; and if he will make a statement. (207336)

There is no ‘surplus places’ rule in place. However, surplus places can represent a poor use of resources, particularly where schools with surplus also have poor standards, The Department and the Audit Commission have jointly developed a toolkit for LAs and schools to help them manage surplus places in primary schools. The toolkit is available on Teachernet at:

www.teachernet.gov.uk/management/fallingschoolrolls/

The Department provides capital funding under TCP (targeted capital funding) and PCP (primary capital programme) to LAs for primary provision and BSF (Building Schools for the Future) to help LAs remove surplus places as part of the drive to raise standards. There are no financial penalties governing the management of surplus school places by LAs in primary or secondary schools.

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) when he last assessed the effect of the 1989 Greenwich judgment on school admissions in London boroughs; and if he will make a statement; (207345)

(2) what guidance his Department provides to local authorities and schools on compliance with the 1989 Greenwich judgment on school admissions; and if he will make a statement;

(3) whether his Department has undertaken research on the impact of the 1989 Greenwich judgment on school admissions; and if he will make a statement.

The Greenwich Judgment (R v. Greenwich London Borough Council, exparte John Ball Primary School (1989) 88 LGR 589 [1990] Fam Law 469) established that priority may not be given to children simply because they live in a local authority's administrative area. It was a sensible recognition that parents who live in one local authority area, particularly inner city areas, may be close to schools in a neighbouring authority and may wish to express a preference for those schools.

We provide guidance on setting admission arrangements that comply with this judgment in the School Admissions Code. It states in paragraph 1.16 that each local authority must ensure that their admissions policy does not disadvantage applications to their schools from families resident in other local authorities. The Department does not routinely collect or monitor school admission arrangements centrally, and has not commissioned any research into the effects of the judgment.

Schools: Energy

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what steps his Department is taking to ensure that newly built schools are (a) minimising their gas consumption and (b) maximising their reliance on alternative energy systems such as solar panels and photovoltaic cells. (206177)

The Department requires all new school buildings to reduce carbon emissions from new school buildings by 60 per cent. through a combination of energy efficiency measures and renewable energy systems. This requirement was confirmed in the Children's Plan,

We have developed guidance1 to help the designers of newly built schools achieve this reduction, and are providing additional funding to all new secondary schools within BSF (Building Schools for the Future), academies and One School Pathfinder programmes for this purpose.

The guidance encourages the use of low carbon energy sources for both heat and electricity, without being prescriptive about design solutions. The guidance is supported by a simple piece of software, to be used at the early stages in the design of new buildings, which allows designers to test the potential carbon savings and likely capital costs for combinations of technologies. Both the guidance and the software tool present biomass, heat pumps and combined heat and power as design options to reduce dependence on fossil fuels (such as natural gas), and allow users to evaluate the effect of a number of renewable sources of energy including solar panels and photovoltaic cells.

1 www.teachernet.gov.uk/carbontargets

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how much funding will be available during the 2007-08 Session to refurbish schools with (a) low carbon and (b) sustainable energy systems. (206184)

The Department will be investing £21.9 billion in new and refurbished schools over the period 2008-11. This includes £1.9 billion investment for the primary capital programme and £9.6 billion for Building Schools for the Future.

Within the capital programme we do not earmark funding for specific measures such as low carbon or sustainable energy systems. Funding is delegated to local authorities for investment in local priorities. Local authorities, to whom we delegate the funding, are required to meet the Department's carbon reduction target for new buildings, and comply with Building Regulations and local planning requirements. So significant (but unquantifiable) sums of money will go to these purposes.

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what steps he has taken to improve the management of sustainable energy systems in schools built in the last two years; and if he will make a statement. (206191)

The Department has published a volume of case studies of sustainable schools which highlight examples of good and bad practice, including the operation of low energy systems that have been incorporated in their design. A copy of this publication, “Design of Sustainable Schools—Case Studies”, has been sent to all local authorities.

The DCSF has also provided specific advice on energy management to all schools, not just those built in the past two years. We have prepared a good practice guide on energy and water management; a bursars’ guide to sustainable school operation which focuses on energy; and developed top 10 tips to improve energy and water efficiency. Each of these documents refers users to comprehensive sources of further information.

The Department for Communities and Local Government is responsible for Building Regulations which already require that new schools are provided with full details of the installed systems and their methods of operation and maintenance so that they use no more fuel and power than is reasonable. It is the responsibility of the construction team to produce this information.

Ultimately the management of systems within school buildings is the responsibility of their owners and occupiers.

Schools: Isle of Wight

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how much (a) Building Schools for the Future and (b) other capital expenditure relating to the Isle of Wight has been brought forward to (i) 2008-09 and (ii) 2009-10 from his Department’s original plans. (207293)

To date, no capital expenditure relating to the Isle of Wight has been brought forward to 2008-09 or 2009-10 from our original plans. The Isle of Wight and its schools are receiving capital support of £6.5 million in 2008-09 and £11.6 million in 2009-10. The increase in 2009-10 reflects an allocation of £3 million for the new Primary Capital programme, also £2 million Targeted Capital funding. In addition, the authority has a Building Schools for the Future pathfinder project which is receiving capital support of £32 million.

Schools: Offensive Weapons

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what steps he is taking to encourage schools to use their powers to screen pupils randomly using metal detectors and conduct searches of pupils suspected of carrying a weapon. (205911)

Schools are generally safe places. To help head teachers keep them safe, we gave schools in May 2007 a new power to search, without consent, any pupil whom they suspect, after random screening or otherwise, to be carrying a weapon. When issuing guidance on this new power, my Department also brought to schools’ attention their existing power to screen pupils at random for weapons using screening wands or arches. The guidance set out not only the benefits but also the acknowledged risks of using either power.

It is for head teachers to determine if and when they use these powers, based on their knowledge of their own school. The Department does not collect data on the use of these powers, nor are schools obliged to tell us when they conduct searches or if they find weapons. When a pupil is suspected of carrying a weapon, some schools may rely on the direct and immediate intervention of the local police, and we would not wish to discourage them from taking that approach.

Schools: Standards

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what estimate he has made of the number of classrooms in maintained schools which were out of action due to their state of disrepair at the latest date for which figures are available. (206932)

The Department does not hold information on the number of classrooms which were out of action due to their state of disrepair. The bulk of schools capital is allocated by formula to authorities and schools, so that they can address their local asset management planning priorities, including the improvement of the condition of buildings. Schools decide on the amount of revenue funding to allocate to building repairs and maintenance.

Central Government capital support for investment in schools has increased from under £700 million in 1996-97 to £6.7 billion in 2008-09 and will rise further to £8.2 billion by 2010-11. A survey of local authorities in 2007 indicated that 27,000 classrooms had been built or improved in the 10 years from 1997, in addition to classrooms improved as part of whole-school schemes.

Special Educational Needs: Disadvantaged

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what proportion of pupils (a) with a special educational need, (b) on school action, (c) on school action plus and (d) with a statement of special educational need are entitled to free school meals; and if he will make a statement. (207167)

The requested information is shown in the table.

Maintained primary and secondary schools1: Number and percentage of pupils known to be eligible for free school meals by SEN provision2, January 2007 England

Maintained primary

Maintained secondary3

Total pupils2

Number of pupils known to be eligible for free school meals

Percentage of pupils known to be eligible for free school meals4

Total pupils2

Number of pupils known to be eligible for free school meals

Percentage of pupils known to be eligible for free school meals4

SEN provision

No provision

3,320,060

432,250

13.0

2,670,850

280,620

10.5

Total number of pupils with SEN without statements

720,890

207,780

28.5

531,610

132,240

24.9

School Action

485,260

133,560

27.5

365,130

85,710

23.5

School Action Plus

243,630

74,210

30.5

166,480

46,530

28.0

Statement of SEN

61,800

15,480

25.0

70,020

16,840

24.0

Total SEN5

790,690

223,250

28.2

601,630

149,080

24.8

1 Includes middle schools as deemed. 2 Includes dually registered pupils and boarding pupils. 3 Excludes City Technology Colleges and Academies. 4 Number of pupils known to be eligible for free school meals expressed as a percentage of number (headcount) of pupils in each SEN provision. 5 Includes pupils with statements, and those identified by schools as having SEN who do not have statements. Note:Totals may not appear to equal the sum of the component parts because numbers have been rounded to the nearest 10.

Source: School Census.

Specialised Diplomas

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what methods schools and colleges may employ to select students for diploma courses; and if he will make a statement. (207505)

The prime criterion for deciding whether a young person undertakes a diploma is whether it is the best option for him or her. Diplomas, along with apprenticeships and general qualifications, are an important part of ensuring the right choices are available to young people.

Specialist Schools

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what his most recent estimate is of the number of maintained secondary schools which are entitled to but have not yet become specialist schools; and what his most recent estimate is of the annual cost of increasing the funding of these schools to the average level of schools granted specialist status. (201103)

There are 343 maintained secondary schools which are not specialist, although these are not all eligible to join the programme because they do not all meet the requirements of the Specialist Schools programme. Should they all join the programme, the extra revenue cost would be around £33.3 million.

Teachers: Mathematics

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) what the minimum level qualification in mathematics is for a qualified teacher of mathematics in a (a) primary and (b) secondary school; (206351)

(2) what estimate he has made of the average level qualification in mathematics of recently qualified teachers of mathematics in (a) primary and (b) secondary schools.

The minimum qualification level required of someone entering initial teacher training (ITT) is an equivalent to a grade C GCSE in English and mathematics. Those training to teach pupils aged three to 11 must additionally have reached this standard in a science subject. This minimum standard must be reached in order to train for the primary or secondary phase and in any subject, At the end of their training, all trainees must pass the skills tests in numeracy, literacy and ICT and be awarded Qualified Teacher Status before they can be classed as a qualified teacher.

The 2002 Secondary School Curriculum and Staffing Survey reported that 42 per cent. of maths teachers had a relevant degree in the subject they taught and 76 per cent. had a relevant post A-level qualification. The 2007 report will be published on 29 May providing an update on these figures, There are no comparable data available for primary teachers.

It is not possible to make an estimate of average mathematics qualifications of new teachers. Those who trained as undergraduates may have gained a mathematics degree as part of their ITT programme; some trainees may have mathematics-related qualifications that are not collected in the application process and others may have gained a Postgraduate Certificate of Education in mathematics as part of their ITT.

Teachers: Pay

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what the average salary of teachers in (a) Cornwall, (b) the South West and (c) England was in each year since 1979. (205618)

The following table provides the gross average salary, including all allowances, of full-time regular qualified teachers of all grades in local authority maintained nursery/primary and secondary schools in Cornwall, the south west Government office region and England and Wales for each year, where available, since 1979. Figures from 1979 to 1993 are only available for England and Wales not for teachers other than in nursery/primary and secondary schools.

Gross average salary, of full-time regular qualified teachers in local authority maintained nursery/primary and secondary schools1 in Cornwall, the south west Government office region, England and England and Wales

£

Cornwall

South West

England

England and Wales

1979

2

2

2

5,060

1980

2

2

2

6,090

1981

2

2

2

7,640

1982

2

2

2

8,300

1983

2

2

2

8,890

1984

2

2

2

9,400

1985

2

2

2

9,950

1986

2

2

2

10,850

1987

2

2

2

12,410

1988

2

2

2

13,400

1989

2

2

2

14,380

1990

2

2

2

15,520

1991

2

2

2

17,140

1992

2

2

2

19,230

1993

2

2

2

20,750

1994

20,890

20,790

21,040

20,970

1995

20,890

22,620

21,040

21,550

1996

22,080

21,850

22,080

22,060

1997

22,810

22,600

22,810

22,790

1998

23,500

23,210

23,440

23,430

1999

24,500

24,120

24,340

24,340

2000

25,340

25,000

25,290

25,280

2001

27,100

26,820

27,120

27,120

2002

28,170

27,980

28,580

28,580

2003

29,880

29,650

30,350

30,340

2004

31,100

30,820

31,620

31,580

20053

32,380

32,050

32,800

32,790

20063

33,470

33,170

33,830

33,820

1 Figures up to 1993 include sixth form colleges.

2 Not available.

3 Provisional estimates.

Source:

Database of Teacher records.

Teachers: Qualifications

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what proportion of (a) primary and (b) secondary school teachers had a (i) first, (ii) upper second, (iii) lower second and (iv) third class degree in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. (206230)

The information requested is held for an estimated 65 per cent. of full-time regular qualified nursery/primary teachers and 74 per cent. of secondary school teachers in service in the local authority maintained sector in England. The following table provides a breakdown of the class of degree held by these teachers in March 2006, the latest for which teachers in service can be identified. Information for previous years will be less complete and therefore does not provide directly comparable information.

Degree class of full-time regular qualified nursery/primary and secondary teachers in England, March 20061

Class of degree

Nursery/primary

Secondary

First class honours

4.2

4.8

Upper second class honours

7.5

8.7

Lower second class honours

5.2

6.4

Undivided second class honours

75.8

67.9

Third class honours

0.5

0.9

Unclassified honours

4.5

7.6

Pass

1.1

1.4

Degrees awarded outside the UK

1.2

2.4

Total

100.0

100.0

1 Provisional.

Source:

Database of teacher records and GTCE.

Teachers: Redundancy

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many teacher redundancies there were in England in each year from 1997 to 2007; and if he will make a statement. (205993)

Teachers: Training

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many applications for teacher training courses beginning in September 2008 have been made; how many were made in each of the previous five years; what assessment he has made of trends in the numbers of applications; and if he will make a statement. (206231)

The total number of applications to Initial Teacher Training (ITT) in England is not available centrally. The number of applicants to mainstream postgraduate ITT is collected; however the number of applicants to mainstream undergraduate ITT courses is not available. The number of applications for employment based ITT (EBITT) is not collected centrally. The numbers of trainees recruited to all ITT courses which will commence in 2008-09 are collected by the TDA and will be published by the Department in January 2009.

The following table show the number of applicants to mainstream postgraduate ITT courses in England for the academic year 2008-09 as at 7 May 2008, therefore this is not the final figure for applicants for 2008-09. Final data will be available in February 2009.

Number of applicants as at 7 May 2008

Primary

17,240

Middle

300

Secondary

18,470

Total

36,000

Notes:

1. Figures are founded to the nearest 10.

2. Some applications for Postgraduate ITT courses are made independently of the Graduate Teacher Training Registry and are not included in the figures.

3. Membership to the GTTR changes between years, therefore the higher education institutes covered may vary.

4. An applicant to ITT courses can make one or more application.

Source:

Graduate Teacher Training Registry (GTTR)

The following table shows the number of applicants to postgraduate ITT in England for entry in 2003-04 to 2007-08.

Number of applicants to postgraduate ITT courses in England for 2003-07

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

Primary

19,450

20,180

19,960

20,000

19,070

Middle

750

690

680

570

470

Secondary

26,520

27,300

28,360

27,450

25,170

Total

46,710

48,170

48,990

48,030

44,71.0.

Notes:

1. Figures are rounded to the nearest 10.

2. Some applications for Postgraduate ITT courses are made independently of the Graduate Teacher Training Registry and are not included in the figures.

3. Membership to the GTTR changes between years, therefore the higher education institutes covered may vary.

4. An applicant to ITT courses can make one or more application.

Source:

Graduate Teacher Training Registry (GTTR)

The number of people accepting offers to ITT courses is a more important indicator of take up rate than applications. Year on year changes in the number of acceptances between 2003-04 and 2007-08 have broadly reflected changes in ITT recruitment targets. While acceptances on PGCE courses for 2008-09 are a few percentage points down on last year, there are also fewer places on offer. The following table shows the number of successful mainstream postgraduate applicants in England.

Number of acceptances to postgraduate ITT courses in England for 2003 to 2007

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

Primary

8,850

9,320

9,110

8,540

8,330

Middle

620

550

480

380

370

Secondary

15,880

15,550

15,410

14,810

14,270

Total

25,350

25,420

25,000

23,730

22,970

Source:

Graduate Teacher Training Registry (GTTR)

The figures are published on the GTTR website at:

http://www.gttr.ac.uk/stats.html

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many and what proportion of newly-qualified teachers did not take up a teaching position in each of the last five years; what the average cost of training a teacher was in that period; and if he will make a statement. (206232)

The following table provides the percentage of teachers who achieved qualified teacher status in England in each calendar year from 2001 to 2005 who were not recorded as being in teaching service of any description in England and Wales by the following March. Figures for 2004 and 2005 are provisional and may overestimate the percentage who were not in service as a result of the late receipt of information.

Analysis of figures for earlier years shows that over 90 per cent. of teachers who achieve qualified teacher status enter teaching service of some description eventually.

Number of teachers achieving qualified teacher status (QTS)1 in England by calendar year who were not in service in England or Wales2 by the following March

Year of qualification

Percentage not in service

2001

17.7

2002

16.4

2003

18.7

20043

19.5

20053

21.6

1 Includes teachers achieving QTS through college and employment based routes.

2 Teachers in service include those in full or part-time service in England and Wales in the maintained sector, independent and the further or higher education. A small number of teachers may not be recorded in service who are teaching in institutions in England and Wales that are not part of the Teachers Pensions Scheme or who have gone into teaching service in Northern Ireland, Scotland or overseas.

3 Provisional.

Source:

Database of Teachers Records and GTOE

Information on how much it costs an initial teacher training (ITT) provider to train a teacher is not available centrally. The Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA) allocates and pays funding to providers but it is a matter for them to determine how they deploy that funding and other income received by them for the provision of teacher training,.

To provide an indication of costs, the following table shows the unit of funding allocated and paid by the TDA in academic year (AY) 2007-08 for a one-year mathematics, one-year science and, by the way of comparison, a one-year geography postgraduate ITT course. This is the national rate and rates for London based ITT will be higher (5 per cent. higher for outer London and 8 per cent. higher for inner London). Training bursaries are available for some subjects.

£

Subject

Unit of Funding

Bursary

Science

5,630

9,000

Maths

5,060

9,000

Other Secondary

4,900

6,000

In addition to the funding paid by the TDA, providers can also charge up to £3,070 (dependant on their access agreement) in tuition fees from individual trainees. Also trainees will be entitled to apply for loans to cover fees and loans and grants for maintenance as part of the standard student support arrangements.

Teachers: Vacancies

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many teaching posts in maintained schools in England were vacant at the latest date for which figures are available. (206937)

The latest available information shows that there were 2,510 teaching posts vacant in January 2008, This figure can be found in table 6 of the Statistical First Release ‘School Workforce in England’ at:

http://www.dfes.gov.uk/rsgateway/DB/SFR/s000787/index .shtml

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many teaching posts in maintained schools in (a) Greater London and (b) the London Borough of Bexley were vacant at the latest date for which figures are available. (207126)

The latest available information shows that there were 530 vacancies in London and there were 14 vacancies in the London borough of Bexley in January 2007. These figures can be found in table 19 of the Statistical First Release ‘School Workforce in England’ at:

http://www.dfes.gov.uk/rsgateway/DB/SFR/s000743/index .shtml

Young People

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families pursuant to the answer of 12 March 2008, Official Report, column 405W, whether each of the two staff are receiving at least one day of training or education each week. (205515)

My answer of 12 March explained that the Department employed two full time staff who were under 18 years of age, However the current position is that one left the Department on 31 March and the other is now over 18 years of age. Records of specific time spent on training or education, including day release, are not kept centrally; however inquiries indicate full induction and appropriate levels of training, including on-the-job training for the specific posts held, amounting to at least an average of one day a week training or education,

The Department is committed to encouraging young people to have the best possible start to their working lives and staff are directed to guidance on support for time off for study or training on the Department's main website.

Olympics

Olympic Games: China

To ask the Minister for the Olympics pursuant to the answer of 3 December 2007, Official Report, column 758W, on Olympic Games: China, what specific exceptions the Beijing Olympic Games Organising Committee referred to during discussions on their commitment to the free movement of accredited and non-accredited journalists. (206959)

Media regulations implemented in China on 1 January 2007 apply to all foreign correspondents. The regulations temporarily lift restrictions on travel and the requirement to seek official permission for interviews up to and during the Olympics. We regularly urge the Chinese government to ensure the regulations are fully implemented in all regions (including Tibet), that they remain in place after the Olympics and be extended to China's domestic journalists.

To ask the Minister for the Olympics pursuant to the answer of 12 May 2008, Official Report, column 1059, on the Beijing Olympic Games, what assessment she has made of China's compliance with its commitment to the International Olympic Committee to ensure the free movement of accredited and non-accredited journalists in the run-up to the Olympics. (206970)

We welcomed the media regulations implemented in China on 1 January 2007 for foreign correspondents that temporarily lift restrictions on travel and the requirement to seek official permission for interviews up to and during the Olympics. We regularly urge the Chinese government to ensure the regulations are fully implemented in all regions (including Tibet), that they will remain in place after the Olympics and be extended to China's domestic journalists. The Foreign Secretary did so most recently during his visit to China in February. I raised this during my last visit to Beijing in November 2007, when I also mentioned the practical effect of the arrangements with British journalists resident in Beijing. I continue to raise this, most recently during the Chinese Minister for Information's visit to the UK in March.

To ask the Minister for the Olympics how many Government officials will accompany her to the Beijing Olympic Games; what the purpose of each individual's attendance is; and what estimate she has made of the costs associated with such attendance. (206976)

All ministerial travel is undertaken in accordance with the Ministerial Code and Travel by Ministers, copies of which are available in the Library.

I will be accompanied by one Private Secretary to both the Olympic Games and the Paralympic Games. I will also be working closely with the officials from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, including press officers and staff from the Government Olympic Executive.

I would also refer the hon. Member to the answer being given to him today by my hon. Friend the Minister of Sport about attendance at the Beijing Games.

House of Commons Commission

Apprentices

To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission how many (a) apprenticeships and (b) advanced apprenticeships there were in the House of Commons in the most recent year for which figures are available. (206798)

The House at present has three full-time advanced apprentices in the Craft Team within the Facilities Department. Currently, one apprentice (hot-water fitter) is working on NVQ level 3 and the two others (carpenter/joiners) are working on NVQ level 2.

For the past five years the House has also run a 'pre-apprenticeship scheme' sponsored by Mr. Speaker. This scheme offers students from Southwark, an opportunity to spend one day per week for one school year in a work area of their choice. The scheme is being further developed for October 2008 so that the students who come to the House—around 10 to 12 per year—will spend two years here rather than one and will complete the first level of a modern apprenticeship.

Amendment Papers: Internet

To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission if he will take steps to ensure that all amendments to Bills are published on the Parliamentary internet site before 8:30 am on days on which those bills are to be considered in Committee or at report stage; and if he will make a statement. (207188)

The present agreement with the electronic services provider to the House allows for up to eight amendment papers to be published progressively on the internet site between 7.30 am and 9.30 am, with any remaining amendment papers published progressively thereafter. The agreement recognises that not everything can be published at the same time without incurring disproportionate costs, but does allow for publishing according to priorities set by the House. Amendment papers relating to committee or report stage for bills to be considered on the day of publication of the amendment paper are given priority. While it is not possible under the agreement to guarantee that any particular amendment paper in this category will be published by 8.30 am, an examination of the records of uploading times since January 2008 reveals that in fact 70 per cent. of all amendment papers published in the period, including those for future days, were made available on the parliamentary website before 8.30 am. As a recent example, the amendment paper for the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill for Monday 19 May, for consideration that day in Committee of the Whole House, was published on the website at 7.37 am.

Members: Allowances

To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission if he will make a statement on the High Court decision in relation to the details of hon. Members' allowances; whether a further appeal is planned against the decision; and how much has been spent on legal and tribunal proceedings in relation to disclosure of hon. Members' allowances since the commencement of the matter. (207071)

The House has decided not to seek leave to appeal to the Court of Appeal against the judgment of the divisional court of 16 May 2008. The cost of this litigation up to 20 May 2008 is £82,673. This figure includes charges up to that date not yet invoiced to the House of Commons. There may be further charges.

The House has been ordered to pay the costs of the other litigants. The final figure is not yet established, but court has ordered payment of an interim figure of £39,363.

The breakdown of figures including VAT for other FOI cases related to Members' expenses and allowances charged to the House of Commons as at 30 April 2008 comprise:

£

Treasury solicitor (TSol) legal fees

35,776.99

Disbursements (couriers/travel/counsel's fees)

13,070.32

Total

48,847.00

Although additional charges may be made to these latter accounts, they are unlikely to rise significantly beyond this total. Within these figures, the legal cost of the tribunal case in February 2007 relating to travel expenses has been given as £17,232 as announced in my previous answer on 28 February 2007, Official Report, column 1374W.

Members: Home Addresses

To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission whether incoming mail for hon. Members will continue to be screened at the House after the home addresses of hon. Members have been published; what arrangements will be made to screen incoming mail sent directly to hon. Members' home addresses (a) at those addresses and (b) at the House after re-routing; what estimate he has made of the costs of such screening arrangements; and if he will make a statement. (207442)

All incoming mail for hon. Members will continue to be comprehensively screened prior to arrival at the House. Any additional screening would incur some extra cost.

Work and Pensions

Departmental Work

16. To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the potential for decentralising departmental work to local offices otherwise planned for closure. (208035)

In reviewing our network of local offices, we have in a number of cases identified opportunities for decentralisation and implemented them. We have not been willing, however, to decentralise work merely to keep sites open; our key concern is to improve both efficiency and service quality.

Disabled Employees

17. To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps he is taking to encourage employers to employ those with disabilities. (208036)

We have already done a great deal to improve employment opportunities for disabled people. The Disability Discrimination Act requires an employer not to discriminate against disabled people who work for them or who apply for a job.

However, we want to do more to encourage employers to increase employment opportunities for disabled people.

As part of our employer engagement strategy, we are working with a number of employers and other organisations to overcome the barriers that disabled people face in getting and keeping jobs.