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Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much has been spent by his Department on Private Finance Initiative projects postponed pending further consideration or stopped in the last 12 months. 
Jim Knight: The Department for Education and Skills does not itself undertake Private Finance Initiative (PFI) projects. PFI projects for the provision of schools are delivered through contracts between local authorities and private sector contractors.
There are currently 103 such projects with signed contracts covering over 800 schools. A list containing the names, locations and other details of these projects can be accessed at www.teachernet.gov.uk/pfi and copies have been placed in the Commons Library.
One schools PFI project has been postponed or stopped in the last 12 months but only in the sense of no longer being funded through PFI. The project itself (in the London borough of Hounslow) is proceeding using conventional capital. Because of a lack of competition in the bidding process it was agreed between the Department and the local authority that a value for money outcome was unlikely to be achieved through PFI in this particular case. This change in the funding method did not in itself involve any cost to the Department.
Mr. Allen: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what involvement his Department has had in developing the Every Child a Reader initiative; and if he will make a statement; 
Jim Knight: Every Child a Reader (ECAR) is a three-year project which aims to help 5,000 five-year-olds and six-year-olds learn to read by placing specialist literacy teachers, trained in Reading Recovery, into schools to provide intensive one-to-one support to children most in need. The project also aims to explore the potential for those teachers to support tailored literacy teaching more broadly within a school. The cost per child of participation in a Reading Recovery programme is between £2,000 and £2,500, depending on the salary scale point of the Reading Recovery teacher, and whether a London allowance is applicable.
ECAR is an independent project initiated by the KPMG Foundation. The DfES agreed to match funding provided by the business sector and charitable trusts and has provided £4.55 million of the £10 million that the scheme requires. The Department works closely with ECAR in decisions about funding allocations and evaluation mechanisms. An evaluation report of the first year of the ECAR project will be published next week and a copy will be placed in both Houses.
Reading Recovery is a literacy intervention programme run by the Institute of Education. In delivering ECAR, the Institute works with the KPMG Foundation, the Primary National Strategy and the DfES. Other bodies currently involved in ECAR are the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, the SHINE Trust, the Indigo Trust, JJ Charitable Trust, the Mercers company and Man Group plc. Local authorities currently involved are Barking and Dagenham, Brent, Greenwich, Hackney, Hammersmith and Fulham, Haringey, Islington, Lambeth, Southwark, Tower Hamlets, Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Derbyshire, Devon, Kent, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Manchester, Middlesbrough and Sheffield.
Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much his Department spent on schools in 1996-97; how much was allocated to schools for 2006-07; and if he will make a statement. 
1. The cash figure for 1996-97 comes from the Statistical Bulletin "Education and Training Expenditure Since 1995-96", published in November 2005. The central element is the departmental expenditure limit. The recurrent local authority figure is drawn from Revenue outturn statements which LEAs submitted to what is now Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).
2. The 2006-07 figures are taken from the Departmental Annual Report 2006. Some of the underlying figures may have been revised since the DAR's publication. The 2006-07 figure is not directly comparable to the 1996-97 figure (but is the nearest equivalent) as the 2006-07 figure does not include any local authority funding in addition to the new dedicated schools grant which was introduced on 1 April 2006.
Jim Knight: Capital allocations from the Department are made on a local authority, not a constituency basis, and allocations to individual schools are prioritised by local authorities. Accordingly, the Department maintains central records of allocations to local authorities, on a financial year basis commencing 1 April. Allocations to the London borough of Barnet since 1 April 1997 are set out in the following table.
Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what estimate his Department has made of the change in the number of playing fields of an area of less than 0.4 hectares in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement. 
[holding answer 30 October 2006]: Prior to October 1998, there was no regulation of the sale of school playing fields at local authority controlled schools. If a local authority wanted to sell a school playing field there was nothing to stop it and it could spend the proceeds as it wished. Section 77 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 was introduced in October 1998 to stop the indiscriminate
sale of school playing fields. Local authorities and governing bodies of all maintained schools now need the Secretary of States consent before they can dispose of a playing field or any part of a playing field. Section 77 defines playing field as
land in the open air which is provided for the purposes of physical education or recreation.
All applications to dispose of school playing fields received since 16 July 2001 have been scrutinised by the independent School Playing Fields Advisory Panel, which comprises representatives from the National Playing Fields Association, the Central Council of Physical Recreation, Learning through Landscapes, the National Association of Head Teachers and the Local Government Association. The Panel provides advice on the extent to which applications meet the published criteria.
There has never been a complete audit of existing school playing field provision, but data on school playing fields was requested from local authorities in 2001 and 2003. Unfortunately, the data was incomplete and of variable quality, and it was not possible to accurately assess the number and area of school playing fields.
The following table shows the number of applications to sell school playing fields larger than a 2,000m(2) sports pitch that have been approved in each calendar year since 1998. A sports pitch is an area of open grassed land which is equal to, or larger than, the Football Associations recommended area of 2,000m(2) for games played by under-10s, and which has a configuration making it suitable for sports, whether laid out as a sports pitch or not. Of the total of 174 approved applications, 78 were at closed schools. Of the approved 96 applications at operating schools, the proceeds of sale have been used to improve on-site sports facilities at 78 of these schools. In the other 18 cases the sale proceeds have been used to improve educational facilities.
Decisions on allocating money for school science laboratories are made by local
authorities, as they are best placed to decide upon priorities for capital funding. We have no plans to change this.
The Department is encouraging authorities to think imaginatively about school science provision. Accordingly, it is initiating the 'Faraday' project which will result in a series of exemplar designs for science laboratories being developed and a range of demonstration projects being built across the country. These designs will be exciting and inspirational, and will comply with existing space, cost and environmental guidelines.
Schools' capital funding, out of which school science laboratories can be funded, has never been higher. This year there is £5.9 billion of capital support, rising to over £8 billion by 2010-11. Much of this can be used to improve school laboratories. Building Schools for the Future will, in time, renew all secondary schools including their science provision. In the meantime, all schools have access to other funding including capital devolved to local authorities and to schools.
Capital funding includes allocations each year to every school for its own priorities. This year, a 1,000 pupil secondary school will receive over £100,000 for its needs, which can include the improvement of its laboratories. This can be rolled over to support larger projects, and be added to from other sources.
Mr. Dhanda: Delivery of special needs education within North Yorkshire is a matter for determination by the local authority (LA). It is an essential function of every LA to make effective arrangements for special educational needs (SEN) by ensuring that the needs of pupils are identified and assessed quickly and matched by appropriate provision. Under section 315 of the Education Act 1996, LA arrangements for SEN must be kept under review.
Mr. Liddell-Grainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many children educated in the private sector in Somerset have been assessed for special educational needs funding in each of the last five years. 
Mr. Dhanda: Information is collected on the number of children who have been assessed for statements of special educational need (SEN); the number of children for whom a statement of SEN was made for the first time; and the placement of these children. The available information is given in the following table.
|Assessment and placement of children with new statement of special educational needs (SEN) Somerset local authority area|
|(1 )In 2002 a change to the SEN Code of Practice was introduced which could have caused some disruption to time series data. In 2001 Somerset consulted its mainstream schools about increasing delegation. New arrangements were subsequently introduced resulting in a decrease in the number of children with statements placed in mainstream schools.|
(2 )Percentage is given of all new assessments made in the calendar year.
(3 )Percentage is given of children for whom statements were made for the first time during the calendar year.
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