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Lord Lloyd-Webber: My Lords, I thank the Minister for that reply. I am not going to bore the House with a whole litany of broken down jetties and bus trips enforced. I would just like to ask the Minister whether any pressure could be put on the British Airports Authority at least to maintain better the buildings that it has.

Lord Davies of Oldham: My Lords, that is an important consideration, but the British Airports Authority has extensive plans for Heathrow. In addition to the construction of Terminal 5, to which I just referred, there is massive investment in Terminal 3 to enable it to take the new large aircraft, the A380, and substantial improvements to Terminals 1 and 2. Some £8 billion will be spent over the next decade. There is a great deal of investment in Heathrow. I agree with the noble Lord that of course it could do with improvement, but certainly by the time of the Olympic Games Heathrow will be well equipped to cope with the traffic.

Lady Saltoun of Abernethy: My Lords, I was slightly surprised to hear the Minister say that Heathrow is one of the best airports in the world. How often does he have occasion to use it?

Lord Davies of Oldham: My Lords, I am rather too busy with my obligations in the House to go to Heathrow very often. The House should recognise that Heathrow is the busiest airport in the world, and it will maintain that position over the next decade. Of course it is important that the modernisation should take place, although there are one or two modern airports that have had significant difficulties with their construction. Heathrow is an important link in British travel plans. Reverting again to the original Question, as far as concerns the Olympic Games, Heathrow will be a leading airport in 2012.

Lord Forsyth of Drumlean: My Lords, it is worth pointing out that today, despite its shortcomings, Heathrow is working thanks not least to the labour reforms brought in by the previous Conservative government; whereas Paris is not working and is afflicted by a lightning general strike on the day when the Olympic Committee is visiting Paris. Should not the committee take into account the stable economic conditions that we enjoy in Britain when deciding between London and Paris?
 
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Lord Davies of Oldham: My Lords, I am surprised that the noble Lord is not aware of the rule of the International Olympic Committee that one bid city does not comment on a rival bid while the process is going on. So I do not intend to do that.

Lord Peston: My Lords, will my noble friend reflect, without remotely criticising the Parisian Olympic bid, that at Heathrow bits do not tend to fall off the buildings, whereas I gather that it is quite dangerous to go to Charles de Gaulle these days? That might well affect the performance of various countries in the Olympics.

Lord Davies of Oldham: My Lords, it may be thought that I can resist temptation on only one occasion. I can do it twice—I am not going to comment.

Baroness Hamwee: My Lords, I can at least say that I wholeheartedly support the London bid. To support that bid, can the Minister give the House any more hope that Crossrail may be completed in time for the Olympic Games to take place in 2012?

Lord Davies of Oldham: My Lords, the House knows that the timetable for Crossrail is 2014, so it is not related to the Olympic bid. Other improvements to transport are destined to be in play by 2012, of which the most significant is being able to transport passengers from King's Cross St Pancras to the Olympic site in seven minutes through the "javelin" route, which will be using the developed Channel Tunnel rail link.

Viscount Waverley: My Lords, having waited 25 minutes this morning for a tow into the cul-de-sac at Terminal 4 on a flight from Dubai, may I ask whether consideration should be given to lifting the early-morning noise restrictions for just before and during the Games, if London is successful in the bid?

Lord Davies of Oldham: My Lords, for every passenger in the air, there are many hundreds on the ground with different interests as far as concerns noise.

Lord Dixon-Smith: My Lords, for those who find Heathrow too much of a strain, I point out that the runway at Stansted Airport is operating at about only half its capacity at present. The British Airports Authority has a planning application in preparation to develop the buildings along Stansted airport to the point where they can handle that runway at full capacity, which will increase capacity there by 20 million passengers per annum, with far superior access to east London than Heathrow. Does the Minister agree that Stansted might make a useful additional facility, which ought to help the Olympic bid forward if access is considered to be a problem?

Lord Davies of Oldham: My Lords, certainly Stansted plays a part in the bid as regards the transport arrangements because it is well connected with east
 
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London, and improvements to that line are being planned. We should not exaggerate the extent to which there will be pressure on airports from the Olympic Games. I merely cite that at present Heathrow accommodates 50,000 passengers an hour. Only 55,000 in the Olympic family would come here, including all those associated with the Games and the athletes, so our airport capacity can well cope. When our bid is successful, the Olympic Games will be going on at a time when others who are not interested in the Games will be taking holidays elsewhere.

Teacher Training

11.15 a.m.

Lord Pearson of Rannoch asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Triesman: My Lords, the Government are concerned that children should be taught by teachers with the right qualities and skills. We require initial teacher training providers to satisfy themselves that trainees entering undergraduate courses for teacher training have a capability to meet the standards required for the award of qualified teacher status. Higher education providers set and monitor their own academic requirements for entry to undergraduate teacher training courses, as they do for all other degree courses.

Lord Pearson of Rannoch: My Lords, I thank the Minister for that Answer. If one considers that teacher training is the soil in which the roots of our education system feed, the situation appears to be very worrying. Does the Minister agree that the Written Answer given to me by his noble friend Lord Filkin on 18 January, when referred to the DfES website, reveals that the average attainment of those entering undergraduate teacher training courses is well below one E at A-level, or 20 points on the UCAS scale? If that is so, how is this lack of subject knowledge rectified by the courses in question? If it is not, how can the teachers concerned impart knowledge which they do not possess?

Lord Triesman: My Lords, the first thing to do is to put this into context. Teaching is a fully professionally qualified occupation. Approximately 15 per cent of teachers start their career as undergraduates, whereas the remainder go through postgraduate qualification systems. I have the data for 2002-03, the most recent year for which figures are fully available, and it is true that those entering undergraduate teacher training courses had lower average attainment in pre-HE qualifications than those who were entering other degree courses. It is equally significant that by the time they graduated, their pattern of graduation qualifications, 2:1s and 2:2s and so on, were absolutely comparable with people graduating from other
 
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courses. I have no reason to believe that the additional attainment that they had achieved during their period at university is not something to celebrate.

Baroness Sharp of Guildford: My Lords, does the Minister agree that over the course of time the number of students taking undergraduate courses in education has been falling, and the number entering the profession through postgraduate courses has been increasing? Do the Government have any plans over the longer run to phase out undergraduate courses in education completely?

Lord Triesman: My Lords, I am not aware of any plan to phase them out, although the statistics show that the postgraduate certificate is the major route. As I have said, 85 per cent, and increasing, enter that way. That means that people coming in already have a first degree in a specialist subject. The noble Lord, Lord Pearson, addressed that point. Even so, those teaching in primary schools, where they will on average be teaching around nine subjects, cannot have A-levels or a specialist degree in nine subjects. Yet, we also want people with excellent ability in primary education.


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