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Mr. Timms: The information is not available for the date requested. In January 2001 there were 59 full-time teacher vacancies in maintained nursery, primary, secondary and special schools in Buckinghamshire.
Mr. Reed: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what statistics she requires London local education authorities to provide to her Department to measure the level of (a) competitive sport and (b) physical education in schools. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: All local education authorities are required to submit an assessment of the standards of attainment in physical education of Key Stage 3 pupils. However, there is no statutory requirement for local education authorities to submit statistics on the level of competitive sport in schools. The Government's White Paper "Schools: Achieving Success", includes a pledge that all children have access to at least two hours a week of PE or school sport, in or after school. The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority's survey into good practice in physical education has included examples from a number of schools in London.
Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many and what proportion of letters received by her Department between 20 June and 20 July were replied to (a) in under 15, (b) in under 20, (c) in under 30, (d) in under 40 and (e) in over 40 working days. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis [holding answer 3 December 2001]: Between 20 June and 20 July 2001, the Department for Education and Skills replied to a total of 7,289 letters covering both ministerial and treat official correspondence. The Department replied as shown in the table:
|Number of replies sent||Percentage of replies sent|
|(a) in 15 working days and under||6,627||91|
|(b) in 16 to 20 working days||270||4|
|(c) in 21 to 30 working days||316||4|
|(d) in 31 working days and over||76||1|
4 Dec 2001 : Column 254W
On 2 November I published "Learning to Listen: Core Principles for the Involvement of Children and Young People" which sets out principles Government Departments have agreed to follow in their work to involve children and young people in the planning, provision and evaluation of Government policies and services relevant to them. The Children and Young People's Unit developed the principles in close consultation with Government Departments and with expertise from the voluntary sector. The Children and Young People's Unit is now supporting Departments as they plan how to take forward work to implement the principles and develop individual departmental action plans, for implementation from April 2002. The Unit will publish an annual report of progress against action plans.
The Children and Young People's Unit is responsible for the Children's Fund for which the spending plans are £100 million in 200102 and £150 million in 200203. The budget for the Children and Young People's Unit, including the administration and support of the Children's Fund is £2.7 million in 200102. Its budget for 200203 has not yet been finalised.
Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many and what percentage of pupils in Birmingham, Northfield left full-time education at the age of 16 years in the last three years. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis [holding answer 3 December 2001]: Data on the number and percentage of students continuing in post-compulsory education at age 16 are not calculated for areas smaller than LEAs, as reliable estimates cannot be made for small areas.
The percentage of 16-year-olds not participating in full-time education for Birmingham LEA, which includes the constituency of Birmingham Northfield, in the last three years for which figures are available is set out as follows:
4 Dec 2001 : Column 255W
authorities are receiving funds for a music service; and how many schools have benefited from the music service in each local education authority. 
The Department for Education and Skills has not up to now collected information on how many schools benefit from the music service in each authority. We do, however, plan to ask music services for more information about the provision they offer in the new year.
Hugh Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will list the schemes administered by (a) her Department and (b) its agencies where funds are allocated by a competitive bidding process; and what was the amount of money allocated to each scheme. 
Mr. Hawkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment she has made of the accuracy of the estimate previously supplied by her Department that 40 school playing fields per month were sold during the period 1979 to 1997; what recent representations she has received expressing concern over the (a) use and (b) accuracy of these estimated figures; and if she will make a statement. 
John Healey [holding answer 30 November 2001]: Public concern about the loss of school playing fields led directly to the introduction in October 1998 of section 77 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998. Prior to October 1998, the Government had no means of knowing precisely how many school playing fields were being sold. Before section 77 was introduced, only grant-maintained schools were required to seek consent from the Secretary of State before selling land, including areas of their playing fields. Local authorities and other schools that owned their own playing fields were free to sell without restriction.
Our best estimate is that an average of 40 playing fields a month were sold in this way before October 1998. This estimate is based on the number of playing field disposals at grant-maintained schools between April 1996, when the then Conservative Government further encouraged the disposal of playing fields by relaxing the Local Authority Capital Finance Regulations which governed the use of sale proceeds, and 1 October 1998, when section 77 took effect. During this 30-month period, some 64 grant- maintained schools were given approval to dispose of areas of playing field, which is an average of over two a month. Using the proportion of grant-maintained schools at that time compared with the number of other schools, we estimate the total number of playing field disposals each month to have been around 40.
4 Dec 2001 : Column 256W
Only the Central Council of Physical Recreation has expressed any concern about these figures. Officials in this Department responded to the Council's concerns in September 2001. There have been no further representations.
John Healey [holding answer 3 December 2001]: Capital support for new pupil places is allocated to local education authorities (LEAs) where the forecast growth in pupil numbers in an area exceeds the assessed physical capacity of local schools to accommodate them. Once the number of pupil places needed is established, funding is allocated using a per pupil amount which reflects the average cost of new accommodation. Funding support is normally provided to LEAs in the form of basic credit approvals. Detailed guidance to LEAs on submitting requests for new pupil places is sent to them annually in the "Guide for the Schools Capital Allocation Round and PFI Credits" document, copies of which are lodged in the Library.
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