§ Mr. Lidington
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment on what dates(a) his Department received the formal application from Buckinghamshire LEA for changes to the age of transfer between schools, (b) his Department began and ended its period of consultation about that application and (c) he expects to announce a decision on that application. 
§ Ms Estelle Morris
There are a number of proposals under consideration; from Buckinghamshire LEA in respect of county schools, and from the governors of voluntary aided, voluntary controlled and grant maintained schools. Buckinghamshire published its proposals on 4 October 1996. Some proposals were published by voluntary schools on 6 December 1996. The objection period on the latest set of proposals ended on 6 February 1997. Our consideration of the proposals will take full account of all the education issues involved. My right hon. Friend expects to be in a position to announce a decision very soon.