§ Mr. Ingram
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what assessment she has made of the work of the Science, Technology and Mathematics Council; and if she will make a statement on the future of the council. 
§ Mr. Paice
[holding answer 3 March 1997]: Since it was set up in 1994, the Science, Technology and Mathematics Council has successfully undertaken a range of development activities in support of national vocational education and training policies including national vocational qualifications and Scottish vocational qualifications.
I understand that the council intends to bid for national training organisation status later this year. Bids for recognition will be judged by an independent recognition panel chaired by Gordon Beaumont, against national criteria. The future of the Science, Technology and Mathematics Council as an NTO is, therefore, dependent upon its ability to meet the recognition criteria.