§ Mr. Laurence Robertson
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will make a statement on the future position of grant-maintained schools. 
§ Mr. Byers
Subject to the School Standards and Framework Bill gaining Royal Assent, a new framework for the organisation of schools will be established on 1 September 1999. All existing types of school, including grant-maintained (GM) schools, will be replaced by five new categories: community, foundation, voluntary, community special and foundation special. Schools will be allocated to the category which most closely reflects their current characteristics. However, GM schools will be able to choose an alternative category at the outset if they wish. Under the new framework, GM schools will be able to retain many of their present characteristics, for628W example in terms of employment of staff and ownership of premises. But all categories of school will operate within a framework based on fair funding, fair admissions and partnership between schools and LEAs.