§ Chris Grayling
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what consultation has been carried out with the parents of pupils in special schools on the policy of inclusion and the future of those schools; and what the results of that consultation were. 
§ Mr. Timms
The Government have consulted widely on their strategy to raise standards for pupils with special educational needs. Like others, parents, pupils and staff from special schools have contributed to the consultations on the Green Paper, "Excellence For All Children: Meeting Special Educational Needs" (October 1997), "Meeting Special Educational Needs: A Programme of Action" (November 1998) and the provisions of the Special Educational Needs and Disability Act 2001 (March 2000). The Government's proposals received broad support.
There is a continuing and vital role for special schools within an inclusive education system. Inclusion is not a drive to close special schools. Rather, the Government want all special schools to be outward-looking centres of excellence working hand in hand with each other and with mainstream schools. Special schools can act as a source of expertise, advice and professional development. When mainstream and special schools work together there are benefits for all.
§ Mr. Willis
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills, pursuant to his answer of 17 October 2001,Official Report, column 1231W, on specialist schools, what proportion of the applicants who gained sponsorship arranged through the Technology Colleges Trust had such sponsorship make up 50 per cent. or more of the total sponsorship needed to gain specialist status. 
§ Mr. Willis
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills, pursuant to his answer of 17 October,Official Report, column 1231W, on specialist schools, what proportion of the applicants who gained sponsorship arranged through the Technology Colleges Trust were applicants for (a) arts, (b) technology, (c) language college and (d) sports status. 
§ Mr. Timms
The proportion of applicants supported through sponsorship arranged through the Technology Colleges Trust were as follows: 32 per cent. arts applicants; 713W 50 per cent. technology applicants; and 18 per cent. language college applicants. Support for schools applying for sports college status is provided through the Youth Sport Trust.