Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Session 2002-03

Session 2002-03

The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee today announced a new inquiry into the delivery of education in rural areas.  The Committee has decided that the terms of reference of the inquiry should be:

"The Committee will examine the role played by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) in addressing the particular difficulties of meeting educational needs in rural areas. Amongst other matters it will look at

  • the structures and arrangements put in place by Defra to ensure that the needs of rural areas are taken into account in decisions relating to schools made by the Department for Education and Skills and by local authorities; and the effectiveness of 'rural proofing' education policy;

  • more specifically, progress in implementing the provisions of the Rural White Paper relating to Supporting local schools; and progress in ensuring that rural schools remain open and able to deliver high quality education; and

  • what is best practice both in this country and abroad."

The inquiry arises from the Committee's interest in the role played by Defra in ensuring that the interests of rural areas are taken into account in policy-making across Whitehall and elsewhere - in other words the extent to which Defra is a Department for 'Rural Affairs'.

The Committee invites, by Monday 13 January 2003, written evidence which addresses these terms of reference. Evidence must be submitted in an electronic format, either on disk or preferably by e-mail. It should be in Word or WordPerfect. If sent by e-mail it should for this inquiry be sent to Gavin Devine.  The e-mail must include a contact name, telephone number and postal address. The e-mail should also make clear who the submission is from.

Submissions should be as brief as possible, and certainly no more than 5,000 words. Paragraphs should be numbered for ease of reference, and it would be helpful to include a brief executive summary.

Those submitting evidence are reminded that evidence should be original work, not previously published or circulated elsewhere. Once submitted no public use should be made of it, but those wishing to publish their evidence before it is published by the Committee are invited to contact the Clerk of the Committee to obtain permission to do so.

Oral evidence sessions will be arranged and announced in due course. They will be in the New Year.

Further details of the Committee, including its current membership, can be found on the Committee's homepage.  Information about the Committee can also be obtained from 020 7219 3262.