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Under-fives Education

Mr. Callaghan: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what was the number and percentage of three and four-year-olds attending nursery and primary schools in (a) the Greater Manchester area and (b) in the borough of Rochdale in each of the last five years. [18259]

Mr. Robin Squire: The information requested is shown in the table:

Pupils under five years of age on 1 January in maintained nursery and primary schools in Greater Manchester metropolitan district (1) 1991-1995
Position in January each year

Greater Manchester Rochdale
YearPupilsPupils as a percentage of the population(7)PupilsPupils as a percentage of the population(7)
199147,770674,25761
199249,289684,13364
199350,781694,14066
199451,006684,03464
199552,313693,96865

(6) Includes the local education authority areas of Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford and Wigan.

(7) Number of pupils under 5 years of age expressed as a percentage of the estimated population aged 3 and 4 at 31 December in the previous year.


Youth Training

Mr. Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what measures exist to ensure that the maximum hours of work for young people on youth training schemes are not exceeded. [18436]

Mr. Paice: The contract which the Department has with training and enterprise councils, who are responsible for administering Government training programmes, requires that the maximum weekly attendance for a non-employed trainee shall be 40 hours. TECs are required to ensure that there is a regular review of training arrangements with each individual trainee. There are no other restrictions on the maximum number of hours of work for young people on youth training schemes.

Mr. Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what are the maximum hours of work for young people on youth training schemes involving agricultural work. [18435]

4 Mar 1996 : Column: 38

Mr. Paice: The contract that the Department has with training and enterprise councils, who are responsible for administering Government training programmes, requires that the maximum weekly attendance for a non-employed trainee shall be 40 hours, excluding one meal break per day. There are no other restrictions on the maximum number of hours of work for young people on youth training schemes.

Training and Enterprise Councils

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if she will list the reserves held by each training and enterprise council in 1994-95. [18493]

Mr. Paice: I refer the hon. Member to the answer that I gave to the hon. Member for Wallsend (Mr. Byers) on 9 February 1996, Official Report, columns 381-82. This shows a list of training and enterprise councils and their accumulated reserves, as shown in their annual statutory audited accounts, at the end of the financial year 1994-95.

Departmental Expenditure

Mr. David Porter: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what was the total expenditure by her Department in (a) Waveney, (b) Suffolk and (c) Norfolk in 1994-95; what it will be in 1995-96, broken down by category; and if she will make a statement. [17767]

Mr. Robin Squire: The information is not available in the form requested. The Department for Education and Employment was created in July 1995. The information relates to those functions retained by this Department after that date.

Expenditure information on schools is not held centrally in the form requested.

The Department does not hold information in such detail for either further or higher education. This should be obtainable from the Further Education Funding Council and the Higher Education Funding Council, which are responsible for the funding of further and higher institutions respectively.

Expenditure by the Employment Service
£ million

1994-95 outturn1995-96 provision
Suffolk4.03.6
Norfolk including Waveney8.39.4

Expenditure by Training and Enterprise Councils (TECs):-

1994-95 outturn1995-96 provision
Suffolk TEC12.913.9
Norfolk and Waveney TEC19.419.8


4 Mar 1996 : Column: 39

After-school Places

Ms Jowell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment how many after-school places were provided in England for each year since 1990. [18246]

Mrs. Gillan: The out-of-school child care initiative was introduced in April 1993. In the financial year 1993-94, 4,000 places were created, in 1994-95 22,000 places were created and in 1995-96, 27,000 places had been created by January 1996. The total created since the initiative began is 53,000.

Experimental Nuclear Reactor (Imperial College)

Mr. Ingram: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what provisions have been made for the decommissioning of the experimental nuclear reactor at Imperial college. [18067]

Mr. Forth: No provisions have been made for the decommissioning of this reactor. If Imperial college did decide to decommission a reactor which is central to its research activity, it would be for the college to make the necessary provisions.

European Social Fund

Mr. Rooney: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will list funding contributions (a) in cash terms and (b) as a percentage of total funding from the European social fund to each training and enterprise council in England and Wales for the (i) youth training, (ii) youth credits, (iii) modern apprenticeships and (iv) training for work programmes. [18758]

Mr. Forth: The information requested could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Jobseeker's Allowance

Mr. Rooney: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment in what circumstances the Employment Service will be able to vary the signing on time of a claimant in receipt of jobseeker's allowance so that such a claimant is able to attend a part-time training or education course. [18756]

Mr. Forth: The Employment Service will normally make arrangements so that a person in receipt of jobseeker's allowance who is a part-time student can attend the local office at a time which does not conflict with the hours of the course. Jobseekers should nevertheless be willing and able to arrange the hours of courses of part-time study in order to take up full-time employment at times falling within their pattern of availability.

Mr. Rooney: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if existing claimants will be required to complete a jobsearch plan and jobseeker's agreement when jobseeeker's allowance is introduced. [18748]

Mr. Forth: Existing unemployed claimants is already in receipt of unemployment benefit or income support when JSA is introduced in October 1996 will be treated

4 Mar 1996 : Column: 40

as having made a jobseeker's agreement until, at the first suitable opportunity, an actual agreement is made or until their claim is terminated, whichever is the earlier.

In drawing up the agreement with existing claimants, Employment Service staff will assess whether the information already provided by the client for their claim to unemployment benefit or income support is sufficient for completing an agreement. Where the information is not sufficient or where the adviser and jobseeeker are not able to agree an agreement--for example because of a dispute about a pattern of availability--ES staff will be advised to ask the jobseeker to complete a "Helping You Back to Work" form, previously referred to as the jobsearch plan.

Mr. Rooney: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment (1) in what circumstances a claimant in receipt of jobseekers' allowance participating in a part-time education or training course will not be required to attend a compulsory restart, workwise worklink course or jobplan workshop; and what structures will be in place to enable such claimants to maintain their course place; [18750]

Mr. Forth: The first priority of people claiming jobseeker's allowance must be to return to work. Jobseekers who are claiming JSA and studying part time will continue to be required to attend mandatory Employment Service programmes, which are designed to help them back to work. In addition, they may be given a jobseeker's direction to attend a Government employment or training programme with a view to assisting them to find employment or improving their prospects of being employed. It will be for an independent adjudication officer to decide whether such a direction was reasonable in the jobseeker's circumstances. No sanction will be imposed if a jobseeker shows good cause for refusing or failing to attend a mandatory programme or to carry out a jobseeker's direction.

Where possible, the Employment Service will seek to make arrangements which are reasonable in view of the jobseeker's circumstances and study pattern. This may involve rescheduling a stage of the programme to accommodate their study commitments, or by trying to arrange attendance during college holidays. Courses of study are also becoming more flexible, and where necessary jobseekers will be expected to re-arrange the hours they study so that they can attend the programme.

Mr. Rooney: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment in what circumstances participation in a part-time education or training course will count as one of the job seeking steps necessary to satisfy the actively seeking work condition of the jobseeker's allowance. [18754]

Mr. Forth: The JSA regulations set out a non-exhaustive list of steps that it is reasonable for a

4 Mar 1996 : Column: 41

jobseeker to be expected to have to take actively to seek employment. Participation in a part-time education or training course is not included in that list. However, any time during which a person was participating as a part-time student in an employment-related course, as defined in the regulations, is included in the regulations in a non-exhaustive list of circumstances that shall be taken into account in determining whether a person has taken sufficient steps to meet the entitlement condition.

Mr. Rooney: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if a claimant will be able to study part-time and claim jobseeker's allowance in circumstances where it is not possible for him to rearrange course times in order to take up employment at times falling within his pattern of availability and he undertakes to cease the course immediately suitable employment becomes available. [18757]

Mr. Forth: Jobseekers who claim jobseeker's allowance will be able to study part-time so long as they remain available for and actively seeking employment. They do not have to re-arrange their course but they should be prepared to leave their course to take a job if one becomes available.

There will also be an additional concession for certain jobseekers--broadly those who have been unemployed for three months or more, where no aspect of their study will be taken into account when deciding whether they are available for work if they are willing and able to rearrange their course to take a job in the hours that they have agreed they will be available for work in their jobseeker's agreement. If it is not possible for jobseekers to rearrange their course then this concession will not apply and they will be subject to the same rules as other jobseekers who study part time.

Mr. Rooney: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what is the maximum number of hours that unemployed people in receipt of jobseeker's allowance will be able to spend on training and education courses exclusively funded by the European social fund. [18755]

Mr. Forth: People receiving jobseeker's allowance will be able to study part time so long as they remain available for and actively seeking employment.

No courses are exclusively funded by the European social fund. It part funds courses jointly with a wide range of organisations. Under JSA, if a course is part funded by the Further Education Funding Councils for England and Wales and by the ESF it will be regarded as part time so long as it is of 16 or fewer guided learning hours a week. There will be similar arrangements for further education courses in Scotland.

There will be no change to the rules for courses part funded by the ESF and any other organisation. As now, a decision will be made about whether the course is full or part time based on all the information available, including any provided by the course provider.

Mr. Rooney: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what arrangements will

4 Mar 1996 : Column: 42

be introduced for reviews by Employment Service staff of jobseeker's agreements completed by postal claimants. [18749]

Mr. Forth: Most jobseekers will be required to attend a jobcentre to make a claim for a jobseeker's allowance and to sign a jobseeker's agreement. Thereafter they will be required to attend a jobcentre every fortnight to sign a declaration that they have been available for employment, have been actively seeking employment and that their circumstances have not changed. Some jobseekers, as now, will not be required to attend fortnightly but will be able to provide such a signed declaration by post. Postal signers will be seen by an Employment Service adviser every 13 weeks. At that time the employment adviser and jobseeker will review the jobseeker's circumstances and determine whether the jobseeker's agreement that is in effect should be varied.

In certain circumstances some jobseekers will be able to make a claim for a jobseeker's allowance by post. They will be treated as having made a jobseeker's agreement until they have an interview with an employment adviser to draw up an agreement.


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