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New Deal (Disabled People)

Mr. Ainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment how many disabled people have found work through the new deal for the disabled since its inception. [119633]

Ms Hodge: We have been piloting the New Deal for Disabled People since autumn 1998. Our experience shows that for many people on incapacity benefits the journey back to work will be lengthy. I am pleased therefore to be able to say that to the end of March this year some 2,755 people had found employment.

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Financial Literacy

Mr. McCabe: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what steps he is taking to improve levels of financial literacy. [119623]

Jacqui Smith: Financial capability is part of the new national guidelines for Personal, Social and Health Education which were issued to schools last year and come into effect this autumn. From the start of the school year 2002, secondary school pupils will also learn about the rights and responsibilities of consumers, employees and employers as part of Citizenship in the

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National Curriculum. This will be complemented by the work of the Adult Financial Literacy Advisory Group, set up to identify good ideas and existing best practice to give adults the skills and confidence to handle their finances.

National Disability Council

Mrs. Betty Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment when the National Disability Council will report on its recent activities. [121250]

Ms Hodge: I am pleased to announce that the National Disability Council's report for 1999-2000 has been laid before Parliament today. The report, copies of which are available in the Library, describes the work of the Council in its final full year of operation. A letter from the Council's Chairman, David Grayson, reporting on activities between 6 April and 24 April has also been laid today. It is also available in the Library.

The work of the Council was subsumed by the Disability Rights Commission when it began operating on 25 April. This report and letter are, therefore, the final reports on the Council's activities. Accordingly, I want to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the hard work and commitment that Mr. Grayson and the Council's members brought to their work. They have made a positive impact and helped improve the lives of disabled people. I am particularly grateful to them for the way in which the Council helped pave the way for the Commission. Because of their good efforts the Commission inherited an exceptionally good base from which to begin its work.

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Connexions Service

Mr. Hope: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will publish the prospectus and specification for the Connexions Service. [121261]

Mr. Wicks: I am pleased to announce that the prospectus and specification for the Connexions Service has been published today. Copies are being placed in the Library and will be sent to a wide range of organisations this week including members of the Learning and Skills Committee.

Learning Accounts

Fiona Mactaggart: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will make a statement on progress on establishing the national framework for learning accounts. [121279]

Mr. Wicks: Implementation of the national framework is progressing to timetable. Individuals can currently open accounts under local arrangements with Training and Enterprise Councils. From mid-June they will be able to open them through the national framework and use their accounts for learning from September, benefiting from the full range of incentives available to learning account holders. I am pleased to announce that the Department has issued a letter of intent to Capita Group to start the development of these services under the national framework.

School Sixth Forms

Mr. Willis: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment how many schools' sixth forms have been (a) closed and (b) opened in each LEA in each of the years 1992-93 to 1999-2000. [119691]

Ms Estelle Morris: The number of sixth forms for each local education authority that have been approved to open or close since 1992 is given in the tables:

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Number of sixth forms approved
Local education authority19921993199419951996199719981999
Berkshire (pre 1 April 1998)------1--3----
Buckinghamshire (pre 1 April 1997------1--------
Cambridgeshire (pre 1 April 1998)--1--3--------
Derby City------------1--
Derbyshire (pre 1 April 1997)----223------
Dorset (pre 1 April 1997)--1------4----
East Sussex--------------1
Essex (pre 1 April 1998)3--132------
Hampshire (pre 1 April 1997)----321------
Kent (pre 1 April 1998)(1)1--1--256----
North Yorkshire (pre 1 April 1996)------1--------
Nottinghamshire (pre 1 April 1998)----1----------
Staffordshire (pre 1 April 1997)----------1----
Waltham Forest--11--1------
Wiltshire (pre 1 April 1997)----1----------

(1) A number of these sixth forms had been operating prior to the publication of proposals

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Sixth forms approved to close

Year Name of LEANumber of sixth forms
1999Leicester City2
1999North Somerset1

Birth Certificates

Mr. Caton: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment for what purposes his Department requires a birth certificate to be furnished by (a) employees, (b) contractors, (c) those applying for employment and contracts and (d) other persons. [120321]

Mr. Wills: The Department requests a birth certificate from the following persons:

Although the Department does not as a rule request birth certificates from current contractors or those applying for contracts, there have been circumstances, where there is a doubt on age, where a birth certificate has been requested to establish whether their employees are within legal age limits for employment.

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