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Student Drop-outs

Mr. Levitt: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what the drop-out rate was for students on courses of further education in the most recent academic year for which figures are available. [129704]

Mr. Wicks: Published figures are in terms of the median college in-year retention rate, which in 1997-98 was 87 per cent. for full-time students and 84 per cent. for part-time students.

Standards Funds

Mr. Sawford: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment how he will ensure that education authorities which have a below average Standard Spending Assessment per pupil are able to take full advantage of the money offered through the Standards Fund. [129696]

Ms Estelle Morris: For 2000-01, local education authorities have now accepted over 98 per cent. of the allocations offered to them through the Standards Fund. Most authorities accepted their allocations in full, including authorities that have below average standard spending assessments per pupil. The requirement for authorities to contribute to the Standards Fund was allowed for in the 5.4 per cent. increase in education Standard Spending Assessment. In addition, schools have received a share of the £290 million funding increase announced in the budget to further drive up standards, and benefit from their share of the £50 million extra in grant

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for general support of school budgets announced in November. Since 1997, spending per pupil has increased £300 in real terms.

Private Finance Initiative

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what monitoring is undertaken of Private Finance Initiative contracts for (a) schools, (b) further education colleges and (c) higher education institutions; and if he will make a statement. [129203]

Mr. Wicks: Responsibility for monitoring PFI projects lies with the relevant procuring body. For schools, monitoring is the responsibility of local education authorities or other procuring bodies. The Department informs the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions about services and payments arising from new projects, so that the overall level of revenue commitments can be monitored.

The Further Education Funding Council supports colleges in developing projects and monitors educational achievement, financial returns and the efficient use of property. The Higher Education Funding Council for England monitors progress by requiring higher education institutions to submit progress reports on PFI contracts as part of their annual financial forecasts.

The Department works closely with LEAs and the Funding Councils to ensure that procedures are in place to monitor progress and value for money effectively.


Mrs. Roe: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment when the hon. Member for Broxbourne will receive a reply to her letters to him of 14 April,

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11 May, 8 June and 6 July, relating to her constituent, the Secretary of the East Hertfordshire Branch of the National Union of Teachers. [130117]

Mr. Wills: A reply will be issued today.


Dr. Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment how many home-domiciled applicants aged under 21 there were to (a) full-time and (b) sandwich undergraduate courses in each of the last three years; and how many acceptances there were onto such courses, indicating (i) the proportion of the age group in each socio-economic group this represents and (ii) the proportion of acceptances that were (A) to former polytechnics and (B) accepted in an institution in the locality of the applicant's home address. [127724]

Mr. Wicks: The available information is shown in the table.

Applicants and acceptances to full-time and sandwich undergraduate courses in the UK via the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS)
Home domiciled students aged under 21

Percentage of acceptances to former polytechnics35.235.535.1
Percentage of acceptances to institutions in the applicant's home region(11)42.242.343.5
Participation rates by social class(12)
Non-manual household head(14)4845(13)45-46
Manual household head(15)1817(13)17-18

(11) Based on Standard Statistical Regions in 1997 and Government office Regions in 1998 and 1999. Data at a more disaggregated geographical level are not available centrally.

(12) Derived from the number of initial entrants to full-time undergraduate courses and population data from the 1991 census.

(13) Provisional estimates.

(14) Social Classes, I, II, IIIN (Professional, Intermediate, Skilled non-manual).

(15) Classes IIIM, IV, V (Skilled manual, Partly skilled, Unskilled).

The social class mix of the underlying population is taken directly from the 1991 Census. Over time this approach becomes less reliable, particularly at a disagreggated level and the social class groupings have therefore been aggregated.

Over the period shown, participation rates of young people by social class have fluctuated in line with overall participation. These overall trends in part reflect a large increase in the size of the age-group and the decision by some students to pull forward their year of entry to higher education from 1998 to 1997 in advance of the introduction of fees. Over the same period the proportion of young students who come from the lower social classes (IIIM, IV, V) has remained constant at around 27 per cent. and the proportion who come from the higher social classes (I, II, IIIN) has remained at around 73 per cent.

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Health Authorities

Mr. Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Health which (a) NHS trusts and (b) health authorities fall within which parliamentary constituencies. [129460]

Ms Stuart: A copy of the information available has been placed in the Library. The information refers only to England and does not contain a direct mapping of constituency to trust, only health authority to trust and health authority to constituency.

Press Releases

Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many press releases his Department has issued in the first six months of the present year. [130188]

Ms Stuart: The Department has issued 395 press releases in the first six months of the present year.


Mr. Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what arrangements will be made to support students (a) financially and (b) otherwise in obtaining a professionally recognised osteopathy qualification who are currently students at the John Wernham College of Classical Osteopathy; [130017]

Yvette Cooper: I have had no discussions with the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC) on these matters. Under the Osteopaths Act 1993, the GOsC may formally recognise osteopathic qualifications for the purposes of statutory registration with the approval of the Privy Council. However, the Act does not require the GOsC to seek the approval of the Privy Council for any decision it makes not to recognise a qualification. I understand that the John Wernham College of Classical Osteopathy has been given leave to apply for a judicial review of GOsC's decision in its case.

The Department has been informed that some 75 students at the John Wernham College are likely to be affected by the GOsC's decision not to recognise its qualification. The college, and its validating body the North East Surrey College of Technology, are responsible for advising and assisting those students. The GOsC has no statutory duty to assist students in these circumstances but has requested that all schools of osteopathy applying to have their qualifications recognised prepare a contingency plan in the event that their applications are unsuccessful. It is now trying to assist the John Wernham College to activate its contingency plan.

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The GOsC has recognised osteopathic qualifications provided by five other schools. The Department has been informed that these currently cater for around 850 students in total but the Department does not have information on any vacancies that may exist.

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