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Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment how many lone parents have secured jobs through the New Deal for Lone Parents in Shrewsbury and Atcham; and if he will make a statement. 
Ms Hodge: This information is not available in the form requested, as New Deal for Lone Parents is delivered on an Employment Service District basis. The table contains the information for the Shropshire district.
|Agreement to participate||898|
|Total numbers into jobs||344|
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Employment and Occupation, as currently drafted, would require a parish church not to refuse to employ an atheist in the post of verger; 
(3) if the proposed Council Directive Establishing a General Framework for Equal Treatment in Employment and Occupation, as currently drafted, will require the repeal of section 60 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998. 
Ms Jowell: The proposed Council Directive Establishing a General Framework for Equal Treatment in Employment and Occupation is currently in negotiation. Until a text has been finally agreed it is not possible to assess the precise effect it will have on existing legislation such as that mentioned in the question. However, the Government are negotiating on the basis that the text finally agreed should be clear and workable in practice and should preserve, where appropriate, existing arrangements which allow religious bodies to protect their ethos. We are seeking to negotiate an agreement which will protect the existing rights of church schools under section 60 of the Schools Standards and Framework Act 1998.
Mr. Gareth Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will seek to amend the proposed EU directive on equal treatment in employment so as to reflect the concerns of religious groups in the UK. 
Ms Jowell: The proposed Council Directive Establishing a General Framework for Equal Treatment in Employment and Occupation is currently in negotiation. The Government are negotiating on the basis that the text finally agreed should be clear and workable in practice and should preserve, where appropriate, existing arrangements which allow religious bodies to protect their ethos. We have been consulting a range of religious groups on the implications of the proposals throughout the negotiations.
Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what assessment he has made of the average amount of time spent in training the external assessors of performance-related pay. 
Ms Estelle Morris: The External Assessors who will visit schools to verify Headteachers' decisions about which teachers meet threshold standards must attend a three day training event, and successfully pass a formal independent accreditation process.
Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he received legal advice as to whether the standards for the performance-related pay threshold should be referred to the School Teachers Review Body; and when he received such advice. 
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Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment for how long schools will be compensated for the additional salary costs of teachers they recruit who are already in receipt of performance- related pay. 
Ms Estelle Morris: A new Special Grant in England will target funds to support the additional pay costs of the new performance threshold for teachers separately from schools' delegated budgets until March 2002. The funding arrangements beyond that point will be decided in the light of the Government spending review and the early experience of the teachers' pay reforms.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if the standards for teachers' threshold assessment for performance related pay for 2001-02 will be the same as for the current year. 
Ms Estelle Morris: The standards for teachers' threshold assessment were quashed in the Judicial Review brought by the NUT. At this time it is not possible to say what they will be for the current year or for 2001-02.
Mr. Alasdair Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment how much funding is available from (a) Government and (b) other sources for (i) the Computers Within Reach Scheme and (ii) other schemes designed to assist people on low incomes participate in the information age. 
Mr. Wills: The Government are making £15 million available for a pilot scheme in England--"Computers Within Reach"--to enable those who cannot afford new computers to acquire reconditioned computers for use in the home for the purpose of improving their employment prospects, for lifelong learning, and potentially for their children's homework. We are currently assessing which locations will be included in the pilot projects and details will be announced later this year. £252 million of funding from the Capital Modernisation Fund (CMF) is being used to set up around 700 ICT Learning Centres across England. This will be complemented by £77.5 million of New Opportunities Fund money to provide revenue support and develop Community Grids for Learning. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland received £70 million of CMF funding in the March 1999 Budget for use in similar schemes.
In autumn 2000, the University for Industry (UfI) will become operational using the brand name 'learndirect' for its products and services. It will develop a network of some 1,000 'learndirect' centres by spring 2001. The DfEE has allocated £84 million in 2000-01 to support UfI's development and implementation plans and the development and management of the 'learndirect' information and advice line.
Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will list the court hearings which took place in connection with the action by the National Union of Teachers resulting in the decision of Mr. Justice Jackson on 14 July; if his
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Department was entitled to have legal representatives (a) attend and (b) make legal representations at those hearings; and whether his Department was represented at the hearings. 
Ms Estelle Morris: The application for permission for judicial review was held on 19 April 2000. My Department was entitled to attend and make representations, but in accordance with common practice decided not to do so in all the circumstances of the case. The judicial review hearing took place between 11 and 14 July. My Department was entitled to and did attend and make representations.
Mr. Letwin: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will estimate the net cost of (a) making grants available to all playgroups and nurseries for three-year-olds and (b) reducing the coverage of grants in respect of three-year-olds to two days a week. 
Ms Hodge [holding answer 20 July 2000]: Since this Government came to office, 120,000 new, free, early education places have been created for three and four-year-olds nationally. All four-year-olds already have free access to early education. Two thirds of three-year-olds will be able to access a free place by 2002. The priority is to reach those three-year-olds in social need who would most benefit from a free nursery place. The estimated annual cost of achieving universal provision is approximately £450 million.
Mr. Wicks: The Government do not determine the siting of higher education institutions. It is a matter for the interested bodies in the region to consider with the Higher Education Funding Council for England.
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