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Class Sizes

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what the average (a) primary and (b) secondary school class size was for each school year in the Ribble Valley since 1994. [132720]

Ms Estelle Morris [holding answer 26 July 2000]: The requested information is shown in the following table.

The Government are well on target to deliver its infant class size pledge. Some £620 million is available to support the pledge and allocations so far to Lancashire LEA amount to some £15 million. This has helped to reduce the average infant class in Ribble Valley constituency to 24.8. In January 1997 the figure was 28.0. Over the same period, the average size of junior classes in the constituency has fallen from 30.5 to 30.4. Average secondary class sizes in the constituency have remained broadly stable over this period. Secondary classes nationally have been rising steadily for the last 12 years. In 1988 the figure was 19.9. In the budget, secondary headteachers received between £30,000 and £50,000 each to spend as they choose. If they spent it on teachers, they could reduce the secondary pupil:teacher ratio by 0.4.

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Average size of one teacher classes in maintained primary and secondary schools in the Ribble Valley parliamentary constituency area: 1994-2000(1)
Position as at January each year

Key Stage 1 Key Stage 2Primary(1)Secondary
Average class sizeNumber of pupils in classes of 31 or moreAverage class sizeAverage class sizeAverage class size

n/a = Not available

(1) Provisional

(1) Includes nursery classes and mixed key stage classes

Sixth-form Students

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what percentage of students continued into the sixth-form in the Ribble Valley between 1994 and 2000. [132721]

Mr. Wicks [holding answer 26 July 2000]: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State recently launched a major £3 million advertising campaign aimed at encouraging this year's school leavers and others to stay on in some form of learning. The "Don't Quit Now" campaign is particularly aimed at those who left this year with few, if any GCSEs and are in danger of dropping out of education and training. Latest figures show that the numbers of 16 to 18-year-olds not in education, employment or training fell by 28,000 from 185,000 in 1998 to 157,000 in 1999.

We are committed to improving participation and attainment rates for 16 and 17-year-olds. The Connexions Strategy sets out a range of existing and new initiatives aimed at achieving this. We have announced details of the new Connexions Service which will provide advice, guidance, information and support for all 13 to 19-year-olds, whatever their needs and circumstances, to keep them learning.

Data on the percentage of students continuing in post-compulsory education at age 16 are not calculated for areas smaller than LEAs. Figures for Lancashire LEA, which covers the area of the former county of Lancashire, are given in the table for the years 1994-95 to 1997-98 (the latest year available):

Participation of 16-year-olds in full-time education, Lancashire LEA, 1994-95 to 1997-98
Percentage of age group

School 17161617
Sixth-form college 10111011
Other further education 33393737
Total full-time education 60656464


Totals may not add due to rounding


Statistical Bulletin 14/99: Participation in education and training by young people aged 16 and 17 in each local area and region, England, 1993-94 to 1997-98

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University Entrants

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what percentage of students leaving secondary school in Ribble Valley (a) went straight to university and (b) deferred university entrance for one or two years between 1994 and 2000. [132728]

Mr. Wicks [holding answer 26 July 2000]: There is only one secondary school in the Ribble Valley constituency which has a sixth-form containing potential applicants to higher education. The Department's policy does not routinely allow the release of data for individual schools unless schools have been given the opportunity to confirm or amend their data, and there has been prior ministerial approval for such releases. UCAS do not release data without the prior permission of the school. In any case, it is not possible to make unequivocal links for individual students between school-based and UCAS data.

Birmingham LEA

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what the net present cost is of the Birmingham LEA schools rebuilding project under the Private Finance Initiative; what the value is of the public sector comparators in (a) pre-risk and (b) risk-adjusted terms; and what risks are identified as having been transferred at (i) outline and (ii) final business case stage; and if he will make a statement. [132836]

Jacqui Smith: The net present cost of the Birmingham schools' rebuild package is estimated by the local education authority to be £78 million, which includes the value of the risks transferred.

The net present value of the risk adjusted public sector comparator is approximately £87 million. The value of the risks transferred to the private sector is estimated by the local education authority to be approximately £6 million.

The risks identified for transfer at outline business case stage were: detailed planning permission; design; construction; financing; availability (of the school buildings); operating performance; operating costs; repairs and maintenance; damage and vandalism; security; new legislation; obsolescence of plant, furniture and fittings; and revenue from dual use and commercial activities.

The risks identified as having been transferred at final business case stage were:

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The key principle of risk transfer within PFI schemes is that risks are placed with the party best able to manage them. Local education authorities must always ensure that, in transferring any risk to the private sector, they are achieving value for money.

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment, pursuant to his answer of 20 July 2000, Official Report, column 291W, if he will quantify the contribution of each of the three stated causes of the increase in the estimated cost in net present value of the Birmingham LEA schools rebuild package PFI scheme between the outline business case and final business case; and what reasons underlay the reduction in the discount rate used. [132844]

Jacqui Smith: The approximate contribution to the increase in the estimated cost in net present value of the Birmingham schools' rebuild package arising from each of the three causes given in my answer of 20 July is:

In addition, a combination of minor cost increases over the life of the project total £2.1 million.

The rate of discount used is set by the Secretary of State for Environment, Transport and the Regions for all local authorities. It is fixed each year and reflects the cost of all local authority borrowing. The rate changed between the outline and final business cases due to changes in the overall cost of local authority borrowing.

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