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Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will deposit in the Library a copy of the (a) minutes and (b) agenda of the European Community Working Group on Education and the Euro; and when the group will next meet. 
Ms Jowell: The minutes and agenda of the European Community working group on Education and the Euro are the property of the European Commission, which provided the secretariat for the meeting. The Commission have taken the view that it would be more appropriate for them to release the documents rather than the Government of a member state. The papers are kept by the Directorate-General for Education and Culture who can make them available on submission of a written application. There are no plans for any further meetings of the group.
Mr. Wicks: The latest available data, covering full-time and sandwich undergraduates applying through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), are shown in the following table. Some full-time and all part-time students apply outside UCAS.
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|Year of entry||Total applicants||Of which percentage recording a disability|
(8) Because of a change in the guidance for the reporting of this information to UCAS, the figures between 1999 and 1998 are not directly comparable
(9) Near final total
Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment how many (a) applications for degree courses were received and (b) vacant university spaces there were, in each of the past five years. 
Mr. Wicks: The latest available data, showing the number of applications from UK domiciled students via the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) to institutions in the UK, are shown in the following table. Final figures for 2000 entry will be available in early 2001.
|Year of entry||Number of applications(10)|
(10) In 1995 each applicant could make up to eight applications; in 1996 and subsequent years each applicant could make up to six applications
Figures for the number of vacancies are not available centrally. Although universities and colleges inform UCAS throughout the clearing process which courses have vacancies, and these appear in the national press and elsewhere, they do not declare the number of vacancies.
Mr. Wicks: We are making good progress in establishing the Learning and Skills Council (LSC). We have made a number of key senior appointments at both national and local level. These include the National Chair, National Chief Executive, National Council members and the Chairs of the LSC's Adult Learning Committee and Young Peoples Learning Committee. At the local level we have appointed all 47 local Chairs and local Executive Directors. Work continues apace to ensure that the LSC is operational from April 2001 and, to help ensure this, we remain on course to announce local Council members by the end of November and members of the LSC's Adult
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Mr. Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what assessment has been made of the future occupations of young people who complete the New Deal scheme in West Sussex. 
Ms Jowell [holding answer 26 October 2000]: We do not collect detailed statistics on the future occupations of young people when they complete New Deal for individual Units of Delivery and so no comprehensive assessment has been made.
The flexible design of New Deal aims to tailor provision, in particular training, to meet the aspirations of participants and prepare them for a career in their chosen field. The evidence we do hold indicates that of the 317 young people who have gained sustained unsubsidised employment from New Deal in the West Sussex Unit of Delivery, approximately 3 per cent. moved into managerial/professional occupations, 10 per cent. into clerical/secretarial occupations, 9 per cent. into craft and related occupations, 13 per cent. into personal and protective services, 6 per cent. into sales, 14 per cent. into plant and machinery operation and 45 per cent. into non-specified occupations.
Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment how many letters he has received alleging that there was a threat to religious freedom posed by the EU directive on employment agreed between the Governments of the EU on 17 October. 
Ms Jowell: We have received over 12,000 letters following publication of the European Commission's original proposal for this directive. Of these, some 10,500 raised concerns on religious grounds, in particular that the wording of the original draft of the directive posed a threat to religious freedoms. We have now negotiated a final text which, we believe, fully responds to the concerns expressed, and allows member states considerable latitude in implementing its provisions in relation to staff policies of religious organisations. In particular the agreed text allows the UK to protect the right of church schools to give preference to teachers of their faith in line with the provisions of the Schools Standards and Framework Act 1999.
Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will list the average class sizes in (a) junior and (b) secondary schools in each local education authority in each of the last three years. 
Ms Estelle Morris: The information requested on class sizes in England by local education authority area has been placed in the Library. Information on class sizes was recently published in a Statistical Volume 'Statistics of Education--Schools in England 2000'.
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The latest infant class size data for September 2000 were recently published in a Statistical First Release 'Infant Class Sizes in England 2000' on 1 November, copies of which are available from the Library, or alternatively can be accessed from the Department for Education and Employment statistical website www.dfee.gov.uk/statistics. Figures from this release show that since September 1998, 324,000 five, six and seven-year-olds have benefited from the Government's infant class size initiative. In September 2000, 30,000 children were in classes of 31 or more children, compared to 171,000 in September 1999. This demonstrates that the Government are delivering early their infant class size pledge, which is supported by some £620 million.
January 2000 saw a fall in the size of the average junior class in England; and a continuing fall in the size of the average primary class, after rising for a decade. The size of the average secondary class nationally, at 22, is still five below the average primary class. Secondary headteachers are receiving an average of £50,000 this year (£60,000 from April 2001) in direct grant to spend as they choose. If this were spent on recruiting teachers, the average secondary class size could be reduced by up to 0.8.
|1997-98 outturn||1998-99 outturn||1999-2000 estimated outturn|
|Total New Deal Spend||37||220||428|
|Administration costs as a percentage||3.24||1.09||0.75|
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