Previous Section Index Home Page

Overseas Students

Mr. Fearn: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what funding is available from his Department for overseas students studying in the United Kingdom. [136042]

Mr. Wicks: We offer scholarships through the Overseas Research Students Awards Scheme (ORSAS) for full-time overseas postgraduate students registered as research students at British universities. For this financial year, we are providing £12.5 million. We also fund the Montserrat Emergency Award Scheme, which in the current financial year, is providing £1.6 million towards 195 Montserrat students' higher education tuition fees and living expenses.

There are also other Government schemes to support overseas students: the Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan, funded jointly by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for International Development which will receive £12 million this financial year; the Shared Scholarship Scheme, funded by DFID which will receive £2 million this financial year; and the British Chevening Scholarship Scheme, where FCO is providing £30 million this financial year.

Global Business Dimensions Ltd.

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment when the investigation by the Special Investigative Unit into Global Business Dimensions Ltd. will be completed; and if he will place a copy of the report in the Library. [136069]

Ms Jowell [holding answer 6 November 2000]: The investigation by the Department's Special Investigation Unit (SIU) has now been completed and a final report will be produced in due course. SIU's reports are confidential to the Department and hence it would not be appropriate in this instance to place a copy in the Library.

Schools (Internet)

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment how many (a) primary and (b) secondary schools which are connected to the internet allow access to unmoderated internet chat rooms. [136210]

7 Nov 2000 : Column: 194W

Mr. Wills [holding answer 6 November 2000]: We are determined to ensure that all pupils' use of the internet is both safe and appropriate. Although we do not collect these figures, we understand that open chat lines are rarely used in schools, to avoid any possible compromise to pupil safety. Where chat rooms are used, these tend to be educational, such as the 'chat' sessions which the Science Museum, for instance, holds with subject experts.

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what reports have been received by his Department of indecent approaches towards children at school through (a) Internet chat rooms and (b) e-mail. [136211]

Mr. Wills [holding answer 6 November 2000]: My Department has not received any reports of indecent approaches towards children through Internet chat rooms or e-mails. Schools deal with the improper use of e-mail through their normal disciplinary procedures, involving the police where appropriate. The DfEE ensures that information and advice are provided to parents and teachers who have to deal with any problem directly.

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what steps his Department has taken to promote the safety of children who use the Internet at school. [136212]

Mr. Wills [holding answer 6 November 2000]: DfEE's and others' projects have shown that schools already implement a wide range of Internet safety measures, which we have supplemented by creating the Superhighway Safety pack. It is a comprehensive guide to the whole range of safety measures which schools and parents can adopt. It covers acceptable use policies, home-school contracts, filtering systems, walled gardens, firewalls, monitoring, advice on setting up websites and information about pupils' physical well-being when using computers. As well as advice and guidance, the pack provides contact details for a wide range of appropriate sources of further information or resources.

The pack was created with valuable help from partners including Becta, NCH Action for Children, the Parents Information Network, the British Educational Suppliers Association and Disney. It was originally produced in 1999 and revised in September 2000, to include extra information such as the advice sheet "Parents making the Internet Safer". We also launched a new Safety website in September 2000 ("") which carries all the information from the pack in an easy to use format.

Polytechnic Reclassification

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the reclassification of the former polytechnics as universities on (a) academic standards and (b) vocational training. [136260]

Mr. Wicks: The Department has made no assessment relating to the reclassification of the former polytechnics.

7 Nov 2000 : Column: 195W

The Department is not aware of any adverse effect on the academic standards or vocational courses and training available.

The Secretary of State called for diversity across the whole spectrum of higher education at his landmark speech at Greenwich earlier this year. The introduction of foundation degrees is an indication of the importance of vocational qualifications.

The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) carries out reviews of the effectiveness of institutional arrangements for the management of the quality and standards of academic provision in all higher education institutions that receive public funding from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE). Individual reports are published by the QAA for the assessments it carries out.

Disability Discrimination Act 1995

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what the average cost is of an adjustment made by an employer to support a disabled employee under the terms of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995; and what the average cost is of an employee's adjustment within the Access to Work Scheme. [136300]

Ms Hodge [holding answer 6 November 2000]: It is not possible to give an absolute cost of adjustments. We published research in March 1998 called "Integrating Disabled Employees", which reported that, where adjustments are needed, the majority cost less than £50, with only very few estimated to have cost more than £5,000. The findings were based on a small sample and are therefore not necessarily representative of all UK employers. Other research published in May 1999 entitled "Employment of Disabled People: Assessing the Extent of Participation", reported that only 11 per cent. of disabled people who are able to work (including those not currently in work) require some form of special equipment, aids or adaptations in order to work.

Access to Work pay grants towards additional costs for employing disabled people. Employers are expected to make a contribution when the person is already in work. During 1999-2000 Access to Work provided help to 20,729 disabled people in work at a cost of £24.39 million. The average cost of Access to Work help during 1999-2000 was £1,177.

New Deal (Disabled People)

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what plans he has to introduce (a) an element of compulsion and (b) the potential for withdrawal of current benefits for non-participants, in the New Deal for Disabled People. [136302]

Ms Hodge [holding answer 6 November 2000]: Participation in the New Deal for Disabled People (NDDP) is voluntary. We have no plans to compel people to join the NDDP or to withdraw benefits from those who do not.

Local Authority Funding Allocations

Mr. Yeo: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what assumptions are made, in respect of central Government funding allocations to local

7 Nov 2000 : Column: 196W

authorities, for annual funding required for (a) each child in primary school, (b) each child in secondary school, (c) each child in care, (d) each elderly person requiring home help and (e) each elderly person requiring residential care, indicating in each case the figure for an English shire council and the figures for each other type of council. [136496]

Ms Estelle Morris [holding answer 6 November 2000]: The table gives for 2000-01, the Education Standard Spending Assessment per pupil for (a) primary and (b) secondary schools for (i) Shire Counties, (ii) London Authorities, (iii) Metropolitan Authorities and (iv) Unitary Authorities.

2000-01Average primary SSA per pupilAverage secondary SSA per pupil
Shire Counties2,3503,020

Since 1997, overall funding per pupil has increased by over £300 per pupil (to some £3,100 per pupil this year). Funding per pupil fell by £60 in real terms between 1994-95 and 1997-98. There will be further increases in funding following the year 2000 spending review: a further £370 per pupil over the three year period, taking the total increase to nearly £700 between 1997-98 and 2003-04. Funding for children in care and for elderly people is the responsibility of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health.

Next Section Index Home Page