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Mr. Coaker: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what criteria he used to determine the dates on which the summer school pilots set up under the Excellence in Cities programme are to take place; and if he will make a statement. 
Ms Estelle Morris: My right hon. Friend did not set dates for the summer schools for gifted and talented 10-14 year-olds, or the higher education summer schools for those completing Year 11 and Year 12. In each case, the dates were set by the providers.
Mr. Sayeed: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what initiatives are in place to teach socially excluded and disadvantaged young people how to operate their own businesses. 
Ms Jowell: The Department for Education and Employment currently funds two major initiatives that support socially excluded and disadvantaged young people to set up their own business: the self employment route of the New Deal for Young People and the Youth Enterprise Initiative.
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The self-employment route of New Deal for Young People is delivered in three stages--a one day awareness raising session; a four day course and/or counselling leading to the production of a business plan; and a 26 week period of test trading, where a participant runs their own business while receiving a training allowance.
The Youth Enterprise Initiative operates in England and is managed by The Prince's Trust, supported by DfEE and private donations. It offers loans and grants to disadvantaged young people between the ages of 18-30 wanting to set up their own businesses--but who are unable to access start-up capital from commercial sources. Assistance is given in putting together a business plan and the help of a business mentor is provided for up to three years.
Mr. Wills: The Prime Minister has given a commitment that, by 2005, all those who want it will have the opportunity to access the Internet. We are currently investing more than £1.7 billion in initiatives to ensure everyone is able to reap the rewards of the digital revolution.
In schools, good progress is being made in improving computer/pupil ratios, and 88 per cent. of all schools are now connected to the Internet. In future, all school leavers should be able to use and benefit from new technologies.
We are also tackling the difficulties that a significant minority of adults currently face in accessing ICT. On 11 September the Prime Minister set out the Government's agenda to get the UK on line. We have pledged that by the end of 2002 there will be around 6,000 UK online centres with access points in many public libraries and around 1,000 learning centres specifically focused on the most deprived urban and rural wards. 50,000 free computer-training courses are being made available for jobless people across the country under our UK online Computer Training scheme. We are also piloting an initiative to wire up homes and schools in some of the most disadvantaged areas. And we are introducing the 'Computers Within Reach' pilot scheme to enable around 100,000 low-income learners and families to acquire reconditioned computers.
Mr. Wicks [holding answer 6 November 2000]: There are currently no specific plans to amalgamate National Training Organisations. We made clear at the recent NTO National Council conference our belief that a smaller and stronger network of NTOs is needed to make a greater impact on skills development. We will shortly be
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Ms Jowell [holding answer 6 November 2000]: There is not an Action Team for Jobs in Dorset. We set up Action Teams in 40 local authority districts with the greatest problems associated with high unemployment and low employment.
Ms Jowell [holding answer 6 November 2000]: The 40 Action Teams have been operating since 16 October except for the three pathfinders launched in the summer. Early performance figures are not yet available.
Ms Jowell: The West Sussex Coastal Plain unit of delivery covers the South Downs from Chichester and Midhurst to Worthing and Bognor Regis. Since the inception of New Deal this unit of delivery has spent £623,656.
Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will make a statement on the winding up of the National Advisory Council for Education and Training Targets and the transfer of its activities to the Learning and Skills Council. 
Mr. Wicks: The National Advisory Council for Education and Training Targets (NACETT) will be wound up on 1 April 2001. As from 1 April 2001, responsibility for advice on National Learning Targets relating to 19-year-olds and older age groups will pass to the Learning and Skills Council. The Government are very grateful for the good work undertaken by NACETT on the Targets and in helping to promote a culture of lifelong learning.
Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what consultations he has held with (a) the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, (b) awarding bodies, (c) representatives of disability organisations and (d) others in connection with
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the early availability and special preparation of papers and tests for pupils who are blind or who have a visual impairment. 
Jacqui Smith: Officials of the DfEE regularly consult with the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA), which develops the National Curriculum Key Stage assessments on behalf of the Secretary of State, over the preparation and design of the tests. As part of this test development process, the QCA ensures that advice on the appropriateness of test materials for pupils with special assessment requirements is sought from:
The awarding bodies which develop the GCE, VCE, GCSE, and GNVQ examinations regularly consult with organisations, such as the RNIB, on arrangements for blind and visually impaired candidates. The awarding bodies' special arrangements already allow for the provision of Braille papers and manual Braillers for candidates who are blind or who have a visual impairment. Additional time is also granted to such candidates to allow them to access questions and present responses.
Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment how many of his Department's officials (a) have worked and (b) are working with Islington LEA on the submission of a PFI bid for schools; and at what cost to his Department. 
Jacqui Smith: The preparation of bids for schools PFI projects is the responsibility of local education authorities. My officials are currently reviewing bids for projects to sign contracts in 2002-03; Islington is one of a large number of authorities to have applied for support. Many authorities, including Islington, have taken the opportunity to discuss their bids with officials in my Department. Such discussions are part of the normal work of officials and no separate calculation is made of the costs involved.
Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will set out the usual process for preparation of a school's PFI bid including details of the involvement of officials from his Department. 
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Jacqui Smith: Public Private Partnerships form a central part of the Department's schools capital investment strategy to secure a modern educational infrastructure fit for the 21st century and able to deliver on our aims of raising standards, securing wider access and encouraging lifelong learning. Since May 1997, we have made available over £2.5 billion for schools PFI projects to address the backlog of repair and maintenance work and develop modern school buildings which will provide better conditions for teachers to teach and pupils to learn.
The preparation of bids for schools PFI projects is the responsibility of local education authorities. In July, we invited authorities to bid for support, against the Department's published criteria, for PFI projects expected to reach contract signature in 2002-03. Several authorities took the opportunity to discuss their proposals with my officials before the deadline for receipt of bids at the end of September.
My officials are currently making an initial assessment of the schools PFI proposals we have received. We have commissioned customised computer software to help authorities estimate the level of funding required, and we will be making this software available to those authorities whose projects score most highly in the initial assessment.
Authorities will be advised towards the end of November whether their projects are still under consideration in the current capital round. A priority list of projects which we are able to support will be drawn up in early 2001. Authorities will then be able to discuss with DfEE officials the preparation of outline business cases for consideration by the Office of Government Commerce chaired Project Review Group (PRG).
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