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Level 3 Qualifications

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will make a statement on UCAS's proposals for a unified tariff of Level 3 qualifications. [102920]

Mr. Wicks [holding answer 20 December 1999]: The tariff of points for entry to higher education is constructed by UCAS, which is an independent organisation. The UCAS board recently announced changes to the tariff.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State, while welcoming some aspects of the Tariff which are expected to be supportive of the "Qualifying for Success" reforms, is not convinced of the need to change the ratio between the A and E grades from 5:1 to 3:1. He has said he will consider the issue further in discussions with UCAS.

Home Teaching

Mr. Clapham: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will provide a breakdown by local education authority of the number of children who are taught at home by their parents; and what plans he has to institute a national register and to make it a requirement that parents who plan to teach their children at home inform the local education authority. [103571]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 21 November 1999]: Information on the number of children educated at home by their parents is not held centrally. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has no current plans to introduce a national register of home-educated children. Home educated pupils can be removed from a school roll only where the school has received written notification from the parent that the pupil is receiving education otherwise than at school. The relevant local education authority is under a duty to monitor the education provided to home-educated children and to enforce school attendance where it is inadequate.

Mr. Clapham: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what mechanisms exist for ensuring that the educational attainment and progress of children who are taught at home by their parents are adequately monitored to ensure that children are not educationally disadvantaged. [103572]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 20 December 1999]: Under the 1996 Education Act, parents can opt to educate their children otherwise than at school. In such circumstances, local education authorities have a duty to ensure that the education provided is suitable to age, aptitude and ability and any special educational needs the child may have. It is for education authorities to decide how to monitor these arrangements. In cases where the education being provided is deemed not suitable, LEAs can apply to the courts for an Education Supervision Order, which could allow home education to continue with supervision, or they can try to obtain a School Attendance Order.

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LEA Management

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will list those consultants who have been engaged by his Department to advise on the management of individual local education authorities following Ofsted reports on them; how many companies have bid for each contract; what the criteria were against which the successful bidders were selected; and what is the total cost of these consultancy contracts. [103575]

Ms Estelle Morris [holding answer 20 December 1999]: Six consultancy firms have been awarded framework contracts by the DfEE to undertake work in relation to LEA intervention. These are: PricewaterhouseCoopers; KPMG; The Office for Public Management; Lorien; Capita; and Arthur Andersen/ Birmingham LEA.

Under European Union procurement rules, we conducted a rigorous competition to establish framework contracts with consultancy firms. Framework arrangements allow the Department to appoint consultants quickly following an Ofsted report, without the need for a separate procurement exercise for each intervention case. 97 consultancy firms originally expressed an interest in the work and, following the competition, frameworks were established with six of them. In order to ensure maximum value for money, we have also held mini- competitions to let particular contracts.

The criteria for selecting the consultants included a proven track record in: understanding the nature of services provided by LEAs; working with service providers to improve service delivery standards; handling complex contract and project management arrangements; and preparing service related specifications.

The estimated overall cost of ongoing consultancy in Hackney, Liverpool, Islington, Leicester City and Haringey is £2.7 million including VAT. The costs are generally split between DfEE and the LEA concerned.

Barnet Schools

Sir Sydney Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment, pursuant to his answer of 1 December 1999, Official Report, column 227W, what was the proportion of out-of-borough pupils attending primary and secondary schools in Barnet in each of the last five years. [103008]

Ms Estelle Morris [holding answer 20 December 1999]: Information on the number of out-of-borough pupils educated in schools in Barnet is not collected in the form requested.

The numbers of pupils educated in Barnet by school type is derived from returns made by schools to the Department in January each year. A separate survey collects information on the overall number of out-of- borough pupils in schools but these figures are not collected by school type and are therefore not directly comparable with the January figures.

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Funding (Lancashire)

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment which educational institutions will benefit from funding under the capital guidelines for Lancashire for 2000-01. [103229]

Ms Estelle Morris [holding answer 20 December 1999]: It is for Lancashire County Council to decide how best to use the over £6.5 million of credit approvals, which was allocated to it under the 2000-01 Education Annual Capital Guideline to meet local need. That said, part of the allocation was made in recognition of the need for 536 additional secondary places in the Clithetoe and Poulton/Thornton Cleveleys area; part in recognition of improvement and replacement works that are needed at all maintained schools; and part in recognition of commitments arising from the projects supported under the Annual Capital Guideline.

Sixth Formers

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment how many pupils in maintained schools sixth forms are unable to qualify either for (a) child benefit, (b) other social security benefits and (c) student support. [103235]

Mr. Wicks: The information asked for on child and social security benefits is not collected by the Department and cannot be supplied. This Department's School Access Fund is making £6 million available in 1999-2000 and will provide support to about 15,000 post-16 pupils in sixth forms. In addition, we would expect a similar number to be assisted through discretionary payments made by local authorities. In addition we have made £100 million available over the period 1999-2002 to pilot Education Maintenance Allowances to help young people in all forms of education, including sixth forms.

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will list the annual average cost of full-time education of persons aged 16 to 19 years in (a) maintained school sixth forms, (b) sixth form colleges and (c) other further education colleges in each of the last five years together with his projections for the next two years. [103236]

Mr. Wicks: It is not possible to give average annual costs for 16 to 19-year-olds in school sixth forms, sixth form colleges and other further educational colleges because data on expenditure are not collected in a way that allows the calculation to be made.

The table gives estimates of the public funding costs of a successful level 3 qualification package (i.e. A levels, Advanced GNVQs and Level 3 NVQs) in school sixth forms and colleges. These are for full-time courses and do not take account of any cross-subsidisation within institutions or other sources of funding (e.g. employers), but do take account of the retention and achievement variation across the two sectors.

SectorFunding cost £ (1)Index (1)
1995-96 (1)
LEA maintained schools7,060100
Grant maintained schools7,110101
General FE colleges6,58093
Sixth form colleges6,36090
LEA maintained schools7,380100
Grant maintained schools7,630103
General FE colleges6,25085
Sixth form colleges5,91080

(1) Methodology changed between 1995-96 and 1996-97; these estimates use the same methodology as for 1996-97

(1) Rounded to the nearest £10

(1) LEA maintained schools = 100


1. 1995-96 and 1996-97 are the only two years for which data are available on a comparable basis

2. DfEE do not project unit output funding estimates

21 Dec 1999 : Column: 553W

The Government are committed to levelling up funding across post-16 routes over time, and have recently announced an additional £1.56 billion for further education over three years to begin to close the historical funding gap.

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