Previous Section Index Home Page


Maintenance Allowances

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment how many educational maintenance allowances have been paid to date and at what total cost, in each of the pilot areas; and if he will make a statement. [103237]

Mr. Wicks: The information requested is in the table (figures refer to the period up to and including 26 November):

Current EMA recipientsTotal cost to date (£)
Bolton1,011109,434.82
Cornwall1,574625,480.85
Doncaster439107,103.50
Gateshead92591,673.00
Greenwich9815,383.20
Lambeth18225,018.10
Leeds728201,285.46
Lewisham456,485.30
Middlesbrough871193,144.46
Nottingham1,087223,324.50
Oldham1,186145,969.33
Southampton750159,076.20
Southwark727,716.48
Stoke912108,961.08
Walsall1,006243,533.58
Total10,8862,805,769.48

We are encouraged by the success so far in the overall take-up of EMAs. We have worked alongside our external partners in the 15 pilot areas to ensure the smoothest possible introduction of the pilot scheme. LEAs are still dealing with EMA applications, including a number of cases where additional information is required to complete the assessment. We therefore expect the number of EMA recipients to rise further in the coming months.

An initial evaluation report is due in September 2000. However, early anecdotal evidence suggests that EMAs have helped young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to remain in education when they might otherwise would not have been able to afford to participate. In addition, a number of Institutions have reported improvements in attendance.

21 Dec 1999 : Column: 554W

EMAs have the potential to make a real difference to the life chances of young people and we are pleased that the pilots have made an encouraging start.

Fee Collection

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will make a statement on the collection by higher education institutions this term of fee contributions from (a) students and (b) local authorities. [103119]

Mr. Wicks: Higher education institutions are responsible for making arrangements to collect tuition fees from all those students liable to pay them. We have asked institutions to be sensitive and flexible in their collection of the fee contribution and therefore in many cases students will be paying in instalments extending beyond the first term. Local authorities pay the fee contribution for students who fall under the previous arrangements; the Student Loans Company will pay the fee contribution due for students entitled to support from public funds under the current arrangements. In both cases, payment is due to an institution once the continued attendance of each student is confirmed three months after the beginning of the academic year. For the academic year beginning 1 September 1999, such payments from local authorities should in most cases be received by 9 February 2000.

Competitive Tendering

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what is the number and value of contracts let by his Department since May 1997 to external consultants and advisers for the management of competitive tendering processes. [103608]

Mr. Wills: No contracts to manage competitive tendering processes have been let by the Department since 1997.

Staff Secondments

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment how many staff were seconded from the private sector to his Department in (a) May 1997 to April 1998, (b) May 1998 to April 1999 and (c) May 1999 to the latest date for which figures are available, stating in each case the companies from which staff have been seconded. [103605]

Mr. Wills: Between May 1997 to April 1998, this Department had three secondees from the private sector. They came from Aquemen Services, Glaxo Wellcome and Pannell Kerr Forster Associates.

Between May 1998 to April 1999, we had five secondees--one from Aquemen Services, one from IICL, one from Glaxo Wellcome and two from the BBC.

From May 1999 to date, we have had two secondees--from the Link Group and from Glaxo Wellcome.

Project Charlie

Mr. Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what the Government's plans are for a

21 Dec 1999 : Column: 555W

further follow-up study of the drug-use attitudes of Project Charlie children; and if these plans include an increase in the size of the sample used previously. [103481]

Jacqui Smith: There are no current plans for a further specific study of Project Charlie. As part of our commitment to the anti-drugs strategy, from next year we will be commissioning the funding, in partnership with others, a longitudinal study on the effectiveness of drug education. The project will aim to establish evidence of the cost-effectiveness and effectiveness of drug education, within the wide PSHE context, in terms of changes in behaviour among young people to resist drug use.

Higher Education Institutions

Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what the Government's policy is on the relative amounts of funding available for (a) single-discipline higher education institutions and (b) multi-discipline higher education institutions. [103364]

Mr. Wicks: The Government support diversity within the higher education sector. In its distribution of funding the Higher Education Funding Council for England takes into account the size and range of disciplines in institutions as well as factors directly related to teaching and research and keeps under review those institutions that specialise in a few subjects.

CULTURE, MEDIA AND SPORT

Millennium Experience

Mr. Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what was the total cost of focus group research carried out by the New Millennium Experience Company; and if he will publish the names of the organisations which carried out the research, the questions put to participants and the results of the research. [98823]

Janet Anderson: Two focus group research projects have been carried out to inform the New Millennium Experience Company's considerations about the positioning and targeting of the Millennium Experience since the Government gave the go-ahead for the project in June 1997. A further two focus group research projects have been undertaken to test reactions of the public to proposals for advertising the Millennium Experience at the Dome. The companies involved in these projects are Hall and Partners, One World Research and Davey Bioletti. The cost of the research is covered within the company's marketing, communications and commercial budget as set out in the company's Annual Report and Financial Statements to 31 March 1999 and published in July 1999. The results of the research are commercially confidential.

Mr. Jon Owen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many tickets for the Millennium Experience had been sold in (a) Wales, (b) Scotland and (c) Northern Ireland by 1 November. [101431]

Janet Anderson [holding answer 6 December 1999]: NMEC is keen to encourage visitors, from all parts of the UK, to the Dome in 2000. Ticket sales and reservations are running ahead of NMEC's expectations and, at over

21 Dec 1999 : Column: 556W

one million, are outstripping advance sales for other worldwide visitor attractions. The company is concerned not to affect the on-going success of ticket sales through publication of selected and piecemeal statistics at this stage. It is competing in the crowded and highly commercial marketplace of visitor attractions and its competitors do not publish detailed statistics of forward sales in the formats that have been requested. However, NMEC has informed the Select Committee for Culture, Media and Sport, on a commercially confidential basis, of progress on ticket sales and will provide, periodically, further progress reports as requested by the Committee. The company will release details in February 2000 of attendance at the Dome during January 2000, and on a monthly basis thereafter.

Mr. Jon Owen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many tickets for the Millennium Experience had been sold in (a) North East England, (b) North West England and (c) the East Midlands by 1 November. [101463]

Janet Anderson [holding answer 7 December 1999]: NMEC is keen to encourage visitors, from all parts of the UK, to the Dome in 2000. Ticket sales and reservations are running ahead of NMEC's expectations and, at over 1 million, are outstripping advance sales for other worldwide visitor attractions. The company is concerned not to affect the on-going success of ticket sales through publication of selected and piecemeal statistics at this stage. It is competing in the crowded and highly commercial marketplace of visitor attractions and its competitors do not publish detailed statistics of forward sales in the formats that have been requested. However, NMEC has informed the Select Committee for Culture, Media and Sport, on a commercially confidential basis, of progress on ticket sales and will provide, periodically, further progress reports as requested by the Committee. The company will release details in February 2000 of attendance at the Dome during January 2000, and on a monthly basis thereafter.

Mr. Jon Owen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many tickets for the Millennium Experience had been sold in (a) East Anglia, (b) the West Midlands, (c) the South West, (d) the South East and (e) London by 1 November. [101471]

Janet Anderson [holding answer 8 December 1999]: NMEC is keen to encourage visitors, from all parts of the UK, to the Dome in 2000. Ticket sales and reservations are running ahead of NMEC's expectations and, at over 1 million, are outstripping advance sales for other worldwide visitor attractions. The company is concerned not to affect the on-going success of ticket sales through publication of selected and piecemeal statistics at this stage. It is competing in the crowded and highly commercial marketplace of visitor attractions and its competitors do not publish detailed statistics of forward sales in the formats that have been requested. However, NMEC has informed the Select Committee for Culture, Media and Sport, on a commercially confidential basis, of progress on ticket sales and will provide, periodically, further progress reports as requested by the Committee. The company will release details in February 2000 of attendance at the Dome during January 2000, and on a monthly basis thereafter.

21 Dec 1999 : Column: 557W

Mr. Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many free tickets to the Millennium Dome have been made available to Dome sponsors. [99129]

Janet Anderson [holding answer 23 November 1999]: It is normal and established practice that sponsors of major events receive tickets to the sponsored event. The value of tickets is taken into account in calculating the sponsorship package. The New Millennium Experience Company's sponsorship arrangements mirror this approach and, consequently, sponsors of the Millennium Experience project receive a number of tickets in proportion to, and as a reflection of, the scale of their sponsorship.

Mr. Dobbin: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many applications there have been by region from schools for tickets to visit the Millennium Dome from January to May 2000 inclusive; and how many were granted for the same period by region. [100297]

Janet Anderson: So far over 560,000 children are booked to visit the Dome. The high level of enthusiasm among schoolchildren and teachers has, in part, been fired by the Learning Experience programme. This is a series of initiatives run by the New Millennium Experience Company (NMEC) to assist delivery of its "education" objective. Over the last 12 months in particular, NMEC has issued four Millennium Experience resource packs to all schools; finalised arrangements for the McDonald's Our Town Stage event which enables every education authority and library board to have a day in the Dome; worked with Tesco on the SchoolNet2000 initiative through which children are compiling an electronic Domesday Book which will be completed this month; and worked with Marks and Spencer on Voices of Promise, which has encouraged and enabled children to compose songs for the millennium.

The first of the ballots to allocate the one million free school tickets to the Dome was drawn on 15 November and covered the period February through to April 2000 inclusive. These free tickets are outside NMEC's 12 million visitor target and were not included in the recent announcement by the Shareholder, Lord Falconer, that over a million tickets had already been sold. A total of 226,408 free tickets have been allocated in this first ballot to over 2,600 schools. All schools who applied by the closing date received an allocation. The number of successful schools by region are:

RegionNumber
South East501
London614
East288
South West284
East Midlands246
West Midlands186
Yorkshire and Humberside135
North West133
Wales104
North East42
Scotland33
Northern Ireland28

The closing date for the second ballot for free tickets, covering the period May to July, is 13 February; the closing date for the third ballot, covering the period September to November, is 11 June; and the closing date for the fourth ballot, covering December, is 10 September. Over 2,500 schools have chosen to apply for paid-for visits at £8 per child. So far, the total number of reservations from these schools is 340,000. NMEC, through the Education and Learning Experience Managers in its 12 offices countrywide (Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, the North East, Yorkshire and Humberside, the North West, the East Midlands, the West Midlands, the East, the South East, the South West and London), and through the regional media will continue to ensure that all schools are fully aware of the free ticket scheme and of the education visit arrangements.


21 Dec 1999 : Column: 558W

Mr. Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the budgeted income was from ticket sales to the Millennium Dome for the first eight weeks for which tickets were on sale; and what the actual income from such sales was. [99333]

Janet Anderson [holding answer 30 November 1999]: NMEC is keen to encourage visitors, from all parts of the UK, to the Dome in 2000. Ticket sales and reservations are running ahead of NMEC's expectations and, at over one million, are outstripping advance sales for other worldwide visitor attractions. The company is concerned not to affect the on-going success of ticket sales through publication of selected and piecemeal statistics at this stage. It is competing in the crowded and highly commercial marketplace of visitor attractions and its competitors do not publish detailed statistics of forward sales in the formats that have been requested. However, NMEC has informed the Select Committee for Culture, Media and Sport, on a commercially confidential basis, of progress on ticket sales and will provide, periodically, further progress reports as requested by the Committee. The company will release details in February 2000 of attendance at the Dome during January 2000, and on a monthly basis thereafter.

Mr. Tony Clarke: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many tickets have been sold to date for entry to the Millennium Dome, broken down on a geographical basis. [100786]

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many people from North Yorkshire have bought tickets to visit the Millennium Dome in January 2000. [103838]

Janet Anderson: NMEC is keen to encourage visitors, from all parts of the UK, to the Dome in 2000. Ticket sales and reservations are running ahead of NMEC's expectations and, at over 1 million, are outstripping advance sales for other world-wide visitor attractions. The company is concerned not to affect the on-going success of ticket sales through publication of selected and piecemeal statistics at this stage. It is competing in the crowded and highly commercial market place of visitor attractions and its competitors do not publish detailed statistics of forward sales in the formats that have been requested. However, NMEC has informed the Select Committee for Culture, Media and Sport, on a commercially confidential basis, of progress on ticket sales and will provide, periodically, further progress reports as requested by the Committee. The company will

21 Dec 1999 : Column: 559W

release details in February 2000 of attendance at the Dome during January 2000, and on a monthly basis thereafter.

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if he will make a statement on the allocation of room in the Millennium Dome for primary school children to eat packed lunches. [103204]

Janet Anderson [holding answer 20 December 1999]: Children will be able to eat their packed lunches within the Dome. There are spaces available for visitors generally to use for such purposes.

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if he will make provision to give primary school teachers free passes to the Millennium Dome to enable them to make preliminary visits before taking children in school parties. [103206]

Janet Anderson [holding answer 20 December 1999]: All education groups that have confirmed a visit to the Dome will receive, in advance of their visit, a Welcome Pack. This pack will provide all the information a teacher will need to plan their visit. As well as containing the group's tickets, the Welcome Pack will include an orientation leaflet designed to show the visitor the location of all the zones in the Dome as well as all the other major amenities on site. A video will also be included in the pack. This 10-minute video includes a computer generated fly-through of the Dome, covering each of the 14 zones, the Millennium Show and the Skyscape arena. Further, a brochure will also be included which contains a summary of the content and key messages contained within each zone. It is not possible for NMEC to offer reconnaissance visits to the site but their aim, with the material provided, is to ensure that teachers have sufficient information to plan their day at the Dome. Teachers should also be able to complete any risk assessment analysis that is required before visits can take place.

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many free school tickets have been granted to primary schools in (a) England, (b) Scotland and (c) Wales for visits to the Millennium Dome. [103207]

Janet Anderson [holding answer 20 December 1999]: The one million free tickets available to schools are being allocated through four ballots--one in November 1999, one in February, one in June and one in September 2000. All schools have been given details of the scheme. The New Millennium Experience Company announced the outcome of the first ballot on 30 November when 226,498 free tickets were awarded to 2,600 schools. All those who applied by the cut-off date for the November ballot received an allocation of tickets. The company included, in its announcement, a regional breakdown. I have placed copies in the House Libraries. About 70 per cent. of the tickets applied for have been for children of primary school age.

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if he will make a statement on guide facilities for primary school parties visiting the Millennium Dome. [103205]

Janet Anderson [holding answer 20 December 1999]: There are some 800 Hosts on site at any one time available to help visitors, including school groups, enjoy

21 Dec 1999 : Column: 560W

their day at the Dome to the full. It is not the New Millennium Experience Company's policy to allocate formal guides to particular groups of visitors; the Hosts' training programmes aim to ensure that they can deal with the requirements of all visitors. In addition, the individual exhibit zones have dedicated staff who are able to "guide" school and other groups through the zone.


Next Section Index Home Page