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School Curriculum (Environmental Issues)

Mr. Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what steps the Government have taken since May 1997 to ensure that environmental issues form part of the school curriculum. [158710]

Jacqui Smith: Sustainable Development Education (SDE), which includes learning about environmental issues has been part of the National Curriculum since September 2000.

Speech Therapy

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment how many hours of speech therapy will be provided to children under the provisions of the Special Educational Needs and Disability Bill [Lords]. [158122]

Jacqui Smith: This matter does not come within the provisions of the Special Educational Needs and Disability Bill. Specific provision for speech and language therapy might be set out in a statement of special educational needs (SEN) maintained in relation to a particular child. In the draft revised SEN Code of Practice

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we have indicated that addressing speech and language impairment should normally be recorded as educational provision unless there are exceptional reasons for not doing so.

Local education authorities receive support under the Standards Fund to enhance speech and language therapy services in conjunction with the NHS and the voluntary sector. Of the £82 million available for SEN under the Standards Fund 2001-02, we envisage that about £10 million will be spent on improving speech and language therapy provision.

In addition, I announced on 27 March a £10 million initiative to provide communication aids for children with SEN and disabilities. This expenditure will be incurred over the period 2002-03 and 2003-04.

Second Language Teaching

Mr. Pike: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment how many primary schools teach a second language. [158397]

Jacqui Smith: We do not hold information centrally on the number of primary schools currently teaching a second language, but it is estimated that one in five do so. The National Curriculum contains guidance for teaching 7 to 11-year-olds, covering skills, knowledge and understanding, together with attainment targets. We have also published a scheme of work for primary French, and further materials for primary German and Spanish.

I recently announced further funding of over £200,000 for the Early Language Learning initiative, through which we are piloting approaches to extend language teaching in primary schools, gathering good practice and developing classroom materials. In our formal response to the Nuffield Languages Inquiry we set out our intention to build on existing links between primary schools and specialist language colleges. The increasing number of colleges and the developing focus on their roles as 'hubs' of excellence will enhance opportunities for primary schools to access languages expertise.

Specialist Schools Programme

Mr. Salter: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what his plans are for the expansion of the specialist schools programme. [158537]

Ms Estelle Morris: The number of specialist schools has increased threefold since May 1997, from 181 to 536, with a further 73 designated to start operating from September 2001. Our target of 1,500 specialist schools by 2006 proposed in the Green Paper "Schools: Building on Success" is an increase of 1,000 on our original target of 500. As a result of the 2000 Spending Review, the Government will be providing an additional £33 million from the Capital Modernisation Fund over the next three years to make it possible to expand the specialist schools programme at a faster rate to reach 1,000 specialist schools by 2003. This will enable us to introduce all three of the new specialisms (Science, Engineering, and Business and Enterprise) in September next year.

Harassment (Disability)

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what assessment he has made

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of the number of people with learning disabilities who have experienced bullying and harassment at work in the last year. [158077]

Ms Hodge: People with learning disabilities can take cases under the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) where they believe they have faced harassment or bullying which amounts to a "detriment" on account of their disability. My Department monitors Employment Tribunal decisions and emerging case law on all aspects of the DDA, including complaints made by disabled people about harassment and bullying. In its final report, "From Exclusion to Inclusion", the Disability Rights Task Force commented that the DDA is effective in its treatment of harassment but proposed strengthening the Employment Code of Practice. In our response to the Task Force, entitled "Towards Inclusion" and published on 5 March, we explain that we have asked the Disability Rights Commission to ensure that the current section in the Code of Practice on harassment is reviewed and strengthened, as necessary.

Pipework Insulation

Mr. Levitt: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what standard of heat insulation is specified for pipework in PFI projects in his Department. [151655]

Mr. Wicks: There are no PFI heating or building projects in the Department.

Student Loans

Mr. Willis: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Truro and St. Austell (Mr. Taylor) of 9 February 2001, Official Report, column 764W, if he will estimate the nominal rate of interest required to hold the net present value of student loans at £590 million if the threshold of student loans repayment were increased to £15,000. [157872]

Mr. Wicks [holding answer 10 April 2001]: The net present value of the estimated £982 million income contingent loans issued in 1999-2000 to students domiciled in England and Wales is estimated to be £590 million. The nominal rate of interest required to maintain this net present value with a threshold for repayment of £15,000 per year is estimated to be around 4½ per cent.

National Training Organisations

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what account he will take in conducting the review of national training organisations' employees of the coherence of the sector in question as well as its size defined by the number of employees. [155865]

Mr. Wicks [holding answer 28 March 2001]: We will consider a number of issues in relation to the future direction of the National Training Organisations network, raised during the consultation, which concludes on 12 April. These include the coherence of the sector, as well as work force coverage.

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Modern Apprenticeships (Newcastle)

Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment how many modern apprenticeship and advanced modern apprenticeship starts there were in the (a) City of Newcastle upon Tyne and (b) Newcastle upon Tyne, Central constituency in each financial year from 1996-97 to the most recent date in 2000-01 for which figures are available. [157103]

Mr. Wicks [holding answer 9 April 2001]: Since 1 April 1996, we know of 3,475 starts on Modern Apprenticeships in the Newcastle-upon-Tyne local authority district and 978 in the Newcastle-upon-Tyne Central parliamentary constituency as at 30 November 2000. Broken down by financial year these are:

Financial yearFoundation modern apprenticeships(61)Advanced modern apprenticeships(62)Total
Newcastle upon Tyne local authority district
Newcastle upon Tyne Central parliamentary constituency

(61) Foundation Modern Apprenticeships, formerly known as National Traineeships, were introduced nationally in September 1997.

(62) Advanced Modern Apprenticeships, formerly known as Modern Apprenticeships, were introduced nationally in September 1995.

(63) Not applicable.

(64) April to November.


WBTYP trainee database.

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Students (Newcastle)

Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment how many full and part-time students there are (a) aged 16 to 18 years and (b) over 18 years with home postcodes in the City of Newcastle upon Tyne at Further Education Funding Council-funded institutions, broken down between FEFC-funded courses and other courses, in each year since 1996-97. [157105]

Mr. Wicks [holding answer 9 April 2001]: The numbers of students with home postcodes in the local authority district of Newcastle-Upon Tyne split by age, mode of attendance and funding category is contained in the table:

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FEFC funded Non-FEFC funded
16-18 Adult 16-18 Adult
Year Full-timePart-timeFull-timePart-timeFull-timePart-timeFull-timePart-time


1. All data are whole-year data.

2. Figures for 1999-2000 are provisional.

3. Includes data from all FEFC funded institutions (including Specialist Designated Institutions).

4. Excludes Higher Education Institutions.

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