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Ms Estelle Morris: My right hon. Friend has received a number of representations on Government funding for education in Leicestershire from schools and parents. We are continuing to increase general funding to Leicestershire; in 2001-02 Leicestershire's SSA will increase by £14.7 million and its schools will receive an increase in direct grant of £4.2 million.
Ms Jowell: The New Deal is at the centre of this Government's drive to deliver employment opportunities for all. Almost 280,000 young people have found jobs through the New Deal, which has helped virtually to eradicate long-term youth unemployment. The New Deal has also won unprecedented support from employers, almost 85,000 of whom have signed up to the programme. The next phase of the New Deal will build on our success in equipping people with the skills and experience employers need, and intensify the help available to those at greatest disadvantage in the labour market.
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Ms Hodge: The Government's recent Green Paper, "Towards Full Employment", sets out our firm commitment to tackle the high levels of inactivity among people over 50, by increasing choice and opportunities for employment.
In under a year, New Deal-50 plus has helped 30,000 people off benefits and back into work. In the coming year our range of New Deals, including New Deal 25-plus and New Deal for Disabled People, will help some 50,000 over 50s into employment.
Yvette Cooper: I have been asked to reply. Although initial feedback is very positive, the Sure Start programme is still very new and it is too early to make a thorough assessment of its impact. A major evaluation of Sure Start began in January 2001. It will examine the impact of Sure Start on children, families and communities, both in the short, medium and long term by tracking a sample of 8,000 children and their families over time.
Yvette Cooper: I have been asked to reply. Over time the national evaluation of Sure Start, which commenced at the beginning of 2001, will consider the impact of rural Sure Start programmes on child poverty and deprivation in these areas. Working with the Countryside Agency, Sure Start is developing ten rural pilot programmes, including one in Staffordshire, Moorlands, so that we may learn what works best for disadvantaged children in rural areas.
22. Mr. Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment in how many local education authorities in England there is an integrated system for dealing with applications for (a) primary and (b) secondary schools. 
Ms Estelle Morris: My Department does not collect this information. The statutory Code of Practice on School Admissions recommends as good practice that admission authorities should operate co-ordinated admission arrangements. The code also encouraged the setting-up of admission forums, which now operate in most areas, and which play a key role in bringing together various admission authorities to seek solutions to common problems and to improve the level of co-ordination in local admission arrangements.
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23. Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will make a statement on the education standard spending assessment for (a) secondary and (b) primary school pupils. 
Ms Estelle Morris: Between 1997-98 and 2001-02 funding for primary schools has increased by £640 per pupil in real terms, and for secondary schools by £550. The ratio of secondary to primary funding per pupil has narrowed from 1.3 to 1 in 1997-98 to 1.2 to 1 in 2001-02.
24. Mr. Fabricant: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what plans he has to change the system for the determination of school catchment areas; and if he will make a statement. 
Ms Estelle Morris: Admission authorities, normally the local education authority for community and controlled schools, and the governing body for aided or foundation schools, are responsible for setting the admission arrangements for their schools, including determining and reviewing the boundaries for any school catchment areas. There is no requirement for admission authorities to use catchment areas as an admission criterion, although many choose to do so.
Ms Estelle Morris: Our recruitment and retention measures have already ensured that there are more teachers than for a decade and the number of trainee teachers has risen for the first time in eight years.
The teachers' pay arrangements for 2001-02, and the £200 million teacher recruitment package announced by my right hon. Friend on 12 March will help build on this success. We are introducing a welcome back bonus for people returning to teaching; a teacher retention and recruitment fund to support schools in areas where there are difficulties; extension of £4,000 golden hellos for newly-qualified teachers of shortage subjects to English; funding for 570 more places in a full year on the graduate teacher programme; and 500 more places on refresher courses for those returning to teaching, which include training grants of up to £150 a week and help towards child care costs. My right hon. Friend has also published a Green Paper, "Schools: building on success", containing proposals that will further help recruit and retain teachers, including paying off, over time, the student loans of new teachers who commit themselves to a career in the maintained sector.
Mr. Joyce: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment how many teaching vacancies in (a) schools and (b) colleges in England and Wales were filled during the financial year 1999-2000. 
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Ms Estelle Morris [holding answer 27 March 2001]: The number of teachers recruited to a full-time post (new entrants and teachers moving to jobs from other schools/colleges) in England in financial years 1997-1998 and 1998-1999 (the latest year for which data are available), were as follows:
|Maintained schools sector||52,100 (14.4%)||50,200 (14.0%)|
|FE colleges||3,700 (7.5%)||4,100 (9.1%)|
There was a fall in the number of teachers leaving the maintained school sector in England, 27,570 (6.6 per cent.) in 1998-99 compared with 34,250 (8.2 per cent.) in 1997-98, following the 1997 reform of the Teachers Pension Scheme.
The full-time equivalent (FTE) number of regular teachers (excluding short-term supply) in the maintained schools sector in England at January 2001 was 410,280, an increase of 12,600 since January 1998:
From April 2001 new graduate recruits can expect to earn £17,000 a year (up 6 per cent. from the previous year) and starting salaries in Inner London will rise to £20,000 (up 9 per cent. from the previous year).
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