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Local Education Authorities

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will make a statement on the role (a) the private sector and (b) the not-for-profit sector can play in the running of (i) English schools and (ii) English local education authorities; and if she will make a statement. [11485]

Mr. Timms [holding answer 15 October 2001]: Local authorities and schools can already contract with the private and voluntary sector to support schools. The White Paper "Schools: achieving success" proposes partnerships between schools, local authorities and partners who might in some cases be from the private or voluntary sector. But schools will continue to be managed by the governing body and headteacher, even where they are supported by expertise from other sources. Local education authorities should secure high quality services from the most cost-effective source available, in accordance with best value principles. Sources include the education authority itself, or partnerships with other public, voluntary or private sector bodies, both profit making and not for profit. Individual local education authorities remain responsible and accountable for the services concerned, however they are provided.

Music Standards Fund

Mr. Salter: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many local authorities are receiving grants from the Music Standards Fund to provide instrumental tuition for pupils. [10045]

Mr. Timms [holding answer 5 November 2001]: All 150 local education authorities in England are receiving grants from the music standards fund. LEAs may spend

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their music standards fund grants in any way which enhances opportunities for pupils to access high quality musical education. This includes instrumental tuition.

Early Years Excellence

Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills when she will announce the result of the bid by Somerford Infant School and the Grange Neighbourhood Nursery Partnership for an early years excellence centre. [13029]

Mr. Timms [holding answer 6 November]: 49 early excellence centres are now developing practice in integrated care, education and family services. Working closely with sure start and neighbourhood nurseries, we will create up to 100 centres across the country by 2004. On 27 February we announced an expansion of the programme and invited expressions of interest in joining it. On 1 October we announced 14 new centres—the first in a series of designations resulting from those expressions of interest. The proposal for a centre at Somerford Infant School as part of the Grange neighbourhood nursery scheme was, at this stage, considered not yet ready to join the programme. Along with other proposals in need of further work Somerford Infant School was invited to develop its plans further. We are now considering proposals as part of a next batch of EEC designations and expect to make further announcements in the new year.

GCSE Grades

Mr. Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what proportion of children achieved five or more GCSEs at A* to C grades in (a) schools with sixth forms and (b) schools without sixth forms, in 2001. [11538]

Mr. Ivan Lewis [holding answer 31 October 2001]: The proportion of 15-year-olds that achieved five or more GCSEs at A* to C was (a) 52.2 per cent. in schools with sixth forms and (b) 42.2 per cent. in schools without sixth forms in England in 2001.

Lone Parents

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will give a breakdown of the number of lone parents leaving the New Deal for Lone Parents for employment who have (a) at least one child below the age of five years three months and (b) all children aged over five years three months, for each month since the inception of the New Deal. [9679]

Mr. Nicholas Brown: I have been asked to reply.

The information is in the table.

Numbers leaving the new deal for lone parents into employment
Great Britain up to July 2001

Age of youngest child(8)
MonthUnder 5 years and 3 months5 years 3 months and over
December 19983334
January 19997573
February 19999898
March 1999143138
April 1999198227
May 1999217247
June 1999255312
July 1999434559
August 1999411524
September 1999410507
October 1999682919
November 19998591,061
December 19991,3021,643
January 20008831,099
February 2000707928
March 20001,1091,368
April 2000869983
May 20009261,147
June 20001,1631,319
July 20009651,188
August 20009071,065
September 20009891,131
October 20001,1481,345
November 20001,3961,637
December 20001,4141,689
January 20019671,124
February 2001815974
March 20011,1861,359
April 20019031,011
May 20011,0281,123
June 20011,1921,275
July 20019551,052

(8) Age of youngest child when attended initial interview

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Civil Service

Chris Grayling: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many full-time employees work in the civil service. [14331]

Mr. Leslie: The most recent data were published on 8 November 2001. This showed that in April 2001 there were 436,400 full-time permanent staff in the civil service. There were also 11,400 full-time staff employed on a casual basis, bringing the total to 447,800.


Computer Crime

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many cases of computer (a) hacking, (b) fraud and (c) theft her Department recorded in (i) 2000 and (ii) 2001; and on how many occasions in those years computer systems have been illegally accessed by computer hackers (A) within and (B) outside his Department. [13133]

Ms Hewitt: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 31 October 2001, Official Report, columns 692–93W.


Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans she has to extend the no-fly zone at Sellafield. [13229]

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Ms Hewitt [holding answer 8 November 2001]: There are no plans to extend the flying restrictions applying to Sellafield at the present time. Flying restrictions over Sellafield prohibit aircraft from flying over the nuclear installation below a height of 2,200 feet above mean sea level in a two nautical mile radius. The regulations currently applying are the Air Navigation (Restriction of Flying) (Nuclear Installations) Regulations 2001 which came into force on 11 May 2001. The regulations do not prohibit flights for the purpose of landing at or taking off from the helicopter landing area at the installation. Such flights are made with the permission of the person in charge of the installation and in accordance with any conditions to which that permission is subject.

Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if the B215 building at the Sellafield site has been designed to resist a plane crash. [13231]

Ms Hewitt [holding answer 8 November 2001]: All nuclear licensees are required by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the safety regulator, to ensure that they maintain valid safety cases for operations on each of their sites. Safety cases need to take due account of external hazards such as plane crashes at nuclear installations. HSE is satisfied that the safety case applying to the Sellafield site, including building 215, took appropriate account of the risks of an accidental air crash.

The UK's civil nuclear sites apply stringent security measures regulated by the Office for Civil Nuclear Security (OCNS), the security regulator. The security regulator works closely with the Health and Safety Executive, the safety regulator, which provides advice on the safety implications of events, including external hazards such as plane crashes, at nuclear installations. Security and safety precautions at nuclear sites are kept under regular review. Both regulators are reviewing all relevant precautions in the light of the recent terrorist attacks in the USA. It is not Government policy to disclose details of security measures taken at civil nuclear sites.

Employment Agencies

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations she has received on the draft Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations 2001; what assessment she has made of the effect of such regulations on employment agencies and businesses; and if she will make a statement. [14223]

Alan Johnson: We received representations from workers' organisations, employers' bodies, trade associations, agencies, employment businesses, individuals and other interested parties. The regulatory impact assessment for the draft conduct regulations found that they should reduce recruitment costs for employers across the economy, and make the labour market more efficient and flexible. In addition, clarifying the contractual position of temporary workers will help ensure they get the employment rights to which they are entitled.

Our objective in overhauling the existing regulations, which date from 1976, is simpler, clearer, regulations, which are relevant to the market of today and of the future. The proposed new regulations are in many cases updated versions of existing requirements. They are designed to benefit recruitment agencies, those employed

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through them and hirers. They will remove unnecessary restrictions on agencies' operations and the services they offer, while protecting the interests of work-seekers and vulnerable groups.

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