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Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will make a statement on the cost of the sure start programmes for parents and children in deprived areas in the last 12 months. 
Yvette Cooper: Expenditure on sure start was £7 million in 19992000 as set out in the Department for Education and Employment Departmental Report 200104, published in March 2001.
Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what representations she has received on the denial of a full-time position to a senior cancer researcher at University college, London; and if she will make a statement. 
Margaret Hodge: We have received no direct representations about Dr. Eva Link's position at University college, London.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will make a statement on the public service agreement targets for children to have normal spelling and language development at (a) 18 months and (b) three years. 
Yvette Cooper: The only public service agreement target of this nature is that for Sure Start concerning children in Sure Start areas having normal speech and language skills at 18 months and three years. This is related to the previous PSA period 199899 to 200102, and has now been superseded with a similar target that can be better measured at a local level. The current Sure Start PSA target is:
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the cost is of the early excellence centres under her Department's pilot programme; and what assessment she has made of their value for money. 
Mr. Timms: On 27 February we announced a major expansion of the Early Excellence Centre (EEC) programme, taking it out of its pilot phase, with plans to reach up to 100 centres by 2004. Funding for Early Excellence Centres comes from local sources, usually the local education authority, and through childcare and nursery education grants. The EEC programme typically provides additional resource to support a range of
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supplementary activities in line with the programme aims of disseminating good practice, delivering training and extending the scope and penetration of family services. So far, our contribution to EECs has been:
We plan further investment of:
The programme is being evaluated and we have published the first of three annual reports on the pilot phase. This shows that EECs have the potential for enhanced cost savings when compared with services that might otherwise have been provided separately. There is also powerful evidence demonstrating that EECs have made a positive difference to the lives of the children and families who use them, and affirming their role in supporting strategies for raising standards, increasing opportunities, supporting families, reducing social exclusion, increasing the health of the nation and addressing child poverty. The second year report is due to be published next spring.
Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will list, for each of the last five years, the number of (a) primary head teachers and (b) secondary head teachers dismissed on the grounds of gross professional misconduct. 
Mr. Timms: DfES does not collect information about the reasons head teachers leave their posts.
Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will list, for each of the last five years, the total number of (a) primary head teachers and (b) secondary head teachers found guilty by their governing body of gross professional misconduct but not dismissed. 
Mr. Timms: DfES does not collect information about those head teachers found guilty by their governing body of gross professional misconduct but not dismissed.
Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what representations her Department has received from parents who have been denied a school place for their child as a result of the class size limits since their introduction. 
Mr. Timms: We have received occasional representations from parents who believe they were not offered a place at a preferred school because of the infant class size limit. However, in implementing its infant class
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size pledge, the Government have funded a net increase of 12,000 places at popular schools. This has helped more parents get a place for their child at a school they have chosen.
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills, pursuant to her answer of 7 November 2001, Official Report, column 239W, on education spending, for what period this information is available. 
Mr. Timms: The table sets out the information which is available on a comparable basis. Since most capital is not and never has been devolved to schools and colleges, the percentage of recurrent funding devolved is higher than the total of capital and recurrent funding.
|Percentage of total funding devolved to schools and colleges||79||78||79|
|Percentage of total recurrent funding devolved to schools and colleges||84||84||84|
Mr. Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what information she has collated on how many school exchanges there have been between United Kingdom and Russian schools (a) in the current year and (b) since 1991. 
Margaret Hodge: Information of this type is not collated centrally. School exchanges can be arranged by a wide range of organisations, such as individual schools, local education authorities, Government funded organisations, educational trusts etc. Accurate statistics could only be obtained from the schools themselves. This would involve disproportionate costs and an unnecessary additional burden on school administration.
I can say, though, that I know from Department for Education and Skills funding of organisations such as the British Council that there is on-going activity between UK schools and those in Russia, both through exchange visits and, increasingly, Information and Communications Technology projects. We expect and will encourage this activity to continue to develop and grow.
Mr. Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) how many people with political affiliations sit on learning and skills councils, broken down by major political party; 
Margaret Hodge [holding answer 13 November 2001]: Appointments to the LSC and its local arms have been made through fair and open competition, in accordance with guidance issued by the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments (OCPA). We have sought to attract applications from individuals with a wide range of appropriate experience, regardless of any political affiliation they may have.
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We wrote to all English MPs last year, asking them to encourage suitable candidates to apply. The great majority of applicants for LSC membership and of those appointed as members decided that they had not been politically active within the last five years.
145 (21 per cent.) of the 689 people who have been appointed and remain as members of the Learning and Skills Council declared political activity. These figures exclude Executive Directors of local Learning and Skills Councils as they were not required to declare political activity when applying for these posts.
A breakdown by political party follows:
|Total number appointed to the LSC: 689|
(20) Figure in brackets is the percentage of the total number of appointees
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