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Threshold Allowance Awards

Mrs. Calton: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what action she will take to ensure that those teachers who crossed the payment threshold as a result of threshold allowance awards in the financial year 2001–02 will pay the same level of taxation on their increased salary as those who passed the payment threshold in the previous financial year. [16420]

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Mr. Timms: Because the original timetable for threshold assessment was delayed by the judicial review initiated by the National Union of Teachers, some teachers did not receive their threshold pay rise before April 2001. These teachers will therefore receive both their 2000–01 threshold back pay and their 2001–02 threshold pay in the current financial year. In most cases this should not affect their tax position. However a minority might have to pay some higher rate tax as a result. For employees covered by PAYE income is taxable when it is received. This is a fundamental principle of the tax system that cannot be changed for teachers who might find themselves in this position. But we will do all we can to ensure that teachers who apply for threshold assessment this year receive their pay rise by March 2002.

Key Skills

Diana Organ: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what measures she is putting into place to ensure that key skills are integrated into all programmes of study in (a) schools, (b) further education colleges and (c) higher education institutions; and what monitoring of these measures is being carried out; [16196]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: Key skills are important for everyone. They are an integral part of post-16 programmes in schools, colleges and the work-based route. Not only are they valuable in themselves but they also form the building blocks for successful further study and development. We are keen that all students have the opportunity to improve their key skills.

In schools and colleges, updated key skills qualifications were introduced in September 2000. In higher education institutions, Foundation Degrees and Graduate Apprenticeships have been introduced from this autumn; both include key skills.

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Diana Organ: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how the new funding arrangements for post-16 provision reflects the Government's commitment to key skills. [16194]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) has been asked to ensure that its funding regime supports a more tailored use of key skills, reflecting individual students' goals and needs. In work-based learning, the funding of key skills is included in the overall funding of the Modern Apprenticeship programme. In colleges, the level of funding available for key skills and the entitlement package is not affected by this improved flexibility; it is no longer dependent upon a fixed pattern of key skills provision and achievement. The LSC will take over post-16 funding of schools from April 2002.

PFI Schemes

Mr. Willis: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many local education authorities have had PFI school schemes approved in the first four tranches; which ones are within their approved timed programme; and how many months of delay have elapsed for those which are behind schedule. [15551]

Mr. Timms: 72 local education authorities have now had a total of 80 PFI projects approved. This includes 36 projects which have already signed, 24 projects which have already been approved by the Treasury-chaired Project Review Group and 20 projects which have been approved provisionally by this Department.

We do not impose a timed programme on local education authorities, other than to indicate the financial year in which we expect contract signature to take place. Contract negotiations and building schedules are a matter for local education authorities and private contractors to determine. We are aware of no serious delays in opening PFI schools against locally agreed schedules.

Mr. Willis: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills when she will publish the names of the successful local education authorities for PFI schemes in the next financial year. [15552]

Mr. Timms: Local education authorities that were successful in gaining provisional approval for projects expecting to sign in the next financial year, that is 2002–03, were announced in March 2001. The closing date for the submission of bids for projects hoping to sign in 2003–04 is 17 December 2001. All bids received by that date will be assessed against published criteria, and announcements on those successful in gaining provisional approval from this Department are expected to be made in March 2002.

Graduate Training Scheme

Mr. Willis: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many of the schools which took part in the graduate training scheme for teachers had less than 25 per cent. gain five A* to C grades at GCSE in (a) 1998, (b) 1999, (c) 2000 and (d) 2001. [15558]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: This information is not collected centrally.

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Tuition Fees

Ian Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will take steps to allow tuition fees to be deductible against tax. [12693]

Margaret Hodge [holding answer 15 November 2001]: In England, contributions towards tuition fees for home and EU full-time undergraduate students are income assessed. Around 50 per cent. of students are not required to make any contribution at all; 15 per cent. make a partial contribution, and 35 per cent. make the full contribution. The cost of higher education tuition is already heavily subsidised by the Government, both through the means testing system and because fees only meet a quarter of the average cost of a course. In these circumstances a further

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subsidy allowing tuition fee contributions to be deductible against tax would not be appropriate. Nevertheless, we have announced a review of student funding. A wide range of options is being considered and we will be consulting on any proposals that emerge.

Schools (Wycombe)

Mr. Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what proportion of pupils of each ethnic group in the Wycombe constituency attend (a) grammar and (b) upper schools. [14869]

Mr. Timms: The number and proportion of children in maintained secondary schools within Wycombe parliamentary constituency by each ethnic group is shown in the table.

Number and proportion of children in maintained secondary schools in Wycombe constituency by ethnic group, January 2001

Ethnic groupProportion of pupils in grammar schools (Percentage)Proportion of pupils in other secondary schools (Percentage)Total number of pupils in maintained secondary schools
Black Caribbean heritage18.881.3192
Black African heritage34.965.143
Black other36.263.858
Chinese and any other minority ethnic group51.948.1374
Total number of pupils classified by ethnic origin62.038.07,608

School Cleanliness

Mr. Blizzard: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills, pursuant to her answer of 5 November 2001, Official Report, column 46W, on school cleanliness, what steps she will take to ensure that local education authorities and school governing bodies fulfil their responsibilities in maintaining cleanliness in schools. [13985]

Mr. Timms: None. I am content to leave this matter with the local education authorities and governing bodies responsible.

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