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Mr. Willis: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what criteria she uses in determining the briefing information she provides to external organisations about hon. Members when seeking responses to written questions. 
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programme, including the Aim Higher advertising campaign and roadshow, will encourage more young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to enter HE. Foundation degrees will also encourage more people, especially those already in work, to take HE qualifications.
Margaret Hodge: Figures for the number of school pupils who go on to higher education are not collated centrally on a constituency basis. The latest available figures for England, showing the number of UK domiciled entrants to undergraduate courses over the past five years, are given in the table. The increase in entrants in 199798 related partly to changes in the funding arrangements for higher education, with students choosing to enter HE rather than wait until 199899. There was a corresponding reduction in 199899 before entrant numbers started to increase again in 19992000.
(12) As at 1 December
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Mr. Timms: There are currently no Learning Mentors working in schools in the constituency of Buckingham. Our support for Learning Mentors is focused on schools in disadvantaged city authorities as part of the Excellence in Cities (EiC) programme, and upon schools in Excellence Clusters which cover smaller pockets of disadvantage.
Mr. Lilley: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what was the average (a) class size and (b) pupil:teacher ratio in secondary schools in Hertfordshire in each year since 1983. 
|Average class size for|
|1 teacher classes||All classes||Pupil:teacher ratio|
(13) Includes middle schools deemed secondary.
Annual Schools' Census
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will fully reimburse colleges which have honoured courses applied for before the deadline for students with individual learning awards. 
John Healey: I am now able to confirm that initial payments to the majority of providers who submitted claims up to 21 November was made on 20 December. This will help a significant number of providers meet immediate cash flow needs and, I hope, settle some of the concerns they may have had. We are continuing to work
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on validating the claims made after 21 November and on the mechanism for dealing with learning booked on the ILA system up to 23 November. Once we are satisfied that eligible learning has taken place in accordance with the rules of the programme, we will then be able to make arrangements for future payment to providers.
Mr. Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will make it her policy to bring spending per pupil in Herefordshire closer to the average for the shire counties; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Timms: The Government are currently working up proposals, in partnership with local government and other education interests, for the introduction of a new funding system in 200304. We are taking a fresh and objective look at what provision is needed, and at the additional costs some authorities undoubtedly face. We want a system that is both fair and clear.
The new system will consist of a basic entitlement per primary or secondary school pupil, with enhancements only for authorities where significant deprivation adds to costs, or schools need to pay more to recruit and retain staff.
Mr. Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what plans she has to pay a special education grant to Herefordshire for the 200203 financial year; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Timms: In 200203 there is over £1.3 billion extra in Education Standard Spending Assessments (SSAs); a further increase in Standards Fund grant of almost £160 million; and an increase in the direct grant for schools of 2.75 per cent. The scale of these increases means there is less need for special grant support from Government and we have no plans to pay such a grant to Herefordshire for 200203.
Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what schemes targeting urban regeneration needs are managed by her Department; how much each scheme has available to invest; what issues each scheme aims to tackle; and how much has been spent annually since 1997 (a) in the United Kingdom, (b) in Teesside, (c) in Redcar and Cleveland and Middlesbrough councils and (d) in the Middlesbrough, South and Cleveland, East constituency. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Department for Education and Skills' programmes contribute to the regeneration of all deprived neighbourhoods by raising the educational attainment, skills and aspirations of children, young people and adults.
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I refer my hon. Friend to the reply given on 20 November 2001, Official Report, columns 25354W. In this reply I provided levels of funding for the initiatives listed by the Cabinet Office Regional Co-ordination Unit as being the responsibility of the Department for Education and Skills.
Mr. Ivan Lewis: Decisions on the future of the education maintenance allowance (EMA) will be taken in the light of findings from the current evaluation of the pilot scheme. Stoke-on-Trent is one of the areas where EMA is being evaluated, although our researchers are publishing their reports for the pilot scheme as a whole, rather than for individual areas.
As to the UK position, the Scottish Executive are piloting a variant of the EMA scheme in four local authority areas. The Scottish scheme is currently in its third year and will be evaluated in 2002. There is no EMA scheme running in Wales or Northern Ireland.
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