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School Governors

Mr. David: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what plans she has to encourage people to become school governors. [45253]

Mr. Timms: The Department continues to support and provide guidance to local education authorities (LEAs) in England and we are devising a programme to support school-led governor recruitment. We fund the School Governors' One-Stop Shop to recruit governors with business and management skills in areas covered by the Excellence in Cities programme. As part of our commitment to encourage recruitment of school governors from minority ethnic backgrounds, the Department supports the activities of the Collective of Bangladeshi School Governors that promotes governorship to minority ethnic communities in Newham, Tower Hamlets and Hackney.

Science and Engineering Courses

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) if she plans to provide incentives for colleges and universities to provide science and engineering courses; [45564]

Margaret Hodge: The Higher Education Funding Council for England takes into account the higher cost of teaching science and engineering subjects in making grant allocations to higher education institutions, but the Government have no plans to introduce incentives for institutions to provide science and engineering courses, nor for students to take them.

University Funding

Alistair Burt: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will make a statement on the submission to SR 2002 on university funding by Universities UK. [45204]

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Margaret Hodge: The Government have carefully considered the representations on the financial needs of higher education from Universities UK, and from a number of other bodies. The outcome of the 2002 spending review will be announced in the summer.

Public Service Agreements

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills which public service agreement targets that are scheduled to be met in 2002 will not be achieved by the due date. [44838]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: Information about progress on PSA targets will be published in the Department's 2002 departmental report, which is due to be published in May.

Airline and Aerospace Industries

Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry in respect of retraining needs in the airline and aerospace industries; what budgets she has made available to assist with such retraining; and if she will make a statement. [27547]

Mr. Nicholas Brown [holding answer 23 January 2002]: I have been asked to reply.

The airline and aerospace industries have been affected by a number of closures and job losses in recent months. The Government have been proactive in working, in regional and local partnerships, to support those people affected by providing the most appropriate service to help them back into work and to retrain them where necessary.

Retraining opportunities are offered to people who have been made redundant through Work Based Learning for Adults. In addition, Rapid Response Funding has recently been approved to retrain individuals made redundant from BAe Systems in the north-west and Gill Aviation in the north-east. The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) are also offering support—for example, at Gatwick and Heathrow LSC funding has been provided for one to one advice sessions for clients facing particular employment problems, and to support their training needs.

Student Loans

Mr. Gordon Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills, pursuant to her answer of 11 March 2002, Official Report, columns 764–70W, to the hon. Member for Newcastle upon Tyne, Central (Mr. Cousins), if she will break down the figures for Blackpool (a) by part-time and full-time students and (b) by age of student. [44698]

Margaret Hodge: The previous figures shown for Blackpool in the answer of 11 March were all full-time, apart from two students on part-time initial teacher training courses; the level of fee support received by these two students is unknown.

Data on age breakdown as requested are not available.

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Medical Schools

Mr. Martyn Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many students in medical schools in the UK there were who had been educated at (a) state schools and (b) independent schools in each of the last five years. [42841]

Margaret Hodge [holding answer 14 March 2002]: The latest available information is shown in the table.

Accepted applicants to pre-clinical medical courses in the UK by previous educational establishment—UK domiciled students

Year of entry
Previous school type19971998199920002001
FE/HE institutions588585594691771
Not known343432493642818

(28) Including former grant maintained schools.


Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).

Language Statistics

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will make a statement on the proportion of people in England who speak a second language; and what recent research she has commissioned on comparisons with other EU states. [43806]

Margaret Hodge: As part of its support for the European Year of Languages, the European Commission carried out a survey of the languages spoken in the 15 member states of the European Union in April 2001. The survey, "Eurobarometer 54", indicated that 34 per cent. of the UK sample is able to speak another EU language.

Our long-term language strategy, which we plan to publish in the autumn, will outline our proposals to widen the opportunities for language learning in this country. In particular, it is our ambition that all primary school children will be entitled to study languages by 2012.


John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the level of illiteracy is (a) in coalfield areas and (b) of citizens born in the United Kingdom. [41799]

John Healey: The table shows estimated literacy levels in the main coalfield districts (those districts with more than three 'coalfield wards').

District nameLiteracy levels(29) District nameLiteracy levels(29)
Cannock Chase25.6Barnsley28.3
Staffordshire Moorlands23.0Sheffield25.8
North Warwickshire23.2Wakefield26.8
Nuneaton and Bedworth26.0Wigan25.9
Amber Valley25.0St. Helens26.4
North East Derbyshire23.7Durham27.4
South Derbyshire22.1Easington30.4
Hinckley and Bosworth22.3Alnwick26.2
North West Leicestershire24.1Blyth Valley26.6
Ashfield27.0Castle Morpeth21.3
Bassetlaw24.4Newcastle upon Tyne25.8
Gedling22.2South Tyneside29.0
Newark and Sherwood24.0

(29) Percentage of population with 'low', 'lower' or 'very low' literacy.


National average equals 24 per cent.

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Data at ward level is available as a searchable database on the Basic Skills Agency website at "", which also contains data by Parliamentary Constituency and by local Learning and Skills Council area.

The most detailed survey of basic skills in Britain is "Adult Literacy in Britain", published in 1997. This reported that 23 per cent. of the population had low levels of literacy. 15 per cent. of those with low levels of literacy did not speak English as a first language and may not have been born in the UK. This equates to around 1 million of the 7 million adults in England with poor literacy skills.

Higher Education

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many higher education institutions are situated in coalfield constituencies. [41823]

Margaret Hodge: The higher education institutions located in constituencies containing coalfield areas are listed in the table.

HE institution Constituency
University of KentCanterbury
Christ Church CollegeCanterbury
University of DurhamCity of Durham
University of TeessideMiddlesbrough
University of NewcastleNewcastle upon Tyne, Central
University of NorthumbriaNewcastle upon Tyne, Central
University of KeeleNewcastle-under-Lyme
University of SalfordSalford
University of YorkSelby
Sheffield Hallam UniversitySheffield, Central
University of SunderlandSunderland, South
University of Leeds (Bretton Hall)Wakefield

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