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Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment she has made of the validity of the use of the number of children receiving free school meals as an indicator of need in garrison towns. 
Mr. Stephen Twigg: None, specifically in connection with garrison towns. Within the data collected by the Department annually from schools, the proportion of pupils known to be eligible for free school meals is an established indicator of socio-economic disadvantage. It has been used by the Department as one measure for grouping schools to allow comparisons of the performance of similar schools in the autumn package of pupil performance. This package is provided to assist them in the process of target setting and school improvement.
The Department is now engaged in a programme of establishing measures of pupil progress from one Key Stage to the next, and it is proposed that this year's secondary schools performance tables will contain two indicators of 'value added' based on such information.
Mr. Miliband: The capacity of all maintained mainstream schools is currently being reassessed using the new net capacity assessment method. This work is currently planned to be completed by November 2002.
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Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills whether she intends to include British Sign Language within the personal, social and health education component of the national curriculum. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis [holding answer 10 June 2002]: We have no plans to include British Sign Language in the national curriculum. Schools that wish to do so can offer British Sign Language lessons to their pupils as part of the wider school curriculum. Teaching additional subjects, such as sign language will usually be built around the skills and strengths of the teaching staff and the learning needs of their pupils.
Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills when the chairs of the sector skills councils will be announced; when all the members of the sector skills councils will be confirmed; and what arrangements have been made for the staff of national training organisations during the transitions to sector skills councils. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: There is no set timetable for the introduction of the new sector skills network. Sector skills councils (SSCs) will be introduced only in sectors where employers want one and the SSC standard is met. One requirement is for the SSC to have a senior level board and chair, representative of the sector. As SSCs are licensed information about them, including their board, will be published by the SSDA.
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The ending of Government recognition of national training organisations (NTOs) and the licensing of sector skills councils (SSCs) are separate issues. Organisations that were formerly recognised as NTOs are independent bodies. The continued funding, operation and staffing of former NTOs is a decision for the board of each organisation.
Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many modern apprenticeships were (a) commenced and (b) completed in each year since the scheme's inauguration; what percentage of modern apprenticeships are not completed; and what the annual cost has been of the modern apprenticeship scheme. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: (a) Information on starts and qualification success rates is published in a statistical first release (SFR 03/2002 'TEC/LSC Delivered Government Supported Work-Based LearningEngland: Volumes and Outcomes'), which is available in the Library of the House.
|Qualification success rates of leavers|
|Financial year||MA starts (000s)||Percentage who achieve level 2 or above on FMA||Percentage who achieve level 3 or above on AMA|
SFR 03/2002, tables 1 and 3.
Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many traditional apprenticeships were (a) commenced and (b) completed in each of the last three years that they were running. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: Data on traditional apprenticeships commenced and completed are not available. We do have estimates from the Labour Force Survey (LFS) on the number of recognised trade apprentices at any one time and these are given in the table for the each of the last three years.
Labour Force Survey, 19992001, United Kingdom
Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will make a statement on the financing of modern apprenticeships with particular reference to differences of treatment relating to age. 
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Mr. Ivan Lewis: This is a matter for the Learning and Skills Council. I have therefore asked John Harwood, the council's chief executive, to write to the hon. Member with the information requested and to place a copy of his reply in the Library.
Mr. Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much additional resources have been given to (a) Rushey Mead School, Green Academy, (b) Judgemeadow School and (c) Northfields House Primary as a result of their new status. 
Mr. Miliband: Rushey Mead School has been awarded £3,963,827 to provide a Green Academy; Judgemeadow School has been awarded £100,000 of capital funding to improve its facilities for teaching modern foreign languages and will receive £495,862 in the period September 1999 to August 2003 to deliver its language college development plans (based on pupil numbers in January 2001) and Northfield House Primary has been awarded £365,700 of funding from the Space for Sport and Arts project.
Mr. Miliband [holding answer 13 June 2002]: In 200102 £80 million was allocated for the Small Schools Fund through the Standards Fund. Of this, local education authorities accepted 98 per cent. (£78.2 million). Under the Standards Fund arrangements for 200102, schools and local education authorities are able to carry forward unspent grant into the 200203 financial year. The Department does not currently hold information on the extent to which schools or local education authorities have chosen to carry forward this grant.
Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what action she is taking to improve access for disabled students to overseas courses, with particular reference to (a) physical access problems and (b) access to disability specific benefits. 
Margaret Hodge: The Special Educational Needs and Disability Act (SENDA) 2001 makes it unlawful, from September 2002, for providers of post-16 education in Great Britain to discriminate against disabled people. As part of their new statutory duties, institutions will be responsible for ensuring that any overseas institution
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which receives a disabled student as part of their course at a British institution is able to provide reasonable access in accordance with the requirements of the Act.
Higher Education students eligible for the Disabled Students' Allowance (DSA) who have to study abroad as part of their course at a UK institution are entitled to continue to receive the DSA while they are abroad. The disability living allowance (DLA) is payable to people resident in Great Britain. However, payment can continue during the first 26 weeks of any period of temporary absence, so students who return during vacations may receive continuous payments.
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