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Grammar Schools (Kent)

12. Dr. Ladyman: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills based on benchmark tables as defined in the autumn package, 2001, how many of Kent and Medway's grammar schools fall in the bottom quartile of performance expectations of schools; and how many would be expected to fall in that bottom quartile if they performed to the average level of grammar school performance. [64407]

Mr. Miliband: The benchmark tables allow comparisons between schools in a number of ways. On the basis of the percentage of pupils achieving 5+A*-C, none of the Kent and Medway grammar schools falls in the lower quartile for all schools. I am also aware of the research commissioned by my hon. Friend from Professor Jesson of the University of York, which argues that 17 of Kent and Medway's grammar schools fall in the bottom quartile of performance, seven more than Professor Jesson believes should be expected.

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Further Education (Funding)

13. Andy Burnham: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will make a statement about future resources for the further education sector. [64408]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: By next year funding for FE will have risen by 26 per cent. in real terms since 1997. The Learning and Skills Council's funding rates for programmes delivered by FE sector colleges are increasing by 2.5 per cent. in cash terms for the 2002–03 academic year, above the current rate of inflation. We are looking to the current spending review to deliver the resources needed to meet the Government's ambitions for further education in 2003–04 and beyond.

Mr. Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what her Department's estimate is of the performance-related pay shortfall from the original budgeted announcement for further education staff in the colleges in Leeds. [45370]

Margaret Hodge: My Department does not publish data on the numbers of lecturers in individual colleges who are receiving particular payments under the Teaching Pay Initiative (TPI). This is because the distribution of TPI payments to teachers within individual colleges is properly a matter for the management of those colleges and their staff. However, distribution of TPI funds from the Learning and Skills Council to colleges is being monitored, and TPI is being evaluated at a national level. I am able to make the following information available.

For sixth form colleges, the size of TPI payments to individual teachers is prescribed as part of the initiative; the formula is the same as that applying to school teachers. The original announcement stated the Government expected that about two-thirds of teachers in sixth form colleges would qualify for payments of £2,000.

For general further education (FE) colleges, the size of payments to individual teachers is not prescribed as part of the initiative. In the original announcement the Government expected that over two thirds of teachers in general FE colleges would qualify for payments of up to £2,000, with 10 per cent. receiving career structure and initiative payments of up to £4,000. However, the announcement made it clear that colleges would have the flexibility to determine the precise levels of payments.

This is the first year of TPI and we are currently evaluating its impact on colleges. The Sixth Form Colleges' Employers' Forum estimates that, nationally, 84 per cent. of sixth form college teachers have already received payments of £2,000 in 2001–02. For general FE colleges, although no comparable figures are available, indications nationally are that progress has been much more gradual. The first case study evaluation report is due from the Association of Colleges in April.

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In Leeds, seven general FE and one sixth form college, have been allocated a total of £1,007,749 TPI support in 2001–02 as follows:

In 2002–03 allocations to each college will increase by between 25 per cent. and 50 per cent. Further increases to the TPI budget are planned for 2003–04. These increases will enable colleges to extend TPI payments to teachers who meet the criteria for the first time. The increases should also enable general FE colleges to review the size of payments offered to individual staff and to consolidate these payments where they have not already done so.

Mr. Pike: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many post-16 students went on to further education in (a) Burnley and (b) Lancashire in 2001. [65544]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: Data on the percentage of students staying on in full-time education are not calculated for areas smaller than LEAs as reliable estimates cannot be made.

The percentage of 16 and 17-year-olds in full-time education in Lancashire LEA, which includes the constituency of Burnley, in 1999–2000, the latest year for which figures are available, is set out in the table:

Lancashire LEA, 1999–2000

AgeFull-time educationPart-time education

Participation rates by LEA are published in an annual statistical bulletin, "Participation in Education and Training by Young People Aged 16 and 17 in Each Local Area and Region, England".

23. Ian Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what steps she is taking to improve recruitment and retention of further education lecturers. [64418]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: We are investing more than £300 million in the Teaching Pay Initiative (TPI). TPI is an important initiative designed to help modernise further education (FE) pay arrangements and to recruit, reward and retain teachers and lecturers as part of the drive to improve teaching and learning.

Alongside TPI, we are piloting Training Bursaries for students training to be FE teachers. From the autumn of 2002, we will also introduce Golden Hello payments and, subject to the approval of Parliament, a scheme to pay off, over time, the student loans of new teachers in FE shortage subject areas.

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Neighbourhood Nurseries

15. Sue Doughty: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will make a statement on the provision of neighbourhood nurseries under the neighbourhood nursery initiative. [64410]

Margaret Hodge: The neighbourhood nurseries programme is making real progress. The first neighbourhood nurseries have now opened, and the pace of development is encouraging some 32,000 places are currently under development. 36 per cent. of these first nurseries are linked to Sure Start and 32 per cent. are on school sites.

School and Business Links

16. Gillian Merron: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what steps she is taking to support links between schools and business. [64411]

Mr. Stephen Twigg: We welcome links between schools and business, which help raise pupils' achievement, motivation and attendance, and prepare them for adult and working life.

We have allocated £25 million this year to fund a range of activities, through local Learning and Skills Councils contracting with Education/Business Links Consortia. These include professional development placements for teachers, work experience and mentoring for young people, and enterprise activities.

Excellence in Cities

18. Mr. Rammell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will make a statement on the development of the Excellence in Cities programme. [64413]

Mr. Miliband: Excellence in Cities covers 58 local authority areas and their secondary schools. It also includes Excellence Clusters and selected primary schools. With new ways of working based on effective partnerships the programme is already making an impact. Overall standards are rising faster in EiC schools than elsewhere. We are determined to secure and extend these gains by helping all EiC partnerships to perform at the level of the best.

Autistic Children

19. Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will make a statement on provision for schooling of children with autism. [64414]

Mr. Stephen Twigg: Children with autism, along with others with special educational needs, should receive the schooling their learning difficulties call for. The SEN Code of Practice gives statutory guidance to schools and local education authorities in identifying needs and making suitable provision. Forthcoming guidance from the Department's Autism Working Group will help providers plan and make good quality provision for children with the condition.

Collegiate Academy (Birmingham)

20. Mr. McCabe: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment she has made of Birmingham LEA's proposals for a collegiate academy. [64415]

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Mr. Miliband: We judged the Birmingham proposal to be an interesting model of collaborative practice between secondary schools, well worth supporting. The intention of the collegiate academies is to raise standards and broaden curriculum choices for students through the schools working together in a very structured way. If they prove successful, they could provide a useful model for other clusters of schools to adopt in order to maximise the benefits of school diversity.

This is a pathfinder project, so by its nature is untested. The Department has commissioned research to evaluate the pathfinder project over the next three years. Their first report is expected in October this year. In addition the Birmingham LEA will evaluate the collegiate academies in partnership with Warwick University.

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