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Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what representations she has received in the past year from parents who have had autistic children placed in mainstream schools against their wishes. 
Margaret Hodge: Parents who object to local education authority proposals to place statemented pupils in mainstream schools may appeal to the Special Educational Needs Tribunal. In the current school year the tribunal has received 123 appeals from parents who did not wish their autistic children to be educated in mainstream schools.
Sue Doughty: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what proportion of waste produced in her Department was (a) recycled, (b) composted, (c) re-used, broken down into (i) paper, (ii) plastics, (iii) aluminium cans and (iv) other, in each year since 1997; what plans there are to increase the proportions; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Stephen Twigg: The table shows the proportions of waste re-used or recycled by the Department in the last two years. No waste was composted. This information was not collected in the form requested prior to the periods shown.
(22) Percentage of waste re-used or recycled.
8 Jul 2002 : Column 721W
Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what proportion of people aged under 25 years from each socio-economic group participated in higher education in each of the last 12 years. 
Margaret Hodge: Information is not available exactly as requested. The available information relates to the social class breakdown of the Age Participation Index (API) from 1990 to 2000, and is shown in the table. The API is defined as the number of UK domiciled under
8 Jul 2002 : Column 722W
21 initial entrants to full-time and sandwich courses expressed as a proportion of the averaged 18 to 19-year-old population. The sharp rise in participation rates in the early 1990s reflects the expansion of the higher education sector during these years. There was an increase in entrant numbers in 1997 related partly to the funding arrangements for higher education, with students choosing to enter HE rather than wait until 1998. There was a corresponding reduction in 1998 before the entry rates started to increase again in 1999.
The Government are committed to raising the participation rates for people from less affluent family backgrounds, and has introduced Excellence Challenge, including the AimHigher campaign, which is targeted at raising attainment and aspirations among young people who traditionally would not consider going to university.
|Academic year beginning:|
|IIIN Skilled non manual||(23)||22||27||29||31||31||32||31||29||30||33|
|IIIM Skilled manual||(23)||11||15||17||18||18||18||19||18||18||19|
|IV Partly skilled||(23)||10||14||16||17||17||17||18||17||17||19|
|I to IIIN||37||35||40||43||46||47||48||48||45||45||48|
|IIIM to V||10||11||14||16||17||17||18||18||17||17||18|
(23) Not available.
Mr. Caton: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills when she estimates the Government's objective of broad convergence in pay and terms and conditions between school teachers and further education lecturers will be achieved. 
Margaret Hodge: We have acknowledged the historic gap between funding in schools and further education (FE) colleges and we have pledged to bring up the levels of support for FE to ensure upward convergence of funding between the two sectors. We will do this over time and as resources allow. However, as independent corporations, it is for each FE college to agree annual pay rises and conditions of employment with its staff in the context of the overall resources available to it.
We are investing significant funding in the FE sector. An additional £314 million is available for FE this year compared with 200102 and by 200304, total funding for FE will be up by 26 per cent. in real terms since 1997, with total funding per full-time equivalent student up by 16 per cent. over the same period. Separate to any general pay rise a FE lecturer may receive, the Teaching Pay Initiative (TPI) provides £311 million over the period 200104 to reward excellent teaching. The substantial additional investment we are making in the sector should help the FE sector support the pay aspirations of their staff.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will make a statement on the AS-Level examinations; and what changes will be made in the structure of sixth form studies. 
Mr. Stephen Twigg [holding answer 4 July 2002]: Last September, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State announced a number of changes to AS-level examinations. The length of some AS examination papers was reduced with most lasting one hour, enabling a complete AS to be taken in half a day. The examination timetable was restructured to reduce clashes and ease the burden of administration of examinations on schools and colleges.
The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) continue to review Curriculum 2000 reforms and are due to report to Ministers following the summer examination results. We shall carefully consider QCA's recommendations and take necessary actions.
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Margaret Hodge [holding answer 4 July 2002]: We are already making a significant amount of capital funding available for pre-school provision. Over the two financial years 200203 and 200304, the Government are making available £40 million of capital funding for the provision of free nursery education places in disadvantaged areas.
In addition, up to £100 million of capital funding is available via the New Opportunities Fund in 200104 to create 45,000 child care places in neighbourhood nurseries. Early years settings may qualify to receive this funding by providing wraparound care in addition to sessional care.
Similarly, £6 million capital grant is available over the financial years 200203 and 200304 to provide modest help to playgroups seeking to develop the services they offer from sessional to daycare.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills when the EU Committee on the second general system for the recognition of professional education and training is next due to meet; whether representatives of the Scottish Executive (a) have been and (b) are members of it; and if she will make a statement. 
Margaret Hodge: There has been just one meeting of the Committee in the last five yearsin November 2001. No further meeting of the Committee is currently scheduled. Membership of the Committee is vested in the UK Co-ordinator for directive 92/51/EEC, who is an official of this Department. Representatives of the Scottish Executive did not attend the meeting in November 2001, but have the opportunity to attend meetings should they wish to do so.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills when the EU Leonardo da Vinci Committee is next due to meet; whether representatives of the Scottish Executive (a) have been and (b) are members of it; and if she will make a statement. 
Margaret Hodge: The Leonardo da Vinci programme management committee is due to meet on 11 and 12 July 2002. Representatives of the Scottish Executive (a) have not been and (b) are not members of this Committee. The UK is represented by officials from the Joint International Unit of the Department for Education and Skills and the Department for Work and Pensions. Representatives of the Scottish Executive participate fully in the National Co-ordination Group which oversees the administration and implementation of the programme in the United Kingdom. These arrangements are in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding between the UK Government and the devolved Administrations.
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