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15 Oct 2002 : Column 762Wcontinued
Dr. Pugh: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment is made by her Department of the pastoral care system in British universities; and how the Department monitors it. 
Margaret Hodge: A new system of academic review has just been introduced by the Quality Assurance Agency for universities in England. Under this system, students will be encouraged to comment on their learning experience including the quality of pastoral support. QAA reports will include both students' views and their own findings. In addition, as part of our drive to give students more say over their education, there will be institutional and national student satisfaction surveys that will include their views on quality of
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pastoral support. The national surveys will be undertaken annually, from Autumn 2003 onwards, independently seeking the views of graduates. The Department has also recently undertaken a project to identify a range of effective approaches by Student Services. The project has been completed, and the results will be published in November.
Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills which universities are allowed to set their own tuition fees; and what plans she has to extend the freedom for universities to set their own fees. 
Margaret Hodge: The Government only controls the fee for undergraduate full-time courses at publicly funded higher education institutions. Privately funded institutions can set their own fee for these courses and all higher education institutions can set their own fees for post-graduate and part-time courses.
The ability to charge differential fees has been raised as an issue many times over the last decade as one way for universities to raise income, including in a recent report from the Education and Skills Select Committee. The Government will be publishing its response to the Committee's report alongside the HE strategy document later in the autumn.
Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment she has made of the impact of rises in tuition fees on poorer people; and if a family with a large number of children wishing to attend university is entitled to a reduction in fees. 
Margaret Hodge: Students from lower-income families do not make any contributions to their tuition fees and have not therefore been affected by their uprating since 1998/99 in line with inflation. Any parental contribution to fees and maintenance is assessed on the basis of parental income and is shared between those children in the same family who are eligible for student support. By dividing the parental income by the number of children who are currently
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Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many 16 to 19-year-old students there were in (a) sixth form colleges and (b) further education colleges in each of the last three years. 
|Ages 1619||Further education colleges||698,600||686,100||662,100|
|Unknown Age||Further education colleges||72,500||68,900||45,400|
|Sixth form colleges||5,700||3,800||2,100|
|All ages||Further education colleges||3,510,600||3,541,500||3,469,000|
|Sixth form colleges||210,400||221,100||215,500|
Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the average per capita funding for 1619 year olds in (a) schools and (b) sixth form colleges was in each of the last ten years; and what the projections are for the next three years following the Chancellor's spending review. 
Mr. Miliband: Although sixth forms have not been funded separately prior to 200203, the table below gives an estimate of the average unit funding per sixth form pupil, obtained by taking age-weighted funding for such pupils and adding in other school-level and LEA central funding for secondary schools on a per capita basis. Figures for 200203 have not yet been calculated.
|9596 Estimate||9697 Estimate||9798 Estimate||9899 Estimate||9900 Estimate||0001 Estimate||0102 Estimate|
The unit funding figures for schools and FE colleges (including sixth form colleges) are not directly comparable, as they have not been calculated on the same basis. For example, the FE unit funding is for all pages and not just 1619 as they are not available separately for this group.
Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the average per capita funding for 1619 year olds in further education colleges was in each of the last 10 years; and what the projections are for each of the next three years. 
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|9394 Actual||9495 Actual||9596 Actual||9697 Actual||9798 Actual||9899 Actual||9900 Actual||0001 Provisional||0102 Provisional||0203 Planned|
These figures are not directly comparable with information on per capita funding in schools as they are not calculated on the same basis. The FE unit funding figure includes total public funding allocated for FE, while the schools' figures are based only on delegated funds and exclude other funding that schools receive centrally from LEAs that impact on post-16 students. The figure for 200203 includes reallocated funds made available to FE in 200203 including for the Success For All strategy and additional funding recently announced for the Teaching Pay Initiative.
Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what assurances (a) the Criminal Records Bureau and (b) Capita Plc gave that the backlog of applications would be cleared by the start of the school term; and if she will publish them; 
Mr. Miliband: Officials in my Department receive information about the performance of the CRB on a regular basis. When interim arrangements to allow people to be appointed in advance of receipt of a Disclosure were first introduced from 24 May, the letter to Local Education Authorities stated following advice from the CRB that: ''the CRB are confident that their problems will be resolved and that all relevant Disclosures ....will have been issued before the start of the Autumn term.'' During June and July information provided by the CRB continued to indicate that they expected to clear the backlog of applications by the end of August, and to achieve the service standard of issuing Enhanced Disclosures within 3 weeks of receipt of the application by that point. During August it became increasingly uncertain whether the CRB would achieve that, and my officials enquired if the checks needed for staff at the beginning of term could be identified and given priority. In discussion with my officials on 21 August officials of the Bureau stated that they had identified approximately 22,500 outstanding applications for checks on education staff and were confident that the Bureau could clear most of these by 4 September, although it was possible that they might not be able to complete some where more information was required. Bureau officials also said that the actual checking process would be completed by the start of the new term, and that it would be possible to courier results to
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Local Education Authorities after 29 August. Further discussions took note of the range of different dates for the start of the new term, with 4 September the most common. Lists of term start-dates were requested from Local Education Authorities for the purpose of prioritising the processing of applications. On 27 August the CRB was asked to agree a form of words to be included in my Department's letter to Local Education Authorities, and agreed the following text:
Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what proposals her Department has to reimburse schools the costs incurred as a result of delays by the Criminal Records Bureau in vetting staff before the commencement of the Autumn term; 
(3) what assessment she has made of the cost to schools of additional supply staff needed as a result of the failure to complete Criminal Records Bureau checks by the start of the school term. 
Mr. Miliband: We are currently considering representations we have received on behalf of schools about compensation for extra costs incurred as a result of delays by the CRB in issuing Disclosures. No decisions have been made as yet. We have asked a number of Local Education Authorities to provide estimates of the costs incurred by schools
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My Department's officials are currently discussing with the Criminal Records Bureau a claim for compensation in respect of the costs incurred as a result of having to put in place arrangements to make checks of List 99 for schools and other employers and agencies.
Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what guidance her Department issued to (a) the Criminal Records Bureau and (b) Capita plc regarding the relative priority to be accorded to checks on (i) teachers with continuous records of employment in UK schools and (ii) new applicants to teach in UK schools. 
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