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15 Oct 2002 : Column 785Wcontinued
Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will make a statement on the current research commissioned by her Department in the fields of further and higher education and vocational training. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Department's research programme currently supports 19 projects in the fields of further and higher education and vocational training. Details of the projects are noted below:
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In addition the Department also funds 4 research centres whose activities will cover the areas noted above. These are:
Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will make a statement on the role of the University of Industry in relation to other (a) providers and (b) strategic policy bodies in connection with vocational education. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: Ufi was set up to stimulate demand for lifelong learning amongst businesses and individuals and to promote the availability of high quality learning materials and innovative learning methods, particularly through the use of Information and Communication Technologies. It uses the brand name learndirect.
Ufi contracts for the delivery of learndirect courses in over 1700 centres across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Partners include further education colleges, private and voluntary sector providers, employers, trade unions and others. In England the Learning and Skills Council funds learning delivered in these centres. Ufi works closely with this Department and with the LSC, and a wide range of other partners, in pursuit of the effective delivery of its objectives. We have recently begun a review of the relationship between Ufi/learndirect and the DfES in order to agree the most effective long term basis for its future development
Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what plans she has for quality accreditation processes to ensure that all young people receive high quality one-to-one information, advice and guidance in schools, colleges and the workplace. 
Stephen Twigg: The Connexions Service has responsibility for working with schools, colleges and work-based training providers to ensure young people aged 1319 have access to information, advice and guidance. Young people can access a wide range of support including one to one support from Personal Advisers.
The Connexions Service is delivered by Connexions Partnerships operating in 47 areas in England. Each Partnership is responsible for meeting key requirements and quality criteria developed by the Connexions Service National Unit and OFSTED. On an annual basis each Partnership undertakes a self assessment of its work and this forms the basis of performance reviews with the Connexions Service National Unit. Once every four years OFSTED will also undertake a full inspection in each Connexions Partnership area. Work is also underway to develop a national non-statutory
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specification for careers education and guidance. The specification will help schools, colleges and work-based training providers improve the quality of support they provide to young people.
Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what proposals she has to enable the Connexions Service to meet individual needs for guidance for young people arising from the Government's 14 to 19 policies. 
Stephen Twigg: The Connexions Service will continue to provide access to impartial advice and guidance on learning and career options for all young people aged 1319, through: individual and group sessions with a Connexions Personal Adviser; a wide range of careers information products; and through Information and Communication Technology.
In recognition of the broader range of learning pathways that will become available as a result of the proposed 1419 reforms, the Connexions Service will work with schools to review progress with young people and their parents or carers at the end of Key Stage 3. This will inform young people's specific learning choices
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for Key Stage 4 and broad learning goals for the post-16 phase, as well as identifying opportunities for young people to undertake wider development opportunities. The focus of activity for the Connexions Service will be to provide individually tailored support to young people undertaking learning programmes that involve studying outside the institution in which they are based and those with multiple barriers to learning. We are also developing a new 1119 national specification for careers education, to help schools, colleges and work-based training providers to develop more effective curriculum-based careers education programmes.
Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the average percentage of pupils was obtaining five GCSE A*-C grades or above in (a) specialist schools designated before 1 September 1997, (b) specialist schools designated after September 1997 and (c) all schools in each of the last five years. 
Mr. Stephen Twigg: The information is shown in the following table.
Average 1 percentage of pupils obtaining 5 GCSE/GNVQ A*-C grade or above in academic year:
|Specialist pre 1 September 1997||52||54||57||59||60|
|Specialist post 1 September 1997||45||47||48||49||51|
1. Pupil weighted average.
Jonathan Shaw: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what (a) her estimate of the aggregate of Training and Enterprise Council surpluses attributable to public funds is, (b) the amount paid over to public funds to date in respect of those surpluses is and (c) action her Department is taking to recover outstanding amounts in respect of each TEC. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: I refer my hon. Friend to the reply given to the hon. Member for Chesterfield (Paul Holmes) on 24 July, Official Report, column 1359W60W.
Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what plans she has to create a sector skills council for post-compulsory education. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: Employers are discussing with my Department the potential for a UK-wide Sector Skills Council for post-compulsory education. These discussions are at an early stage. A firm proposal from employers would also need the support of the devolved administrations. It is the responsibility of the Sector Skills Development Agency to assess proposals against the Sector Skills Council standard and to recommend the award of licences.
Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will list the sector skills councils (a) established prior to April, (b) established subsequently and (c) currently in formation. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: We announced the award of trailblazer Sector Skills Council status to five sectors in December 2001. These sectors represent the audio visual; environment and land-based; oil and gas extraction, chemicals manufacturing and petroleum; apparel, footwear and textiles and retail industries. No further Sector Skills Councils have been licensed. There are five sectors in the final phase of developing Sector Skills Council proposals for consideration by the Sector Skills Development Agency. These sectors represent the e-skills; hospitality, leisure, travel and tourism; technology, engineering and science; construction and process manufacturing industries.
Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many national training organisations are in place. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: Government recognition of National Training Organisations was withdrawn in March 2002. 61 organisations formerly with this status continue to operate in their own right.
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