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5 Nov 2002 : Column 183W—continued

Sea Harriers

Mr. Gerald Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is the estimated saving that his Department will make as a result of the early withdrawal of the Sea Harriers in 2006, from the time of their withdrawal up to the introduction of the F35. [77934]

Mr. Ingram: I refer the hon. Member to the answers I gave on 16 April 2002, Official Report, columns 821–22W, and 29 April 2002, Official Report, column 529W, to the hon. Member for North Essex (Mr. Jenkin). Savings in years subsequent to these answers are outside the Ministry of Defence's short-term planning (STP) period, and are, therefore, not definitive. However, they will be commensurate in value with those in the answers previously provided.


XEducation at a Glance"

Mr. Nick Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will make a statement on the conclusion in the OECD Report, Education at a Glance: Indicators 2002, relating to (a) the impact on school lessons of noise and disorder and (b) boredom among 15 year olds with lessons. [79433]

Mr. Miliband: The OECD report gives a positive overall picture of UK pupils' engagement with school, with above-average scores against a series of measures. Noise and disorder were perceived as problems by 3 percentage points fewer pupils in the UK than the average across other OECD countries, boredom with school by 6 percentage points more.

These figures relate to the year 2000. We believe good teaching and a good curriculum are the best ways to engage and motivate pupils. We have introduced a wide range of strategies to improve teaching and learning, including our widely- acclaimed Literacy and Numeracy Strategies. Since September 2001 we have been implementing our new strategy to improve the attainment of 14 year olds (the Key Stage 3 Strategy). There have already been major improvements: OFSTED now rate nearly 70 per cent. of lessons as good compared with 40 per cent. five years ago. We are also making it a top priority to tackle problems of bad behaviour, including a 50 million.

Behaviour Improvement Programme from September this year to provide intensive support for schools facing the most challenging behaviour.

A-Level Students

Mr. Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many students left the A-level system one year into the course in each academic year since that ending in 1997. [79071]

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Mr. Miliband: Currently the only source of individual level data that allows the tracking of young people following the A level route is the Youth Cohort Study (YCS). The latest estimates from the YCS show that 9 per cent. of young people studying A levels in year 12 in spring 2000, were no longer studying them in winter 2000–01 (year 13). Comparable data on A level students in the years 1997–99 are not available.

The Pupil Level Annual School Census (PLASC) was introduced in 2002 for maintained schools in England. PLASC will be able to provide information on the number of students in school sixth forms who leave the A level system after a single year of study from 2003 onwards.

Beacon Schools

Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will make a statement on the planned development of the beacon school programme over the next five years. [79250]

Mr. Miliband: The new advanced school programme that will be introduced in April 2003 will replace the beacon model in the secondary sector. There are no plans at present to make changes to the programme in the primary, special or nursery sectors, but we are undertaking a review of the programme to ensure that it continues to offer the most effective means of delivering our objectives.

Child Care

Mrs. Laing: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many child care places have been created through the Neighbourhood Nurseries Initiative; how many of these offer subsidised child care; and at what level of subsidy these places are being offered over what period. [78592]

Maria Eagle: By June 2002, 1,000 Neighbourhood nursery places had been created and an additional 38,000 places are currently under development. Providers can receive funding of up to #5,400 per place over three years to make places affordable to parents in disadvantaged areas, as providers move towards sustainability in the long term.

Parents who receive working families tax credit can also receive help towards child care through the child care tax credit.

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what proportion of lone parents exclusively (a) use registered child care services and (b) rely on informal child care in Portsmouth, South; and if he will make a statement. [78966]

Maria Eagle: The latest survey carried out by the National Centre for Social Research on behalf of DfES shows that in England, 29 per cent. of all lone parents had used formal child care in the past year and 73 per cent. of all lone parents had used informal child care in the past year. There is no information on exclusive usage or use of registered child care services. The study XRepeat Study of Parents Demand for Childcare" was published by the DfES in May 2002. This data is unavailable at constituency level.

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Children's Centres, Battersea

Martin Linton: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) when he will introduce children's centres to the most disadvantaged areas in England; and what plans he has to open children's centres for disadvantaged families in Battersea; [76610]

Maria Eagle: The Government's recent spending review resulted in a significant increase in the combined budget for child care, early years and Sure Start, rising to #1.5 billion in 2005–06. The extra investment will support the integration of good quality child care with early years education, family support and health services through the creation of children's centres in disadvantaged areas, building on the good practice that exists in Sure Start and Early Excellence Centres. By March 2006, an additional 300,000 children and their parents will have access to health, education and other services through children's centres. Announcements about the location of children's centres will be made in due course.

City Academies

Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many City Academies have (a) been set up and (b) been committed to be set up; and who the sponsors of each Academy are. [78767]

Mr. Miliband: Three Academies opened in September 2002. These are The Business Academy, Bexley sponsored by David Garrard, Greig City Academy in Haringey sponsored by the Greig Trust and the Church of England and Unity City Academy in Middlesbrough sponsored by Amey plc. 20 Academy partnerships are working to establish Academies. Five of these have funding agreements which are legal contracts to establish an Academy.

Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills whether existing schools may apply to become City Academies if suitable sponsors can be found. [78768]

Mr. Miliband: Existing schools may express an interest in becoming Academies. We expect Academies to be set up with the active support of the relevant LEA. For community schools, the LEA would need to publish statutory closure notices in order for an Academy to be established in place of the existing school.

Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what powers exist for the creation of city academies on a federated basis, by grouping schools under a common governing body. [78771]

Mr. Miliband: Under section 482 of the Education Act 1996 the Secretary of State has powers to enter funding agreements with any person to establish an academy. This power is wide enough to allow funding of a group of academies with a single governing body which could be known as an academy federation. This is not connected with the powers under section 24 of the

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Education Act 2002, which allow maintained schools to form federations. Section 24 applies only to maintained schools not to academies.

Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills whether initial discussions about the setting up of a city academy have begun between his Department, the City of Newcastle upon Tyne LEA and potential sponsors. [78809]

Mr. Miliband: Discussions take place regularly between officials and local education authorities about the scope for academies to play a part in their strategic plans for education. Officials have held such discussions with Newcastle upon Tyne LEA. There has been no formal approach from a partnership, of a sponsor and the local education authority, for an academy in the City of Newcastle area.

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