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20 Nov 2002 : Column 146W—continued

School Sport

Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) how many hours of the school week are devoted to sport in UK primary and secondary schools; [80978]

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Mr. Ivan Lewis: Physical Education (PE) is compulsory within the National Curriculum in England at all Key Stages for all pupils. Schools must provide physical education (PE) in accordance with the subject's programme of study. Guidance on curriculum planning, including for PE, published by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority and the Department for Education and Skills, recommends that the programmes of study require a minimum of 75 minutes per week at Key Stages 1 and 2, and 90 minutes per week at Key Stage 3.

The Government are committed to all children in England having at least two hours of high quality PE and school sport a week, within and outside of the curriculum. A joint Department for Education and Skills and Department for Culture, Media and Sport Public Service Agreement target—published 15 July—seeks to enhance the take-up of sporting opportunities by 5 to 16-year-olds by increasing the percentage of schoolchildren who spend a minimum of two hours each week on PE and school sport within and beyond the curriculum from 25 per cent. in 2002 to 75 per cent. by 2006. #459 million will be invested over the next three years to deliver this target. Spearheading action will be a significant expansion of the specialist sports college and school sport co-ordinator programmes.

Evidence from the Youth Sport Trust, Sport England and the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority indicates that a quarter of schools in England—those within school sport co-ordinator partnerships—are offering children aged 5 to 16 access to at least two hours' PE and school sport. All these partnerships will complete an annual data collection exercise this month. This will provide robust, comprehensive and in-depth information on the number of pupils with access to two hours' PE and school sport. Early messages from this will be available before the end of the year. The House will be informed of the results.

Sexual Relationship Education

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what training provision is planned for teachers regarding sexual relationship education; and if he will make a statement. [80545]

Mr. Miliband: In April 2003, we will roll out a professional development programme for teachers of Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE). The programme will recognise effective teaching of the generic skills of PSHE, with Sex and Relationship Education (SRE) being addressed as a specialist module based on knowledge and understanding. The development of the programme supports our view that effective SRE is essential if young people are to make responsible and well-informed decisions about their lives. We expect up to 500 teachers to participate in the first year of the programme.

From September 2002, those awarded qualified teacher status must demonstrate that they are familiar with the national curriculum framework for PSHE, including sex and relationship education, for the age range they are trained to teach. The new standards for initial teacher training also open up opportunities for trainees to have PSHE as a specialism.

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Top-up Fees

Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what recent assessment he has made of the potential impact of university top-up fees on the drive to increase participation in higher education. [81505]

Margaret Hodge: We have announced our intention to publish in January a strategy document setting out our vision for the development and reform of higher education, including the outcome of the review of student support. It would not be right to say now what options we are considering or what analyses we have undertaken.

Truancy (Essex)

Mr. Ivan Henderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will list the levels of truancy in Essex in each year since 1997. [80891]

Mr. Miliband: Percentage of half days missed due to unauthorised absence in maintained primary and secondary schools in Essex since 1997.

YearPrimary schoolsSecondary schools

(16)Early statistics

The 1997 figures for Essex are not directly comparable with the later years because of the local government reorganisation that took place in 1998.

University Fees

Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he plans to introduce a differential fees regime between university applicants who originate from independent schools and those who originate from maintained schools; and if he will make a statement. [80752]

Margaret Hodge: We have no such plans.


Congestion Charging

Mr. Chope: To ask the hon. Member for Roxburgh and Berwickshire, representing the House of Commons Commission (1) what the policy is of the Commission in relation to the reimbursement of Central London road user charges incurred by its employees; [81890]

Mr. Kirkwood [holding answer 19 November 2002]: The Commission is keeping an eye on developments, but has no current plans to reimburse employees.

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Business Consultation (Buckinghamshire)

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will list the business organisations in (a) Chesham and Amersham and (b) Buckinghamshire with which she consults on matters of relevance to the business sector. [81175]

Alan Johnson [holding answer 19 November 2002]: The Government Office for the South East, who are responsible for carrying out work on behalf of my Department, liaise with local business support organisations such as the Thames Valley Economic Partnership, Local Chambers of Commerce, local Confederation of British Industry and Institute of Directors, when they need to survey opinion on Office of the DPM issues affecting business.

GOSE also has good links with the Regional Development Agency (SEEDA), and the local business link (Business Link Solutions) who have close relationships with the business sector.

GOSE is also encouraging the business sector to become involved in the local strategic partnerships. The Chiltern district council's LSP has both a local business, Amersham International, and a representative form Aylesbury Chamber of Commerce as members.

BAE Systems

Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what investigations have taken place to determine how BAE Systems spare parts were supplied to the Zimbabwean Defence Forces earlier this year; and whether she has established if such spare parts were granted on export licence by the UK Government. [81322]

Nigel Griffiths: I refer the hon. Member to the reply from my right hon. Friend the Defence Secretary, to my hon. Friend, the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Paul Farrelly) on 4 November 2002, Official Report, column 11.

Since the introduction of the UK arms embargo on 12 May 2000, no standard individual export licences or open individual export licences have been issued, for the proposed export of spare parts for the Hawk aircraft, where the end users were in Zimbabwe.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply from my right hon. Friend the Member for Livingston (Mr. Cook), the then Foreign Secretary, to my hon. Friend, the Member for Barnsley, East and Mexborough (Jeff Ennis) on 12 May 2000, Official Report, columns 493–94W.


Jim Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what progress is being made to increase access to higher bandwidth broadband in rural areas. [81361]

Mr. Timms [holding answer 19 November 2002]: Satellite services make broadband available across the country. Added to this some 67 per cent. of the

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households in the UK now have access to a mass-market terrestrial broadband service. This is ahead of countries such as France and Italy.

The market continues to make progress in extending the availability of affordable broadband through such initiatives as the demand registration schemes run by BT and by Liberty Broadband. We believe that the market-led progress will continue as new technologies including additional wireless services become available and satellite services become more affordable.

We believe, however, that in some areas Government may have a role to play. Some schemes including European structural funds have already made an impact on the availability of broadband (e.g. the ACTNOW project in Cornwall).

The Government has also committed #30 million for pilot projects to help regional development agencies and devolved administrations learn what will work in extending availability and take-up. These funds are starting to make an impact in rural communities such as Buckfastleigh in Devon and Alston in Cumbria.

There is scope for further impact to be made in increasing private sector investment and the availability of broadband by the use of public sector demand. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister announced yesterday that the outcome of the Spending Review 2002 shows that a total of approximately #6 billion will be invested in electronic government—including #1 billion towards high-speed broadband connectivity. Existing funds for regional economic development (and RDAs will have #1.8 billion in 2003–04 for this purpose) can also make a contribution where lack of broadband is a barrier to economic development. That is why I announced in June the intention to establish a regional broadband unit to use the public sector's spending power to boost availability and take-up in rural areas.

Mr. Derek Wyatt: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how and in what way SEEDA has allocated its broadband funds; and what SEEDA's criteria are in allocating funds for broadband provision in the poorest wards in Kent. [81766]

Mr. Timms [holding answer 19 November 2002]: SEEDA programmes are targeted at both supply and demand side issues including direct touch involvement in mainstream technologies (Fibre, DSL, Wireless and Satellite), new technologies (powerline transmission, VDSL, third generation mobile and metro Ethernet), application pilot programmes and broadband promotion. In addition SEEDA is working with other national, regional and local stakeholders.

SEEDA's criteria for allocating funds are shaped by the Regional Economic strategy and its Corporate plan as agreed with partners. Both documents identify the 119 most deprived wards in the Region as priority areas, requiring special attention and investment. Of these, 48 are in Kent and 6 in Medway.

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