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28 Nov 2002 : Column 399W—continued

Modern Apprenticeships

Dr. Jenny Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many modern apprenticeship places were taken up in (a) 2000 and (b) 2001; and how many were left vacant. [83725]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The number of starts on modern apprenticeships (Foundation and Advanced) in 2000 and 2001 are shown in the table:

26 December 1999 to 24 December 200076,90094,200
25 December 2000 to 23 December 2001 64,400110,500

Numbers of Modern Apprenticeships left vacant are not available.

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what steps he is taking to increase the take-up of modern apprenticeships. [83726]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Government and the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) are wholly committed to modern apprenticeships (MA) as a quality work-based learning route for young people. We have adopted a challenging Public Service Agreement (PSA) target for MA entrants by 2004—28 per cent. of young people to begin an MA by the age of 22.

The Chancellor, the Secretary of State for Education and Skills and the Chairman of the Learning and Skills Council have announced a new modern apprenticeship task force which will take a key role in promoting MA to employers and thereby contributing to increased take-up.

All parties involved in the initiative are working together to increase the take-up of MAs. The LSC is running a marketing and promotion campaign with a range of measures to reach employers and key influencers, following its successful campaign targeting young people. Connexions Partnerships are delivering improved advice and guidance to young people on the opportunities available in their communities. New and developing sector skills councils also play a key role by supporting promotion to employers in their sectors.

Pilot and Pathfinder Schemes (Isle of Wight)

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills for which pilot and pathfinder schemes the Isle of Wight council was eligible to apply. [81267]

Mr. Stephen Twigg: No LEAs were invited to participate in the schools Peer Mentoring Pack pilot, as it is school based. However, Medina High School (Isle of Wight) is involved in piloting the schools peer mentoring pack during the school year 2002–03. Also, Carisbrooke High School (Isle of Wight) will be invited

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to take part in the second round of the peer mentoring pilot. The second phase of the roll-out will take place in the new year.

No schools in the Isle of Wight fell within the definition for Schools Facing Extremely Challenging Circumstances, therefore, none have been invited to participate in the project, nor have any been invited to participate in the Zoneparcs project, as none met the deprivation criteria for this project.

Isle of Wight LEA was not invited to participate in the Excellence in Cities programme, which covers Learning Mentors, enhanced opportunities for the Gifted and Talented and the Excellence in Cities Primary Pilot. Appropriate LEAs were identified by the Department, there was no application process.

As the Isle of Wight did not meet the defined criteria it is not participating in the Pupil Learning Credits pilot, nor was the Isle of Wight council invited to participate in the School Partnerships for Improvement pilot, or the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) pilot scheme, as no schools met the defining criteria.

Prison Education

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what activities are being undertaken by his Department to promote the take-up of education in prisons; what incentives exist within the penal system to encourage the take-up of education by prisoners; and if he will make a statement. [82457]

Mr. Ivan Lewis [holding answer 25 November 2002]: We are improving both the quality and quantity of prison education to bring more prisoners into learning and to ensure they benefit from it. The prison education budget will rise to £87 million next year—an increase of almost 50 per cent. in real terms over last year. This includes investment of £20 million capital over the next two years to support the modernisation of education and training provision including transforming prison libraries so that they become learning resource centres. And it includes a further £2 million in computer training opportunities to help prepare prisoners for the demands of the modern labour market. We are also helping prison establishments to expand the range of environments in which they can offer learning.

Governors have to ensure that the rates of pay they set do not discourage prisons from participating in activities, which are part of their sentence or learning plan. Through the XIncentives and Earned Privileges" scheme, some Governors have developed ways of incentivising and rewarding educational progress and achievement. At the same time, the Prison Service order on XEducation in Prisons" sets out the statutory requirement on how education must be provided. It states that all prisons must provide activities in a range of ways, which respond to the individual needs of the learners.

Pupil-Teacher Ratios

Mrs. Dean: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will rank education authorities in England the most recent pupil/teacher ratios for (a) primary and (b) secondary schools. [80597]

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Mr. Miliband: The information requested has been placed in the Libraries.

Revenue Grants (Warrington)

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what estimate he has made of the likely impact on education in Warrington of each of the five options in the consultation on the review of revenue grant distribution. [83893]

Mr. Miliband: The Government has been carefully considering all the suggestions put to us in response to the consultation, including the F40 Group's suggestion of an Option 5. We will announce decisions on the new funding system early next month.

School Exclusions (Essex)

Mr. Ivan Henderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many pupils were excluded from schools in Essex in each year since 1997. [80892]

Mr. Stephen Twigg: The available information on permanent exclusions is shown in the table. Figures are not available centrally on fixed-term exclusions.

Number of permanent exclusions in primary(11), secondary(11) and special schools in the academic years 1996–97 to 2000–01—Essex Local Education Authority

Number of permanent exclusions276(14)
Percentage of the school population0.12(14)
Number of permanent exclusions(14)207
Percentage of the school population(14)0.11
Number of permanent exclusions(14)191
Percentage of the school population(14)0.10
Number of permanent exclusions(14)182
Percentage of the school population(14)0.09
Number of permanent exclusions(14)198
Percentage of the school population(14)0.10

(11) Includes middle schools as deemed

(12) Before Local Government Reorganisation

(13) After Local Government Reorganisation

(14) Not applicable


Annual Schools Census

School Leavers (Coalfields)

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what proportion of children left school with no academic qualifications in coalfield areas in each year since 1997; and how this compares with the national average. [82247]

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Mr. Miliband: The information requested is given in the table:

Percentage of 15 year old pupils attaining no passes at GCSE / GNVQ

Coalfields—maintained Schools5.
England—maintained schools5.
England—all schools5.


The definition of a coalfield area taken from the coalfields task force report, June 1998, is: a ward where 10 per cent. of resident males in employment at the time of the 1981 census of population were engaged in the energy and water sector. In these areas, this sector overwhelmingly comprises coalmining.

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