Previous Section Index Home Page

9 Dec 2002 : Column 105W—continued

School Leavers (Careers)

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what comparison has been made of places for careers among school leavers by the careers service in coalfield areas, compared to the national average. [82885]

Mr. Stephen Twigg: Information in the following table has been taken from the annual activity survey of all school leavers in the autumn of the year they complete compulsory education undertaken by Careers Services and Connexions Partnerships. This data relates to all school leavers from the 2000–2001 academic year. It has not been possible to match the data exactly to the coalfield areas; data is collected by Education Authority and has been aggregated to provide the closest match possible. Details of areas included are given in the footnote to the table.

The table shows that in the coalfield areas, young people are less likely to be settled in full time education, or training and rely more heavily on government supported training than in non- coalfield areas. The table also shows a higher rate of unemployment for young people living in these areas.


Total of non coalfield areas(25) Total of coalfied areasEngland
Full-time education72.367.971.7
Government supported training3.67.44.0
Not settled in full time education training or employment7.28.47.3
Of which:
Part-time employment/training0.50.40.5
Not active in labour market1.11.71.2
No response/move away5.13.85.0
Survey total508,09874,788582,886

(25) The closest approximation of the coalfield areas includes: Coventry, Staffordshire, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham, Wakefield, Merseyside, St. Helens, Darlington, Durham, Northumberland, Sunderland

Student Exchange Programmes

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will make a statement on the European Commission's proposal, COM (2002) 401 final, and the subsequent Council decision to invite students from third countries to participate in European exchange programmes. [85056]

Margaret Hodge: I welcome the European Commission's proposal to establish XErasmus World", which should provide UK universities and colleges with opportunities to attract overseas students, and will enable UK universities to forge useful partnerships with their counterparts in other EU countries. The UK and other member states have expressed some reservations about the funding of the proposal. The Danish Presidency of the European Union has recently circulated a revised version of the proposal. We are considering our position in the light of this.

9 Dec 2002 : Column 106W

Students (Benefits)

Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions regarding extending the eligibility criteria for benefits to students in higher education. [82419]

Margaret Hodge [holding answer 25 November 2002]: We have regular discussions with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) about specific student support and benefits issues. Social security is available to certain students in DWP vulnerable groups such as the disabled and lone parents but the general principle is that support for higher education students comes from the education system. There are no plans to change this.

Student support is taken into account in deciding upon the level of benefit payable, but much of the additional financial support for such vulnerable students, for example child care grant, is disregarded for benefit purposes.

Surplus School Places

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will make a statement on the part played by consideration of best value in determining whether surplus schools should be closed. [85554]

Mr. Miliband [holding answer 5 December 2002]: Surplus places can represent poor use of resources. This is why the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister sets annual Best Value Performance Indicators for the percentage of surplus places in an LEA each year. Decisions on whether to close schools are taken by the local School Organisation Committee or, if the Committee cannot agree unanimously, by the independent Schools Adjudicator. Guidance issued by the Secretary of State requires both bodies to consider a range of factors, including standards and access.

Mr. Hoban : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what financial penalties are in place if local education authorities have surplus school places. [85557]

Mr. Miliband [holding answer 5 December 2002]: Local education authorities receive funding based on pupil numbers and there are no financial penalties for having surplus school places. While resources devoted to maintaining surplus school places can sometimes be more effectively used to support schools in raising standards, we recognise that in some cases it may not be possible to remove all surplus places due to demographic changes and falling rolls.

Technology and Science College Status

Mr. Paul Marsden : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will make a statement on the reason underlying the decision not to shortlist the application by (a) Belvidere School and (b) Mary Webb School for technology college and science college status. [85643]

9 Dec 2002 : Column 107W

Mr. Miliband: In the judgement of our independent assessors, these schools did not meet the published criteria set out in the XGuide for Schools" available to all schools applying for specialist college designation in 2002–03. Both schools received written feedback from the Department on their individual applications. The feedback should provide a helpful basis on which to make a stronger revised application.

University Entrants

Mr. Wyatt: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what proportion of sixth formers in schools in Sittingbourne and Sheppey went to university in (a) 1997–98, (b) 1998–99, (c) 1999–2000 and (d) 2000–01. [85006]

Margaret Hodge [holding answer 3 December 2002]: Figures for the number of school leavers who go on to higher education are not collated centrally on a constituency basis. The available figures for Great Britain, showing the proportion of under 21-year-olds who enter higher education for the first time from either sixth forms or FE colleges, are given in the table. There was an increase in the index in 1997–98 related partly to changes in the funding arrangements for higher education, with students choosing to enter HE rather than wait until 1998–99. There was a corresponding reduction in 1998–99 before the entry rates started to increase again in 1999–2000. Between 1997–98 and 2000–01, total HE students in English universities and colleges rose by 83,000.

Age Participation Index (API)1 for Great Britain


(26) The API is defined as the number of GB domiciled initial entrants to full-time and sandwich undergraduate HE aged under 21, expressed as a percentage of the average number of 18 and 19-year-olds in the population.

9 Dec 2002 : Column 108W


Anti-asbestos Campaign

Mr. Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) which anti-asbestos campaigners were investigated by MI5 between 1972 and 1980; [83485]

Mr. Blunkett: It has been the longstanding policy of successive Governments to neither confirm nor deny reports concerning Security Service operations. However, the Service has made clear that it has never investigated people simply because they were office-holders or members of campaigning organisations or pressure groups.

Antisocial Behaviour

Simon Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many individuals were convicted of offences relating to (a) graffiti, (b) excess noise and (c) fly tipping in each of the last 10 years; and what were the (i) maximum and (ii) minimum penalties imposed. [84312]

Hilary Benn [holding answer 2 December 2002]: The available information for England and Wales is shown in the table, and covers the years 1991 to 2000. It is not possible, in the statistics collected centrally, to distinguish offences relating to graffiti from other offences of criminal damage.

Statistics for 2001 will be available in December.

Number of defendants convicted of offences related to noise and fly tipping at all courts, England and Wales 1991–2000

Offence description Principal statute YearNumber of persons convicted Minimum penalty imposed Maximum penalty imposed
Noise on construction sites, operating loudspeakers in the street, exceeding permitted noise level after service of notice and other summary offencesControl of Pollution Act 1974, sections 60 and 62 and Noise Act 1996199133Absolute discharge#1,000 fine
199243Absolute discharge#1,000 fine
199341Conditional discharge#2,000 fine
199444Conditional discharge#3,000 fine
199548Absolute discharge#3,000 fine
199665Absolute discharge#3,500 fine
199758Conditional discharge#3,500 fine
199861Absolute discharge#4,000 fine
199972#50 fine#4,000 fine
(27)200038Conditional discharge#2,500 fine
Prohibition on authorised or harmful deposit, treatment or disposal etc. of waste (fly tipping)Environmental Protection Act 1990 sections 33(6), 33(8), 33(9) and 3419914#200 fine#500 fine
199218Conditional discharge#1,388 fine
1993104Absolute discharge#10,000 fine
1994124Absolute discharge3 months imprisonment
1995202Absolute discharge18 months imprisonment
1996262Absolute discharge18 months imprisonment
1997237Absolute discharge18 months imprisonment
1998296Absolute discharge2 years imprisonment
1999317Absolute discharge8 months imprisonment
(27)2000393Absolute discharge18 months imprisonment

(27) Excluding any convictions at magistrates courts in Staffordshire.


All data are given on a principal offence basis.

9 Dec 2002 : Column 109W

Next Section Index Home Page