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16 Dec 2002 : Column 570Wcontinued
Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland to which bodies her Department makes appointments; how many members there are (a) in total and (b) in each body; and how many of those appointed are (i) businessmen, (ii) businessmen in SMEs and (iii) businessmen in micro-businesses. 
Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many engagements were undertaken outside London (a) by her or her predecessor and (b) by ministers in her Department in January (i) 2000, (ii) 2001 and (iii) 2002. 
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Mr. Miliband: It is for the GCE awarding bodies, not the Government, to decide which texts are included in A Level specifications, and for individual schools to decide which specification they wish to follow.
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what targets the Learning and Skills Councils have for (a) the 16 to 18 age group, (b) the post-19 age group and (c) lifelong learning. 
(b) By 2004, at least 28 per cent. of young people to start a Modern Apprenticeship by age 22. And by 2010 90 per cent. of young people by age 22 will have participated in a full-time programme fitting them for entry into higher education or skilled employment; and
We would also expect the LSC to help support progress towards 50 per cent. of 18 to 30-year-olds entering higher education by 2010.
(c) Improve the basic skill levels of 1.5 million adults and young people between the launch of Skills for Life 2001 and 2007, with a target of 750,000 by 2004;
Reduce by at least 40 per cent. the number of adults who lack a Level 2 qualification by 2010. Working towards this, 1 million adults already in the workforce to achieve Level 2 between 2003 and 2006.
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Mr. Miliband [holding answer 5 December 2002]: The Institute of Education in the University of London was commissioned by the Department to investigate the impact of class size and pupil-adult ratios on educational attainment at Key Stage 1. The findings showed that there was a significant effect of class size on children's educational progress in reception for both literacy and maths. However, there was no clear statistical evidence of an effect of class size on progress in literacy and maths in Year 1 or Year 2.
The Department has now commissioned the Institute of Education to continue this research up to Key Stage 2. The findings of this project are expected in 2004.Office for Standards in Education (OFSTED) findings have also indicated that small class sizes are of benefit in the early years of primary education, when children are learning the basics.
In September 2002 the number of five, six and seven year olds in infant classes of 31 or more stood at 10,600, in September 1998 the figure was 354,000. This means that under 1 per cent. of infants are in classes of over 30.
Margaret Hodge: A degree is defined in section 214 of the Education Reform Act as an award at Master, Bachelor or Doctorate level granted or to be granted by a university, college or other body which is authorised by Royal Charter or Act of Parliament to grant degrees. The qualifications framework issued by the Quality Assurance Agency indicates that the term 'degree' should only be used for qualifications which meet the expectations laid down in its qualification descriptors. If a private UK organisation without the necessary powers offers its own degrees, it would be in contravention of section 214 of the Education Reform Act 1988. Such organisations can be investigated and prosecuted by the local Trading Standards Department.
Mr. Flook: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills when formal notification will be given to local education authorities about the proposed increase in employer pensions contributions for teaching staff. 
Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will list the schools in the top tenth percentile by examination performance at (a) A-level, (b) GCSE and (c) SATs results, which have applied unsuccessfully for Beacon School status. 
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Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what incentives there are to encourage more ethnic minority and other specialist training providers to enter further education as staff. 
Margaret Hodge: We have introduced a range of initiatives to enable further education (FE) colleges to recruit and retain good staff. Eligible candidates can now benefit from golden hellos, the repayment of teachers' loans and training bursaries. FE colleges are now covered by the provisions of various equal opportunities related legislation, including the Race Relations Act. Their recruitment practices must meet legislative requirements and colleges should be working to ensure that their workforces are more representative of the communities they serve.
We will be working with the Learning and Skills Council and key partners from the FE sector to ensure that the recommendations of a report published by the Commission for Black Staff in Further Education relating to the recruitment, selection, retention and progression of black staff are implemented and evaluated by 2004.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what plans he has for assessments of further education best practice in teaching and training; and what the timescale is for these assessments. 
Margaret Hodge: Our strategy for reforming further education and training 'Success for All,' published on 19 November 2002, sets out our plans for developing best practice in post-16 teaching, training and learning. We will make a substantial investment amounting to over #100 million by 200506. We will set up a new Standards Unit within DfES which will start work in January 2003. The unit will be responsible for identifying, developing and disseminating good practice. We envisage a gradual build-up, developing new approaches in up to four specified curriculum areas in 200304, with the help of expert practitioners.
Mr. Miliband: Early statistics for England for 2002 show that the proportions of 15-year-old pupils in state schools achieving at least GCSE grade A*-C in (a) maths, (b) science and (c) English are 46.6 per cent. 45.4 per cent. and 53.1 per cent. respectively.
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Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what his estimate is of the cost of raising the proportion of 18 year olds admitted to higher education (a) from its 1997 level to its current level and (b) from its current level to 50 per cent.of 18 year olds. 
Margaret Hodge: The target of 50 per cent. participation relates to people aged between 18 and 30, having the opportunity to benefit from higher education by the end of the decade. It does not mean that 50 per cent. of 18 year olds will enter higher education at that age.
The cost of higher education per student varies according to the subject, type and length of their course. The overall costs of increasing student numbers will therefore depend on their pattern of study.
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