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Mr. Miliband: The consultation was targeted towards admission authorities, as they would have the most direct interest in changes to the codes and regulations. Therefore, all local education authoritiesas the admission authorities for community and voluntary controlled schoolswere consulted, along with a representative sample of foundation and voluntary aided schools, who are their own admission authorities, and a smaller sample of other non-admission authority schools. Academies, representative bodies of all school types, as well as many national bodies, were also formally consulted. These were:
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Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what discussions took place with (a) local education authorities and (b) schools and colleges on paragraph A.45 of the admissions consultation paper. 
Mr. Miliband: We consulted all local education authorities, a representative sample of foundation and voluntary aided schools, who are their own admission authorities, and a smaller sample of other non-admission authority schools, as well as academies, on all aspects of changes to the code. We also held four regional events which were attended by approximately 400 representatives of LEAs and schools.
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However, Annex A of the Code explains the law. Schools have always been required to have an admission number for each relevant age group, including sixth form admissions if they recruit from outside the school. The wording of A.45 differs from the previous code only insofar as it takes account of the abolition of standard numbers. The Code of Practice does not apply to further education colleges.
Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if the rules that apply to CSA payments in relation to assessing household income will apply to maintenance payments paid via a court order when the scheme for educational maintenance allowances is introduced nationally. 
Margaret Hodge: The rules in connection with child maintenance are applicable only to the pilot Education Maintenance Allowance scheme. When the national EMA scheme is introduced in September 2004 the income assessment will be revised. We will introduce a household income assessment, in line with that applied by the Inland Revenue for the new Tax Credits. This will not include any income earned by a natural parent who no longer resides with the student, but will count the income of any step-parent in the household.
Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much it would cost to award maintenance allowance to those students in the pilot areas who have been ruled ineligible because maintenance from the absent parent is paid via a court order rather than through the Child Support Agency and is added to the resident parent's household income. 
Margaret Hodge: Evidence from the Local education authorities piloting the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) suggests that less than 1 per cent. of applications have been turned down on these grounds. The total cost of paying and administering EMA in all 56 pilot areas in the 200102 financial year was #97.25 million. Therefore, it is estimated that to pay EMA to families in these circumstances, where the joint parental income is over the maximum threshold applicable in the pilot area would incur an additional cost of approximately #1 million.
Mr. Reed: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will make a statement on the level of education funding in Leicestershire; and if he will estimate the (a) percentage and (b) cost difference between Leicestershire and the top funded education authority outside London. 
Mr. Miliband: The new system of funding for LEAs consists of a basic entitlement which is the same for all pupils, plus a top up for all deprived pupils, which is the same for all deprived pupils, and a further top up for those LEAs in areas with additional costs for recruitment and retention of staff. Where the average formula spending share per pupil is higher, that reflects a higher number of deprived pupils, and higher area costs. The average Education Formula Spending Share (EFSS) per three to 15 pupil for Leicestershire is #2,939
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and for Slough (the authority with the highest average EFSS per pupil outside London) it is #3,828. The difference is just over 30 per cent. or #890 per pupil. The estimated proportion of deprived pupils in Slough is: 36 per cent. in primary schools and 33 per cent. in secondary schools. The proportions for Leicestershire are: 13 per cent. in primary and secondary schools. In addition Slough attracts an Area Cost Adjustment of 13.5 per cent. whereas Leicestershire does not.
Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many further education colleges are subject to special measures by the Learning Skills Council as a result of unfavourable inspection reports; and in how many cases in the past 12 months they have intended to replace college management. 
Margaret Hodge: The LSC published guidance in March 2002. This sets out the powers and arrangements for intervening where further education colleges have unfavourable inspection grades. Neither the Secretary of State nor the LSC has the power to replace the management team of a college. However, the Secretary of State can issue directions to a college corporation or replace members of the corporation, if he feels that a college is being mismanaged. In the past 12 months, 96 out of a total of 400 FE colleges were inspected. Of these, 17 colleges were judged to be inadequate and will require a full re-inspection. A further 35 colleges will require a partial re-inspection, where some areas were found to be less than satisfactory. In all of these cases, it was possible to agree an action plan for improvement without needing to use the statutory powers.
Mr. Allen: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what plans he has to increase the attraction, reward and ease of access to higher and further education in areas where exceptionally low proportions of school leavers go into higher and further education. 
Margaret Hodge: We are committed to extending opportunity in both further and higher education. As part of our Success for All reform strategy for further education and trainingworth an extra #1.2 billion by 200506 or over this spending review period, a programme of Strategic Area Reviews led by local Learning and Skills Councils will help build a network of local providers working to increase choice and widen access to further education for young people. The Excellence Challengeworth #190 million over three yearsis already encouraging wider participation in higher education, and is focused on areas of deprivation, many of which have particularly low participation rates in further and higher education. The joint initiative by the Higher Education Funding Council for England and the Learning and Skills Council, which will be launched in April 2003, also aims to encourage progression in each region.
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John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will commission an assessment of the likely impact of the General Agreement in Trade and Services on higher education. 
Margaret Hodge: Work is already taking place to consider the impact should we decide to make any offers of further commitments in education services under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). No such decisions have been taken. The Department for Trade and Industry (DTI), which has the UK lead on the GATS, has recently concluded a public consultation on all aspects of the current round of negotiations. The consultation document was produced with input from the Department for Education and Skills and the Devolved Administrations. Close liaison over the education services sector within the GATS will continue throughout the negotiations. The consultation document noted that many of the principal suppliers of publicly funded higher education in the UK also engage in some commercial activity, and that the Government are reflecting carefully on any GATS implications that the current structure may give rise to.
Officials in my Department have also consulted directly with Universities UK, the Association of University Teachers and the National Union of Students to take their views and encourage them, and other higher education sector organisations across the UK, to respond to the public consultation.
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