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Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to his statement of 22 January 2003, Official Report, column 303, on higher education, what his definition of participation is; and when he aims to achieve 50 per cent. participation in higher education. 
Margaret Hodge: My right hon. Friend in his statement on 22 January 2003 stated that the Government's target remains, as we set out in the Department's public service agreement published in 2000 and reaffirmed in last summer's spending review settlement, to increase participation in higher education towards 50 per cent. of those aged 18 to 30 by the end of the decade. Participation in England is currently at 43 per cent.
Participation in higher education is measured by the Initial Entry Rate (IER). The IER covers English domiciled 18 to 30 year-olds who entered higher education for the first time in a particular academic year. It includes entry to all full-time and part-time courses of one year or more that lead to qualifications awarded by higher education institutions or widely-recognised national awarding bodies.
Alistair Burt: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what his definition is of experience of higher education in respect of the target for 50 per cent. of all 18 to 30-year-olds to experience higher education by 2010. 
Margaret Hodge: Experience of higher education in respect of the higher education participation target is defined by the Initial Entry Rate.
The Initial Entry Rate sums the percentages of the English domiciled age group who enter higher education in the UK for the first time in each year of age between 18 and 30, on full or part-time courses of one year or more that lead to a qualification awarded by higher education institutions or widely recognized national awarding bodies.
Tony Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what funding he has allocated for the provision of access to degree level higher education courses for West Cumbrians locally; and when those funds will be received; 
Margaret Hodge: It is not possible to identify the total sums allocated to courses for west Cumbria because funds are allocated to institutions, which will educate
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students from a wide geographical area. However, the particular needs of Cumbria are being addressed through collaborative arrangements by the four core providers of HE in Cumbria; University of Central Lancashire, Lancaster University, St. Martin's College of HE and Cumbria Institute of the Arts. As a result of this collaboration, funding has been made available by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) for an additional 1,200 HE student places in Cumbria since 1999. HEFCE is currently reviewing future funding for Cumbria through a task force chaired by Sir Brian Fender.
In addition, the Government's Excellence Challenge programme, which encourages universities to work closely with schools and colleges in disadvantaged areas, will, from 200304, expand to cover west Cumbria. Funds will be available from September 2003. West Cumbria will also be part of the National Partnerships for Progression Initiative run by HEFCE, and will be eligible for its share of funding for projects to enhance progression into higher education. Partnerships will be informed of their level of support in spring 2003. Excellence Challenge and Partnerships for Progression will be merged as "Aim Higher" from 2004.
Mr. Lindsay Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will make a statement on the review of funding for higher education. 
Margaret Hodge: The Government's White Paper The Future of Higher Education was published on 22 January. The White Paper sets out our plans for the radical reform and development of higher education, including the outcome of our review of student finance.
Mr. Willis: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) how many schools administered the Key Stage 2 English and mathematics tests to Year 7 pupils in 2002; 
(3) what percentage of Year 7 pupils achieved a Level 4 or above in the Key Stage 2 tests in English and mathematics in 2002. 
Mr. Miliband: In 2002, 2,107 schools chose to administer the Key Stage 2 test (known as the year 7 progress test) for their year 7 pupils, of which 1,947 school administered the English tests; and 1978 schools administered the mathematics tests. From those schools, 61,827 year 7 pupils took the English progress test; and 76,221 took the mathematics test. Some pupils who sat the test were not eligible to do so. Of those eligible pupils who sat the test and who had achieved level 3 at Key Stage 2 in 2001, 30 per cent. achieved level 4 or above in the English progress test, and 18 per cent. achieved level 4 or above in the mathematics progress test in 2002.
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Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what action he will take to assure potential users of the quality of provision of information, advice and guidance on lifelong learning for adults. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Government have developed and are promoting the matrix quality standard for information, advice and guidance (IAG) services. This quality assures publicly funded IAG provision. Additionally, where IAG is offered within student support services in FE Colleges, it will be subject to inspection by Ofsted and the Adult Learning Inspectorate as part of the inspection of the institution as a whole, under the Common Inspection Framework.
Within the framework of the Government's Skills Strategy and Delivery Plan, we will consider what, if any, further action might be needed.
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will promote a national brand to market information, advice and guidance on lifelong learning for adults. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: Yes, as I said recently we need an information, advice and guidance service for adults that is highly visible and identifiable, so that people know what they can get and where they can get it. We are taking forward the development and promotion of an overarching identity for adult IAG within our work to develop an overall Skills Strategy and Delivery Plan.
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment he is making of whether the level of (a) resources and (b) funding for information, advice and guidance on lifelong learning for adults is sufficient to ensure that customer demand is met. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: As part of developing our overall Skills Strategy and Delivery Plan, we are reviewing the role information, advice and guidance (IAG) services for adults should play within the strategy. This involves looking at all aspects of IAG, including resources and funding.
Mr. Hurst: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will make a statement on the use of his powers to intervene in local education authorities as to the amount such authorities spend on education. 
Mr. Miliband: The Education Act 2002 requires local education authorities to notify the Secretary of State of their proposed schools budget by 31 January 2003. My right hon. Friend will decide in the light of the proposed budgets whether it is necessary to use the reserve power, and will take into account all relevant circumstances in reaching any decision.
Mr. Hurst: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the total education formula
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spending for Essex was for 200304; and what the standard spending assessment for education for Essex was for 200203. 
Mr. Miliband: In 200304, Essex's total Education Formula Spending Share is £666.8 million. In 200203,Essex's Education SSA was £594.7 million.
The figure for 200304 is provisional and not fully comparable with 200203. The figure for 200304 includes funding transferred into EPS from grant and takes account of the increase in contributions to the Teachers' Pension Scheme. Neither figure includes funding transferred to the Learning and Skills Council for sixth form funding.
Tony Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills when OFSTED'S service delivery agreement for 2003 to 2006 will be published. 
Mr. Miliband: This is a matter for Ofsted. The HM Chief Inspector, David Bell, will write to my hon. friend and a copy of his letter will be placed in the Library.
Mr. Burnett: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what mandatory jurisdiction OFSTED has over independent schools; 
(3) what steps OFSTED has taken to ensure that independent schools comply with the health and safety at work legislation. 
Mr. Miliband: Independent Schools in England which provide full time education for five or more pupils of compulsory school age must register with the Department for Education and Skills. Once registered, they must maintain satisfactory standards in respect of premises, accommodation, staffing and instruction. Independent boarding schools must also safeguard and promote the welfare of their pupils. For monitoring purposes they are inspected on a regular 6 year cycle either by OFSTED or by the Independent Schools Inspectorate in the case of schools belonging to the Independent Schools Council. In addition, independent schools are inspected by the fire brigade and, in the case of boarding schools, every three years by the National Care Standards Commission. Health and Safety requirements are considered by inspectors in the context of standards relating to premises and accommodation. More frequent inspections are undertaken where there are signs of failing and, where inspection evidence indicates that a school has fallen below the standards required, the Secretary of State has powers of enforcement which could lead to the closure of the school.
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