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Student Numbers

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assumptions are made about student numbers in figure 3 in the White Paper, "The Future of Higher Education". [93569]

Margaret Hodge: Figure 3 of "The Future of Higher Education" shows total publicly planned funding for Higher Education, and the unit funding, in real terms in each year from 1989–90 to 2003–04. The numbers of students which underpin the unit funding calculations are shown in the following table.

UK- and EU-domiciled students at English higher education institutions (full-time equivalent, thousand)


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Teacher Vacancies (Wandsworth)

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many vacancies for teachers there are in the London borough of Wandsworth. [94760]

Mr. Miliband: There were 55 vacancies for full-time teachers in maintained nursery, primary, secondary and special schools in Wandsworth in January 2002. This is the most recent date for which these data are available.

Teaching and Learning Research Programme

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will make a statement on the Teaching and Learning Research programme, with particular reference to its (a) progress since its inception and (b) further development plans. [93294]

Margaret Hodge: The ESRC Teaching and Learning Programme funded at 25m (by HEFCE with contributions from the Scottish Executive, Welsh Assembly and DfES) supports 4 research networks in Phase I addressing inclusion, science, consulting students and workplace learning. Phase II has supported 9 projects focusing on aspects of schooling and post-compulsory education. Currently, the 46 shortlisted proposals on post-compulsory, workplace and lifelong teaching and learning in Phase III are being reviewed for selection. In addition, the programme is funding an initiative to develop capacity building in research, focusing on increasing high-quality research skills.

Significant differences in attainment between comparable groups of learners under different conditions have been reported by several of the projects. Priorities for science teaching have been identified by one project which has had an impact on the science curriculum.

Future plans include commissioning Phase III projects which will start later in 2002 and run up to 2008, extending the research capacity building strand and developing further collaborative links internationally. Consultation with other organisations is underway on detailed plans for the programme's outputs and impact.

Teaching Profession

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment he has made of the (a) prevalence and (b) causes of occupational stress among teachers. [93690]

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Mr. Miliband: The Government do not collect separate statistics on the incidence of teacher occupational stress, but do collect information on teacher absences and ill-health retirements and has commissioned research into the causes of these. They do not show any significant incidence of teacher stress as the cause for these events. In 2001–02, for example, around 0.6 per cent. of teacher retirements occurred as a direct result of stress. Despite this, teaching is a demanding job and stress can be hidden by other health problems. The Government take very seriously the issue of stress in schools. We have concluded a national agreement with most teaching unions, the support staff unions and local authority employers over teacher workload; we have supported the setting-up of an independent 24-hour telephone counselling helpline for teachers, operated by the Teacher Support Network (formerly the Teachers' Benevolent Fund); and we are piloting with a number of LEAs a project aimed at spreading best practice in using support mechanisms to promote teacher health and welfare.

Universities and Colleges Admissions Service

Mr. Byers: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what proportion of English domiciled students in secondary education aged 18 from each local education authority were accepted through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service to full-time undergraduate courses each year since 1994–95. [87298]

Margaret Hodge: The available information, showing the proportion of 18-year-olds from each LEA in England entering full-time undergraduate courses in the UK via the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), is given in a table.

It should be noted that the proportions in the table, which has been placed in the Library, are based only on the number of 18-year-olds entering full-time HE. This is a different definition to the Department's main measures of HE participation: the Age Participation Index (API), which measures the proportion of 18–20-year-olds who enter full-time HE, and the Initial Entry Rate (IER) which measures the proportion of 18–30-year-olds who enter full or part-time HE. Neither the API nor the IER are calculated at LEA level.

University Funding

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) how he intends to help universities to build up endowment funds, as announced in the Government's "The Future of Higher Education" White Paper; [94059]

Margaret Hodge: As set out in the White Paper, "The Future of Higher Education", the Government will help to build a culture in which donors and institutions make the most of the potential for endowments in the higher education sector. The Government will set up a task force to encourage institutions and potential donors to promote the existing incentives for individual and

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corporate donation and to encourage change in university and individual behaviour. The task force will be composed of corporate donors, financial and fundraising experts from the public, private and voluntary sectors, and the higher education sector itself, as well as other key opinion formers.

The White Paper also says that the Government will seek resources for a time limited, matched endowment fund to incentivise university fundraising. Matched funds would be allocated to universities, taking into account their existing fundraising capacity.

University Tuition Fees

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many students he estimates will be eligible for the full £1,000 maintenance grant announced in the Government's "The Future of Higher Education" White Paper. [94058]

Margaret Hodge: We estimate that on the current student distribution, around 28 per cent. of students would be eligible. We are currently reviewing the figure on the basis of new data we have available to us. A significant proportion of these are independent students, who may have given up work to return to full-time education, and most of whom have no means of support.

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what studies his Department has undertaken with regard to the disincentive effects of debt on students considering a university education. [94061]

Margaret Hodge: The Department has commissioned and published a number of studies that have investigated the barriers to participation in higher education. These have included:

The potential disincentive effect of debt is one of the factors these studies haveconsidered. These studies, and the wider research literature, find that the decision to participate in higher education depends on many interdependent factors which are often shaped by the cultural, social, institutional and education backgrounds of individuals. The Department also commissions periodic surveys of students' income and expenditure. Amongst other things these provide an objective picture of students' financial position and how this is changing over time. The Department has recently commissioned a new survey of students' income and expenditure that will report later this year.

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what estimates he has made of how many universities will charge the full fees available to them as announced in the Government's "The Future of Higher Education" White Paper. [94068]

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Margaret Hodge: It is up to higher education institutions to decide whether to charge fees and if so for what courses and at what level.

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what estimates he has made of the amount of debt that will be experienced by a university student on (a) a three year course, (b) a four year course and (c) a five year course following the reforms announced in the Government's The Future of Higher Education White Paper; [94069]

Margaret Hodge: The level of loan taken out by students will depend on their individual circumstances and choices, including the extent to which they work while in higher education. Students from lower income backgrounds will be eligible for fee remission and for the new HE grant. The level of maintenance loan will depend upon students' own choices and the level of maintenance loan to which they are entitled and whether they choose to live at home or study away. There are different maxima of maintenance loan dependent upon length of course and where the student lives e.g. more in London, less if they live at home. The level of loan taken out for fees will partly depend on the fee charged and partly on students' choices of whether to pay up front or to take advantage of the new policy to defer payment of fees which offer graduation.

The length of time to repay the loan after graduation will depend on the size of the loan taken out and on the salary the graduate is earning, it will also depend on whether the graduate makes any additional repayments from their own resources or from their employer.

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills to what extent students will be selected for university places on the basis of (a) parental income and (b) school performance. [94073]

Margaret Hodge: Universities are responsible for their own admissions criteria. The Government believe that admission should be on the basis of merit. We have set out in "The Future of Higher Education" a range of approaches taken by universities and elsewhere to ensure that students with the ability to succeed are selected.

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what financial incentives the Government will offer students whose parents are receiving (a) benefits and (b) tax credits following the Government Higher Education White Paper. [94075]

Margaret Hodge: The Government will continue to meet the costs of fees up to £1,100 for those students whose family income falls below £20,000, and a proportion of that for those students whose family income is between £20,000 and £30,000.

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All students will be able to defer fees. Those whose family income is below £10,000 will be eligible for a £1,000 grant, and those whose family income is between £10,000 and £20,000 will be eligible for a proportion of that.

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