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25 Feb 2003 : Column 466W—continued

IT Teaching (Core Curriculum)

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills why IT is no longer part of the core curriculum; and if he will make a statement. [98696]

Mr. Charles Clarke: Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is currently a National Curriculum foundation subject at all four key stages of compulsory education. The 14–19 strategy document "14–19: opportunity and excellence", published on 21 January 2003, confirmed that ICT will remain compulsory during Key Stage 4, recognising the importance that ICT plays in preparing young people to participate in a rapidly changing world in which work and other activities are increasingly dependent on access to, and skilful use of, technology.

We expect that, in time, pupils will increasingly develop their ICT skills through other subjects and ICT may no longer need to be discretely specified as a statutory required National Curriculum subject.

Maintenance Grants

Mr. Edwards: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills at what level maintenance grants will be introduced for university students from households where the income is between £10,000 and £20,000; and what criteria will be used to assess eligibility. [98447]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The level of grant available for students from households with income between £10,000 and 20,000 will depend on the threshold below which the full grant will be paid. I refer my hon. Friend to my reply to the hon. Member for Birmingham Selly Oak (Mrs. Lynne Jones) on 6 February 2003, Official Report, column 359W. Precise details on the eligibility criteria will be announced in due course.

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what percentage of medical students are from families whose family income is (a) less than £10,000, (b) £10,000 to £15,000, (c) £15,001 to £20,000 and (d) over £20,001, using the definition of income that he proposes to use in assessing eligibility for a maintenance grant. [98316]

Margaret Hodge: My Department collects data from Local Education Authorities on the assessed contributions by students to fees, grants and loans for all students eligible to apply for student support. This includes medical students. The latest data are for 2000/1 and relates to the definition of residual income 1 that applied in that year. It is not possible to estimate the income 1 distribution of medical students (adjusted to account for changes in definition proposed for the new maintenance grant) separately from this survey because separate data by course subject are not collected.

In respect of estimates of residual incomes under the proposed definition for maintenance grant for all students, I refer to my reply to the hon. Friend's previous question.

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National Curriculum Alternatives

Paul Holmes: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what steps he is taking to increase the flexibility of Section 96 of the Learning and Skills Act 2000 to take account of the needs of further education colleges who are working in partnership with local schools to provide alternatives to the National Curriculum; and if he will make a statement. [98980]

Mr. Charles Clarke: Any external qualification which meets the published principles for approval can be approved under Section 96 of the Learning and Skills Act 2000. The qualifications are approved for specific age groups; pre-16; 16–18 or over 18 but under 19. Approvals are independent of delivery arrangements.

There are already 271 partnerships between schools, further education colleges and others as part of the Increased Flexibility for 14–16 Year Olds' Programme delivering vocational and work-related learning opportunities to 14–16 year olds.

National Insurance

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the annual cost will be of the forthcoming uplift of National Insurance Contributions for (a) higher and (b) further education institutions. [98672]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The additional cost in employers' national insurance contributions in 2003–04 for all Higher Education institutions in England is estimated to be around £60 million and for all Further Education institutions in England the estimate is £25 million. Higher and Further Education institutions receive funding for staff costs from a variety of sources, both public and private, so the element of the increase to be covered from public sources will be only a proportion of this. The actual cost in National Insurance contributions will depend on the number of staff

employed and their pay level. These are matters for the institutions to determine.

In the 2002 Spending Review, Higher and Further Education received generous increases in total funding, averaging 6 per cent. in real terms in each of the three years to 2005–06. As a result of these increases, publicly planned funding per full-time equivalent student will rise by 7 per cent. in real terms between 2002–03 and 2005–06 in both Higher and Further Education. This will put Further and Higher Education institutions in a good position to meet these costs.

Post-16 Staying-on Rate

Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the post-16 staying on rate was in each region and nation of the UK in (a) 1992, (b) 1997 and (c) 2002. [98449]

Mr. Miliband [holding answer 24 February 2003]: The table gives the percentage of 16-year-olds participating in post-compulsory education in each region and nation of the UK in 1992–93, 1997–98 and 2000–01, the latest year for which figures are available.

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16-year-olds participating in post-compulsory education(31)—time series
Region ofStudy1992–93(32)1997–982000–01(33)
United Kingdom787778
North East706874
North West757474
Yorkshire and the Humber747476
East Midlands757475
West Midlands767576
South East838078
South West827979
Northern Ireland(35)887376


(30) As a percentage of the 16-year-old population.

(31) At school or in further education. Includes a small element of students in higher education institutions.

(32) Excludes evening only students. There is a slight discontinuity with data shown for later years due to the use of different data sources in England and Wales.

(33) Data for Scotland refer to 1999–2000.

(34) The estimates of 16-year-olds at school exclude those pupils who leave school in the winter term at the minimum statutory school-leaving age.

(35) Figures for 1997–98 and 2000–01 exclude students in part-time further education (17.8 per cent. and 15.1 per cent. respectively), which should not be aggregated with full-time further education or schools activity due to the unquantifiable overlap of these activities.


Department for Education and Skills; National Assembly for Wales; Scottish Executive; Northern Ireland Department of Education.

Probation Service Centre (Chippenham)

Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to his answer of 11 February 2003, Official Report, columns 694–95W, whether it is in accordance with his Department's guidelines for a probation service centre to be opened adjacent to Ivy Lane School in Chippenham, Wiltshire. [98523]

Mr. Ivan Lewis [holding answer 24 February 2003]: The location of probation service centres is a matter for the Home Office. My Department's published guidance on school security, as set out in my previous reply, does not specifically cover questions of the opening of such centres near existing schools.

School Maintenance

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what his latest estimate is of the repair and maintenance backlog cost for schools in (a) England and (b) each local education authority; and if he will make a statement. [98375]

Mr. Miliband: School premises condition costs for local education authorities were summarised in the answer to parliamentary question 32896 on 13 February 2002. In that response, a table detailed the cost of repair

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and renewal needs for each local education authority, broken down into three orders of priority. The DfES has not received any more recent data.

Authorities have been asked to supply new data in April-May this year and we plan to publish analysis following appraisal of the data.

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