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Chris Bryant: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many (a) Welsh students are studying at English universities and (b) English students are studying at Welsh universities. [141762]

Alan Johnson: The latest information shows that in 2001/02, 30,387 Welsh students were studying courses at English higher education institutions (HEIs) and 31,441 of English students were studying at Welsh HEIs.

Teacher Vacancies (Portsmouth)

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many teacher vacancies there are in (a) primary and nursery and (b) secondary schools in the Portsmouth local authority area; and if he will make a statement. [141349]

Mr. Miliband: Vacancy information is collected in January of each year. Information for January 2003 is shown in table 17 of the Schools Workforce in England statistical first release (SFR) of 9 September 2003. A copy of this SFR has been placed in the Library. The table is also available on the statistics section of the DfES website at:

Teachers' Television Channel

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will make a statement on (a) the total cost of, (b) the cost to his Department of and (c) the revenue to be raised by the proposed new television channel for teachers. [141733]

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Mr. Miliband [holding answer 3 December 2003]: The Department has signed a contract for the supply of Teachers' TV with Education Digital, a consortium of Carlton Communications, Brook Lapping Productions Ltd. and the Institute of Education of the University of London. The contract is to provide

The costs to the Department of piloting the channel are currently estimated to be £1.5 million. This figure comprises the costs of independent research into the effectiveness of the channel proposition as well as content production and distribution costs.

The full channel, if launched, will need to demonstrate value for money compared to other expenditure to reach the same objectives. The pilot will help us determine the right level of programming and therefore overall costs. Further information on the cost of the full channel will be available after the pilot.

The Department is currently proposing to underwrite the full costs of the channel through savings in other central expenditure. However, we will continue to look for ways to mitigate these through sponsorship, commercial airtime and programme sales. We have investigated the commercial value of Teachers' TV airtime, but concluded that, initially, the potential revenue would be unlikely to exceed the cost of sales. We will continue to investigate potential revenue streams that may result from a successful channel and that could be used to off-set total channel running costs.

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will make a statement on how the effectiveness of the proposed new television channel for teachers will be measured; and what targets will be set. [141734]

Mr. Miliband [holding answer 3 December 2003]: We have put in place a comprehensive measurement system to ensure the effectiveness of Teachers' TV. A balanced scorecard of measures will be used to measure performance in four areas:

(a) Audience

Targets for channel reach and loyalty among the target audience will be set following the pilot (so the pilot can be used to establish realistic but stretching targets). Further key performance indicators have been set to measure relevance, applicability in the classroom and ease of use.

(b) Content

Educational outcomes for the channel have been set to ensure programming as a whole is in line with the Department's strategy (e.g. supports raising literacy and numeracy standards). An independent Teachers' TV board will ensure, among other things, programme quality standards are maintained.

(c) Financial

Open book accounting will be used to ensure financial transparency. Cost overruns will be borne entirely by the supplier by the Department. Under-spends on content will be entirely retained by the Department,

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while any economies which the channel supplier can realise in non-content areas will be shared between Department and supplier.

(d) Functional-technical

Industry best practice is being adopted in requiring the supplier to meet the same obligations placed on public service broadcasters by the Broadcasting Act 1990, such as independent and regional production quotas. This category also covers maintenance of technical standards such as channel downtime.

The supplier will be paid on a cost-plus basis. In addition to costs, the supplier will be rewarded for performance against these key performance indicators. Of the maximum 12.5 per cent. channel management fee, 10 per cent. is performance-related, designed to reward excellence by the channel supplier in meeting channel objectives. An independent governance authority, drawing on the work of an independent research agency where appropriate, will evaluate supplier performance.

Top-up Fees

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what estimate he has made of the proportion of universities that will seek to adopt the maximum top-up fee in 2006. [141768]

Alan Johnson: It will be up to universities themselves to set their fee levels, provided that they have an access agreement approved by the Office for Fair Access.

Mr. Willis: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what assessment he has made of the impact of the proposed top-up fees on the number of students entering Post Graduate Certificate in Education courses after 2006; and if he will make a statement; [141785]

Alan Johnson: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Paul Farrelly) on 20 November 2003, Official Report, columns 1497–498W.

Tribunal Decisions

Liz Blackman: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what action he will take to ensure that Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal decisions in favour of parents are fully implemented by local education authorities. [140704]

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Mr. Miliband: The Education (Special Educational Needs) (England) (Consolidation) Regulations 2001 set out the actions that an authority must take to comply with a Tribunal order. If the authority does not comply within the appropriate period, the parent may complain to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Skills. It will then be open to him to issue a direction under sections 496 or 497 of the Education Act 1996. Section 496 applies if the local education authority has acted unreasonably with respect to the exercise of any power or duty. Section 497 applies if the authority has failed to discharge a duty imposed on them.


Mr. Forth: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what measures the Department has taken since 1997 to reduce truancy in secondary schools; and what the cost was of each programme. [R] [140583]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: Departmental expenditure on attendance-specific measures includes around £700,000 on publicity materials aimed at parents, practitioner conferences and research into truancy, £11.25 million for electronic registration systems in secondary schools and around £500,000 for intensive expert support for education welfare services in 60 local education authorities.

This is in addition to funding for a wide range of measures to improve behaviour and attendance provided by the School Inclusion: Pupil Support Grant between 1999 and 2003, through the Behaviour Improvement Programme since 2002 and through the behaviour and attendance strands of the Key Stage 3 Strategy and the Primary Strategy from 2003. Because many of these measures relate to both behaviour and attendance, expenditure on reducing truancy in secondary schools cannot be disaggregated.

Mr. Forth: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many pupils committed truancy from secondary schools in (a) 1997 and (b) the most recent year for which figures are available. [R] [140584]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The level of truancy is properly expressed as the percentage of all available half days missed due to unauthorised absence. The data for unauthorised absences from secondary schools in 1997/98 and 2002/03 are in the following table:

School year
Pupil population2,786,9433,003,590
Number of pupils missing at least one half day452,900630,058
Average number of half days missed2017
Percentage of half days missed1.101.08