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15 Dec 2003 : Column 663Wcontinued
Mr. Woodward: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) if he will list the capital projects which (a) have been completed and (b) were in progress in St. Helens in each year since 1997; 
Mr. Miliband: We hold details only of total capital allocations made to (i) St. Helens, (ii) Merseyside and (iii) the North West. We do not hold the other information requested as the bulk of capital investment for school buildings is allocated to local education authorities and to schools. Capital funding allocated to St. Helens, Merseyside and the North West is set out in the following table:
|Capital allocations (£000)|
|St. Helens||Merseyside||North West|
Mr. Woodward: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills which projects have been (a) wholly and (b) partly funded by his Department in St. Helens since 1997; when each project was announced; when it started or was expected to start; what funding was provided by (i) Government and (ii) a third party; what third party provided funding; what the target group of the project was; what the projected outcome of the project was; and what the name of the project was. 
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Mr. Miliband: We do not hold the information requested as the bulk of capital investment for school buildings is allocated to local education authorities and to schools. Capital funding allocated to St. Helen's LEA is set out in the following table:
|St. Helen's LEA capital allocations||Total (£000)|
Alan Johnson: The Higher Education Funding Council for England funds honours degree and foundation degree courses on the basis of a formula which varies according to subject, institution and student factors. The funding is allocated to institutions as a block grant and how they allocate it is for them to determine. Institutions also receive funding from other sources, both public and private and may use it to subsidise some courses or faculties. The actual cost may therefore vary between institutions and subjects.
Mr. Mahmood: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment he has made of the effect of the proposals contained in the White Paper, "The Future of Higher Education", on further education colleges which provide higher education courses; and if he will make a statement. 
Alan Johnson: The Higher Education Funding Council for England has recently run a bidding round for additional student numbers for foundation degrees. Further education colleges (FEC) have been invited to bid for those places in collaboration with higher education institutions, Sector Skills Councils and Regional Development Agencies. An announcement on the outcomes of this bidding round will be made early next year.
I have asked the Chief Executives of the Higher Education Funding Council and the Learning and Skills Councils to work together to reduce the bureaucracy faced by further education colleges that provide courses of higher education. I expect them to produce a consultation paper by early 2004 .
The Quality Assurance Agency, Ofsted, and the Adult Learning Inspectorate have recently piloted a parallel review and inspection of a FEC, which should reduce burden and bureaucracy for the FEC. The agencies are currently evaluating the success of this pilot and will provide a report to me early in the New Year.
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White Paper Commitment Foundation degrees will often be delivered in further education colleges and we will build and strengthen the links between further and higher education, to give students clearer progression pathways and support the development of work-based degrees. As part of this, we will streamline the funding regimes to make collaboration easier.
Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills in how many schools fewer than 20 per cent. of pupils achieved (a) qualifications equivalent to five GCSEs at grade A* to C and (b) five GCSEs at grades A* to C in each year between 1996 and 2002; and what his estimate is for each year from 2003 to 2006. 
|Academic year||Number of schools with less than 20 per cent. of pupils achieving 5+ A* -C at GCSE/GNVQ|
(7) 1996 figures includes GCSE results only, GNVQs commenced in 1997.
|Academic year||Number of schools with less than 20 per cent. of pupils achieving 5+ A* -C at GCSE only|
(8) 1996 figures includes GCSE results only, GNVQs commenced in 1997.
The number of schools where fewer than 20 per cent. of pupils achieved five or more GCSEs at grade A* to C or the equivalent has dropped significantly year-on-year since 1996, and we are confident the efforts of pupils, schools and LEAs mean that this trend will continue. Through increasing use of contextualised pupil-level data, our Advisers are working closely with schools and LEAs to ensure that every pupil's chances of exam success are maximised. This work has a particular focus on narrowing the attainment gap between the lowest performing schools and the highest.
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would be beyond which students would receive no financial assistance under the Government's proposals for higher education funding. 
Alan Johnson: All students, regardless of their family income, will be eligible for some financial assistance under the Government's proposals. The non-means tested element (75 per cent.) of the maintenance loan will continue to be available to all students, while the remaining 25 per cent. will be linked to family income. We do not intend to means-test loans for fees, which are to be introduced from 200607. Additional support will, as now, be available on a means-tested basis in the form of tuition fee remission and, from 200405, a new higher education grant will be introduced for those from poorer backgrounds. This financial assistance is in addition to existing targeted support for specific groups such as disabled students or student parents.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what initiatives the Department has introduced to improve (a) leadership and (b) management skills in schools; and what assessment he has made of their effectiveness. 
Mr. Miliband [holding answer 4 December 2003]: We set up the National College for School Leadership in November 2000 to deliver a wide range of professional development and leadership training opportunities for headteachers, aspiring headteachers and other school leaders at every stage of their careers, including middle managers. Ofsted regularly inspects the effectiveness of school leadership and management and from September this year introduced a new framework for inspecting these skills more rigorously. In June this year Ofsted reported that the proportion of schools with very good or excellent leadership and management has more than doubled since 199697. In his statement to this House on 29 October about school funding, the Secretary of State announced that KPMG had been commissioned to work with NCSL and headteacher associations to design and develop a varied menu of support and guidance to help schools' budget and resource management. In the remaining months of the current financial year £1.5 million is being made available for this programme which includes a website, workshop, helpdesk and consultancy.
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