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15 Dec 2003 : Column 666Wcontinued
Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what steps he is taking to ensure that musical instrument lessons are available to all pupils who wish to benefit from them; and if he will make a statement. 
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Mr. Miliband [holding answer 11 December 2003]: We have pledged that, over time, all primary school pupils who want to should have the opportunity to learn a musical instrument. Ofsted are currently evaluating 12 pilots that aim to demonstrate how schools, LEA Music Services and other providers can work together to offer a programme of wider musical opportunities which builds on the National Curriculum for Music. We will publicise the results of this evaluation in the New Year, along with some new guidance from QCA on how teachers can incorporate instrumental tuition into their classroom work.
In addition, the Department continues to support LEA Music Services. Almost £60 million a year goes to LEAs via the Music Standards Fund, which can be spent in any way which enhances opportunities for pupils to access musical education of high quality, including instrumental tuition.
Mr. Mahmood: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment he has made of the National Learner Satisfaction Survey published by the Learning and Skills Council in November; and if he will make a statement. 
Alan Johnson: The result of the 200203 National Learner Satisfaction Survey, commissioned by the Learning and Skills Council, is excellent news. It shows that learners' needs and aspirations are being met, with more than 90 per cent. overall satisfied with their learning experience. This important customer feedback, taken with other measures of quality we have put in place, is an important indicator against which to judge the success of the learning and skills sector.
Mr. Miliband [holding answer 11 December 2003]: In January 2003, there were 408,400 full-time equivalent regular teachers with Qualified Teacher Status employed in the maintained schools sector in England. That is 12,200 more than in January 1997 and the most at anytime since January 1984.
Mr. Ivan Lewis [holding answer 3 December 2003]: Since 1997 the DfES has provided funding for a range of activities related to pupil inclusion and disaffection, including behaviour and attendance. The Standards Fund has been the main channel for such funding. The following table shows relevant DfES grants to LEAs made through the Standards Fund or its predecessor from 199798 to 200203. It excludes LEA contributions. These funds were spent on a wide range of measures and services including Learning Support Units, Pupil Referral Units and Education Welfare Officers.
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In 200203 the DfES also provided £50 million for targeted schools through the Behaviour Improvement Programme. Building on that, we will be providing over £150 million in 200304 to support schools and LEAs in improving behaviour and attendance.
Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment he has made of the effect on the development of the North West regional economy of the revised distribution mechanisms for university research funding; and if he will make a statement. 
Alan Johnson: Research funding is allocated to institutions according to quality and volume, using the results of the Research Assessment Exercise. There is no regional element. In 200304 the North West region received £108 million in quality-related research funding, an increase of over £9 million on the previous year.
The recent consultation on research assessment, carried out by the Higher Education Funding Council for England and the other UK higher education funding bodies, received over three hundred responses from higher education institutions and sector stakeholder bodies. The higher education funding bodies are considering the responses and are expected to make an announcement about a new system of assessment and funding distribution early in the New Year.
Mr. Miliband [holding answer 9 December 2003]: Our categorisation of LEA asset management plan data returns allows buildings constructed up to and including 1976 to be separately identified. The total number of separate school buildings (excluding temporary buildings) within this category, for which information has been provided, is approximately 52,000. This large number reflects the fact that many schools have several buildings of different age categories on their sites. The LEA/school number codes for each building on the attached spreadsheets indicate where they are situated. In view of the large size of the analysis document, it has been made available on the DfES web site at: www.teachernet.gov.uk/amps
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Mr. Ivan Lewis [holding answer 11 December 2003]: The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 require employers (local education authorities for most schools in England) to tell employees about the measures taken to manage risk. There is no requirement to publish the risk assessment.
Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many (a) girls and (b) boys sat examinations in science subjects at (i) A Level and (ii) AS Level in each year since 1997; and what the pass rate was in each case. 
Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the cost to public funds of the Special Educational Needs and Disability tribunal system was in the last year for which information is available (a) in total, (b) per case dealt with and (c) per application. 
Margaret Hodge [holding answer 11 December 2003]: The total cost of the SEN and Disability Tribunal (SENDIST) for the year 2002 to 2003 was £4,715,000 plus £1,252,000 central overheads giving a total of £5,967,000. 3,445 appeals were registered during that period, giving a cost of £1,732 per appeal. 3,780 appeals were received, giving a cost per appeal received of £1,578.
Mr. Ivan Lewis: There are a number of different agencies responsible for delivering different aspects of the skills agenda in the West Midlands. This reflects the wide range of national, regional and local bodies involved in the Government's national skills strategy. The strategy aims to integrate existing structures and focus them more effectively through stronger partnerships at national and regional level.
At regional level, we have asked each Regional Development Agency to work with delivery partners to create a Regional Skills Partnership. These will bring together the Learning and Skills Council, the Small Business Service, Jobcentre Plus, the Skills for Business network, Government Offices and others with an important regional perspective. Regional Skills Partnerships will address regional economic competitiveness and deliver the agenda set out in the Skills Strategy for their region.
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Mr. Miliband: A review of research conducted by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) in 1998, concluded that there are no significant differences between ability grouping, setting, mixed ability teaching and streaming in terms of outcomes, and that the overall effects are inconclusive. However, the review suggested that it is possible to identify a list of benefits and limitations for the main kinds of grouping at the level of the institution, teacher and pupil.
Pupil grouping by ability is not mandatory for English lessons. It is for schools to develop and determine for themselves, the best form of pupil grouping to meet the learning needs of all their pupils. To support this, both the Primary and the Key Stage 3 National Strategies in English have produced a range of resources for schools to use in meeting the needs of their pupils, particularly those below the expected levels. This allows schools the flexibility of being able to provide for their pupils whole class teaching; short-term optional modules suited to needs and abilities; within class pupil grouping for better differentiation of teaching; mentoring, booster and master class arrangements.
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