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18 Dec 2003 : Column 1058W—continued


Children's Centres

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many children's centres there are; what the locations are of (a) existing and (b) planned children's centres; and how many of each are in deprived areas. [144707]

Margaret Hodge: There are now 61 children's centres in England, all of which are based in disadvantaged areas (see following table for details). We are currently considering proposals from local authorities for the wider roll out of this programme, and will announce locations from early 2004 as new centres are designated. All children's centres will be based in the 20 per cent. most disadvantaged wards in England, or in pockets of disadvantage outside of these wards.

Early designated children's centres as at December 2003

Local authorityChildren's centre
Bath and NE SomersetFirst Step Nursery
BedfordshireThe Lawns Early Excellence Centre
Blackburn with DarwenSudell and Central Darwen Sure Start
BlackpoolSure Start Grange Park
BlackpoolSure Start Mereside and Clifton
BoltonHarvey Early Excellence Centre
BristolHartcliffe Early Excellence Centre
BristolRedcliffe Early Excellence Centre
CamdenThomas Coram Early Excellence Centre
CornwallSure Start Lescudjack Centre
CoventrySure Start Coventry South East
DoncasterDenaby Main and Coinsborough Sure Start
DudleySure Start Brierley Hill
DurhamSure Start Peterlee
EalingSouth Acton Early Excellence Centre
EalingGrove House Nursery School
GatesheadSure Start Blaydon Winlaton
GreenwichRobert Owen Early Years Centre
HackneyMapledene Early Years Centre
HampshireSure Start Warren Park
HertfordshireBirchwood Nursery School
HertfordshireOughton School
HertfordshireSt. Alban's Children Centre
HertfordshireWestfield School
HillingdonHayes Neighbourhood Nursery and Early Years Centre
IslingtonFortune Park Early Years Centre
IslingtonNew River Green Early Excellence Centre
KnowsleyOverdale Educare Centre
LambethEthelred Nursery School
LancashireWalton Lane Nursery School
LeedsEast Leeds Children Centre
LeedsParklands Children Centre
LeedsSeacroft Children's Centre
LiverpoolEverton Children and Family Centre
ManchesterBenchill Children's Centre
ManchesterClayton Children's Centre
ManchesterHattersley Sure Start
ManchesterMartenscroft Early Excellence Centre
ManchesterLightbowne Children's Centre
ManchesterOld Moat Children's Centre
ManchesterRusholme Children's Centre
North East LincolnshireNunsthorpe and Bradley Early Excellence Centre
NorthamptonshirePen Green Early Excellence Centre
NorfolkSure Start Thorpe Hamlet
NorthumberlandSure Start Bedlington and Scotland Gate
North TynesideHowdon Children's Centre
North TynesideSure Start Shiremoor and Killingworth
Nottingham CitySure Start North West
OxfordshireACE Centre EEC
OxfordshireSure Start Rose Hill Littlemore
RotherhamAughton Early Years Centre
RotherhamRawmarsh Children's Centre
StaffordshireCannock Early Years and Sure Start Centre
SouthwarkBishops Early Years Centre
SouthwarkThe Arc Neighbourhood Nursery
SunderlandSure Start North Washington
ShropshireOswestry Children's Centre
Telford and WrekinNewdale Children's Centre
Tower HamletsBromley by Bow Centre
ThurrockSure Start Tilbury Flagship Centre
WorcestershireThe W.A.N.D.S Project

18 Dec 2003 : Column 1059W

Children's Commissioner

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the (a) role and (b) powers of the proposed Children's Commissioner will be. [142151]

Margaret Hodge: The Children's Commissioner as proposed in the Green Paper will be an independent children's champion who will be a voice for children and young people, especially the disadvantaged and vulnerable. The Commissioner will play a crucial role in raising the profile of the issues that affect children, working with a wide range of bodies, such as local and national government, service providers, business, media and the voluntary sector, to ensure that children and young people are involved in the policy making process.

The Green Paper proposes that the Commissioner should work at a strategic level and would not investigate individual cases—except where they have wider implications for all children as directed by the Secretary of State. Nor will the Commissioner have a complaints or specific advocacy function—this will remain the responsibility of others. The Commissioner would work with the relevant Ombudsmen and statutory bodies to promote good practice and ensure that complaints procedures work and are quick and easy for children to access and follow.

The Commissioner would have a duty to report annually to Parliament on progress against the key outcomes set out in 'Every Child Matters', reflecting what children and young people have been saying.

Further details on the role and powers of the Commissioner are being developed in the light of the consultation which ended on 1 December, and legislation will be introduced to Parliament at the earliest opportunity.

Higher and Further Education

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will list the (a) higher education and (b) further education courses for which fee costs are paid by public sector employers. [144281]

Alan Johnson: For higher education courses, the Department for Education and Skills pays the fee costs of students attending post graduate initial teacher training courses. Information for other Departments and public sector bodies are not held centrally.

For further education courses, we expect all adults, or their employers, in further education to contribute towards the cost of their learning. Those on low incomes or on basic skills courses do not pay tuition fees. There is no general provision of learning or special fee arrangements specifically for public sector employers. Individual colleges or other post-16 providers may

18 Dec 2003 : Column 1060W

have locally organised arrangements with individual employers. No information is held centrally about such arrangements.

Higher Education

Mr. Willis: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what expenditure his Department proposes to allocate to (a) advertising campaigns and (b) publicity campaigns relating to higher education in each year from 2002–03 to the end of the current expenditure plan. [143277]

Alan Johnson [holding answer 10 December 2003]: The Department has run a number of campaigns in relation to higher education. These include:

Following the publication of the Higher Education White Paper in January 2003, the Department ran a campaign informing potential and existing higher education students and their parents that changes were being proposed and signposting them to sources of further information.

In 2002–03 the Department spent £8 million on higher education publicity campaigns of which £3.2 million was spent on advertising. In 2003–04 we expect to spend £13.8 million of which £6.08 million would be spent on advertising. Plans and budgets for the Department's communications activity for 2004–05, including campaigns relating to higher education, have not yet been developed so it is not possible to give the information requested.

All costs exclude VAT.

Mr. Willis: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what advertising campaigns his Department is introducing on the proposed changes to higher education funding; and what the level of funding allocated to each campaign is. [142651]

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much has been spent in 2003 on advertising campaigns regarding student tuition fees; and what media have been used. [144146]

Alan Johnson: The Department regularly runs advertising campaigns to explain to potential students and their parents what financial support is available to those undertaking higher education courses. The current 2003 campaign, (for those applying for September 2004 and which runs to the end of February 2004) is closely linked to the Government's wider Aimhigher campaign, designed to encourage young people from non-traditional backgrounds to apply for university. The total cost of advertising is £682,000 which covers radio and poster advertising, and paid editorials.

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In addition, following the publication of the Higher Education White Paper in January 2003, the Department ran a further information campaign to explain what was being proposed and to signpost further information. The total cost of advertising was £605,000. All costs are exclusive of VAT.

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