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7 Jan 2004 : Column 370Wcontinued
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what discussions he has had with the Chief Inspector of Schools about measuring effective leadership and management in schools; and what actions were taken as a consequence; 
(3) what discussions he has had with the Chief Inspector of Schools on (a) the consistency of reports on particular schools and their staff and (b) the grading of schools; 
(4) what discussions he has had with the Chief Inspector of Schools concerning the number of (a) schools, (b) teachers and (c) lessons rated satisfactory; and what the consequences of these discussions were. 
Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to his answer of 17 December 2003, Official Report, column 967W, on specialist colleges, what the (a) Key Stage 3 and (b) GCSE/GNVQ value-added scores were in 200203 for those non-grammar specialist schools that select more than 10 per cent. of their pupils on the basis of aptitude; and if he will make a statement. 
|School||LEA||Key Stage 23 value added measure 2003|
|Chaucer Technology School||Kent||100.4|
|Chestnut Grove School||Wandsworth||98.9|
|Deacon's School||Peterborough, City of||100.9|
|Glyn Technology School||Surrey||100.4|
|Lynn Grove VA High School||Norfolk||100.5|
|St. Margaret's C of E High School||Liverpool||100.5|
7 Jan 2004 : Column 371W
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment he has made of the impact on (a) mature students and (b) part-time students of (i) the proposed changes in tuition fees and (ii) contingent loan repayments. 
Alan Johnson [holding answer 9 December 2003]: Mature students will be treated in the same way as younger students both as far as the proposed changes to tuition fees and to income contingent loans are concerned: where they are studying full time, up front fees would be abolished and they will be subject to variable fees of between £0 and £3,000 per year from 2006; re-payable following graduation and for any loans they take out with the Student Loans Company, they will benefit from the raising of the income threshold above which repayments are made from £10,000 to £15,000 from 2005. Part time students are already subject to variable fees: where they have taken out loans with the Student Loans Company, they too will benefit from the raising of the income threshold from £10,000 to £15,000 from 2005. We are introducing a new package of support for part time students in 2004/05, including a grant for fees of up to £575 and a course grant, neither of which are repayable. Mature students are also particularly likely to benefit from the new HE Grant of £1,000, being introduced from 2004/05. We expect around a third of all those getting the full grant of £1,000 to be independent, despite such students making up only around 15 per cent of the total student population.
Mr. Simmonds: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much funding was made available for (a) primary schools and (b) all schools in England and Wales to pay for in-service training for teachers in each year since 1997. 
Mr. Miliband: It is not possible to disaggregate funding solely for in-service training. Schools have the autonomy within their overall school budgets to determine how much they make available for training purposes in the light of their own priorities and needs.
Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what plans he has to respond to (a) the European Commission and (b) the EU presidency on the joint statement and conclusions from the November 2003 Conference on Youth Volunteering and Civic Service; 
(3) how he will involve the experience and contribution of UK youth volunteering organisations in the process of exchanging information, research, cooperation and development of civic service. 
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Mr. Ivan Lewis: We are committed to promoting opportunities for young people not only to volunteer in their local communities through such programmes as Millennium Volunteers and the Young Volunteer Challenge but also in Europe through the European Voluntary Service. During the Irish Presidency of the European Union (EU) we will seek to influence the continuing discussions on youth volunteering, building on the European Commission's White Paper on Youth Policy and the Conclusions from the Commission and EU Presidency presented to the Rome Conference in November. Within the spirit of the Compact with the voluntary and community sector and the EU Open Method of Consultation on Youth we will continue to work closely with organisations with experience of volunteering to develop and deliver our policies and influence European-level activity.
Mr. Miliband: On 29 October my right hon. Friend announced proposals to restore stability to school funding. Amongst the package of measures, we are ensuring that for 200405 all schools will see a guaranteed minimum increase in their per pupil budget amounting to 4 per cent. per pupil where pupil numbers remain the same. In addition, we have ensured that schools will receive an increase in the amounts of Standards Fund, School Standards Grant and funding from the LSC for sixth forms in line with the minimum guarantee.
We are increasing the School Formula Spending Share by a minimum of 5 per cent. per pupilthe City of York's increase is 6.8 per cent. This will give the Authority the headroom and flexibility to deliver the guarantee and provide support to help schools facing additional pressures.
On 10 December, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced that a further £317 million will be going to local authorities in their Revenue Support Grant for 200405 for authorities with education and social services functions. This is on top of the increases already announced in the provisional settlement. For almost all authorities the additional grant will reduce the pressure on services and council tax, and will make it easier for authorities to meet education passporting targets. In the case of the City of York the additional grant amounts to £1.2 million.
However, if the City of York or any other LEA is able to put forward a compelling case that additional, transitional funds are needed in the short termabove and beyond those already available to the LEA my right hon. Friend will be prepared to consider bringing forward grant payments from my Department, so that the LEA will have funds available in 200405 for this purpose, with the expectation of a consequential reduction to what they will receive in future years. The maximum amount that the City of York might be able to bring forward in this way would be £300,000.
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Mr. Sutcliffe: The great majority of employment protection legislation already applies to older workers, whatever their age. We will review upper age limits on statutory redundancy payments and general unfair dismissal claims, and make final decisions on them, in the light of responses to the recent public consultation on age "discrimination, Equality and Diversity: Age Matters".
Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much has been spent by each of the Regional Development Agencies, in each of the last four years, on corporate plans. 
Jacqui Smith: As set out in Quangos: Opening the Doors (1998) www.cabinet-office.gov.uk/central/198/pb/open/od main.htm, the Government believe that non-departmental public bodies should disclose as much information as possible including information on their role and achievements. England's Regional Development Agencies are required to prepare and publish Corporate Plans with a three year planning horizon, which are revised every two years, to synchronise planning and funding horizons with the Spending Review process. The current Corporate Plans cover the period 200306.
The amount spent by RDAs in each of the last four years on printing and distribution of such plans is set out in the following table. The figures do not include the cost of staff resources in developing the detail of the plans where they are produced in-house, consulting stakeholders on the policies and activities reflected in the plans, nor the cost of departmental resources in approving them, which could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. Expenditure also varies for many reasons such as the number of copies produced, whether consultants were used or whether the plans were only made available on the internet.
(11) No printing and distribution costs were incurred as the Corporate Plan is only available on the internet.
Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what has been the average length of time taken for the Government to approve projects (a) projected to cost more than £1 million and (b) projected to cost less than £1 million, that are
7 Jan 2004 : Column 374W
proposed by each of the regional development agencies, following the issuing of a corporate plan, in the last year for which figures are available. 
Jacqui Smith: Under Section 5(2)(a) of the Regional Development Agencies Act 1998 the Agencies may not give financial assistance without the consent of the Secretary of State. However, the consent of the Secretary of State has been given to each Agency to give such assistance subject to a specific financial limit and other conditions set out in its Financial Memorandum. Any proposed expenditure or guarantee that is in any way novel or contentious, regardless of its cost, also requires the specific approval of the Treasury.
During 200203, the average time taken for DTI to approve RDA proposals for expenditure exceeding the financial limit (£5 million during 200203) was 34 weeks. The average time taken to approve projects that required additional approval from the Treasury was nine weeks.
Jacqui Smith: The Secretary of State for Trade and Industry appoints the Chairs of England's Regional Development Agencies, while responsibility for appointing Board members is delegated to me, as Minister for Industry and the Regions.
The process for appointing both the Regional Development Agency Chairs and Board Members is run according to the Code of Practice issued by the Commissioner for Public Appointments (this can be found at www.ocpa.gov.uk).
Appointments are made on merit, following open competition, application and formal interviews. Each applicant is assessed against the selection criteria, as set out in the person specification for the post.
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