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13 Jan 2004 : Column 634W—continued

E-Registration Systems

Mr. Forth: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many schools have (a) been awarded Department for Education and Skills funds for e-registration, (b) installed e-registration and (c) have fully operational e-registration systems. [R] [146750]

Mr. Charles Clarke: My Department has provided 480 secondary schools with funding to purchase electronic registration systems. Another 61 schools are in the process of claiming such funding. However, schools may use other funds to purchase e-registration systems and they are not required to inform the

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Department when they do so. So the information required to answer parts (b) and (c) of the right hon. Member's question is not available centrally.

Education Funding

Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to his answers of 11 December 2003, Official Report, column 608W, on education spending, what effect the announcement of additional funding for 2004–05 in the Chancellor's pre-Budget report will have on the sums provided; and what the sums provided were in 2003–04. [146521]

Mr. Miliband: The additional funding provided in the Chancellor's pre-Budget report affects the Revenue Support Grant payable to authorities rather than the Formula Spending Shares, which remain unchanged. The basic entitlement in the Education formula Spending Share in 2003–04 was £2,004.65 for primary pupils and £2,656.92 for secondary pupils.

Environmental Engineering

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what plans he has to increase opportunities for young people in the field of environmental engineering, with particular reference to the provision of (a) courses in further education and (b) modern apprenticeships. [146545]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: There are a number of different routes into careers and relevant university courses in environmental engineering. Young people choosing this area will therefore benefit from the Government's commitment to increase opportunities to study or train in a variety of subjects in both colleges and Modern Apprenticeships. A range of academic and vocational subjects, together with Modern Apprenticeship frameworks, are available in the areas of engineering, science, construction and the environment. The relevant sector bodies for this area LANTRA covering land based industries and SEMTA covering engineering are working with employers in their sectors to promote these careers to young people and with the Learning and Skills Council expand the range of opportunities available.

Fresh Water (School Dining Rooms)

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment he has made of the availability of fresh water in school dining rooms; and if he will make a statement. [146351]

Mr. Stephen Twigg: All schools are required to have a wholesome supply of drinking water. However, it is for local education authorities, governors and schools to decide how and when drinking water should be made available to pupils.

Guidance produced by this Department advises caterers on meeting the requirements of the Government's nutritional standards for school lunches and recommends that drinking water should be made available to all pupils every day, free of charge. The DfES, in partnership with the Food Standards Agency, are currently examining school meals provision in 80 maintained secondary schools in England. This exercise will also consider the extent to which complementary

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guidance, which covers drinking water provision, is adhered to. Results of the exercise are due in late spring 2004.

Higher Education Expansion

Mr. Brazier: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what his estimate is of the cost of the current phase of expansion of higher education in annual revenue terms. [147562]

Alan Johnson: Funding for higher education in England between 2002–03 and 2005–06 was set out in the White Paper, "The Future of Higher Education" (Cm 5735), published in January 2003. The overall funding for higher education—including the costs of expansion—will increase by 31 per cent. between those years from £7,596 million to £9,918 million.

Information Technology

Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will make a statement on differences in information technology curricula between the main examination boards. [146658]

Mr. Miliband: The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority is responsible for ensuring the GCSE specifications, including those in ICT, are consistent with the National Curriculum programmes of study, conform to publicly available subject criteria published by the regulatory authorities, and are of a consistent rigour and standards. The subject specific criteria set out a framework for aims, assessment objectives, and schemes of assessment required in syllabuses. Each awarding body is then free to develop GCSE specifications within the framework.

I have asked the Chief Executive of the QCA to write to you providing further details of individual awarding body specifications.

Mobile Phones

Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the Government's policy is on the use of mobile phones in schools by (a) pupils and (b) staff. [146661]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The use of mobile phones in schools, by pupils, is a local matter to be determined by the headteacher, school governing body and/or the local education authority. The Department has advised schools to take into account the Chief Medical Officer's guidance that children and young people should be encouraged to use their phones for essential purposes only and to keep the calls short. The Department has not issued guidance for teacher's use of mobile phones.

Education Standards

Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what methods are used to measure regional differences in educational standards. [146663]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Department publishes a wide variety of data on the performance of schools and other education institutions, including 'value added' measures. Much of this is published in Statistical Bulletins, Statistical First Releases and Statistical

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Volumes of Education as well as Performance Tables. These sources provide information at school, LEA, Regional, and national level. This data is used by bodies such as Regional Development Agencies and the Learning and Skills Council to help develop regional and local strategies to improve education and skills attainment.

School Meals

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment he has made of the impact on the nutrient content of school meals of the metric used by the Audit Commission Best Value Inspectors for school catering services. [146349]

Mr. Stephen Twigg: This Department has not made any such assessment as the Audit Commission as part of Ofsted LEA inspections uses the food based approach set out in the Nutritional Standards Regulations in its inspections of school catering services.

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will make it his policy to (a) implement national nutrient-based standards for (i) school breakfasts and (ii) school lunches and (b) make arrangements for monitoring their implementation. [146350]

Mr. Stephen Twigg: There are no plans to require maintained schools to provide breakfasts. Schools are required to provide free lunches to eligible pupils, and lunches for other pupils where a request for one is made, that meet the school lunch nutritional standards.

We carried out two consultations before introducing the national nutritional standards in 2001. Most of those consulted thought that food based standards would be simpler to implement and monitor, and would be consistent with cross Government policies that support children in making healthy eating choices. Most importantly, they are easily understood by children.

Teachers (Chorley)

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many (a) full-time and (b) part-time (i) primary and (ii) secondary school teachers were employed in Chorley constituency in each of the last three years. [146973]

Mr. Miliband: The following table shows the numbers of full-time and part-time regular teachers, employed in each January between 2001 and 2003, in primary and secondary schools in Chorley constituency.

Maintained primary(1)Maintained secondary(1)

(1) Includes middle schools as deemed.

(2) Includes qualified and other teaching staff.


Annual Schools' Census.

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