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20 Jan 2004 : Column 1124W—continued


Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Reserve Forces (Safeguard of Employment) Act 1985 in ensuring that (a) reservists' jobs are safeguarded, (b) adequate compensation is payable when they are not, (c) the procedure to be

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followed is as simple as possible and (d) employers do not misuse economic restructuring to minimise compensation. [146183]

Mr. Caplin: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 8 January 2004, Official Report, column 454W.

However, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State announced on 11 December 2003 that the Ministry of Defence will be examining the effectiveness of the 1985 Act as part of the White Paper process.

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many reservists serve as (a) full-time reservists with full commitment contracts, (b) full-time reservists with limited commitment contracts, (c) full-time reservists with home commitment contracts and (d) volunteer reservists. [148668]

Mr. Caplin: I refer the hon. Member to Tri-Service Publication (TSP) 3:UK Armed Forces Strengths and Requirements, and UK Defence Statistics (UKDS) 2003. TSP 3 shows strength figures of full-time reservists broken down by commitment type. Table 2.13 of UKDS shows the strength of the Volunteer reserves as at 1 April

each year.

These are both available in the House of Commons Library; TSP 3 and UKDS are updated on a monthly and yearly basis, respectively. TSP 3 for 1 November 2003 was published on 10 December 2003. The 1 December 2003 issue is due for publication shortly.

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what support his Department gives to a reservist prevented from returning to his previous employment; and if he will make a statement. [146180]

Mr. Caplin: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 8 January 2004, Official Report, column 454W. The Ministry of Defence's Supporting Britain's Reservists and Employers (SaBRE) campaign team provides a helpline and a website which gives additional information and advice.

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Service Children's Education

Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps he has taken to implement recommendation 8.6 of the Quinquennial Review of Service Children Education published in May 2003. [147139]

Mr. Caplin: Although the Quinquennial Review Report into the Service Children's Education Agency was dated May 2003, the review process was not completed until 2 December 2003, at which point the outcome was reported to the House. No steps have therefore yet been taken to implement recommendation 8.6, but work on this is now in progress.

Union Flag

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the Government's policy is on the display of the Union Flag on Army recruitment and careers literature in (a) Northern Ireland and (b) the rest of the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement. [149092]

Mr. Caplin: All Army recruitment literature is produced for use throughout the United Kingdom, and as such, bears images of the Union Flag. However, local press advertising in Northern Ireland uses the Army crossed sword/crown logo instead of the Union Flag but television advertising retains the use of the Flag.

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the Army's policy is on the display of the Union Flag (a) at its bases in Northern Ireland, (b) at Palace Barracks in Holywood, County Down and (c) within the recruitment office at Palace Barracks. [149093]

Mr. Ingram: The Army's policy on the flying of the Union Flag within Northern Ireland is that it should be flown at flag stations designated in Queen's Regulations or those authorised by the General Officer Commanding Northern Ireland. One of the flag stations designated in Queen's Regulations is Palace Barracks, Holywood. The Armed Forces Careers Office within Palace Barracks, as a recruitment office for all three Services, flies the three Service Flags outside their office.

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Departmental Relocation

Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what assessment his Department has made of the benefits of relocation of staff to North Staffordshire; and if he will make a statement; [146860]

Mr. Charles Clarke: Sir Michael Lyon's Independent Review of Public Sector Relocation was established by the Chancellor and Deputy Prime Minister to examine the scope for relocating public sector activity, to improve the delivery and efficiency of public services and to benefit regional economies.

Sir Michael's review will be informed by research from King Sturge on suitable alternative locations, and Experian Business Strategies on lessons from previous relocations, and the economic impact of relocation. Summaries of this research will be available shortly on the Treasury website.

Sir Michael's final report will be published in March 2004 and we will develop relocation proposals in light of his findings.


Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills in how many speeches during 2003 he declared support for the Government's policy on the euro. [147299]

Mr. Stephen Twigg: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given by my hon. Friend the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, on 12 January 2004, Official Report, columns 516–17W.

Higher Education Funding

Mr. Berry: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what estimate he has made of the value of fee repayments by graduates arising from his proposals for variable top-up fees, in each year from 2008 to 2020. [149387]

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Alan Johnson: The value of fee repayments will depend on the number of students that decide to defer payment of their fees and take out a fee loan; on the levels of fees that institutions decide to charge; and on the earnings of the graduate population overtime. It is not possible to predict these numbers with certainty and therefore it would not be meaningful to estimate the value of fee repayments year-by-year, given the uncertainties above.

Estimates of the cost of fee loans using a variety of different scenarios are contained in the Regulatory Impact Assessment published on 8 January alongside the HE Bill. Copies of the Regulatory Impact Assessment were placed in the Library of the House; it is also available on the Department for Education and Skills website.

Leak Inquiries

Mr. Lilley: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will list occasions on which his Department has conducted an inquiry into alleged leaks from members of staff since 1997; and if he will list the occasions on which the names of those persons accused of leaking information from his Department have been made public (a) by the Government and (b) by way of another source. [146940]

Mr. Stephen Twigg [holding answer 12 January 2004]: Since 1997 my department has investigated 23 suspected leaks.

In line with exemptions 1(a) and 7(b) set out in Part II of the "Code of Practice on Access to Government Information", it has been the practice of successive Governments not to comment on the outcome of such inquiries in order to safeguard security and investigative arrangements.

Modern Language Teachers

Mr. David Stewart: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what progress is being made on the production of specialised resources for the teaching of modern languages in primary schools; [148377]

Mr. Stephen Twigg: There has been considerable progress on the development of language learning in primary schools since November 2002, underpinned by the launch in December 2002 of the Department's National Languages Strategy for England. Implementation of the Strategy is being driven by Dr. Lid King, the National Director for Languages.

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The Strategy recognises the importance of developing a workforce and resources to support successful implementation of primary language learning, and much of our work to date has focused on these areas. In developing a school workforce, we are building up a cadre of specialist teachers and non-teacher specialists to support primary language learning. 499 places have been filled this year for Primary Initial Teacher Training with a specialism in French, German or Spanish. 119 primary MFL Advanced Skills Teachers are now in place, and we have allocated 50 primary MFL places to the Graduate Teacher Programme. We are working with the TTA to pilot a CPD course for existing primary teachers to develop language skills and MFL pedagogy. The TTA has also begun the process of approving training providers for Higher Level Teaching Assistants, and we are working with the British Council to extend the foreign language assistants programme into primary schools.

On resources, we are working with a range of partners to develop a framework for language learning at Key Stage 2, to be published in autumn 2005. It is intended as a shared national reference point for all those involved in teaching modern foreign languages in primary schools. It will offer guidance on key considerations such as pedagogy, cross-curricular links, curriculum delivery models and transition at age 11. The framework will supplement existing non-statutory guidance for modern foreign languages at Key Stage 2, which contains a programme of study and attainment targets for listening, speaking, reading and writing.

In addition, we are developing schemes of work with QCA in Spanish and German to mirror those that already exist in French. The Spanish scheme of work will also be developed into a digital online resource. The Department has also funded the establishment of NACELL—the National Advisory Centre on Early Language Learning—which provides access to appropriate information, including resources and has an extensively used website for language teachers.

In addition to workforce and resource development, in September 2003 the Department launched MFL pathfinders in 19 LEAs to explore how language learning can best be introduced at Key Stage 2. The findings from those pathfinders will provide practical guidance and help to inform teachers, schools and LEAs of good practice. We are also developing the National Recognition Scheme, as outlined in the Strategy, and are currently trialling the scheme in a range of settings, including primary schools.

On time allocation, the Department does not specify how much time should be allocated to deliver modern foreign languages in primary schools, or indeed to any other subject. It is for head teachers to decide how they introduce language learning at Key Stage 2 and the amount and frequency of language teaching time. The Department will, however, be issuing guidance and good practice to help inform such decisions.

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