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Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the pupil/teacher ratio was for each local education authority for (a) primary and (b) secondary schools in each year since 1997. 
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for the most recent year for which information is available; how many appeals against admissions there were; and what proportion of appeals were (a) successful and (b) unsuccessful. 
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what discussions he has had with the Cabinet Office's strategy and delivery units on changes to the way funding may be allocated to schools; what work he has undertaken to review the basis of distributing funds directly to schools; and if he will place copies of the papers in the Library. 
Mr. Miliband [holding answer 12 January 2004]: On 29 October the Secretary of State announced the arrangements for school funding in 200405 and 200506. Every school is guaranteed a minimum increase in funding4 per cent. in 200405and every LEA will receive at least a 5 per cent. funding increase that year. We expect LEAs to pass on funding increases to schools. We will continue to provide some direct grants from the Government to schools, in particular the Standards Fund, and allow schools to spend these funds more flexibly to meet their needs. These measures are designed to deliver stability and certainty for schools; this is our priority.
Dr. Pugh: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills which local education authorities have made representations to ministers in his Department about school funding since October 2003. 
Mr. Charles Clarke: We have received a wide range of representations from local education authorities and I, my ministerial colleagues and my officials have had discussions with many authorities both individually and collectively. The position on school funding was set out to the House on 29 October.
Mr. Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to his answer of 8 January, Official Report, column 473W, on school trips, if he will assess the average annual costs to schools of covering the costs for pupils whose parents are unable to contribute to the costs of school trips; and if he will reimburse such costs to schools whose pupil profile has an above average number of children from families in receipt of state benefit. 
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Mr. Charles Clarke: There are no plans to assess either the average annual costs to schools of covering the cost of school trips for parents unable to make a contribution, or for the Department to reimburse these costs.
Mr. Simmonds: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what percentage of the total population left school without basic school leaving qualifications in (a) the United Kingdom, (b) France and (c) Germany. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The exact information requested is not available. The proportion of the population in each country that had failed to achieve qualifications at the level defined by the OECD as "upper secondary" by the ages shown is, however, as follows:
Education at a Glance, 2003, OECD (derived from Table A1.2, page 41)
Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what progress has been made with his plans to encourage retired professionals to assist in schools on a voluntary basis; and what programmes are in place in the North East. 
Mr. Miliband: Working through some of our national partners and contractors, such as the NCSL, TTA and Capita, we have encouraged the increased use of retired professionals, including teachers, with our plans for remodelling the school workforce and promoting 'Keeping in Touch' and 'Return to Teach' programmes. It is however up to local authorities and schools to determine their local needs for voluntary support staff. The Department does not collect centrally information about any such local programmes.
More specifically, for those teachers who retired on ill-health grounds from the Teachers' Pension Scheme, regulations came into effect on 1 January 2004 (The Education Health Standards England Regulations 2003) which will enable such former teachers to be re-employed, or work on a voluntary basis, in the education sector in a non-teaching capacity.
Mr. Yeo: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will list the circular documents that were sent by his Department to (a) primary and (b) secondary schools between (i) 1 September 2002 and
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31 August 2003 and (ii) 1 January and 31 December 2003; how many were on teacher workload; and how many pages each document contained. 
Mr. Miliband: The following pages show the documents that were sent in the period 1 September 2002 and 31 August 2003 to (a) primary schools and (b) secondary schools. In total 37 documents were sent to all primary schools and 41 documents were sent to all secondary schools. On teacher workload one document was sent to all primary schools and all secondary schools in the period 1 September 2002 and 31 August 2003. This document contained 32 pages.
The following pages also show the documents that were sent in the period 1 September 2003 and 31 December 2003 to (a) primary schools and (b) secondary schools. In total 14 documents were sent to all primary schools and 20 documents were sent to all secondary schools. On teacher workload two documents were sent to all primary schools and secondary schools in this period. The total number of pages contained in these documents were three.
Where a document has been sent to all primary and all secondary schools it will appear in the totals for both primary and secondary above. Details of each document and how many pages each contained have been placed in the Library.
Mr. Yeo: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many circular e-mails were sent by his Department to (a) primary and (b) secondary schools between (i) 1 September 2002 and 31 August 2003 and (ii) 1 January and 31 December 2003. 
Mr. Miliband: During the period 1 September 2002 to 31 August 2003, three emails were sent to all primary schools and one to all secondary schools. During the period 1 September 2003 to 31 December 2003, five emails were sent to all primary schools and three to all secondary schools.
Mr. Ivan Lewis: This Department recognises the disparity between levels of necessary skills in particularly disadvantaged areas such as former coalfield areas and more affluent areas. It is addressing these issues through policies and targeted measures that focus on improving the quality of teaching and learning, tackling social exclusion and providing support to families and learners.
providing targeted support for higher level skills at technician, higher craft or associate professional level. This support will be focused on those who are developing their skills and qualifications to Level 3, in priority areas to meet sectoral and regional skill needs. The support will be provided through the new regional skills partnerships, and planned and funded by the local Learning and Skills Councils;
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piloting the delivery of a new learning grant for adults in further education. This will be modelled on the existing education maintenance allowance for 16 to 19-year-olds. It will be aimed at adults studying full-time for their first full Level 2 qualification, and young adults studying full-time for their first full Level 3 qualification. One of the areas it is being piloted in, from September, is South Yorkshire;
safeguarding the provision in each local area of a wide range of learning for adults, for culture, leisure, community and personal fulfilment purposes. While giving priority to better work-related skills training, each local Learning and Skills Council will have funds to work with others to support that range of learning, including learning for pensioners;
providing better information, advice and guidance on skills, training and qualifications, so that people know what is available, what the benefits are, and where to go. To achieve this, we will combine the network of local advice partnerships with the national advice helpline provided by Ufi/learndirect; and
Learning Communities to tackle low adult aspiration and skills and intergenerational deprivation by making a specific but strong connection between the development of a communities skills base and the contribution that it can make to meeting the regional skills needs and priorities expressed by the FRESA. The goal is not just social improvement, vital though this is. Learning Communities will add value by raising regional prosperity and productivity through raising skills because this, in itself, is a powerful way of addressing social disadvantage.
We work with the Learning and Skills Council (LSC), both nationally and with each of its 47 local offices, to ensure that education, skills and employment policies all come together sensibly in communities. We have ensured that local LSCs have the flexibility to allocate their resources where they are most needed so that they can make maximum impact in disadvantaged communities, and can draw on funding from elsewhere e.g. European Social Funding (ESF).
The nine Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) help ensure, for example, that their Regeneration and Skills Development Funds are targeted to impact on Neighbourhood Renewal areas and can set aside specific funds to address basic skills needs in their regions.
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