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29 Mar 2004 : Column 1182Wcontinued
Mrs. Roche: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what steps his Department is taking to achieve the Government's targets of (a) ending child poverty by 2020, (b) halving it by 2010 and (c) reducing it by a quarter by 200405; and if he will make a statement. 
Margaret Hodge: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Work and Pensions on 12 February 2004, Official Report, column 1590W.
Charles Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what guidelines are given to Connexions partnerships designed to allow national voluntary and community sector organisations to work efficiently with all partnerships. 
Margaret Hodge: The Department for Education and Skills has, in consultation with the Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS), developed a range of guidance for Connexions Partnerships on working with the VCS.
Charles Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will make a statement on the progress Connexions partnerships have made towards the targets set out in Youth Support Services for 13 to 19 year olds: A Vision for 2006 in (a) providing a vibrant high quality youth service, (b) making many more young people active citizens, (c) engaging many more young people in developmental activities and (d) ensuring that parents, carers and teachers are supportive of Connexions. 
Margaret Hodge: Connexions partnerships are working successfully to meet "Youth Support Services for 13 to 19 year olds: A Vision for 2006". Of the 13 Connexions partnerships on which Ofsted has so far reported, one was judged very good, eight good, one satisfactory and three unsatisfactory. Youth services have made encouraging progress in implementing the Transforming Youth Work modernisation programme. Connexions partnerships are actively involving young people in the governance, design, delivery and evaluation of the Connexions Service; and in promoting active citizenship and personal development through Millennium Volunteers, the Neighbourhood Support Fund and activity-based programmes. The Connexions Customer Satisfaction Survey shows that 91 per cent. of respondents were very or fairly satisfied with the service. Connexions Personal Advisers are working with young people to engage parents, carers and teachers, supported by a guidance leaflet.
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Margaret Hodge: I announced on 19 March that £3.5 million was being made available to March 2006, from a DfES/Sure Start Joint Investment Fund, for child contact services. Just under £2.3 million of this money will fund 14 new supervised child contact centres. £130,000 is being made available to Coram Family to provide high quality training to the new centres; £200,000 will provide continued funding for the NCH Contact Matters Pilot Project in Durham; £387,000 will fund the National Association of Child Contact Centres (NACCC) Change Programme whereby it moves its membership from affiliated to accredited status; and £75,000 is being set aside for research into child contact services. We are also making £430,000 available for a 'Sustainability Fund' to support, over the next two years, existing NACCC-member child contact centres in England. The funding will be administered by NACCC and details about how to apply will be announced in July at NACCC's Annual Conference.
Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what progress has been made with the e-university project; how much money has been allocated to the project in each financial year since 200001; how the project is being co-ordinated; and if he will make a statement. 
Alan Johnson: The e-universities project has been overseen from the outset by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) in partnership with other funding bodies and the UK higher education sector. HEFCE arranged for public investment in an Operating Company, UK eUniversities Worldwide (UKeU) to be handled by a Holding Company (the eLearning Holding Company Ltd.) which is owned collectively by the higher education sector. The Government has provided £62 million to HEFCE for the e-universities project and I understand that HEFCE
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has passed on £32.6 million to date to the Holding Company for investment in UKeU. By year, this breaks down as: 200102, £12.8 million; 200203, £15.7 million; 200304, £4.1 million. In addition, HEFCE has allocated £7 million to public good activities connected with online learning, including the eChina project and the establishment of a new e-Learning research centre. HEFCE is currently holding restructuring discussions with the boards of UKeU and the Holding Company to consider the future business direction and structure of UKeU in order to identify the best way forward to secure value from the venture for the higher education sector.
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will publish the representations he has received from the National Day Nurseries Association on the financial viability of the operation of the nursery education grant scheme for three and four-year-olds by private providers; and if he will make a statement. 
Margaret Hodge: We have not received any specific representations from NDNA on this issue. The Nursery Education Grant scheme ended in March 2003. With effect from April 2003, all funding for free early education places, including those delivered by private providers, was consolidated within the general Education Formula Spending (EFS) arrangements.
|Maintained nursery and primary schools(9)||Other maintained and private, voluntary and independent providers(10)||Maintained nursery and primary schools(11)||Other maintained and private, voluntary and independent providers(12)||Total four-year-olds(13)|
(9) Headcount of children aged three at 31 December in the previous calendar year from the Annual Schools' Census.
(10) Part-time equivalent number of children aged three at 31 December in the previous calendar year from the Nursery Education Grant data.
(11) Headcount of children aged four at 31 December in the previous calendar year from the Annual Schools' Census.
(12) Information for 2002 was derived from the Nursery Education Grant exercise and information for 2003 from the Early Years Supplementary data collection exercise.
(13) Information prior to 2002 was derived from the Nursery Education Grant exercise. Information for 2002 combines two sources of information, the Annual Schools' Census and the Nursery Education Grant exercise. Information for 2003 combines Annual Schools' Census and the Early Years Supplementary data collection exercise.
(14) Not available.
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The latest figures on provision for three and four-year-olds in England were published in a Statistical Bulletin 'Provision for children under five years of age in EnglandJanuary 2003' which is available on the Department's website www.dfes.gov.uk/rsgateway/.
We have made the commitment that by April 2004, six months ahead of our original target, all three-year-olds in England whose parents want one, will have access to a free, part-time early education place.
Margaret Hodge: Separate information on child care growth in disadvantaged wards has been collected centrally only from April 2003. Between April and December 2003, the latest available data, 12,800 new child care places were created in pre-school groups located in the 20 per cent. most disadvantaged wards in England. During the same period 2,500 group child care places closed in these wards, so that the stock of group child care places rose by some 10,300 places. Information on child minder places is not broken down by the age of the child. Between April and December 2003, 12,100 places with child minders opened in the
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20 per cent. most disadvantaged wards in England and 6,100 such places closed, so that the stock of child minder places in these wards rose by some 6,000 places.
Mr. Simmonds: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the overall operating and running costs, including employee salaries, of each Early Years Development and Childcare Partnership in each local education authority were, in each year since 1998. 
Margaret Hodge: It has been the responsibility of the local authority to convene an Early Years Development and Childcare Partnership within guidelines set out in the Early Years Development and Childcare Partnership Planning Guidance 20012002 published by the then Department for Education and Employment in 2001. The costs of establishing and running those partnerships were not set by Government.
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