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18 Nov 2004 : Column 2162W—continued

Science Courses

Dr. Iddon: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will make a statement on the changes in the numbers of students taking up science courses at (a) university and (b) A level in the last 10 years; and what steps the Government are taking to increase the number of students studying science. [198931]

Dr. Howells: The Government's "Science and Innovation Investment Framework 2004–2014", published in July sets out very clearly the challenge we face in securing an increase in the number of students
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taking A levels and enrolling on undergraduate science courses. The Framework builds on and takes forward progress made in response to earlier reviews of this subject, most notably the review carried out by Sir Gareth Roberts in 2002 and published as "SET for Success". Compared with 10 years ago, the proportion of A level and undergraduate students taking science courses has decreased (5.8 per cent. between 1994 and 2004 for A level entries in England; 6.7 per cent. between 1992 and 2002 for undergraduates enrolled in higher education institutions in Great Britain). The Framework sets out a raft of measures to ensure that every stage of the education system, from primary schools to universities, can play its part in producing the excellent supply of highly skilled scientists and engineers which we need for the economy.

Scientists in Higher Education

Mr. Denham: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment he has made of the career paths open to scientists in higher education; and what plans he has to improve the career opportunities for scientists in higher education. [195635]

Dr. Howells: The Roberts' Review, SET for Success (2002) investigated in detail the supply of people with science, technology, engineering and mathematics skills including researchers. The Government are implementing the recommendations of this review, which includes: funding transferable skills training for Research Council-supported PhD students and postdoctoral researchers; increasing the minimum PhD stipend to £12,000 by 2005–06; raising the average for postdoctoral salaries by £4,000 between 2002 and 2005; and the development of the academic fellowship scheme, which guarantees permanent employment on successful completion. The recently formed Research Careers Committee, chaired by Sir Gareth Roberts will monitor trends, share and promote good practice and review the Concordat for research staff, originally signed in 1996.

Select Committee Recommendations

Mr. Allen: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many recommendations by parliamentary select committees have been adopted by his Department since June 2001. [197769]

Mr. Stephen Twigg: Select committee reports are given very careful consideration by the Department's Ministers. Since June 2001, several committees of both Houses have made recommendations on matters for which the Department for Education and Skills is responsible. Select committee reports and their responses are a matter of public record.

Sure Start

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will make a statement on future funding of Sure Start. [198346]

Margaret Hodge: Increasing support for young children and families is a key priority for the Government. Sure Start funding was increased in the 2004 Budget and Spending review. The budget will rise by nearly 20 per cent. a year in real terms between 2005 and 2008.
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Detailed plans will be published in a 10-year childcare strategy in December.

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what arrangements are proposed for ring-fencing funding of Sure Start programmes through local authorities. [198347]

Margaret Hodge: As proposed in the "Every Child Matters" Green Paper, the Government are seeking to provide increased autonomy for local planning and decision-making. We are planning to merge the various child care funding streams into one allocation to give flexibility to help local authorities implement our child care agenda. Next year, we want to work with the 21 authorities who are piloting Local Area Agreements to see how a 'money for outcomes' funding system might work best.

Mr. Denis Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many children in the Wansbeck constituency registered with Sure Start in each of the last three years. [198692]

Margaret Hodge: There are two Sure Start local programmes whose catchment areas fall within the Wansbeck constituency. The following table shows the number of children registered with these Sure Start local programmes at the end of March in each of the last three years.
Number of children registered with
Sure Start local programmes

There is one Mini Sure Start Local Programme in Wansbeck constituency, Newbiggin-by-the-Sea, which has 197 children under the age of four in its catchment area. The Department does not collect information on the number of children registered at or seen by Mini Sure Starts.

Northumberland local authority has opened 17 neighbourhood nurseries creating 579 new child care places. Of these, five projects delivering 179 new child care places are within the Wansbeck constituency. Neighbourhood nursery monitoring data is collected by local authority. Figures for September 2004 indicate that 819 children are currently registered with neighbourhood nurseries in Northumberland.

Teacher Numbers

Paul Farrelly: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) how the number of (a) teachers and (b) teaching assistants has changed in Newcastle-under-Lyme since 1997; [198680]

(2) how many extra (a) nursery teachers, (b) nursery nurses and (c) nursery assistants have been employed in Newcastle-under-Lyme since 1997. [198681]

Mr. Miliband: The available information is provided in the table. Information is not collected on nursery nurses.
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All schools: Full-time equivalent number of staff—Newcastle-under-Lyme parliamentary constituency

Maintained nursery schools(137)All other maintained schools(138)
January 1997
Teaching Assistants(139)8120
January 2004
Teaching Assistants(139)4186

(137) The number of nursery schools has reduced from three to two in the period shown.
(138) Includes maintained primary and secondary schools, pupil referral units and both maintained and non-maintained special schools.
(139) Includes nursery assistants, special needs support staff, minority ethnic support staff.
Annual School Census. The census includes teachers normally employed within schools in the survey week. Teachers absent for long periods are excluded, their replacements (provided they are qualified teachers) are included.

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Teachers (Early Retirement)

Mr. Gill: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many teaching staff have taken early retirement in (a) primary and (b) secondary schools in each unitary authority in each year since 1997; and what the average figures for a local education authority in England were in each year. [198660]

Mr. Miliband: The following tables give the number of full-time and part-time regular teachers in maintained nursery and primary and secondary schools in each unitary local education authority awarded premature retirement benefits under the Teachers' Pensions Scheme in each year from 1997/98 to 2003/04 and the average number of these retirements for all local education authorities in England.
Nursery and primary schools

Bath and NE Somerset30(140)1010(140)1010
Blackburn and Darwen(141)0(140)10(140)(140)10
Bracknell Forest(141)0(140)(141)(140)0(140)
Brighton and Hove(141)1010(140)(140)100
City of Bristol60302020101020
East Riding of Yorkshire4000010(140)10
Isle of Wight10(141)(140)(140)(140)(140)10
Isles of Scilly(140)0(140)0000
City of Kingston-Upon-Hull4010(140)10101020
Milton Keynes(141)10101010(140)10
North East Lincolnshire50(140)(140)10101010
North Lincolnshire200(140)10101010
North Somerset20(140)(141)(141)(141)2010
City of Nottingham(141)01010102020
City of Peterborough(141)0(140)10(140)(140)10
Redcar and Cleveland20(141)1010101010
South Gloucestershire301010(140)201010
Stockton on Tees20(140)(141)(140)101010
Telford and Wrekin(141)0(140)1010(140)10
West Berkshire(141)0(141)10(141)(141)(141)
Windsor and Maidenhead(141)000(140)(140)(140)
Average for all LEAs40101010101010

(140) Figures of less than 5 except those that are 0. Other figures are rounded to the nearest 10.
(141) Not applicable, LEA created 1 April 1998.
Database or Teachers' Records and Pensioner Statistical System

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Secondary schools

Bath and NE Somerset40(142)(142)(142)(142)1020
Blackburn and Darwen(143)0(142)(142)(142)(142)(142)
Bracknell Forest(143)00(142)100(142)
Brighton and Hove(143)(142)10(142)10(142)10
City of Bristol70205030104020
East Riding of Yorkshire60(142)0(142)101020
Isle of Wight30(142)(142)10101010
Isles of Scilly(142)00(142)000
City of Kingston-Upon-Hull40(142)10(142)301010
Milton Keynes(143)10(142)1010(142)10
North East Lincolnshire40(142)(142)(142)(142)1010
North Lincolnshire30101010(142)1010
North Somerset4010(142)(142)(142)1010
City of Nottingham(143)01010201010
City of Peterborough(143)0(142)1010(142)10
Redcar and Cleveland2010101010(142)10
South Gloucestershire3010(142)(142)(142)1020
Stockton on Tees1010(143)10(142)1020
Telford and Wrekin(143)0(142)(142)(142)1010
West Berkshire(143)010(142)(142)(142)10
Windsor and Maidenhead(143)00(142)(142)(142)(142)
Average for all LEAs40101010101020

(142) Figures of less than 5 except those that are 0. Other figures are rounded to the nearest 10.
(143) Not applicable, LEA created 1 April 1998.
Database or Teachers' Records and Pensioner Statistical System

Individual local education authority figures include those teachers who were employed in the authority in March of the preceding financial year who retired prematurely on the grounds of efficiency, redundancy or with actuarially reduced pension benefits. Teachers who retired on ill health grounds are excluded.

Changes in the Teachers' Pensions Scheme regulations that became effective from 1 September 1997 led to many more early retirements than normal in the 1997–98 financial year.

The average number of retirements is based on a total of 132 local education authorities in existence in 1997–98 and 150 for 1998–99 onwards.
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