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Internet Access (Schools)

Mr. Allan: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what percentage of (a) primary and (b) secondary schools have broadband internet access. [200745]

Mr. Clarke: 65 per cent. of primary schools and 98 per cent. of secondary schools in England had Broadband Internet access as at October 2004. This equates to 68 per cent. of all schools in England.

Mr. Allan: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what progress has been made towards the Government target of having all schools online by 2006. [200746]

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Mr. Clarke: 68 per cent. of schools in England (98 per cent. of secondary schools and 65 per cent. of primary schools) have access to broadband as at October 2004. The Government's target is to connect all schools to broadband by 2006. Over 99 per cent. of schools in England had access to the Internet from April 2002.

Mr. Allan: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many different companies supply broadband to schools in England. [200968]

Mr. Clarke: This information is not available as it is not collected by my Department.


Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much public money will be invested in the investigation into the failure of the Jarvis private finance initiative bid for school building. [200131]

Mr. Miliband: Jarvis was the preferred bidder in the Norfolk grouped schools PFI project. On 8 November Norfolk county council de-selected Jarvis as preferred bidder because it was not able to give the guarantees the council required. Since there is no reserve bidder the project is now on hold. The Department for Education and Skills is working with the council to identify the best way forward.

On the basis of information provided by Norfolk county council my understanding is that the council has commissioned an independent review of the procurement process from the 4ps (public-private partnerships programme). When the review is completed its report will be discussed in an open council meeting towards the end of January next year. I have no information on the possible cost of this exercise, which is not the responsibility of this Department but the responsibility of Norfolk county council.

Programme for International Student Assessment

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what data was omitted from the returns required from his Department by the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment 2003 study. [200927]

Mr. Miliband: PISA is a survey requiring pupils to take tests, and pupils and school staff to complete background questionnaires, rather than data returns from administrative records. All data collected as part of the survey were sent to the OECD by the Department's contractor, the Office for National Statistics. However, school and pupil response rates to the study were lower than those required by the OECD's technical standards for PISA.

Sector Skills Development Agency

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills, what the (a) resource budget, (b) staffing levels and (c) administration costs of the Sector Skills Development Agency (i) were in each year between 2002 and 2004 and (ii) will be in each year to 2007. [200954]

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Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Sector Skills Development Agency's resource budgets, staffing levels and administration costs for the years from 2002 to 2004 were as shown in the table.

Resource Budget22.649.58
Staffing Levels3765
Administration Costs3.724.93

The forecasted figures for the periods to March 2007 are shown in the following table.

Resource Budget69.4562.3657.36
Staffing Levels91.689.689
Administration Costs5.876.186.19


Martin Linton: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills, what research he has commissioned into the effect of secondary schools using partial selection on the basis of ability on maintained and voluntary schools in the same catchment area. [200893]

Mr. Miliband: We have commissioned no research into this matter, nor are we aware of any other, independent research. However, admissions forums have an important role in reviewing the impact of the admissions systems in their areas. Where a Forum finds that any kind of admission arrangements have a detrimental impact on parents and children, or other schools, it can make recommendations as to how this could be remedied.

Schools, local education authorities and (in the case of partial selection by ability) parents have the right to refer objections about admission arrangements to the independent Schools Adjudicator. The Adjudicator is an independent arbitrator who can rule out or reduce partial selection by ability where he finds in favour of an objector.

Single Sex Schools

John Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills, what assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of single sex schools. [199820]

Mr. Miliband: In June 2002 the Department published the National Statistics bulletin Statistics of Education: Pupil Progress in Secondary Schools by School Type in England: 2001.

This contained an analysis of progress made by girls and boys in mixed and single sex non-selective maintained schools between Key stages 2 and 3, and Key stages 3 and 4. Results showed that during Key Stages 3 and 4, pupils in single sex schools on average made slightly more progress than pupils of the same gender in mixed schools. The difference was most marked in English, at around a fifth of a level between Key Stages 2 and 3. There was little difference in
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mathematics and science. Between Key Stages 3 and 4 girls in single sex schools gained 2 or 3 GCSE points more than girls in mixed schools. There was very little difference in progress for boys. Because the findings were based on a small group of schools the results should be treated with caution. A further study Raising Boys' Achievement conducted by Homerton College at Cambridge University will be published early next year.

A 1999 investigation by the Institute of Education into girls' achievement in single sex schools reported that the good exam results of these schools derived from their high-achieving pupils, and not from their single sex status. The study found that ability, as well as social class and the history and traditions of the schools, had a greater impact on the results girls achieve. The study concluded that there is no conclusive evidence to suggest that single sex schooling is better than co-educational schooling.

Young Mums to be Programme

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what arrangements are being put in place to assist the Young Mums To Be programme following reductions in e2e funding; in what form this assistance is being given; and for how long it will be given in this form. [199524]

Mr. Ivan Lewis [holding answer 29 November 2004]: This is a matter for the Learning and Skills Council. Mark Haysom, the Council's Chief Executive, will write to the hon. Member with this information and a copy of his reply will be placed in the House Library.

Young People

Charles Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many young people were consulted by his Department on the role of the Children's Commissioner; and what the age-range was of those consulted. [200360]

Margaret Hodge: The Department for Education and Skills has established an advisory Children and Youth Board (C&YP) comprising 25 children and young people between the ages of 11 to 19. It includes members with experience of homelessness, foster care, supported living, children's homes and parenthood, as well as children and young people with disabilities (including physical and learning disabilities), and comprises representatives of both urban and rural areas and of differing ethnic backgrounds.

Members of the board and other children and young people recently helped to draw up a person specification and job advertisement for the Children's Commissioner, and will in due course be involved in assessing applicants for the post.

In addition to the members of the board, a number of participants were consulted on the role of the Commissioner in face-to-face workshops as part of the "Every Child Matters" consultation exercise, which involved 600 children and young people.
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