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Mr. Hood: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the outcome was of the Education, Youth and Culture Council held on 15 and 16 November; what the Government's stance was on the issues discussed, including its voting record; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Howells: I attended the Education session of this Council. Peter Peacock, Minister for Education and Young People at the Scottish Executive, also attended and led on Youth issues. Lord McIntosh, Minister for Heritage and the Media attended the Culture Council. Colleagues at DCMS will write directly to my hon. Friend, with a short summary of what happened on their agenda items.
During the Education session, Ministers discussed the Commission's proposals on the new Integrated Lifelong Learning Programme, and welcomed the commitment to simplify administration. The UK submitted a paper calling for SMART (Specific Measurable Achievable Relevant Timed) objectives, effective evaluation, a flexible approach to languages, a separate cross-cutting strand and a focus on disadvantaged groups.
The Council 'adopted' the Presidency Report on Citizenship in Education, which calls on member states to develop citizenship curricula and to exchange best practice on citizenship education. This will now be transmitted to the Spring European Council.
Conclusions on Vocational Education and Training were 'adopted' without comment. They call for better links between vocational training and academic education, to allow individuals to move more freely between the two.
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Will Hutton, member of the Lisbon mid-term review group, presented the Kok Report on preparations for the mid-term review of the Lisbon Strategy in March 2005. He reported slow progress towards achieving the Lisbon goals: only three member states had achieved 70 per cent. employment, 60 per cent. employment of older workers and 50 per cent. employment of women.
There were three items under Any Other Business: Commission proposals for a Recommendation on Quality Assurance in Higher Education; a paper from Portugal about an initiative to encourage more sport in Higher Education, as part of the European year of Education through Sport; the European Parliament's "adoption without amendment" of the Council's Common Position on the Decision to establish Europass at Second Reading.
In the afternoon session, the Council discussed the Commission's proposals for the "Youth in Action" Programme 20072013, and called for greater emphasis on helping those less advantaged. The majority supported the proposals to extend the age range from 13 to 30 years.
Conclusions on the current Youth Programme 200006 were "adopted without Comment". They called for the Commission to refocus the remainder of the programmee.g. to include more young people with fewer opportunities, simplify procedures, improve evaluation, increase publicity and consider including more third countries.
Ministers "agreed two Council Resolutions" on priorities for the Youth Open Method of Co-ordination in the areas of Youth and Volunteering, and a better understanding of the issues affecting young people. The Commission presented its recent Communication evaluating the first two years of the Youth Open Method of Co-ordination.
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will make a statement on the effect of the coming into force of the European Constitution on the operation of his Department, with reference to (a) changes in legislative competence, (b) the extension of qualified majority voting, (c) the increased legislative role of the European Parliament, (d) the cost of implementation of regulations, (e) the requirements of adherence to the Charter of Fundamental Rights and (f) the quantity of legislation originating in the EU institutions. 
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what percentage of pupils in England achieved five GCSEs at grades A* to C,
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including (a) mathematics, (b) English and (c) mathematics and English in each year since 1997, broken down by parliamentary constituency. 
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what percentage of examinees failed the GCSE in each of the last 10 years in (a) physical education, (b) history, (c) mathematics and (d) physics. 
|Number of pupils entered for GCSE||Percentage achieved no passes|
|Subject group year||Boys||Girls||Total||Boys||Girls||Total|
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what proportion of GCSE results reported in league tables for schools were GNVQ passes in the last year for which figures are available. 
Mr. Miliband: The 2003 Secondary School Performance Tables incorporated results in GCSEs, GCSE short courses, Full and Part 1 GNVQs. The following table shows the number of attempts and passes in GCSEs and GNVQs:
|Attempts||Passes (A*-C)||Passes (D-G)|
|Part 1 intermediate GNVQ||68,011||47,100|||
|Full intermediate GNVQ||44,130||33,361|||
|Part 1 Foundation GNVQ||16,654||||8,913|
|Full Foundation GNVQ||4,634||||2,540|
|Number of 15 year old pupils||622,122|
|Percentage of 15 year old pupils achieving 5+A*- C GCSE/GNVQ||52.9|
|Percentage of 15 year old pupils achieving 5+A*- C by GCSE only||49.9|
|Percentage of pupils needing GNVQs to achieve 5+ A*-C||3.0|
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