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Mr. Charles Clarke: My Department's Five Year Strategy for Children and Learners published in July 2004 sets out an ambitious agenda for reform and makes clear that delivery of the Strategy will require a major reform of the Department, one involving a radical transformation of its role and ways of working, changes that will lead to a smaller, more strategic Department. It is in this context that the staffing reduction of 1,460 (31 per cent.) by 2008 was arrived at.
Hugh Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many school children are receiving regular swimming lessons at school; and what percentage have passed the swimming qualifications set by the national curriculum in the last five years. 
Our Physical Education, School Sport and Club Links strategy, being implemented jointly with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, provides targeted support to enhance school swimming. To date this has included the development of a safe swimming website; the publication of the Swimming Charter which contains guidance and examples of best practice and running two pilots to test the effectiveness of top up swimming lessons for those key stage 2 pupils at risk of not being able to swim the statutory 25 metre target.
A survey carried out jointly by the Times Educational Supplement and the Central Council for Physical Recreation, published on 1 August 2003 found that 84 per cent., or five in six, pupils are able to safely swim at least 25 metres by the end of key stage 2. This is a modest improvement on the position reported to us by Ofsted in 2000(when 80 per cent., or four in five pupils in England, achieved this target.
Mr. Miliband: The following table gives the full time equivalent number of teachers in maintained primary and secondary schools in Pendle constituency in each year between 1997 and 2004, the latest year for which constituency level data are available. Information is not available prior to 1997.
Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what consultation took place with (a) local education authorities, (b) schools and (c) representatives of teachers before the change to three-year school budgets with ring-fenced grants and minimum funding guarantees; and if he will place the consultation document and a summary of responses in the Library. 
Mr. Miliband: The Department for Education and Skills has been working closely with representatives of local education authorities, schools, and the teacher unions to further develop the proposals on three year budgets for schools set out in the five year strategy for children and learners. A consultation document will be issued early in the new year: a copy will be placed in the House Library when it is published, as will a summary of the responses after the consultation period has finished.
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Department has not commissioned any research specifically to investigate the willingness of employers to pay for training. However, the Learning and Training At Work Survey in 2000 researched how much employers do pay for training and the 2002 report "The Nature of Training and Motivation to Train in Small Firms" by John Kitching and Robert Blackburn contains a section on the barriers to training (including financial barriers). Both reports are in the House of Commons Library.
Mr. Miliband: Academies are established by Academy Trusts, Sponsors contribute 10 per cent. of the capital costs of an academy to the Trust, up to a cap of £2 million, from their own funds. The DfES pays the balance of the capital costs to the individual Trust, not to the sponsor, according to a budget agreed with the Secretary of State for Education and Skills. I am grateful to The Vardy Foundation for the generous contribution of £2 million towards the capital costs of each of the two academy projects that they are currently sponsoring.
Mr. Ivan Lewis:
This is a matter for the Learning and Skills Council. Mark Haysom, the Council's Chief Executive, will write to my hon. Friend with this information and a copy of his reply will be placed in the Library. The Government's Skills Strategy, 21st Century
13 Dec 2004 : Column 840W
Skills: Realising Our Potential (July 2003), set out its plans for increasing opportunities for adults to develop their skills. In addition, the Chancellor's Pre-Budget Report last week announced the extension of our Employer Training Pilots to all areas from 2006/07 and a New Deal for Skills to help the unemployed secure the training they need for sustainable employment.
Charles Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what mechanisms have been put in place by his Department to allow regular consultation with young people on all aspects of policy; 
Margaret Hodge: My Department has carried out a number of major consultations with children and young people on key policy issues. Active involvement of children and young people is an integral part of my department's policy-making process.
In preparing the Government's Change for Children programme, as set out in 'Every Child Matters', over 3,000 children and young peoplewho were selected from voluntary organisations and local youth groupstook part in the consultation. A Children and Youth Board has been formed, selected from voluntary organisations and other organisations to ensure children's participation in the design of children's services. Children and Young people will be involved in various ways in the appointment of the Children's Commissioner, including carrying out their own assessment of the candidates.
My Department provides core funding for the UK Youth Parliament (UKYP) and other youth organisations to give expert advice on government policies for children and young people, including the Youth Green paper. The 400 Members of the UK Youth Parliament are elected through local authority (LEA) area-based elections. Through the British Youth Council and other youth groups, young people are actively involved in developing the Government's forthcoming Youth Green paper.
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