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School Places

Mr. Byrne: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what steps an individual school must take in order to expand the number of places it makes available; and if he will list sources of (a) revenue and (b) capital funding available to schools wishing to expand. [204188]

Mr. Stephen Twigg: If a school wishes to expand its physical capacity by 25 per cent., or by 27 places annually, it must consult interested parties in the area and then publish details of its proposals in a local newspaper. Following publication people can submit comments or objections. Proposals are decided by the local School Organisation Committee (SOC) or by an independent adjudicator if the SOC cannot decide unanimously. For popular and successful schools, there is a presumption that proposals for expansion should be approved so that as many parents as possible are able to gain a place for their children at the school. As set out in the Department's Five Year Strategy, we are currently consulting on a fast-track process for the expansion of successful and popular secondary schools.

For smaller scale expansions, the proposed increased admission number should be included in the annual consultation on the school's admission arrangements.

An LEA's recurrent funding formula is based predominately on pupil numbers on the school roll. As a school's roll increases in size, it will attract more funding under the local LEA's delegation formula; in turn, more pupils may also contribute towards a school receiving more devolved formula capital funding, Schools Standards Grant (SSG) and Standards Fund funding, as each of these resources can contain an element of "per pupil" funding within them.

If the school is a popular and successful secondary school it may apply direct to the Department for a contribution to the capital cost of building work—£500,000 if the school has a sixth form, £400,000 if not. If the balance of funding is not available from other sources, the Department may offer to fund the full expansion. These offers of funding are provisional on statutory proposals to expand being approved.

School Swimming

Mr. Sayeed: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) who has responsibility to ensure that the compulsory National Curriculum physical education requirement in respect of swimming is met by schools; and what the route of redress for pupils is if it is not; [204787]

(2) what progress has been made to improve swimming tuition at Key Stage 2 since the publication of the Swimming in Key Stage 2 Report by Ofsted in 2000; and if he will make a statement; [204788]

(3) how many school swimming pools in (a) Bedfordshire and (b) England have been removed since 1997. [204789]

Mr. Twigg: Section 79 of the Education Act 2002 puts a requirement on every LEA to ensure that all of the schools they maintain satisfy the requirements of the school curriculum (which includes the National Curriculum). A similar requirement to satisfy the requirements of the school curriculum is also placed, by the same section, on the governing body and head
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teacher of every school. If any part of the requirement is not being met pupils should complain to their head teacher in the first instance. Complaints can be made to the local education authority and ultimately the Secretary of State for Education and Skills.

Our physical education, school sport and club links strategy, being implemented jointly with the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, provides targeted support to enhance school swimming. Since the Ofsted report on Key Stage 2 Swimming was published in 2000, our swimming strategy has taken forward all of the key recommendations made by the Swimming Advisory Group. We have:

Furthermore, as part of its wider provision, the PE and School Sport National Professional Development Programme will help to improve the quality of swimming teaching throughout England. The Programme identifies where there is most need and provides specific professional development and support to help ensure high quality swimming tuition in schools.

A survey, carried out jointly by the Times Educational Supplement and the Central Council for Physical Recreation and published in August 2003, found that 84 per cent., or five in six, pupils are able to swim safely 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. We will be making an announcement shortly on future funding to support further school swimming.

Information relating to the removal of school swimming pools is not collected centrally.

Skills (Black/Minority Ethnic Communities)

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what action he is taking to improve skills within black and minority ethnic communities. [204499]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The DfES, with its agencies and partners, seeks to ensure that everyone has fair and equal access to all training opportunities. In addition we have developed a range of initiatives aimed specifically at improving the access and take-up of training within black and minority ethnic communities. That range is set out in our Race Equality Scheme, originally published in 2002, with an updated version scheduled for publication next summer. These include the work of the National Employer Panel, the Ethnic Minority Achievement Grant, and the equivalent Ethnic Minority Student Achievement Grant.
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Stapleford Park Reception

Mr. Collins: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the cost was of the reception held by her Department in August at Stapleford Park in Leicestershire; on what basis the venue was selected; whether nearby venues were invited to tender; and if she will make a statement. [203801]

Mr. Stephen Twigg: Leicestershire Learning and Skills Council held an event at Stapleford Park in August not the Department for Education and Skills. I have written to the head of Leicestershire Learning and Skills Council asking her to write to the hon. Member providing the information requested.

Student Finance

Mr. Edward Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills of each £1 the Government lend in student loans, what percentage is (a) repaid and (b) not repaid; and of (b) , what percentage is not repaid due to the interest subsidy on student loans. [204929]

Dr. Howells: The Secretary of State for Education and Skills only has responsibility for student loans paid to higher education students domiciled in England and Wales and this answer provides data relating to those students.

The percentage of loans issued that we forecast not to be repaid is around 5 per cent. for income contingent loans (the type of loan issued since 1998/99). The remaining percentage is expected to be repaid. The interest subsidy does not affect the repayment of the loan principal.

Mr. Edward Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the projected expenditure is of the Student Loans Company on (a) income-contingent loans, (b) hardship loans and (c) mortgage loans for the academic years (i) 2001/02, (ii) 2002/03, (iii) 2003/04 and (iv) 2004/05. [204930]

Dr. Howells: Data on SLC cash expenditure for income-contingent loans, hardship loans and mortgage style loans are shown in the table. Data are for students normally domiciled in the United Kingdom. The data on income contingent and mortgage style loans are included in the Statistical First Release (SLC SFR 01/2004) issued on 30 November.
Expenditure by the Student Loans Company for UK domiciled students—academic years 2001/02 to 2004/05(31)
£ million

Academic year
Income-contingent loans2,4552,6172,705(32)2,538
Mortgage style loans3592(33)
Hardship loans(34)303029(33)

(31) Provisional.
(32) Expenditure is based on the position as at 14 November 2004. This will increase as late applications are processed.
(33) Not available.
(34) Hardship loans have been discontinued in 2004/05 following changes to the statutory and discretionary support system, including the introduction of the higher education grant.

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