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Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will instruct learning and skills councils not to restrict the number of training providers contracting with them which offer courses leading to the same qualification. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: Contracting with training providers is a matter for the Learning and Skills Council and Mark Haysom, the Council's Chief Executive will write to my hon. Friend and a copy of his reply will be placed in the Library.
Derek Twigg [holding answer 24 January 2005]: The following is a list of the Secretary of State's planned ministerial engagements out of London in February 2005. These engagements are subject to change due to parliamentary commitments and final confirmation.
|2 February||World Sustainable Community Summit in Manchester|
|3 February||Specialist Sports Colleges Conference in Telford|
|2122 February||EU Education and Youth Council, Brussels|
|23 February||Visit to Caroline Chisholm School in Northampton|
Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills when she will reply to the questionstabled by the hon. Member for Maidenhead on 21 December 2004, reference (a) 207312 and (b) 207313. 
Margaret Hodge: My hon. Friend the Minister of State for School Standards has today replied to PQ207312. I refer the hon. Member to the reply given on 24 January 2005, Official Report, columns 7071W, for the reply to PQ 207313.
Mr. Ivan Lewis:
The increased availability of personalised learning programmes to meet 1419 year olds' needs, aptitudes and aspirations will raise
25 Jan 2005 : Column 227W
participation and achievement in learning at 1619. The Department's Five Year Strategy sets out our estimate that over the next five years we will need some 100,000 new 1619 places, although the increase in demand will vary from place to place. That means we will need more school and college sixth forms and more apprenticeships and other vocational opportunities to give young people more choice.
Mr. Spring: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many pupils have been permanently excluded from schools in (a) the West Suffolk parliamentary constituency and (b) the county of Suffolk in each year since 1997. 
Exclusions data for 2000/01, 2001/02 and 2002/03 are known to have been under-reported by some schools. The Department carried out a checking exercise, but this was at LEA level only. As a result this information is not available at parliamentary constituency level for the three most recent years.
|West Suffolk parliamentary|
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much of the increase in the number of places needed in 16 to 19-year-olds' education set out in her Department's five-year strategy is attributable to (a) increased participation rates and (b) the number of 16 to 19-year-olds in the period. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: We expect around 100,000 growth in the number of first time entrants in maintained schools and 1618 FE between 2003/04 and 2008/09 as outlined in our five year strategy. We expect the 100,000 increase to be attributable to both demographic changes which account for 40 per cent. of the growth and policies to boost participation accounting for 60 per cent.
Derek Twigg [holding answer 24 January 2005]: We have no plans to introduce a moratorium on the sale of school playing fields. Section 77 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 requires local authorities and schools to obtain the written consent of the Secretary of State before they can dispose of any part of a school's playing field. Applications to sell school playing fields are only approved where it is clear that they meet the needs of local schools and their communities and that any proceeds are used to improve school sports provision or educational facilities.
Derek Twigg [holding answer 24 January 2005]: Although violence in schools is rare the Government takes the issue very seriously. We are determined to help schools create an environment that reduces the risk to an absolute minimum. To achieve that we have:
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the average size is of (a) maintained school sixth forms and (b) sixth form colleges in each (i) local education authority and (ii)learning and skills council area. 
The number of learners and size of sixth form colleges is a matter for the Learning and Skills Council. I have therefore asked Mark Haysom, the Council's Chief Executive, to write to the hon. Member with the information requested and to place a copy of his reply in the Library.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the retention rate for (a) maintained school sixth forms, (b) sixth form colleges and (c) other further education colleges was in each local education authority in the most recent period for which figures are available. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: Information on retention rates in maintained school sixth forms is not available. Retention rates in sixth form colleges and other further education colleges are a matter for the Learning and Skills Council. I have therefore asked Mark Haysom, the Council's Chief Executive, to write to the hon. Gentleman with the information requested and to place a copy of his reply in the Library.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment she has made of the reasons for higher participation rates in full-time education and training of pupils from maintained schools with sixth forms. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The report The Influence of the School in the decision to participate in learning post-16" indicated a number of reasons why the provision of a sixth form within a school might be an important influence on the decision of young people to participate in post-16 education and training:
(i) Schools with sixth forms have a ready made post-16 route and pupils are more channelled in their choices and decisions." Such schools often actively promoting post-16 academic routes, compared to other forms of post-16 participation which were much less clearly promoted. In schools with no sixth form there was a greater element of choice and decisions were aimed more generally at providing students with opportunities that more adequately addressed their needs.
(ii) Careers advice in schools with sixth forms was found to be qualitatively different from that in 11 to 16 schools." Pupils attending 11 to 16 schools were more positive about the careers education they had received and often exposed to a rich network of information, guidance and advice from diverse sources. Pupils in schools with sixth forms felt their advice and guidance to be less impartial than those in schools with no sixth form. Schools with sixth forms tended to have a strong academic tradition and a focus on university entrance, and an expectation that students would continue in full-time education post-16 which may not be the right decision for the young people concerned.
(iii) There was a greater tendency in schools with a sixth form to provide post-16 advice and guidance which is more closely related to academic sixth form provision." Knowledge about post-16 provision in schools and colleges tended to be strongest among pupils in schools with sixth forms and weakest in schools with no sixth forms. The opposite was true about knowledge of post-16 training and labour markets.
Other important influential issues of the school in the decision of young people to participate in learning post-16" were the socio-economic environment of the school, and the schools' culture, ethos and leadership.
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