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Derek Twigg: The publicly available Cabinet Office guidance, Travel by Ministers", makes clear that special flights may be authorised when a scheduled service is not available, or when it is essential to travel by air, but the requirements of official or Parliamentary business or security considerations or urgency preclude the journey being made by a scheduled service.
Neither the Queen's flight service nor private charter flights have been used by any Ministers in the Department for Education and Skills, and its predecessor, for domestic travel in the past five years.
In respect of overseas travel by Ministers, since 1999 the Government have published an annual list of all visits overseas undertaken by Cabinet Ministers costing £500 or more during each financial year. The list published in 1999 covers the period 2 May 1997 to 31 March 1999. Where RAF/Private Charter aircraft are used this is shown in the list. The Government have also published on an annual basis the cost of all Ministers' visits overseas. Copies of the lists are available in the Libraries of the House. Information for 200405 will be published in due course.
Tom Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many fires there were in schools in England in each of the last three years; and how many she estimates were caused by arson. 
Derek Twigg: Because the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) has overall policy lead for fire safety and arson reduction across Government Departments, it is ODPM rather than this Department that compiles statistics on fires in schools.
The latest set of figures we have on school fires from ODPM cover the three years 200102 to 200304. The data for 200203 do not include estimates for the short periods of industrial action and the figures for 200304 are provisional. For England the details are:
|Most likely cause|
Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much Student Loan Company expenditure there has been on (a) grants, (b) income contingent loans, (c) tuition fees, (d) hardship and access to learning, (e) fee waiver and (f) opportunity bursaries in each year since 19992000 at (i) Northumbria and (ii) Newcastle universities. 
Dr. Howells: Data on Student Loan Company (SLC) expenditure paid to students at Northumbria university and the university of Newcastle upon Tyne in respect of grants, income-contingent loan cash outlay, tuition fees and hardship loans for academic years1999/00 to 2004/05 (provisional) are shown in the following table.
The rise in SLC Grant expenditure in 2004/05 is due partly to the introduction of the Higher Education Grant which was introduced for new students in 2004/05 to help cover the cost of participating in Higher Education. It is also due to a change in accounting arrangements whereby prior to 2004/05, local education authorities were responsible for paying certain grants and allowances. In 2004/05, the SLC are responsible for paying all grants and allowances hence the increase in the SLC expenditure.
|Hardship/access to learning fund||1,010||746||799||943||1,004||659|
|Hardship/access to learning fund||492||616||597||545||484||407|
Mr. Stephen Twigg:
Ministers decided in 2002 that the Department should collect detailed information on income and expenditure in individual schools so that schools can compare themselves against other similar schools. The Consistent Financial Reporting (CFR) framework regulations came into force on 1 April 2003. The approved headings for the income fields are set out as follows. The Department has just finished collecting the second year's income data and loaded it onto the new benchmarking website www.teachernet.gov.uk/schoolfinance along with some contextual information about the schools. The
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website allows schools to identify similar schools, based on the contextual information, in order to compare income and expenditure.