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Dr. Howells: We did not abolish the project. A private company, UK eUniversities Worldwide (UKeU), was formed to take forward the UK e-University project. It was intended that this should secure equal funding from public and private sector investment. In autumn 2003 the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) commissioned an independent review of the UKeU plans. In the light of changes in the global financial market, the fact that student recruitment had not met planned targets in the first year, and the lack of any immediate prospect of matching private investment, the Board of the HEFCE concluded that the opportunity cost of providing further funds was too high. HEFCE then sought discussions with UKeU on a restructuring of the company's activities. On hearing of HEFCE's decision, the UKeU board resigned. The HEFCE Board then decided that future HEFCE funding should be used to support the development of e-learning in universities and colleges themselves, placing emphasis on public good objectives.
Charles Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the UK e-university project; and what plans she has to establish similar distance learning schemes. 
Dr. Howells: We are reflecting on the findings of the Education and Skills Select Committee Report on the UK e-University and consulting with the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) which has separately been considering the lessons to be learnt. We will issue a formal response to the Education and Skills Committee in due course. It is intended that future HEFCE funding should support the development of e-learning in universities and colleges.
Dr. Howells: The Higher Education Funding Council for England commissioned a substantial body of research, covering commercial, HE and pedagogic aspects of the project. I understand that the research is being disseminated to the higher education sector via the Higher Education Academy to inform future eLearning. The first volume of the e-University Compendium is available at www.heacademy.ac.uk/e-University.htm.
The e-Universities project was announced by the former Secretary of State for Education and Employment, Mr. Blunkett, in February 2000. The Higher Education Funding Council for England was responsible for taking forward the project and subsequent Secretaries of State and Ministers for Higher Education in this Department were kept
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informed of progress. Responsibility for the running of the private company, UK eUniversities Worldwide (UKeU), rested with its Board.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills whether her Department has investigated (a) the financial position of Harrop Fold School, (b) the progress of the school since it was placed in special measures and (c) the staff retention rate at the school. 
Mr. Stephen Twigg: My Department has not undertaken any investigation into the financial position of Harrop Fold School. As this school is subject to special measures it receives regular visits from Ofsted to monitor its progress. The reports of the most recent monitoring visits indicate that the school has made reasonable progress since September 2004. The staff retention rate is now very good and next term the school will be fully staffed with no vacancies or supply teachers.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will make a statement on the future of the Harrop Fold School, Worsley, with particular reference to (a) its financial position and (b) any replacement school. 
Mr. Stephen Twigg: Harrop Fold School is currently subject to special measures. Ofsted's report on its last monitoring visit to the school in January 2005 noted that it had made reasonable progress since the last such visit in October 2004. The school has a budget deficit which is being taken into account in the work of the School Improvement Partnership Board that has been established to oversee its recovery. We are not aware of any plans to replace the school, which would be a matter for the local authority in the first instance.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what representations she has received from (a) parents and (b) Salford metropolitan borough council about Harrop Fold School, Worsley. 
Mr. Stephen Twigg: DfES Ministers have received four representations from the Harrop Fold Action Group since the school was placed in special measures. There have been no formal representations from Salford metropolitan district council, although the Council has been in regular correspondence about the school with DfES officials since May 2003 when the school was placed in special measures.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills who the members are of the School Improvement Partnership Board put in place to monitor progress at Harrop Fold school, Worsley; how often it has met; and to whom it is accountable. 
Mr. Stephen Twigg:
The membership of the School Improvement Partnership Board (SIPB) set up to manage, challenge and support recovery programmes for Harrop Fold school includes a former headteacher as chair; the executive head teacher of Harrop Fold; the
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chair of the governing body of Harrop Fold; the chief education officer for Salford; the deputy chief education officer for Salford; a senior education adviser and one official from the Department for Education and Skills. The SIPB has met four times since 31 August 2004. The SIPB is accountable to my Department for the substantial funding we have provided to support its work to improve the school.
The Department is continuing investigations into learning providers that may have abused the Individual Learning Account scheme and is supporting the police in pursuing criminal proceedings against a number of learning providers. To date the police have been successful in cases involving 11 ILA learning providers, which have resulted in 11 individuals being convicted with a variety of prison and suspended sentences, community service and fines being imposed.
Ministers decided, after careful examination of the lessons we must learn, not to introduce another stand alone Individual Learning Account scheme. Instead, we have integrated those ILA elements that proved successful within the broader skills strategy described in the White Paper, 21st Century Skills, Realising Our Potential" (Cmnd 5810), published in July 2003.
Dr. Howells: Details of all university access agreements that have been approved by the Office for Fair Access, including milestones, will be publicly available on the OFFA website (http://www.offa.org.uk) from Thursday 17 March.
|Maintained primary schools|
|Number of pupils in classes of 31 or more|
|Position in January each yea r 1997 to 2004||Total pupils in all classes||Number of pupils||Percentage of pupils3|
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