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Shona McIsaac: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what representations she has received relating to the potential use of the former Pelham Infant School, Immingham, North East Lincolnshire as a children's centre; 
Margaret Hodge: In September 2004 St. Andrew's Junior School and Pelham Infants School, which were both located on the same campus site, amalgamated to form the Canon Peter Hall School. A part of the former Pelham Infant School site now forms part of the new amalgamated primary school but the remainder of the Pelham Infant School site is currently not in use.
Section 77 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 requires any council wishing to sell any land that falls within the definition of school playing fields to first seek the consent of the Secretary of State for Education and Skills. North East Lincolnshire council has submitted an application to sell part of the former Pelham Infant School site and this application is currently under consideration. The Department has also received a representation from the Canon Peter Hall School, which outlines that school's desire to establish an outdoor play area on a part of the site to be sold. This representation will be taken into account when considering the local authority's application.
The Department for Education and Skills has not received any representations from any party relating to the potential use of the Pelham Infant School, Immingham, North East Lincolnshire as a children's centre. However, officials are aware of the local community's desire for a children's centre and that the site is within an area that is defined by the local authority as a pocket of deprivation. In accordance with the Government's strategy for the delivery of children's centres it should therefore be one of the first areas where children's centres are developed. However, it is for local authorities to decide where to locate children's centres in order to best serve their communities.
Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much was paid to consultants carrying out staff surveys in the Department and its predecessors in each year since 1997. 
Derek Twigg: My Department completes a staff survey every eighteen months. The survey is a powerful tool which highlights trends in staff views, areas of good practice and areas of development. The survey enables the Department to compare opinion in the Department over time and to benchmark ourselves against other UK organisations in both the public and private sector.
Mr. Edward Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much the Government spent in 2004 on (a) schemes and (b) advertising to encourage (i) prospective undergraduates and (ii) prospective graduates to participate in further education. 
Dr. Howells: The Government is keen to ensure that all those with the potential to benefit from higher education (HE) are able and willing to do so. By 2010, we want to increase participation in HE towards 50 per cent. of those aged 18 to 30. Within that we want to see a broader cross-section of people being able and willing to go into HE. To that effect we support the Aimhigher Programme which seeks to raise attainment, aspiration and application levels of people from backgrounds currently under-represented in HE. The total budget for Aimhigher for the 2004/05 academic year is £128 million. This funding enables partnerships of schools, colleges and universities to design and deliver a range of activities in support of the Programme's aims. This budget does not include any amounts for national advertising.
The Foundation Degrees campaign is aimed at 18 to 30-year-olds and employers in order to raise awareness of Foundation Degrees as a higher education qualification. The cost of this advertising in 2004/05 is £542,000.
The Student Finance campaign is aimed at potential higher education students and their parents to inform them of the student support package available to them in HE and how to apply for it. The cost of this advertising in 2004/05 is £1.05million.
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Mr. Colman: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what estimate she has made of the total sum which higher education institutions are proposing to spend to support students from under-represented groups. 
Dr. Howells: Full details about university access agreements approved by the Office for Fair Access (OFFA), including details of bursaries, scholarships and other financial support largely for students from poorer backgrounds, are available on the OFFA website, www.offa.org.uk. The Government and their partners also contribute significantly to the widening participation agenda through the Aimhigher programme, which has a budget this year of £128 million.
Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many child care places have been created by the Sure Start Neighbourhood Nurseries Initiative in each year that the scheme has been in operation. 
Margaret Hodge [holding answer 10 March 2005]: The Neighbourhood Nurseries Initiative was launched in 2001. It had a target of creating 45,000 new child care and early education places in 1,000 nurseries for children aged 0 to 5 in the 20 per cent. most disadvantaged areas in England by March 2004. £100 million of capital funding from the New Opportunities Fund (now the Big Lottery Fund), £28 million Sure Start capital and £243 million of revenue funding from the Sure Start Unit was made available to 142 local authorities to support the development and delivery of these places. Places have been developed through a diverse range of local and national providers and are intended to be responsive to local needs and preferences. By March 2004, 1,000 neighbourhood nurseries had been created providing approximately 36,000 new child care places. By August 2004, 1,279 neighbourhood nurseries had been opened providing 45,000 places.
|Financial year||Number of places created|
Margaret Hodge [holding answer 16 March 2005]: No estimate has been made of the number of midwives required for the Sure Start programme in the North West region. This would be for local discussion and agreement. Ante-natal and post-natal services, undertaken by midwives and health visitors, are a key element within the core health service activities undertaken by Sure Start local programmes and they will be part of the core services that will be offered in children's centres serving the most disadvantaged communities. These services are provided in different waysthrough the direct employment of midwives to work with families living within the catchment area of a local programme, through secondment opportunities, and in partnership with primary care trusts.
Margaret Hodge [holding answer 17 March 2005]: Spending on Sure Start will reach £1.8 billion in 200708, more than double the figure for 200405. This represents an annual average increase of 24 per cent. in real terms.
We will very shortly be allocating money to local authorities for the second wave of children's centres and for extended schools. Both will be for the period 200608. A further allocation, covering the remaining elements of General Sure Start Grant for 200608, will be made in the autumn. This gives us the opportunity to consult with local authorities on how best to allocate money for sustainable child care places, and the new Transformation Fund.
I am pleased to say that the Chancellor announced in his Budget speech on 16 March that local authorities will now be able to recover VAT on investment in children's centres and child care. This removes what has become a significant barrier to some authorities moving forward with the Government's 10-year strategy for child care.
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