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9 Jun 2005 : Column 707W—continued

Teenage Conception Rates

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the conception rate per 1,000 women (a) aged under 18 and (b) aged 16 to 18 has been in each year since 1997 in (i) England and (ii) Wales; what targets she has attached to teenage conception rates; and if she will make a statement. [2276]

Beverley Hughes: Conception rates for under-16s, and 16 and 17-year-olds in England and Wales—provided
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by the Office for National Statistics—are included in the following table.

The Department for Education and Skills (DfES) and the Department of Health (DH) have joint responsibility for the Public Service Agreement (PSA) target to reduce under-18 conceptions by 50 per cent. by 2010 (from the 1998 baseline figure), as part of a broader strategy to improve sexual health. Data for 2003 shows a 9.8 per cent. reduction in under-18 conception rates since 1998.
Teenage conceptions: numbers and rates for England and Wales,1997–2003(38)

Age under 16
Age 16,17
Age under 18

(38) Conceptions for 2003 are provisional

Tuition Fees

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the total amount of adult education fees waived by further education colleges in 2004 was. [3064]

Bill Rammell: FE providers in England are assumed to collect £260 million in fee income from learners and their employers (based on 2003/04 data). We estimate that colleges currently waive over £100 million of this at their own discretion.

University Student Secondment

Mr. Allen: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will establish a system to introduce low income students to employers who in return for a year's secondment will pay their university fees; and if she will make a statement. [2866]

Bill Rammell: There are no plans to introduce this type of system.

From September 2006 we will have in place a revised package of student financial support, which includes for new students, the introduction of a new maintenance grant of £2,700 for those students from low income households. Those in receipt of the full £2,700 maintenance grant and who are paying £3,000 for their tuition fees will be entitled to a minimum non-repayable bursary of £300.00 from their higher education institution, although many institutions will be offering much more. From 2006 students will be able to defer payment of their fees by taking out a non-means tested fee loan, which they will only start repaying once they have finished their studies and are earning over £15,000 per annum.

There are a number of initiatives aimed at stimulating closer links between employers and higher education institutions, including the new Sector Skills Agreements being developed by Sector Skills Councils. They provide an opportunity to look at ways that students can acquire higher level skills, including those from low income households. Other initiatives, including Aimhigher and the expansion of Foundation Degrees, are aimed at raising aspirations and attainments and providing new work based higher education opportunities developed with employers. We have also supported projects that promote and deliver paid secondments, work placements and work experience opportunities for higher education students.

We believe that these measures will assist students from lower income households.

Workload Agreement

Dr. Pugh: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will list the representations received in the last three months from (a) schools and (b) local education authorities on implementation of the workload agreement. [2766]

Jacqui Smith: We receive representations from time to time on a variety of issues, including on implementation of the national agreement "Raising Standards and Tackling Workload". Where schools and LEAs need advice or guidance on implementation of the agreement they should speak in the first instance to the National Remodelling Team and its network of advisors based in LEAs throughout the country.