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16 Jun 2005 : Column 587W—continued


Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to the answer of 7 June 2005, Official Report, column 472W, on bullying, what the (a) membership, (b) funding for 2005–06, (c) terms of reference and (d) date of the last meeting of the
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Change for Children Programme Board are; what work it has commissioned; and how often it has met since it was established. [5052]

Beverley Hughes: The Every Child Matters: Change for Children programme board is an official-level cross-Government programme board chaired by DfES to oversee delivery of the Every Child Matters: Change for Children programme. It reports to the new Cabinet Sub-Committee DA(CP). The programme board has met eight times since it was established and the last meeting was on 24 May 2005. Members are senior officials from key Government Departments and inspectorates and include the Children's Commissioner for England as an independent observer. Meetings are funded from administrative costs from the relevant Government Departments.

Child Care

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what steps she is taking to encourage fathers to become more involved in caring for children. [4721]

Beverley Hughes: Research has shown that fathers play a vital part in children's lives and that they can make a real difference in children's educational, emotional and social development, for both girls and boys. We have introduced a range of measures aimed at supporting fathers in their important role. For example, we have developed materials for schools on working with fathers, including a booklet on Engaging Fathers" and an Involving Parents Raising Achievement" toolkit. We have supported, through the Parenting Fund and the Strengthening Families Grant, projects run by organisations in the Voluntary and Community Sector which focus on fathers. We are currently considering what further measures we might put in place to meet the specific needs of fathers, and particularly to encourage them to support their children's development and learning, as we develop our work to support parents more generally.

Education and Skills Funding

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what reviews her Department has undertaken in the last five years of the way funding for education and skills has been used. [3855]

Maria Eagle: The following reviews of education and skills have been undertaken in the last five years:
Review/consultation—Date of completionAim
Review of English Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Provision—February 2005. Jointly undertaken with the Learning and Skills Council (LSC).A review of ESOL to determine current practices and issues and to make recommendations on how the planning and funding of ESOL may be improved.
Consultation on new school funding arrangements—May 2005.To explore the mechanisms for funding schools covering the introduction of new school funding arrangements from April 2006.
Review of LEA Social Deprivation Funding for Schools—Publication due late 2005.To examine ways in which Local Education Authorities (LEAs) fund schools for the higher costs incurred from socially deprived pupils, and recommend improvements.
Student Finance Review—January 2003To explore options for student finance in higher education (HE).
Fundamental Review of HE—January 2003To undertake a wide ranging and fundamental review of the mission for HE including widening participation, research, teaching and management and leadership.
Review of Funding for Adult Learning—July 2003To explore incentives and ways of encouraging responsiveness to employer needs and reforming funding arrangements to enable the RDA role.
Success for All—October 2002Consultation on the Department's proposed investment and reform strategy for the learning and skills sector.
Review of Financial Support for Adult Learning—2000To consider how learning accounts could be further developed and loans for adult learners made more widely available.
Learning to Succeed: Post-16 Funding: Second Technical Paper—2000Consultation on new funding arrangements for post-16 education and skills.

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EU Students

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills for what reasons no specific provision was made in the Higher Education Act 2004 for EU students in respect of (a) bursaries and (b) recovery of fee loans. [3055]

Bill Rammell: The content of the Higher Education Act 2004 was decided by Parliament after full debate. Parliament did not decide to include specific provisions about bursaries or loan repayments for any students, whether or not from the European Union.

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what her estimate is of the total loan subsidy consequent on the non-commercial rate of interest charged by the Student Loan Company for EU students studying in England in each year between 2006 and 2010. [3057]

Bill Rammell: Assuming that 91 per cent. of EU students are charged the full £3,000 fee and 9 per cent. charged £2,000, and assuming that 80 per cent. of them take out a fee loan and that their repayment behaviour is similar to English and Welsh students, costs are estimated to be around £40 million 1 per year (steady state at academic year 2006/07 terms). These costs are made up of the interest rate subsidy of loans together with the costs that are never repaid for example loans that are written off after 25 years or death.

The costs of EU students studying in the UK are offset by the longer term economic benefits which they bring. It is estimated that each EU student provides a net benefit of over £6,000 per year in living expenses to the UK 2 . Multiplying this estimate for individual contributions to the UK economy by the estimated number of eligible EU students suggests that these students alone contribute £270 million per year. Of the known first destinations of EU undergraduates, 25 per cent. remain in the UK to work after graduation and on average they pay £5,000 in income tax over 1.5 years 2 . In addition there are substantial unquantifiable benefits to the UK. In particular, the UK benefits from an addition to its stock of employed manpower of a significant number of highly skilled young people. Other benefits arise from the contribution of these EU students and researchers within UK HEIs, and from having a significant proportion of the young future elite of Europe living, studying and working in this country for an important and formative period in their lives.

2 Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) report Projecting demand for UK HE from the Accession Countries" published March 2004.

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what representations she has received concerning costs incurred by higher education
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institutions in obtaining legal advice regarding their liabilities to make bursary or financial support available to EU students from 2006. [4256]

Bill Rammell: None.

Faith Awareness Training

Mr. Paul Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State forEducation and Skills how many civil servants in theDepartment received faith awareness training in 2004. [3807]

Maria Eagle: From April 2004 to March 2005, 45 staff received faith awareness training, as part of a wider session on sexual orientation, religion and belief awareness.

The Department's intranet site provides comprehensive guidance on faith awareness for all staff, and is accessible at all times.

Freedom of Speech (SOAS)

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to the answer of 6 June 2005, Official Report, column 335W, on freedom of speech, what measures she is taking to ensure that the governing body of the School of Oriental and African Studies is fulfilling its duties in this regard. [5008]

Bill Rammell: The duties on governing bodies of universities to ensure freedom of speech are statutory ones, capable of being enforced at law where a governing body has failed to carry out its responsibilities. There is no provision for the Government directly to intervene, but I am keeping in touch with developments in the sector. In particular, Iwelcome the intention of the sector, working through its Equality Challenge Unit, to produce guidance for universities on tackling extremism and intolerance on campus.

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