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Mrs. Dean: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many training courses for those working with people with autistic spectrum disorders are funded through learning and skills councils in (a) Staffordshire, (b) the West Midlands and (c) England. 
Maria Eagle: This is a matter for the Learning and Skills Council (LSC). Mark Haysom, the Council's Chief Executive, will write to the hon. Lady with the information requested and a copy of his reply will be placed in the Library.
Phil Hope: Specific measures to encourage vocational skills training in Hertfordshire are a matter for the Learning and Skills Council. Mark Haysom, the Council's Chief Executive, will write to the hon. Member with this information and a copy of his reply will be placed in the Library.
The Government's Skills Strategy, 21st Century Skills: Realising Our Potential" (July 2003) and Skills: Getting on in business, getting on at work" (March 2005) set out our plans for increasing opportunities for adults to develop their skills. The 1419 White Paper, 1419 Education and Skills", published in February, set out proposals to improve vocational education and qualifications for young people through a national entitlement to specialised diplomas in 14 broad sector areas. Employers, through Sector Skills Councils, will lead in their design and higher education institutions will also have an important role to play.
Thank you for your recent Parliamentary Question to the Secretary of State for Education and Skills where you ask what measures she will take to encourage vocational skills training in Hertfordshire. The Secretary of State has asked me to reply on her behalf as Chief Executive of the Learning and Skills Council.
In its Strategic Area Review, the LSC for Hertfordshire recognises that the depth and breadth of vocational learning in Hertfordshire is limited. It is working with partners to develop vocational provision for 1416 year olds. For example, the Increased Flexibility Programme offers young people the opportunity to undertake vocational qualifications, usually undertaking some work at the local College. Nearly 1,500 Hertfordshire young people are currently on the programme. The LSC is also supporting collaboration between schools and colleges for 1619 year olds, with Colleges leading on developing the vocational elements. Excellent examples of this work can be seen in Welwyn Garden City and Stevenage, with encouraging developments in Hemel Hempstead, Broxbourne and St. Albans. In Bishops Stortford, Hertford Regional College is working with Birchwood High School to develop vocational provision on the school site, with funding support from the LSC.
In many parts of Hertfordshire the Further Education infrastructure is in an unsatisfactory condition. The LSC has supported the development of facilities for Learners with Learning Difficulties and Disabilities at Ware, and for construction at Broxbourne (which is due to open this September). Major campus redevelopments are being planned at 3 of Hertfordshire's 4 CollegesOaklands, West Herts and Hertford Regional. Plans for establishing a Skills Centre" in Hemel Hempstead are also being developed with West Herts College, working closely with the Dacorum schools.
Working with employers, The LSC has established Sector Employer Groups in key sectors for the Hertfordshire economy. These are providing employers with a voice for expressing their needs, and a means of communicating with learning providers so that relevant provision is developed and delivered. We are also working with the University of Hertfordshire and the four Hertfordshire Further Education Colleges to increase the number and range of Foundation Degrees offered in the County through the Colleges and the University of Hertfordshire. We expect to have Foundation Degrees in nine subjects available by September 2005.
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what plans her Department has for
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the funding for Community Development Centres in (a) Westmorland and Lonsdale constituency and (b) England. 
Phil Hope [holding answer 13 June 2005]: Cumbria county council's Adult Education Service currently contracts with Community Development Centres, a local term used in Cumbria, to describe sites located in primary schools which deliver adult learning courses covering a range of subjects with a significant focus on IT. How such education is organised is a matter for the county council. Its Adult Education Service is in regular dialogue with LSC Cumbria about how its provision can contribute to local, regional and national priorities. These include supporting adults to improve their literacy and numeracy skills and to engage with learning locally, so that in due course they can progress towards gaining a Level 2 qualification. Community Development Centres, as present in Cumbria, are not generally found across England.
Paul Holmes: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how the Department intends to take forward the recommendations of its auditors' report into the use of consultants in the Department. 
Bill Rammell: DfES management have agreed an action plan with internal audit to address the issues raised by the joint National Audit Office and DfES internal audit report on Engagement and Use of Consultants in DfES. The agreed actions, which are being implemented, will be monitored by DfES internal audit in the course of their normal follow-up procedures.
Bill Rammell: The joint National Audit Office and DfES internal audit review of Engagement and Use of Consultants identified shortcomings in compliance with departmental guidance. An action plan to address issues identified in the audit has been agreed with DfES management This will be monitored by DfES internal audit as part of their normal follow up procedures.
Additionally, the National Audit Office and internal audit have prepared a good practice guide on the engagement and use of consultants which has been distributed to all divisions in the Department. A copy of this guide will be placed in the House of Commons Library.
Pupils with specific learning difficulties have a particular difficulty in learning to read, write, spell or manipulate numbers and this includes pupils with dyslexia, dyscalculia and dyspraxia. We do not collect
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data on dyslexia alone, but provisional figures as at January 2005 indicate that there were 2,000 pupils in maintained primary, secondary and special schools with specific learning difficulties in Lancashire local education authority area.
John Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many teenagers in Leeds West have received the education maintenance allowance; what the average award has been; and how much has been received in total. 
Maria Eagle: This is a matter for the Learning and Skills Council. Mark Haysom, the Council's Chief Executive, will write to the hon. Friend with the information requested and a copy of his reply will be placed in the Library.
I am writing in response to your Parliamentary Question that asked the number of young people who have received Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) in the Leeds West Area, what the average award has been and how much has been received in total."
Information on the number of young people who have applied, enrolled and received EMA is available at Local Authority level, but not at constituency level. By the end of May 2005, 5,606 young people in the Leeds Local Authority area had received one or more EMA payments.
EMA is awarded in three defined payment bands of £30, £20 and £10, depending on household income. In Leeds Local Authority the take-up of EMA by payment band is split as follows: 78% on £30 per week, 10% on £20 per week and 12% on £10 per week (based on an analysis of young people attending a school or college in the Leeds Local Authority area). This breakdown is very similar to the national average.
We do not break down cost data to show specifically how much is spent in each Local Authority area. The total cost of EMA payments during the academic year 2004/2005 in England at 31 May 2005 was approximately £206,000,000.
I hope this information is helpful and addresses your question. If you would like further details please contact Chris Bradley at the LSC National Office on 0114 207 4512 or Christopher. firstname.lastname@example.org
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