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Autistic Spectrum Disorders

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. [4416]

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.

Business Support (Hertfordshire)

Mr. Walker: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what measures she is taking to encourage vocational skills training in Hertfordshire; and if she will make a statement. [756]


 
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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 14–19 White Paper, 14–19 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.

Letter from Mark Haysom to Mr. Charles Walker, dated 8 June 2005:

Community Development Centres

Tim Farron: 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. [4033]

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.

Consultants

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. [6348]

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.

Paul Holmes: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will make a statement on the recommendations of the auditors' report on the use of consultants in the Department. [6349]

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.

Dyslexia

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many school children in Lancashire had dyslexia in the last period for which figures are available. [6603]

Maria Eagle: The requested information is not collected centrally.

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.

Education Maintenance Allowance

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. [3395]

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.

Letter from Mark Haysom to Mr. John Battle, dated 16 June 2005:


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