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6 Jul 2005 : Column 445W—continued

Post-16 Education

Vera Baird: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills when she will announce the funding regime for 16–19 years capital projects. [10091]

Jacqui Smith: The Learning and Skills Council plans to issue guidance on the operation of the new 16–19 capital fund later in the summer.

School Fees

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills in what circumstances a local education authority may pay fees on behalf of a pupil attending an independent school. [10007]

Jacqui Smith: Local authorities have powers under section 517 of the Education Act 1996 to purchase places in independent schools. Under this provision a local authority may purchase places at an independent school if it is satisfied that there are insufficient places in all of its maintained schools or in those schools maintained by neighbouring authorities to enable the authority to provide education suitable to a pupil's age, ability and aptitude or to any special educational needs the pupil may have.

Section 128 of the Schools Standards and Framework Act 1998 provides for local authorities powers to purchase places at mainstream independent schools to be limited to circumstances prescribed in regulations. No regulations have been made under this section.

Section 348 of the 1996 Act also allows local authorities to pay fees on behalf of a child attending an independent school when the school is specified in a statement in respect of the child under section 324 of the act. Under this provision the local authority has to be satisfied:

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School Meals

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will make it her policy to fund the full cost of meeting the recommendations of the School Meals Review Panel. [8061]

Jacqui Smith: The Panel will submit its recommendations to the Secretary of State in September. The recommendations will then go out to public consultation, and at this point an appraisal of implementation costs will be carried out. The Department has already pledged £220 million over three years, which is intended to supplement the income derived from, and offset the additional costs of improving school meals. At this point we do not anticipate providing any further funding.

Student Numbers

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to the Answer of 14 June 2005, Official Report, column 370W, on student numbers, what plans her Department has to produce projections of student numbers for subjects identified as significant for the competitiveness of the UK economy. [8183]

Bill Rammell: Although the Department collects data on number of students by subject of study for monitoring purposes, it does not and could not produce robust projections under the current system in which Higher Education Institutions are entirely free to decide for themselves which students should be admitted to individual subject courses on the basis of student demand and their own strategic priorities. However, we will review the position in the light of the advice we have recently received from the Higher Education Funding Council for England on subjects which are strategically important and will listen to the views of institutions, employers, and others with an interest before responding later in the year.


David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much the Department has spent on taxis in each of the last five years. [6497]

Maria Eagle: The Department of Education and Skills was established in 2001 and the detailed information requested is not held centrally and can be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

All travel and subsistence is conducted in accordance with the requirements of the Ministerial Code, Travel by Ministers and the Civil Service Management Code.

University Graduates

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what research she has undertaken into (a) the length of time graduates take to find employment following graduation and (b) the starting salaries of new graduates. [8837]

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Bill Rammell: From the Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey, we know that nearly three-quarters (71 per cent.) of full-time 2002/03 graduates were in employment six months after leaving (with a further 16 per cent. in further study alone and 7 per cent. assumed unemployed).

However, we also know that destinations at the six month point are not representative of longer-term outcomes. Therefore the Department also commissions and monitors wider research to investigate later transitions in and out of the labour market. A survey of 1995 graduates, tracked up to seven years after graduation, shows a significant rise in employment rates over time. After two years post-graduation, 84 per cent. of graduates were in work rising further still to 95 per cent. seven years after leaving 1 .

Data on starting salaries is also available from theDLHE survey, showing that the median salary for 2002/03 leavers in full-time work was £17,000. Other sources include the Graduate Prospects annual survey of vacancies advertised in university careers centres; the most recent estimate showed a median starting salary of £18,000 for 2003/04. This is more representative of the salaries enjoyed by those entering graduate-level jobs (and over 80 per cent. of graduates enter these types of jobs within 3/4 years of graduation).

DfES also estimates that graduates earn, on average, around £120,000 more over their lifetime—in present value terms—than 2+A level holders.

This evidence is continually being updated. The statistical release for the 2003/04 DLHE will be published in July, and research commissioned by DfES tracking a cohort of 1999 graduates up to four years after leaving university will be published in the next few months. Further, the Department continues to monitor labour market data and new research as it emerges.


Adverse Incidents

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many medical device-related adverse incidents in 2004 were reported to have (a) 2, (b) 3 and (c) 4 causes. [8425]

Jane Kennedy: The information shown in the following table is derived from initial assessments of the causes of device failures based on incident reports submitted to the Medical Healthcare products Regulatory Agency. Different or additional causes may be confirmed following conclusion of incident investigations.
Number of medical device related adverse incidentsreported to have:

(a) two causes1,059
(b) three causes301
(c) four causes31
Total number of incidents received in 20049,000

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Alliance Medical

Mr. Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what representations have been made to her Department by (a) chief executives and (b) chairs of strategic health authorities on the role of Alliance Medical in the NHS; [8261]

(2) what representations have been made to her Department by primary care trusts on the role of Alliance Medical in the NHS. [8262]

Mr. Byrne [holding answer 30 June 2005]: Some representations have been received about services which Alliance Medical Limited is contracted to provide, but detailed information on representations made is not disclosed, as they may be commercially sensitive and could be detrimental to the provision of free and frank advice.


John Hemming: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research she has (a) commissioned and (b) undertaken on the prevalence of the prescription of antibiotics for viral infections. [7720]

Jane Kennedy: No specific research has been commissioned but we run education campaigns to convey the message that antibiotics do not work on most coughs and colds.

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