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Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills who is responsible for assessing the consistency of standards across time for (a) the national tests at seven, 11 and 14 years and (b) GNVQs. 
Jacqui Smith: As regulator of the public examinations system and of National Curriculum tests, the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority is accountable to my right hon. Friend for maintaining standards over time in respect of those tests and GNVQ examinations.
Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what meetings (a) she and (b) officials from her Department have held with companies providing or seeking to provide fingerprint-scanning systems in schools. 
Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many further education colleges in England have received (a) a reduction and (b) a percentage increase in their funding of less than three per cent. for 200506. 
Bill Rammell [holding answer 30 June2005]: Based upon current Learning and Skills Council records, 34 further education colleges in England (9 per cent. of colleges), have received a reduction in their funding for 200506 when compared to 200405. And 85 further education colleges (22 per cent. of colleges), have had a percentage increase in their funding of less than three per cent.. In total, 262 further education colleges (69 per cent. of colleges) have received a percentage increase in their funding of more than three per cent.
Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) how many schools entered pupils only for the lower tier GCSE mathematics examination in the last year for which figures are available; 
|Number of 15-year-old pupils||Number of 15-year-old pupils attempting mathematics||Number of 15-year-old pupils attempting additional mathematics|
|1618 year old A Level candidates||1618 year old candidates taking Maths||1618 year old candidates taking Further Maths|
Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will list the English universities which have (a) closed and (b) announced the closure of their mathematics department in the last eight years; and how many places for mathematics have been lost. 
Information on the closure, merger or opening of particular university courses and departments is not collected centrally by either my Department, the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), or the Higher Education Statistical Agency (HESA). Higher Education Institutions are
11 Jul 2005 : Column 843W
autonomous organisations responsible for their own academic direction and strategic use of funds, and any decisions on closures of departments are made by them.
In their advice to the Secretary of State on strategic subjects published last week, HEFCE has estimated thatdespite a fall in activity of 9.3 per cent. (or 1,800 full-time equivalentsFTEs) in mathematics since 19992000, the total activity remained at nearly 17,500 FTEs in 200304, providing a substantial base on which to build. We will be considering HEFCE's advice carefully in the coming months before responding.
Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many higher education institutions in England have informed the Office for Fair Access of the possibility that on clearing they may (a) make adjustments to their fees below the levels set out in their access agreements and (b) offer bursaries or other financial support in excess of that set out in their access agreements; and if she will make a statement. 
Bill Rammell: The Office for Fair Access tell me that no institutions have told them explicitly that they are considering amending their fees or bursary proposals during clearing. However, it is open to institutions at any time to seek OFFA's agreement to amend their access agreements, and five institutions have formally proposed to increase the level of bursary support that they will offer students entering in 2006.
Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what disciplinary options are available to the Office for Fair Access in respect of upheld complaints from the public that levels of support committed to in access agreements are not being delivered. 
Bill Rammell: If there is a serious breach of an access agreement, the director for fair access can direct the Higher Education Funding Council for England to suspend part of an institution's grant until the institution has made restitution to any student who has been disadvantaged, or has taken other measures that it promised to take (for example, to run outreach work). The director can also fine an institution up to a maximum of £500,000, and notify its governing body that he will refuse to approve an access agreement from it for a specified length of time.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many schools employ police officers (a) through the Safer Schools Partnership and (b) outside the Safer Schools Partnership. 
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