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Hertfordshire Schools

Mr. Prisk: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what plans she has to increase the level of funding for (a) 19 years plus students and (b) students with disabilities in East Hertfordshire. [10924]

Bill Rammell: Funding for further education, including adult learners and those with disabilities, is increasing and will rise by over £1 billion in 2005–06 compared to 2002–03—a 25 per cent. cash increase in three years. Funding increases for individual colleges will depend on a number of factors including the extent to which college activities align with our key priorities. As the allocation of funding in local areas relates to the LSC's operational responsibilities I have asked the LSC's chief executive, Mark Haysom, to write to the hon. Member with the information requested. A copy of his reply will be placed in the Library.

Mr. Prisk: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment she has made of the change in numbers of places for (a) construction, (b) engineering and (c) catering courses offered by Hertford Regional College in 2005–06. [10925]


 
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Bill Rammell: The Government have been clear about its priorities for education. Changes in the numbers of places available for individual courses in particular colleges will depend on a number of factors, including Government priorities. As decisions about the mix of provision to be funded in local areas relates to the LSC's operational responsibilities, I have asked the LSC's chief executive, Mark Haysom, to write to the hon. Member with the information requested. A copy of his reply will be placed in the Library.

IT Projects

Mr. Meacher: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what computerisation or IT failures have occurred in public sector projects managed by her Department in each year since 1997; what the contracted cost of the project was in each case; and what estimate she has made of the direct and indirect costs of failure or breakdown in each case. [14366]

Bill Rammell: I can confirm that no computerisation or IT failures have occurred in public sector projects managed by the Department for Education and Skills in the years since 1997.

School Closures

Mr. Carswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many village schools have closed since January 2000. [14785]

Jacqui Smith: Rural village schools play an important part in maintaining the viability of the countryside. That is why we introduced a presumption against the closure of rural schools in 1998. The presumption does not
 
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mean that no rural school should ever close, but the case for closure should be strong and the proposals clearly in the best interests of educational provision in the area.

The number of rural schools approved for closure since 2000 is shown as follows.
Rural schools approved for closure since 2000

Number
20002
20013
20025
200312
20049
20054

In 2003 we introduced a broader definition for rural areas which increased the proportion of schools in England classified as rural.

Social Care

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what estimate (a) Skills for Care and (b) the Children, Young People and Families Workforce Development Council has made of the number of (i) domiciliary care workers, (ii) outreach workers, (iii) residential child workers, (iv) social care managers and (v) staff responsible for recruitment and supervision of social care staff who would be covered by future requirements for registration with the General Social Care Council. [14438]

Mr. Byrne: I have been asked to reply.

I refer hon. Member to the reply I gave him on 11 July 2005, Official Report, columns 725–26W.

Telephone Inquiries

Mr. MacNeil: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what facilities her Department has to deal with telephone inquiries in (a) Welsh, (b) Scots Gaelic and (c) Irish Gaelic. [14694]

Bill Rammell: My Department operates a Welsh Language Act Scheme in accordance with section 21(3) of the Welsh Language Act 1993. Where a telephone helpline forms part of a campaign that is applicable to a Welsh speaking audience, a Welsh language service is offered. We have no facilities to deal with telephone inquiries in Scots Gaelic or Irish Gaelic.

Work Experience

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many 14 to 16-year-olds undertook work experience in (a) the public sector, (b) a small or medium sized enterprise, (c) a large enterprise and (d) a trade union in each year between 2000 and 2004. [10042]

Jacqui Smith: There is a 95 per cent. take up of work experience among Key Stage 4 pupils. However, the breakdown of numbers participating is the responsibility of the Learning and Skills Council (LSC). Mark Haysom, chief executive of the LSC, will write to my hon. Friend, and a copy of his reply will be placed in the Library.
 
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SCOTLAND

Departmental Expenditure

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what the total spending by his Department on (a) staff, (b) accommodation and (c) procurement in the (i) Moray constituency and (ii) Highland Region was in the most recent year for which figures are available. [14846]

David Cairns: The Scotland Office occupies premises in Edinburgh and London, with a very small presence in Glasgow and does not incur any direct expenditure outwith these areas. Information on regional distribution of staff at 1 April 2004 is available in the libraries of both Houses, and also at: http://www.civilservice.gov.uk/management_information/statistical_information/statistics/contents_for_civil_service_statistics_2004_ report/index.asp

Table D shows the numbers of staff by regional distribution. Figures relating to 1 April 2005 will be published next year.

Stewart Hosie: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what the total spending by his Department on (a) staff, (b) accommodation and (c) procurement in (i) Dundee, East constituency, (ii) Tayside and (iii) the City of Dundee was in the most recent year for which figures are available. [14876]

Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what the total spending by his Department on (a) staff, (b) accommodation and (c) procurement in (i) Banff and Buchan and (ii) the North East of Scotland was in the most recent year for which figures are available. [14884]

Pete Wishart: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what the total spending by his Department on (a) staff, (b) accommodation and (c) procurement in Perth and North Perthshire was for the most recent year for which figures are available. [14917]

David Cairns: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave today to the hon. Member for Moray (Angus Robertson).

Equality and Diversity

David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how much the Department has spent promoting equality and diversity in each of the last five years for which figures are available. [14659]

David Cairns: Staff of the Scotland Office are on loan from the Department for Constitutional Affairs or the Scottish Executive; both Departments continue to provide a full programme of training and development opportunities for such staff. Initiatives specific to equality and diversity include running diversity and equality events, supporting internal staff networks and providing support on corporate diversity programmes. To underpin this, diversity training is mandatory for all Scotland Office staff. Separate figures on costs are, however, not available.
 
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Opinion Surveys

Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what the (a) subject matter and (b) dates were of opinion survey research undertaken by the Department in the last 12 months; if he will place copies of the results of each survey in the library; which companies were used in conducting the research; and how much each was paid. [14812]

David Cairns: The Scotland Office has not undertaken any opinion surveys in the last 12 months.


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