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Paul Farrelly: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills when the Minister of State for Lifelong Learning, Further and Higher Education will reply to the letter dated 21 July regarding funding provisions for further education from the hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme. [17520]

Bill Rammell: I have today responded to the hon. Member's letter of 21 July.

Freedom of Information

Pete Wishart: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many Freedom of Information Act 2000 requests have been answered by the Department; and in how many cases (a) information was wholly exempted, (b) information was partly exempted and (c) the requests were answered in full. [14953]

Jacqui Smith: I refer the hon. Member to the reply given on 12 September 2005, Official Report, column 2248W, by my right hon. Friend the Minister for the Department for Constitutional Affairs.

Science Teaching

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) if she will make a statement on the future of the Double Award Science GCSE; [17432]

(2) if she will make a statement on the planned changes to the Key Stage 4 Science Curriculum from 2006; [17433]
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(3) what consultation was carried out with respect to the introduction of the new programme of study for science GCSEs from 2006; [17434]

(4) how many students her Department estimates will be taught courses leading to (a) GCSE Science, (b) GCSE Additional Science, (c) GCSE Additional Applied Science, (d) GCSE Biology, (e) GCSE Chemistry and (f) GCSE Physics under the new programmes of study to be made available in 2006–07. [17435]

Bill Rammell: The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority and the National Foundation for Educational Research carried out widespread consultation on proposals to introduce a revised programme of study at Key Stage 4. The science and science education communities and a sample of schools, colleges and universities were included in the consultation. The majority of respondents supported the changes.

The new programme of study for science at Key Stage 4 will maintain the breadth, depth and challenge of the current curriculum, while catering for a wide range of students' interests and aptitudes and encouraging more students to study more science.

The current Double Award Science GCSE will not be available after summer 2008. Awarding bodies will be offering a range of options, with Science and Additional Science being the closest equivalent to it.

The Government does not make forward projections of take up for individual examinations. However, we expect that at least 80 per cent. of students should do at least two science GCSEs and propose to give young people an entitlement to study leading to at least two science GCSEs.

Sector Skills Councils

Mr. Hood: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what research her Department has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the (i) role and (ii) effectiveness of sector skills councils; and if she will make a statement. [15501]

Phil Hope: Working with the Sector Skills Councils (SSCs), Department for Education and Skills (DfES) and Devolved Administrations, the Sector Skills Development Agency (SSDA) has established a performance monitoring and evaluation framework. This has set out a series of performance measures and indicators related to their policy objectives (set down within the Skills for Business performance scorecard).

Using this framework, an annual programme of evaluation work was developed. The evaluation programme consists of four core projects;

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Key findings from the first and second phase of evaluation are available on the SSDA website (

Skills Shortages

Mr. Hunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what recent assessment her Department has made of where the UK has skills shortages; and what steps it has taken to rectify such shortages. [16557]

Phil Hope: The Learning and Skills Council in England conducts a National Employers Skills Survey to identify skill shortages and skill gaps to inform their planning and public funding of post 16 education and training. The Government has also established the Skills for Business Network and Regional Skills Partnerships. Skills for Business comprises the Sector Skills Development Agency and 24 licensed Sector Skills Councils to provide employer-led strategic action to
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meet each sector's skills and business needs. Each SSC is tasked with producing a wide-ranging Sector Skills Agreement beginning with an assessment of the sector's long-term, medium and short-term needs and progressing to a final agreement with key partners and agencies signed up to secure the necessary skills supply. Regional Skills Partnerships bring together the planning and funding agencies within a region to address identified priorities. Although separate training arrangements apply in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, all three devolved administrations will work to implement Sector Skills Agreements.

Special Needs (London)

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much funding has been allocated to special needs provision in each London borough in each of the last eight years. [16947]

Maria Eagle: The information requested is only available from 2000–01 onwards and is contained within the following table:
Budgeted net expenditure on the education of children with special educational needs1, 2

Local authority name2000–012001–022002–032003–042004–052005–06
City of London202,000242,000336,000401,000432,000398,000
Barking and Dagenham9,383,0006,293,00011,935,00012,812,00015,361,00017,273,000
Hammersmith and Fulham8,256,0008,045,0009,280,00010,297,00012,558,00013,901,000
Kensington and Chelsea7,636,0007,123,0005,460,0006,869,0007,434,0008,093,000
Kingston upon Thames7,764,0009,025,00010,363,00010,671,00012,073,00013,095,000
Richmond upon Thames6,228,0008,651,0007,935,00010,085,00011,679,00012,170,000
Tower Hamlets24,829,00024,946,00022,926,00027,202,00029,593,00033,297,000
Waltham Forest14,395,00015,119,00018,181,00017,295,00019,097,00022,321,000

(7) Includes planned expenditure on the provision for pupils with statements and the provision for non-statemented pupils with SEN, support for inclusion, inter authority recoupment, fees for pupils at independent special schools and abroad, educational psychology service, local authority functions in relation to child protection, therapies and other health related services, parent partnership, guidance and information, the monitoring of SEN provision and inclusion administration, assessment and co-ordination. Also included is the funding delegated to primary and secondary schools identified as "notional SEN" and the individual schools budget (ISB) for special schools.
(8) The ISB for special schools will include some general education costs for pupils with SEN in addition to those costs specifically for SEN while the figures recorded against "notional SEN" are only indicative of the amount that might be spent by schools on SEN and, from 2004–05 onwards, "notional SEN" delegated to nursery schools was reported on Section 52 for the first time and this accounts for £2.7million and £3.3million of the 2004–05 and 2005–06 London totals respectively. In 2005–06, local authorities in London also budgeted £90million for SEN transport expenditure but this is not included in the above table as figures are not available prior to 2005–06.
1. Figures are as reported by the LEA in cash terms as at 10 October 2005 and are rounded to the nearest thousand pounds and may not sum due to rounding.
2. 2005–06 data is provisional and is subject to change by the local authority.

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