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29 Nov 2005 : Column 483W—continued

Learning and Skills Council

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to the answer of 18 October 2005 to the hon. Member for Fareham (Mr. Hoban), Official Report, column 962W, on the Learning
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and Skills Council, what (a) level 4, (b) level 5 and (c) higher education courses the Learning and Skills Council funded in 2003–04. [24986]

Bill Rammell: The Learning and Skills Council funded a wide range of non-prescribed higher education at level 4, 5 and higher education in 2003/04, including national vocational qualifications; diplomas (including graduate and postgraduate diplomas); graduateship, associateship and fellowship qualifications; qualifications in teaching further education; and other professional and management qualifications.

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what plans she has to introduce Ofsted inspections for the Learning and Skills Council. [33037]

Jacqui Smith: The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) is a non-departmental public body, responsible for funding and planning education and training for over 16-year-olds. It is not itself a learning provider, and is not therefore subject to inspection by Ofsted or the adult learning inspectorate (ALI), although the provision it funds is.

National Skills Academies

Jim Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Bognor Regis and Littlehampton (Mr. Gibb) of 17 November 2005, Official Report, column 1456W, on national skills academies, if she will set out the individuals, companies and other bodies who will be preparing the business plans for the first four sectors of the National Skills Academy programme. [32365]

Phil Hope: Each of the four proposals to develop National Skills Academies now moving into detailed business planning are led by the appropriate sector skills council. The sector skills councils are construction skills, the financial services sector skills council, improve (covering the food and drink manufacturing sector) and SEMTA which is leading the development of the proposal for a Manufacturing National Skills Academy.

In the four sectors a number of well-known companies have been involved in developing the proposals for National Skills Academies. This includes Bovis Lend Lease and Kier Homes (construction), Nationwide Building Society and Norwich Union (financial services) Northern Foods plc and Youngs Bluecrest Seafood Ltd (food and drink) Filtronics Components Ltd and Caterpillar (manufacturing). We expect that each of the sector skills councils will continue to work with these employers and to engage others across the sector as they develop their detailed business plans with the Learning and Skills Council. I will ask Mark Haysom, chief executive of the Learning and Skills Council to write to my hon. Friend with full details of the employers involved in the first National Skills Academies, once business plans have been agreed.

National Vocational Qualifications

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assistance the Government are giving adults to pursue national vocational qualifications; and if she will make a statement. [31299]

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Phil Hope [holding answer 23 November 2005]: The second skills White Paper, Skills: Getting on in business, getting on in work" published in March 2005, reaffirmed our commitment that all individuals—whether employed or not can get the skills and qualifications they need for sustained and rewarding work, and for personal growth in order for them to maximise their contribution to their communities and society.

The Learning and Skills Council heavily subsidises adults undertaking national vocational qualifications—currently at least 72.5 per cent. of the course fees are paid from public funds. In addition it provides free tuition to those adults who have not yet achieved a first full Level 2 qualification, equivalent to five good GCSEs or an NVQ2. Today, there are around 10 million adults in England who lack a full Level 2 qualification and it is vital for the nation's social and economic future that they receive the help and support they need to achieve a platform of skills for employability. The Government's target is to reduce the number of people in the workforce lacking a full Level 2 or equivalent qualification by 40 per cent. (3.6 million) by 2010.

There are a number of other assistance channels for adult learners, which, depending upon individual circumstances, could include an adult learning grant which pays up to £30 a week for those on low incomes studying full-time (defined as at least 12 hours per week) for a first full Level 2 and for a first Level 3 for those between 19–30, access to an integrated information and advice service through learndirect and local nextstep services, additional help from Learner Support Funds for those who need extra help with child care, transport costs and other costs of learning, and skills coaching from April 2005 (in eight Jobcentre Plus areas) offering intensive personal guidance service for adults on inactive and active benefits to help them move into sustainable employment

Pre-school Education

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will make a statement on trends in (a) emotional and social development and (b) linguistic skills in pre-school children. [31419]

Beverley Hughes [holding answer 24 November 2005]: 2004 is the first year for which full official results for the foundation stage profile are available. These show that, across England as a whole, 83.7 percent. of children achieved a score of 18 or higher across the three assessment scales within the personal, social and emotional development area of learning, while 77.4 percent. achieved a total of 24 or higher across the four assessment scales within the communications, language and literacy area of learning. Children assessed as scoring six points on any assessment scale within the foundation stage profile are working securely within a wide range of goals across a broad curriculum.

We shall continue to monitor trends within the foundation stage profile results in the future.
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Results from the Sure Start Language Measure (SSLM) show a significant rise in the percentage of children with both high word scores and parents free from concern about their child's language, rising from 70 percent. in 2001 to 76 percent. in 2004. Results from the 2005 SSLM national data collection are still being analysed.


Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what steps her Department is taking to encourage schools to select pupils by aptitude. [33229]

Jacqui Smith: It is for schools' admission authorities to determine whether they wish to adopt such arrangements.

Mr. Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what research her Department has undertaken into the relationship between a school's admissions policy and its stated ethos. [32721]

Jacqui Smith: My Department has not commissioned research into the relationship between a school's admission policy and its ethos.

Mr. Pelling: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what proportion of the Transforming Youth Work (Development Funding) funding stream from the Government Office for London was made available to the London borough of Croydon in 2004–05. [32280]

Maria Eagle: London borough of Croydon received £57,666 in 2004/05 from the Transforming Youth Work Development Fund. Croydon's proportion of the London regional allocation (£1,340.876) was 4.3 per cent.

Mrs. Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what guidance is given to local authorities when tendering for school transport on ensuring confidentiality of the identity of young people. [31648]

Maria Eagle: Confidentiality of information is governed by the Data Protection Act 1998. Further advice is contained in the Disability Rights Commission code of practice for schools. This recognises that information is often needed in order for authorities to make reasonable adjustments to cater for the transport requirements of a child with special needs. It explains that schools should seek the necessary consents before passing such information on. It is also clear that, should a request for confidentiality under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 be made, information may not, from that point, be passed on for the purposes of making reasonable adjustments.

Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how the role of the Northamptonshire local education authority will change as a result of the proposals in the recent schools White Paper. [31918]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 28 November 2005): The White Paper sets out an enhanced role for local authorities as the champions of parents and pupils,
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rather than the direct provider of school places. Local authorities will have new powers to commission school places and to intervene where provision is poor.

We expect all local authorities, including Northamptonshire to take on this role. However it will be for Northamptonshire local authority to determine their priorities on the basis of local need, and in accordance with relevant statutory provisions and guidance.

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