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Phil Hope: The Department is committed to ensuring that everyone has the skills he or she needs to be employable and personally fulfilled. Our 1419 and Skills White Papers set out our strategies for ensuring that education and training meets the needs of employers.
The Staffordshire Learning and Skills Council (LSC) is responsible for the effective planning and funding of learning to raise the skills of the workforce and the potential workforce. It engages through the year with providers and employers to ensure that provision matches employer skills demands.
The LSC funded National Employer Skills Survey 2003 (NESS 2003) showed that Staffordshire was in line with the West Midlands and England in having just 4 per cent. of employers reporting skill shortage vacancies.
Jim Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many and what percentage of students achieved five or more A* to C grade GCSEs at Westgate College, Newcastle in (a) the three years before Newcastle city council announced that it was to be closed and replaced by a city academy and (b) 2005. 
Jacqui Smith [holding answer 28 November 2005]: The information for the three years prior to the announcement in November 2004 are given in the following table. Figures for 2005 are not available at school level until the publication of the School and College Achievement and Attainment Tables in January 2006.
|Number of 15-year-olds achieving 5+ A*-C at GCSE and equivalent||Percentage of 15-year-olds achieving 5+ A*-C at GCSE and equivalent|