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Government Policy (Media Coverage)

Mr. Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what analysis her Department has conducted of print and broadcast media coverage of Government education policy in the past 12 months. [36873]

Bill Rammell: The Department does not conduct media analysis of Government education policy.

Graduate Earnings Premium

Greg Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what monitoring her Department conducts of the Graduate Earnings Premium; and if she will make a statement. [38167]

Bill Rammell [holding answer 20 December 2005]: The Department carefully monitors the labour market for graduates, including the earnings premium, using a variety of methods.

Over recent years we have commissioned a series of projects using independent researchers to investigate the wage benefits to different levels of qualifications. In addition, we have recently published The Class of '99"—a study of the labour market progress of 1999 graduates 1 . The Department also has strong links with relevant members of the academic and wider research community, to ensure awareness of all recent developments in the literature.

The latest evidence seems to indicate a small fall in the graduate premium in recent years. We don' know if this is a temporary reduction to a specific set of recent graduates—but even if confirmed the average premium would still remain comfortably over £100,000 across the lifetime of a graduate, in today's valuation, compared with a similar individual with 2+ A levels.

Serious academics agree that the earnings benefit to a degree remains substantial, and OECD data shows that the UK has one of the highest rates of return to higher education investment by international standards. But evidence also shows that we still need more graduates to meet the economy's future needs: projections suggest that 50 per cent. of the total new jobs required by 2012 are in occupations most likely to demand HE-qualified workers 2 .


Mrs. Dorries: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many British students have graduated from universities in England in each year since 1997; what percentage were entrants from (a) the state sector and (b) the independent sector; and if she will make a statement. [22921]

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Bill Rammell: The latest available figures for graduates are shown in the first table. Information for 2004/05 will be available in January 2006. The latest available information on the school background of higher education students covers young (aged under 21) entrants, and is shown in the second table. Figures for 2004/05 will be available in July 2006.
UK domiciled full-time and part-time first degree students graduating from English Institutions


Numbers have been rounded to the nearest 5.
"Students in Higher Education Institutions" published by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA).

UK domiciled young full-time first degree entrants to English Institutions

Of which proportion from:
Total entrantsStates schools and collegesIndependent schools

Performance indicators in Higher Education" published by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA).

Grammar Schools

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will make a statement on the future of grammar schools. [39918]

Jacqui Smith: We are clear that we are opposed to academic selection and do not wish to see it extended. Primary legislation already prevents the introduction of any new selection by ability and there will, therefore, be no new grammar schools. However, we believe that it is for local people to determine the future of grammar schools where they already exist and we have no plans to change the existing arrangements.

Health and Safety

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what guidelines her Department has issued concerning the observance of health and safety requirements in order to avoid compensation claims. [39797]

Maria Eagle: DfES issues Health and Safety information to staff through both the Departmental Health and Safety Policy Statement and four Site Safety Policy Statements. These documents set out clearly how health and safety is to be managed and controlled in the
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Department and the individual responsibilities placed on each member of staff to adhere to the requirements, the emphasis being the prevention of injury.

Key Stage Results

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the (a) mean and (b) median total point score in England was at (i) Key Stage 2, (ii) Key Stage 3 and (iii) GCSE in each year since 1995. [34745]

Jacqui Smith: The mean point scores for Key Stage 2 and GCSE for each year since 1995 are available in the House Library.

The mean point score for Key Stage 3 for each year since 2001 is available in the House Library.

The mean point score for Key Stage 3 for the years 1995–2000 can be provided only at disproportionate cost.

The median point scores for Key Stage 2, Key Stage 3 and GCSE can be produced only at disproportionate cost.


Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will make a statement on the inclusion of a Researching Your Ancestors element on the Learndirect website; and how much this has cost. [39868]

Phil Hope: The Researching your Ancestors article was included on the learndirect website to attract users to the site and to get them thinking about learning opportunities relating to the topic. Ufi does not pay to provide links from the learndirect website to other sites, or receive payment from third parties for the inclusion of their material on the learndirect website. All the links from the article on Researching Your Ancestors to other websites are free public information sites.

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the cost has been of the Learndirect Advice programme; and how many callers it has dealt with during 2005. [39869]

Phil Hope: Ufi, the organisation which runs the learndirect service, plays an important part in helping the Government deliver its Skills Strategy, by providing widespread access to world class learning through its learndirect e-learning network. In the academic year 2004/05, the latest period for which this information is available, the learndirect information and advice service received funding of £14 million. During this time, a total of 5.9 million web and telephone advice sessions were delivered, of which 789,000 were telephone sessions.

Learning and Skills Council

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills from which budget headings the Learning and Skills Council drew funds to finance the difference between its 2004–05 administration in budget and its actual expenditure on administration. [37120]

Bill Rammell: The total LSC Administration budget for 2004–05 was £248.6 million. This was made up as follows:
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£218.4 million allocated as part of the 2004–05 Grant Letter, and a further £30.2 million transferred from the Department during the year. The LSC actually spent £235.3 million, a saving of over £13 million. The following table illustrates this.

The additional £30.2 million Administration budget transferred to the LSC was mainly as a result of technical accounting changes to Depreciation and Cost of Capital Budgets, previously held centrally by the Department. There were also some minor increases to reflect additional work transferred to the LSC.
LSC Administration Budget 2004–05£ million
Initial Grant Letter Allocation218.4
Increase in Administration Budget in-year30.2
Administration Budget at year-end248.6
Administration spend from Accounts235.3
Administration underspend against Budget13.3

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many people are employed by the Learning and Skills Council in Gloucestershire; how many were employed (a) at its inception and (b) in each subsequent year; and how many people she expects it will employ after the proposed changes have taken effect. [37337]

Bill Rammell: The LSC is embarking upon a major transformation programme that will make it a smaller, more dynamic and more customer-focused organisation. This will build upon its existing strengths; further develop its relationships with providers and with its partners, and help push the highest proportion of its funding out through colleges and providers into front line delivery. At local level, the LSC will develop small teams of professional staff who will support the delivery of its priority objectives through strategic relationships with colleges, providers and other key stakeholders and so ensure that the needs of local employers and learners are met. I fully support the changes the LSC is making as I believe it will help bring about an organisation that is fit for purpose.

The effects on organisation and staffing are matters for the LSC. I have therefore asked Mark Haysom, the LSC's chief executive, to write to the hon. Gentleman with further information. A copy of his reply will be placed in the Library.

Letter from Mark Haysom, dated 21 December 2005:

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