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10 Jan 2006 : Column 518W—continued


Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what measures her Department is taking to ensure that schools set pupils by ability; [40373]

(2) what advice her Department offers teachers on the best methods of setting pupils by ability. [39513]

Jacqui Smith: It is for schools to use their own professional judgment to decide when and how to group pupils and set by ability. We have encouraged schools to use setting since 1997, and putting children in ability groups within a class is now commonplace in primary schools. In secondary schools the majority of lessons in English, maths, science and modern foreign languages are set by ability.
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The Department has commissioned research to illustrate effective school practice on setting pupils by ability which will report early this year. This will provide the raw materials for any further advice or guidance on setting.

Through the National Strategies and our Gifted and Talented programme we will continue to offer advice and guidance to schools on classroom practice so that they can make decisions about where and how to use pupil setting as part of their overall commitment to personalising and tailoring learning to meet the needs of all their pupils.

Specialist Schools

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many and what proportion of secondary schools are specialist schools in (a) arts, (b) business and enterprise, (c) engineering, (d) humanities, (e) language, (f) mathematics and computing, (g) music, (h) science, (i) sports and (j) technology. [40727]

Jacqui Smith: There are currently 2,375 designated specialist schools covering 10 specialisms across all curriculum subject areas. This represents just over 75 per cent. of all secondary schools. The numbers in each specialism, and the proportion they represent, are as follows:
Business and Enterprise2016.5
Mathematics and Computing2066.6

Additionally, there are 70 (2.3 per cent.) schools that have chosen a specialism combining two of the subjects and 12 special schools designated in one of the new SEN specialisms.

Student Loans

Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many people in London applied for a student loan in the last five years. [40393]

Bill Rammell: Latest data on the numbers of student applying for support domiciled in London 1 who were eligible for an income-contingent loan for academic years 2000/01 to 2004/05 (provisional) are given in the table.

Academic yearStudents eligible for a loan (000s)

(17) Provisional.
Student Loans Company (SLC)

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Data specifically on student loan applications are not available, therefore, numbers of applicants eligible for a loan have been provided. Applications for loans will be marginally higher than numbers of applicants eligible for a loan.

Sure Start

Mr. Graham Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many children are participating in the Sure Start programme in Beverley and Holderness. [39584]

Beverley Hughes: There is one Sure Start children's centre in Beverley and Holderness. Withernsea Children's Centre has 687 children under five within its catchment area. East Riding of Yorkshire council is planning to develop further centres in this constituency between April 2006 and March 2008. By March 2010 all children under five in the area will be able to access children's centre services as part of the Government's commitment to extend the programme across the whole of England.

University Entrance

Jon Trickett: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many young people went to university from secondary schools in (a) Minsthorpe, (b) Hemsworth, (c) Featherstone, (d) Kettlethorpe and (e) Crofton in each of the last five years. [38137]

Bill Rammell: Information on the number of pupils from individual small towns and villages is not held by the Department. The five areas mentioned all lie within the Hemsworth constituency. The latest available figures on participation by constituency were published by the Higher Education Funding Council for England in January 2005 in Young Participation in England", which is available from their website at: This shows the number of young entrants (aged 18 or 19) participating in higher education for the years 1997 to 2000. The figures for the Hemsworth constituency are shown in the table.
Higher Education entrants and young participation rate (YPR(A)) for Hemsworth constituency

Participation rate (YPR(A))(19) (%)
Year cohortEntrants(18)HemsworthEngland

(18) Figures are rounded to the nearest 10.
(19) Figures are rounded to the nearest 1 per cent.
Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE)

Vulnerable Minors

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what monitoring her Department undertakes of vulnerable (a) children and (b) young adults placed by social services departments outside their own local authority area; and if she will make a statement. [39290]

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Maria Eagle: Monitoring of vulnerable children or young adults placed outside of their own authority area is not undertaken centrally. For children looked after, including those placed out-of-authority, arrangements for care planning and the review and monitoring of care planning are a matter for the local authority which is responsible for looking after them. This includes a requirement, where a child is placed in another authority's area, to inform the local authority and the primary care trust (PCT) or, if there is no PCT, the health authority for the area in which the child is placed. Where young people are care leavers, the authority responsible for their care has a duty to stay in touch with them and plan for their support, wherever they are living.

The Department's annual volume of statistics for children looked after as at 31 March by local authorities in England includes data on children placed outside their own authority boundary. The latest statistical volume is available at:

Work Placements

Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will amend the Education (Student Support) Regulations 2005 to allow students undertaking full year unpaid work placements as part of their degree to receive the higher rate of loan from the Student Loan Company. [39305]

Bill Rammell: We have no plans to amend the Regulations. The amount of support for living costs that is available via grants and loans to higher education students is related to the number of weeks of full-time study in the academic year. Students on sandwich course placements are eligible for lower rates of support because they are normally expected to receive a salary from the firm or organisation with whom they have been placed. However, students on certain full-year unpaid placements in the public or voluntary sectors, which are specified in the Regulations, are entitled to receive full-time rates of student support, subject to the standard income assessment process.


Administrative Costs

Mr. Salmond: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the administrative costs were of each non-departmental public body for which he has responsibility in the last year for which figures are available; what the total of such costs was in that year; and whether the costs are regarded for the purposes of public expenditure statistical analyses as (a) identifiable and (b) non-identifiable. [40062]

John Healey: The Treasury has responsibility for two advisory non departmental public bodies, the Statistics Commission and the Public Services Productivity Panel.
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Information on the Statistics Commission's costs, which are non identifiable, is set out in that body's 2004–05 annual accounts, copies of which are in the Library and accessible via–05.pdf

The Public Services Productivity Panel does not have any administration costs. Panel members' expenses are met by the Treasury but cannot be disaggregated.

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