Previous Section Index Home Page

24 Jan 2006 : Column 1968W—continued

Enterprise and Entrepreneurism

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what steps she is taking to expand the teaching of enterprise and entrepreneurism in schools in Staffordshire; and if she will make a statement. [43470]

24 Jan 2006 : Column 1969W

Phil Hope: The Department has allocated £60 million a year for the three academic years from September 2005 to support a new focus on enterprise education in all secondary schools in England. Fair Oak High School and Walton High School in Staffordshire were among the 700 schools which participated in our Enterprise Education Pathfinder programme that looked at various ways of delivering enterprise education and helped to produce our national guidance on enterprise education. The guidance is available at to support other schools in developing and improving their own practice. The Department is deciding with key partners how to offer further support to schools in the coming year.

Free School Milk

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will assess the merits of supplying free milk to secondary schools. [44908]

Jacqui Smith: We have no plans to assess the current availability of free milk in secondary schools.

There is no statutory requirement for milk to be provided in local authority maintained schools. It is a matter for local authorities and schools to decide. However, where a local authority provides milk, it must be free to pupils whose parents are in receipt of the following support payments: income support; income based jobseekers' allowance; support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999; child tax credit, provided that they are not entitled to working tax credit, and have an annual income (as assessed by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs) that from 6 April 2005 does not exceed £13,910; or the guarantee element of state pension credit. In addition, children who receive income support or income based jobseekers' allowance in their own right are entitled to free school milk where it is provided.

We acknowledge that milk can provide a valuable contribution to a balanced diet as well as being a healthier alternative to soft drinks. We plan to launch a suite of new nutritional standards for school food later in the spring, which will stipulate water, fruit juices and milk as the only available drinks in schools. The new standards will take into account appropriate levels of daily nutrient intake, including calcium.

Medical Students

Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what estimate she has made of the number of applicants to study medicine in each of the last five years. [37917]

Bill Rammell [holding answer 14 December 2005]: The latest available information is given in the table.
UK domiciled applicants to pre-clinical medicine at UK HE institutions

Year of entryApplicants
200311 ,920

Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).

24 Jan 2006 : Column 1970W

Home Tutors

James Duddridge: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what security checks an individual must pass through before working as a home tutor. [44285]

Ruth Kelly [holding answer 20 January 2006]: Individuals working as self employed home tutors are not able independently to obtain a Criminal Records Bureau disclosure as the application must be signed by a person who is entitled to ask an exempted question in relation to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act.

The Department strongly advises parents to check the background of home tutors by requesting references and checking a tutor's registration with the relevant General Teaching Council. Parents are also advised to make appropriate arrangements for a child who is receiving home tuition, for example having an adult present.

The Department is fully aware that parents have limited access to information. The new scheme to be implemented as part of the Bichard inquiry recommendations will allow parents to check whether an individual they wish to employ to work with their children, e.g. as a home tutor, is barred.

Indoor Airborne Chemicals

Mr. Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what research her Department has commissioned on the (a) quality and (b) type of indoor airborne chemicals in state primary schools. [43191]

Jacqui Smith: The Department has not commissioned any research examining the quality or type of indoor air chemicals in state primary schools.

Lifelong Learning

Dr. Francis: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what research the Government will (a) undertake and (b) commission to assess the selective effectiveness of measures to promote wider participation in lifelong learning in England. [43740]

Bill Rammell: The Department's research plans fully incorporate how effectively our policies widen participation in learning, especially in areas of 14 to 19 education, adult skills, and HE. Key policies aimed at increasing and widening participation in lifelong learning are subject to detailed evaluation to establish their effectiveness and to improve their delivery.

For example, in the context of widening participation in HE, Aimhigher is subject to a comprehensive evaluation strategy, organised in partnership with HEFCE and the LSC. It includes surveys of young people, educational providers and Aimhigher partnerships, all conducted by independent research organisations. The evaluation seeks to identify what works, and to use this to inform further policy development and delivery.

In the context of increasing participation in lifelong learning, the evaluation of the Employer Training Pilots uses a wide range of qualitative and quantitative techniques to assess their effectiveness including; surveys of participating employers and employees (early
24 Jan 2006 : Column 1971W
and follow-up), ETP providers, case studies of LLSCs and all key stakeholders, quantitative random surveys of employers, and surveys of eligible employees.

Other examples include the evaluations of the Union Learning Fund, IAG, and the Adult Learning Grant. Full details of the Department's research programme is available at the Research and Statistics Gateway" on the DfES website, including copies of completed and published research.

The Department will continue to assess the effectiveness of its policies aimed at widening participation and to share best practice among our partners in delivery.

National Foundation for Educational Research

Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills by what process the decision to commission and fund the National Foundation for Educational Research to conduct a trial of the US SAT test was taken; and what other assessments were considered for funded research. [43377]

Bill Rammell [holding answer 19 January 2006]: The research project into the validity of the use of the US-style SAT in university admissions was presented to the Department jointly by the Sutton Trust and the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER). The independent review of admissions to higher education (HE) chaired by Professor Steven Schwartz recommended in 2004 a research study to assess the idea of a national test of potential for HE. It noted that US-style SATs were worth exploring, alongside other possibilities, and welcomed the Sutton Trust's proposals for an operational pilot. Following the Department's standard procedures for the approval of research proposed and initiated by external organisations, a decision was taken to contribute up to £800,000 over the length of the five year study. The Sutton Trust, NFER and the College Board in America which owns the SAT, are also making significant contributions. The research will go further than assessing the effectiveness of SATs—it will also provide valuable data to assess how pastoral support and teaching methods affect student retention and progression. The Department has received no other formal costed proposals to fund research into other forms of assessment of potential for HE.

School Finance

Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the annual funding per pupil has been in (a) Hereford and (b) Leominster constituencies in each year since 1997. [44616]

Jacqui Smith: The Department does not collect information on school funding at constituency level. It only collects funding information at the local authority level. The figures for total funding increases in Herefordshire for pupils aged 3–19 in real terms since 1997 are shown in the table.
Herefordshire: Total revenue funding per pupil aged 3–19(4)

Funding per pupil

(4) Real terms, excluding the pensions transfer to Education Formula Spending and the Learning and Skills Council.
1. Price Base: Real terms at 2004–05 prices, based on GDP deflators as at 23 December 2005.
2. Figures reflect relevant sub-blocks of Standard Spending Assessment / Education Formula Spending (EFS) settlements and exclude the pensions transfer to EFS and LSC.
3. Total funding also includes all revenue grants in DfES Departmental Expenditure Limits relevant to pupils aged 3–19 and exclude education maintenance allowances (EMAs) and grants not allocated at LEA level.
4. The pupil numbers used to convert £ million figures to per pupil are those underlying the SSA/EFS settlement calculations plus PLASC 3-year-old maintained pupils and estimated 3 to 4-year-olds funded through state support in maintained and other educational institutions where these are not included in the SSA pupil numbers.
5. Rounding: Figures are rounded to the nearest 10.
6. Status: 2005–06 figures are provisional as some grants have not yet been finalised/audited.
7. 1997–98 figures for authorities subject to Local Government Reorganisation in that year have been estimated, pro-rata to their post LGR figures.

24 Jan 2006 : Column 1972W

Next Section Index Home Page