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13 Feb 2006 : Column 1563W—continued

Departmental Staff

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many staff employed by her Department live in Castle Point. [42814]

Maria Eagle: The numbers of staff employed in my Department who live in Castle Point are less than five.

Early Retirement

David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many of her Department's employees have taken early retirement due to ill-health in each of the past five years for which figures are available. [46870]

Maria Eagle: The numbers of employees in my Department who have taken early retirement due to ill-health in each of the past five calendar years are:
2005below 5

Engineering Academy

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment she has made of the merits of establishing an engineering academy. [46083]

Jacqui Smith: We are currently examining the possibility of a proposal to establish an academy in Staffordshire with a specialism in engineering and international business. During the current feasibility stage the project team is preparing detailed plans, including an educational vision, curriculum model and an outline building design. Consultation with the local community will also take place. At the end of the current feasibility stage we expect to sign a funding agreement with the project's sponsor.

Fuel Cell Technology

Mrs. Maria Miller: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what steps her Department is taking to encourage schools to use fuel cell technology. [50065]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 9 February 2006]: The Department is keeping a watching brief on the development of fuel cells. At the moment they are in prototype stage and too unreliable or expensive to be used in schools but future developments may make them a cost-effective replacement for boilers and for the internal combustion engine.
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Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will list secondary schools in England where the percentage contribution of BTEC first diplomas to the percentage of 15-year-olds achieving five plus A* to C grades at GCSE and equivalent was (a) 0.5 to 1 per cent., (b) 1 to 2 per cent., (c) 2 to 5 per cent., (d) 5 to 10 per cent., (e) 10 to 20 per cent., (f) 20 to 30 per cent. and (g) greater than 30 per cent. in 2005. [50944]

Jacqui Smith: The following table provides the information requested.
Schools where the difference between the proportion of 15-year-olds achieving the equivalent five or more A* to C grades and the proportion of 15-year-olds achieving the equivalent of five or more A* to C grades if BTEC first diploma achievements are ignored

(a) 1 percentage point difference
Writhlington SchoolBath and North
East Somerset
Vandyke Upper School and Community CollegeBedfordshire
Longhill High SchoolBrighton and Hove
Patcham House Special SchoolBrighton and Hove
Richard Lander SchoolCornwall
All Saints' Church of England School, WeymouthDorset
Royal Manor Arts CollegeDorset
The Causeway SchoolEast Sussex
Oaklands Catholic SchoolHampshire
Knightsfield SchoolHertfordshire
Rossendale SchoolLancashire
Cockburn College of ArtsLeeds
Joseph Ruston Technology CollegeLincolnshire
North Kesteven SchoolLincolnshire
St. Peter and St. Paul, Lincoln's Catholic High
School, A Science College
North Manchester High School for BoysManchester
Trinity CofE High SchoolManchester
Ounsdale High SchoolStaffordshire
Wolgarston High SchoolStaffordshire
Cheadle Hulme High SchoolStockport
Glebelands SchoolSurrey
Rodborough Technology CollegeSurrey
Woolmer Hill Technology CollegeSurrey
Aveling Park SchoolWaltham Forest
Studley High SchoolWarwickshire
(b) 2 percentage points difference
The Cedars Upper School and Community CollegeBedfordshire
Bishop Challoner Catholic SchoolBirmingham
Holte SchoolBirmingham
Treviglas Community CollegeCornwall
Staunton Park Community SchoolHampshire
Caistor Yarborough SchoolLincolnshire
Middlefield School of TechnologyLincolnshire
North Manchester High School for GirlsManchester
Wright Robinson Sports CollegeManchester
Stoke Damerel Community CollegePlymouth
Siddal Moor Sports CollegeRochdale
The Lakelands School and Sports CollegeShropshire
Broadwater SchoolSurrey
West Hill SchoolTameside
(c) 3 to 5 percentage points difference
The Roseland Community SchoolCornwall
Merrill CollegeDerby
Stoke Newington SchoolHackney
The Canterbury High SchoolKent
The Charles Dickens SchoolKent
Glenburn Sports CollegeLancashire
South Leeds High SchoolLeeds
The City of Lincoln Community CollegeLincolnshire
Plant Hill High SchoolManchester
St. Peter's RC High SchoolManchester
King's Manor School, Specialist Sports CollegeMiddlesbrough
Hereford Technology SchoolNorth East
Wintringham SchoolNorth East
Wyvern Community SchoolNorth Somerset
Norton CollegeNorth Yorkshire
Haydon Bridge Community High School and Sports
Sir Bernard Lovell SchoolSouth Gloucestershire
Pennywell SchoolSunderland
Bishop Challoner Catholic Collegiate Girls SchoolTower Hamlets
Ashton-on-Mersey SchoolTrafford
Lymm High Voluntary Controlled SchoolWarrington
(d) 6 to 10 percentage points difference
The Vyne Community SchoolHampshire
Upper Avon SchoolWiltshire
Failsworth SchoolOldham
Stourport High School-Language CollegeWorcestershire
BRIT School for Performing Arts and TechnologyCroydon
Northumberland Park Community SchoolHaringey
Lordswood Boys' SchoolBirmingham
Kings Heath Boys Mathematics and Computing
Thornton Grammar SchoolBradford
John Spence Community High SchoolNorth Tyneside
(e) 11 to 20 percentage points difference
Tulketh Community Sports CollegeLancashire
Swan Valley Community SchoolKent
Our Lady and St. Chad Catholic SchoolWolverhampton

1. In no schools was the difference greater than 14 percentage points.
2. Data are for all published schools.

13 Feb 2006 : Column 1565W

Grandparents (Access Rights)

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what guidance her Department provides to grandparents on remaining in contact with their grandchildren after a parental separation. [45881]

Maria Eagle: The Government's 'Parenting Plans' publication is available to parents, grandparents and other family members. They contain a checklist of issues that might usefully be considered, when planning contact and other arrangements following parental separation. My Department has recently revised the 'Parenting Plans' publication to include a range of case examples which indicate how others have reached agreement and to provide details of advisory services and agencies which families can turn to for advice.

In addition, my Department is undertaking work to make information available to grandparents and other relatives who are considering caring for a child. The Government has funded the Family Rights Group to develop advice sheets. Pages have also been added to the Every Child Matters website. These provide information on the legal arrangements for caring for a child by family and friends, parental responsibility, the availability of universal services and benefits and details of support that may be provided by local authorities. Further pages will be added to the Direct Gov website in the spring.
13 Feb 2006 : Column 1566W

Higher Education (Pay)

Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) how much the Government have allocated to higher education institutions to tackle unequal pay; [49138]

(2) what guidance has been given to the Higher Education Funding Council for England meet the Government's equal pay objectives. [49141]

Bill Rammell [holding answer 6 February 2006]: By 2006, the Government will have provided nearly £0.8 billion to higher education institutions through the Rewarding and Developing Staff (RDS) initiative, managed by the Higher Education Funding Council. Developing equal opportunity targets—encompassing the need address equal opportunity issues including equal pay for work of equal value—is one of the six priority areas for RDS. The KPMG evaluation of round 1 of RDS (2001–02 to 2003–04) showed that approximately £43 million (13 per cent. of the total round 1 allocation) was spent by HEIs on this priority area.

Overall funding available to institutions also influences what they can pay their staff. State expenditure on higher education will increase by around £2 billion between 2004–05 and 2007–08, taking total investment to almost £9.5 billion. Moreover the introduction of variable fees in 2006/07 will increase the funding available to the sector by an estimated further £1.35 billion per year, when it reaches steady state. It is, of course, a matter for individual institutions to decide how best to use the resources they have. The Government has provided guidance to the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), through its Grant Letters, on issues concerning equal opportunities—for example in the most recent letter (January 2006) we have asked HEFCE to continue to support institutions so that they can fulfil their statutory duties. We have not provided specific guidance on equal pay.

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