|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mr. Gauke: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what measures have been taken to extend the use of e-learning in further education colleges; and what effect these measures have had on staff/class contact time. 
Phil Hope: Since 1999 over £200 million has been invested in the Post 16 sector to support effective use of technology, initially through the National Learning Network and more recently through the Post 16 e-learning programme. The focus of the investment has been on:
Our current focus is on ensuring that FE college work force becomes competent and confident in using technology to support teaching and learning, as part of the wider Standards Unit work force development strategy.
Phil Hope: All schools offer access to e-learning resources within the school and the range of resources continues to grow. In 2004 (the latest year for which data is available) 94 per cent. of secondary schools and 55 per cent. of primary schools made their ICT facilities available to pupils outside school hours. Also, 20 per cent. of secondary schools and 6 per cent. of primary schools operated a computer loan scheme for their pupils.
Mr. Gauke: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what recent steps she has taken to modernise the further education estate; and what assessment she has made of the effect on costs of these measures. 
Bill Rammell: The Government set out the resources available for capital investment in the Learning and Skills Council's (LSC) annual grant letter. Funding will rise to £468.8 million in 200607. The majority of this budget is allocated to colleges by the LSC to invest in the modernisation of the estate. This investment helps secure efficiencies as higher quality, more flexible premises offer improvements in both running costs and floor space utilisation relative to the volume of learner activity.
We will be measuring efficiency gains from a range of specific initiatives which contribute to our Gershon efficiency target, including through modernisation of the FE estate. These are set out in our Efficiency Technical Note. In most cases, the gains are recyclable at the frontline into other activities rather than being clawed back by the Department. The Department is reporting progress towards our overall efficiency target through existing departmental reporting processes. We reported progress towards our target in the Department's autumn performance report and will report further progress in the departmental annual report which we expect to publish in April.
27 Feb 2006 : Column 530W
Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what investigations are planned to be undertaken into the assertion by Ms Sarah Forsyth, formerly a teacher at Eton, that she helped with cheating for pupil qualification; and if she will make a statement. 
Jacqui Smith: Ms Forsyth's assertion that she helped with cheating for pupil qualification was thoroughly investigated by Edexcel, the awarding body involved, at the time that it was made in accordance with agreed procedures. The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority statutory regulations and the A level code of practice require awarding bodies to investigate any instances of alleged malpractice and take such action as is necessary to maintain the integrity of the examination. The awarding body investigation found no evidence to substantiate Ms Forsyth's assertion and the case was subsequently closed.
Bill Rammell: We are interested in any proposals that result in adding value to European universitiespromoting excellence and ensuring Europe is prepared to respond to the challenge of globalisation. The UK response to the Commission's consultation on the idea of setting up a European Institute of Technology is available in the Library of the House.
Mr. Gauke: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what measures she has taken to improve the efficiency of public examinations; and what savings have been made as a consequence. 
Jacqui Smith: My Department is funding the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) to deliver the exams modernisation programme. The programme focuses on effective delivery of public examinations in schools and colleges. It provides support to staff in schools and colleges to administer exams. In addition, it aims to secure the timely delivery of exam scripts to examiners, address any examiner shortage issues and improve and promote the quality of assessment.
We will be measuring efficiency gains from a range of specific initiatives which contribute to our Gershon efficiency target, including the administration of public examinations. These are set out in our Efficiency Technical Note. In most cases, the gains are recyclable at the frontline into other activities rather than being clawed back by the Department. We reported progress towards our target in the Department's autumn performance report and will report further progress in the departmental annual report which we expect to publish in April.
27 Feb 2006 : Column 531W
John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will list examples of the sharing of expertise between special and mainstream schools, referred to on page 55 of the White Paper Higher Standards, Better Schools for All. 
Maria Eagle: There are many examples of special and mainstream schools working together to share expertise across the country. Some of these can be found in the Report of the Special Schools Working Group at www.teachernet.gov.uk/sen and in a report of a study undertaken on behalf of the Special Educational Needs Regional Partnership (South West) at www.sw-special.co.uk
Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much her Department has paid since 2004 to external consultants who had previously been employed by the Department in any capacity within the previous five years. 
Maria Eagle: Details of the fees paid to external consultants engaged since 2004 who have previously been employed by my Department within the previous five years, are not collected centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
Consultancy in this context is defined as investigating problems, providing analysis or advice, or assisting with the development of new systems, new structures or new capabilities within the organisation.
Bill Rammell: The summary information in section 8.14 of the 200405 Resource Accounts is drawn from the Department's accounting system. The Department has delegated responsibility for all aspects of external training to line managers and no central record of courses attended is maintained. The information requested could therefore be provided only at disproportionate cost.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|