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21 Mar 2006 : Column 217W—continued

Education Act 2002

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many schools are a qualifying school for the purposes of chapter 2 of the Education Act 2002. [59325]

Jacqui Smith: The provisions set out in chapter 2 of the Education Act (2002) conferring exemptions related to school performance, have not yet been commenced. Regulations setting out which schools are qualifying schools" have not been made. As such, no schools are qualifying schools" for the purposes of these provisions. We are keeping the provisions under review.

Energy Efficiency

Mrs. Dorries: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what steps she is taking to increase energy efficiency within her Department; and if she will make a statement. [60325]

Bill Rammell: The Department is taking the following steps to increase energy efficiency:

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Examination Boards

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what research her Department has commissioned into the effects of competition on examination boards. [59503]

Jacqui Smith: The Secretary of State has not commissioned any research into the effects of competition on awarding bodies. Responsibility for regulating qualifications and ensuring standards are maintained in England lies with the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA). The QCA keeps the qualifications system under review, and published in 2004 a study of the market for qualifications which looked at the structure of the marketplace and the drivers for change.

GCSE grades

Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what proportion of children in (a) Tameside and (b) Stockport local education authority achieved five or more GCSEs at (i) grade A*-C and (ii) grade A*-G in each year since 1997. [58011]

Jacqui Smith: The information requested is presented in the following table.
GCSE and equivalent(9) achievements of 15-year-old pupils

(i) Percentage of 15-year-old pupils achieving 5 or more grades A*-C
Stockport local authority(13)
Tameside local authority(13)37.738.440.542.
LA maintained total(13)42.543.645.747.047.949.551.152.054.7
England (all schools)45.146.347.949.250.051.652.953.756.3
(ii) Percentage of 15-year-old pupils achieving 5 or more grades A*-G
Stockport local authority(13)91.690. 491.690.991.989.990.689.990.2
Tameside local authority(13)86.289. 290.590.990.589.390.089.690.5
LA maintained total(13)87.088. 089.389.689.689.689.489.789.9
England (all schools)86.487. 588.588.988.988.988.888.889.0

(9)From 1997, figures include results of GCSE and GNVQ qualifications.
(10)From 2004, figures include results of GCSE and all other equivalent qualifications approved for use pre-16.
(11)From 2005, figures also include results of graded exams.
(12)Figures for 2005 are revised; final figures will be published later in 2006.
(13)The figures for each LA, and the LA maintained total include LA maintained schools, CTCs and, from 2003, academies, England (all schools) figures include all schools.

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Graduate Teacher Programme

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much funding her Department has provided to the Graduate Teacher Programme in each year since the programme's creation. [59513]

Jacqui Smith: The Graduate Teacher Programme (GTP) is managed by the Training and Development Agency for Schools (IDA). The GTP was initially established on a small scale in 1998 but was expanded significantly in 2001. The TDA also manages three other smaller employment based initial teacher training schemes. These are the registered teacher, overseas-trained teacher, and teach first programmes. More than 90 per cent. of current TDA expenditure on employment based initial teacher training is incurred on the GTP.

The Department for Education and Skills funds the TDA. The TDA has discretion as to how it distributes these funds in support of its statutory functions. The following table shows the amount of funding for employment based initial teacher training included within total funding provided by the DfES to the TDA from 1998–99 onwards.
£ million

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what response her Department has made to the Ofsted report on the Graduate Teacher Programme; and if she will make a statement. [59514]

Jacqui Smith: I have asked officials to discuss the report's findings and recommendations with the Training and Development Agency for schools.

Learning and Skills Council

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what support the Learning and Skills Council offers to adults who have held a level 2 qualification for more than 20 years and who wish to study for a new qualification at the same level but in a different subject area. [60263]

Phil Hope: The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) has an extensive range of support to meet the different types of learners' needs, this includes those who already hold a full level 2 qualification and would like to study at the same level. In 2006/07, unless the individual is within an exempt category, the assumed fee contribution of individuals will be 32.5 per cent. Consequently, the LSC will offer substantial financial support to repeat level 2 learners by funding 67.5 per cent. of the total cost of the tuition fees. Individuals can also benefit from access to discretionary learner support funds; this could include assistance with the costs of transport and child care. Also available is a commercial bank loan to support the costs of learning and there is
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access for all to information and advice through an integrated service. This includes information and advice through learndirect and through local nextstep services.

Those exempt from fees in further education are: 16–18-year-olds; unemployed people in receipt of jobseeker's allowance; those in receipt of income-based benefits; the unwaged dependants of those listed; and, asylum seekers in receipt of equivalent income-based benefit and their dependants.

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what systems are in place in the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) to ensure that national, regional and local plans are adjusted to take account of research findings about learning and skills commissioned by (a) the LSC and (b) other organisations. [60265]

Bill Rammell: The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) is responsible for identifying national and local learning and skills needs, and for setting and implementing strategies and plans for meeting those needs. Good information on labour market and skills trends is essential for the council's work in steering post-16 education and skills provision. In developing its plans the LSC takes account of a wide range of information about current and future skill needs, including the national employer skills survey, research into learner and employer views of learning, and data contained in the Working Futures 2004 to 2014 reports, commissioned by the Sector Skills Development Agency (SSDA). The LSC is also required to consult and take account of the plans of other organisations, including local authorities and the regional development agencies, and, at the national level, sector skills councils help to identify the skills that are needed for each sector.

Each year the LSC produces an annual statement of priorities. Plans are then formally reviewed throughout the year by the LSC's management group, and adjustments are made in the light of changing priorities if necessary. Changes to the LSC's internal organisation will further strengthen its research capacity, and ensure even more effective delivery against individual and employer needs at national, regional and local level.

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what systems are in place to enable good practice in one Learning and Skills Council (LSC) area to be shared with other local LSCs outside their region. [60266]

Bill Rammell: Staff from local Learning and Skills Councils (LSCs) meet regularly to exchange and develop good practice and the LSC publishes a range of documents which contain best practice examples. Both the LSC's annual statement of priorities and annual report include examples of case studies illustrating what has worked well in local areas. All LSC documents can be accessed through the reading room on the LSC's website

The LSC also works with existing provider networks and the Association of Colleges and the Association of Learning Providers to help share best practice through their members.

In addition, the LSC manages and funds the Skills and Enterprise Network website ( This has over 8,000 members, representing a
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very broad range of institutions, including the LSC national and local offices, universities, colleges, training providers, national and local government, policy organisations, local authorities, schools and research institutions. The aim of the newsletter and web pages is to provide easy access to up-to-date information on education, training and learning, including research and labour market information; and to enable the sharing of good practice in teaching and quality improvement between providers.

The new LSC structure will enhance the LSC's ability to share best practice through the new partnership teams feeding into the regional structure. This will be strengthened with the development of regional quality improvement partnerships.

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