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Bill Rammell [holding answer 17 March 2006]: The latest available information on graduate numbers is given in the following table. Latest figures published by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) for the years since 2004/05 show that entrants to chemistry courses are increasing: students entering full-time chemistry degree courses in autumn 2005 increased by 12.5 per cent. (compared to an overall rise for all subjects of 8.4 per cent.), and early figures for autumn 2006 entry show that applications for chemistry are up by 5.6 per cent. (compared to an overall fall in applications of 2.8 per cent.).
Mr. Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how the inclusion of Post-Graduate Certificate in Education students within the university fees regime will operate; and if she will make a statement. 
Jacqui Smith: From 2006 universities and colleges will be able to charge new students tuition fees which can vary between £0 and £3,000. This will replace the current flat rate fixed fee which is currently set at £1,175. The new higher variable fee applies to all students starting teacher training courses in 2006, including those starting a Post-Graduate Certificate of Education (PGCE) course. Universities charging the maximum fee will be required to offer bursaries to the poorest students. Students are not required to pay the fees up front and like all other new students, PGCE students are able to apply for a loan for the cost of the fees. The loans are repayable once a student has finished their course and is earning £15,000 or more.
Training bursaries for PGCE students have been increased for 2006/06, with £9,000 available for those training in a priority subject. Eligible low income PGCE students also receive a new maintenance grant of at least £1,200 and up to £2,700, depending upon an income assessment.
Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to the answer of 12 October 2005, Official Report, column 528W, on school performance measurements, if she will make a statement on recent progress of the piloting of the inclusion of a contextualised value-added measure in the achievement and attainment tables. 
The secondary school achievement and attainment tables contextual value added (CVA) pilot is currently being evaluated. The pilot tables, showing CVA measures for the 430 schools that volunteered to take part in the pilot, were published on 19 January
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2006. An evaluation questionnaire was made available on the Department's website and officials have held a series of evaluation conferences with pilot schools and local authorities. I hope to be in a position to announce the outcome of the pilot and the content of the 2006 tables next month.
Mr. Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills whether her Department maintains a record of the teacher recruitment incentives available to newly qualified teachers in respect of payment of student debt. 
Jacqui Smith: The Repayment of Teachers' Loans (RTL) scheme repays the student loans of eligible teachers of priority subjects who have been accepted onto the scheme. Newly qualified teachers were accepted onto the scheme between 2002 and 30 June 2005 when it was closed to new applicants, except those who were unable to obtain employment before 30 June 2005 because they were pregnant or had recently given birth. The scheme is administered by the Student Loans Company (SLC) which holds records of individual cases.
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to the answer of 27 February 2006, Official Report, column 595W, on student debt/loans, if she will break down the total figure given for estimated student loans that will be written off into the categories to which she refers. 
Bill Rammell: Of the £2.47 billion (face value) loans issued to students in FY 200405, we estimate that over the lifetime of those loans we will write off some £50 million due to the death or permanent disability of borrowers and some £74 million for borrowers whose income does not reach the statutory repayment threshold.
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment she has made of whether there have been delays to the award of qualifications arising from the industrial action taken by university lecturers; and if she will make a statement. 
We have made no such assessment. It is a matter for higher education institutions (HEIs), as autonomous bodies, to consider how best they can minimise the adverse effects of the current dispute. HEIs are responsible for determining their own academic and administrative affairs, including deciding what to pay their own staff. Pay and conditions of service are subject to negotiations between employers, their staff and their representative trade union bodies. The Government plays no part in this.
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Mr. Bone: To ask the Leader of the House pursuant to his oral answer of 9 March 2006, Official Report, column 959, how many of the 1,500 nurses, 670 doctors and 250 consultants are serving the constituents of the hon. Member for Wellingborough. 
Mr. Hoon: The information requested is not collected in that form. My oral answer of 9 March 2006, Official Report, column 959, covered nurses, doctors and consultants serving his constituents" from the Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Rutland strategic health authority.
Nick Harvey: Rather than offset, the concentration of effort has been on more efficient energy use. Some good progress has been made. For example new more efficient boilers were installed on the Estate in 2004 and currently feasibility work is under way to assess methods to increase the level of renewable energy used across the Estate. The Carbon Trust has been working in partnership with the Parliamentary Estates Directorate (PED) to help reduce carbon dioxide emissions, help reduce energy consumption and develop a corporate strategy for the management of carbon dioxide. The PED will shortly be discussing a new partnership with the Carbon Trust to start in April 2006. The Commission expects to review progress in this area and consider how far carbon offset is desirable or possible before the summer recess.
Miss Widdecombe: To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission what recent assessment he has made of the performance of the Parliamentary Information and Communication Technology Service. 
The Parliamentary ICT service (PICT) came into existence on 1 January 2006, bringing together IT functions that had previously been managed separately. It is therefore too early to make an overall assessment of its performance. The Director of PICT is always ready to discuss areas of particular concern with individual hon. Members.
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