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Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much was spent on information technology (IT) sourced from outside his Department in each of the last five years; who is responsible for such projects in his Department; and what IT (a) expertise and (b) qualifications they possess. 
Phil Hope: The information as requested is not readily available centrally within the Department for Education and Skills. To respond fully would involve an extensive internal and external information collection exercise which would exceed the recommended disproportionate cost threshold.
However, to be helpful, I refer the hon. Member to the answers given by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Children Young People and Families on 13 June 2005, Official Report, column 192W; and, 3 November 2005, Official Report, column 1314W.
Mrs. Ellman: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many redundancies he expects to take place as a consequence of the restructuring of the Merseyside Learning and Skills Council. 
Bill Rammell: The Learning and Skills Council is undertaking a major restructuring programme designed to streamline the organisation and give local offices a more strategic role. The changes are expected to require 1,100 fewer staff across the whole organisation, and the LSC is doing all it can to avoid making compulsory redundancies.
Mark Haysom, the chief executive of the Learning and Skills Council, has written to the hon. Member explaining the more detailed arrangements for Greater Merseyside and a copy of his reply has been placed in the House Libraries.
I write further to your question to the Secretary of State for Education and Skills on restructuring at Greater Merseyside LSC.
It is currently not possible to give a figure for the number of redundancies in any part of the LSC although it is our policy to ensure that we minimise the number of job losses wherever possible. In Merseyside, we are proposing that the 106 staff presently employed will reduce to 40. Although this initially looks like a significant reduction, job losses in real terms will be much smaller. As part of our restructuring, we are ensuring that where it makes sense to carry out an activity at 9 regional sites as opposed to 47 individual sites, we will do so. A number of the roles presently carried out at the Greater Merseyside LSC will transfer to the North West Regional Centre, but will continue to support the Greater Merseyside LSC. The North West Regional Centre will be established in Manchester, which is approximately 35 miles from the Greater Merseyside LSC.
At the same time, we are recruiting staff into new roles both in Greater Merseyside and in the North West Regional Centre, which will also have an impact on the final number of redundancies. In addition, we are seeking volunteers for early
retirement or voluntary severance. We have had 47 applications for voluntary severance from staff at the Merseyside office and all have been supported.
I trust this answers your question.
Jim Knight: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given on 11 May 2006, Official Report, column 472W, which states the basis on which Mr. Smith was employed by the DfES. Mr. Smith was first employed through Veredus Resourcing on 5 January 2004 under contract to support the City Academy, Bristol.
Phil Hope: The Department welcomes the priority attached to skills in the Northern Way's Business Plan. We are committed to working with the Northern Way partners to ensure each of the Regional Economic Strategies for Yorkshire and Humber, the North West and North East are mutually reinforcing and maximise the opportunities offered by cross-regional working.
The Northern Way is a pan-regional growth strategy being taken forward by the three northern Regional Development Agencies and their partners. Its work has potential to play an important role in delivering Government's Regional Economic Performance Public Service Agreement. The Department for Communities and Local Government co-ordinates Government involvement with the Northern Way. The Department for Education and Skills works with the Northern Way where its activities relate to our responsibilities.
Jim Knight: Over the past few years the Department has both commissioned and jointly funded external studies to examine the benefits and potential barriers to out-of-classroom learning. We have commissioned a survey of schools and local authorities to assess the extent of education outside the classroom, gather their views on the benefits and look at some of the barriers. The results will be published in the autumn.
The Department has recently supported an Ofsted survey to be published in the autumn of effective
fieldwork practice in schools and how this supports pupils' motivation and learning in geography. As part of the emerging Education Outside the Classroom Manifesto, 10 working groups of leading organisations from different out-of-classroom learning sectors (including field studies) submitted reports to the Department on the benefits of out-of-classroom learning, barriers to participation and practical recommendations to remove those barriers.
John Hemming: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what plans he has to encourage the take-up of (a) high speed mobile technology and (b) other wireless technology in the education system to enhance personalised learning for students; and if he will make a statement. 
Phil Hope: The Department encourages the appropriate use of a range of technologies, including high-speed mobile and wireless, to enable improvements in personalised learning, teaching and institutional management.
Secondly, to support access to resources from outside the institution, Becta (British Educational Communications and Technology Agency) will this year carry out an investigation into the potential future use of WiMAX wireless microwave access technologies, as well as continuing discussions with mobile operators about the use of future generation wireless telecommunications technologies.
a pilot of an ultra-mobile personal computer (UMPC) with schools in Nottingham and Southwell
work with Traveller children in Leicestershire to enable pupils to access their work and keep in touch using laptops and GPRS general packet radio service connectivity
use of mobile units (equipped with laptops and GPRS) in the East Midlands to deliver courses in locations without internet connections e.g. church halls
use of mobile telephony in Essex to support the curriculum
a pilot in Babington Community College in Leicester to test the potential of using wireless technology with a group of students and their families in a deprived area
the Learning2Go project in Wolverhampton, involving provision of handheld devices to 1,100 students and their teachers across a range of institutions.
John Penrose: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what percentage of schoolchildren in North Somerset meet the Governments target of two hours physical education each week in schools. 
Data from the 2004/05 survey of schools in school sport partnerships found that 75 per cent. of five to 16-year-olds in North Somerset took part in at least two hours high quality PE and school sport each
week. This means that schools in North Somerset have reached the Governments PSA public service agreement target a year early.
Joan Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment he has made of the contribution of science and geography field courses in schools to sustainable development goals. 
Jim Knight: The Department works closely with organisations such as the Field Studies Council (FSC), National Association of Field Study Officers (NAFSO), Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), Geographical Association and Association for Science Education on field work in schools. As part of the emerging Education Outside the Classroom Manifesto, a group of leading organisations from the fieldwork sector (including those listed) submitted a report to the Department on the benefits of fieldwork including its contribution to sustainable development education.
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many (a) EU foreign nationals and (b) non-EU foreign nationals have been employed in his Department in each of the last five years; what vetting procedures are in place for each category of staff; and whether those procedures include liaison with foreign law enforcement agencies. 
All potential new appointments to DfES are subject to nationality, passport, proof of identity and reference checks before contracts of employment are issued. The need for an individual to undergo national security vetting, and the level of vetting that is appropriate depends on the particular post they are going to fill. For example, all post holders in Private Office, Board Members Offices and the Security Team are vetted. Individuals who need regular access to Downing street and/or the Palace of Westminster are also vetted as are people who require substantial access to Secret and Top Secret assets.
Mrs. Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many students with four A grade A-Levels were refused places to study (a) medicine, (b) dentistry and (c) veterinary science in 2005; and if he will make a statement. 
The information requested is not held centrally. Admissions policies and practices are entirely
the responsibility of the higher education institutions. The Government have no remit over admissions although they do have a legitimate interest in ensuring that admissions are fair and command the confidence of prospective students, parents and teachers.
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what security measures are taken when (a) civilians join the Army Parachute Association (APA) and (b) civilian members of the APA use military airfields. 
Mr. Watson: The Ministry of Defence does not undertake any security measures/vetting procedures in relation to civilians joining the Army Parachute Association (APA) as it is a private club and it would be inappropriate for us to do so.
When civilian members of the APA use military airfields they undergo security procedures similar to those which apply to any visitors entering any Ministry of Defence establishment. This includes booking in at the establishment's Guard House, and producing proof of identity and membership of the APA.
Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) at Aldermaston spent on hydrodynamic testing in each of the last 20 years; and how many scientists were employed by AWE on hydrodynamic testing of nuclear weapons in each year. 
Des Browne: Over the past 20 years, Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) has spent approximately £5 million per year on hydrodynamic testing. The number of scientists employed by AWE on hydrodynamic testing over the past 20 years has remained stable at around 70, although not all are employed exclusively on these activities.
Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the (a) process and (b) timescale will be for the disposal of the married quarters accommodation associated with the Ballykelly army base. 
Mr. Watson: As announced by my right hon. Friend, the Minister of State for the Armed Forces, on 10 May 2006, Shackleton Barracks Ballykelly is scheduled for closure as part of the on-going normalisation programme. It will then be passed to Defence Estates (DE)the Ministry of Defence (MOD) agency responsible for the defence estatefor disposal no later than April 2008. This will include the associated married quarters.
DE will trawl the property under local arrangements. These allow for surplus MOD sites in Northern Ireland to be offered to Northern Ireland Government Departments before being offered to former owners or on the open market.
Mrs. Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which Minister in his Department is responsible for monitoring his Departments compliance with its duty under section 74 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 to have regard to the purpose of conserving biological diversity in carrying out its functions; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Watson: As the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence, I have ministerial responsibility for the defence estate which includes the monitoring of the Departments obligations under section 74 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000.
Mrs. Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps his Department plans to take to monitor the extent to which public bodies which report to him comply, from October, with their duty to conserve biodiversity in exercising their functions, under section 40 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006. 
Mr. Watson: This Department is currently establishing which public bodies reporting to the Secretary of State for Defence will be required to comply with section 40 of Natural Environment and Rural Communities (NERC) Act 2006. We will develop audit and review mechanisms to ensure compliance as appropriate.
Mr. Watson: Information on ethnicity is collected on a voluntary basis. As there are less than five individuals from black and Asian backgrounds currently employed in the Ministry of Defence press office, the precise number has been withheld to preserve the individuals' confidentiality. The total number of people employed in the Department's press office, as at 25 May, was 23. This excludes the Director of News, who has wider responsibilities than overseeing the press office.
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