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11 July 2006 : Column 1705W—continued

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much the Department has spent in providing support for children and families affected by alcoholism in each of the last five years. [79326]

Beverley Hughes: DfES do not provide specific funding for this area of work. However, local partnerships have used a range of funding streams to develop and support children and families affected by alcoholism, including the Adult Pooled Treatment Budget, Young People's Substance Misuse Partnership Grant, High Focus Area capacity building fund, Neighbourhood Renewal Funding and mainstream funding for children's services.

Comprehensive Spending Review

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what discussions he has had with (a) the Treasury and (b) the Cabinet Office regarding the pre-comprehensive spending review report; and if he will make a statement. [82838]

Alan Johnson: I have had and will continue to have wide-ranging and regular discussions with the Chief Secretary to the Treasury about preparations for the 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review, as a matter of key importance to my Department's medium and long-term planning.

Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to the Answer of 3 July 2006, Official Report, column 666W, on the Comprehensive Spending Review, what the key challenges and issues for his Department are for the Comprehensive Spending Review 2007. [84108]

Alan Johnson [holding answer 10 July 2006]: As my Department prepares for the Comprehensive Spending Review 2007, I will be seeking to continue our drive to improve outcomes for all children, and in particular the most disadvantaged; enhance the protection of vulnerable children (including those with special
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educational needs); improve school standards; and to improve the quality and choice of courses available to young people between the ages of 14 and 19. It will also be crucial that our Further and Higher Education systems are able to deliver the world class skills and culture of learning that will increase the nation's international competitiveness.


Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what plans he has to allow children with dyslexia to be given extra time in public examinations; and if he will make a statement. [83919]

Jim Knight: The regulation of public examinations in England is the responsibility of the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA). The QCA requires awarding bodies to have arrangements in place for candidates with special requirements, including dyslexia. It is the responsibility of the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) on behalf of the awarding bodies to co-ordinate a common set of access arrangements. Candidates with dyslexia are able to benefit from extra time when taking public examinations if they fulfil the criteria set out in “Regulations and Guidance relating to Candidates who are Eligible for Adjustments in Examinations”, which is produced by the JCQ.

Examination Standards

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what representations he has received on standards in grading of (a) GCSEs and (b) A levels; and if he will make a statement. [84254]

Jim Knight: The Department, working closely with the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, has been in consultation with a wide range of stakeholders to take forward our proposals to look at ways of increasing stretch and challenge to test the abilities of the brightest students, as set out in our 14-19 White Paper on Education and Skills.

Further Education Courses

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many students did not complete further education courses they had started in each year since 1997. [84255]

Bill Rammell: Figures on students failing to complete courses are best expressed as percentages. Some poorer quality data are excluded, so although rates are accurate, numbers are less so.

Retention rates in Further Education (FE) institutions and completion rates in Work Based Learning (WBL) are published annually in a Learning and Skills Council Statistical First Release:

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FE figures for 1999/00 (the earliest year for which comparable data are available) to 2004/05 (the latest year for which data is published) are shown in the following table:

Proportion of courses not completed in FE institutions Percentage













WBL figures for 2000/01 to 2004/05 are shown in the following table:

Proportion of full frameworks not completed in WBL Percentage









Gap Years

Mr. Boris Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the university non-completion rate is of students having taken (a) a deferred entry gap year, (b) a non-deferred entry gap year and (c) no gap year. [84646]

Bill Rammell: Since 1996/97, information on projected non-completion rates for higher education students has been published annually, initially by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and latterly by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), in “Performance Indicators in Higher Education”. The latest available figures giving overall non-completion rates for students starting full-time first degree courses in England are shown in the table. Figures that separately identify students who have taken gap years are not available. Figures published in 2005 by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) showed that in 2003 the UK had one of the lowest higher education non-completion rates among OECD countries.

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Percentage of UK domiciled full-time first degree students expected neither to obtain an award nor transfer English higher education institutions
Students starting courses in: Non-completion rate (%)















“Performance Indicators in Higher Education”, published by HESA. For 2002/03, the projected outcomes summarise the pattern of movements of students at institutions between 2002/03 and 2003/04 and give the outcomes that would have been expected from starters in 2002/03 if progression patterns were to remain unchanged over the next few years. The HESA data show the proportion of entrants who are projected to: obtain a qualification (either a first degree or another undergraduate award); transfer to another HEI; neither obtain a qualification nor transfer (i.e. fail to complete the course).

Higher Education (Staff Pay)

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills whether his Department has estimated the likely cost to public funds of the proposed pay offer to higher education staff in each of the next three years; how much of the additional funding of this sector over the next three years the pay award will account for; and if he will make a statement. [81758]

Bill Rammell: Pay and conditions of service are subject to negotiations between the HE employers, their staff and their representative trade union bodies. The Government play no part in this. As such, determining the cost of the pay offer is a matter for individual institutions. Higher education receives funding from a variety of public and private sources. It is a matter for institutions, as autonomous bodies, to determine how they use the resources available to them. Public funding for 2008-09 and beyond will be determined through the comprehensive spending review.

The Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) has included estimates of the pay offer on its website ( UCEA’s calculations estimate that the current pay offer will exceed the total additional income from variable fees, in steady state which we estimate will be £1.35 billion by 2010.

Language Colleges

Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many registered language colleges were in operation in England in (a) June 2004, (b) June 2005 and (c) June 2006. [83086]

Bill Rammell: The Department does not keep separate records on the number of registered language colleges in operation in England and Wales, and the information could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

National Learning Grid

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will make a statement on the decision to discontinue the national learning grid. [84161]

Jim Knight: The National Grid for Learning (NGfL) was always a time limited strategy which was developed to deliver 1. a structure/architecture of educationally valuable content on the internet and 2. ICT infrastructure, services, support and training. The NGfL strategy evolved into the ICT in Schools strategy and now the e-Strategy: Harnessing Technology—Transforming Learning and
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Children’s Services, published in 2005 and lodged in the House of Commons Library. The e-Strategy takes the NGfL vision a step further looking at a much bigger picture for improving the entire education system and children’s services capacity to make best use of technology to achieve better outcomes for children and learners.

The British Educational and Communications Technology managed the NGfL portal as part of the overall NGfL strategy. A combination of overlaps with other online services—e.g. Teachernet and Curriculum Online, and the need to simplify brands and service, resulted in BECTA integrating the NGfL portal into its own online service. Visitors can search for specific educational content both through the BECTA online service and Curriculum Online.

School Playing Fields

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) how many school playing fields there were in (a) 1997 and (b) 2006; and how many square feet this represented in each year; [84247]

(2) how many square feet of property belonging to educational establishments has been sold since 1997. [84244]

Jim Knight: The information requested is not held centrally. Data on school playing fields were requested from local authorities in 2001 and 2003 but the data were incomplete and of variable quality, and it was not possible to accurately assess the number and area of school playing fields.

Since 1998, there have been 228 applications that involve the sale of an area of grassed land that could comprise a school sports pitch. Of these, 43 have been rejected or the application withdrawn. 175 applications have been approved and the other 10 are still under consideration. Of the 175 approved applications, 73 related to playing fields at closed or closing schools. Prior to 1998 there was no regulation of the sale of school playing fields at local authority controlled schools.

Special Educational Needs

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the name and address is of each special needs school in (a) Essex and (b) each London borough; who the head teacher of each is; how many pupils are attending each; when each opened; and when each was last inspected by Ofsted. [83201]

Jim Knight: A table detailing the name and address of each special needs school in (a) Essex and (b) each London borough; together with the name of the head teacher; the number of pupils; the opening date; and when each was last inspected by Ofsted has been placed in the Commons Library.

The figures given in the table include special schools maintained by local authorities together with non-maintained special schools and independent special schools. Ofsted have included the inspection type for the hon. Member’s information. It is regretted that data on school opening dates are not available to the Department prior to 1997.

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University Lecturers

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the percentage change in the number of university lecturers was in each year since 1997. [84291]

Bill Rammell: The latest available information is given in the following table:

Academic staff( 1) employed in English Higher Education Institutions
Academic year Number of academic staff % change


















2003/04 (2)





(1) Staff figures are on the basis of staff with active contracts in the reporting period.
(2) Up until 2002/03 the staff record only included academic staff with a full-time equivalent greater than 25 per cent; as from 2003/04, all academic staff were included. Therefore, the numbers for 2003/04 and 2004/05 are not directly comparable with those for earlier years.
Figures have been rounded to the nearest 5.
Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) staff record data.

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