Previous Section Index Home Page

24 Oct 2006 : Column 1762W—continued

Ann Coffey: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the offending rates of (a) children and (b) looked after children were in each local authority area in the most recent period for which figures are available. [95628]

24 Oct 2006 : Column 1763W

Beverley Hughes: The information requested has been placed in the House Library.

Extended Hours

Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many (a) primary and (b) secondary schools in England have been operating extended hours from 8 am to 6 pm five days a week since the beginning of the autumn term. [96212]

Beverley Hughes [holding answer 23 October 2006]: 2,237 primary schools and 708 secondary schools were delivering the extended schools full core offer of activities at the beginning of the autumn term. The core offer includes primary schools providing access to child care from 8 am to 6 pm all year round where there is local demand and secondary schools offering access to a range of activities for young people from 8 am to 6 pm where there is local demand. The rest of the core offer is comprised of parenting support, swift and easy referral and opening up facilities to the wider community.

What the provision looks like in practice will vary according to the needs of each community, based on consultation through schools. Some schools may not have identified a local need for services from 8 am to 6 pm and may be meeting the needs of parents and children through activities or child care with different opening hours.

Higher Education

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many and what percentage of young people in the poorest decile of the population attended (a) university and (b) further education in each of the last 30 years. [93516]

Bill Rammell: This information is not held centrally.

(a) The latest available figures on participation by local areas were published by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) in January 2005 in “Young participation in higher education”, which is available from the HEFCE website at: The HEFCE report shows participation rates for young people who enter higher education aged 18 or 19 disaggregated by constituency, local education authority (LEA), Learning and Skills Council area and government office region for the years 1997 to 2000 inclusive.

Research(1) that compared degree acquisition by age 23 by people whose parents' incomes fell into the highest and lowest income quintiles, for 1981, 1993 and 1999, showed that around 1999, 46 per cent. of children whose parental incomes were in the highest quintile of incomes acquired a degree by age 23 compared with 9 per cent. of children in the lowest quintile. In 1981, the figures were 20 per cent. for the highest quintile and 6 per cent. for the lowest quintile. The research suggests that during the 1990s children whose parental incomes were in the highest quintile of incomes were around five times more likely to acquire a degree by age 23 than children in the lowest quintile, up from around three times in the early 1980s.

24 Oct 2006 : Column 1764W

We believe that more people with the potential to benefit from higher education should have the opportunity to do so. Higher education leads to a range of benefits, not only higher earnings but reduced crime, better health, and wider social capital benefits.

The new student support arrangements offer a better deal for students from poorer backgrounds. We have reintroduced grants for those from low income households; we have ended up front fees; and we have introduced the Office for Fair Access so that universities have agreements on outreach and funding help that they will offer poorer students. £300 million is being offered in bursaries and other financial support. Alongside this, the Government and their partners support the Aimhigher programme, which enables partnerships of schools, colleges and universities to design and deliver a range of aspiration and attainment raising activities to enable young people from backgrounds currently under-represented in higher education to be able and willing to go on to HE.

We are also determined to improve educational attainment so that more people are in a position to benefit from HE. Our proposals in the Schools White Paper, which is now the basis for the Education and Inspections Bill 2006, will help ensure that every young person has the opportunity to reach their potential, including, where appropriate, university education.

(b) The following table gives evidence from the Youth Cohort Study (YCS) on the proportion of young people in full-time education at age 16 by parental occupation (NS-SEC) for 16-year-olds in 2000, 2002 and 2004. Young people whose parents work in routine and other/not classified occupations are most likely to be in the poorest income groups of the population—13 per cent. and 12 per cent. of the 2004 cohort were in these NS-SEC groups respectively.

Percentage whose main activity is full-time education at age 16 by NS- SEC
2000 2002 2004

Higher professional




Lower professional








Lower supervisory








Other/not classified(2)




(2 )Includes many respondents for whom neither parent had an occupation.
Youth Cohort Study cohorts 10-12, sweep 1

Islamist Extremists (Monitoring)

Mr. Paul Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what advice he has issued to universities on monitoring the activities of Islamist extremists in universities. [95759]

Bill Rammell [holding answer 20 October 2006]: We have been consulting within Government, with Universities UK and with representatives from individual institutions to develop appropriate advice to universities on ways in which they can address violent
24 Oct 2006 : Column 1765W
extremism through their work to promote good campus relations. This follows UUK guidance last year entitled, “Promoting Good Campus Relations”. The consultation is continuing and we intend to issue the guidance later this year.


Mr. Djanogly: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what estimate he has made of the number of school leavers who have needed remedial training from their employer to improve literacy and numeracy levels in the last 12 months. [92909]

Phil Hope: We do not have an estimate of the numbers of school leavers who have needed remedial training in literacy and numeracy from employers but the National Employer Skills Survey 2005 shows that, of employers who had recruited 16-year-old school leavers in the last 12 months, 11 per cent. reported problems with poor numeracy skills and 10 per cent. reported problems with poor literacy skills.

We need to do more to ensure that young people enter the workplace with good levels of literacy and numeracy. We continue to improve standards of reading, writing and mathematics in primary and secondary schools through our National Strategies. We will also be ensuring that the qualifications taken by young people in schools and colleges genuinely respond to calls from employers and others for young people and adults to have the practical, applied skills needed in modern society. Following trialling, Functional skill tests will be taken by young people as part of their GCSEs from 2009 (English and ICT) and mathematics (2010). Candidates will not be able to achieve a GCSE grade A*-C without mastering the functional element.

In the meantime, provisional GCSE results show the percentage of 15-year-old students achieving 5+A*-C including English and mathematics rose from 44.3 per cent. last year to 45.1 per cent. this year—an increase of 9.5 percentage points compared with 1997. This means around 62,000 more pupils are now achieving a good pass in English and maths than did so in 1997. Guidance issued recently by the Department for Education and Skills confirmed that local authorities and schools will from 2008 be required for the first time to set targets for the proportion of pupils achieving 5 A*-C GCSEs, including English and mathematics.

Private Finance Initiative Schools

Mr. David Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) if he will list the owners of all private finance initiative schools; [91953]

(2) how much made from the private finance initiative consortium selling equity stakes has been passed on to the local education authorities from private finance initiative schools. [91954]

Jim Knight: Private finance initiative (PFI) projects for the provision of schools are delivered through contracts between local authorities and private sector contractors. There are currently 103 such projects with signed contracts covering over 800 schools. The names, locations and other details (including the names of the private sector contractors) of these schools are available in the House Library.

24 Oct 2006 : Column 1766W

Under PFI, a private sector contractor will fund the construction or modernisation of a school or schools and then deliver a managed service based on them. The local authority will not make any payments until the facilities are available and thereafter payments are conditional on satisfactory availability and performance of the service. The contractor will deliver the managed service under the terms of a contract and will operate the assets under the terms of a lease or licence granted by the local authority; at the end of the contract the assets will revert to the local authority and must be fit for a period of further use. The local authority retains ownership of the freehold of the site throughout the contract.

A schools PFI consortium is a private company and parties investing in it initially can later sell their equity holding to a third party. Since any equity sold has previously been purchased by those investors the local authority would not be entitled to a share. The Department does not collect information about such private sector commercial transactions.

School Meals

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assistance his Department has made available to Lancashire county council to enable the introduction of guidelines on meals for pupils. [96545]

Mr. Dhanda: The Government are determined to transform the quality of food in schools and support the work local authorities and schools are doing to raise the nutritional standards of school meals.

Lancashire county council received £665,975 from the Targeted School Meals Grant for 2005-06 and £1,115,778 for 2006-07 to improve school food. In addition, in each of those years, schools were awarded a lump sum of £1,070 per primary school and £1,500 per secondary school, with an additional amount per pupil. The per pupil amount for PRUs and all schools except nursery schools is 50p; for nursery schools it is 50p for half of FTE pupils, to reflect the fact that fewer pupils in nursery schools take school meals.

In addition to financial support, the School Food Trust, as our key delivery partner on the improvement of school food, has produced guidance for schools and authorities on the new standards and is working with local authorities to help them implement them.

University Speakers

Mr. Paul Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what discussions he has had with Universities UK in relation to monitoring the activities of speakers and prospective speakers on campuses. [94355]

Bill Rammell: Ministers and officials talk to UUK on a wide range of issues, these have included discussions about support and guidance that both UUK and the Department can provide to HEIs and student groups relating to promoting good campus relations. These discussions are intended to inform the guidance we will be issuing to Higher Education Institutions shortly.

24 Oct 2006 : Column 1767W

Foreign and Commonwealth Office


Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment she has made of the effectiveness of UK-led poppy eradication schemes in southern Afghanistan. [93197]

Margaret Beckett: Eradication policy and implementation are the responsibility of the Afghan Government. The UK provides support to the planning, monitoring and targeting work of the Afghan eradication forces. The Afghan Government also instruct Governors on how to eradicate poppy in their provinces. 2006 saw an increase in eradication, which contributed to reductions in opium poppy cultivation in some provinces. According to the 2006 UN Office of Drugs and Crime Afghan Opium Survey summary, 15,300 hectares of poppy were eradicated across Afghanistan, including 7,830 hectares in the south. Eradication on its own will not solve the problem. It is a useful deterrent where there is access to legal livelihoods but needs to be balanced with measures to interdict drugs; bring criminals to justice; build institutions; and encourage development of rural communities to provide alternatives for poppy farmers. The UK is spending £270 million over a three-year period on supporting the Government of Afghanistan's National Drug Control Strategy.

British Embassy (Dili)

Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of the potential effect of the closure of the British embassy in Dili on (a) trade activities in the South Pacific and (b) the relationship between East Timor and the UK. [95139]

Mr. McCartney: We assess that the closure of our embassy in Dili will have no significant effect on trade activities in the South Pacific.

Our embassy in Jakarta has now assumed responsibility for UK relations with East Timor. Our ambassador in Jakarta, Mr. Charles Humfrey CMG, will be accredited to East Timor on a non-resident basis. He and his staff will make regular visits there to maintain links between the UK and East Timor. An honorary consul has also been appointed.

Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of the likely effect on the Truth and Friendship Commission between East Timor and Indonesia of the closure of the UK embassy in Dili and the relocation of diplomatic services to Jakarta. [95093]

Mr. McCartney: We assess that there will be no impact on the Commission for Truth and Friendship (CTF). We have encouraged both Governments to make the CTF a process that enjoys the confidence of the victims and the international community and we will continue to monitor the work of the commission from our embassy in Jakarta.

24 Oct 2006 : Column 1768W


Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations she has received about the activities of the Burmese army in Karen State; and if she will make a statement. [95145]

Mr. McCartney: We have received recent representations from hon. Members and Peers as well as members of the public about the Burmese army’s offensive in Karen State.

I raised our concerns about human rights issues in Burma, including the attacks in Karen State, when I called in the Burmese ambassador on 15 June, in my letter to the Burmese Foreign Minister on 5 July and when I raised human rights issues most recently with AS BAN ambassadors, including the Burmese ambassador, on 18 September.

The EU issued a statement on 3 May calling on the Burmese Government to cease their attacks in Karen State. The statement was sent to the Burmese Ministries of Information and Foreign Affairs. The statement can be found at: Statements/May/(0305Myanmar.html?null

On 29 September, the United Nations Security Council discussed Burma in a private meeting. The UK’s Permanent Representative in New York raised the situation in Karen State at that meeting.

Next Section Index Home Page