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27 Nov 2006 : Column 422W—continued


Environmentally Sustainable Behaviour

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what advice and assistance his Department provides to schools wishing to introduce energy efficiency and renewable energy initiatives. [101416]

Jim Knight: Energy and water are combined within one of the eight sustainability themes that featured in the recent DfES consultation on Sustainable Schools. Various sources of help and support are available from the website that was launched during that consultation(1), for example we recently published “top ten tips” that schools can adopt to reduce energy and waste costs.


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Every Child Matters

Mr. David Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what provisions are being made in the Every Child Matters initiative for families who opt for education at home. [103174]

Jim Knight: The Government recognise the right of parents to choose to educate their children at home. The Every Child Matters: Change for Children programme is aimed at ensuring, through effective multi-agency working, that all children and parents have the support they need and this applies equally to children being educated at home.

Faith Schools

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what research his Department has commissioned into the cultural and ethnic make-up of pupils in faith schools in England. [102547]

Jim Knight: The Department has commissioned research entitled “Minority ethnic pupils in the Longitudinal Study of Young People in England” which primarily aims to explore differences between ethnic groups and the impact on their attainment. The research will also examine representation of ethnic and faith groups across different school types and is scheduled to report in spring 2007.

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) how many (a) Muslim, (b) Catholic, (c) Hindu, (d) Jewish and (e) Sikh pupils there are at Church of England (i) primary and (ii) secondary schools in England; [102548]

(2) how many (a) Muslims, (b) Protestants, (c) Hindus, (d) Jewish and (e) Sikh pupils there are in Catholic (i) primary and (ii) secondary schools in England; [102552]

(3) how many (a) Christian, (b) Hindu, (c) Jewish and (d) Sikh pupils there are in Muslim schools in England. [102554]

Jim Knight: The information requested is not collected centrally on the basis of faith.

Fingerprinting

Anne Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many schools in England collect fingerprints of their pupils; and what guidance his Department has given on fingerprinting of pupils. [102006]

Jim Knight: The Department does not record the number of schools in England that collect fingerprints of their pupils.

Schools and local authorities are responsible for deciding their own policies relating to information about children which they wish to hold and use, subject to the relevant legislation on Data Protection and Freedom of Information. The Department has published guidance for schools and local authorities on implementing the legislation but has not issued specific guidance on the introduction of fingerprinting.


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Five-Year Strategy for Children and Learners

Kelvin Hopkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what budget has been allocated to the Learning and Skills Council for the purpose of implementing paragraphs 36 to 42 of the Five Year Strategy for Children and Learners (Cm 6272). [101394]

Jim Knight: The 16-19 Capital Fund administered by the Learning and Skills Council supports the capacity building measures set out in the Five Year Strategy and 14-19 Education and Skills Implementation Plan. These include the expansion of high-performing secondary schools under ‘presumption’ arrangements; 16-19 competitions; and from 2007, FE colleges under ‘presumption’ arrangements. In 2006-07 up to £120 million is available, and up to £180 million in 2007-08.

Graduate Debt

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will make a statement on levels of graduate debt. [101637]

Bill Rammell: For those commencing courses after the introduction of variable fees in the 2006-07 academic year we expect average student debt of around £15,000. Debts arising from student loans are very different from those from commercial loan products.

Repayments are linked to income and only calculated on earnings over £15,000; and only then at a rate of just 9 per cent. on earnings above that threshold. This means a borrower earning below this threshold does not have to make repayments. For example, someone earning the average graduate starting salary of £18,000 will repay £5.19 per week regardless of the amount borrowed. The Government subsidise the rate of interest on these loans to ensure that borrowers only repay in real terms what they borrowed, however long it takes them.

The Government are providing more in upfront loan and grant support than ever before, particularly for low income students. Full-time eligible students are now entitled to non-repayable maintenance grants of up to £2,700, with HE institutions also providing bursaries of typically £1,000, which can be used to reduce debt.

Higher Education Funding

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what discussions he has had with the Higher Education Funding Council for England on the decision not to introduce a change to the fee assumption when determining funding; and what assessment he has made of the effect of this decision on institutions with large numbers of part-time students. [104428]

Bill Rammell: While this is a matter for the Funding Council to decide, I welcome its decision not to change the fee assumption, in line with the wishes of the majority of higher education institutions. The decision is consistent with the assurances given to Parliament during the passage of the Higher Education Act 2004, that income through variable fees earned by
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institutions would be additional to the funding they would have received, other things being equal. No institution will lose grant as a result of the decision to maintain the present fee assumptions in real terms and it is for each institution to determine the balance of full-time and part-time students it admits.

Head Teachers

Mr. Rob Wilson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many head teacher posts are filled by temporary head teachers. [102025]

Jim Knight: In January 2006, the latest information available, there were 650 temporarily filled head teacher posts in maintained sector schools in England, a rate of 2.9 per cent.

Temporarily filled posts include all those without a permanent incumbent, irrespective of the length of contract of the teacher covering it or whether the post has been advertised and includes those where an appointment has been made but not yet taken up.

The information provided is from the Department for Education and Skills annual survey of teachers in service and teacher vacancies, 618g.

Mr. Rob Wilson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many head teacher positions are vacant in secondary schools; and what the average length of vacancy of such a position was in 2006-07. [102027]

Jim Knight: In January 2006, the latest information available, there were 30 vacant head teacher posts in local authority maintained secondary schools, a rate of 0.9 per cent.

Information on the average length of time that head teacher vacancies remain unfilled is not collected centrally.

Under the Department for Education and Skills’, (DfES), standard definition, vacancies are those advertised for full-time permanent appointments, or appointments of at least one term’s duration, and include those being filled by a teacher on a temporary contract of less than one term’s duration.

The provided information is from the DfES annual survey of teachers in service and teacher vacancies, 618g.

HM Chief Inspector of Schools

Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the appointment procedure is for Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector for Schools. [101636]

Jim Knight: Section 1 (1) of the Education Act 2005 provides for the appointment of Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Schools by the Queen in Council. There is a longstanding convention that the Secretary of State for Education and Skills, on behalf of the Government, makes a recommendation to Her Majesty on the appointment.


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Maintained Schools

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many schools he estimates wish to opt out of local authority control. [102441]

Jim Knight: It is not possible for maintained schools to opt out of local authority control. I do not, therefore, hold information about how many schools might wish to do so.

National Identity Register

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills which datasets held by his Department have been identified as suitable for use in the National Identity Register database. [103190]

Beverley Hughes: The Department has not identified whether any datasets might or might not be suitable for use in the National Identity Register.

New Schools

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many new schools commissioned by local authorities have been built since 2001; and how many applications he received from local authorities to build new community schools in that period. [102442]

Jim Knight: The Department relies on local authorities to determine schools provision, including the expansion of existing schools or the provision of new ones, and does not maintain central records of new community schools that have been built.

Proposals by local authorities to establish new community schools are decided locally by the local authority, School Organisation Committee or schools adjudicator and the Secretary of State plays no part in the process. Since 2001 proposals for 567 community schools have been published of which 529 have been approved, eight rejected and 30 are awaiting decision. These figures include new schools established as a result of a local reorganisation or amalgamation of schools, where the new schools will be established in the premises of closing schools.

Since September 2006 a local authority has been required to seek consent from the Secretary of State if they wish to establish a secondary school without running a competition. If consent is given the local authority would have to publish statutory proposals and these would be decided under local decision-making arrangements. No applications for consent have been received to publish proposals for a community secondary school.

New Teachers

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills now many new teachers have been employed since 1997, broken down by local authority. [102000]


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Jim Knight: Information on the number of new teachers entering service is not available at local authority level.

The following table provides the number of newly qualified entrants to maintained sector service in England in each year from 1997-98 to 2004-05, the latest information available. The table does not include teachers whose entry to the English maintained sector was delayed after attaining qualified teacher status.

Newly qualified entrants( 1) to the maintained sector in England, 1997-98 to 2004-05
Full-time Part-time( 2) Total

1997-98

18,010

890

18,900

1998-99

16,820

840

17,660

1999-2000

17,630

810

18,440

2000-01

16,780

600

17,380

2001-02

18,330

570

18,910

2002-03

20,790

760

21,550

2003-04(3)

22,250

990

23,240

2004-05(3,4)

21,950

1,000

22,950

Total

152,560

6,470

159,030

(1) Teacher qualified in the previous calendar year.
(2) 10-20 per cent. of part-time teachers may not be included in the data.
(3) Provisional.
(4) Figures for 2004-05 may be underestimated due to the late receipt of data.
Source:
Database of Teacher Records.

North Devon College

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what factors underlay the decision of the Learning and Skills Council to refuse additional funding to North Devon College, on behalf of the Prince’s Trust Team Programme in Torridge, following over-recruitment for the Programme. [100909]

Bill Rammell: I can confirm the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) has agreed to allocate an additional £75,000 to North Devon College specifically for the funding of Prince’s Trust programme in 2006/07 at Torridge Training.

Generally additional funding is not available in-year for further education colleges as funding is based on plans agreed with the LSC that they guarantee to fund. The guarantee that college plans will be fully funded has been widely welcomed in terms of stability and assured levels of funding. However, it does mean colleges recruiting above agreed plans cannot expect to receive additional funding above the level agreed with the LSC, although there is an expectation that higher volumes in priority areas should be reflected in the following year.


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