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Mr. Hunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many times the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education and Skills, the hon. Member for Gloucester (Mr Dhanda) has attended meetings of the Office for Disability Issues since its establishment. 
Mr. Dhanda [holding answer 13 December 2006]: I am responding on behalf of Lord Adonis, who leads on this area. There have been no meetings at ministerial level. However, officials within my Department have actively engaged with the ODI in a number of areas relating to furthering equality for disabled people, including on preparation of the Departments recently published Disability Equality Scheme and on the Prime Ministers Strategy Unit (PMSU) programme, Improving the Life Chances of Disabled People. In addition, the head of the ODI has addressed a meeting of the DfES board and directors, chaired by the permanent secretary. Furthermore, two of my senior officials are members of the ODI board of management, which is jointly responsible for co-ordinating the strategy and steering the work of the ODI, in line with the 20-year vision for disabled people.
Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) how many written Parliamentary Questions to his Department in the 2005-06 session were answered with a reply that it had not been possible to reply before Prorogation, or with similar wording; 
Mr. Dhanda: This Department issued 23 Prorogation replies before the House prorogued on 8 November. Eleven of these parliamentary questions were tabled on 6 November and it was not possible to respond within the timescale. Six have since been re-tabled and all have had a substantive reply.
The Departments PQ Tracking System is however unable to break down the other data requested and to do so would incur disproportionate cost. This Department aims to ensure that Members receive a substantive response to their named day question on the named day, and endeavours to answer ordinary written questions within a working week of their being tabled.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills, pursuant to the answer of 4 December 2006, Official Report, columns 189-90W, on the retirement age, what his Departments policy is on the application of the national default retirement age to staff below the Senior Civil Service. 
Mr. Dhanda: The Department has no maximum retirement age for staff below the Senior Civil Service, so members of staff do not have to retire when they reach the national default retirement age of 65 or any prescribed time thereafter.
Stephen Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many UK-domiciled initial participants in higher education have not applied to the Student Loans Company for any financial support in the academic year 2006-07 to date. 
Figures for English domiciled students for 2005/06, which have been derived from the latest available data, show that 898,000 higher education students were eligible for a maintenance loan from the Student Loans Company. 801,000 of these students applied for a maintenance loan. By subtraction, 97,000 students did not apply for a maintenance loan.
Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the official drop-out rate is for (a) the University of East Anglia and (b) Cambridge University in the last five years, broken down by department or faculty. 
|Table 1: Proportion of entrants to full-time first degree courses who are projected to neither obtain an award nor transfer|
|(1) The benchmark is a sector average which is adjusted for each institution to take into account the following factors: subject of study, qualifications on entry and age on entry. The benchmarks can be used to show how a university is performing compared to the sector as a whole, and also helps to determine whether a meaningful comparison can be drawn between two or more universities. Source: Performance Indicators in Higher Education, published by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA).|
The non-completion rates tabled are not broken down by department or faculty. However, a sector-wide non-continuation rate is provided for each year, which is broken down by subject of study. The non-continuation rate is the proportion of entrants to full-time first degree courses who are no longer in higher education after one year of study. The rates for young entrants are shown in Table 2.
|Table 2: Proportion of young entrants to full-time first degree courses who are no longer in higher education after one year of study|
|n/a = not applicable. (1) One figure was provided for Biological and Physical Sciences until 2003/04. (2) One figure was provided for Mathematical and Computer Sciences until 2003/04. (3) One figure was provided for Social Studies and Law until 2003/04. (4) One figure was provided for Librarianship, information Sciences and Business and administrative studies until 2002/03. (5) One figure was provided for Business and administrative studies and Mass communications and documentation in 2002/03. (6) One figure was provided for Languages and Humanities until 2002/03. (7) One figure was provided for Languages and Historical and Philosophical Studies in 2002/03. Notes: 1. Figures for 2000/01 are available only to the nearest integer. 2. There is a break in the time series between academic years 2001/02 and 2002/03 because the subjects' JACS codings were changed in 2002/03. Source: Performance Indicators in Higher Education, published by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA).|
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