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Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs on the application of Freedom of Information regulations to private companies performing public services are subject to. 
Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to the answer of 20 February 2007, Official Report, column 696W, on GCSEs, how many 15-year-olds attended the (a) special and (b) independent schools which entered no pupils for a GCSE in (i) history, (ii) geography and (iii) a modern foreign language in 2006. 
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what proportion of pupils at state
schools in (a) Eastbourne and (b) East Sussex achieved five or more A* to C grades in GCSEs in each of the last 10 years. 
|Percentage of pupils in maintained schools gaining 5+ A*-C grades at GCSE or equivalent.|
|1997( 1)||1998( 1)||1999( 1)||2000( 1)||2001( 1)||2002( 1)||2003( 1)||2004( 1, 2)||2005( 1, 2)||2006( 2, 3)|
|(1 )Figures are for pupils aged 15|
(2 )From 2004 includes GCSEs and other equivalent qualifications approved for use pre-16
(3 )From 2006 figures are for pupils at the end of Key Stage 4 and 2006 data is revised data
(4 )Based on location of school
Bill Rammell: The latest available figures on participation in higher education by local authority were published by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) in January 2005 in Young Participation in England, which is available from their website at:
This report shows participation rates for young people who enter higher education aged 18 or 19, disaggregated by local authority, for the years 1997 to 2000. The figures for Lancashire local authority, and the comparable figure for England, are shown in the following table. HEFCE have not produced participation rates beyond 2000.
|Young participation rate (YPR (A)) in higher education( 1) for year cohort aged 18|
|(1) Covers all students studying higher education courses at UK higher education institutions and other UK institutions, for example further education colleges.|
(2) Cohorts are reported to the nearest 10.
(3) Young participation rates for constituencies are reported to the nearest per cent.
Higher Education Funding Council for England.
|Entrants to undergraduate courses( 1) from Lancashire local authority|
|(1) Covers all students studying higher education courses at UK higher education institutions only. Students studying higher education courses elsewhere such as further education colleges are excluded.|
(2) Includes a very small number of students with unknown ages or ages under 18.
Figures are based on the HESA standard registration population for entrants and have been rounded to the nearest five, so components may not sum to totals.
Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA)
The Department uses the higher education initial participation rate (HEIPR) to assess progress on increasing first-time participation of English students aged 18 to 30 in higher education towards 50 per cent: the latest provisional figure for 2004-05 is 42 per cent. The HEIPR is not calculated at local authority level.
Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many Lancashire students left university with incomplete degrees as a result of their course being discontinued in each of the last 10 years. 
Bill Rammell: The information requested is not collected centrally. The Higher Education Statistics Agency publishes figures on non-continuation rates but these figures are not broken down by specific reasons for non-continuation including discontinuation of course because this information is not collected centrally.
Bill Rammell: The information requested is not collected centrally. Degree courses open and close regularly because student and employer demand for particular higher education courses does not stand still. Higher education institutions (HEIs) have responded successfully to student demand, there were 12,010 entrants to full time first degree courses at HEIs in Lancashire in 2005-06, compared to 10,670 in 1997-98.
Phil Hope: Information on the proportion of prisoners with learning difficulties and/or disabilities is not available centrally. Now that the Learning and Skills Council has taken over the responsibility for planning and funding offender learning and skills, resources can be better targeted towards meeting the needs of different categories individual offenders.
Andrew Selous: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills when a decision will be made on the Collaborative Restart proposal for the Northfields Technology College, Dunstable, in collaboration with Kings Houghton Middle School. 
Jim Knight [holding answer 5 March 2007]: The Department has approved the proposal for additional funding to support collaboration between Northfields Technology College and Kings Houghton Middle School, and will be supporting this project with £50,000 in 2006-07 and a further £75,000 in 2007-08.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what estimate he has made of the difference between the amounts charged by nurseries and the amounts reimbursed by local authorities to nurseries as discussed in the PricewaterhouseCoopers report, DfES Childrens Service, The Childcare Market, and if he will take steps to tackle this issue. 
Beverley Hughes: There is no basis for comparison between figures set out in the PricewaterhouseCoopers report and funding provided by local authorities for delivery of the free entitlement. Free entitlement funding is intended to deliver high-quality provision for three and four-year-olds, based on the core foundation stage curriculum, and in accordance with the day care standards. The figure quoted in the report is based on a small sample of local authorities. It refers to an hourly per head rate in childrens centres and represents the cost of delivering child care for children aged between birth and five. For under-threes, the child: staff ratio is necessarily lower, and the cost of provision therefore higher.
Government invests some £3 billion per year in delivering the free entitlement through a diverse child care market that offers real choice and responsive services to children and their families. This funding is sufficient to ensure high-quality provision for every eligible three and four-year-old. Local authorities have discretion over how they fund provision, taking account of local needs and market dynamics.
Future funding for the free entitlement, like that of all Government spending, will be determined by the outcome of the comprehensive spending review. The consultation on the future of early years, school and
14-16 funding, launched this week, invites views on options for the future funding mechanisms for the free entitlement.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much of the funding allocated to early years provision has been allocated to (a) Sure Start childrens centres, (b) nursery provision, (c) childminder networks and (d) other bodies. 
(c) Funding for childminders and childminder networks is included in the General Sure Start Grant (GSSG) for the period 2006-08. Local authorities have the freedom to decide how much is spent on these areas and the amounts are not separately identified.
(d) Sure Start funding is provided by the Department to a range of other bodies. Key recipients of grant funding in 2006-08 include the Childrens Workforce Development Council and the National College for School Leadership. These bodies are funded to deliver improvements in the quality of the early years workforce. The London Development Agency also receives funding for the Childcare Affordability pilot and the Workplace Nurseries Capital Programme. Details of funding have not been provided as 2007-08 allocations are still being finalised in some cases.
We encourage local authorities to work with a range of partners and bodies in delivering their elements of the General Sure Start Grant. Decisions on allocations from their grant are for them and details are not held centrally.
Mr. Grogan: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills which public affairs firms were given contracts by (a) his Department and (b) public bodies sponsored by his Department in each of the last five years; and what the purpose was of each contract. 
Mr. Dhanda: A complete answer to this question could be supplied only at disproportionate cost. I can tell you, however, since April 2005, the Department has held framework agreements with eight organisations to deliver Public Relations activity:
Geronimo PR, Hill and Knowlton, The Forster Company, Trimedia Communications Ltd, Fishburn Hedges, August One, Harrison Cowley and Porter Novelli
Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many (a) unauthorised and (b) authorised absences were recorded at (i) primary and (ii) secondary schools in Lancashire in each year from 1997 to 2006. 
The percentage of half days missed in primary and secondary schools in Lancashire local
authority due to authorised and unauthorised absence in each year since 1997 are shown as follows.
|Pupil absence (percentage of half days missed) in maintained primary schools( 1) in Lancashire LEA 1997/98 to 2005/06( 2,3)|
|Type of absence||1997/98||1998/99||1999/2000||2000/01||2001/02||2002/03||2003/04||2004/05||2005/06 (final)|
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