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Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to his answer of 15 January 2007, Official Report, columns 800-1W, on English language teaching, (1) if he will assess the merits of using the skills and materials available in the learning English section of the BBC World Service to maintain the accessibility of online/distance learning English for Speakers of Other Languages courses; and if he will make a statement; 
The Skills for Life Strategy has implemented national standards for adult literacy and numeracy and all provision eligible for funding as basic skills has to be mapped to these. The standards are reinforced and supported by national core curricula for literacy, numeracy, ESOL and ICT which provide a context within the learning environment. Learners wishing to improve their English skills should follow approved courses based on the Skills for Life national standards and curriculum and which lead to nationally recognised qualifications.
Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what proportion of mathematics lessons in mainstream maintained secondary schools is observed by Ofsted, broken down by school year group. 
Your recent parliamentary question has been passed to me, as Her Majesty's Chief Inspector, for reply.
You asked what proportion of mathematics lessons in mainstream maintained secondary schools is observed by Ofsted, broken down by separate school year group.
The number of mathematics lessons that take place in schools nationally is unknown and therefore the proportion observed by Ofsted cannot be calculated. I am able to report that one in seven lessons observed by inspectors in mainstream secondary schools in 2005/06 was a mathematics lesson. The details are broken down by year group in the table beneath.
|Proportion of lessons observed in maintained secondary schools which were mathematics lessons|
A copy of this reply has been sent to Jim Knight MP, Minister of State for Schools, and will be placed in the library of both Houses.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment he has made of the viability of playgroups in circumstances where staff of those groups are found by Ofsted to have insufficient qualifications. 
Beverley Hughes: Ofsted regulates to the National Standards for under 8s day care and childminding and makes a judgment about whether all managers, staff and volunteers have the appropriate experience skills and ability to do their jobs. National Standards 1 and 2 of the sessional care standards sets the qualification requirements for playgroups. Where providers do not currently meet these requirements Ofsted will normally accept an action plan showing how they intend to fulfil them and over what timescale, and monitor progress at the next inspection.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what the cash equivalent transfer value is of the public sector pensions of the 10 highest paid members of staff in his Department and its executive agencies; and if he will make a statement; 
Mr. Dhanda: The cash equivalent transfer value (CETV) of the pensions of the 10 highest paid departmental employees at 31 March 2006 was £4,340,480.00. This includes the CETV of the members of the senior management team named in the Departments remuneration report, which is published annually and which is in the public domain. The Department has no executive agencies.
Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what recent representations he has received on the availability of textbooks for blind, partially sighted and dyslexic children in accessible formats; and if he will make a statement; 
Mr. Dhanda: The Department regularly discusses the provision it makes for children with special educational needs and disabilities through the SEN and disability frameworks with key stakeholders both in the voluntary sector and across Government, including support for visually impaired and dyslexic children. A central record is not kept of the approaches made to the Department on individual issues.
We continue to invest significant resources to support the education of children with SEN and disabilitiessome £4.5 billion in 2006/07. It is for schools and local authorities to plan to improve access to the curriculum and written materials for disabled pupils over time and the Disability Equality Duty requires schools them to promote disability equality.
To assist the provision of materials in accessible alternative formats for blind, partially sighted and dyslexic
children specifically, the Government supported the Copyright (Visually Impaired Persons) Act 2002 which reduces delays in gaining copyright clearance to produce books and other printed materials in formats accessible to visually impaired people. The Department of Trade and Industry is also working on a feasibility study to look at opportunities for publishers to provide education material in accessible formats more quickly and this Department is involved in the process.
Bill Rammell: Train to Gain is an ongoing service and as such performance is updated on a regular basis. Detailed operational information is not held centrally by the Department but is collected by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC). Mark Haysom the LSC chief executive has written to the hon. Member and a copy of his replies has been placed in the House Library.
I am writing in response to your recent parliamentary question about the number of hours Train to Gain learners take to achieve qualifications.
As the majority of learners take more than 6 months to achieve a qualification, there is currently only a small amount of data available to use in responding to this question.
However, analysis of nearly 10,000 learners starting in the period April-July 2006 who have now completed their training shows the average number of hours to be about 33 hours.
I hope this response is helpful to you.
I am writing in response to your recent parliamentary question about what percentage of participants in the Train to Gain programme budget is spent on (a) training (b) accreditation and (c) skills brokers.
The Learning & Skills Council is not clear what is meant by the terms training and accreditation as used in this question. However, the following details of 2006/07 budget expenditure may answer the question:
Provision i.e. paid to providers to train employees to achieve a qualification. = 68% of budget.
Skills Brokerage including broker training and accreditation to new national standards in business advice = 11% of budget.
I hope this response is helpful to you.
I write in response to your Parliamentary question asking what percentage of participants in the Train to Gain programme have received training of more than (a) 60 hours (b) 70 hours and (c) 100 hours.
Train to Gain has been available nationally since August 2006. The use of the term training in the question is unclear as it could cover a wide range of activities. LSC collects data on the number of hours learners spend on training programmes working towards qualifications. As the majority of learners take more than 6 months to achieve a qualification, there is currently only a small amount of data available to use in responding to this question. Based on 7,103 records to date, the breakdown is:
(a) 60-70 hours = 4%
(b) 70-100 hours = 10%
(c) 100 hours + = 1%
I write in response to your Parliamentary question asking what percentage of participants in the Train to Gain programme received no training as a result of first stage assessment.
The Learning & Skills Council is unable to respond to this question without clarification as the term first stage assessment is not recognised. It is also unclear whether the term participants refers to employers or employees.
If you can clarify this point, we would be happy to respond.
Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills, when he expects to answer Question 110609, on young people in London, tabled by the hon. Member for Hornsey and Wood Green on 18 January. 
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what steps the UK is taking under the EU Youth in Action programme (EU budget code 15 01 04 55); and if he will make a statement. 
Bill Rammell: The EU Youth in Action Programme started on 1 January 2007 and will run until 31 December 2013. I have appointed Connect Youth, part of the British Council, to manage the programme in the UK and to maximise the take up by eligible young people in this country.
Ann Coffey: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment he has made of the degree to which the Youth Opportunity and Youth Capital funds are reaching the disadvantaged young people in Greater Manchester following submission by local authorities of reports to the Government Office in the North West. 
Local authorities are required to report to Government offices on delivery of the Youth Opportunity and Youth Capital Funds on a six monthly basis. The first six monthly reports received at the end of October 2006 provided evidence predominantly on set up of the funds in each area. As a result, levels of participation by disadvantaged young people in the funds are not identifiable. The second reports due at the end of April 2007 will include full
management information on participation, and will provide information on how the funds are reaching disadvantaged young people in each local authority.
Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he plans to consult on how to determine the interests of persons who live in the area in which an aerodrome is situated in determining the use of his powers under the Civil Aviation Act 1982 to fix charges. 
Gillian Merron: Section 1 of the Civil Aviation Act 2006 inserts a new section 38 into the Civil Aviation Act 1982. Subsection 5 of this section requires that where the Secretary of State is considering whether to exercise his power, conferred by subsection 4, to direct an airport operator to fix its charges by reference to aircraft noise or emissions, he must
have regard (among other things) to the interests of persons who live in the area in which the aerodrome is situated.
We do not plan to consult on a general process for determining those interests. Rather, we recognise that the interests will depend on specific local circumstances. If the Secretary of State were to consider the use of section 38(4) in a specific case, we would expect a public consultation giving local authorities, amenity groups, the airport's Consultative Committee, other local interest groups and individuals an opportunity to make their views clear. Decisions following consultation would depend on the merits of the case.
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when the aircraft for the use of the Prime Minister will be ready to enter service; and what the estimated whole life cost of such aircraft is estimated to be. 
Gillian Merron: The Department for Transport plans to introduce the new air travel service as early as possible, consistent with best procurement practice and the need to deliver value for money and appropriate levels of safety, security and reliability. The timetable for delivery will depend upon the contractual arrangements and the lead-in times needed by suppliers to meet the new requirement.
Sir Peter Gershons Independent Air Travel Review estimated that the new service would cost between £104 million and £107 million in net present
value terms over a ten year period. This compares with a cost of £98 million over the same period of continuing with the existing arrangements. Sir Peter Gershons Review calculated that such an arrangement would add no further burden to the public purse.
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