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25 Apr 2007 : Column 1181W—continued


Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills which UK agencies are funded under Article 8(2) of the EU Youth in Action Programme. [133099]

Bill Rammell: No UK agencies receive funding under Article 8(2) of the EU Youth in Action Programme. However, the national agency responsible for the management of the programme in the UK has set up a number of regional committees to help in the promotion of the programme at a local level.

Educational Psychology

Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will make a statement on the funding of training of educational psychologists. [133156]

Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) pursuant to the answer of 30 November 2006, Official Report, column 879W, on educational psychologists, what the outcomes were of the meeting with representatives of educational psychologists and the local authority employers’ side on the funding arrangements for those wishing to train to become an educational psychologist; [133310]

(2) what assessment he has made of future (a) demand for and (b) supply of educational psychologists in local education authorities; and if he will make a statement. [133506]

Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what recent discussions he has had with the Local Government Association on its distribution to local authorities of funding for educational psychology training places for 2007-08. [133390]

Mr. Dhanda: Educational psychologists are employed by local authorities. Decisions on their recruitment, retention and deployment are matters for those authorities as employers to determine in light of local circumstances and available resources. The
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Department makes no manpower planning assessment for this group of local authority employees.

Funding for the training of EPs has previously come from within the Local Government Employers’ (LGE) organisation’s top slice of the Revenue Support Grant (RSG), as distributed by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG). For the 2007-08 RSG settlement, the LGE top slice was reduced by £2.088 million and distributed by the DCLG to local authorities through formula grant, as proposed by the Local Government Association (LGA).

As we made clear in our response to the House of Commons Education and Skills Select Committee report on special educational needs (October 2006, Cm 6940), we do not believe that it would be appropriate for us to intervene in the funding arrangements for those wishing to become EPs. Local authorities, and their representative body the LGA, should determine these issues.

Lord Adonis, the Under-Secretary of State for Schools, met with representatives of the educational psychology profession and the local authority employers’ side on 23 January 2007 for an update on the funding arrangements. As a result of those discussions, it was agreed that the Children’s Workforce Development Council would help facilitate further discussions between the employers’ side, in the form of the LGA, representatives of the EP professional interests, and training providers. We expect a report on those discussions shortly.

English Language

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much was spent on English for Speakers of Other Languages in each London borough in each of the last five years for which figures are available. [131006]

Bill Rammell: This information is collected by the national Learning and Skills Council (LSC). Mark Haysom, the LSC’s chief executive, has written to the hon. Lady with this information and a copy of his reply has been placed in the House Library.

EU-Canada Joint Committee on Higher Education Training and Youth

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills which (a) conferences, (b) seminars and (c) other events have been funded under bilateral EU-Canada funding for joint activities in Higher Education, Training and Youth. [133103]

Bill Rammell: This Department does not hold information on activities carried out under the EU’s bilateral co-operation programmes which are funded and administered centrally by the European Commission.

Further Education: Finance

Mr. Blizzard: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the annual gross income for each further education college in England was in the latest year for which figures are available. [132571]


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Bill Rammell: We have increased public investment in further education by 48 per cent. in real terms between 1997 and 2005. Adult education funding will increase by 7 per cent. between 2005-06 and 2007-08, with funding for young people increasing by 13 per cent. over the same period. This means that overall in 2007-08, through the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) we will invest £11.2 billion, an increase of £716 million compared with 2006-07.

On the basis of information provided by the LSC, and taken from the colleges' own audited financial accounts, the gross income in 2005/06 for each further education college in England is shown in the table at Annex 1 which has been placed in the House Library.

Higher Education

Mrs. Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many students in higher education completed degree studies in (a) soft furnishing and (b) cabinet making in each year between 1996 and 2006. [132094]

Bill Rammell: Information on the number of students completing degree studies in soft furnishing and cabinet making is not held centrally.

The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) publishes figures on newly qualified graduates by subject. Figures are available for crafts including both soft furnishing and cabinet making and a number of other crafts but no specific figures for either soft furnishing or cabinet making are available.

Law: Students

Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what funding support is available for students taking a legal practice degree course. [133485]

Bill Rammell: I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer that I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Blackpool, South (Mr. Marsden) on 9 October 2006, Official Report, column 123W.

Nurseries: Non-domestic Rates

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment he has made of the implications for nurseries of levying business rates on private nurseries but not maintained nurseries or those in state schools. [133851]

Mr. Woolas: I have been asked to reply.

All occupiers of non-domestic property, known as hereditaments, pay business rates as a way of contributing to a range of local services. Business rates are payable regardless of ownership and are based on the rateable value of the hereditament in question. The level of business rates payable by a ratepayer depends on the circumstances of the particular case. Depending on the facts, a building may for rating purposes constitute more than one hereditament. In such cases, the occupiers of those separate units would be liable for rates.


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Rateable values are generally based on the assumed rent the property would attract if let on the open market on a specific date. These values are assessed by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA), an independent agency of HM Revenue and Customs, in line with well-established rating principles and methodology. If ratepayers disagree with the rateable value of their property, they may challenge it by making an appeal to the VOA.

We are aware that the impact of business rates is greater on small businesses compared with larger concerns. The small business rate relief scheme that we introduced with effect from 1 April 2005 therefore provides up to 50 per cent. rate relief for eligible properties irrespective of the use to which the property is put.

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will make it his policy to equalise the levels of business rates for all nursery provision. [134067]

Mr. Woolas: I have been asked to reply.

I refer the hon. Member to the answers given today to parliamentary questions 133765, 133766 and 133851.

Personal Social and Health Education: UK Membership of EC

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what his policy is on the inclusion of material promoting European citizenship in the European Communities Youth in Action programme; and if he will make a statement. [133075]

Bill Rammell: Promotion of European citizenship is a general objective of the Youth in Action Programme and is fulfilled by participants engaging in the programme’s activities. In England, Citizenship Education has been a statutory subject in the secondary school curriculum since 2002. As part of Citizenship Education, pupils are expected to understand the United Kingdom’s relations in Europe, including with the European Union.

Pre-school Education: Expenditure

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much has been spent on (a) School Action (b) School Action Plus, (c) Early Years Action and (d) Early Years Action Plus in each year since the schemes were introduced, broken down by local education authority. [132885]

Beverley Hughes: This information is not collected centrally.

Pupils: Sight Impaired

Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills when he last surveyed the availability of textbooks to blind or partially sighted children; and if he will make a statement. [133140]

Mr. Dhanda: The Department does not hold information on the availability of textbooks to
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particular groups of children. Part 4 of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 requires schools and local authorities to plan to improve access to the curriculum and written materials for all disabled pupils, including those blind or partially sighted children over time.

With regard to the availability of text books and materials in electronic format for schools, I refer my hon. Friend to the reply that I gave on 19 March 2007, Official Report, column 721W, to my hon. Friend the Member for West Ham (Lyn Brown).

Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal

Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what proportion of children in West Lancashire with a special educational need were referred to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal in each of the last two years. [112225]

Vera Baird: I have been asked to reply.

The table gives the number of appeals against Lancashire local authority in the last two school years, and the number of children with special educational needs in the local authority’s primary and secondary schools in the January of the relevant period.

Appeals concern children residing in the local authority, rather than pupils at the local authority’s schools. It would therefore be misleading to express one figure as a proportion of the other.

Appeals are made against local education authority decisions and we do not collate appeals data at a more local level.

Special educational needs appeals Children with special educational needs

2005/06

63

26,866

2004/05

66

27,050


Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills who is responsible for monitoring the performance and practices of the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal; and if he will place in the Library copies of monitoring reports. [132380]

Vera Baird: I have been asked to reply.


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SENDIST has been part of the Tribunals Service, an Executive Agency of the DCA, since 1 April 2006. The chief executive of the Tribunals Service is, therefore, now responsible for the administration of the tribunal including its performance. SENDIST’s president is an independently appointed judicial office holder and is responsible for the judicial aspects of the tribunal’s work, including judicial decision making and training of the judiciary. Copies of SENDIST’s most recent annual report for 2005-06 have been placed in the Library.

The Tribunals Service will be publishing its first annual report (covering 2006/07) shortly.

Students: Finance

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what percentage of the book value of the tranche of the student loan book to be sold he hopes to achieve in the planned sale that he announced in the Budget Statement 2007. [132896]

Bill Rammell [ holding answer 20 April 2007]: We are at the early stages of implementing the Budget announcement to sell income-contingent student loans. Further details about the sale will be announced in due course. We are confident that the Government will obtain good value for money, as they are obliged to do by rules of Government accounting.

Students: Loans

Mr. McGovern: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many people have defaulted on the payments of their student loans; and what the cost of these defaults was in each of the last five years. [131302]

Bill Rammell: The number of borrowers in arrears with their student loan repayments at the end of each of the last five financial years is shown in the table. These borrowers represented some 7 per cent. of the total number of borrowers at April 2006.

The figures relate mainly to ‘mortgage style’ student loans which are no longer offered to new students. Since 1998, the Government have provided loans on an income contingent basis with repayments made through the tax system, so the issue of repayment arrears and default does not normally arise.

Number of UK student loan borrowers in arrears( 1)
Thousand
At the end of financial yea r:
2001-02 2002-03 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06 (provisional)

Deferring with arrears(2)

29

27

22

15

12

In arrears owing less than two months repayments(3)

29

39

51

58

64

In arrears owing two months repayments or more

80

72

62

59

48

(1) All figures apply to publicly-owned student loans, and exclude those sold to the private sector. Being in arrears does not necessarily mean that the borrower is not currently repaying at some level. (2) These borrowers are currently deferring repayments as their income is below the repayment threshold, but have some arrears from period when payments were due accounts. (3) This includes borrowers awaiting approval to defer their repayments, with no repayment schedule in place or owing small amounts. Source: Student Loans Company

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The Student Loans Company does not write off any amounts and continues to seek repayments of any arrears incurred.


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