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Jim Knight: The Department has not made any assessment of the difficulty of Mandarin in comparison with other modern language GCSEs. However, the Key Stage 3 programme of study for languages sets out statutory modifications to the level descriptors for listening, responding and reading for pupils studying Mandarin and Cantonese. These modifications assume that Mandarin may be spoken at a slower speed, the range of topics may be more limited and pupils may work with a limited number of characters. There are no similar modifications for other languages.
Jim Knight: We do not promote the teaching of one language over another, and have not provided any specific funding for the teaching of Mandarin in schools. It is for individual schools to decide which languages they offer. However, the Department signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Hanban (Office of the Chinese Language Council International) in July 2006 designed to promote Chinese learning and teaching in English schools and to increase cooperation between the two countries.
Jim Knight: The Secretary of State has not had any discussions with education providers on the teaching of Mandarin in schools. The Languages Review, published in March 2007, proposed widening the range of languages taught in schools. The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority has recently finished consulting on the revised Key Stage 3 languages curriculum. The consultation proposed removing the requirement that schools must first teach a European language to allow them to teach any major spoken world language, including Mandarin, depending on local need and circumstances. We are considering the potential implications of these changes for the school workforce.
Mr. Nicholas Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many people were employed as nursery nurses in the most recent period for which figures are available; how many unfilled nursery places there were in that period; what the balance was of provision between private and non-private nurseries; and if he will make a statement. 
Beverley Hughes: There are no figures available for the number of nursery nurses employed in the nursery sector. However, the Government's latest survey of nurseries carried out in 2005 (Childcare and Early Years Providers Survey 2005Full Day Care Providers) showed that 104,800 paid staff, 80 per cent. of all paid staff, working in children's nurseries in England had a qualification relevant to working with children and young people.
The 2005 Childcare and Early Year Providers Survey also estimated that in summer 2005 there were approximately 88,400 vacant full day care places in England, 17 per cent. of all places; and that 60 per cent. of full day care provision in England was privately owned, with the remaining 40 per cent. split across the voluntary, local authority, school and other sectors.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what proportion of the money allocated to local authorities to provide the nursery education grant was passed to nursery providers in the latest period for which figures are available; 
Local authoritiesin consultation with their School Forumsare responsible for deciding how best to apply their total school and early years funding across all age groups and between different types of provider, based on an assessment of local circumstances. Therefore it is a matter for each local authority to determine the levels of funding for providers in their area. The 2006 Code of Practice on the provision of free nursery education places for three and four-year-olds makes clear that local authorities should fund providers equitably, fairly and transparently.
The Schools, Early Years and 14-16 Funding consultation which ends on 1 June sets out a number of proposals for changes to the way the early years
funding system operates and can be accessed at:
Mr. Evennett: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much funding has been allocated for each One School Pathfinder Project; when he expects each project to be completed; and when the decision was made on each allocation. 
Jim Knight: The following table shows funding allocations for each BSF One School Pathfinder project. Funding for phase one projects was initially approved in May 2006. Funding for phase two projects was initially approved in January 2007. Phase one projects were given an ambitious target of completion in September 2008, and phase two by September 2009. The following dates indicate our latest information on when new facilities will be open at each school.
|Phase 1 projects||Name of school||Current estimated opening date||Funding (£ million)|
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