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Departments: Public Relations

Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much was spent by his Department on public relations in each of the last five years. [139413]

Alan Johnson: The Department employs public relations agencies for specific communications tasks, most commonly working alongside our press office to provide campaign support in local regional and specialist media. The amount spent on such activities in each of the last five years has totalled significantly less than 0.01 per cent. of total departmental spend and is as follows:

Cost( 1 ) (£)











(1 )These figures include contracts placed by the Department and by the Central Office of Information (COI) on our behalf.

In 2006-07 the spend has covered:

Departments: Surveys

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will place in the Library copies of his Department’s employee surveys for (a) 2002 and (b) 2004. [142026]

Mr. Dhanda: The Department undertakes a staff survey approximately every 18 months. The survey is a powerful tool which allows the monitoring of progress across a range of staff-related issues. The survey also enables the Department to compare itself with other UK organisations in both the public and private sector, including high-performing organisations.

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The Department completed a survey in 2003 and 2005. The results of these surveys will be placed in the House Libraries.

Education: EC Action

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-US funding for joint activities in higher education, training and youth. [133080]

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.

Educational Institutions: Israel

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what assessment he has made of the likely impact on UK universities of the decision by the University and College Union to boycott contacts with Israeli academics and Israeli higher educational institutions; [141593]

(2) what assessment he has made of the likely impact on scientific research in the UK of the decision by the University and College Union to boycott Israeli academics and Israeli higher educational institutions. [141594]

Bill Rammell [holding answer s 11 June 2007]: The UK Government fully support academic freedom and are firmly against any academic boycotts of Israel or Israeli academics. While I appreciate the independence of the UCU, I am very disappointed that the union has decided to pass a motion which encourages its members to consider boycotting Israeli academics and education institutions. I profoundly believe this does nothing to promote the middle east peace process, in fact the reverse. Within both Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories there are both progressives and reactionaries. The problem with academic boycotts and the problem with what the UCU is proposing is that it makes the job of the progressives more difficult and it could reinforce the stance of those who take a hard line position.

I have recently returned from a visit to Israel where I met with both Israeli and Palestinian academics. These discussions have reinforced my view that a boycott would be inconsistent with the spirit of openness and tolerance that should inform public life. Education plays a vital role in developing and aiding understanding between different people. It is therefore all the more important to keep open channels of communication with academics and educational institutions during these difficult times.

As an independent body, the union would be free to take any action, within the law, voted for by its members. UCU members, like all HE employees, must behave in accordance with their institution's own anti-discrimination policies and the UK's wider legislative framework on employment and equality.

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Educational Maintenance Allowance: East Sussex

Mr. Waterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many young people were in receipt of educational maintenance allowance in (a) Eastbourne and (b) East Sussex in each year since its introduction. [130951]

Phil Hope: This is a matter for the Learning and Skills Council, who operate the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) for the DFES and hold the information about take-up and payments made under the scheme. Mark Haysom, the council's chief executive has written to the hon. Member with the information requested and a copy of his reply has been placed in the House Library.

Letter from Mark Haysom, dated 11 April 2007:

Letter from Mark Haysom, dated 21 March 2007:

Take-up of EMA in each academic year
East Sussex Number





2006-07 to end February


Foundation Degrees

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to his speech on Second Reading of the Further Education and Training Bill on 21 May 2007, Official Report, columns 994-1003, what modelling has been undertaken by his Department which shows that (a) more students will take foundation degrees if further education (FE) colleges are able to award them and (b) FE colleges will be able to respond more quickly to the needs of employers if the Bill is enacted. [141243]

Bill Rammell [holding answer 11 June 2007]: We have not undertaken “modelling” to show this. Our decision to introduce new powers for the leading colleges to award their own foundation degrees was based on discussions with providers and employers; and is consistent too with our general view that education providers in all sectors perform better the less they are subject to restriction. The legislation
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removes an unnecessary constraint on the leading providers of foundation degrees within the FE sector, while establishing strong safeguards to protect quality and the international reputation of our degrees.

Higher Education: West Lancashire

Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many entrants to university undergraduate courses came from West Lancashire constituency in each of the last five years. [143522]

Bill Rammell: The latest available information is shown in the following table. Figures for 2006/07 will be available in January 2008.

Entrants to undergraduate courses( 1) from West Lancashire parliamentary constituency , UK higher education institutions, academic years 2001/02 to 2005/06
Academic year Number of entrants











(1) Covers students on full-time and part-time modes of study.
Figures are on a HESA standard registration population basis and are rounded to the nearest five.
Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA).

Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the participation rate in higher education was of people aged 18 to 21 years in West Lancashire constituency in each year since 1997. [143527]

Bill Rammell: The main measure for tracking progress on increasing participation is currently the Higher Education Initial Participation Rate (HEIPR). This is the sum of the HE initial participation rates for individual ages between 17 and 30 inclusive. It covers English-domiciled first-time entrants to HE courses, which are expected to last for at least six months, at UK higher education institutions and English, Scottish and Welsh further education colleges, and who remain on their course for at least six months. The initial participation rates for 18 to 21-year-olds can be derived from the HEIPR and the figures are shown in the following table:

HE initial participation rate for 18 to 21-year-olds
18 to 21-year-old initial participation rate (percentage)


32 (32.4)


33 (33.0)


34 (33.6)


34 (33.8)


33 (32.9)


33 (33.3)


35 (35.1)

Note: The HEIPR is usually published to the nearest integer, but the figures are included to one decimal place to inform comparisons over time.

The HEIPR is available for English-domiciled students only, and it is not broken down by smaller areas.

The latest available figures on participation by local areas were published by the Higher Education Funding
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Council for England (HEFCE) in January 2005 in "Young Participation in Higher Education", which is available from the HEFCE website at:

The HEFCE report shows participation rates for young people who enter higher education aged 18 or 19 disaggregated by parliamentary constituency, local education authority (LEA) and Government Office Region for the years 1997 to 2000.

Figures taken from this report for the West Lancashire constituency, together with the comparable figure for England, are shown in the following table:

Young participation r ate (YPR (A))
Year cohort aged 18 in:
Government office region/country 1997 1998 1999 2000

West Lancashire










Source: Higher Education Funding Council for England.

Lip Reading: Finance

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what proportion of the costs for lip-reading classes are met by the Learning and Skills Council; and whether individual funding of learners differs by (a) age of learner and (b) degree of disability. [132055]

Bill Rammell: There is an assumed fee contribution for all further education provision funded by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC), including courses in lip-reading. For 2007/08 the assumed fee element will be 37.5 per cent. meaning that LSC funding will continue to account for at least 62.5 per cent. of the cost of all LSC funded FE courses. A large number of learners also benefit from full fee remission including all 16 to 18-year-olds and those on means-tested benefits including those in receipt of the Pension (Guarantee) Credit.

Additional Learner Support (ALS) funding is available from the LSC in order for providers to meet the additional needs of their learners, including those with learning difficulties and/or disabilities. The LSC also funds placements in specialist colleges for learners with learning difficulties and/or disabilities based on the learning and specialist support they require.

With the exception of the rules on fee remission individual funding does not differ according to age, although providers have discretion over the level of the fees they charge and many providers will have their own local fee remission policies in place. For instance in 2004/05 more than 80 per cent. of lip-reading courses were free to learners either as a result of national policy or the discretion of the provider.

Learners who do not qualify for free tuition can still receive support from Learner Support Funds administered directly by colleges. Learners with learning difficulties and/or disabilities, including those with hearing impairments, are given priority for these funds especially where they are at risk of not taking up or continuing in Further Education.

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Midwives: Qualifications

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to the answer of 20 February 2007, Official Report, column 706W, on midwives: qualifications, if he will make a statement on the progress made in transposing the Recognition of Professional Qualifications Directive into regulations. [143161]

Bill Rammell: Transposing regulations have been drafted by all the Departments concerned. Consultation is at various stages. The Department of Health consultation runs from 25 May until 17 August.

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