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22 Jan 2009 : Column 1692W—continued

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Overall, for all students from England, the UCAS figures show that, compared to 2007, applicants to full-time undergraduate courses who had been accepted for entry in 2008, rose by 7.4 per cent. to 329,700, the highest ever. This comes on the back of a rise in accepted applicants of 6.1 per cent. between 2006 and 2007.

Intellectual Property

Derek Wyatt: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills if he will reconsider his response to the recommendations contained in the Gowers report on intellectual property. [249476]

Mr. Lammy: A functioning intellectual property system is an essential enabler to encourage innovation and economic recovery. The Gowers Review concluded that the intellectual property framework in the UK was broadly right. It did however highlight a number of areas for reform which it set out in a number of specific recommendations. Over half of these recommendations have been implemented. Work is continuing on the remainder. Meanwhile, the Government continue to attach priority to IP issues. The Creative Britain Report recognised the importance of IP, in particular copyright to the creative industries. As part of this report the Government have improved IP crime intelligence gathering and coordination of enforcement agencies. I also recently announced a broad review of the future of copyright to ensure that it continues to support creativity, promote investment and job growth while also inspiring business and consumer confidence.

Outdoor Education

Dr. Iddon: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what assessment he has made of the merits of fieldwork and out-of-classroom activity in developing practical skills for use (a) at undergraduate level, (b) at postgraduate level and (c) in employment; and if he will make a statement. [247954]

Sarah McCarthy-Fry: I have been asked to reply.

The Department has not made a formal assessment of the benefits of fieldwork and out-of-classroom activity. However, there is a body of research that demonstrates the value of learning outside the classroom to which the Department has contributed; key reports can be found at:

Ofsted’s report “Learning outside the classroom: how far should you go?” was published on 2 October 2008. A key finding is

To support and develop teachers in using fieldwork as high quality learning experiences, a network of science learning centres provides a range of continuing professional development opportunities throughout the year. These cover chemistry, physics and biology and all key stages of the science curriculum.

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Through the Government funded Action Plan for Geography, the Royal Geographical Society and the Geographical Association have developed online resources and guidance. These are available at:

and include a virtual fieldwork and local learning centre to help teachers make the most of geography in their local areas. The website contains expert advice on embedding fieldwork in the curriculum.

The Department has made no assessment of whether the encouragement of fieldwork as a teaching method is adequately supported by teacher training courses. However, the current standards for the award of qualified teacher status (QTS) set out what trainee teachers must demonstrate before they can be recommended for the award. QTS Standard Q30 requires that all trainees demonstrate that they can

Training and Development Agency for Schools guidance to this standard states that

All initial teacher training provision is inspected by Ofsted to ensure that training is designed and delivered to enable every trainee to meet all of the QTS standards, including standard Q30 that relates to learning outside of the classroom.

Through the manifesto for learning outside the classroom, DCSF is supporting “Teaching Outside the Classroom” at:

which facilitates placements for trainee teachers in settings such as museums, city farms and field study centres.

The Government have no plans to commission research to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the state of fieldwork in secondary science education for 14 to 19-year-olds.

Students: Loans

Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills (1) what his latest estimate is of the amount overpaid in student loan repayments due to late notification of the Student Loans Company by HM Revenue and Customs of the full repayment of a loan in the last 12 month period for which data are available; [248551]

(2) what his latest estimate is of the average time taken for HM Revenue and Customs to notify the Student Loans Company that a student loan has been repaid in full. [248552]

Mr. Lammy: Repayment of student loans depends on the income of the borrower: the repayment rate is 9 per cent. of income over the equivalent of £15,000 per annum which is collected through HM Revenue and Customs alongside income tax and national insurance contributions. The repayment amount therefore varies according to their income.

The Student Loans Company (SLC) reconciles borrowers’ loan accounts at the end of each financial year. There may be overpayments when a borrower
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comes to the end of repaying their loan, which are refunded with interest, but these are not caused by late notification by HM Revenue and Customs.

The SLC is putting a number of measures in place to help customers avoid overpayment by giving them the option to make final repayments outside the tax system, via direct debit, to ensure they do not overpay. SLC have also introduced new guidance and tools, including an online calculator, to help customers work out their loan balance, and therefore when they are likely to pay their loan in full.

Work Experience

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what estimate he has made of the number of internships offered nationwide in 2007-08. [250213]

Mr. Lammy: The value of internships for undergraduates and for graduates is well established. That is why we want to increase internship opportunities for unemployed graduates, as just one part of this Government's overall package to support individuals through the economic downturn. We have not made an estimate of the number of internships offered in 2007-08 but a significant proportion of the larger graduate employers offer such places as part of their recruitment processes. We will build on such existing good practice as we work with relevant stakeholders to develop our proposals.

Children, Schools and Families

Academies: Standards

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families which academies are categorised in the national challenge; and if he will make a statement. [248635]

Jim Knight: There are 32 Academies (listed in the following table) where fewer than 30 per cent. of pupils achieved five or more A* - C grades including English and mathematics at GCSE in 2008 and which are categorised in the National Challenge.

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Academies are leading the way in reducing low attainment. For the 36 academies with results in both 2007 and 2008 there has been an increase of 4.3 percentage points in the FIVE or more A* to C figure, including English and maths, compared to 2.5 percentage points nationally.

Audit and Risk Assurance Committee

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of his Department’s Audit and Risk Assurance Committee; and if he will make a statement. [247265]

Sarah McCarthy-Fry: Formal reviews of the effectiveness of the Department’s Audit and Risk Assurance Committee have been undertaken periodically at the request of the chair since 2005 in line with H.M. Treasury Guidance within the Audit Committee Handbook. The most recent was delivered in February 2008. Feedback for these reviews is provided by board members, other senior departmental managers, and the independent committee members.

Care Proceedings

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many applications for care proceedings were made by local authorities in November (a) 2007 and (b) 2008. [248904]

Bridget Prentice: I have been asked to reply.

The number of public law care and supervision applications under section 31 of the Children Act 1989 in November 2007 and November 2008 are given in the following table. Public law cases are those brought by local authorities or an authorised person (currently only the NSPCC). Figures relate to the number of children that are subject to each application and have been rounded to the nearest 10. Please note that 2008 figures are provisional.

Comparisons between single months should be made with caution as the monthly figures are subject to more volatility than those covering longer time periods.

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Number of public law care and supervision applications under section 31 of the Children Act 1989 England and Wales; county courts and family proceedings courts
November 2007 November 2008

Family proceedings courts(1)



County courts(2)






(1) There have been data quality issues with figures for family proceedings courts. A new method of collection was introduced in April 2007 which has improved the coverage and completeness of data.
(2) Research undertaken on behalf of Ministry of Justice has identified that some cases that have transferred from the family proceedings court to the county court have been incorrectly recorded as new applications in the county court, thus inflating the reported number of new applications through double counting (see Masson et al 2008).
HMCS FamilyMan and manual returns, as at January 2009


Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families to which (a) charities and (b) voluntary organisations his Department has provided funding in the last five years; and how much funding was provided to each. [247365]

Sarah McCarthy-Fry: The information requested can be collated only at disproportionate cost.

Children: Protection

Mrs. Dorries: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many children on the Child Protection Register were taken into care in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement. [241400]

Beverley Hughes: The information requested is not collected centrally.

The number of children who were the subject of a child protection plan at 31 March and who were also looked after on that date is shown in the following table.

Children who were the subject of a child protection plan (CPP) who were also looked after on that date( 1) : Years at 31 March 19 97 to 2008— Coverage: England
Numbers Percentage of total who were the subject of a plan( 2)





































(1)Figures are rounded to the nearest 100.
(2)The number of looked after children who were the subject of a CPP at 31 March, expressed as a percentage of all children who were the subject of a CPP at that date.

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