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5 Mar 2009 : Column 1840W—continued

Specialised Diplomas

Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what maximum distance is stipulated between schools in each of the diploma consortia. [259107]

Jim Knight: The distance between schools within a consortium is not stipulated centrally; a range of factors need to be taken in to consideration including transport and access and arrangements are determined locally. Through the Diploma Gateway process consortia are required to explain how the young people in their area will access the different institutions within the consortium.

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Standards Fund

Mrs. Maria Miller: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what initiatives have received funding through the Standards Fund; how much his Department has allocated to the fund in each year since the fund was established; how much has been allocated to the fund for (a) 2009-10 and (b) 2010-11; and if he will make a statement. [260050]

Jim Knight: Tables showing the grants and the amounts allocated to local authorities under the Standards Fund programme since it began in 1998-99, and the grants allocated to date for 2009-10 and 2010-11, will be placed in the Library.

Sure Start Programme

Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what steps his Department is taking to make Sure Start centres accessible at evenings and weekends. [259598]

Beverley Hughes: Opening hours are a matter for local decision, taking account of the range of needs and resources to meet these. From April 2009 this Government are allocating over £1 billion a year to local authorities to support services in Sure Start Children’s Centres. And Sure Start Children’s Centres have changed the way many parents access essential services during their children’s early years by delivering them closer to where families live and in ways that suit families needs. Centres offering integrated early learning and day care facilities as part of their services are required to be open 10 hours a day, five days a week and 48 weeks a year. They also have flexibility to open at other times. Other centres
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have more flexible opening hours but all centres will aim to provide services at times that suit the communities’ needs — which can mean opening in the evenings and at weekends. Some centres have, for example, found that the best time to offer activities for fathers and their children is on Saturday morning. Guidance on opening times can be found in Chapter 3 of ‘Sure Start Children’s Centres Planning and Performance Management Guidance’ (2006).

Teachers: Training

Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what factors have been identified by his Department as contributing to the decline in the number of applications for post-graduate certificate of education courses in modern languages between 2000 and 2008; and what steps his Department is taking in response to this decline. [259585]

Jim Knight: The Department has not identified why there has been a decline in the number of applications for postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE) in modern languages between 2000 and 2008.

Modern languages remains a priority subject within initial teacher training and eligible trainees on PGCE courses leading to qualified teacher status can currently receive the maximum £9,000 training bursary and a £2,500 golden hello in the second year of teaching. The subject also has a proportionately higher profile in the Training and Development Agency for Schools advertising and marketing activities. This includes specialised direct marketing materials being sent to all those who register an interest in teaching the subject. The latest published figures show that applications for postgraduate modern language courses at 3 February 2009 are up 11.7 per cent. on the same time last year.

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