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18 May 2009 : Column 1234W—continued


Space Technology

Adam Afriyie: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what progress there has been on the British National Space Centre’s review of the space licensing regime. [274001]

Mr. Lammy: In recent years a number of changes have been made to improve operation of the space licensing regime. Such changes include:


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Students: Low Incomes

Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what steps his Department is taking to (a) encourage and (b) provide financial support for students from low-income socio-economic backgrounds entering higher education; and if he will make a statement. [275745]

Mr. Lammy: The information is as follows:

(a) This Government are fully committed to ensuring every young person has a fair chance of attending university. We are making progress with the proportion of young entrants from lower socio economic groups going to university increasing steadily, reaching almost 30 per cent. in 2007. This year we are investing £89 million in the Aimhigher programme which raises the aspirations of young people to progress further and enter HE, and launched Aimhigher Associates across England with 5,500 undergraduates from state schools mentoring 21,000 learners to promote progression to HE from state schools.

As part of the New Opportunities White Paper, we also announced further measures to ensure every young person from a low income background, who could benefit from going to university, is given the opportunity to do so. This includes a group of 11 research intensive universities working together to look at ways to reach out to talented students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

(b) Around two-thirds of new students are expected to benefit from a non-repayable maintenance grant of up to £2,906 (2009/10 figure).

Students are also able to take out a loan for their living costs. Student loans have a more favourable interest rate compared to commercial loans, and borrowers are not required to make repayments until they are earning over £15,000 a year once they have left university.

Bursaries are an extra source of non-repayable support that universities are required to provide to all students entitled to the full maintenance grant.

Other help is available for students with disabilities, and for students with children or adult dependants. The access to learning fund (available through universities and colleges) provides help for students in hardship who may need extra financial support for their course and to stay in higher education.

Children, Schools and Families

Academies

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many meetings of governing bodies academies have been attended by officials from his Department in each year since 2000; and if he will make a statement. [275094]


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Jim Knight: We do not hold this information centrally.

Officials from the Department have regular contact with academies and this often includes attendance at governing body meetings.

Apprentices

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what estimate he has made of the average duration of an apprenticeship under the apprenticeship programme for 16 to 18-year-olds. [272679]

Sarah McCarthy-Fry: Apprenticeship frameworks typically take between one and three years to complete depending on the level and type of framework, the prior attainment and needs of the apprentice. These factors and an individual’s speed of learning mean that length of time as an apprentice can vary enormously. Our primary measure of quality is the completion rate which last year was 64 per cent.; up from 37 per cent. in 2004/05.

The Government are committed to rebuilding apprenticeships. Since 1997, we have witnessed a renaissance in apprenticeships from a low point of 65,000 to a record 225,000 apprenticeship starts in 2007/08.

Building Schools for the Future Programme

Alan Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many of the schools built or refurbished under the Building Schools for the Future programme incorporate (a) forms of renewable energy generation and (b) rainwater harvesting and recycling. [275628]

Jim Knight: The Department does not routinely collect information on the numbers and types of renewable energy systems, rainwater harvesting installations or grey water recovery systems that are included within school projects delivered though the Building Schools for the Future programme (BSF).

Since December 2007 we have required that newly constructed schools within BSF meet challenging targets for reducing carbon emissions. The Department has provided additional funding for more than 200 schools to invest in energy efficiency and renewable energy measures on school sites to enable this requirement to be met.

We will be monitoring carbon emissions for new and refurbished schools as part of post occupancy evaluations to be carried for all BSF schools. Typically these evaluations take place one full calendar year after the school has opened, and so they are only now beginning to take place for schools that have been delivered within BSF.

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what recent progress has been made in confirming approval for revision to the primary capital programme for schools to 2008-11. [276237]

Jim Knight: We have now completed our assessment of revised or modified primary strategies for change from all of those local authorities required to resubmit following initial assessment last November. All but four
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have now been confirmed as fully approved. The remainder have been approved subject to further modification. The relevant local authorities have been notified of the outcome.

Children: Literacy

Mrs. Maria Miller: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) what steps his Department plans to take to publicise the results of the Partnership for Literacy pilot scheme; [276168]

(2) what assessment he has made of the outcome of the Partnership for Literacy pilot scheme; [276169]

(3) what plans are in place to implement the Partnership for Literacy scheme; [276170]

(4) what estimate has been made of the cost of implementing the Partnership for Literacy scheme on a national basis. [276172]

Sarah McCarthy-Fry: The cost of implementing the Partnership for Literacy scheme nationwide has not
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been estimated. However, Sir Jim Rose is taking into account the evaluation report of the programme’s first two-years, which was published in February, as part of developing recommendations on the identification and teaching of children with dyslexia. We are looking forward to Sir Jim Rose publishing his recommendations in June.

Children: Mental Health Services

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many children were placed on adult mental health wards in each of the last five years. [275651]

Phil Hope: I have been asked to reply.

The following table gives figures for the number of bed days for children on child and adolescent mental health wards and for children aged under 16 and 16-17 on adult mental health wards.

Quarter Bed days - under 16s on adult ward Bed days -16/17s on adult ward Bed days - under 18s on CAMHS ward

2005-06

1

589

10,269

38,761

2

349

5,958

26,351

3

880

8,818

40,460

4

353

4,261

36,039

2006-07

1

75

4,697

34,609

2

25

4,780

28,171

3

38

4,679

34,430

4

53

4,511

39,049

2007-08

1

81

3,954

38,359

2

112

3,893

37,956

3

49

4,255

39,630

4

133

5,028

40,651

2008-09

1

16

3,316

35,431

2

(1)4

4,024

35,482

3

0

2,918

40,734

(1) Five bed days were initially reported but one (Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust) was a data error.
Notes:
Data on this issue was first collected in 2005-06 but data up until Quarter 3 of 2005-06 is not comparable with the data for Quarter 4 2005-06 onwards as information was collected on a different basis.

Class Sizes: Tamworth

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what the average class size in (a) primary and (b) secondary schools in Tamworth constituency was in each of the last five years. [274136]

Jim Knight: The requested information is shown in the table.

Maintained primary( 1) and state-funded secondary( 1, 2) schools: average class size( 3) , as at January each year, in Tamworth parliamentary constituency.

Primary schools Secondary schools

2004

25.4

20.9

2005

25.7

21.0

2006

25.5

20.3

2007

25.4

20.5

2008

25.4

19.3

(1) Includes middle-schools as deemed.
(2 )Includes CTCs and academies.
(3 )One teacher classes as taught during a single selected period in each school on the day of the census in January.
Source:
School Census

Departmental Assets

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families when his Department last reviewed its assets and land and property holdings with a view to identifying and disposing of surpluses. [269857]


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Sarah McCarthy-Fry: The Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) Property Asset Management Plan was revised in October 2008.

The Department’s Business Plan includes challenging efficiency targets to reduce the size and cost of its estate while improving the quality of our working environments. Both of these objectives are addressed in DCSF’s Property Asset Management Plan.

DCSF has already made significant progress in efficiency and effectiveness as shown in “Improving the Efficiency of Central Government’s use of office property” released by the NAO recently.


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