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Old Documents

Mr. Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what is the date and title of the oldest document or archival unit retained by his Department which has not been passed on to the Public Record Office for release for public inspection. [7196]

Dr. Howells [holding answer 8 July 1997]: There is no material, appropriate for transfer to the Public Record Office, retained by the Department at this time.

Lifelong Learning

Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what steps he is taking to widen participation in lifelong learning following the publication of the Kennedy report. [7127]

Dr. Howells [holding answer 9 July 1997]: The Further Education Funding Council is consulting widely about Helena Kennedy's report to it and we will consider carefully the views expressed and advice from others, including the Advisory Group on Continuing Education and Lifelong Learning chaired by Professor Bob Fryer. Our plans for widening participation will be set out in a White Paper on Lifelong Learning in the Autumn.

Computers (Century Date Change)

Mr. David Atkinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will make a statement on his Department's timetable for dealing with the Year 2000 Computer Problem; who is in charge of the project; how many staff are working on it; what is the projected cost of resolving the problem; and whether the project is on schedule. [7145]

Dr. Howells: The Department is on schedule to achieve the milestones identified by the Central IT Unit, Cabinet Office in response to the Year 2000 problem. By October 1997, we expect to produce a "prioritised" and fully costed plan for undertaking the appropriate

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and cost justified work. System modification and testing should be completed by December 1998. Accurate figures of the likely cost of dealing with the Year 2000 problem will not be available until the completion of the prioritised plan. The cost of remedial and preventative action will be met from within existing departmental provision.

Job Clubs

Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what plans he has to extend the criteria for eligibility for attendance at job clubs to those who have had a series of brief periods of temporary unemployment but are otherwise long-term unemployed.[7109]

Mr. Alan Howarth: There are no plans at present to change the eligibility criteria for this programme. Letter from Leigh Lewis to Mr. David Chaytor, dated July 1997:


Engineering

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment (1) how many female engineering undergraduates entered universities in the United Kingdom in each year since 1986; [7052]

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Dr. Howells: The available information is given in the following table.

Care should be taken in comparing the graduate and entrant numbers to derive "graduation rates" because graduates from a particular entrant cohort will not necessarily graduate together in the same year. Moreover, there are timing/coverage differences between the entrant and graduate figures throughout the time series as footnoted in the table.

Female engineering students at first degree level in the UK (000s)

Year(20)(21)Entrants(22)Graduates
19861.8--
19871.9--
19881.91.3
19892.51.3
19902.91.6
19913.61.8
19923.52.2
19934.12.5
19944.82.9
19954.73.2
19964.53.5

(20) From 1994-95 data were collected by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA).

(21) Data are for academic years. From 1988 figures include entrants to all higher education institutions including universities, polytechnics and other HE establishments. Prior to 1988, entrants to English establishments other than universities and polytechnics are excluded. Entrants to first degree study in further education establishments are excluded throughout.

(22) Data are for calendar years up to 1993-94 and academic years thereafter. Up to 1994, graduates from all institutions including further education institutions are included. Thereafter graduates from FEIs are excluded.


Further Education Funding (Worcestershire)

Mr. Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what discussions he has had with the Further Education Funding Council over the level of funding for further education colleges in Worcestershire, with particular reference to Evesham College; and if he will make a statement. [6772]

Dr. Howells: None. It is for the Further Education Funding Council to make decisions concerning the funding allocations to colleges.

Full Employment

Mr. Colvin: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what commitments he has made in respect of achieving full employment. [7319]

Mr. Andrew Smith: The Government's central economic objective is to achieve high and stable levels of growth and employment. This will be pursued by running a successful low inflation economy, with macro-economic stability as a platform for sustainable growth, and by enhancing skills and improving the operation of the labour market to open up job opportunities to all groups in society.

Mr. Colvin: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what is his Department's definition of full employment. [7318]

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Mr. Smith: The Department has no such definition. The Government's objective is to achieve high and stable levels of growth and employment, and a fair society in which everyone can share in higher living standards and greater job opportunities.

Primary Class Sizes

Ms Oona King: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment how many five, six and seven-year-olds in classes taught by one teacher are in classes of 31 pupils or more, in (a) Newham, (b) Tower Hamlets, (c) Hackney, (d) Redbridge, (e) Waltham Forest and (f) Barking and Dagenham, expressed in (i) absolute terms and (ii) as a proportion of all five, six and seven-year-olds; and what are the corresponding figures for the United Kingdom. [6856]

Mr. Byers [holding answer 7 July 1997]: The information is not available in the form requested.

Provisional estimates of the numbers and percentages of pupils in key stage 1 classes taught by one teacher in maintained primary schools for each local education authority area as requested and England are shown in the table.

Numbers and percentages of pupils in Key Stage 1 Classes(23) taught by one teacher with 31 or more pupils in maintained primary schools
January 1997 (provisional estimates)

NumberPercentage
Newham1,26214
Tower Hamlets4757
Hackney54010
Redbridge2,33132
Waltham Forest91613
Barking and Dagenham90914
England 476,93429

(23) Includes reception classes. Information on class sizes in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland is the responsibility of my right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for these countries.


Nursery Education

Ms Oona King: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what proportion of (a) three-year-olds and (b) four-year-olds currently have nursery places in (i) Newham, (ii) Tower Hamlets, (iii) Hackney, (iv) Redbridge, (v) Waltham Forest and (vi) Barking and Dagenham; and what are the corresponding figures for the United Kingdom. [6815]

Mr. Byers [holding answer 7 July 1997]: Provisional figures for 1997 show that the percentages of three and four-year-olds in maintained nursery schools and nursery classes in maintained primary schools in England were 33 and 24 per cent. respectively. Figures for percentages of three and four-year-olds for local education authority areas in England are not sufficiently reliable for publication.

Provisional estimates of the percentages of pupils under five years of age in maintained nursery schools and nursery classes in maintained primary schools for each

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local education authority area as requested and England are shown in the following table.

Percentage(24) of children under five years of age in maintained nursery schools and nursery classes in maintained primary schools
January 1997 (provisional estimates)

Number
Newham53
Tower Hamlets61
Hackney32
Redbridge25
Waltham Forest39
Barking and Dagenham48
England29

(24) Number of pupils under five years of age in relation to number of children aged three and four at 31 December 1996.

Information on nursery provision in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland is the responsibility of my right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for these countries.



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