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Written Answers to Questions

Monday 5 March 2001


Departmental Policies (Hull, North)

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will set out, with statistical information relating as directly as possible to the Hull, North constituency, the effects on Hull, North of his Department's policies and actions since 2 May 1997. [150623]

Mr. Wills: Details of the effects of a range of the Department's policies on the Hull, North constituency and on the city of Kingston upon Hull have been placed in the Library.

Cheshire and Halton LEAs

Mr. Derek Twigg: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what specific funds have been allocated to (i) Cheshire local education authority and (ii) Halton local education authority since May 1997 for (a) pre-school, (b) primary school, (c) secondary school, (d) special school and (e) post-16 education. [148848]

Ms Estelle Morris [holding answer 14 February 2001]: The funds allocated to Cheshire local education authority for each category since 1997-98 are shown in the table. Figures for Halton are available only from 1998-99, when it became a unitary authority. The figures include each authority's Standard Spending Assessment, Nursery Education Grant, Standards Fund, Schools Standards Grant, and Budget Support Grant. For some specific funds that are not distributed on the basis of these categories, we have estimated the amounts for each category. From 1998-99 Nursery Education Grant has been used to fund free places in the private, voluntary and independent sectors and new free places in the maintained sector. New places in the maintained sector are funded only for one year via Nursery Education Grant, and after that are normally funded through Standard Spending Assessment.

In 1997-98, Cheshire County Council included Halton and Warrington. Since 1998-99, Halton and Warrington have been separate unitary authorities.

Funds allocated to Cheshire and Halton local education authorities

£ million

(1) Including Halton and Warrington

(2) Excluding Halton and Warrington

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In addition Cheshire has been allocated £60.6 million and Halton £9.5 million for capital expenditure since 1997-98. Capital funding cannot be broken down into the categories requested.

Under this Government funding nationally per pupil has already increased by over £300 in real terms, and it will increase by a further £150 per pupil for 2001-02.

FE Colleges

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what information he has collated about the academic achievements and funding per student at (a) Farnham College and (b) Godalming College in the last year for which figures are available; and what the corresponding average figures are for (i) Surrey, (ii) England and (iii) the UK. [150301]

Mr. Wicks: The achievement rates for further education colleges in England are contained in the table:

Achievement rate 1998-99 (percentage)
Farnham College93
Godalming College93
All sixth form colleges in England(3)86
All colleges in Surrey66
All colleges in England76

(3) Farnham and Godalming Colleges are both sixth form colleges, therefore this achievement figure offers a more valid comparison

The level of funding of students by the Further Education Funding Council (FEFC) is determined by a tariff system which provides a number of "units" of funding for various aspects of the course and student. Most "units" are for the length and type of course; others cover achievement, entry and additional support, for example.

The average level of funding (or ALF) per unit varies between colleges, mostly for historical reasons but is converging by deliberate council policy. The ALF (1998-99) for Godalming College is £16.91 and for Farnham College is £17.75. This methodology will continue for the first year following the inception of the LSC. Following that, a revised system will be introduced which will simplify the FEFC system but maintain separate elements for course length and type and for achievement.

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Under the current methodology, funding per full time equivalent (FTE) student will depend on type of courses, level of achievement, mode of attendance and other

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factors. The following figures on funding per FTE are affected by the factors as well as average level of funding per unit.

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Student numbers (1998-99) Funding (1998-99)
Council fundedNon-council fundedCouncil funded full time equivalents (FTE)(4)Total FEFC funding (£ million)Funding per FTE (£)
Farnham College921--5751.83,200
Godalming College1,962771,6953.92,323
All FE institutions in Surrey (excluding HEI)44,2248,05518,56155.32,979
All FE institutions in England (excluding HEI)3,318,100765,500957,1022,932.53,064

(4) Full time equivalents (FTEs)--for the purpose of this exercise, a full time student is defined as one who studies at the college for 655 hours.

College FTEs are calculated by dividing total student hours by 655.

This allows for a more standardised comparison in terms of funding per FTE student.

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Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what representations he has received regarding the teaching of Shakespeare in secondary schools; and if he will make a statement. [150539]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 15 February 2001]: The requirement for secondary schools to teach Shakespeare, as well as other major literary figures, was identified clearly in our review of the National Curriculum, which was completed last year. We maintained a consistent position, despite some proposals to the contrary, that pupils between the ages of 11 and 16 should be required to study the works of a range of major writers and poets, including two plays by William Shakespeare. The range also includes plays, novels, short stories and poetry from the English literary heritage. Major classical authors are represented, including Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, John Milton and William Wordsworth.

These proposals were the subject of wide consultation, which produced strong public support. We have no plans to change the requirement for the teaching of Shakespeare in secondary school.

Learning Support and Pupil Referral Units

Mr. Coaker: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment (1) what the target ratio is of (a) learning support units and (b) pupil referral units to secondary schools; [150712]

Jacqui Smith: The ratio of Learning Support Units to secondary schools varies from LEA to LEA. Some, such as City of Nottingham, have chosen to set up LSUs in all their secondary schools; others have targeted those schools with greatest need in terms of rates of exclusion,

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attendance and severity of behavioural problems. However, in Excellence in Cities areas there is an average of one LSU for every two secondary schools. There are now over 1,000 LSUs in England.

We are providing education authorities with the resources to ensure that all excluded pupils receive a full-time education by 2002. Such education will take place in a range of settings including PRUs, the voluntary sector, further education and work experience. From April, funding to tackle truancy and exclusion increases to £174 million and already there are over 1,000 more places and nearly 600 more teachers, instructors and education support assistants at PRUs compared to 1997. Education authorities are assessing locally their requirements for increasing provision taking account of the number of exclusions and the successful re-integration of excluded pupils into mainstream school. In 2000 one third of PRUs reported offering full-time provision to pupils and two thirds offered 13 or more hours tuition each week. Planned LEA funding for PRUs increased by 13 per cent. this year compared to last, and we expect to see a 10 per cent. rise in the number of PRUs in 2001 compared to 2000. LEA plans indicate that in 2001 nearly two thirds of authorities will move to the full timetable for excluded secondary pupils. The recent Ofsted Annual Report noted the improving performance of PRUs and in particular highlighted improvements in teaching, pupil progress and re-integration into mainstream school of key stage 2 and 3 pupils.

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