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Student Loans

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if proposals for write-offs of student loans initiated by his Department (a) require extension to European students and (b) require approval by the European Union. [155871]

Ms Estelle Morris: Detailed proposals for the write-off of student loans are still being developed by my Department. We do not believe that they require European Union approval, but we will naturally take full account of relevant EU legislation.

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if comparable incentives to the proposed write-offs of student loans for trainee teachers are planned for trainees without loan debt. [155869]

Ms Estelle Morris: No directly comparable incentives are planned for trainees without loan debt. Other measures to encourage more people into teaching, especially in shortage subjects, include improved pay and training, Golden Hellos, and our recently-announced Back To Work bonus for returners to teaching. The number of teachers in England and Wales has increased by 7,400 since 1998, and we hope that this rise will continue.

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Further and Higher Education Act

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will make a statement on progress in implementing changes in funding for external qualifications consequent on the coming repeal of Schedule 2 to the Further and Higher Education Act 1999. [155876]

Mr. Wicks: Until 31 August 2001 the Learning and Skills Council will continue to consider as eligible for funding, qualifications currently funded by the Further Education Funding Council. On 29 December 2000, the Department published the first list, under section 96 of the Learning and Skills Act 2000, of external qualifications that will be approved for use from 1 September 2001 by those under 19. The LSC will draw on this list for those aged 19 or over until 2002-03 when a list under section 97 of the Act will be published.

Departmental Policies (North Devon)

Mr. Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will set out, including statistical information relating as directly as possible to the North Devon constituency, the effects on North Devon of his Department's policies and actions since 2 May 1997. [155903]

Mr. Wills: Outlined are details of the effects of a range of the Department's policies on the North Devon constituency and Devon LEA.

Beacon Schools

The Park Community School--awarded Beacon status from 1 September 1998 for working with the home to foster a positive approach to school--home school contracts, personal student development, mentoring and academic tutoring, special educational needs, initial teacher training, and continuous professional development.

School Achievement Awards

Eighteen schools in the constituency were among 108 in Devon to be allocated a total of £728,400 in March 2001. Staff at 16 of the 18 schools in the constituency received Improvement Awards because pupil performance in 2000 was substantially better than in 1997, or because schools had come out of special measures. The remaining two schools received Excellence Awards, because pupil performance in 2000 was better than most schools in similar circumstances. Awards were worth around £5,000 for a typical primary school and £25,000 for a typical secondary school.

Classroom of the Future

Devon LEA was awarded £900,000 as part of the above initiative in February 2001. The stated aim is, in the context of recent educational research, to provide life long learning opportunities that broaden experiences for pupils and the whole community. It will be an inclusive project that provides greater educational opportunities for those living in rural communities, so that social exclusion in isolated rural areas no longer exists. The proposal is to set up units in two primary schools and a community college within an existing cluster of schools, and to work with three technology colleges. The potential of information and communications technology is fully explored, in combination with sustainable design. Partners include Exeter and Plymouth Universities and the Timber Research and Development Association.

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Infant Class Sizes

Revenue Funding1,0001,831 2,596 5,427
Capital Funding5237327191,974

The September 2000 figures show that in Devon there are now 62 (0.3 per cent.) pupils remaining in infant classes of 31 or more. The figure in January 1998 was 5,639 (26 per cent.). Performance Indicators

England averages include independent schools.

Key Stage 2, percentage of pupils achieving level 4

GCSE--percentage of pupils achieving:
5+A*-C grades
LEA average44474849
England average45464849
5+A*-G grades
LEA average90919191
England average86888989
No passes
LEA average5444
England average8766
Average point score
LEA averageN/A38.438.739.2
England averageN/A37.038.138.9

(46) Results prior to 1998 include Plymouth and Torbay

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A/AS level and Advanced GNVQ

Average points for 2 or more A/AS levels199819992000
LEA average16.317.317.9
England average17.818.218.5
A/AS average per entry
LEA average5.25.55.3
England average5.45.55.5
Average point score GNVQs
LEA average10.510.710.6
England average9.69.910.1

Funding per pupil

In Devon LEA, funding per pupil has increased by £240 in real terms between 1997-98 and 2000-01.

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Devon LEA Capital funding

Credit approvals1997-981998-991999-20002000-012001-02Total
New Deal for Schools1,0182,3974,7637,536--15,714
NDS Condition Funding--------1,5201,520
National Grid for Learning--9791,2132,3423,6208,154
Voluntary Aided Grant1,0021872513871,7683,595
Devolved Formula Capital------5,0134,1019,114
Science Labs------327327654
AMP Support----108----108
SEED Challenge------341395736
Class Size Initiative--2471,001664--1912
Outside toilet removal--972------972
Schools Security at 75 per cent.2622192312331651,110
Schools Access Initiative at 85 per cent.------22581603

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Further Education

Student numbers at all FEFC funded institutions where home postcode is in the Local Authority District of North Devon.

1996-97 to 1999-2000

16-18 Adult
FEFC funded
Non-FEFC funded

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Modern Apprenticeships

Information on Modern Apprenticeships for all English constituencies will be placed in the Library by the end of March 2001.

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New Deal for Young People

In the North Devon constituency, 786 young people have joined the New Deal to end December 2000. 450 have found jobs, 349 of which are sustained.

Labour Market Statistics

The working age employment rate in Devon in Autumn 2000 was 77.8 per cent., above the UK rate of 74.7 per cent. The rate in Autumn 1997 was 77.3 per cent.

The claimant unemployment rate has fallen from 5.8 per cent. in February 1997 to 4.0 per cent. in February 2001 in the North Devon constituency.

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