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Individual Learning Accounts

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will make a statement on the number of people who have, to date, taken up ILA's, indicating the criteria used to determine suitability to open an ILA; and what the average amount invested for each individual is. [158846]

Mr. Wicks: Latest figures are that over 950,000 people have opened Individual Learning Accounts (ILAs) in the UK. This figure will be updated shortly and I will write to the hon. Member with a revised figure when this is available. In England the main criterion for holding an ILA is that the individual is aged 19 or over. The figures available for ILAs in England show that each learning opportunity undertaken by account holders costs an average of £355. £178 of this is supported by funds available through the ILA initiative while the balance of £177 is shared between the individual and other sources of funding such as employers and trade unions.

Student Transport

Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what powers he has to overrule the policy of (a) a local authority and (b) a passenger transport executive relating to subsidy of public transport for students at independent schools of music on the basis of local education authority contribution to fees. [158953]

Jacqui Smith: A local education authority must by law provide free school transport for a day pupil attending an independent school if it is the nearest suitable school to the pupil's home, and that home is beyond the statutory walking distance. Local education authorities have discretion to provide free or subsidised school transport for pupils who do not satisfy those criteria; but they are under no obligation to do so. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has no powers to intervene in a local education authority's discretionary policy in such cases, except where he is satisfied that the authority is acting unreasonably in the exercise of statutory powers or duties. He has no relevant powers in relation to passenger transport executives. For pupils aided under my Department's Music and Ballet Scheme at four independent specialist music schools in England, means- tested help is available through that scheme towards transport costs.

Mr. Hurst: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment how many school children received free school transport in (a) 1995, (b) 1996, (c) 1997, (d) 1998, (e) 1999 and (f) 2000; and at what cost. [158771]

Jacqui Smith: My Department does not collect from local education authorities a breakdown of numbers, or costs, relating specifically to children who receive free transport for the individual years requested. We estimate that approximately 800,000 pupils in England receive free transport to school every year. Total local education authority expenditure in England on home to school transport, including discretionary free and subsidised fares, in the relevant financial years was as follows.

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£ million

(13) Provisional

Learning and Skills Council

Mrs. Betty Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will make a statement on the objectives he has set for the Learning and Skills Council. [157931]

Mr. Wicks: The Learning and Skills Council was launched on 28 March and is now operational. It is the most significant and far-reaching reform ever enacted to post-16 learning. The council has a huge agenda, and its priorities include encouraging more young people to stay in learning; increasing demand for learning among adults; and improving the skills of the work force. We also expect the council to drive up standards in teaching and training, and build equality of opportunity into everything it does.

School Improvement Awards

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will list those schools in East Surrey which were wrongly informed that they had won improvement awards; and if he will make a statement. [158378]

Ms Estelle Morris [holding answer 23 April 2001]: I refer the hon. Member to the letter issued on 30 March.

Oxbridge Admissions

Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will publish the information collected by (a) Oxford and (b) Cambridge universities in each of the last five years in respect of admissions, disaggregated by college. [157901]

Mr. Wicks [holding answer 24 April 2001]: I refer my hon. Friend to the reply given on 3 April 2001, Official Report, columns 123-24W.

Fresh Start

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment how many schools have been given a Fresh Start since 1997; and how many pupils obtained five GCSEs at grades A* to C for each of the schools for each year since 1997. [158847]

Ms Estelle Morris: The Government are committed to preventing schools from failing, and turning round those that do as quickly as possible. There are 353 schools on special measures, compared with 515 in 1998. Over 700 failing schools have been successfully turned round since 1997. The average turn-round time is currently 18 months, compared with 25 months in 1997. Over 100 schools in special measures have closed, and the pupils educated elsewhere.

Where it proves impossible to turn a school round in a reasonable time, closure should be the preferred option. In exceptional circumstances, where closure is not

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feasible, the local education authority may consider a Fresh Start, closing the existing school and opening a new school on the same site. This is a difficult course, and should be reserved for the hardest cases. 25 schools have been "Fresh Started", of which 15 are secondary and 10 primary. All were causing concern, and the majority had been in special measures for over two years.

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Of the 15 secondary Fresh Start schools, four opened in September 2000 and have therefore not yet published GCSE results. Results for the other 11 schools are shown in the table. Two of these schools--Telegraph Hill School in Lewisham and Firfield Community School in Newcastle--are due to close in July 2001 and July 2002 respectively.

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GCSE/GNVQ Performance data for Fresh Start schools(14)

Percentage of pupils achieving 5 GCSE/GNVQ A*-C in:
School nameDate of Fresh Start199719981999(15)2000(15)
NewFirfield Community School1 September 1998----94
FormerlyBlakelaw School97----
NewFir Vale School1 September 1998----1117
FormerlyEarl Marshal School1110----
NewEast Brighton College of Media Arts1 September 1999------13
FormerlyThe Marina High School131319--
New Islington Arts and Media1 September 1999------5
FormerlyGeorge Orwell School131018--
New Kingswood High School1 September 1999------3
formerlyPerronet Thompson School568--
NewTelegraph Hill1 September 1999------3
FormerlyHatcham Wood School7148--
NewBishopsford Community School1 September 1999------12
FormerlyWatermeads High School221813--
NewRiver Leen School1 September 1999------7
FormerlyAlderman Derbyshire School7511--
New The King's CE School1 September 1998----3634
FormerlyRegis County School25 29----
NewNew College1 September 1999------11
FormerlyNew Parks Community College161413--
Mary Linwood School1467--
Wycliffe Community College11214--
John Ellis Community College171912--
Alderman Newton's School212131--
Mundella Community College232623--
NewPark View Academy1 September 1999------12
FormerlyThe Langham School71313--
New Kings High School1 September 2000--------
FormerlyKingsleigh Secondary School9171710
NewParkwood High School1 September 2000--------
FormerlyThe Herries School1113414
NewKings College1 September 2000--------
FormerlyKings Manor School18201310
New Corby Community College1 September 2000--------
FormerlyQueen Elizabeth School1919168
Beanfield Community College921158

(14) Data for Fresh Start Schools; data for predecessor establishments shown below each Fresh Start school.

(15) Performance Data for 1999 adjusted for exclusions; 2000 data adjusted for exclusions and refugees.


Performance tables.

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