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Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will list the initial teacher training providers that have not, in their admissions policy, accepted the equivalence to GCSE English and Maths of Curriculum 2000 Level Two Key Skills Qualifications in Communications and Application of Numbers. 
Ms Estelle Morris [holding answer 30 April 2001]: This information is not held centrally. We do not require that initial teacher training (ITT) providers publish a list of those qualifications they accept as equivalent to GCSE English and maths. It is the responsibility of ITT providers to decide whether an applicant holds qualifications that meet the Secretary of State's entry requirements for courses of ITT, including those relating to the key skills of communication and the application of number. Qualifications must, however, be of the equivalent standard to a GCSE grade C, or above.
Mr. Willis: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment how the 20,000 new teaching posts to be created by 2002 will be allocated between (a) key stage 1, (b) key stage 2 and (c) key stages 3 and 4; and if he will make a statement. 
Ms Estelle Morris: I assume that the hon. Gentleman is referring to our target to increase by 20,000 the number of teaching assistant posts by 2002. Between 1999-2002 we are making available to local education authorities in England around £350 million to meet the cost of recruiting and training the equivalent of 20,000 new teaching assistants. We have met our target a year earlier than expected--there has been a rise of over 25,000 full-time equivalent teaching assistants between 1999 and 2001. The appointment, training and deployment of teaching assistants are matters for schools and local education authorities to consider in the light of local needs and circumstances.
Mr. Willis: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Truro and St. Austell (Mr. Taylor) of 9 February 2001, Official Report, column 764W, on student loans, if he will estimate the nominal rate of
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interest required to hold the net present value of student loans at £590 million, if the threshold of student loans repayment were increased to £13,000. 
Mr. Wicks: The net present value of the estimated £982 million income contingent loans issued in 1999-2000 to students domiciled in England and Wales is estimated to be £590 million. The nominal rate of interest required to maintain this net present value with a threshold for repayment of £13,000 per year is estimated to be around 3½ per cent. It should be noted that such calculations should be treated with caution, due to their dependence on the estimates of the resource cost of income-contingent loans. Any interest rate calculated will consequently be subject to some fluctuation.
Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will make it his policy to extend the funding available for vocational programmes to allow young people to develop craft and technical skills. 
Mr. Wicks: From September 2002, there will be a significant expansion of vocational opportunities for young people at Key Stage 4, with additional developmental funding of £18 million in 2002-03 rising to £20 million in 2003-04 being made available.
Mr. Derek Twigg: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment how many students in each English local education authority area are in receipt of educational maintenance allowances. 
Mr. Wicks: In England, as of 16 March 2001, there were almost 70,000 students receiving EMAs in the 56 pilot local education authorities (LEAs). This number is constantly increasing as applications continue to be received by LEAs. Following is the information.
1 May 2001 : Column: 563W
|Local education authority||Number of students in receipt of EMA(3)|
|Hammersmith and Fulham||264|
|Kingston on Hull||918|
|North East Lincolnshire||716|
|Stoke on Trent(4)||2,328|
(3) As at 16 March 2001
(4) First year pilots started in September 1999
Mr. Whittingdale: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what estimate he has made of the proportion of maintained (a) primary and (b) secondary schools which require the wearing of school uniform. 
Jacqui Smith: We do not collect information about schools' uniform policies. The Government believe that school uniforms can make a valuable contribution to the identity and discipline of schools. It is, however, for school governors to decide whether there should be a uniform, and we believe that this should remain the case.
1 May 2001 : Column: 564W
Mr. Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what financial help he plans to make available to postgraduate trainee teachers whose courses started too early for them to be eligible for training bursaries. 
Ms Estelle Morris: On 30 March, my noble Friend the Minister for Education and Employment in the Lords made regulations allowing the Teacher Training Agency to make payments to any postgraduate currently in teacher training who did not qualify for a £6,000 training bursary and who, in the Agency's opinion, has suffered financial hardship as a result. However, the Agency has since informed my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State that unforeseen difficulties in setting up the hardship scheme would lead to any payments under the Regulations being delayed significantly beyond the start of the summer 2001 term.
The Regulations were designed to allow help to be offered this term to postgraduate trainee teachers whose courses began during the 1999-2000 academic year and who remain in training now, but are not eligible for any training bursary payments. Hon. Members from all sides of the House have made representations to my right hon. Friend about the hardship that this group of trainees has suffered as a result of being ineligible for the training bursaries. In view of this evidence, my right hon. Friend believes that it would be wrong to allow financial assistance to be delayed to an extent that might cause further disadvantage. Accordingly, he has decided that the trainees in question should be made eligible to receive full £6,000 training bursaries with immediate effect, subject to the same conditions that apply to trainees whose courses began on or after 1 September 2000. My Department and the Teacher Training Agency are contacting training providers with details of these new arrangements.
Sir Brian Mawhinney: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment when the right hon. Member for North-West Cambridgeshire will receive a reply to his letter of 16 March on behalf of Mrs. Martin. 
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