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Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment she has made of levels of sickness among pupils at key stages four and five since the introduction of the AS-level syllabus. 
Data on authorised absence from schools are collected centrally only for pupils of compulsory school age. They do not distinguish between pupils of different ages, nor do they distinguish between sickness and other forms of authorised absence.
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Mr. Timms: Our proposals in respect of value-added measures were set out in detail in the Publication of School and Performance Tables in 2001 consultation document which issued on 30 March this year, copies of which have been placed in the Library. We are now working with some 200 volunteer schools on a pilot programme for the calculation of measures of progress made from Key Stage 2 to key Stage 3 and from Key Stage 3 to GCSE/GNVQ.
The results of the pilot will be published on 22 November with a full explanation of the methodology used. This pilot publication will be placed in the Library and will also be available on the DfES website
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at www.dfes.gov.uk/performancetables along with a questionnaire seeking the views of readers on all aspects of the pilot. This will be used as part of the evaluation of the pilot which, along with further consultation early next year, will inform final decisions on the publication of these two measures for all secondary schools in the 2002 performance tables.
Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what was the (a) direct cost and (b) the cost of external contractors and advisers to her Department of each local education authority intervention in the last 12 months. 
Mr. Timms: The direct cost to the Department of local education authority interventions is the staff time of the officials concerned. The cost of individual contracts with external contractors and advisers for intervention work is commercial in confidence.