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Contaminated Blood Transfusions

Brian Cotter: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the recommendations of the Scottish Executive's Health and Community Care Committee regarding financial assistance to haemophilia sufferers infected with hepatitis C as a result of receiving contaminated blood transfusions. [13700]

Mr. Hutton [holding answer 12 November 2001]: The devolved Administration in Scotland is considering these recommendations. We currently have no plans to compensate haemophiliacs who become infected with hepatitis C through national health service blood products.

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NHS (Overseas Staff)

Mr. Jon Owen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of how many (a) refugees and (b) those with special immigration status with medical qualifications have been prevented from working in the national health service by their inability to speak English to an adequate level in the last five years. [14315]

Mr. Hutton: All doctors from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) need to pass the International English Language Testing Service (IELTS) test before they can be registered with the General Medical Council (GMC). The majority of doctors who took their primary medical qualification outside the EEA also need to pass the Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board (PLAB) test of medical and linguistic competence before registration is granted.

Passing the PLAB test is a pre-condition of registration for those doctors required to take it. Doctors are entitled to five attempts at the test. Those who fail it five times are prevented from registering with the GMC, and thus prevented from practising medicine in the national health service.

The GMC's records do not show how many of the doctors who fail the PLAB test five times are, in fact, from the refugee community. There is therefore no way of telling whether any refugee doctor has been prevented from getting work in the NHS by his or her ability to speak English.

Mr. Jon Owen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the contribution that could be made to the national health service by (a) refugees and (b) those with special immigration status holding medical qualifications. [14314]

Mr. Hutton: The NHS plan holds a commitment to provide extra doctors to the national health service, and we believe it makes moral and economic sense to use the skills of doctors in the refugee community to the best advantage of the NHS.

A Government funded database, developed and run by the Refugee Council and the British Medical Association, shows that there are nearly 400 refugee doctors who want information about retraining to work in the United Kingdom. More are expected to come forward as word gets around about the availability of Government funded counselling and training to help those wanting careers in the NHS becomes more widely understood.

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EDUCATION AND SKILLS

Education Rights

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills which categories of person having regard to age, marital status, duration of residence in the UK, immigration status, nationality and other characteristics, are eligible for (a) free statutory-age schooling, (b) free nursery education, (c) free education in colleges of further education and (d) education in higher education institutions, free other than through contributions to home students' tuition fees. [7951]

Mr. Ivan Lewis [holding answer 16 October 2001]: Any child of compulsory school age living in England is entitled to free education. All four-year-olds are entitled to three terms of free, good quality, part-time nursery education before they reach compulsory school age regardless of duration of residence in the UK, immigration status, nationality or any other characteristics.

Three-year-olds are entitled to a free, good quality, part-time nursery education place depending on their age and their local early years development and childcare partnership's allocation criteria. Early years development and childcare partnerships must allocate places based on social need.

The Learning and Skills Council is responsible for determining when tuition fees are to be charged for further education courses. Advice to institutions for the current academic year is that, subject to residency requirements, tuition fees should not be charged to any learner aged 16 to 18 on either a full-time or part-time course. Other groups not charged tuition fees include: those receiving jobseekers' allowance (JSA); those receiving a means- tested state benefit; unwaged dependants (as defined by the Benefits Agency) of those listed above; people on adult basic education or English for speakers of other languages programmes; asylum seekers in receipt of the equivalent of a means-tested benefit (assistance under the terms of the 1999 Immigration and Asylum Act), and their dependants; and, certain learners participating in Council funded projects (only where identified in the project specification).

Higher education institutions, as independent, self- governing bodies, decide whether to charge students tuition fees at the 'home' rate or the higher 'overseas' rate using the Education (Fees and Awards) Regulations 1997, (as amended). To be eligible for home fee status, students usually need to have 'settled status' in the UK and have been ordinarily resident here for three years before their course starts, except where this was solely or mainly to receive full-time education. Students meeting these requirements will be classed as "home" students for tuition fee purposes. Broadly speaking, these will include, in most cases, UK and other European Union students, students with recognised refugee status, other students granted the right to enter or remain and who meet the UK residence requirement, and migrant workers from the European Economic Area. Students not meeting these requirements may be charged fees at the 'overseas' rate.

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Early Excellence Centres

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will list the location of the early excellence centres which (a) are in operation, (b) are in the process of implementation and (c) are planned, and what are the criteria for locations to be included in each element of the programme. [14132]

Mr. Timms [holding answer 13 November 2001]: The Early Excellence Centre (EEC) programme is at the forefront of our policies to develop practice in integrated care, education and family services.

(a) The early excellence centres which are in operation are in:



(b) On 1 October we announced 14 new centres in Birmingham, Cornwall, Derby, Hackney, Herefordshire, Hillingdon, Islington, Kingston-upon-Thames, Lewisham, Rotherham, Surrey, Wirral and two projects working with the NHS, newborn hearing screening programme (NHSP) in Stockport and Waltham Forest. We are working with these centres to implement their proposals. At the same time we are continuing to receive further expressions of interest in joining the programme and to discuss with a number of individual centres how their plans could be developed further.

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(c) Working closely with sure start and neighbourhood nurseries, we plan to have up to 100 centres across the country by 2004. The criteria for joining the programme are set out in the latest invitation to join the programme sent to all local authorities, early years development and childcare partnerships and other partners on 1 October. Location is not the prime criterion: quality of provision is, but our plans for the programme do include achieving good geographic spread.

Teachers (Ethnic Minorities)

Mr. Willis: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills, pursuant to her answer of 5 November 2001, to the hon. Member for Harrogate and Knaresborough, Official Report, column 54W, on teachers from ethnic minorities, how many teachers from ethnic minorities have (a) started training, (b) completed training and (c) started teaching, for the last two years for which figures are available. [14616]

Mr. Timms: The Teacher Training Agency's (TTA) performance profiles collects information about initial teacher trainees at institutions in England. The most recent figures relate to the academic year 1999–2000. The following table shows the numbers and relevant proportions of first year trainees from an ethnic minority in the years 1998–99 and 1999–2000.

Number of first year trainees

YearFrom an ethnic minorityEthnicity undisclosed
1998–991,634 (6%)1,951 (7%)
1999–20001,701 (7%)934 (4%)

Source:

Teacher Training Agency, Performance Profiles


The TTA's Performance Profiles also collect information relating to final year trainees. The most recent figures relate to final year trainees in academic year 1999–2000. The following table shows the numbers and relevant proportions of trainees awarded qualified teacher status (QTS) that are from an ethnic minority for final year trainees in 1998–99 and 1999–2000.

Number of final year trainees awarded QTS

YearFrom an ethnic minorityEthnicity undisclosed
1998–991,388 (6%)1,940 (8%)
1999–20001,260 (6%)901 (4%)

Note:

Figures relate to the numbers of trainees that gained QTS by 31 July of their final year of training (i.e July 2000 for final year trainees in 1999–2000)

Source:

Teacher Training Agency, Performance Profiles


The TTA's performance profiles also collects information about the movements of final year trainees that gain QTS into the teaching profession. The following table shows the numbers and relevant proportions of trainees that were awarded QTS and were subsequently recorded as entering a teaching post in England, that are from an ethnic minority.

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Number of final year trainees awarded QTS and entered teaching

YearFrom an ethnic minorityEthnicity undisclosed
1998–991,027 (6%)1,509 (8%)
1999–2000959 (5%)692 (4%)

Note:

Figures relate to the numbers of qualified trainees that were in a teaching post by 3 January following their final year of training (i.e. January 2001 for final year trainees in 1999–2000).

Source:

Teacher Training Agency, Performance Profiles



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