|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Margaret Hodge: Our programmes to raise standards in schools and colleges will have a major impact on increasing participation. Our new Aim Higher advertising campaign, together with the Excellence Challenge programme, will encourage more young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to enter HE. We are also encouraging Higher Education Institutions to introduce a range of measures to enable more people to participate in higher education including part-time learning and access programmes for mature students.
Mr. Timms: Better rewards, status and working conditions have already helped to deliver more teachers in maintained schools in England than at any time since 1984. We have pledged to secure at least a further 10,000 by 2006. In addition, training bursaries and Golden Hellos have reversed an eight-year decline in recruitment to initial teacher training. This year, numbers of trainees have risen for the second year in a row, to their highest level since 1994/95.
Mr. Timms: Already all four year olds in Lancashire are able to access a free part-time nursery education place. In the near future, we will be announcing to all local authorities in England, details of the specific funding we will be making available, to increase the number of free nursery education places available for three year olds in their areas.
22 Nov 2001 : Column: 453W
Mr. Timms: Our plans to transform secondary education include a major programme to help schools improve the attainment of all 11 to 14-year-olds. The key stage 3 strategy sets high expectations and challenging targets. It aims to improve the quality of teaching and learning in the classroom by investing in teachers' professional development. Expenditure on the strategy will be £489 million to 200304.
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The statistics published by the Department on 20 November show that 50.0 per cent. of 15-year-olds gained at least five top grades this year. We have, therefore, met the Government's targetfor 50 per cent. of 15-year-olds to achieve five GCSE grades A*-C by 2002a year early. This is a result of pupils working hard, and of the first class support they receive from teachers. There are many new policies to tackle underachievement in schools and these are feeding through now into more candidates achieving better GCSEs.
Margaret Hodge: Options for attracting students from lower income families into higher education are being considered as part of the student support review my right hon. Friend announced in October. As part of the Excellence Challenge programme, funding has already been set aside for up to 25,000 Opportunity Bursaries worth £2,000 each for students from less well-off backgrounds over the next three years. In 200102 we have also improved grant provision for lone parents and students with dependants with a new child care grant of 85 per cent. of the actual costs during term time and the short vacations and a travel, books and equipment grant. This is in addition to increasing significantly disabled students allowances and hardship grants during the last four years.
Mr. Timms: Competitive games are a compulsory part of the National Curriculum for Physical Education for pupils aged between five and 14, and are one of the options for pupils aged 14 to 16. The Government's White Paper "SchoolAchieving Success" includes a pledge that all children will receive two hours of physical education and school sport a week, within and outside the curriculum. We are currently consulting on how best this can be delivered. We have established over 370 school sports co-ordinators to assist families of primary and secondary schools to deliver after-school competitive sports.
22 Nov 2001 : Column: 454W
Margaret Hodge: The original budgets for the administration costs of the Learning and Skills Council were set some time ago as £188 million for 20012 and £193 million for 20023. While the council may wish us to consider an increase in their budget we will ensure that annual administration costs will remain at least £50 million lower than the relevant administration costs of its predecessor bodies.
Mr. Timms: On 15 November we announced that 99.5 per cent. of infants are now in classes of 30 or fewer. This is excellent news and means that, apart from permitted exceptions, now just 0.1 per cent. of the 63,000 infant classes have extra children.
28. Mr. Blunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what recent meetings she has had with the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers to discuss the number of teacher vacancies in secondary schools. 
Mr. Timms: I last met representatives of NASUWT on 31 October 2001. A range of issues was discussed, including the terms of teachers' employment, but the number of teacher vacancies was not specifically raised by NASUWT.
Mr. Timms: Information on the number of teacher vacancies in local education authorities is collected once a year in January as part of the annual census of teachers and vacancies. In January 2001, local education authorities recorded 2,586 vacancies in secondary schools.
22 Nov 2001 : Column: 455W
Margaret Hodge: The Government recognise the importance of enhancing links between further and higher education institutions and business. We are investing £100 million over the next three years to create a national network of Centres of Vocational Excellence in Further Education. Centres will enable colleges to develop their links with employer networks and to focus specialist vocational provision on meeting the skills needs of employers at local, regional, national and sectoral level. In doing so they will secure active employer/college engagement to underpin, develop and strengthen innovative and flexible approaches to meeting current and future skills. We are also making available £25 million towards establishing New Technology Institutes (NTls) in each region from autumn 2002. NTls, involving colleges, universities and the private sector, will increase the supply of people with skills in information and communications technology and provide support to local businesses on new technology and innovative business practices. A core feature of the new Foundation Degree, which is being introduced from this autumn, is that employers are actively involved in the design and subsequent review of programmes along with higher and further education institutions, national training organisations and other professional bodies. The Higher Education Innovation Fund provides funding to help higher education institutions make organisational and structural arrangements to enhance their interaction with business. Almost £80 million has been allocated to a wide range of institutions for the most recent round of projects, which will take place over the next three years.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|