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School Partnerships

Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills which grammar/non-selective school partnerships are in receipt of financial support from her Department; and how much support and what the nature of the partnership is in each case. [24086]

Mr. Timms: We have allocated £505,616 to 28 partnerships for the 2001–02 school year. Detailed information on the successful partnerships have been placed in the Libraries.

Standards Fund

Jeff Ennis: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills when she will announce next year's Standards Fund allocation to local education authorities; and what the increase in the Standards Fund will be. [24279]

Mr. Timms: Information on the Standards Fund programme for 2002–03 was issued to local education authorities on 28 September in the form of a circular from

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the Department for Education and Skills. A copy of the circular has been placed in the Library. Allocations for most of the grants supported under the Standards Fund were notified to local education authorities by the end of November. Allocations for some grants remain to be issued as they are based on information not yet available. The total expenditure to be supported through the Standards Fund in 2002–03 will be £3.6 billion, compared to £3.1 billion in 2001–02. The totals include both Government grant and local education authority contributions.

Special Educational Needs Tribunal

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many cases set down for a hearing in the Special Educational Needs Tribunal in the latest year for which figures are available were (a) abandoned at the instigation of the local education authority, (b) abandoned at the request of parents, (c) determined in favour of the local education authority and (d) determined (i) in whole and (ii) in part in favour of parents. [23942]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The following information gives a breakdown of appeals for 1 September 2000 to 1 August 2001. It gives the number of appeals abandoned at the request of the local education authority and at the request of the parent. The tribunal does not collect information about the outcome of appeals in the format requested. However, information about the number of appeals upheld or partially upheld is available and a table providing this information is also included. A case is listed as "upheld" when any of the points at issue are decided in the parents' favour.

Decisions issued in 2000–01
Upheld(38) Dismissed(39)
Appeals not involving contents of Statements
Refusal to assess2296711533344
Refusal to statement6670283094
Refusal to re-assess156583523
Cease to Maintain136283821
Contents of Statement
Parts 2 and/or 3, not 4157891911176
Parts 2, 3 and 435492298383
Part 4 only106763424140
Refusal to change school named147063020
Failure to name a school4801205
Total decisions issued95879248211,206

(38) Total upheld appeals includes those cases remitted to the LEA in the Refusal to Statement category

(39) Total dismissed appeals includes strike outs

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Disability Rights Commission

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the administration costs of the Disability Rights Commission were in 2000–01; and what she expects them to be in 2001–02. [21295]

Maria Eagle: I have been asked to reply.

In 2000–01 the administration costs of the Disability Rights Commission were £8.063 million. In 2001–2 they are expected to be £7.508 million. These figures includes staff salaries and other related expenditure such as premises and equipment.

Trailblazer Sector Skills Council

Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills which sectors are to be covered by a Trailblazer Sector Skills Council. [24365]

Estelle Morris: From the 31 expressions of interest received, I am pleased to announce that the following five sectors will be invited to form a Trailblazer Sector Skills Council:

All sectors who expressed an interest, but were unsuccessful in being awarded Trailblazer SSC status, have been offered one-to-one feedback meetings to explain reasons for the decision and to initiate a dialogue on the way forward for their sectors.

Employment and Social Policy Council

Mr. Hood: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the outcome was of the Employment and Social Policy Council held in Brussels on 3 December; what the Government position was on each issue discussed, including their voting record; and if she will make a statement. [21219]

Malcolm Wicks: I have been asked to reply.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions represented the UK at the Employment and Social Policy Council in Brussels on 3 December, together with the Minister for Employment and the Regions.

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The Council agreed parameters for the simplification of the co-ordination of social security schemes under Regulation 1408–71. The UK was able to accept the parameters, subject to detailed scrutiny, further negotiations and correction of linguistic points. The parameters will be forwarded to the Laeken European Council. The UK was also able to endorse the Council's Conclusions identifying the appropriate legal base for extending co-ordination of social security schemes to nationals of third countries.

The Council reached political agreement on the 'Autumn Package' of Employment measures, comprising the Employment Guidelines for 2002; Recommendations on the implementation of member states' employment policies and the adoption of the Joint Employment Report for 2001: the 'package' will go to the Laeken European Council for endorsement.

The Council adopted Conclusions on indicators on 'Quality in Work' which will be presented to the Laeken European Council, thus fulfilling the remit from the Stockholm European Council.

The Council adopted a report on indicators of poverty and social exclusion for Laeken; a Joint Commission and Council Report on social inclusion and a joint report from the Social Protection Committee and the Economic Policy Committee on objectives and working methods in the area of pensions. All three documents will go to the Laeken European Council for adoption.

The Council agreed a common position on amending the Insolvency (worker protection) Directive, to bring it in line with recent jurisprudence.

The Council also agreed to adopt 2003 as the European Year of People with Disabilities.

The Council adopted Conclusions on Structural Indicators, which will be forwarded to the General Affairs Council; indicators on the Gender pay gap, and on an EU-level mechanism to help resolve transnational employment disputes.

The Belgian Presidency presented a progress report on a Directive on Employee Involvement in the European Co-operative. The Presidency reported progress on the Asbestos (worker protection) Directive. A common position is expected to be finalised under the forthcoming Spanish Presidency. The Council noted two Presidency reports on gender mainstreaming in Council formations and agreed a contribution to work on the Broad Economic Guidelines for 2002, to be forwarded to ECOFIN.

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The Council adopted a Resolution on the Commission's Green Paper on Corporate Social Responsibility and requested that the outcomes of the current debates at national level be incorporated in the Commission's next Communication on this subject.

The Commission gave an overview of its Communication on increased Labour Force Participation and Active Ageing. The Commission presented its Communication on Lifelong Learning.

No votes were taken at this Council.

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