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Higher Education

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment she has made of the impact that meeting matchfunding requirements for joint infrastructure fund and science research investment fund schemes has had on the financial health of relevant higher education institutions. [41748]

Margaret Hodge: The Joint Infrastructure Fund (JIF), which provided a total of £750 million for research infrastructure in science and technology, had no general requirement for matched funding. The Science Research Investment Fund (SRIF) is worth a total of £1 billion over 2002–03 and 2003–04, of which £600 million was allocated to higher education institutions in England by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE). SRIF has a requirement that 25 per cent. of the overall cost of a project is met by external contributions, except where there are partnerships between higher education institutions. HEFCE monitors the financial health of higher education institutions and has no concerns about the financial health of any institution in relation to JIF and SRIF requirements.

The issue of science research infrastructure funding for the HE sector is being considered by the Cross Cutting Review of Science and Research.

Learning and Skills Council

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what analysis has been carried out by the Learning and Skills Council on the skills base in coalfield areas compared to the national average. [41822]

Margaret Hodge: This is a matter for the Learning and Skills Council. I have therefore asked John Harwood, the council's chief executive, to write to my hon. Friend with the information requested and to place a copy of his reply in the Library.

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many learning and skills council headquarters are situated in coalfield constituencies. [41824]

Margaret Hodge: The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) national office is based in Coventry and operates through 47 local arms. There are local LSC offices close to coalfield constituencies at: Stoke-on-Trent, Derby, Nottingham, Sheffield, Middlesbrough, Newton Aycliffe, Gateshead and Cramlington. The most important aspect is that the LSC's programmes are accessible throughout their local areas. The actual location of the office has no bearing on the quality, delivery and availability of the services on offer.

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Administrators

Mr. Flook: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many full-time equivalent administrators there are in each local education authority in the south- west of England. [41872]

Mr. Timms: My Department does not collect this information.

Connexions Service

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills whether the Connexions Service retains information relating to young people's sexual orientation. [42134]

Mr. Ivan Lewis [holding answer 11 March 2002]: Information relating to a young person's sexual orientation would not normally be retained. The young person might raise the subject and, in this case, the information would be recorded and retained only if the young person and the personal adviser agreed that this would be appropriate.

Veterinary Science (Wales)

Mr. Simon Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what discussions she has had with the National Assembly for Wales concerning the establishment of a veterinary science department at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth; and if she will make a statement; [42672]

Margaret Hodge: The Secretary of State has received no representations on the absence of a veterinary department in universities in Wales and has had no discussion with the National Assembly for Wales about the establishment of a veterinary science department at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth. The creation of a veterinary department in Wales is a matter for the Welsh Assembly.

Debt Repayment

Mr. Hendrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how development costs relating to the Government's proposed scheme to repay the outstanding loans of certain newly qualified teachers will be funded. [43597]

Mr. Timms: Parliamentary approval for additional resources for this new service will be sought in a Supplementary Estimate for the Department for Education and Skills. Pending that approval, urgent expenditure estimated at £518,000 will be met by repayable cash advances from the Contingencies Fund.

Child Protection Services

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what cross-departmental initiatives are being proposed to ensure co-ordination of children's services with special reference to child protection services; and if she will make a statement. [40119]

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Mr. Denham: In their consultation document "Building a Strategy for Children and Young People", the Government are seeking views on the establishment of Children and Young People's Strategic Partnerships as a vehicle for coordinating planning activity for children's services. These partnerships would bring together the full breadth of partners and services across the voluntary, community, statutory and business sectors, which impact on the lives of children and young people.

Later this year, the findings from a multi-inspectorate inspection of children's safeguards will be published. The inspection is looking specifically at safeguards for children in eight local authority areas, including the effectiveness of Area Child Protection Committees. The findings from both of these exercises will be of assistance in determining the most effective ways of coordinating services, including services for child protection. Any consideration of the effectiveness of child protection services will need to take into account the findings of the inquiry into the death of Victoria Climbie, which is due to report later this year.

Bristol Education Authority (Grants)

Valerie Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will list the category and amounts of each grant which her Department has provided to Bristol education authority in the last two years. [42712]

Mr. Timms: The following table shows the Department's allocated grants to Bristol local education authority in 2000–01 and 2001–02.

£

2000–012001–02
Standards Fund (recurrent)8,731,72911,278,051
School Standards Grant2,060,0004,320,000
Teachers Pay Reform Grants1,799,0882,751,598
Nursery Education Grant (3-year-olds)1,077,3071,312,978
Nursery Education Grant (4-year-olds)(15)588,271n/a
Special Education Needs Co-ordinators (Early Years)n/a21,800
Early Years Training33,900149,486
Childcare Grant217,3701,107,705
Neighbourhood Nursery Initiative(16)n/a1,907,700
School Budget Support Grant380,388n/a
Education Budget Support Grantn/a698,369
Education Action Zone Grant(17)628,000847,990
Capital Grants9,680,0009,536,000

(15) Grant was transferred to the SSA in 2001–02.

(16) Funding for the period 2001 to 2004.

(17) Funding made directly to the Education Action Zone in Bristol.

Notes:

Amounts are in cash terms.

2001–02 figures may be subject to change.


Mr. Steinberg: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills, how many teachers have applied for early retirement on ill health grounds in each year since 1996; how many (a) have been granted retirement on ill health, (b) have been refused and (c) are awaiting a decision on their application; how long the average turn around is from the Teachers Pension Agency receiving the application to notification of the decision; and how many applicants have died whilst waiting for a decision on their application. [41794]

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Mr. Timms: The information requested is not readily available. I will write to my hon. Friend shortly and place a copy of my reply in the Library.

HEALTH

Children's Rights

Mr. Dawson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what revision he plans to undertake of the second report under the UN convention on children's rights published in 1999 before its examination by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in September. [35234]

Mr. Denham [holding answer 12 February 2002]: I have been asked to reply.

The UK is obliged under the convention to submit a report every five years on progress in implementing it. The last report was issued in 1999 and will be considered by the UN later this year. Given the time that has elapsed since the last report was submitted and the important changes that have taken place since then, we intend to publish later this spring a brief update on UK progress since 1999.

Mr. Dawson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health which Ministers and officials will comprise the delegation representing the UK's Second report on the Implementation of the UN Convention on Children's Rights at its examination by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in September. [35232]

Mr. Denham [holding answers 12 February and 4 March 2002]: I have been asked to reply.

The UN Special Session on Children in May will be an important opportunity for Government's across the world to re-affirm their commitment to improving the life chances of children and to review progress towards meeting that commitment. I plan to attend, subject to any parliamentary or other Government commitments.

Arrangements have not yet been finalised for the UN Committee's examination in September.


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