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Public-Private Partnerships (Consultants)

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the total external spending by her Department was on public-private partnership consultants in each of the last four years; how many full-time equivalent consultants were employed over this period; how many billed consultancy days there were per year; what the implied average cost of each PPP consultant was; how many consultancy firms were used by her Department over this period; and if she will make a statement. [43201]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 1 February 2002, Official Report, column 634W. The only Private Finance Initiative with which my Department is involved is a Public Private Partnership to deliver the Connexions Card. Therefore the same figures apply. In addition, since 25 January, my Department has spent an additional £56,183.03 on public private partnership consultants. This equates to one full- time equivalent, and consisted of 49 billed consultancy days, at an average cost per consultant of £1,146.59. We have again used four consultancy firms.

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Private Medical Insurance

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many employees in (a) her Department and (b) her Department's agencies and non-departmental public bodies have had private medical insurance provided for them in each year since 1997–98; what the total cost is; and if she will make a statement. [32317]

Mr. Ivan Lewis [holding answer 6 February 2002]: The Civil Service Management Code specifically precludes the provision of private medical insurance as a part of any structured remuneration package for civil servants. Consequently, private medical insurance is not a feature of the Department for Education and Skills' (DfES') terms and conditions of employment.

The employees of DfES' non-departmental public bodies (NDPBs) are not civil servants. Four of DfES' NDPBs—the Adult Learning Inspectorate (ALI), Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB) and Learning and Skills Council (LSC)—offer private medical insurance to some employees.

Neither the CITB nor ECITB are publicly funded. The ALI and LSC are both obliged to offer private medical insurance to some employees under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) regulations. The total number of employees covered and the annual costs of private medical insurance provision since 1997–98 is as follows:

YearEmployeesCost (£000)

(11) CITB and ECITB.

(12) ALI and LSC. Figures for the CITB and ECITB are not yet available.

Asylum Seekers

Mr. Leigh: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what additional support is given to local education authorities to meet the costs resulting from the requirement to educate the children of asylum seekers. [44488]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: Local education authorities receive financial support, through the Education Standard Spending Assessment, for the cost of educating children of asylum seekers in the same way that it does for all pupils on school rolls. The Ethnic Minority Achievement Grant, part of the Department's Standards Fund, is available to help schools address the needs of minority ethnic pupils at risk of underachievement and support pupils, including children of asylum seekers, for whom English is an additional language. All LEAs are eligible for this funding, which in this financial year is providing around £154 million of support.

In addition, in 2000–01, £1.5 million was made available to support the education costs of the children of asylum seekers dispersed to Home Office designated "cluster areas". This funding was rolled forward into this financial year and increased to £2,377,000.

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Congestion Charging

Kate Hoey: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many schools, broken down by (a) primary, (b) secondary and (c) special, are within the congestion charge zone in London. [44372]

Mr. Timms: There will be 40 maintained nursery/primary schools, nine maintained secondary schools and five maintained special schools within the proposed congestion charge zone in London.

These figures are estimated using postcode details of schools and the proposed central zone described in the Transport for London Street Management website on 18 March 2002.

School Accidents

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) how many (a) deaths and (b) serious accidents have occurred in practical lessons in schools in England in each of the last 10 years; and if she will make a statement; [44719]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: My Department does not collect information on deaths and serious accidents in practical lessons in schools.

Sizes of practical groups and pupil-teacher ratios are matters for local education authorities and schools. They should take account of assessments of potential hazards;

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the ages, abilities, aptitudes and any special educational needs of the pupils; and relevant safety regulations. My Department's "Area Guidelines for Schools" (Building Bulletin 82), published in 1996, carries recommendations for classroom area/pupil space. Further recommendations can also be found in the Department's "Design and Technology Accommodation in Secondary Schools" (Building Bulletin 81), "Art Accommodation in Secondary Schools" (Building Bulletin 89), "Guide to Safe Practice in Art and Design" (1995), and "Safety in Science Education" (1996). The Association for Science Education has published guidance, and advice is also available on request from the Consortium of Local Education Authorities for the Provision of Science Services.

Departmental Expenditure Limits

Mr. Mike O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills, pursuant to her answer of 14 February 2002, Official Report, columns 607–08W, what changes have since been made to the departmental expenditure limit. [45865]

Estelle Morris: The Departmental Expenditure Limit (DEL) for the Department for Education and Skills (DfES), including the Office for Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Schools (OFSTED), which has a separate Estimate, has been decreased by £210,000 from £20,304,478,000 to £20,304,268,000.

The impact of this reduction on the resources element of the DEL is set out in the following table:


Resources Capital
ChangeNew DELOf which: VotedNon-votedDELOf which: VotedNon-voted
RfR 1-21017,014,9186,675,05210,339,8662,820,3741,851,123969,251
RfR 30125,833125,833080,47080,4700
RfR 4098,07398,0730000
Total change-210

The DfES Spring Supplementary Estimate included a transfer of provision from the Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions (DTLR) for Neighbourhood Surveys. It was subsequently discovered that this transfer was not included by DTLR in their Spring Supplementary or in their parliamentary answer announcing changes to their DEL.

The administration costs limits remain unchanged as follows:


DfES (RfR1)219,730
Sure Start (RfR3)3,890
Children and Young People's Unit (RfR4)2,491

Stolen Equipment

Mr. Menzies Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills, pursuant to her answer of 22 January 2002, Official Report, columns 818–19W, on stolen equipment, what criminal proceedings have been undertaken for cases of theft against her Department, stating in each case (a) whether the proceedings (i) led to a criminal conviction and (ii) were unsuccessful, (b) the cost incurred by her Department in pursuing a conviction and (c) the value of items recovered; and if she will make a statement. [41506]

Mr. Ivan Lewis [holding answer 18 March 2002]: My Department has not undertaken any criminal proceedings for cases of theft since 1 May 1997.

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