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New Schools

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what plans her Department has to build new (a) primary schools and (b) secondary schools in Lancashire. [48601]

John Healey: It is not the role of the Department to decide when and where to build new schools. Local Education Authorities (LEAs) have a duty to ensure that there are sufficient school places available for children in their area. To help identify where additional places are needed, LEAs are required to produce annually a locally agreed School Organisation Plan which sets the context for the provision of school places over a five year period. Where Authorities can demonstrate a need for additional places, they can apply for capital funding support from the Department in the form of a basic need allocation. Since 2000–01, Lancashire LEA has received basic need allocations in respect of 587 secondary school places. It is, however, for the LEA to decide how best to use these allocations in line with the locally agreed priorities identified in its Asset Management Plan. Any proposal to establish a new school would be made and decided locally.

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many new schools have been built in each of the local authorities of England in each of the last five years. [48608]

John Healey: We do not hold information in the form requested. Much capital funding support is allocated to local education authorities and schools on a formulaic basis. Records of how it is utilised for specific projects are held locally.

Education Finance

Mr. Woodward: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the average amount spent per pupil was in (a) primary schools, (b) secondary schools and (c) sixth form colleges in (i) St. Helens, (ii) Liverpool, (iii) Manchester, (iv) London, (v) England and (vi) Scotland in (1) 1998, (2) 1999, (3) 2000, (4) 2001 and (5) the quarter to 31 March 2002. [48667]

Mr. Timms: The following table sets out the average amount spent per pupil in primary schools and per pupil in secondary schools. 1999–2000 is the latest year for which

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information is available. I shall write to my hon. Friend when the information for 2000–01 is to hand. The Department does not hold information on spending by sixth form colleges. My right hon. Friend is not responsible for expenditure in Scotland.

Education expenditure per school pupil

342 St. Helens
Pre primary/primary1,7702,030
341 Liverpool
Pre primary/primary1,9702,020
352 Manchester
Pre primary/primary1,8601,960
Pre primary/primary2,3202,450
Pre primary/primary1,9602,070


1. All figures are in real terms (2000–01) prices, based on GDP deflators published by Treasury on 27 March 2002

2. All figures are in £s rounded to the nearest £10.

3. Expenditure data for 1999–2000 are taken from section 52 outturn statements completed by local education authorities and returned to DfES.

4. Data for previous years are taken from DTLR's Revenue Outturn Returns.

5. Pupil numbers used in calculating pupil figures are financial year averages, based on January Annual School Census returns.

Emmanuel College, Gateshead

Mr. Clelland: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many pupils who gained entry to Emmanuel college in Gateshead LCS achieved level (a) 4, (b) 5 and (c) 6 in Key Stage 2 (i) maths, (ii) English and (iii) science SATs at primary school as a percentage of their year 7 intake for each of the years (A) 1999, (B) 2000 and (C) 2001. [48924]

Mr. Timms: The information requested is not readily available. Analyses of this kind will be possible once proposals for a national pupil database are implemented.

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I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given to the hon. Member for Aylesbury (Mr. Lidington) on 28 January 2002, Official Report, columns 109–11W.

Sunset Clauses

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills which Bills introduced by her Department in the last five years have contained sunset clauses; and what plans she has for the future use of such clauses. [49628]

Mr. Timms: The current Education Bill is the only example of where such a provision has been included, through subsection (6) of clause 2 of the Bill. The need for future use of such clauses would be assessed during preparation for any future legislation.

Sector Skills Councils

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what meetings her Department has had with the sector skills councils since their inception. [49847]

John Healey: There are currently five Trailblazer SSCs covering the following sectors:

My Department holds regular meetings with the Trailblazer SSCs. Meetings have also been facilitated by my Department's officials between the Trailblazer SSCs and the devolved Administrations, other Government Departments, and other partner organisations.

Meetings have also taken place between the Department and the potential sector skills councils.

This regular dialogue will continue in order for the sector skills councils to achieve their aim of leading the skills and productivity drive in industry and business sectors which is recognised by employers. They will bring together employers, trade unions and professional bodies in working with Government to develop the skills to meet the demand from businesses in order to close the skills gaps between the UK and our competitors.

Oil and Gas Industry

Miss Begg: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what plans she has for a sector skills council for the oil and gas industry. [50016]

John Healey: A sector skills council (SSC) for the oil and gas extraction, oil refining and processing and chemical manufacturing sector was licensed on 19 March. The SSC, known as Cogent, is one of five Trailblazer SSCs selected to demonstrate the importance of influential employer-led bodies in driving up skills and productivity in sectors. I look forward to Cogent making significant early progress in addressing the skills and productivity priorities for this sector.

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IT Contracts

Valerie Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills, pursuant to the answer of 19 March 2002, Official Report, column 257W, on IT contracts, whether the competition being run by Becta to accredit ICT suppliers for schools will take into account the ease for schools of changing between those suppliers. [50033]

John Healey: The Accredited Service Suppliers initiative will not put in place a framework contract and hence schools will create their own formal contract arrangements with suppliers. However, all Becta accredited NGfL service suppliers will be governed by a code of conduct, which will ensure that suppliers do not impose unreasonable terms and conditions on schools and other educational customers. Part of this code of conduct will cover arrangements for termination of contracts. Rigorous monitoring of accredited supplier performance will be undertaken by Becta and accreditation will be publicly withdrawn from suppliers who do not work within the code of conduct.

Smart Card Technology

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will make a statement on the use of smart card technology in her Department and in the areas for which it is responsible; and what discussions she has had with private companies about the use of smart card technology within her Department. [50475]

Mr. Ivan Lewis [holding answer 16 April 2002]: The Connexions card is a smart card designed to encourage young people to continue in learning beyond 16. Young people can collect points every time they attend a learning session, which can then be redeemed for a wide range of rewards and "money can't buy" opportunities—for example, going behind the scenes at a pop concert or attending a top sporting event. Cardholders will also receive on-the-spot discounts in a wide range of high street shops.

The Department has developed the Connexions card through a public private partnership with Capita who are providing the technological and commercial infrastructure to support the initiative. The fact that the card and its infrastructure are smart means that it is capable of taking on more functions such as helping a school or local education authority validate the payment of education maintenance allowances or an e-purse for cashless catering.

The card is currently being rolled out region by region and will be available across England from autumn 2002.

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