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Social Exclusion Unit

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills, pursuant to the answer from the Deputy Prime Minister of 20 July 2001, Official Report, columns 461–62W on the Social Exclusion Unit, in which schools targets have been set for the reduction of truancy and which schools have met those targets; in what proportion of schools truancy was more than three per cent. above average in 2001 and what the current proportion is; and how many schools fall into each decile measured by the proportion of pupils days lost through (a) unauthorised absence and (b) all absence in the most recent year for which information is available. [58933]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: In 1999 225 schools were asked to set targets to reduce unauthorised absence. These schools had unauthorised absence three percentage points or more above the average for their sector (primary, secondary or special) for the previous two academic years. Locally determined school level targets were agreed by the school's governing body in close discussion with the education welfare service. 117 schools met the targets that they set for themselves and in total 181 (80 per cent.) decreased their unauthorised absence rate.

In the academic year 2000–01 326 schools recorded absence three percentage points or more above the national average for their sector (0.5 per cent. for primary schools; 1.1 per cent. for secondary schools and 2.2 per cent. for special schools). These are the most recent published results.

It is impossible to calculate meaningful deciles due to the limited range of the data.

Overtime Payments

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what her policy is on overtime payments for staff in her Department. [49121]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The information is as follows:

Grades AA to SEO

Grades AA to SEO working overtime Monday to Friday receive payment at time and a half or time off equal to the hours worked. Weekend and public holiday overtime attracts either payment at plain time plus time off equal to the hours worked, or payment at double time.

Grades 6 and 7

Once at least eight additional hours are worked in a week, grades 6 and 7 receive a set hourly discretionary payment for additional hours worked outside normal

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conditioned hours during the week and for additional hours at the weekend. The hourly rates are:







For weekend and public holiday attendance they also receive an hourly rate payment (restricted to the discretionary payment rates) plus time off equal to the hours worked. Time off not taken for the weekend attendance can be used towards the eight hours qualifying for discretionary payments.

SCS

Members of the senior civil service are not eligible for payment for any extra hours worked. Their contract of employment provides that they may be required to work such additional hours as may from time to time be reasonable and necessary for the efficient performance of their duties.

Vocational Qualifications

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills, pursuant to the answer of 16 April 2002, Official Report, column 895W, and with reference to Sir Gareth Robert's Review 'Set for Success—The supply of people with science, technology, engineering and mathematics skills', if vocational qualifications are treated as non-academic. [60561]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) accredit qualifications in relation to three broad categories, general, vocationally-related and occupational. GCSEs in vocational subjects are available and suitable for young people of all abilities, and are categorised as vocationally-related. Other vocational qualifications are categorised according to the published QCA criteria as either occupational or vocationally- related. National curriculum GCSEs and GCE A-levels are categorised as general qualifications.

Vocational/Academic GCSEs

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills, pursuant to the answer of 16 April 2002, Official Report, column 895W, how (a) vocational and (b) academic GCSEs are defined. [60560]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: GCSE qualifications are defined by accreditation criteria set out in the national qualification framework. For new GCSEs in vocational subjects, the qualifications meet the common accreditation criteria for vocationally-related qualifications; for other GCSEs, the common accreditation criteria for general qualifications.

In addition to meeting common criteria, the qualifications must meet additional criteria, specific to GCSEs and GCSEs in vocational subjects, and, where they exist, the requirements of the criteria specific to particular subjects.

Public Bodies

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills which of the agencies and NDPBs

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sponsored by her Department have a regional organisation; and if she will list the counties and unitary authorities in each region in (a) 1997 and (b) 2002. [58945]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Department for Education and Skills sponsors no agencies or NDPBs that have a regional organisation.

The counties and unitary authorities in each region in (a) 1997 and (b) 2002 are as follows:

Region, counties and unitaries

The unitary authorities that came into being as a result of the last review were established over three years.















































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