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Mr. Ivan Lewis: Adult education tutors are employed by the local authority, college or provider for whom they work. Their age of retirement is therefore a matter agreed between themselves and the employer. This means that the local authority, college or provider is able to retain tutors beyond the customary retirement age if there is a particular need or a shortage of expertise in a given area.
Mr. Ivan Lewis: In setting the remit for the Learning and Skills Council (LSC), the Government stressed that qualifications are very important and accreditation will continue to be appropriate for many courses. But we also want to see the LSC provide a wide range of opportunities including learning not leading to awards. The Government are increasing funding for adult education secured through local education authorities and now funded through the LSC. Nationally the budget is £167 million in 200203, an increase of 9 per cent. on the previous year.
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Mr. Miliband: The following table shows the Department's ring-fenced grants made available to local education authorities in 200102. These are specific grants ring-fenced for specific purpose or activities or special grants paid under section 88B of the Local Government Finance Act 1988.
|School Standards Grant||631,307|
|Education Budget Support Grant||52,394|
|Teachers Pay Grants||479,275|
|Nursery Education Grant||184,000|
|Education Maintenance Allowance||98,000|
|GM Transitional Grants||10,335|
|Education Action Zone Grant||62,615|
Figures are in cash terms.
The Government have simplified the operation of the Standards Fund, by far the largest specific grant for education. Since April 2001, schools have had more freedom to move funds between the different Standards Fund activities; separate auditing of the Standards Fund is no longer required; and the spending period for the Standards Fund was extended from 12 months to 17 months to give schools even more flexibility in planning expenditure. The School Standards Grant offers further freedom to schools.
Dr. Stoate: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will make it her policy to ensure that all schoolchildren at Key Stages I, II and III are taught (a) basic cooking skills and (b) good diet and nutrition; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Stephen Twigg: All primary pupils have a statutory entitlement to food technology within the national curriculum. They learn practical food handling skills, including food hygiene, and are encouraged to develop positive attitudes to food. At Key Stage 3, the Government strongly encourage secondary schools to offer pupils the opportunity to study food technology, and 90 per cent. do so. Food, nutrition and healthy eating are also taught within science and personal, social and health education.
Mr. Dobson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what her Department's estimate is of the total financial reserves held by schools in the (a) last year for which figures are available and (b) preceding five years. 
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|Financial year||Aggregate balances at end of year (£ million)|
The figures contained in the table have been derived from the outturn statements prepared by local education authorities under section 52 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 (and corresponding previous legislation), and represent surpluses net of deficits. The figures for 200001 and 19992000 include the balances held by former grant-maintained schools, which amounted in total to approximately £108 million and £92 million respectively. I am investigating the practicability of providing information on grant-maintained schools' aggregate balances for 199899 and previous years, and I will write to my right hon. Friend to advise him of the outcome.
Mr. Miliband: The School Teachers' Review Body recently published its report on teacher work load. A consultation on the principles contained in the report concluded on 3 July. The Government will issue a formal response to the report later this year. This is an important part of our more general drive to enable teachers to focus on the core professional elements of their job.
Mr. Miliband: My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education and Skills set out our plans to transform the school work force in her speech of last November to the Social Market Foundation. These plans directly address the key issues that we know teachers are most concerned aboutwork load, bureaucracy, professional development and status. 30 Pathfinder schools are testing different approaches for making improvements, and we will use the lessons learned to help the whole school work force nationwide. The number of teachers in our schools has already increased by more than 20,000 since 1997, and the number of support staff by more than 70,000.
Mr. Miliband: The provisional figure for full-time equivalent number of support staff in maintained schools in England in January 2002 is 213,012. This includes 103,624 teaching assistants, 49,050 administrative staff,
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Mr. Miliband: Freeing teachers to concentrate on the core of their job and improving the status of the teaching profession more generally are central to our school work force reform agenda. The package of recommendations on work load made in a recent report by the School Teachers' Review Body reflects many of the issues raised by teachers themselves. A consultation on the principles contained in the report concluded on 3 July. The Government will issue a formal response to the report later this year.
Mr. Miliband: Consultation on the recommendations in the School Teachers' Review Body's report on teacher work loads came to an end on 3 July. The Department's consultation letter of 8 May said that my right. hon. Friend would consult again on practical measures as appropriate in the light of this initial consultation. For the time being the Department is evaluating the initial consultation responses. Further consultation is likely to take place in the early autumn.
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