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24 Oct 2002 : Column 455Wcontinued
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he has received the report he requested from the SRA on the Central Railway Project; and when he plans to publish the SRA's conclusions. 
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Miss. McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on his programme to tackle congestion and improve safety at junctions on trunk roads and motorways; and what impact his programme will have on his plans for de-trunking roads. 
Mr. Jamieson: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State on 15 October, Official Report, columns 170171. This programme will have no impact on our plans to detrunk roads as none of the junctions are on roads to be detrunked.
Mr. Jamieson: I have no plans to meet with representatives of teachers unionsnor am I aware of any request by them to meet me. Responsibility for local road safety schemes rests with local highway authorities. It is for them to decide their investment priorities consulting local people as necessary. However, we advise local authorities to pay attention to child casualties, assessing roads around schools and the routes children use to get to school. This should be a component of the child road safety audits we expect local authorities to undertake, and will indicate where investment is required. Furthermore, their school travel plans should include measures necessary to ensure that there are safe routes to school for children.
Mr. Miliband: There are currently 992 specialist schools in England located across 146 local education authorities. In the October 2002 competition we have received 350 applications for specialist school designation. We are committed to a target of 2,000
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specialist schools by September 2006 with the expectation that over time all secondary schools ready and able to can be specialist schools.
Mr. Ivan Lewis: Within the framework of the Specialist Schools Programme it is for individual schools to decide on the specialism for which they wish to apply. We are funding the Technology Colleges Trust to support schools wishing to apply for specialist school designation, including as an Engineering College. In addition to allowing for the possibility of combined specialisms which involve Engineering we have made it possible for existing Technology Colleges to switch to an Engineering specialism when they apply for re-designation.
Mr. Twigg: Figures for the investment in small schools in Lancaster and Wyre are not collected centrally. Since 1997, the Government has allocated #7.9m of specific funding to support small schools in Lancashire in addition to the budgets allocated to these schools through Lancashire's school funding formula.
Mr. Twigg: Standards in schools have risen rapidly since 1997. This year 51 per cent. of secondary pupils achieved five or more A* to C GCSEs compared to 45 per cent. five years ago. But OFSTED report that bad behaviour disrupts education in one in 12 secondary and one in 50 primary schools. We are implementing a wide range of measures to tackle that problem, including a #50 million Behaviour Improvement Programme that is providing intensive support for schools facing the most challenging behaviour.
Mr. Twigg: Headteachers already have the power to exclude pupils from school on disciplinary grounds by virtue of section 64 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998. That power has been re-enacted in section 52(1) and (2) of the Education Act 2002. We aim to commence section 52 and regulations under that section which will improve the working of exclusion appeal panels on 1 January 2003.
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Mr. Win Griffiths: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills, what representation she has received following the publication of the inquiry into the marking of some A level subjects this summer. 
Mr. Miliband: The Secretary of State has received a range of representations on A levels. These included questions on how the inquiry may affect individual grades, how the inquiry regrading process would work, requests for the department to intervene in individual appeals and general comments about the grading system.
Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills whether higher education institutions will charge tuition fees to students who transfer to another institution in the current or next academic year as a result of regrading of this year's ''A'' levels. 
Margaret Hodge: I understand that no more than 168 higher education students are eligible to transfer to another higher education institution as a result of the A level regrading following Mike Tomlinson's enquiry. Where a student transfers to another institution in the current academic year, they will pay no more in total than their assessed contribution to the personal tuition fee, which depends on their income and that of their parents. Guidance from Universities UK and the Standing Conference of Principals advises the institution they are leaving to refund the unused portion of any tuition fee which has been paid and the receiving institution cannot levy a higher tuition fee than the balance of the student's personal contribution.
In cases where students transfer to another institution next year and do not receive a full refund of any personal tuition fee already paid, they may apply to the A Level Claims Fund for the balance of their personal tuition fee contribution.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills when her Department first received correspondence from the A-level examination boards alerting them to the potential problems in the new A-level system. 
Mr. Miliband: The Department for Education and Skills did not receive any correspondence from the awarding bodies about potential problems in the new A level system. Issues of implementation of public examinations are dealt with by the statutory regulatory body, the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority.
Mr. Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will list the schools that have had at least one of their students' overall grades changed following the recent regrading. 
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Mr. Ivan Lewis: We are determined to build on the progress that has been achieved by the sector in recent years to raise standards. In June we published our proposals for a reform of further education''Success for All''. This comprises a comprehensive strategy, which has received the overwhelming support of key partners, for radical improvements. It will improve the quality and effectiveness of teaching and learning and develop the teachers and leaders of the future. We plan to make further announcements shortly.
Margaret Hodge: This year, 200203, #4.4 billion has been allocated to further education, an increase of #1.2 billion (24 per cent. in real terms) compared with 199798. The Spending Review settlement for the next three years up to 200506 includes a 1 per cent. real terms annual increase in core funding and paves the way for three year budgets for colleges and other providers which demonstrate their effectiveness. We also expect to announce further substantial resources later in the autumn to support our strategy for reforming further education and training.
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