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25 Feb 2003 : Column 469W—continued

Science Research Investment Fund

Ms Dari Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills whether the formula used to calculate shares of the Science Research Investment Fund 2004–06 takes account of universities engaged in applied scientific research. [98810]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The Science Research Investment Fund in England is allocated to institutions according to a formula based on institutions' total research income and on the amount of quality-related research income that they receive from the Higher Education Funding Council for England. Both of these factors take account of applied scientific research.

Skill Shortages

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what assessment he has made of the skill shortages experienced by employers in England; [96728]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: My Department has funded a number of surveys of employers to assess their current and future skill needs, and also monitors a number of external measures of skills shortages such as those coming from the CBI's Quarterly Industrial Trends Survey.

The Employers Skill Survey, funded by my Department, interviewed 27,000 employers across England in 1999 and in 2001, and was carried out on a smaller scale in 2002. The survey results provide evidence on trends in skill shortages, including headline measures for broad industries and occupations.

Our own surveys, and the CBI measures, indicate that skills shortages are relatively low and stable given the historically high levels of employment we are experiencing. However, the Employers Skill Survey results do show that skilled craft trades are among the occupations most affected by skill shortage vacancies, and also that the construction industry experiences one of the highest levels of skill shortage vacancies relative to its employment levels.

The Skills in England report, published earlier this month by the Learning and Skills Council, also stresses that the construction sector has the most severe skills shortages (as a percentage of employment). The health and social care sector also suffers from a disproportionately high share of skill shortage vacancies. Occupationally associate professionals and skilled trades have the greatest share of skill shortages.

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Detailed information on specific occupations is not collected by the Department. It is the role of the Skills for Business network (the Sector Skills Development Agency and the Sector Skills Councils) and the two Industry Training Boards to assess detailed skill needs within their particular industries.

Skills Sector Councils

Mr. Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills why he has established skills sector councils to improve skills in the hospitality and leisure sector. [95861]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Sector Skills Development Agency (SSDA) has been established to fund, support and champion a new UK-wide network of influential employer-led Sector Skills Councils (SSCs). SSCs have been charged to lead the skills and productivity drive in industry or business sectors recognised by employers. They bring together employers, trade unions and professional bodies to work with government to develop the skills that UK business needs.

A proposal to set up a Sector Skills Council for Hospitality, Leisure, Travel and Tourism, is now in the development stage. The prospective SSC is receiving support from the SSDA to prepare a detailed Labour Market Assessment and Business Proposition. Their final proposal will be judged against the criteria set out in the published SSC standard. If successful, the SSDA Board will recommend that the Secretary of State issues a five year licence to operate as a Sector Skills Council.

Special Educational Needs

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what steps he has taken to identify the special educational needs of children born to (a) crack cocaine and (b) cocaine-addicted mothers. [94214]

Mr. Miliband: The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) has a statutory duty to advise the Government on drug misuse. Its Prevention Working Group has carried out an in-depth inquiry into the needs of children of problem drug users and is due to report to Government in summer 2003. The report will include policy and practice recommendations for Government on how they can ensure the needs of these children are met, including the role of health, social care, education, criminal justice and other services.

Children's special educational needs are assessed on an individual basis regardless of their family or social circumstances. The Government recognise the importance of early identification and intervention for all children with SEN and will include our plans to strengthen action in this area in a new SEN action programme to be launched later this year.

Specialist Schools Programme

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to his answer of 11 February 2003, Official Report, column 697W, on specialist state schools, what percentage of schools participating in the specialist schools programme are languages colleges. [98905]

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Mr. Miliband: 16 per cent. of operational specialist schools are language colleges.

Study Support Schemes

Mrs. Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many youth action groups have been established with funding through partnerships of study support schemes. [98184]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Partners for Study Support grant scheme, which finished in March 2002, encouraged schools to work with voluntary, private and public sector organisations to develop innovative and sustainable study support partnerships. One of the 134 projects funded through the scheme enabled Crime Concern to work with St Helen's Crime and Disorder Reduction Task group and other local organisations to develop a youth action group at local schools in the St Helen's area. Outside the study support scheme, my Department is also funding other school-based projects to prevent crime. For example, we have set up 100 Safer School Partnerships where a police officer works in a school to reduce crime locally, make the school a safer place for learning, help keep young people in education, and re-engage them with their community.

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Sustainable Communities Plan (Ashford)

Mr. Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what provisions he has made in his departmental budget for the spending entailed in the Sustainable Communities plan on schools in Ashford; and if he will make a statement. [98636]

Mr. Miliband: The Department provides capital funding for new pupil places as part of its annual capital round, but at this stage it is too early to say what the costs will be for new provision in Ashford. Most of the revenue funding for new pupil places would be provided through Kent LEA's Education Formula Spending Share. Education Formula Spending Share, and most DfES revenue grants, are primarily provided on a per pupil basis; new pupil places created as a result of the Sustainable Communities plan in Ashford would receive their share of national revenue funding totals accordingly.


Mr. McLoughlin: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many (a) secondary school teachers, (b) primary school teachers and (c) classroom assistants are employed in Derbyshire; and how many teacher vacancies there were in each year since 1997. [98884]

Mr. Miliband: The following table provides information for Derbyshire since re-organisation in April 1997.

January each year

Teachers in post(36)
Teaching Assistants(38)

(36) Full-time equivalent teachers in post in the maintained schools sector.

(37) Advertised vacancies for full-time permanent appointments (or appointments of at least one term's duration) in maintained nursery, primary, secondary and special schools. Includes vacancies being filled on a temporary basis.

(38) Includes full-time equivalent nursery assistants, special needs support staff, minority ethnic pupil support staff and non-teaching assistants.


DfES annual 618G survey and Annual School Census.

Diana Organ: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many schools made errors on form TPP-S concerning the number of teachers who had gone through Round 1 on Teachers Performance Pay; and how many errors related to teachers in Gloucestershire. [98117]

Mr. Miliband [holding answer 24 February 2003]: LEAs checked the accuracy of school returns in the autumn. The DfES further challenged apparently inaccurate survey returns in early January in 1,000 cases. 12 of these inaccuracies related to returns made by schools in Gloucestershire.

Diana Organ: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many teachers in Gloucestershire went through Round 1 on the Teachers Performance Pay Scheme; and what percentage this is of teachers in Gloucestershire. [98118]

Mr. Miliband [holding answer 24 February 2003]: It is too early to say how many teachers who passed the threshold in Gloucestershire will be advanced by their schools to upper pay scale point two.

Diana Organ: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the closing date was for accepting errors on form TPP-S for rectification. [98681]

Mr. Miliband: Local education authorities were asked to comment on the data returned on form TPP-S by their schools by 20 December 2002. The Department also contacted some schools whose data still appeared

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obviously inaccurate during the week commencing 6 January and allowed them to amend returns until 10 January.

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