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Margaret Hodge: Following consultation, the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted) has announced its plans to introduce unannounced inspections for group day care providers from April 2005. I have asked HM Chief Inspector for Schools, David Bell, to write to my hon. Friend with any further information he may wish to add, and place a copy of his letter in the Library.
Claire Ward: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will make a statement on the availability of nursery places for (a) three-year-olds and (b) four-year-olds in (i) 1997 and (ii) 2004. 
Margaret Hodge: Prior to 1997 the availability of nursery education was largely dependent upon geographical location and figures were not available. We have since invested more than £11 billion as part of an unprecedented expansion of early years provision. All four-year-olds have been entitled to a free part-time early education place since 1998. From April 2004 this entitlement was extended to all three-year-olds. Currently 93 per cent. of three-year-olds and virtually all four-year-olds are benefiting from free provision in the private, voluntary, independent and maintained sectors in England compared with 44 per cent. of three-year-olds and 98 per cent. of four-year-olds in 2000, the earliest year for which figures for all sectors are available.
Hugh Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the school absence rate was in (a) primary and (b) secondary schools in (i) York, (ii) Yorkshire and Humber and (iii) England (A) in 1997 and (B) at the most recent date for which figures are available. 
|Academic year (September to May)|
|Yorkshire and Humber||6.30||5.38|
|Academic year (September to May)|
|Yorkshire and Humber||9.80||8.39|
Mr. Stephen Twigg: This information is not available centrally. The Department's exclusions guidance encourages the use of managed moves as a positive alternative to exclusion and evidence from regional exclusions workshops shows that they are most effective when support is provided to the pupil during their first few weeks at the new school.
Mr. Willis: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many local education authorities in England have a policy of using managed moves as an alternative to permanent exclusion. 
Mr. Stephen Twigg: This information is not held centrally. I do know, however, that many local education authorities have adopted this policy, and find it most successful for pupils when appropriate support, both financial and otherwise, is provided.
Mr. Stephen Twigg: We encourage the use of managed moves as a positive alternative to exclusion. However, we have made it clear in our guidance that parents should not be pressured into removing their child from school under the threat of permanent exclusion.
Mr. Stephen Twigg: Managing School Facilities Guide 6, "Fire Safety", is the Department's current guidance to schools on fire safety issues. This was published by the Stationery Office in 2000 and can be viewed on www.teachernet.gov.uk/fire.
The Department is now in the process of producing new guidance for fire safety in schools. Building Bulletin 100, with the working title "Designing Against the Risk of Fire in Schools", will give guidance on the design of new schools as well as the refurbishment of existing schools to at least the current standards of the Building
15 Nov 2004 : Column 982W
Regulations. The guide is comprehensive and stresses the value of using risk assessments as the basis for determining, for example, the types of fire alarm and detection systems needed in particular school buildings. It will be aimed at schools, local education authorities, design consultants, building control bodies and the fire and rescue service. We will shortly be going out to public consultation on it and expect to be able to publish the final, agreed guidance before the middle of next year.
Mr. Hopkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills when he plans to issue the guidance on the establishment of new school sixth forms proposed in the Five Year Plan; what account this guidance will take of the effect of the establishment of new school sixth forms on (a) further education colleges and (b) sixth form colleges in the area; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Miliband: We are currently consulting on the regulations and guidance for the Schools Organisation Committee that relate to this issue. Later this month we will issue to representative organisations non-statutory contextual guidance. This will set out how we envisage that partners, including the LSC, LEAs and providers will work together to ensure that the pattern of provision in their area provides real learner choice of learner programmes and learning setting.
Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what steps he is taking to encourage the development of appropriate software to assist teachers in monitoring and evaluating pupils' progress; and what advice he has given to (a) schools and (b) local authorities on the use of such software. 
Mr. Miliband: My Department produces the Pupil Achievement Tracker software which schools can use to review their overall performance and that of individual pupils, identify their strengths and weaknesses and set targets for future progress. Commercial software suppliers are encouraged to develop similar features in their own products. The Department provides schools and LEAs with information about the Pupil Achievement Tracker and encourages them to use this and other software where it facilitates analysis of pupils' progress. General guidance, details of packages that provide assessment capability, together with some "good practice" case studies are also available on the British Educational Communications and Technology Agency (Becta) website.
Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to the answer of 26 October, Official Report, column 1158W, on university funding, how much funding has been made available to universities from the Aimhigher programme in each year since its inception. 
|Financial year||Amount £million|
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