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4 Apr 2003 : Column WA151

Written Answers

Friday, 4th April 2003.

Secondary Schools Curriculum and Staffing Survey

Baroness Gould of Potternewton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When the results of the Secondary Schools Curriculum and Staffing Survey will be published.[HL2420]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Education and Skills (Baroness Ashton of Upholland): In November 2002, my department conducted a Secondary Schools Curriculum and Staffing Survey. The last was held in November 1996. This survey is a periodic voluntary sample survey of maintained secondary schools in England intended to provide data on the breadth of curriculum offered by schools to different year groups, and the post-A level qualifications held by teachers at these schools and how these relate to the subjects that they teach. I informed noble Lords on 7 February 2002 (col. 733) that it was our intention to publish the results of the survey during the first half of 2003. Accordingly, provisional results from this survey have been scheduled for publication as national statistics on 16 April 2003, with final results due to be published in September.

Over 800 schools were invited to take part in the survey and, to date, 174 positive responses have been received. Professional advice from officials of the Government Statistical Service is that, while this response provides sufficient data to allow representative results on curriculum coverage to be obtained, there are insufficient data to allow representative results on teachers' qualifications to be obtained at this point. This advice has been given to me in accordance with the national statistics code of practice, which also means that no results from any part of the survey have yet been disclosed to Ministers or policy officials of my department.

Despite the survey form being designed to impose minimum burdens on participating schools, the response rate has been lower than anticipated. This is due to the voluntary nature of the survey. Government statisticians have made intensive efforts to support and encourage respondents and these efforts are meeting with some success. The department will continue to make these efforts and to take all possible action to increase positive responses from schools in order to yield sufficient data on teachers' qualifications.

In view of these facts, I am advised that provisional results on curriculum coverage only will be included in the publication scheduled for 16 April 2003. It is now my department's intention to include results on teachers' qualifications in the release of final data scheduled for September 2003, when sufficient data have been secured.

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Teacher Training

Lord Desai asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many people have applied for courses of initial teacher training in the 2003–04 academic year.[HL2421]

Baroness Ashton of Upholland: Figures published by the Graduate Teacher Training Registry on 2 April show that, up to 22 March, 34,013 people had applied for places on postgraduate courses of initial teacher training at institutions in England in 2003–04. That is a 16 per cent rise on the same point in last year's recruitment cycle, when 29,445 applications had been received. These figures include increases of 25 per cent in the number of applicants to train in mathematics; 12 per cent to train in science; 3 per cent to train in modern languages; 10 per cent to train in English; and 40 per cent to train in technology.

Recruitment to courses of initial teacher training fell for eight successive years from 1992–93. Following the introduction of teacher training bursaries and golden hello incentives, it has risen in each of the past three years. Applications for training in 2003–04 will continue to be processed until the autumn, and final recruitment figures are expected to be published in November.

Neighbourhood Renewal Fund

Baroness Pitkeathley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What plans they have for allocating the additional £975 million Neighbourhood Renewal Fund resources that were made available in the spending review 2002.[HL2444]

The Minister of State, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (Lord Rooker): As part of the spending review 2002, the Government announced that they would be making available an additional £975 million for the Neighbourhood Renewal Fund (NRF) in 2004–05 and 2005–06 as part of their strategy to revitalise England's poorest neighbourhoods and create places where people want to live, not leave.

We have already provided £900 million of NRF to the 88 most deprived local authority areas for the period 2001–02 to 2003–04. Already, good progress has been made by local authorities in collaboration with local strategic partnerships in using NRF to help address some of the most serious problems in our most deprived neighbourhoods.

However, more needs to be done, particularly to support better tailoring and targeting of mainstream services to make sure that they are reaching the people and places which need them most. To achieve this, we are committed to ensuring that these areas continue to receive both the resources and other forms of support needed to tackle postcode poverty and create thriving, sustainable communities.

That is why we are announcing today that we intend to use most of these additional NRF resources to

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continue funding the current 88 eligible local authority areas in 2004–05 and 2005–06 at the 2003–04 level. This will mean an additional £800 million over the two-year period. We will confirm detailed figures of the allocations to individual local authorities shortly.

Engaging the community in the process of neighbourhood renewal is central to the National Strategy for Neighbourhood Renewal. We are therefore also announcing today that we intend to provide an additional £86 million over the same period to support community participation programmes in the current 88 eligible areas for NRF.

There remains £175 million of additional NRF resources still to be allocated. I will inform the House shortly on how we intend to distribute these.

Human Diploid Cells

Earl Howe asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the use of human diploid cells originating from human aborted foetal tissue as a medium for vaccines is subject to donor consent; how much such tissue is used in this way each year; and what commercial arrangements exist between the National Health Service and pharmaceutical companies to facilitate its availability for this use.[HL2100]

Baroness Andrews: The human diploid cell line (called MRC-5) used in the production of some vaccines (rubella, rabies, hepatitis A and some polio vaccines) was derived from one sample of foetal lung tissue obtained following a termination of a pregnancy for medical reasons in 1966. No further foetal tissue has been obtained. There is no commercial arrangement between the National Health Service and pharmaceutical companies to facilitate the availability of this cell line. The National Institute for Biological Standards and Control maintains a limited stock of the MRC-5 cell line and over the past 20 years has distributed small samples of this stock free of charge to pharmaceutical companies for the production of vaccines. The companies have then used these as "seeds" to develop their own stocks of MRC-5 cells for full-scale vaccine production.

Transfusion-related Acute Lung Injury

Lord Clement-Jones asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many cases of transfusion-related acute lung injury in the past five years have been caused by fresh frozen plasma.[HL2131]

Baroness Andrews: The UK Serious Hazards of Transfusion (SHOT) reporting system provides data on transfusion-related acute lung injury (TRALI). However TRALI is difficult to diagnose and fresh frozen plasma (FFP) is just one blood component that has been seen to cause reactions which may be or may not have resulted in TRALI.

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Year*Number of TRALI cases initially reported to SHOT**Number of TRALI cases shown in completed returns***Number of TRALI cases where FFP was the blood component implicated
*Number of cases initially reported to SHOT showing an intention to report an incidence of TRALI.
**Number of completed questionnaires received by SHOT showing TRALI cases.
*** Number of cases where FFP is the suspected cause to varying degrees of probability. FFP is often used in conjunction with other blood components and it is not always possible to determine which component may have been the cause.

Lord Clement-Jones asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they or the National Blood Service have provided financial settlement in any case of transfusion-related acute lung injury; and, if so, what level of settlement has been made; and[HL2135]

    Whether they have assessed the cost of possible compensation claims from transfusion-related lung injury; and how they plan to budget for this.[HL2136]

Baroness Andrews: The National Blood Service has made a settlement out of court in one case of transfusion-related acute lung injury (TRALI). The case was settled for £25,000 plus costs.

No specific assessment has been made of the possible compensation claims for TRALI. However, on 21 March 2003 the National Audit Office (NAO) published its assessment of provision needed by the National Health Service to cover current and anticipated clinical negligence claims. The amount estimated in 2001–02 was £5.25 billion. In coming to this calculation the NAO has looked at the numbers of actual claims and the numbers of incidents that have been incurred but not yet reported. (NHS (England) Summarised Accounts 2001–02

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