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Kevin Brennan: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what consultations she has had with the devolved Administrations about her review of student finance; and if she will make a statement. 
Margaret Hodge: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has written to Ministers responsible for higher education matters in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, to advise them that a review is taking place. We plan to consult with devolved Administrations in due course.
John Healey: The Government are committed to tackling age discrimination wherever it is found, and is a signatory of the EU Employment Directive on Equality, which commits the UK to introduce legislation to combat such discrimination in employment, vocational training and guidance by 2006. The Government have asked the Learning and Skills Councilas the body responsible for planning, funding and improving the quality of post-16 learning outside higher educationto promote age diversity and tackle age discrimination when translating its commitment to equality of opportunity into effective strategies and actions. The Employment Service, which operates training programmes including Work Based Learning for Adults, Work Trials and Programme Centres, is committed to equal opportunities and encourages employers to make effective use of the skills, experience and reliability that older people can contribute.
Mr. Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what funding she has set aside for (a) 200102, (b) 200203 and (c) 200304 to reduce class sizes in primary schools; 
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Mr. Timms: We have made £177 million available to reduce infant class sizes and £73 million to make progress on junior class sizes in 200102. Up to £180 million will be available to reduce class sizes in 200203. Funding levels for 200304 will be decided in the Spending Review 2002.
Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what changes have been made to the criteria qualifying primary school children for special needs status in (a) 1997, (b) 1998, (c) 1999, (d) 2000 and (e) 2001. 
Mr. Timms: It is for Local Education Authorities and maintained schools to identify and make suitable provision for all children who may have special educational needs in the light of the provisions of Park IV of the Education Act 1996, the Education (Special Educational Needs) Regulations 1994, and the statutory advice contained in the "Code of Practice on the identification and assessment of Special Educational Needs", published in 1994. This situation has remained unchanged between 1997 and 2001. From January 2002 a revised Special Educational Needs Code of Practice, which was approved recently by both Houses of Parliament, amendments to Part IV of the Education Act 1996 brought about by the SEN and Disability Act 2001 and revised Special Educational Needs Regulations will come into effect.
Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the funding regime for primary school pupils with special needs status was in (a) England and (b) Shropshire in (i) 1997, (ii) 1998, (iii) 1999, (iv) 2000 and (v) 2001. 
Mr. Timms: Some special educational needs (SEN) funding is delegated to primary schools by local education authorities (LEAs) in budget shares, with amounts calculated for each school on the basis of factors which measure need either directly or indirectly. Other SEN funding is held centrally by LEAs and spent as required on pupils, for example on extra support for pupils with statements of SEN. This basic pattern has obtained in all five years mentioned, although the proportion of funding held centrally has declined since Fair Funding succeeded Local Management of Schools in 1999. In Shropshire, funding for primary age pupils with statements of SEN was held centrally before 2001, but some is now delegated to schools on the basis of eight bands of need. In 1997 and 1998 SEN funding for pupils with SEN but without statements was based on the proportion of pupils eligible for free school meals; from 1999 a further indicatorthe number of pupils on the SEN register at stages 24 of the SEN Code of Practicehas been used. From 1997 to 2000 schools with SEN units received place-led funding for such units; in 2001 this was subsumed into delegated funding for pupils with statements.
Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what the average percentage of children with special needs status in (a) English and (b) Shropshire primary schools was in (i) 1997, (ii) 1998, (iii) 1999, (iv) 2000 and (v) 2001; 
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|UK(21) NumberPercentage||England NumberPercentage||Shropshire(22) NumberPercentage||Shropshire(22) NumberPercentage||Telford and Wrekin(22) NumberPercentage|
|January each year|
(21) For Scotland, pupils with a Record of Needs
(22) As a result of local government reorganisation in April 1998, Shropshire local education authority divided to form the following local education authorities: Shropshire LEA and Telford and Wrekin LEA
(23) Not applicable
(24) Special educational needs figures from the annual schools census for January 2001 are known to be incomplete. In order to provide reasonably comparable figures to previous years an estimate has been made based on the annual schools census returns for January 2000 and January 2001. These estimates are robust at national and Government Office region but are not available at local education authority level
(25) Not available
Mr. Timms: No additional funding will be awarded to Leeds City council to implement the education policies for which it is responsible and accountable beyond that derived from the Standard Spending Assessment and Standards Fund grants.
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