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Mike Gapes: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what plans he has to assist young people with autism and Aspergers syndrome to gain access to higher education. 
Bill Rammell: The Government provide support for disabled people applying to higher education (HE) and while they are in HE, this will include young people who are on the autistic spectrum. The Aimhigher Programme, for which the Government have recently announced a continuation of funding for a further three years, provides outreach activities aimed at increasing participation among under-represented groups, including disabled people.
The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) provides funding to institutions to support disabled students through the mainstream disability funding stream£12.9 million in 2006/07. We also provide funding directly to students through disabled students allowances (DSAs), which can help to remove the obstacles that prevent disabled students and students with specific learning difficulties from entering and completing higher education courses. In 2005/06, we provided approximately £78.8 million to 35,600 students. In July 2007, we announced that from 2008/09 the maximum amounts of the non-medical helpers allowance (for undergraduates) and the postgraduate allowance will be increased by around 60 per cent.
The maximum amount of the DSA for non-medical helpers will increase from £12,420 in 2007/08 to £20,000 in 2008/09 for full-time students and from £9,315 in 2007/08 to £15,000 in 2008/09 for part-time students.
The maximum amount of the DSA for postgraduate students will increase from £5,915 in 2007/08 to £10,000 in 2008/09
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what steps the Government has taken to increase the numbers of students studying science based degrees. 
Bill Rammell [holding answer 15 November 2007]: The Governments policy is to increase the number of people leaving schools and colleges with the appropriate qualifications to enable them to take a science-based degree. This includes Government support for activities that help enthuse young people about science and scientific careers. For example the Department funds the Science and Engineering Ambassadors scheme, run by STEMNET, through which individuals work with teachers in schools and colleges.
There are some encouraging signs that the Governments overall policy is starting to work. According to the most recent UCAS figures for 2007 entry published on 17 October 2007, there have been increases in acceptances for first degrees at UK universities as follows: physics (+10.3 per cent.), chemistry (+8.8 per cent.), biology (+3.3 per cent.), maths (+9.2 per cent.); combined maths/
computer science (+16.5 per cent.); combined medical/biological/agricultural sciences (+10.0 per cent.); chemical engineering (+12.3 per cent.), civil engineering (+9.9 per cent.) and mechanical engineering (+4.3 per cent.). These figures include EU and international students.
Bill Rammell [holding answer 15 November 2007]: The responsibility for recruiting staff lies with higher education institutions (HEIs), as the employers. However, we have instituted a number of measures to support higher education institutions (HEIs) in this area. Through the Rewarding and Developing Staff initiative, we have supported HEIs in developing their human resource capabilityrecruitment and retention, and equal opportunities were two of the six priority areas.
We launched the Athena SWAN Charter in 2005 to address the low representation of women within science, engineering and technology (SET) in HEIs. The charter is funded by the Equality Challenge Unit (which is responsible for supporting HEIs to help them improve their equality practice) and the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills through the UK Resource Centre for Women in Science, Engineering and Technology (UKRC). The charter encourages universities and research institutions in the recruitment, retention and progression of women lecturers and researchers within SET. 26 universities have signed up to the charter and this year saw the first gold award madeto the chemistry department, university of Yorkto recognise that institutions high achievements in this area.
There has been a rising trend in the number of women academics working in higher education. In
2005/06, 41.9 per cent. of academics in UK HE institutions were female, compared to 32.9 per cent. in 1996/97.
Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what funding is available for qualified secondary school teachers to study undergraduate courses in (a) chemistry, (b) physics, (c) biology and (d) mathematics; and how many people (i) applied for and (ii) received such funding in each of the last five years. 
Mr. Lammy: There will be more opportunities for qualified secondary school teachers in higher education as a result of the 2 per cent. a year real terms increase in funding for HE over the next three years. While we will be progressively redistributing about £100 million of institutional funding away from those studying second degrees and other HE qualifications at an equivalent or lower level in order to support more first time entrants to HE, subjects like chemistry, physics, biology and mathematics will continue to attract institutional funding when taken as a second undergraduate degree. This will allow Universities and Colleges to continue charging home fee rates for these subjects.
Qualified secondary school teachers who hold an honours degree are not eligible for fee and living costs support under the Student Support Regulations for a second undergraduate degree in chemistry, physics, biology and mathematics. However, qualified secondary school teachers who do not hold an honours degree may be eligible for fee and living costs support for an undergraduate degree in these subjects. Information is not available on the numbers of qualified secondary school teachers applying for and receiving student support specifically for chemistry, physics, biology and mathematics undergraduate courses in each of the last five years.
Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what estimate he has made of the number of children who were killed at the hands of parents or carers in the last 12 months. 
Available data from the Homicide Index relate to offences currently recorded as homicides in England and Wales as at 12 November 2007, and the requested information was published in Homicides, Firearm Offences and Intimate Violence 2006/07 (Home Office Statistical Bulletin 03/08, page 14 and table 1.04).
During 2006-07 there were 33 homicides recorded where the victim was aged under 16 and the relationship to the principal suspect was son/daughter (which includes step- and adoptive-children, and children of the suspect's cohabitant or lover). Cases with a relationship category of carer cannot be identified.
Mr. Allen: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many children of (a) five, (b) six and (c) seven years of age were taught in classes of more than 30 children in (i) 1997 and (ii) 2007. 
|Number and percentage of key stage 1 pupils in classes of 31 or more taught by one teacher at maintained primary schools in England|
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families when he expects the Implementation Review Unit to report on the work of his Department; and if he will make a statement. 
Beverley Hughes: [holding answer 19 November 2007]: Family learning programmes strengthen families, promote community cohesion and support our commitment to embedding a culture of learning across all levels of society. The wide-ranging consultation on Informal Adult Learning announced by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills, on 15 January, will help ensure that these popular and high quality programmes can be further developed and strengthened to meet the needs of the whole community.
We are working with colleagues in the Department for Children, Schools and Families to enable more adults and children to access extended schools facilities. Schools provide language, literacy and numeracy support as well as other activities that can help engage adults in learning, especially those from marginalised communities and others who need particular help in taking a first step on the progression ladder.
It is for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families to encourage schools to provide more opportunities for family learning, and parents, carers and other adults will benefit from those facilities being made more widely available. The Children's Plan published in December 2007 committed an additional £30 million over the next three years to provide more family learning.
Maintained and independent schools, including those designated as Muslim schools, are inspected by OFSTED on a regular basis. There are currently nine Muslim schools open in the maintained sector. Since 2005, when the-three year cycle of inspections was introduced, six have been inspected and all judged by OFSTED to be satisfactory or better in terms of their overall effectiveness. The other three were opened since September 2006 and will be inspected, as usual, in the second year of operation. In the independent sector there are 115 Muslim schools of which 83 have been inspected since 2003, with inspections at a further 18 schools scheduled this school term. The remaining schools were all opened since September 2003 and were inspected against independent schools standards before opening and will be inspected again in due course, as part of the three-year cycle of inspections which OFSTED will commence in the summer term. Inspection reports,
which are published on OFSTED's website, provide an overview of provision in all inspected schools, detail of whether or not the statutory standards for independent schools are met where appropriate and include recommendations for improvement.
Ed Balls: All independent Muslim schools are currently inspected by OFSTED against standards set out in the Education (Independent School Standards) (England) Regulations 2003, as amended. These cover the quality of the curriculum and teaching; the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils; and their health, safety and welfare. Reports of independent school inspections are published on the OFSTED website.
The Bridge Schools' Inspectorate (BSI) has recently been approved in principle to undertake inspection of around 110 independent schools affiliated to the Christian Schools Trust (CST) and the Association of Muslim Schools UK (AMSUK). BSI inspections will assess schools against the same statutory criteria as OFSTED and its inspectors will also assess the religious ethos of CST and AMSUK schools. Any inspection work BSI carries out will be monitored by OFSTED, which will produce a published annual report on its performance.
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) what percentage of children in schools of fewer than 500 pupils gained five A* to C GCSE grades in the latest period for which figures are available; 
|Percentage of pupils achieving 5A*-C in GCSE and Equivalents in 2007|
|Number of pupils( 1)||Number of schools||Percentage of 5A*-C|
|(1). Number of day pupils on roll. (2). Includes Maintained Mainstream schools, CTCs and Academies.|
|Percentage of 15-year-old pupils achieving 5 A*-C grades, 1997, 1998 and 2007|
|1997||( 1) 1998||2007|
|n/a = not available|
(1) Due to local government reorganisations, figures have also been given for 1998 to allow comparisons to be made to the latest year.
(2) includes all schools, not only those in the maintained sector.
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