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20 Nov 2003 : Column 1490Wcontinued
Mr. Malins: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many teachers in Surrey were eligible for the higher salaries scale payable only to experienced teachers in each of the last four years. 
September 2001 = 542; and
September 2002 = 743.
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Mr. Malins: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what percentage of the costs of higher salaries for experienced teachers has been met by central Government in Surrey, in each of the last four years for which figures are available. 
Mr. Miliband: Experienced eligible teachers have been able to apply for "threshold" payments since September 2000 and these are fully funded by central Government. Such teachers may also make further progress along the "upper pay scale" and there are substantial grants to assist this, totalling some £175 million in 200304.
Mr. Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many vacant deputy head teacher posts existed in (a) primary schools, (b) secondary schools and (c) special schools in each year since 1997, broken down by local education authority; and if he will express the figures as a percentage of the total number of head teachers. 
Paul Farrelly: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills, who will pay the planned maximum top-up fee of £3,000 for (a) a Welsh, (b) a Scottish and (c) a Northern Ireland student attending an English university. 
Alan Johnson: It will be for universities themselves to set their fee levels, provided that they have an access agreement approved by the Office for Fair Access. All UK-domiciled students attending an English university will have to pay the fee.
All English-domiciled students will have the option to defer the payment of their fees. It will be for the devolved administrations themselves to decide whether to offer their students the option to defer payment of the fee, by providing them with a loan for fees.
Andy King: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will advise local education authorities that they should seek a conditional discharge from magistrates when taking lone parents to court for the truancy of their children rather than seeking a fine. 
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Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much a secondary teacher on national average earnings will pay towards the proposed graduate contribution scheme each year until the contribution has been paid off; and if he can give the same figure as a proportion of (a) before income tax and national insurance contribution income and (b) after income tax and national insurance contribution income. 
Alan Johnson: Under our proposals, graduates begin repayments on their student loan once they are earning above the £15,000 repayment threshold. They pay 9 per cent. of their salary above the threshold per year. Loan repayments will continue until the loan has been paid off:
The level of loan repayment is directly linked to individual earnings and the repayment system is progressivethe amount that goes in repayments rises as the graduate's income does. To this extent, the career progression of a secondary school teacher will have an influence on their loan repayments.
The average salary for newly-qualified full-time regular teachers in maintained secondary schools in England and Wales at 31March 2002 was £18,2601. Therefore, that teacher would pay around 300 per year in loan repayments: that is approximately1.6 per cent. of income before income tax and national insurance contribution; and 2.1 per cent. of income after income tax and national insurance contribution.
The average salary for full-time regular teachers with five years' experience in maintained secondary schools in England and Wales at 31 March 2002 was £26,0702. Therefore, that teacher would pay around £1,000 per year in loan repayments: that is approximately 3.8 per
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cent. of income before income tax and national insurance contribution; and 5.2 per cent. of income after income tax and national insurance contribution.
Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills whether the income of (a) cohabiting partners and (b) new partners as a result of remarriage is taken into account in the assessment of residual household income for the exemption or remission of tuition fees; what changes he proposes; and what assessment he has made of the number of students likely to lose the entitlement to full or partial remission of tuition fees as a result. 
Alan Johnson: The income of cohabiting partners and new partners is not currently taken into account in the assessment of residual income for the exemption or remission of tuition fees unless the student has been formally adopted.
We are proposing that the income of spouses and cohabiting partners of the student's natural parents is taken into account for new students whose courses start from September 2004. Where the household income is £20,970, a minimum contribution of £45 will be assessed. This will rise by £1 for every £9.50 of income above that threshold.
Since the change is to be implemented only for new students entering higher education in 2004/05, no student will lose their current entitlement to fee remission because of this change to the means test.
Estimates of the effects of the inclusion of cohabiting partners' income have been derived using income data from a number of sources and are indicative. Our best indication is that, once it reaches steady state, this change could account for a fall of approximately three points in the percentage of dependent students receiving full fee remission. The percentage of dependent students entitled to partial fee remission is expected to remain more or less unchanged.
Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills, what estimate he has made of the proportion of home students at each higher education institution who are (a) fully and (b) partly exempt from tuition fees. 
Paul Farrelly: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what plans he has to ensure that any increase in the level of tuition fees will not have an adverse impact on the (a) supply, (b) retention, (c) diversity and (d) quality of students on (i) teaching, (ii) science, (iii) engineering, (iv) architecture, (v) veterinary and (vi) legal courses. 
Alan Johnson: I refer the hon. Member to my previous reply to him of 12 November 2003, Official Report, column 354, in which I set out the measures for safeguarding access to higher education. With regard in particular to students on teaching courses, my right hon.
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Friend the Secretary of State already monitors demand for, and take-up of, places on teacher training courses and has introduced a number of incentives aimed at encouraging teacher supply and retention. Students on Postgraduate Certificate in Education courses, for example, receive a £6,000 training bursary as well as having their tuition fees paid by the Government. Those who qualify in priority subjects (approximately one third of students) also receive a £4,000 Golden Hello after induction.
The Government will continue to take such measures as it believes appropriate to ensure that teacher supply meets demand. I would expect employers in other sectors of the labour market to take the action they believe is necessary to attract adequate numbers of graduates. The Office for Fair Access will, however, also play a role in ensuring that policies are in place to safeguard access to higher education across all subjects.
Paul Farrelly: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what assessment he has made of the impact of variable tuition fees on social access to higher education in the United States contained in the reports (a) "Empty promises: The myth of college access in America" and (b) "Access denied: Restoring the Nation's commitment to equal educational opportunity", issued by the Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance in 2002 and 2001, respectively; and if he will place copies in the Library; 
(3) what conclusions his Department has drawn from its assessment of statistics as to the percentage of students (a) from lower income backgrounds and (b) in receipt of basic federal assistance in the form of Pell grants admitted as part of the annual intake by Ivy League universities; 
(4) what assessment his Department has made of Canadian research on variable tuition fees and social access to medical courses at the University of Toronto in the paper, Effects of rising tuition fees on medical school class composition and financial outlook, issued by the Canadian Medical Association in 2002; and if he will place a copy in the Library; 
(5) what further international research he examined on the impact of (a) variable tuition fees, (b) debt aversion and (c) unmet student financial need before the White Paper on Higher Education was published in January, in addition to the two papers issued before that date which he has placed in the Library. 
Alan Johnson: During the development of the White Paper the Department reviewed a range of existing and on-going national and international research evidence into the impact of different student support policies on levels and patterns of student demand.
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The Department continues to keep relevant research reports under review as they are published. I also refer my hon. Friend to the reports placed in the Library of the House in answer to his question on 17 November 2003, Official Report, column 562W.
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