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Parliamentary Questions

Mr. Stunell: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales on how many occasions he has deposited papers in the Library in response to parliamentary questions tabled to his Department between 19 October 1999 and 20 April. [131129]

Mr. Paul Murphy: Six papers were deposited in the Library in response to parliamentary questions tabled between 19 October and 20 April.


Over-30-months Scheme

Mr. Levitt: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what assessment he has made of the efficiency and environmental standards of the Durga process for burning over-30-months scheme carcases. [129652]

Ms Quin: Durga were one of a number of companies contracted to provide incineration services following a competitive tender held by the Intervention Board during 1996. The company's contract required them to have all necessary planning and environmental consents in place prior to commencement of operations. Incineration services began in October 1997 and the company have operated under Environment Agency supervision successfully destroying over 43,000 OTMS carcases by the end of June 2000.


Interactive Voice Response

Mr. Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment how many departmental telephone lines used by the general public are responded to by interactive voice response systems. [127404]

Mr. Wills: Within the Department for Education and Employment there are no departmental telephone lines used by the general public which are responded to by interactive voice systems.

Lunchtime Exclusions

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment (1) what recent guidance his Department has issued on the exclusion of pupils at lunchtime; and if he will make a statement; [128125]

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Jacqui Smith [holding answer 3 July 2000]: My Department's guidance, Circular 10/99 "Social inclusion: Pupil Support", issued in July 1999, makes it clear that lunchtime exclusions are fixed period exclusions and as such are governed by the exclusion provisions in the School Standards and Framework Act 1998. This statutory framework protects the rights of pupils, parents and headteachers.

We already collect data on all permanent and certain fixed period exclusions but collecting data on lunchtime exclusions would impose an unjustified additional burden on schools.

Departmental Payments

Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what percentage of correctly presented bills were paid by his Department in (a) 1998-99 and (b) 1999-2000 within 30 days of receipt of (i) goods and services, (ii) a valid invoice and (iii) other agreed payment terms. [130035]

Mr. Wills [holding answer 11 July 2000]: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to my hon. Friend the Member for Elmet (Mr. Burgon) on 23 July 1999, Official Report, columns 677-78W.

Departments and their Agencies are currently collating this information for 1999-2000 and this will be made available to the House shortly.

Holocaust Memorial Day

Mr. Opik: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what progress his Department has made with the production of a resource pack for Holocaust Memorial Day; when the pack will be made available; and if he will make a statement. [130283]

Jacqui Smith: We are working with the Home Office and key organisations involved in Holocaust Education to develop the resource pack. It will comprise guidance and materials for schools, suggesting activities for teachers and pupils to follow, for example in classroom activities and assemblies, and it will be available in autumn this year.

In June, we launched a teaching pack and guidelines to accompany the Anne Frank Declaration and to support primary and secondary school teachers in their work on Education for Citizenship and the Teaching of Democracy.

Language Teaching

Mr. Pike: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what plans the Government have to increase the teaching of a second language in primary and junior schools. [130286]

Jacqui Smith: Around a quarter of all primary schools already offer a second language. The revised National Curriculum, published last November, contains guidance for teaching 7 to 11-year olds, covering skills, knowledge and understanding. It also contains suggested attainment

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targets. Furthermore, we have published a Scheme of Work for French aimed at this age group, and will add German and Spanish later this month.

We are piloting approaches to extending language teaching in primary schools, through our Early Language Learning initiative, in which we are gathering good practice and providing classroom materials and a draft curriculum framework. We have asked the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) to consider the potential to extend this further in the longer term.

Official Visits

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will list the visits outside Britain made by his Department's Permanent Secretary on official business since 1 January 1999, indicating the date and purpose of the visit in each case. [130489]

Mr. Wills: Michael Bichard has made the following visits since 1 January 1999:

In all cases the purpose was to exchange views on education and employment issues, including in the first three cases in the EU context.

Home Education

Mr. Coaker: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what grants are available to parents for educating their children at home. [130975]

Jacqui Smith: Section 7 of the Education Act 1996 places a duty on parents to ensure that their children receive suitable full-time education, either by regular attendance at school or otherwise. Some parents opt to educate their children at home. Although local education authorities are not required to provide financial help to home educating parents, some do provide support and assistance, including free National Curriculum material. Education authorities are also under a duty to monitor home education to ensure that the education a child receives is suitable to their age, ability, aptitude and any special educational need they may have.

Access to Work Grants

Mr. Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what research his Department has completed, commissioned or co-operated in which estimates the take-up of Access to Work grants in each of the last five years. [130755]

Ms Hodge [holding answer 17 July 2000]: Responsibility for the subject of this question has been delegated to the Employment Service under its Chief Executive. I have asked him to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter from Richard Foster to Mr. Andrew George, dated 18 July 2000:

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YearNumber of beneficiariesTotal spend (£ million)

I hope this is helpful.

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