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Unruly Pupils

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment when he expects to issue new guidelines for teachers on the legitimate physical restraint of unruly pupils. [134727]

Jacqui Smith: DfEE Circular 10/98 makes it clear that teachers may use reasonable force to control or restrain pupils to prevent them from causing injury to themselves or others, and contains guidance on appropriate physical intervention measures.

We plan to issue complementary guidance shortly, to help schools and local education authorities plan their strategies for managing the behaviour of pupils with severe behavioural difficulties.

Internet Access

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what plans he has to reduce the cost of internet access to schools. [134778]

Mr. Wills: The cost of providing internet access to school is subject to a number of factors, including the availability of relevant services and competition in the market. My officials are in contact with Oftel regarding the telecommunications costs and tariffs and our Regional Broadband strategy is enabling local education authorities to seek the best possible procurement arrangements for internet service provision on behalf of their schools.

Resuscitation Policies

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what guidance his Department issues to (a) local education authorities, (b) colleges, (c) private schools and (d) other educational establishments concerning the development and application of resuscitation policies; and how compliance with such guidance is monitored. [134843]

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Jacqui Smith [holding answer 26 October 2000]: DfEE's "Guidance on First Aid for Schools: a good practice guide" is freely available to all schools and can be referenced by other educational institutions. It sets out first aid requirements under health and safety legislation, and provides advice for schools on drawing up first aid policies and ensuring that they meet their statutory duties. Specifically, it advises that first aid training should include resuscitation procedures for children. Breaches of health and safety legislation are subject to investigation by the Health and Safety Executive.

Tutor-student Ratio

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will list the average tutor to student ratio in (a) sixth-form colleges and (b) further education colleges in each local education authority area. [134901]

Ms Estelle Morris: This information is not readily available by local education authority areas.

University Funding (Research)

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment how much funding each university in England and Wales has received towards research in each of the past five years. [134912]

Mr. Wicks: The funding of higher education in Wales is now a matter for the National Assembly. The information requested can be found in the Higher Education Statistics Agency publication "Resources for higher education institutions" copies of which are in the Library of the House.

GCSEs

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what discussions he or his officials have had with representatives of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference concerning their recent assessment of the value of GCSEs. [134924]

Mr. Wicks: The Department has received no communication either from the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference or from individual members of the Conference about their assessment of the value of GCSEs.

Pupil Exclusions

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what recent assessment he has made of the effect on other children at school (a) academically and (b) emotionally of not excluding disruptive pupils. [134933]

Jacqui Smith: Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Schools' latest annual report shows a clear link between standards of behaviour and educational achievement.

We have made clear that Headteachers can permanently exclude pupils who are very disruptive or violent. And our recently issued new guidance for exclusion appeal panels indicates that the Headteacher's decision to exclude should not be overridden in a range of circumstances including where there is violence or the threat of violence.

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In addition, we are making provision for over 1,000 on-site Learning Support Units by 2002, to ensure that disruptive pupils are removed from the classroom quickly so they do not disrupt other pupils' education.

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment how many pupils in state schools were permanently excluded in (a) 1997-98, (b) 1998-99 and (c) 1999-2000. [134707]

Jacqui Smith: The latest available data on permanent exclusions are shown in the following table. Data on permanent exclusions in the school year 1999-2000 will be collected in January 2001 and published in May 2001 (provisional date).

Further information on permanent exclusions will be published at the end of November 2000 in a Statistical Bulletin, a copy of which will be placed in the Library.

We are providing £174 million next year to help schools and LEAs tackle exclusion--a third more than in 1999-2000 and 10 times more than in 1996-97. This is helping to pay for more than 1,000 on-site Learning Support Units which take disruptive pupils out of the classroom quickly, improve their behaviour and reduce the need for exclusion. Where an exclusion is necessary, provision for excluded pupils is being greatly increased. There are now 1,000 more places and 250 more teachers in Pupil Referral Units (PRUs) than in 1997. The quality of PRUs is improving and by 2002 all local education authorities will be required to provide a full timetable for excluded pupils.

Numbers of permanent exclusions in schools in England 1996-97 to 1998-99(13)

Number
1998-9910,438
1997-9812,298
1996-9712,668

(13) Includes Maintained Primary, Secondary, Special and Non-maintained Special Schools

Source:

January Schools' Census


School Security

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will make a statement about physical security at (a) primary and (b) secondary schools. [134937]

Jacqui Smith: DfEE has issued guidance on "Improving School Security" and also makes available a school security grant for local education authorities to allocate on the basis of risk assessments at individual schools. The total amount available, with the assistance of the Government grant (at 75 per cent.), is £22 million a year. The grant is allocated by formula. The grant is to supplement existing expenditure by local education authorities and schools on school security measures. It is for local education authorities to determine local priorities of use of their grant allocation, including distribution to schools and training needs. All maintained schools, including Pupil Referral Units and nursery schools, are eligible to receive funding from the grant. The grant may be used on physical measures to improve the security of school premises and on security related training for staff and governors.

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Teachers (Cannabis)

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what his policy is towards the employment of teaching staff who have convictions for cannabis consumption. [134941]

Ms Estelle Morris: Unless the Secretary of State has barred a person from employment as a teacher, it is for the prospective employer to decide on the suitability of an applicant for a teaching post. In reaching those decisions employers will take into account any information about the applicant's previous convictions that is revealed by a criminal record check. The Department's Circular 9/93 (first issued in 1993 and still in effect), which gives guidance about the procedures for obtaining such checks, advises employers that convictions for sexual, violent, or drugs offences will be particularly strong contra- indications for work with children, but that they will also need to consider the age and seriousness of the offence.

Assisted Places Scheme

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what assessment he has made of the impact of the abolition of the Assisted Places Scheme on class sizes. [134942]

Ms Estelle Morris: The annual cost of maintaining infant classes of 30 and below, around £160 million, will be met from savings made as a result of the phasing out of the Assisted Places Scheme. We are well on track to deliver our pledge to limit infant classes to 30 pupils. Allocations so far to Hampshire LEA amount to some £7 million. This has helped the LEA to reduce the size of the average Key Stage 1 class in the New Forest constituency to 26.7. In January 1997 the figure was 27.3.


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