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Pupil Expulsions (Easington)

Mr. Cummings: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment how many pupils have been excluded and expelled and from which schools in the Easington district council area year-by-year since 1995 for drug related offences. [101428]

Jacqui Smith: Information on exclusions from individual schools as a result of drugs related offences has not been held centrally.

However, for the first time, the Department has recently been surveying local education authorities about the levels of drug related permanent and fixed period exclusions which arose in their schools during the academic year 1998-99. The data are being collected at local education authority area level so information on individual schools or district councils will not be available.

Cromwell School, Tameside

Mr. Bennett: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what progress he is making with Tameside MBC in discussions on re-locating Cromwell School. [101447]

Jacqui Smith: Tameside local education authority has served a statutory notice, under section 339 of the Education Act 1996, to make prescribed alterations to Cromwell School, Thornley Lane South, Denton. Cromwell is a mixed day school for pupils with severe learning difficulties which is currently approved for 60 pupils aged 12-19.

Tameside proposes to:



    increase the school's size to make provision for 70 pupils;


    reduce the school's age range to 11-16--students between 16 and 19 would attend Tameside College.

If approved, the proposals would affect post-16 students from September 2000, pupils between 11 and 16 from September 2001.

Officials from the Department will be meeting those from Tameside this week to discuss the proposals.

Learning Difficulties

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what arrangements he has made for ensuring that trainee teachers have the necessary competence to identify pupils with specific learning difficulties. [101468]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 7 December 1999]: The National Standards for Qualified Teacher Status reflect the Secretary of State's requirement for Qualified Teacher Status as set out in the DfEE Circular 4/98. The standards apply to all trainees seeking Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) and should be met by those to be assessed for QTS from May 1998. Successful completion of a course or programme of initial teacher training (ITT), including employment based provision, must require the trainee to achieve all these standards. All courses must involve the assessment of all trainees against all the standards specified. Qualified Teacher Status is a requirement for all those who teach in a maintained school.

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The National Standards require all newly qualified teachers to demonstrate that they can identify pupils who have special educational needs, including specific learning difficulties; know where to get help in order to give positive and targeted support; and are familiar with the Code of Practice on the identification and assessment of special educational needs and, as part of their responsibilities under the Code, implement and keep records on individual education plans (IEPs) with pupils at stage 2 of the Code and above.

Children's Education

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what measures he is undertaking to encourage links between schools, communities and families in educating children; and if he will make a statement. [101086]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 7 December 1999]: We recognise the vital role parents and the wider community can play in supporting children's learning. We have already introduced home-school agreements as one way of fostering a positive, forward-looking partnership between parents and teachers and recently launched a new website for parents. We also announced a "Parents Guide to the National Curriculum" to help them understand what their children are learning and how they can help. In addition, we are piloting National Curriculum topic leaflets for parents and a magazine containing practical tips and information. We also know that the family literacy and numeracy programmes we fund through local authorities can be effective in drawing into learning adults with low basic skills. This is particularly the case for parents who missed out at school, but whose concern for their children can renew interest in their own learning. This will be supported this year by £6 million from the Standards Fund, increasing to £7 million next year, to reach 20,000 parents and their children.

We are also working with others to increase parental involvement. For example, we have been working with the Community Education Development Centre (CEDC) to develop the SHARE project which supports parents in helping their children at home with reading; Parentline Plus have been looking at the feasibility of a new service for parents to help with their children's homework; and we have asked the Institute for Public Policy Research to explore further ways of developing family involvement in children's education and look more widely at extending family involvement in enrichment activities. We are working with Age Concern to extend their Trans-Age grandparent mentoring scheme to secondary schools; and the National Mentoring Network to engage older people with young people in school through mentoring and literacy programmes.

In the new year, the CEDC, partly funded by the DfEE, will publish practical advice to schools on how to develop as a community resource. We are also considering the recommendations in the report of the Schools Plus Policy Action Team on how activities such as study support, involving parents in their children's education, and engagement of the wider community can help reduce failure in the most disadvantaged areas.

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Higher Education

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment further to his answer of 23 November 1999, Official Report, columns 79-80W, on higher education funding, whether the higher education funding bodies for the United Kingdom apply the same degrees of selectivity in funding based on their common research assessment. [101706]

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Mr. Wicks [holding answer 8 December 1999]: While the funding councils all use the research assessment exercise output to fund research selectively, they differ slightly in the degree of selectivity they apply because each of the funding bodies uses a slightly different funding model (except DENI institutions are funded via the HEFCE model).

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A comparison of HEFCE, SHEFC and HEFCW research selectivity, 1999-2000 Research Allocations

Rating transformations
HEFCE/DENISHEFCHEFCW
3b-13b-13b-1
3a-1.53a-1.553a-1.4
4-2.254-2.44-1.96 Quality driven
5-3.3755/5*-3.725-2.744 component (principal
5*-4.05--5*-3.293 funding and QR funding)
(50% increase for each point from 3b to 5, and 20% premium for 5*)(55% increase for each point from 3b to 5, 5* level with 5)(40% increase for each point from 3b to 5, and 20% premium for 5*)

Note:

Table prepared by HEFCE Analytical Services Group--RAE ratings are from 5* down to 1, with 5* being the highest, 1 the lowest. Ratings 1 and 2 receive no funding.


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Learning and Skills Council

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will make a statement on the (a) responsibilities of and (b) operational relationships between regional development agencies and (i) the Learning and Skills Council and (ii) local learning and skills councils. [101654]

Mr. Wicks [holding answer 8 December 1999]: The White Paper "Learning to Succeed" set out the proposed functions of the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) and its relationship with Regional Development Agencies (RDAs).

RDAs will be represented on both the national LSC and local Councils. At both national and local level the LSC and RDAs will share information to ensure that the national skills agenda and local LSC plans are developed with reference to regional priorities and skills strategies. RDAs will also be invited to comment on local LSC plans, and the extent to which they reflect regional learning and skill needs. RDAs and the LSC will also work together to develop skills packages for regional inward investment programmes.

We will shortly publish a document setting out the Government's plans for implementing the proposals in the White Paper. The document will outline how the new arrangements will work and set out the next steps for implementation.

New Deal

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what assessment he has made of additionality in each of the New Deal schemes. [102106]

Ms Jowell [holding answer 9 December 1999]: New Deal is a long-term programme, still in its early days. Consequently, most evaluation is still in progress and is yet to report. Employment Service Research report ESR13, published in March 1999 and available in the

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Library, gives an initial summary of progress on the New Deal for young unemployed, produced by the Institute for Employment Studies. It reports evidence of a positive effect on outflows of young people from unemployment into jobs as a result of the New Deal. Further quantitative evaluation on the impact of New Deal for young unemployed is likely to be published shortly and will also be placed in the Library.

There is a comprehensive evaluation programme in place for all elements of New Deal. The article "New Deal for the young unemployed: monitoring and evaluation", published in Labour Market Trends in November 1998, sets out a strategy which is broadly common across New Deal.

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will estimate the impact on the unemployment count of those people who were claiming Jobseeker's Allowance prior to participating on the New Deal for 18-24 year-olds and the New Deal for people aged 25-plus, and who have since ceased their claim as a result of leaving the gateway of the respective scheme for (a) an option and (b) claiming a benefit other than Jobseeker's Allowance. [102114]

Ms Jowell [holding answer 9 December 1999]: There is a comprehensive evaluation programme in place for the New Deal for young unemployed and New Deal for long term unemployed adults. It will be addressing issues such as this but, since New Deal itself is still in its very early stages, much evaluation is in progress and is yet to report. Early quantitative evaluation on the impact of New Deal for young unemployed is likely to be published shortly and will be placed in the Library.


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