Previous Section Index Home Page

Acquired Brain Injury

Mr. Robathan: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what progress has been made on (a) inclusion of information on acquired brain injury in the new guidance on the education of sick children and (b) inclusion of guidance for health professionals on the particular special educational needs of children with acquired brain injury. [783]

Mr. Timms: We will be including information on acquired brain injury in the new guidance on the education of sick children to heighten the awareness of the educational needs of pupils with ABI. The new guidance is currently being drafted and it is expected that it will be issued in September 2001.

The importance of close liaison between education and health services to cover all issues that may effect learning for children and young people with acquired brain injury will be highlighted in guidance on the role of health professionals to be issued in the summer.

27 Jun 2001 : Column: 108W

Creative Writing

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what steps she is taking to ensure creative writing skills are developed at an early age. [798]

Mr. Timms: We are committed to ensuring that children enjoy writing and develop the skills they need in order to express themselves clearly and creatively. The National Literacy Strategy "Framework for Teaching" ensures that primary school pupils are taught to write independently from an early stage, and that they are given opportunities to undertake a wide range of writing. In May 2001, we published practical guidance for teachers of four to seven-year-olds on "Developing Early Writing", which emphasises the role of imaginative play and talk in improving writing in the first years of school.

Middle Schools

Mr. Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will make a statement on her policy towards middle schools. [800]

Mr. Timms: The Government's view remains that the relative merits of three and two-tier systems of school organisation are a matter for local discussion and determination. Schools should be organised in a way which supports the delivery of the highest possible standards of education and which also reflects parental preference. Local education authorities and school governing bodies, rather than central Government, are best placed to decide on which pattern of provision is most effective for their area.

Teacher Numbers (Yorkshire)

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many (a) primary and (b) secondary school teachers were working in (i) North Yorkshire and (ii) City of York local education authorities on 1 May and projected for 1 May 2002. [34]

Mr. Timms: The full-time equivalents of regular teachers (excluding short-term supply) employed in the maintained sector at January each year were as follows:

North Yorkshire2,1702,230
City of York650650
North Yorkshire2,5602,590
City of York640660
North Yorkshire4,7304,820
City of York1,2901,320

(2) Provisional


Totals may not be the sum of the component parts because of rounding

Regular teacher data are collected in January each year. Figures for May 2001 and projected figures for May 2002 will not be collected or estimated.

27 Jun 2001 : Column: 109W



Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will place in the Library a copy of the report by Arthur D. Little Consultants on the economic case for the Sellafield MOX plant. [955]

Mr. Meacher [holding answer 26 June 2001]: Yes. We intend to publish the report as soon as possible, excluding only that material--such as contract prices--whose publication would cause unreasonable commercial damage to BNFL's commercial operations or to the economic case for the MOX plant itself. We propose to allow people four weeks for comment.

Water Abstraction

Mr. Gareth R. Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what decisions she has reached about the possible use of economic instruments in relation to water abstraction. [1273]

Mr. Meacher: The Department is publishing tomorrow a paper entitled "Tuning Water Taking". This sets out Government decisions following consultation last year on the use of economic instruments in relation to water abstraction in England and Wales. Copies will be placed in the Library of the House.

The paper confirms that water abstraction charges will remain limited to recovery of the Environment Agency's water resources management costs. The agency is expected to consult by June 2002 on changes to the current charging scheme within this overall cost ceiling. The paper goes on to say that voluntary abstraction licence trading will be made easier by a variety of means, within the Environment Agency's existing powers, while ensuring that trading does not harm the water environment.


Children's Commissioner

8. Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make a statement on the work of the Children's Commissioner. [527]

Mr. Paul Murphy: I was delighted that the Children's Commissioner for Wales Bill received Royal Assent on 11 May. The Children's Commissioner for Wales Act 2001 radically widens the Commissioner's role and extends his functions to a far greater range of public bodies, including the Assembly, who provide services or exercise devolved functions.

Peter Clarke took up office on 1 March and his full powers are scheduled to commence this summer, following Assembly Commencement Orders and Regulations. He has been spending the interim months setting up the practical arrangements for his office.

27 Jun 2001 : Column: 110W

New Deal

9. Dr. Francis: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions about the extension of the new deal in Wales. [528]

Mr. Touhig: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State regularly attends meetings with ministerial colleagues, including the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, and I am planning a series of introductory meetings with my ministerial colleagues.

The Government's new deal programme has proved a very real success. We are keen to build on this success by extending the new deal 25+ to all over-25s who have been on jobseeker's allowance for at least 18 months; extending new deal for lone parents and extending new deal for disabled people to all those claiming invalidity benefit.

Inward Investment

11. Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of Wales what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry about the factors which attract inward investment to Wales. [530]

Mr. Paul Murphy: I have regular meetings with my ministerial colleagues, including the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry. In addition, ministerial colleagues and I gave evidence to the Welsh Affairs Committee earlier this year on the role of the UK Government in promoting Wales abroad, including the partnership between the Government, British Trade International and the Welsh Development Agency in attracting inward investment.

Wales has one of the most impressive foreign direct investment track records worldwide, which is a testimony to the high skills levels of the workforce and a range of training programmes, infrastructure, land, property, business services and financial packages. In particular, the securing by the UK Government of Objective 1 status and Tier 1 status under the Assisted Areas map for West Wales and the Valleys allows the Government and the National Assembly to deliver a whole range of financial benefits to companies in that area.


12. Mr. Caton: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what discussions he has held with the First Secretary in the National Assembly about the development of new employment opportunities in communities affected by the Corus job cuts in Wales. [531]

Mr. Paul Murphy: The Government and the National Assembly for Wales responded quickly to the needs of the steel community with measures of help for steelworkers and their communities affected by Corus decisions. Government-funded measures include on-site job shop centres, as well as access to job vacancies and a job transition scheme, providing intensive advice and help with job search as well as early access to training programmes.

Additionally, the National Assembly for Wales announced a £50 million package of regeneration and training from the Welsh block to help create jobs and regenerate the communities affected by Corus decisions and has set up an executive group of the Wales Steel Task

27 Jun 2001 : Column: 111W

Force to implement schemes. This may also wish to take advantage of the wide-ranging package of measures and operating aids announced in the Budget to encourage enterprise, tax incentives for urban regeneration and more spending on public services.

Next Section Index Home Page