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Teacher Training

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what measures she is taking to train teachers to challenge stereotypes in the classroom; and if she will make a statement. [16863]

Mr. Timms: I have asked the Teacher Training Agency to consult on a revised set of requirements for initial teacher training, which include the need for trainees to demonstrate the ability to work in an inclusive way, respond to the needs of all children whatever their background, and challenge stereotypes. The revised requirements are due to take effect from September 2002.

Out-of-School Provision

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what recent assessment she has made of youth provision outside school hours; and if she will make a statement. [16874]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Government have recognised that out-of-school hours provision has a key role to play in developing young people and raising their attainment. A number of initiatives are now in place. Since autumn 2000, a number of assessments have been made of this provision.

In June 2001 we published the report of the "Study Support National Evaluation and Development Programme"—which showed that participation in voluntary out of school hours learning has a positive effect on the academic attainment, attitudes and school attendance of secondary school pupils.

A number of pilot projects have been funded through the Department's Partners for Study Support grant scheme, for example, Cleveland Arts and Stockton Adult Education Service will work in partnership with a primary and secondary school to produce a digital film including live footage, animation, digital special effects, a sound track, creative writing and interviews by residents of the Billingham area. Middlesbrough Evening Gazette and East Cleveland Education Action Zone will work in partnership with schools to give 35 gifted and talented children in years six and nine the opportunity to experience the world of work and the opportunity to produce a real newspaper. Middlesbrough LEA are also a partner LEA with the University of the First Age National Project.

A second evaluation of the "Playing for Success" (PfS) out of school hours study support initiative published in September 2001 has found significant gains in literacy, numeracy and information and communications technology skills among children taking part. Thirty eight of the top football clubs, including Middlesbrough FC, have so far built PfS centres within their stadiums and other sports are beginning to take part.

The pilot summer activities for 16-year-olds programme was evaluated in autumn 2000. The evaluation provided clear indicators of what worked well and what did not, and these findings have been fed into the design of the second phase pilots. The second phase pilots are currently being evaluated. Middlesbrough ran a small-scale pilot in 2000—a small group of year 11 leavers were taken on a one week

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residential in the Lake District where they took part in a variety of adventure activities. Middlesbrough were also involved in the Tees Valley summer activities pilot in 2001.

The National Youth Agency carries out an annual audit of England's Local Authority Youth Services on behalf of the Department for Education and Skills, and in July 2001 published a report "England's Local Authority Youth Services—The Basic Facts 1999–2000". In October 2001, following the "Transforming Youth Work" consultation on the future of the Youth Service, we announced a new vision for the Service. Full guidance on the role of the Youth Service and its relationship with the Connexions Service is to be published by the end of the year, with a draft specification for a new look youth service to be issued in the new year, and in January we will help new Connexions partnerships by publishing case studies of successful Youth Service links with Connexions.

Female School Students

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what steps she has taken to encourage female school students to study subjects likely to lead to high earning power. [16967]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: All pupils are required to study the National Curriculum from 5 to 16, which together with other elements of the broader school curriculum, prepares pupils of both genders for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of adult life. Teachers and other staff in schools offer information and advice on future options as part of their role under the Education Act 1996 to prepare pupils for adult life. The primary role of giving advice and guidance to young people considering learning options from 14 to 19 and beyond, including their implications for employment, falls to Connexions and careers services.

The Connexions service works with young people between 13 and 19 in and out of schools and subsumes the role of the Careers service. Both the Connexions and Careers services provide support to young people by working to overcome any barriers to full achievement and provide comprehensive and impartial information, advice and guidance on learning and career options from age 14. Their staff are required to maintain a full and up-to-date appreciation of how to provide services in ways which challenge stereotyping and promote equality of opportunity, and which engender this awareness in their clients.

An Equal Opportunities Commission Research Report "Gender Equality and the Careers Service" was published in 1999. It gave case studies of good practice and made recommendations for the enhancement of the work of Careers services in this field.

Young People (Communication Skills)

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment she has made of the material produced by the (a) Children's Society's, Ask Us project and (b) Triangle and National Society for Protection of Cruelty to Children Two Way Street project concerning young people's communications skills and involvement in policy making. [16968]

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Mr. Denham: The materials from these projects are an important contribution to our work to support Government Departments in implementing the principles in "Learning to Listen: Core Principles for the Involvement of Children and Young People". As "Learning to Listen" makes clear, Government Departments have made a commitment to provide more opportunities for all children and young people to get involved in the design and delivery of policies and services relevant to them. Making sure disabled and other children in need are effectively involved in this work is a key priority. The Ask Us and Two Way Street materials are being included in the resource index which will accompany the "Learning to Listen" guidance (which will shortly be available over the internet at

Yesterday I launched consultation on the Government's new strategy for children and young people, in our consultation document: "Building a Strategy for Children and Young People". I would welcome input from the projects in the consultation.

Both the "Building a Strategy" and the "Learning to Listen" documents are available in the Library.

Teaching Reforms

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what plans she has to continue funding the reforms to the teaching profession after the initial two year period. [17133]

Mr. Timms: The special grant for threshold pay is already putting over £400 million per annum into the salaries of nearly 200,000 teachers. A new special grant will provide £250 million more for performance pay progression over the next two financial years. Special grants are for fixed periods. But the Government have always accepted that a new pay structure providing additional rewards for effective teachers means a substantial and permanent increase in the cost of teachers' pay. So our financial planning will continue to take account of that.


Ministerial Interests

Mr. Robathan: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many Ministers in his Department have submitted lists of interests to the Permanent Secretary, pursuant to paragraph 115 of the Ministerial Code. [16867]

The Deputy Prime Minister: All Ministers in this Department have complied with the requirements of paragraph 115 of the Ministerial Code.

Civil Service

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what plans he has to relax regulations prohibiting members of the senior civil service from holding public office. [16881]

Mr. Leslie: There are no plans to relax the restrictions relating to the involvement of members of the senior civil service in political activities. The rules are set out in the Civil Service Management Code and specify that members of the Senior Civil Service are not allowed to take part in national political activities. They may take

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part in national political activities. They may take part in local political activities with the permission of their Department or agency. Civil servants are prohibited from election to Parliament by way of the House of Commons Disqualification Act 1975.

Business Co-ordination Unit

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many small and medium-sized enterprises, by region, have been assisted in meeting Government Ministers through the work of the Business Co-ordination Unit; what percentage of those meetings resulted from invitations originally refused by ministerial offices; and what information he has collated on meetings between each departmental Minister and SMEs in the last 12 months. [14884]

Mrs. Roche: 1. Over the last 12 months the BCU has arranged 211 ministerial visits. A "visit" can be a bilateral, larger meeting, discussion group, seminar or conference involving SMEs. The number of SMEs attending these events can vary in number from one (for bilateral) to 500 (for conferences).

2. The BCU does not keep records specifically on the number of SMEs it has arranged ministerial meetings with. The following information has been estimated based on the original invitation paperwork received from the event organisers.

RegionsNumber of visitsNumber of SMEs attended Number of visits from declined invitationsNumber of SMEs from declined invitations
East Midlands379148466
South West16139230
South East321,0205820
North West124932120
North East56005350
West Midlands336226285
Yorkshire and Humber164345270
Total2115,99849 (23%)3,261 (54%)

3. The majority of declined invitations tend to be for large conferences, which explains why 23 per cent. of declined invitations represents over 54 per cent. of SMEs met.

4. The BCU does not collate or retain information exchanged at meetings between Ministers and SMEs; any relevant points made by SMEs are immediately relayed back to the appropriate Department for further consideration.

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