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Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will list the location of the sure start programmes which (a) are in operation, (b) are in the process of being implemented and (c) are planned; and what are the criteria for inclusion in each element of the programme. 
Yvette Cooper [holding answer 13 November 2001]: Local authority districts are invited to develop sure start programmes on the basis of levels of disadvantage and poverty, though achieving a good mix between rural, urban, semi-urban and coastal areas and across the country is also ensured. Once a district has been invited to develop a programme it is up to local stakeholdersfrom the voluntary, statutory and community sectorsto decide upon the local catchment area. Partnerships are asked to choose a catchment area with high levels of need and which is among the poorest in the district.
Table A shows the locations of sure start programmes for which funding has been approved and are delivering services or starting to deliver them. Table B shows the locations which are currently developing sure start programmes. All of these areas will receive approval once their plans meet the standards set out in the sure start guidance. The tables have been placed in the Libraries.
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Jacqui Smith: Sure start aims to support young children and their families living in disadvantaged areas so that they have improved life chances. The Government have now announced 437 out of the 500 sure start programmes planned to be operational by April 2004. These are located in 197 different local authority districts and in 130 out of the 150 local education authority (LEA) areas. At least a further 63 programmes will be announced next year which may extend sure start to more LEAs. In addition to the 500 full-scale sure start programmes, we have allocated £22 million to establish 50 small sure start programmes to reach pockets of deprivation, particularly those in rural areas. These will be located in 34 different LEA areas, bringing the total number of LEAs with a sure start presence to 135.
The experience and lessons learned from sure start will be shared widely so that, even where there is no local sure start programme, children and parents in the area will benefit from access to improved services.
Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will make a statement on the cost and performance of the sure start programme (a) nationally and (b) the boroughs of Middlesbrough (ii) Redcar and (iii) Cleveland. 
Jacqui Smith [holding answer 16 November 2001]: The Government are committed to establishing 500 sure start programmes by March 2004. In July of this year, the fifth wave of sure start was announced. This brought the total number of programmes announced so far to 437. Over 200 of these programmes have received final approval and are delivering services to children and families in disadvantaged areas. In total, Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland have been invited to submit plans for eight sure start programmes. Of these, three have been approved, one is in the final stages of planning and the other four are in the very early stages of planning.
Nationally, over £600 million has been committed to approved programmes for their first three years of operation. The three approved programmes in Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland will receive approximately £6.5 million of this.
Mr. Timms: Our guidance to school organisation committees makes it clear that the presumption continues to be against the closure of rural schools, and that in considering such proposals the committee should take account of the following factors:
the standard of the school and the standards of alternative schools;
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the overall effect of the closure on the local community;
the cost implications of the possible options;
any points made by the LEA;
any points made by the school proposed for closure;
the views of parents and other interested parties;
the effect on the school journey, including long-term transport costs, and whether the closure will result in more pupils experiencing longer journeys to school and more pupils being driven to school by car.
Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many asylum seekers' children are being educated in UK schools; and what is the (a) local education authority, (b) country of origin and (c) age of the children. 
Mr. Timms [holding answer 22 November 2001]: The Refugee Council recently estimated that there are approximately 70,000 children of asylum seekers and refugees in UK schools. However, it is not possible to specify the local education authorities, country of origin and age of these children as this Department does not require local education authorities or schools to keep this information.
Mr. Timms [holding answer 22 November 2001]: Schools receive funding for children of asylum seekers in the same way as they do for all other children on the school roll, through the education standard spending assessment. It is not possible to say how much each school receives through this funding mechanism. This is because this Department does not require schools and local education authorities to keep information about the numbers of children of asylum seekers on each school roll.
Children of asylum seekers can benefit from the ethnic minority achievement grant. Local education authorities decide which schools they will need to devolve funds to, or otherwise support, under the grant, taking into account each school's particular needs. For the current financial year funding stands at £154 million. In addition, for 200102, £1.5 million has been made available to support the education costs of children of asylum seekers. This funding is available to schools in the cluster areas to help settle these children into school and acquire English language skills.
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Mr. Timms: All education action zones (EAZs) will complete their agreed full statutory term. Under the School Standards and Framework Act 1998, EAZs had a maximum statutory term of five years. Our announcement on 14 November proposes that, wherever possible, we aim to continue to support ex-EAZ schools through our excellence in cities (EiC) initiative, following the end of the zones statutory term.
Mr. Timms: Wherever possible, we aim to find ways of continuing to support ex-EAZ schools following the end of each zone's statutory five-year term. Depending on local circumstances, we hope to do this largely through the excellence in cities initiative. My officials are starting discussions with each zone on the future of the zone, with a view to having firm proposals well before the end of its statutory term.
Mr. Timms: All education action zones will complete their agreed full statutory term. Each education action zone (EAZ) will need to make arrangements to dispose of any assets and to meet any employment liabilities in accordance with guidance issued by the Department for Education and Skills in the EAZ handbook.
Mr. Timms: My Department will discuss with each education action zone, and the relevant excellence in cities (EiC) partnership, the way forward for ex-zone schools. This could include the creation of new non-statutory EiC action zones in existing EiC areas or the development of new excellence clusters in areas not currently covered by EiC.
Mr. Timms: All education action zones (EAZs) have individually agreed targets. These targets cover the zone's full five-year statutory term. It will not be possible to assess whether each zone has met its objectives until the end of that term. Progress towards these objectives will continue to be monitored.
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