Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what information obtained by the swipecards of children registered with Connexions may be passed to other businesses and agencies (a) with and (b) without the agreement of the data subject. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Connexions Card is only available to young people aged 16 to 19. Registration for the Connexions Card is separate and independent from any registration with the Connexions Service.
In order for the Connexions Card scheme to run effectively a young person's details, such as their name and date of birth, may be shared with Connexions Services, LEAs, Learning Centres and commercial partners. The specific information provided will depend on the nature of the arrangement but any such agreement is subject to the approval of my Department. The arrangements governing the sharing of the information comply with the Data Protection Act and Section 114 of the Learning and Skills Act.
The Privacy Statement distributed to all young people when they register as Card members provides them with an opportunity to choose whether or not they are content for information about them to be passed to commercial partners. This permission can be altered at any time via the Connexions Card website.
Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills whether the reward card for young people involves an element of (a) product endorsement and (b) commercial risk to her Department; and if she will make a statement on progress in distributing it. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: Rewards, discounts and other commercial arrangements offered as part of the Connexions Card initiative are negotiated by our private sector partner, Capita, under the terms set out in the Connexions Card contract and involve no product endorsement. The management of risk in the project is subject to formal contract controls and is handled by my Department. The Card has been successfully trialled in a number of schools in the north-east. It is currently being rolled out in the East Midlands, Yorkshire and Humberside, north-west and south-west regions.
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Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will issue guidance as to the circumstances in which staff other than qualified teachers or those seeking qualified teacher status should be placed in sole charge of school classes. 
Mr. Timms: Possible roles for support staff in schools are being considered by a working party, which includes representatives of teachers and support staff, the local government employers and other government bodies. The Education Bill currently before Parliament provides for there to be regulations specifying the conditions under which staff other than qualified teachers may be allowed to teach.
Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what funds she proposes to make available for the introduction of vocational GCSEs; and if specific provision will be made for the cost of training teachers in the new subject areas. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Department will fund a £38 million programme over 200204 to expand vocational opportunities at key stage 4including support for the introduction of the new GCSEs in vocational subjects in September 2002. A programme of training and support for teachers in each of the new GCSEs' subject areas is already under way and will continue into the new academic year.
Mr. Timms: On 4 January 2002 my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Skills announced that some £4 million would be made available to fund School Workforce Pathfinder Projects. The projects will explore innovative ways of working to tackle workload so that teachers can concentrate more on teaching and raising standards. Lessons learned from these projects will be shared with all schools. We have also asked the STRB for recommendations by the end of April on how to address workload issues. We will consider those recommendations in the summer.
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Learning and Skills Council is announcing its revised sixth form funding allocations for 200203 today. For LEAs with allocations which have been increased compared with those announced previously, LSC grant will be increased commensurately. For LEAs with reduced allocations, LSC grant will be reduced but the Department will pay post-16 budget support grant equal to the reduction, so that no LEA will lose money.
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Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) how many staff in her Department, agencies and non-departmental public bodies receive paid leave to undertake union duties; how many days they are allocated; and what has been the cost to public funds in each of the last four years; 
|Number of days
These figures represent the maximum leave allowance of 25 days (40 days for members of Trade Union National Executive Committees and Councils) which may be granted in each year for individuals engaged in trade union business in DfES and its predecessor DfEE.
Mr. Whittingdale: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what contacts have taken place between HM Ambassador to the Czech Republic and the Czech Government about the future of the Nova Hut steelworks. 
Peter Hain [holding answer 1 March 2002]: The restructuring of the Czech steel industry is an important part of the EU enlargement negotiations. The Ambassador and her staff do discuss the state of the Czech steel industry and Nova Hut steelworks with the Czech Government, but have made no representations.
Mr. Cameron: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations the Government have made in the last six months to Japan about the compensation paid to British POWs held in Japanese prisoner of war camps during World War II. 
Mr. MacShane: Following the Prime Minister's initiative to make an ex-gratia payment no further representations have been made to the Japanese Government. I continue to meet representatives of the former Far Eastern Prisoners of War groups to discuss other issues.
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Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many visits have been made by (a) his officials and (b) officials of Government state agencies to British nationals detained at Camp X Ray. 
Mr. Bradshaw: I refer my hon. Friend to my statement in the House on 21 January 2002, Official Report, columns 62332, and to the reply I gave my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Anniesland (John Robertson) on 4 March 2002, Official Report, column 69W.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs for what reason a devolved Administration Minister did not attend the 2409 European Union Council of Ministers meeting (General Affairs) on 1819 February; which particular suggestions or matters of concern from the Scottish Executive were raised in their absence by the UK Government delegation; and what information or evidence is being provided by his Department to guarantee effective post-council scrutiny by the European Committee of the Scottish Parliament. 
Peter Hain [holding answer 4 March 2002]: Decisions on Ministerial attendance at Council meetings are taken on a case-by-case basis by the lead UK Minister. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary and I attended this meeting, representing all parts of the UK.
It is the responsibility of the European Committee of the Scottish Parliament to scrutinise the Scottish Executive's involvement in preparations for EU Council meetings. These arrangements are a matter for the Committee and the Scottish Executive. This Department provides information to Scottish Executive officials as part of that process.