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Mr. Gareth R. Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what action her Department is taking to support children with autistic spectrum disorder at school; and if she will make a statement; 
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Mr. Timms: Children with autistic spectrum disorder are benefiting from the improvements we are making to special educational needs (SEN) provision along with all other children with SEN. We have, for example, increased the supported expenditure available for SEN five-fold from £17 million in 199798 to £91 million in 200203. Funds can be used for a range of activities including the training for staff in SEN and improvements in speech and language therapy. We have introduced a revised SEN Code of Practice, effective from 1 January this year, which strengthens the guidance to schools, local education authorities and others and encourages earlier identification of needs and more effective intervention.
We have also supported a nationwide network of SEN Regional Partnerships to promote a multi-agency approach to aspects of SEN provision. The West Midlands SEN Regional Partnership has concentrated on provision for children with autistic spectrum disorder and produced recommendations. The work of the West Midlands Partnership will be reflected in guidance which the Department's Autism Working Group will be producing in the coming months. This will raise awareness of autistic spectrum disorders and help schools and local education authorities, in particular, to audit their provision.
The Autism Working Group's guidance will point to the benefits of children with the disorder being taught by those with an understanding of the condition in all settings. Decisions on opening specialist units for children with autistic spectrum disorders are taken at local, rather than national, level. The Department welcomes the opening of good quality, specialist provision in the maintained, non-maintained and independent sectors. The All Party Parliamentary Group on Autism's report "The Rising Challenge: A survey of Local Education Authorities on Educational Provision for pupils with Autistic Spectrum Disorders" (December 2001) noted that several authorities commented that they had set up autism specific units attached to moderate learning difficulty schools.
Richard Ottaway: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills, pursuant to her answer of 25 February 2002, Official Report, column 726W, if she will list the allowances which are available to (a) secondary school teachers and (b) further education lecturers. 
Margaret Hodge: The following allowances are available to secondary school classroom teachers: management allowances; recruitment and retention allowances; special educational needs allowances and London allowances.
As independent corporations, further education colleges have their own staff pay and allowance policies. The allowances will, therefore, vary from college to college. The Department does not collect information on the allowances paid to staff by individual colleges.
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Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many Private Finance Initiative projects have been subject to refinancing after the contracts have been signed; and what has been the financial effect in each case. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: Within my Department no Private Finance Initiative projects have been subject to refinancing after the contracts have been signed.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills, pursuant to her answer of 25 January 2002, Official Report, column 1131W, regarding the estimated cost of buildings refurbishment carried out by her Department, for what reason the cost in 200001 rose from the figures for 199899. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The estimated cost of buildings refurbishment carried out in my Department in 200001 rose from the figures for 199899 due to many one-off large-scale building projects needed across the estate. Examples include:
Lift refurbishment at Caxton House, London
Replacement windows at Vincent House, Darlington
Major refurbishment of the lower ground floor forum at Sanctuary Buildings, London (mow recognised as a beacon with other Departments)
Refurbishment of Secretary of States Office at Sanctuary Buildings, London.
Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what analysis has been completed on the destinations of teachers who leave the profession and retire early; and if she will place a copy in the Library. 
Mr. Timms [holding answer 16 April 2002]: Numbers of teachers leaving the profession and retiring early are published in the 2001 volume of Teachers in England (including teachers pay for England and Wales), which has been placed in the Library.
The Department has commissioned Professor Alan Smithers and Dr. Pamela Robinson, from the University of Liverpool, Centre for Education and Employment Research to undertake research into the factors affecting teachers' decisions to leave the profession and the characteristics and destinations of those leaving. The research commenced in December 2001 and we expect the report to be published in March 2003.
Some information on the destinations of teachers appears in the Employers Organisation's annual survey of teacher resignations and recruitment.
Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many teacher vacancies there are at schools in the London borough of Wandsworth in (a) junior and (b) secondary schools. 
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Mr. Timms: In January 2001 there were 22 vacant teacher posts in maintained nursery/primary schools and 25 vacant teacher posts maintained secondary schools in Wandsworth local education authority (2001 is the most recent available year).
The vacancies recorded had been advertised and were for full-time permanent appointments or full-time appointments of at least one term's duration, which existed at the survey date and which the local education authority/school intended to or had unsuccessfully attempted to fill.
David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many (a) applications and (b) available places for schools in the East Riding there (i) are in the current academic year and (ii) were in the past three academic years. 
Mr. Timms: My Department does not hold this information. The East Riding of Yorkshire local education authority (LEA) has informed my officials that for the academic year 200203, 4,255 secondary school applications have been received for 4,136 places.
David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many children living in the Kingston upon Hull local education authority area (a) are enrolled and (b) were enrolled in the past three academic years in East Riding schools. 
Mr. Timms: My Department does not hold this information. The East Riding of Yorkshire local education authority has informed my officials that of the 51,080 pupils currently attending maintained schools in East Riding, 2,800 have Kingston upon Hull postcodes.
David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many applications there were for places in East Riding schools from households in the Kingston upon Hull local education authority for the (a) current academic year and (b) past three academic years; and how many of these applications were (i) accepted and (ii) rejected. 
Mr. Timms: My Department does not hold this information.
David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many applications were made by households in the Kingston upon Hull local education authority area for school places in the East Riding of Yorkshire using a false address in the (a) current academic year and (b) previous three academic years. 
Mr. Timms: My Department does not hold this information. The East Riding of Yorkshire local education authority (LEA) has informed my officials that they have no evidence that any applications for school places from September 2002 are from people using false addresses. A number of checks were made on addresses of applicants for September 2001 entry, and in all cases documentary evidence verifying the address used was provided.
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Mr. Watts: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will make a statement on the review of funding for schools. 
Mr. Timms: We are currently working up proposals for a reformed system of school and LEA funding for introduction in 200304. We aim to create a simpler, more transparent and fairer formula that reflects fairly, on the basis of up-to-date evidence, the needs of authorities in different parts of the country. We expect to consult on proposals for the new system in the summer.
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