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Departmental Contracts

Mr. Willis: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will list the contracts awarded by her Department since January 2000 for (a) the Fast Track Teaching Programme, (b) the Teachers' International Professional Development Scheme and (c) leasing laptop computers to teachers, stating in each case (i) the name of the successful contractor and (ii) whether the contracts were subject to open tender. [62957]

Mr. Miliband: Contracts have been let for:

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Unpaid Advisers

Mr. Willis: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills, pursuant to her answer of 23 May, Official Report, column 468W, on unpaid advisers, if she will list the steps that were taken to ensure no conflicts of interest arose as a result of this appointment. [62970]

Estelle Morris: I refer the hon. Member to the reply given by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on 19 June, 2002, Official Report, column 332W.

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Children in Care

Mr. Willis: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many and what percentage of pupils living in (a) a residential care home and (b) with foster parents took (i) authorised and (ii) unauthorised absence in the last five years for which figures are available broken down by (A) Government Office region and (B) local education authority. [63115]

Mr. Miliband [holding answer 19 June 2002]: This level of detail is not available. Information on the number of pupils missing due to authorised and unauthorised absence is collected at school level and information on individual pupils cannot be identified from this data.


Mr. Willis: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills who is responsible for appointing (a) the chair and (b) the board of trustees of the (i) British Educational Communications and Technology Agency, (ii) National College of School Leadership, (iii) Teacher Training Agency, (iv) Technology College Trust and (v) Centre for Information on Language Teaching. [63117]

Mr. Ivan Lewis [holding answer 19 June 2002]: The information requested is listed below:

Royal Prerogative

Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what decisions have been made by her Department in the last year under authority from the Royal Prerogative. [63128]

Mr. Stephen Twigg: I refer the hon. Member to the reply given to my hon. Friend the Member for Pendle on 25 October 2001, Official Report, column 328W.


Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what educational assistance is given to pupils with myalgic encephalomyelitis who miss schooling through illness. [63144]

Mr. Stephen Twigg: In November last year, the Department for Education and Skills jointly with the Department of Health published statutory guidance "Access to education for children and young people with Medical needs". The guidance sets out minimum standards

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of education for all children who are unable to attend school due to their medical needs, including those with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME).

Local Education Authorities' responsibilities towards pupils who are unable to attend school because of their medical needs should ensure that pupils are not at home without education for more than 15 working days and that children educated at home receive a minimum of five hours home tuition a week. The nature of the provision must be responsive to the demands of what can be a changing medical condition.

The Chief Medical Officer's report on Children and Young People with ME was published by the Department of Health in January this year, taking into account the recommendations of an independent working group. The report proposes ways in which clinicians and the National Health Service might improve the health and social care of those affected by CFS/ME. It also includes references to education provision.

Funded Initiatives

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will list the funded initiatives which have been introduced by her Department since 1997, stating (a) the level of funding in each year for each initiative and (b) whether those resources were provided direct to (i) schools, (ii) local education authorities and (iii) other bodies outside her direct control. [63939]

Estelle Morris [holding answer 24 June 2002]: Details of spending by my Department including new initiatives funded from 1997–98 and plans up to 2003–04 are presented in Table 4.2 of the departmental annual report issued 12 June 2002 (CM 5402, pages 35–36).

Schools funding is paid to local education authorities who are required to devolve the majority of funding to head teachers. Other funding is paid via other bodies including the Learning and Skills Council, the Higher Education Funding Council, Connexions partnerships, the Student Loans Company and the Sure Start programme.

Training Organisations

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many national training organisations have been wound up; how many have been replaced by skills sector councils; and how many will not be replaced. [63969]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: We have not wound up any national training organisations although we removed their formal recognition from 31 March 2002. National training organisations are independent bodies and are free to carry on as entities in their own right. The continued funding, operation and staffing of former national training organisations are decisions for the board of each organisation.

We are, however, establishing a smaller, stronger network of sector skills councils in sectors where employers can demonstrate their proposals meet stringent sector skills councils' standards. Former national training organisations may make proposals for a sector skills council licence although it has never been the intention to replace national training organisations with sector skills councils on a head to head basis.

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We are working with five trailblazer sector skills councils and have recommended that a further four sectors move quickly to a development phase.

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