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25 Nov 2002 : Column 88Wcontinued
Mr. Wray : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress has been made in developing a system of identification, referral and tracking for every child at risk of social exclusion in each local authority. 
The Government announced its intention to promote better local systems for the identification, referral and tracking of children at risk as part of its street crime initiative last summer. Six local authorities, Bolton, Camden, Kensington and Chelsea, Knowsley, Lewisham and Sheffield, were selected as Trailblazers for funding of up to £1 million to fast-track the development of appropriate systems, and the remaining 28 participating authorities were invited to bid for up to £100,000 for initial developmental work.
The Cross-Cutting Review on Children at Risk found that the failure to share information between agencies was a significant barrier to the provision of effective preventive services for children and young people at risk of social exclusion. On 16 August I therefore announced that, as a result of the Spending Review 2002, additional funding would be made available to support all local authorities in developing local systems to identify, refer and track children at risk. The offer of £100,000 has now been extended to all local authorities, and a further four Trailblazers are being identified to extend the geographical coverage and range of authorities. In both cases, authorities are due to submit their plans for taking this work forward to the Children and Young People's Unit (CYPU) for assessment and approval during December.
Draft guidance based on the emerging experiences of the Trailblazer authorities will be published during March 2003 to support all local authorities in the further development of local systems. Concurrently, the CYPU is working with other Departments, including the Cabinet Office's Green Paper team, to develop coherent central approaches to the identification, referral and tracking of children at risk in the context of work to develop local preventive strategies.
Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the policy is of his Department in relation to the reimbursement of Central London road user charges incurred by its employees. 
Mr. Stephen Twigg [holding answer 19 November 2002]: Staff within my Department on official business who are required to drive their own or officially provided vehicles within the charging zone will be reimbursed.
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Nick Harvey : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what criteria applicants for the Dance and Drama Awards scheme are required to meet; what representations he has received about the administration of the awards scheme; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Stephen Twigg: The Dance and Drama Awards are given to the Xmost talented" students following open auditions at the schools that offer the awards. I have received no representations regarding the administration of the scheme in the last two years. I am pleased that our external evaluators report that the scheme is performing well and the awards are enabling students from lower income families to access high quality Performing Arts training. Last year all students passed their Trinity College London qualifications and all providers met the high quality standards set for inspection.
Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many awards made under the Dance and Drama Awards Scheme went to schools which were not members of the National Council for Drama Training in each of the last three years; what contracts and agreements his Department has with the National Council for Drama Training; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Stephen Twigg: Of the 820 new Dance and Drama Awards allocated to schools each year the following Awards were allocated to providers that were not members of the National Council for Drama Training:
424 Awards in 2001; and
355 Awards in 2000.
Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment he has made of the relationship between the National Council for Drama Training and Trinity College Examination Board; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Stephen Twigg: I have made no assessment of the relationship between the National Council for Drama Training and Trinity College Examination board. These bodies are both independent and make an important contribution to training for the Performing Arts.
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received from (a) LEAs, (b) drug action teams and (c) school heads on the guidelines for drug education in secondary schools. 
Mr. Stephen Twigg: The Department for Education and Skills has regular contact and consults widely with schools and Local Education Authorities (LEAs) to ensure that they are involved in the policy making process, and officials have discussed drug education with the Home Office, to whom drug action teams are accountable, via correspondence and at regular meetings.
We have recently started the process of revising and consolidating Government guidance on drug, alcohol and tobacco education for schools with a view to issuing new guidance in Autumn 2003. Three pre-drafting consultation events held across the country in October, included representatives from drug action teams, LEAs and schools. We will consult widely on the draft guidance in the spring.
John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the staying-on rate in post-16 education in coalfield areas was, in each year since 1997, and how this compares with the national average. 
Margaret Hodge: Data on the percentage of students continuing in post-compulsory education at age 16 for coalfield areas cannot be produced reliably at present. Participation rates by LEA and by local LSC area for 16 and 17-year-olds are published in Statistical Bulletin 14/01, XParticipation in education and training by young people aged 16 and 17 in each local area and region, England, 1995/96 to 1999/00".
National participation rates are published annually in a Statistical First Release (SFR), the latest being issue 16/02, XParticipation in Education, Training and Employment by 1618 Year Olds in England: 2000 and 2001."
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(3) what recent assessment his Department has made of the impact on primary school children of having a heroin-dependent parent at home; 
(4) what recent estimate he has made of the number of children at primary school level who have a parent addicted to heroin at home. 
Mr. Stephen Twigg: Local education authorities and primary and secondary schools are not required to collect information about the drug use of their pupils' parents. There are inherent difficulties in collecting information about drug use; because of its often illegal nature, drug users are often reluctant to identify themselves to statutory bodies.
The Home Office is responsible for collecting information on the scale of drug misuse in England and Wales. The report of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs XThe Children of Problem Drug Users" is due to be published next year and will contain estimates of the numbers of children affected by parental drug misuse. The report is also expected to make recommendations to address the problem.
When parents use drugsespecially problematic and illegal drugs like herointheir children may be exposed to a range of emotional and physical hazards. Children may respond in a variety of ways, including: disturbed or anti-social behaviour; becoming withdrawn or introverted; turning to drink or drugs to escape unpleasant home situations; running away from home; losing concentration in class; and reluctance to form or develop friendships with schoolmates. The child may also be the subject of bullying if schoolmates perceive him or her to be 'different' or 'not fitting in' with the peer group. Schooling is likely to be interrupted if the child is depended upon to care for drug using parents.
The Government recognise that the children of drug using parents are a vulnerable group. They should therefore benefit from the new requirement for every top tier or unitary local authority to prepare from April 2003 a local preventive strategy to improve outcomes for children aged 019 who are at risk of social exclusion. This was announced by the Minister for Young People on 6 September. On 30 October the Prime Minister announced to the House the Government's intention to publish a Green Paper on Children at Risk in the New Year. My Department is playing a full part in helping to make sure that vulnerable children and young people are identified as soon as possible, and that their needs are met with a coherent and effective response from the relevant statutory and voluntary agencies.
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