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2 Dec 2002 : Column 547W—continued

MV Princess Victoria

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what proposals the Northern Ireland Office has to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the sinking of the Princess Victoria off the coast of County Antrim. [85032]

Angela Smith: The Department for Regional Development has agreed outline arrangements for a small commemorative event at Donaghadee Harbour where survivors were landed by the local lifeboat. Ards Borough Council will erect a memorial plaque adjacent to the RNLI berth and the Department plans to erect a flagpole resembling the foremast of the MV Princess Victoria. These events will complement local church services, the laying of wreaths at sea by the Donaghadee and Campbeltown lifeboats and a commemorative event planned by Larne Borough Council, Larne being the port to which the MV Princess Victoria was steaming when she sank.

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Regional Museums

Mr. McGrady: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment he has made of the joint response from the Department for the Environment and Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure to the Review of Regional Museums; and when he will issue a statement on this matter. [84125]

Angela Smith: Officials in the Departments of Environment and Culture, Arts and Leisure are currently working on a joint response to the Local Museums and Heritage Review.

I have asked that the joint response should be presented to me as quickly as possible, after which I want to decide how to proceed.

Telecommunications Mast

Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what plans he has to remove the disused telecommunications mast located on property at Killinchy Primary School. [84452]

Jane Kennedy: I understand from the South-Eastern Education and Library Board that it is now its policy not to have telecommunication masts on school property. The contract for the mast at Killinchy Primary School was terminated but, despite repeated requests, the owners have so far failed to have the mast removed. The Board has recently been advised that, contrary to previous assurances, the equipment is still active. The Board is now proposing to initiate immediate legal action to compel the owners to remove the mast.


Children's Fund Projects

Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment he has made of the mental health effects on children of projects funded by the Children's Fund. [83171]

Mr. Denham: The latest available statistics show that of the 584 Children's Fund services funded during April–June 2002 in Wave 1 areas, 73 services were explicitly targeted at children with mental health difficulties. Of these 73 services, 44 provided statistics on the number of children they had regularly supported over this quarter—with an average of 85 children regularly supported in each service.

The CYPU have not so far conducted an assessment of the mental health effects on children of projects funded by the Children's Fund. However, as part of the national evaluation, there will be an assessment of impact of the Children's Fund on a number of key outcomes, including impacts on children's mental health. Furthermore, each of the 149 partnerships in England are allowed to conduct their own local evaluations, and another task of the national evaluation will be to draw together key findings from these local evaluations, including any findings in relation to impacts on mental health.

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Adult Learning

Dr. Francis : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much financial support the Government has given, in the past three years, for initiatives to promote lifelong learning and adult education to (a) the BBC, (b) ITV companies, (c) Channel 4, (d) Channel 5 and (e) independent local radio stations. [82886]

Margaret Hodge: The direct spending of my Department over the last three years to promote lifelong learning and adult education has been:


ITV companies9154,9947,767
Channel 43362,0373,747
Channel 5965621,113
Independent local radio stations

These figures do not include promotional activity undertaken by Non Departmental Public Bodies as we hold no central records of their activity in this area.

Advanced School Programme

Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will make a statement on the New Advanced School programme for secondary schools and how it differs from the Beacon School programme; and whether existing beacon schools will automatically transfer to advanced school status. [80992]

Mr. Miliband: The proposed Advanced schools programme intends to build on the success of the Beacon programme by ensuring the further development of enhanced collaborative partnerships and innovative practice. Guidance was posted on the Diversity website on 23 October setting out the scheme and a notice inviting applications was placed in the November issue of Spectrum, a departmental information source for schools.

It is our intention that any existing secondary Beacon school would be able to apply to transfer to the new programme but would need to meet the criteria in the same way as any other school. The Beacon programme will be phased out in the secondary sector by 2005. Those secondary schools due to renew their status from September 2003 will be given the opportunity to do so until August 2004.


Mr. Dismore : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what steps he is taking to deal with anti-Semitism on university campuses and in student unions; and if he will make a statement. [82954]

Margaret Hodge: Speech, and behaviour generally, whether on campus or elsewhere, must be within the requirements of the law, including common law. Common law provides a remedy against actions likely to cause a breach of the peace. Further, the Public Order Act 1986 makes certain types of unlawful speech a criminal offence. This includes the offences of using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour intended or likely to stir up racial hatred. The Anti-

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Terrorism, Crime and Security Act introduced last year increased the maximum penalty for inciting racial hatred from two years to seven years imprisonment. It also extended racially aggravated offences to cover offences aggravated by religious hostility.

Chief Constables are responsible for maintaining law and order on campus and elsewhere. They will, of course, co-operate with university Vice-Chancellors and governing bodies to do so.

Under the Education Act 1994, the governing body of an higher education institution is responsible for taking such steps as are reasonably practicable to ensure that any students' union operates in a fair and democratic manner.

The Government is committed to tackling anti-Semitism and racism in Britain wherever it exists. We will continue to work closely with the police, the Community Security Trust and community leaders to do so.

Asylum Seekers (Education)

Mr. Caton: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what assessment his Department as made of the implications of an education separate from their local community schools for asylum seeker children; [83424]

Mr. Stephen Twigg: The Government's policy to educate the children of some destitute asylum seekers within accommodation centres provides an opportunity to deliver a specialised and rich curriculum tailored to the needs of the children within a safe environment. It also provides a good induction into the British education system for those who will remain and a valuable experience for those who will not.

We are working closely with Home Office colleagues to ensure this and we have been talking to the Local Government Association and LEAs in the areas where accommodation centres are planned. The education provision in the accommodation centres will be inspected by Ofsted against similar criteria to those used in a mainstream school to ensure that the standard is equivalent.

Baroness Ashton of Upholland met with representatives of the NASUWT and NUT on 4 November and has since received a letter from the NASUWT taking up her offer to continue discussions to ensure effective implementation of the education provisions of the Nationality Immigration and Asylum Act.

Breakfast Clubs

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what financial support his Department has given to breakfast clubs in schools; and if he will make a statement. [84076]

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Mr. Miliband: Breakfast clubs are available in many schools as part of study support or child care provision. They can provide learning opportunities for pupils, promote healthy eating, and help working parents by offering a safe and stimulating environment for their children. In XInvestment for Reform" we said that by 2006 all schools should be providing breakfast clubs or other forms of study support.

My Department assists breakfast clubs primarily through the Standards Fund grant for study support: £75 million in 2002–03. Schools can fund them too from programmes such as the Pupil Learning Credits pilot, child care, or Education Action Zones. Other Government Departments, the New Opportunities Fund, voluntary organisations and commercial sponsors also support them. Education Extra, a national charity for out-of-school-hours learning grant-aided by DfES, runs a Breakfast Club Award Scheme sponsored by Kellogg's and helps with clubs' setting-up costs.

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