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13 Jun 2003 : Column 1135W—continued

Shepperton Health Centre

Mr. Wilshire: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the plans of North Surrey Primary Care Trust and the doctors who use the centre to redevelop the Shepperton Health Centre. [117980]

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Ms Blears: North Surrey Primary Care Trust (PCT) is committed to providing local and accessible healthcare to all its residents. Shepperton Health Centre has been identified as one of the PCTs top priorities for redevelopment and will be reviewed as part of the new estates strategy being prepared.

The review will be taken with full consultation with local general practitioners and where appropriate Surrey county council.


Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to tackle attitudes to smoking among different ethnic groups in the UK. [118286]

Ms Blears: The Department of Health has been actively tackling attitudes to smoking among different ethnic groups in the United Kingdom and offers support through its national health service Asian tobacco helpline. This helpline provides a confidential advice service in mother-tongue languages and English, specifically tailored to the needs of the South Asian communities. It provides advice and support on giving up tobacco whether as cigarettes, bidi, the hookah, chewing tobacco or tobacco in paan. Leaflets and other materials in all South Asian languages support the helpline. A national training programme will shortly be available to local cessation workers to help ethnic groups.

Smoking cessation services and local tobacco control alliances areas with significant ethnic communities are encouraged to provide publicity material and advice in appropriate languages.

Specialist Wards

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans there are to provide specialist wards, treatments and guidance for teenage patients being treated within the NHS. [118179]

Ms Blears: The Department of Health and the Welsh Assembly Government have asked the National Institute for Clinical Excellence to prepare service guidance for the national health service in England and Wales on cancers affecting children and adolescents. This guidance will form the basis for the local planning of teenage cancer services in the NHS.

As well as preparing service guidance for child and adolescent cancers, we are also developing the children's national service framework, which will put both children and teenagers at the centre of their health and social care, building services around their needs.

Waste Processing (Health Effects)

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to commission research into links between heart defects and neural tube defects and living near incineration plants; and if he will make a statement on research he has studied concerning childhood disabilities and abnormalities and plants processing industrial waste. [118240]

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Ms Blears: The Department is currently participating in four projects, which include an assessment of the relationship between waste disposal, including incineration, and health. These are:

Research concerning childhood disabilities and abnormalities and plants processing industrial waste will be considered in these reviews, all of which will be published in due course.



Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many eco-schools there have been in each local education authority area in England in each year since 1997. [118689]

Mr. Miliband: The information requested is not collected by DfES but by ENCAMS who run the Eco-Schools scheme. Currently, 4,404 schools are registered with the scheme but due to inconstant information sent by the schools when registering, ENCAMS are unable to give figures on how many Eco-Schools there are in each local education authority. To calculate the number of schools for each local education authority from the information available would be disproportionately costly.

Information on Eco-Schools can be found at

Education Support Staff

Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) if he will extend school holiday pay and jobseeker's allowance to education support staff; [118255]

Mr. Miliband: Pay and conditions of service for education support staff are determined locally, in the light of local needs and circumstances.

Jobseeker's Allowance is an issue for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. Jobseeker's Allowance is intended to support those who are out of work and looking for a job. Our view is that the most appropriate form of help for low-paid term-time workers is through in-work support. The introduction of the working tax credit from April will improve and extend the provision of in-work support,

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and there are specific provisions to ensure that term-time workers' pattern of work is taken into account for the working tax credit.


Vernon Coaker: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what recent assessment he has made of the standard of school music; and if he will make a statement; [117965]

Mr. Miliband: This Department is strongly committed to music education. According to the recent Ofsted report (published November 2002), schools music has improved significantly in one-third of primary schools and in two-fifths of secondary schools since the last inspection. There has been a steady improvement in pupils' achievement across all four Key Stages. In its recent monitoring report, the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority also found that pupils are experiencing a greater enjoyment of music lessons than previously indicated, and noted a dramatic increase in the take up of AS and A Level music, particularly among boys.

We are also committed to providing opportunities for young people to sing and play musical instruments. Music making is a key part of the National Curriculum for music and, outside of the classroom, LEA Music Services, supported by the Music Standards Fund, are currently providing nearly half a million pupils with additional, specialist tuition in a range of traditions and styles. Since 1999, more than a million music making opportunities have been provided by Youth Music (funded by the Department of Culture, Media and Sports), and for the exceptionally talented, there is on-going provision through the Government's Music and Dance Scheme and through the 10 National Youth Music Organisations, which are supported by the Department for Education and Skills.

To widen opportunities still further, we have pledged, over time, to offer all primary school pupils who want to do so the opportunity to learn a musical instrument, and we are currently piloting 12 models of delivering this pledge across the country. An evaluation of the models will be produced in December 2003.

I have opened discussions with a range of key stakeholders from the music world to explore how our combined resources might be deployed more coherently in our future planning to maximise their impact.

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To support schools music further, we are:

Official Spelling

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what measures he has taken to ensure that schools teach the English spelling of words where it differs from the US version; and if he will make a statement. [118873]

Mr. Miliband: The National Curriculum Handbook for Teachers contains a statement on "Use of Language across the Curriculum" which says that:

We expect teachers to adopt this approach.

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