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5 Jan 2004 : Column 64W—continued

Identity Cards

Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment he has made of the implications of the introduction of compulsory identity cards for his Department. [143354]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The Home Office has lead responsibility for developing the national identity cards scheme, which was announced by the Home Secretary on 11 November. I welcome the incremental introduction of a secure form of identification as offering the opportunity to develop and realise a number of potential benefits for learners, funding bodies and providers. The introduction of the scheme is a long-term undertaking and my officials will continue to work closely with the Home Office during the next phase of development.

List 99

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills in how many cases in the last five years schools have turned down a job applicant following checks against List 99. [144965]

Mr. Miliband [holding answer 18 December 2003]:My Department does not hold this information.

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what duties are placed on social services departments to pass relevant details to the Department of Health and Department for Education and Skills for additions to List 99. [144966]

Mr. Miliband [holding answer 18 December 2003]: Under the Protection of Children Act (POCA) 1999, all regulated child care organisations have a statutory duty to refer names for possible inclusion on the POCA list

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of those individuals considered unsuitable to work with children. POCA amended the Education Reform Act 1988 to provide that anyone included on the POCA list (other than provisionally) should also be included on List 99.

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills whether it is compulsory for schools to check List 99 before employing an individual; and what safeguards are in place to ensure that schools do so. [144967]

Mr. Miliband [holding answer 18 December 2003]: Employers in the education service are required to check List 99 before employing a person to work with children. My Department has issued guidance to the education service about List 99 and other pre-employment checks and I have no reason to believe that employers are not complying with this.

Literacy and Numeracy Hours

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment he has made of the findings in the Ofsted report on National Literacy and Numeracy Strategy on the quality of teaching in the daily literacy and numeracy hours. [144375]

Mr. Stephen Twigg: We welcome this year's Ofsted report on the National Literacy and Numeracy Strategies which found that they continue to have a considerable positive impact on primary schools. Teachers have broadened their approaches to teaching across the curriculum, but we recognise too the significant issues identified by Ofsted that schools need to address, including unsatisfactory teaching and teachers' weak subject knowledge. Through the strategy set out in "Excellence and Enjoyment" we have a comprehensive agenda for schools and local education authorities to address the strengths and weaknesses identified in the report. By having a greater focus on teaching and learning we will help schools build their capacity to embed the literacy and numeracy strategies across a rich and broad curriculum.

Local Education Authorities

Mr. Blizzard: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will list for each local education authority the aggregated amount of money carried forward in its schools devolved budgets at April. [143016]

Mr. Miliband: The information requested is not yet available. The Department is awaiting section 52 outturn statements for 2002–03 from six LEAs. Once the data is available I will write to my hon. Friend.

Maintenance Loan

Mr. Steinberg: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to his answer of 15 December, Official Report, column. 666W, on higher education, at what level of parental income students will no longer be eligible for the full maintenance loan; and at what level of parental income students will be eligible for no more than 75 per cent. of the maintenance loan. [145131]

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Alan Johnson: For English and Welsh students attending institutions in the UK in academic year 2004/05, the required information is set out in the following table:


Full yearFinal year
Support coveredHouseholdresidual incomeHouseholdresidual income
Entitlement to 100 per cent. loan31,97331,973
Entitlement to 75 per cent. of the loan at:
London rate43,94342,375
Elsewhere rate41,71040,428
Parental home rate39,66838,670

Non-resident Parents

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) whether it is his policy to establish a legal presumption of contact with children for non-resident parents; [141186]

Margaret Hodge: The fundamental principle of the Children Act 1989 is that any court decision must be based on what is best for the child. There is no automatic "right" to contact for either fathers or mothers, but in practice the courts have taken the view that in most cases the child's welfare is best served by contact with both parents. This was stated by the Court of Appeal in Re: O (Contact: Imposition of Conditions) [1995] 2 FLR 124 in the following terms:

This judgment means that inherent in the courts' interpretation of the Children Act 1989, is a belief that there would normally be contact between children and both their parents.

The Adoption and Children Act 2002 contains a provision that clarifies the definition of harm set out in the Children Act 1989. This makes clear that harm includes any harm a child may suffer or is at risk of suffering as a result of witnessing the ill-treatment of another person. The Adoption and Children Act 2002 received Royal Assent on 7 November 2002. When implemented, this new definition will apply to family proceedings relating to contact and residence applications.

There are currently no plans to establish a legal presumption of contact between children and their non-resident parents. The interest of the child should be the basis for any decision. However, the Government support the view that, in general, children benefit from a continuing relationship with both parents following parental separation, where it is in the best interests of the child and safe for all family members.

A recent study suggested that it was rare for courts to refuse a father all contact with his children and that of finalised contact cases initiated by fathers, only

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10 per cent. resulted in an order for indirect contact. A copy of this research report has been placed in the House of Commons Library.

Non-vocational Community Education

Mr. Willis: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what instructions he has given to (a) Learning and Skills Councils and (b) local education authorities regarding the provision of non-vocational community education; and if he will make a statement. [144626]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: As set out in the Skills Strategy White Paper, "21st Century Skills Realising our Potential", in each local area the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) is responsible for securing a full range of lifelong learning opportunities for adults suitable to meet local needs. Adult and Community Learning programmes will be seen as an integral part of the wider learning opportunities for the areas.

To safeguard the availability of these types of learning, the Government and the LSC have agreed an overall indicative budget to support non-qualification bearing programmes. That budget covers, for example, family learning, learning for older people, active citizenship, community development, and learning through cultural activities.

From within that national budget, the LSC will agree with local LSCs a minimum figure to spend on such learning activities. Each local LSC will now decide with its local partners-including local education authorities, colleges, community and voluntary groups-the priorities for spending those funds in order to maximise the civic, social and cultural gain for the area.

Mr. Willis: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will list the resources allocated by central Government to non-vocational community education in the years 1997–98 to 2003–04. [144627]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: I have set out in the following tables figures for expenditure as set by central Government for (i) adult and community learning run through local education authorities; (ii) learndirect; and (iii) Skills for Life. Together these equate most closely to non-vocational community education.

Adult and community learning

DateFunding (£ million)(15)

(15) Annual budget, by financial year, on adult and community learning run through local education authorities (recurrent figures). The figures for 2002–03 and 2003–04 include the budgets for neighbourhood learning and family learning, starting from a nil base in 2001–02. Prior to 2000–01, national figures are not available for adult and community learning as responsibility adult and community learning rested with local education authorities.

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Date (academic year)Funding (£ million)(16)
1999/20005 (pilot)

(16) Figures for learndirect do not go back further than 1999/2000, as it was not in existence before that date.

Skills for Life

Date (academic year)Funding (£ million)(17)

(17) Figures do not go back before 2001/02 as the Skills for Life programme began in 2001.

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