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6 Jan 2004 : Column 279Wcontinued
Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many children aged up to three months entered local authority care in the last 12 months for which figures are available. 
Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the average age of a child entering local authority care was in the last 12 months for which figures are available. 
Margaret Hodge: The figures available provide a snapshot at 31 March 2002. The average age of the children looked after by local authorities at 31 March 2002 is 10 years and 6 months. Data for 2003 is currently being evaluated and will be available in March 2004.
Mr. Peter Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what percentage of adoption placements were terminated within the first year in the last 12 months for which figures are available. 
Margaret Hodge: The National Adoption Standards for England have set timescales to ensure that each looked after child has a plan for permanence agreed at the four month statutory review, and where adoption is the plan, timescales for finding an adoptive family.
The Adoption Register for England and Wales has been set up as a tool for helping to match children in need of adoption with approved adopters. It has been fully operational in England since April 2002 and in Wales since August 2002.
The Government are committed to supporting local adopter recruitment activity, and has developed an Adopter Recruitment Toolkit for adoption agencies. The Government continues to support national recruitment activity through National Adoption Week. The Government made a further £60,000 available to support National Adoption Week 2003 following a grant of £60,000 in 2002 and £50,000 in 2001.
Since 2001, adoption work in the county courts and above has been centralised in specialist Adoption Centres throughout England and Wales. The objective of specialist adoption centres is to improve the service for everyone involved in adoption by dealing with contested and uncontested cases quickly and efficiently in centres with specialist adoption judges and staff.
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Margaret Hodge: The table showing the number of looked after children in England recorded on the Adoption Register for England and Wales who are awaiting a match with prospective adoptive parents at 10 December 2003, has been placed in the Library.
The first is through the school curriculum, where pupils learn about socially responsible behaviour as part of Citizenship education. This is a statutory subject in secondary schools. Schools receive guidance on helping pupils to understand the impact of anti-social behaviour and deal with it assertively.
The second is through a range of measures to reduce truancy, improve pupil behaviour in schools and reinforce parental responsibility for their children's behaviour in schools. They include national truancy sweeps, fast track to prosecution for truancy, in-school Learning Support Units, multi-agency Behaviour and Education Support Teams, key workers for children at risk of crime, police in schools and positive activity programmes in the school holidays. In addition the Anti-Social Behaviour Act, which comes into force at the end of February, will introduce penalty notices for truancy, parenting contracts for truancy and parenting contracts and orders for bad behaviour in schools.
The third is through services for young people beyond the school. The Connexions service provides access to personal development opportunities to broaden horizons and develop talents. The Youth service develops young people's ability to make responsible choices and engage constructively with their community. Both services help young people to develop their ability to cope with the issues which affect them and to avoid falling into anti-social behaviour.
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There is good progress towards meeting this commitment. The most recent broadband connectivity statistics, from the end August 2003, reveal that 42 per cent. of all schools in England were connected to broadband at 2Megabits per second or faster (Mbps). 91 per cent. of secondary schools and 34 per cent. of primary schools were connected to broadband at this time.
Margaret Hodge [holding answer 18 December 2003]: The Tax Credits Act 2002 allows parents using approved child care to claim for help with the costs of that child care through the tax credit system. Details of the types of care that are approved for this purpose can be found in the Inland Revenue leaflet"WCT5Help with the costs of child care". Copies of the leaflet can be found in the House of Commons Library.
Margaret Hodge [holding answer 5 January 2004]: In 2002 the Department published the Repeat Study of Parental Demand for Childcare. This provides information about the use of early years and child care providers by parents with children aged 14 and under in England.
Just over half of families (52 per cent. or 2.76 million) had used either early years education or some other formal child care provider (registered childminders, creche/nursery provider, out of school clubs and holiday schemes) in the past year. Almost a third (32 per cent.) reported using this type of provision in the past week.
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with financial companies about the assistance they can provide to schools to improve financial literacy, with particular reference to the child trust fund; 
(3) what discussions his Department has had with teachers' unions about the introduction of child trust funds and the need for increased provision of financial education in schools. 
Mr. Miliband: The Department has had discussions with a range of companies about supporting schools to improve numeracy and financial literacy, but none specifically in relation to the child trust fund. Personal finance education is covered in the curriculum as part of the Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) and Citizenship framework, and through subjects such as mathematics. Guidance issued in July 2000 encourages schools to involve local banks and building societies who may be able to provide resources or advice.
It is for schools to determine the amount of time to be given to specific topics within the curriculum and the Department has no plans to recommend to schools that the amount of financial education should be increased.
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