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6 Jan 2004 : Column 287Wcontinued
The Office for National Statistics publishes annual figures for the number of children of divorcing couples in England and Wales. The total number of children involved for the last two years for which figures are available are as follows:
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Mr. Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many schools in each local education authority area received early years funding in the current financial year; and what the total funding made available in the current financial year under the programme is in each local education authority area. 
Mr. Miliband: The Department does not fund schools directly. Local education authorities receive funding through revenue support grant through the calculation of Education Formula Spending Shares for early years provision. The under-five sub-block in the Education Formula Spending Share calculation for 200304 was £2.6 billion. However, this funding is unhypothecated and it is for LEAs to decide how much to spend on early
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years and then allocate resources to schools and other early years settings as appropriate. The Department does not collect allocated budgets for every early year provider.
The Department also provides direct grants specifically for early years programmes. MNS development grant is aimed specifically at the maintained sector. The number of schools benefiting and the amount allocated for each LEA is shown below.
|LEA||Number of schools||Amount of funding allocated|
|Blackburn with Darwen||9||77,239|
|Brighton and Hove||2||23,459|
|Bristol, City of||15||161,412|
|East Riding of Yorkshire||4||50,981|
|Hammersmith and Fulham||5||52,773|
|Kensington and Chelsea||4||28,421|
|Kingston upon Hull, City of||3||35,139|
|Kingston upon Thames||1||17,761|
|Newcastle upon Tyne||7||58,321|
|North East Lincolnshire||3||37,009|
|Richmond upon Thames||1||12,921|
|Telford and Wrekin||2||21,312|
|Windsor and Maidenhead||4||39,072|
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Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many family disputes involving contact with children have received government funding for mediation in each of the last six years. 
Margaret Hodge: The Government encourages the use of family mediation as an alternative to court proceedings in appropriate cases. Mediation can be particularly beneficial in resolving disputes over child contact. Public funding for family mediation was introduced under the provisions of Part III of the Family Law Act 1996. The Legal Services Commission began contracting with mediation services for the provision of publicly funded family mediation in March 1997. Contracts were completed in all areas in March 2000 and publicly funded family mediation is now available throughout England and Wales.
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The Legal Services Commission has reported that the numbers of cases for which public funding has been provided for family mediation since the introduction of the provisions of the Family Law Act where children issues were in dispute are as follows:
Mr. Stephen Twigg: Food in Schools is a joint Department for Education and Skills (DfES)/Department of Health (DH) programme. Funding for the DfES strand of Food in Schools (April 2001March 2004) is £545,000, while the DH strand has been allocated £2 million (April 2001February 2005). Food in Schools aims to bring together all food related activities in schools, including training for teachers, and to help them work towards the National Healthy Schools Standard.
Alistair Burt: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what representations have been made to him on shortages of food technologists in schools; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Stephen Twigg: I am aware of no such representations. We maintain regular contact with the Design and Technology Association (DATA), the professional association for food technology teachers. We work with them and other partners to offer training, support and guidance to teachers of food technology in both primary and secondary schools.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what recent discussions he has had with (a) the Chancellor of the Exchequer and (b) others regarding allowances for children in foster care; and if he will make a statement. 
Margaret Hodge: Through the Choice Protects Programme and the consultation on the 'Supporting foster carers' section of the Green Paper, 'Every Child Matters' we are consulting widely with a range of stakeholders about support for foster carers. Choice Protects is also investing £113 million over three years to expand and strengthen fostering services.
The National Minimum Standards for Fostering Services state that fostering services must provide foster carers with an allowance and agreed expenses, which cover the full cost of caring for each child placed with them.
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John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many and what percentage of staff in his Department contribute to a charity through the Give as You Earn scheme; how much money is donated to charity per month by staff in his Department through the scheme; and what steps he is taking to encourage greater participation in the scheme by staff in his Department. 
Mr. Charles Clarke: My Department actively supports and encourages payroll giving. Along with volunteering and charitable donations, staff can choose up to eight charities to make regular donations through the payroll system. There are currently 266 (5.7 per cent.) of my staff participating in the Payroll Giving Scheme raising a total of £27,023 per annum.
We are working with the Giving Campaign to increase the number of contributing employees to around 10 per cent. Employees often choose to give direct or volunteer their time to charities of their choice so Payroll Giving does not fully reflect the amount of charitable activity within my Department.
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