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6 Jan 2004 : Column 298W—continued

Pre-school Places

Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many (a) full-time and (b) part-time child care places in nursery and childminding settings Ofsted has (i) registered and (ii) inspected for children under the age of three over the last 12 months. [143576]

Margaret Hodge: This is a matter for the Office of Education and Standards (Ofsted) and Her Majesty's Chief Inspector will write to my hon. Friend and a copy of his reply will be placed in the Libraries. Ofsted has been responsible for the registration and inspection of children's day care facilities since September 2001.

Pupil Exclusions

Mr. Woodward: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many children aged (a) between four and 11, (b) between 12 and 16 and (c) between 16 and 18 have been excluded from school in (i) St. Helens and (ii) Merseyside in (A) 2001, (B) 2002 and (C) 2003. [144588]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The information requested is given for the following ages: four to 11, 12 to 15 and 16 to 18.

Maintained primary, secondary and all special schools: Number of excluded pupils by age group—1999/2000 to 2001/02 (Estimates)(2)

St. Helens LEA
Pupils aged(4):
4 to 11201
12 to 15251016
16 to 18000
Pupils aged(4):
4 to 11596557
12 to 15251154161
16 to 18230

(2) Estimates have been made for 2000/01 and 2001/02 due to incomplete school level returns.

(3) Includes Knowsley, Liverpool, St. Helens, Sefton and Wirral LEAs.

(4) Age as at 31 August at start of reference year.

(5) Total number of excluded pupils.


Annual Schools' Census

Latest information on exclusions refers to the school year 2001/02.

School Finance

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much each component of the school formula spending share per pupil for (a) primary and (b) secondary school pupils was in each local education authority in (i) 2003–04 and (ii) 2004–05. [145968]

Mr. Miliband: The information requested has been placed in the Libraries.

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School Premises (Arson Attacks)

Mr. Woodward: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what measures the Government will put in place to tackle arson attacks on school premises in the next three years. [146111]

Mr. Miliband: The Department takes the problem of arson in schools very seriously and in 2000 issued the guide Fire Safety, which includes advice on how to reduce the risks of arson attacks. This complements our guidance on reducing crime in schools, such as the booklet "Improving Security in Schools" and the video "Can You See What They See?" We also have a school security website that is regularly updated—www.dfes. We now have consultants working on a new, and more comprehensive fire safety guidance document for schools. It covers risk assessments and will include advice on security and the prevention of arson. We anticipate that the document will be subject to public consultation early in 2004.

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) has general responsibility for fire safety and arson and we have been looking at how the two departments can work more closely on the issue of fire safety in schools. ODPM officials now attend the Department's Working Group on School Security, while we have recently accepted an invitation to send a representative to meetings of the Arson Control Forum, which remains the national strategic body for addressing the wider arson problem. This should help us to consider how best to promote school arson prevention initiatives among schools and local education authorities.

Officials from my Department also sit on the Arson in Schools Working Group, a group of experts representing the insurance industry, the fire and police services, local authorities and government departments. One of its outputs has been the publication of the guide "How to Combat Arson in Schools", which is available free and has been well received by schools.

Of course if a fire should happen in a school, the Department's primary concern is for the safety of pupils, teachers and other users. Regulation 17 of the Education (School Premises) Regulations 1999 requires that every part of a school building, and of the land provided for a school, shall be such that the safe escape of the occupants in case of fire is reasonably assured. Schools are also covered by the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and by subsequent related regulations. These include aspects of fire safety.

School Transport

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills when the draft bill on school transport will be published; what its principal provisions will be; what assessment has been made of the impact it will have on policies relating to transport to denominational schools of pupils of that denomination; what assessment has been made of the financial implications of the bill for (a) parents, (b) schools and (c) local education authorities; what assessment has been made of the effect it will have on the current providers of school transport; whether any of the

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proposed changes will take place on a pilot basis; and what consultations have been undertaken by the Department. [142786]

Mr. Charles Clarke [holding answer 8 December 2003]: In September 2003 the Secretary of State for Transport and I published 'Travelling to School: an action plan'. It consulted on measures to cut congestion and pollution and promote healthier travel alternatives for pupils travelling to and from school, including plans for piloting new arrangements for school transport in a small number of exemplar authorities.

The draft school transport bill will invite local education authorities to run up to 12 pilot schemes providing flexible, safe, transport choices for pupils and parents. Pilot areas will be required to look at the needs of all pupils, not just those entitled to free transport, and pilots should reduce car use on the school run. We would particularly welcome bids that seek to support pupils travelling to denominational schools.

We will publish a draft regulatory impact assessment alongside the draft bill: it will consider the financial implications for parents, schools, local education authorities and current providers of home to school transport. Whilst precise financial assessments can not be made until we know what proposals are put forward the financial implications will be considered as part of the selection and subsequent evaluation of pilot areas.

We consulted on outline proposals in "Travelling to School: an action plan" and will consult on the draft bill and proposals for implementation in early 2004.

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will make it his policy to ensure that free school transport is available to the children of families who wish to exercise a choice not to attend a faith school and who have to travel outside their catchment area. [145519]

Mr. Stephen Twigg: We have no plans to change the school transport legislation to require local education authorities (LEAs) to provide free school transport for pupils whose families wish to exercise a choice not to attend a faith school and who have to travel outside their catchment area. LEAs may choose to provide free or subsidised transport for pupils attending faith schools, or for pupils whose parents wish them not to attend a faith school, using their discretion to operate policies that meet the needs of their local communities.

Sex Education

Mr. Keith Bradley: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what arrangements his Department has made to ensure co-ordination of the teenage sexual health strategy with the Department of Health's sexual health strategy; [145188]

Mr. Stephen Twigg [holding answer 5 January 2004]: The Teenage Pregnancy Strategy and the Sexual Health Strategy are closely co-ordinated to raise young people's awareness of sexual health issues, improve sexual health and promote choice. A shared feature of both strategies

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is the national campaign which targets young people, and improved availability of sexual health services and access to them.

Teaching about sexual health and safer sex are key elements of the Government's sexual health strategy and are covered by our Sex and Relationship Education (SRE) Guidance which was sent to all schools in July 2000. Through SRE pupils learn about sexual health, contraception and the range of advice and support services which are available. Young people should be made aware of the risks of contracting a STI and know about prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

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