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Mr. Willis: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills whether it is a condition of the Building Schools for the Future programme that proposals include the establishment of at least one academy; and if he will make a statement. 
[holding answer 2 December 2004]: The departmental guidance document, Building Schools for the FutureA new approach to capital investment, issued in February 2004 states: "The Government will expect an evaluation of the potential for Academies to form an integral part of plans, and bold innovation in the use of Academies will help proposals progress quickly to approval."
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Dr. Howells: Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) are autonomous organisations responsible for their own academic direction and strategic use of funds. Whether or not to close undergraduate chemistry provision is therefore a matter for Exeter University alone. The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) is monitoring the situation closely.
I have asked HEFCE to advise me on higher education subjects or courses of national strategic importance, including science subjects, where intervention might be appropriate to strengthen or secure them. HEFCE will be entering into a strategic dialogue with universities, colleges, employers and other partners to consider this matter.
Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what representations he has received concerning the proposed closure of undergraduate chemistry provision at Exeter University from (a) the Royal Society of Chemistry, (b) the South West Regional Development Agency, (c) companies operating in the South West and (d) others; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Iddon: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what representations he has received from (a) the Royal Society of Chemistry, (b) the South West Regional Development Agency, (c) companies operating in the South West and (d) others concerning the proposed closure of undergraduate chemistry provision at Exeter University; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Howells: I met the Royal Society of Chemistry on Wednesday 1 December to discuss the closure and its wider implications. I have received no representations from the South West RDA, nor from companies in the South West, although I understand that a local company has made representations to the Royal Society of Chemistry. A number of parents and students have been in touch with the Department via e-mail, telephone calls and letters.
Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) are autonomous organisations responsible for their own academic direction and strategic use of funds. I understand that Exeter University is working very closely with the students to ensure that all their individual needs are met. The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) is monitoring the situation closely.
Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what discussions he has had with Ministerial colleagues in (a) the Department for Trade and Industry and (b) the Treasury about the proposed closure by Exeter University of its undergraduate chemistry provision; 
(2) what discussions he has had with ministerial colleagues in (a) the Department for Trade and Industry and (b) the Treasury about the proposed closure by Exeter University of its undergraduate chemistry provision. 
Dr. Howells: The Secretary of State and I have discussed the implications of the Exeter announcement with the Science Minister, Lord Sainsbury. Our Departments are working together with the Higher Education Funding Council for England to monitor the situation closely.
Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) whether his Department has been informed of university chemistry departments other than that at Exeter University that may be in financial difficulty; 
Dr. Howells: We have not been informed of any other university chemistry department that may be in financial difficulty. Higher education institutions (HEIs) are autonomous organisations responsible for their own academic direction and strategic use of funds. However, the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) has a rigorous and well established system for keeping the financial health of all HEIs under review and will monitor this closely.
The Children Act 2004 does not put duties on independent schools in relation to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children. However, it will affect the way that they carry out their
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duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of pupils under S157 of the 2002 Education Act and the 2003 Standards Regulations.
Section 12 of The Children Act 2004 provides for the establishment of a national network of databases, or Indexes, to support better information sharing about the needs of children between practitioners working in children's services. These databases will contain basic identifying data for each child, contact details for professionals working with the child and a facility to indicate that a professional has a concern about a child. Proprietors of independent schools are under a duty to disclose information to Indexes once they are established.
Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills who is responsible for the (a) education and (b) welfare of children permanently excluded from schools; and how these responsibilities will be monitored under the terms of the Children Act 2004. 
Mr. Stephen Twigg: When a permanent exclusion is confirmed by the school's governing body (or by an independent appeal panel), the pupil's name is taken off the school roll and the LEA for the area in which the pupil resides is responsible for providing him or her with suitable education in another school or elsewhere. Parents or carers have responsibility for the welfare of their child whilst he or she is excluded from school.
Inspections of children's services under the Children Act 2004 will report on the well- being of all children and young people in a local area. This will include inspecting the arrangements made to ensure that those children who have been permanently excluded from school attend appropriate alternative settings aimed at securing re- integration into mainstream provision or work.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what guidance he has issued to (a) local authorities, (b) health services and (c) criminal justice services on working with voluntary and community services organisations to deliver better services to children. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis:
A draft of the statutory guidance on the duty to cooperate to improve children's well-being (section 10 (8) of the Children Act 2004) is currently being prepared and will be available for consultation shortly. This will make clear the Government's expectation that voluntary and community organisations should be represented at all levels of local cooperation arrangements. Local authorities and their relevant partnersdistrict councils, the police, the probation service, youth offending teams, strategic health authorities, primary care trusts, Connexions and the Learning and Skills Council for Englandmust have regard to this guidance. Further non-statutory guidance on good practice and toolkits are also being prepared.
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The importance of working with the voluntary and community sectors is also highlighted in draft statutory guidance on sections 18 and 19 of the Children Act 2004 (Director of Children's Services and Lead Member) currently out for consultation, and will be referenced in draft regulations and non-statutory guidance in relation to section 17 (Children and Young People's Plans) which is intended to be issued for consultation early in 2005. Consultation documents can be accessed at www.dfes.gov.uk/consultations.
The Every Child Matters: Change for Children programme was launched in December 2004details can be found at www.everychildmatters.gov.uk. At the same time, the Department published a strategy for working with the voluntary and community sectors to deliver change for children and young people. This sets a framework within which local authorities, other public sector partners at national, regional and local level, and voluntary and community organisations can work together to improve outcomes for children and young people.
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