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10 Jan 2005 : Column 188W—continued


Charles Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment she has made of the applied behaviour analysis approach to educating children with autism. [207479]

Margaret Hodge: The Department has not made an assessment of applied behaviour analysis (ABA). The Department did publish a research report, compiled by the University of Birmingham, called "Educational Interventions for Children with Autism: A Literature Review of Recent and Current Research" in 1998. This found that almost all the interventions, including behavioural approaches, could point to evidence of success but that there was no well-founded evidence to show that any one approach was more effective than all the others nor which children on the autistic spectrum benefited most from which intervention. However, it did find that there were sufficiently positive findings across all studies of early intervention, including behavioural ones, to suggest that some form of early intervention is warranted.

The Code of Practice on Special Educational Needs (SEN) advises schools and local education authorities (LEAs) that children's needs should be assessed individually and that provision should address the particular needs of the individual child. The Department's "Good Practice Guidance" on autistic spectrum disorders lists ABA as one of the approaches that is available to schools and LEAs. The Inclusion Development Programme, announced as part of the Department's SEN strategy in February last year, will be looking at developing our evidence base about what works in educating children with ASDs, including evidence on ABA, and building a consensus about how to implement good practice most effectively.


Mr. Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills when she will reply to the letter to her of 11 November from Helen Donovan. [205949]

Derek Twigg: The Department has no record of receiving a letter from Mrs. Helen Donovan dated 11 November.
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Departmental Credit Cards

Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many credit cards for official expenditure are held by her Department. [206440]

Derek Twigg: In December 2004, the Department for Education and Skills had 253 purchasing cards in circulation.

Departmental Initiatives (Young People)

Charles Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to the answer of 6 December 2004, Official Report, column 296W, on departmental initiatives (young people), if she will list the projects or initiatives which have been launched by her Department since 1997 which are no longer in operation. [206006]

Margaret Hodge [holding answer 20 December 2004]: Since its inception in 2001, the Department for Education and Skills has kept under review the support it provides for young people aged 13 to 19 with the aim of ensuring that that support meets young people's current and anticipated needs.

Within its current areas of responsibility there have been a number of projects and initiatives intended to help young people which have begun since 1997 and which have become part of our mainstream provision. Quality Protects, launched in 1998 by the Department of Health as part of the Government's wider strategy for tackling social exclusion, focused on children and young people looked after by councils, in the child protection system, and other children in need. The programme transferred to the Department for Education and Skills as part of the machinery of Government changes in 2003. The original provision of three years had already been extended to five years, with the programme being mainstreamed from 2004. The Young Runaways Development Project, for which the Children and Young People's Unit provided funding in 2002–03 and 2003–04, transferred to DfES and has now ended. Both programmes demonstrated effective ways of meeting the needs of children and young people which are enshrined in the Children Act 2004 and the Every Child Matters: Change for Children programme, launched on 1 December, and which have introduced, among other provision, a statutory duty to promote the education and wellbeing of looked after children, a statutory duty on organisations working with children and young people to safeguard them and promote their welfare, and children's trust arrangements to focus integrated, multi-disciplinary support on the needs of children and young people. Similarly, Active Citizens in Schools, an award scheme that empowers young people to get involved in projects that benefit the school and wider community, ran as a pilot project from Spring 2002 until September 2004, and is now being made available to schools nationally through a Framework and Toolkit funded by DfES. Schools can then adapt the scheme to fit their needs.

Other projects and initiatives have ended as they have been subsumed within other programmes: Connexions Summer Plus, which became part of the anti-crime Positive Activities for Young People programme; and New Start, which paved the way for Learning Gateway
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which evolved into Entry to Employment (E2E), the work-based programme for young people aged 16–18 not yet ready or able to enter an apprenticeship, sustained employment or further vocational learning opportunities.

Early Interventions/Family Resolutions Projects

Peter Bottomley: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills for what reasons the Early Interventions project was changed to Family Resolutions; what the differences are between the two; and what the mechanisms for the change were. [203940]

Margaret Hodge: The Family Resolutions Pilot Project is designed to test the effectiveness of group work and information and parent planning measures in helping separating or separated parents reach agreement about contact and residence for their children, without needing formal family court proceedings. The Family Resolutions Pilot Project does not replace any other "Early Interventions project". However, its development has been informed by a set of early intervention proposals that were received by the Government in autumn 2003, which had been drawn up by an ad hoc group, chaired by a judge. The Government-led Steering Group, set up to take forward the development and delivery of a pilot project, chose the name of the project, in recognition of the focus of the intervention and the late stage in the separation of the parents at which it would take place.

The design of the Government's Family Resolutions Pilot Project drew on the experience of a range of similar approaches from other jurisdictions, in particular Florida, but also Scandinavia, California and Canada. However, the Florida early interventions approach differs from the Family Resolutions Pilot Project in that participation is compulsory in the Florida jurisdiction. Participation in the Family Resolutions Pilot Project could only have been made compulsory if there had first been a change in primary legislation. This would also have been necessary if we had wished to replicate the approach of other jurisdictions, in terms of any legal presumption of contact for parents and in terms of any expectation that parents must adhere to a prescribed pattern of contact, drawn from standard templates applied by the court.

Under the Children Act 1984 the welfare of the child is the court's paramount consideration when determining any question with respect to a child's upbringing. Case law decided under the Children Act 1989 has established that it is generally in a child's best interests to have contact with both of his parents but there is no statutory presumption of contact nor does the Children Act provide standard patterns of contact to be prescribed to parents by the court. The Parenting Plans, which we are currently revising, will provide a set of templates which seek to show in practice the sort of contact arrangements that work well for children of different ages and circumstances. These will be available at all points throughout the system—in solicitors' offices as well as through advice and mediation services. They will make clear, in practical terms, arrangements that are generally beneficial for children. They are intended to be used as practical aids, both by parents themselves as well as by solicitors, conciliators and mediators, to assist parents to reach reasonable
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agreements. They will seek to illustrate what the courts might well decide if the case went to a full hearing. The revised Plans will shortly be published in draft form and will be the subject of consultation. Once published in final form, they will be used in both in-court conciliation services and the Family Resolutions Pilot Project.


Claire Ward: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the funding per (a) primary and (b) secondary school pupil in Hertfordshire was in (a) 1995 and (b) 2004; and what the percentage change was. [207573]

Mr. Stephen Twigg: As a result of data changes and changes to the funding system, comparable figures are not available for 1995–96 and 1996–97. The following table shows per pupil figures in real terms for 1997–98 and 2004–05.
Total funding per primary and secondary pupil in real terms in 1997–98 and 2004–05 for Hertfordshire (£)

1997–982004–05Percentage increase from 1997–98 to 2004–05
Pupils aged 3–102,3903,25036
Pupils aged 11–153,2604,10026

1. Price Base: Real terms at 2003–04 prices, based on GDP deflators as at 30 September 2004
2. Figures reflect relevant sub-blocks of education SSA/EFS settlements and exclude the pensions transfer to EPS.
3. Total funding also includes all revenue grants in DfES Departmental Expenditure Limits relevant to pupils aged 3–10 and 11–15 and exclude Education Maintenance Allowances (EMAs) and grants not allocated at LEA level.
4. The pupil numbers used to convert £ million figures to £ per pupil are those underlying the SSA/EFS settlement calculations plus PLASC 3-year-old maintained pupils and estimated 3 to 4-year-olds funded through state support in maintained and other educational institutions where these are not included in the SSA pupil numbers.
5. Rounding: Figures are rounded to the nearest £10.
6. Status: 2004–05 figures are provisional as some grants have not yet been finalised/audited.

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much funding has been made available to schools in Ribble Valley and Fulwood from the Special Education Needs Standard Fund since 2002. [205068]

Margaret Hodge: Standards Fund grants are allocated to local education authorities and devolved by them to schools. Lancashire county council received £1,865,070 in 2002–03 and £1,869,367 in 2003–04 through the Standards Fund grant for Special Educational Needs, including the local education authority contribution of 50 per cent. From 2004–05, the Special Educational Needs Grant became part of the School Development Grant, allocated to schools to use for any purpose to promote school improvement, including special educational needs. The notional amount allocated for special educational needs within Lancashire's School Development Grant is £1,944,142 in 2004–05.
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In 2002–03 and 2003–04, LEAs were permitted to retain up to 50 per cent. of their Special Educational Needs grant to support central services. In 2004–05, LEAs are allowed to retain the same cash amount from their School Development Grant as they had in 2003–04.

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what percentage of residents in Ribble Valley and Fulwood have undertaken apprenticeships in each of the last seven years. [205069]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: Figures for Ribble Valley and Fulwood cannot be provided as information at parliamentary constituency level is not available. The following table shows the number of starts on Apprenticeships in (i) the Lancashire Learning and Skills Council (LSC) area between April 2001 and the end of July 2004; and (ii) in the two Training and Enterprise Council (TEC) areas that amalgamated into Lancashire LSC—ELTEC and LAWTEC between April 1997 and March 2001. Figures are expressed in numbers rather then as percentages as population estimates are not available for TEC areas.
Time period(5507180038)TEC/LSCAdvanced apprenticeshipApprenticeship at level 2
April 1997 toELTEC1,200
March 1998LAWTEC1,800
April 1998 toELTEC1,000400
March 1999LAWTEC1,600100
April 1999 toELTEC8001,100
March 2000LAWTEC1,9001,800
April 2000 toELTEC9001,300
March 2001LAWTEC1,8002,100
April 2001 to July 2002Lancashire LSC1,9004,100
August 2002 to July 2003Lancashire LSC1,7003,600
August 20003 to July 2004Lancashire LSC1,4003,900

(5507180038) TECs reported the figures in financial years. LSC reports figures in academic years. The first LSC 'year' was 16 months in order to bring the financial year figures into line with academic years.
TEC Management Information
LSC Individualised Learner Record

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