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10 Jan 2005 : Column 192W—continued

Education Maintenance Allowance

Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many students in the City of Newcastle upon Tyne had applied for an education maintenance allowance as at the end of October; how many had received a notice of entitlement; and how many had been granted. [204406]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: By the end of October 2004 the Assessment and Payment Body had received 1,555 application forms for EMA in the Newcastle upon Tyne LEA area. Of these, 973 were successful and were sent a Notice of Entitlement (NoE) and 849 young people had received a payment after enrolling on a further education course. Most of the unsuccessful applicants were unfortunately outside the age criteria which,
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during the first year of implementation of the national scheme, are different for a non-pilot LEA area such as Newcastle upon Tyne, compared to EMA pilot areas.

English as a Second Language

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what funding was made available to schools to teach children who have English as a second language in each year since 1997; and what funding will be made available in each year to 2004. [207553]

Mr. Stephen Twigg: The Ethnic Minority Achievement Grant (EMAG), an element of the Standards Fund, provides additional support to schools to raise the educational achievement of minority ethnic pupils and to meet the particular needs of pupils whose first language is other than English. EMAG evolved from what was the education element of the Home Office Section 11 Grant which ceased on 31 March 1999. EMAG was introduced by the DfES (then DfEE) in April 1999. The figures for EMAG since April 1999, including local authority matched funding, are set out as follows:
Total allocation (£)

(5507180039) with the Traveller element removed
For 2000–01 only, the Traveller Achievement Grant was combined with EMAG. The total allocation of the Traveller element for 2000–01 was £15,700,527 and is not shown in this table.

Exeter University

Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what discussions he has had with the Higher Education Funding Council about the proposed closure of undergraduate chemistry provision at Exeter University; [202619]

(2) what discussions he has had with the Higher Education Funding Council about the proposed closure of undergraduate chemistry provision at Exeter University. [202651]

Dr. Howells: I and the Secretary of State have discussed the implications of the Exeter announcement with the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE). HEFCE is monitoring the situation closely.

Separately, 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 parties to consider this matter.

Freedom of Information

Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many staff in his Department
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have been employed to deal with the Freedom of Information Act 2000 issues in (a) 2001, (b) 2002, (c) 2003 and (d) 2004; and how many staff are budgeted to deal with the Freedom of Information Act 2000 issues in (i) 2005 and (ii) 2006. [205034]

Mr. Stephen Twigg: Numbers of dedicated staff, as full-time equivalents, are as follows:

One official has worked full-time on the implementation of Freedom of Information throughout, and additional resources from related and specialist areas e.g. data protection, records and information management have been added as necessary and as the profile of Freedom of Information has increased. Beyond these staff who are directly involved in the ongoing implementation (and post January 2005 in providing advice and guidance to departmental staff), it is difficult to identify precisely the number of officials who will be dealing with Freedom of Information issues from 1 January 2005, since it is potentially part of every civil servant's role to respond to Freedom of Information requests. The current staffing will be kept under review during 2005 and 2006 to ensure adequate advice, guidance and compliance.

Green Paper on Young People

Charles Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills when the Green Paper on young people will be published; and what the cause of the delays to publication have been. [205940]

Margaret Hodge [holding answer 20 December 2004]: The Youth Green Paper is due for publication in the new year. The paper will set out a comprehensive offer for young people covering three main areas: things to do and places to go; targeted support for young people at risk; and universal information and support for young people and their parents.

Homophobic Bullying

Charles Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what measures her Department is taking to counter homophobic bullying in schools and colleges; and what the budget is for such measures. [205939]

(2) what steps she is taking to prevent homophobic bullying in schools and colleges. [207477]

Derek Twigg: Homophobic bullying, as with any other form of bullying, cannot be tolerated and we must challenge homophobic language and attitudes wherever we find them and support our children and young people to do the same.

In November 2004, we organised the first ever National Anti-Bullying Week, in conjunction with the Anti-Bullying Alliance (ABA), which had a strong emphasis on combating homophobic bullying. During the week, my predecessor attended the 5th birthday
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celebration of the Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Award for Young People, where he announced a new Diana Anti-Bullying Award, for which we have given funding of £50,000. At this event, he also launched new guidance for schools entitled "Stand Up for Us: Challenging Homophobia in Schools" which was prepared by the National Healthy Schools Standard with considerable input from the Department. Stand Up For Us sets out a practical approach for schools to quickly assess the scale of homophobic bullying they face. And it offers practical steps schools can take to create an environment where everyone can feel welcome and valued and where specific instances of bullying are identified, challenged and dealt with effectively.

During anti-bullying week, we also published "Homophobia, Sexual Orientation and Schools: a review and implications for action". This review, by the Thomas Coram Research Unit, looks at three areas: behaviour and bullying; teaching and learning about sexual orientation and relationships; and employment issues. It collates, summarises and assesses both peer reviewed research material, from this country and abroad, and less formal work conducted by bodies active in this area. It also reports the views of a wide range of organisations, 28 in all, with an interest in this area to paint a picture of how the issues are currently perceived. The report is available on the DfES website and the findings will be used to inform future work in this area.

The Department's work in this critical area is ongoing and we are currently supporting Schools Out in promoting the first Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) History Month in February 2005, and have funded the development of a website which will raise awareness and encourage participation. It will suggest activities and events that schools, colleges, universities, libraries, museums, galleries, archives, and theatres can organise and offers teachers specific lesson plans and assembly suggestions to encourage and support schools in marking LGBT History Month. It will also provide an online notice board of events and link to current news relevant to LGBT History Month. See more at

The Department has provided a further £600,000 to the Anti-Bullying Alliance to sustain the momentum for change. The Alliance will link with the work of the Department and join up with the key national strategies to work with schools and local education authorities to promote anti-bullying best practice across all schools, including countering homophobic bullying.

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