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Drugs in Schools

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) how many representations have been made to her Department by schools on problems of drug use (a) on and (b) outside school premises in each of the last 10 years; [209108]

(2) how many notifications of illegal drug possessions by school pupils on school premises there were in each of the last 10 years; [209110]

(3) how many needle stick injuries have been reported from discarded needles in school grounds in each of the last 10 years. [209111]

Derek Twigg: Schools are not required to notify the Department and data is not collected on numbers of illegal drug possessions by school pupils or needle stick injuries in school grounds. The Department receives representations on a range of issues relating to drugs from organisations and individuals but data is not available in the form requested. We are committed to ensuring that good quality drug education is taught in schools and that schools are supported to respond appropriately to drug issues in schools.


Sue Doughty: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the Department's policy is in
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relation to the storage and deletion of e-mails; and whether this policy has been reviewed in the past 12 months. [206744]

Michael Fabricant: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will make a statement on her Department's policy regarding the retention of e-mails in electronic form (a) after and (b) up to 1 January 2005; and what instructions have been given regarding the deletion of e-mails prior to 1 January 2005. [206959]

Derek Twigg: E-mail messages that form part of the official record are saved for as long as business needs require and stored corporately in accordance with departmental record management procedures and the e-mail guidance available on the National Archives website at:

Electronic records (including e-mails) which need to be retained are saved into the department's formal electronic record keeping systems or into the paper filing system. Those electronic records (including e-mails) which do not need to be retained are disposed of regularly. DfES are considering the introduction of a limit on the time that e-mails may be kept outside an official record keeping system before automatic deletion.

Freedom of Information

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment she has made of the publication schemes under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 prepared by public authorities for which her Department has responsibility; and if she will list the authorities which (a) have had and (b) have not prepared such schemes. [208480]

Derek Twigg: All publication schemes have to be approved by the Information Commissioner. There is a requirement that each public authority reviews its publication scheme periodically to ensure they are accurate and up to date. The DfES is reviewing its scheme to improve access and content.

The public authorities with published publication schemes for which the Secretary of State has responsibility are:

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Those public authorities currently developing their publication schemes in consultation with the Office of the Information Commissioner are:

Further and Higher Education

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the (a) higher education and (b) further education participation rates are for (1) the (i) poorest and (ii) richest 100 wards in England; [207712]

(2) each local authority in England, listed in descending order according to the greater disparity between the highest and lowest rates; and what the average participation rate is in each case. [207713]

Dr. Howells: The information requested has been placed in the Libraries.

Pupil Exclusions

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many exclusions there were relating to illegal drugs in each of the last 10 years in English secondary schools. [209103]

Derek Twigg: This information is not held centrally. We started to collect reasons for exclusions in relation to the summer term 2003 and these termly data collections are continuing. One category of reason for exclusion is involvement with drugs and alcohol. However, because of concerns over the reliability of the first set of data, the full data on reasons for exclusion, including those that were drug and alcohol-related, were not published in the Experimental Statistics First Release (ESR 01/2004), a copy of which is in the Library. The next Statistical First Release on exclusions will be published in May 2005.

Our guidance states that a head teacher can exclude a pupil permanently for supplying an illegal drug and that the Secretary of State would not normally expect the governing body or an appeal panel to reinstate such a pupil. Illegal drugs have no place in schools and harm children's learning, health and behaviour. We have made clear that we support head teachers and governing bodies together with local partners including the police in their efforts to tackle illegal drugs in schools.

Religious Education

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what rights parents have to withdraw their children from religious education lessons in state schools; and if she will make a statement. [209272]

Derek Twigg: Parents of all pupils in state schools have the statutory right to withdraw their children from all or any part of RE and or collective worship.

School Computers (Derby)

Mr. Laxton: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much public funding has been spent on computers for schools in Derby, north in each year between 1997 and 2004. [208487]

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Derek Twigg: The Department does not hold information on funding for ICT at constituency level. However, Derby north is in Derby LEA and allocations for this authority, since 1998, are detailed in 'Funding for ICT in Schools in England' which is available in the House Library.

Special Advisers

Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills whether the contracts signed by her special advisers differ from the Model Contract for Special Advisers. [207274]

Derek Twigg: I refer the hon. Member to the reply given by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on 17 January 2005, Official Report, column 753W.

Stolen Property

Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many civil servants from her Department have (a) faced disciplinary proceedings as a result of allegations of theft, (b) been charged with theft and (c) been dismissed following theft allegations in each year since 1997. [206407]

Derek Twigg: All breaches of the Department's expected standard of conduct are handled in accordance with the Civil Service Management Code and the Department's code of conduct. All staff are informed about standards of conduct on the Department's induction course, and can access the relevant guidance through the Staff Handbook.

My Department has dismissed one member of staff for theft since it was established in 2001. There have been no other disciplinary proceedings for theft in that time.

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