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Geraldine Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what steps she is taking to deal with bullying in schools. [211833]

Derek Twigg [holding answer 31 January 2005]: The Department is deeply concerned about the distress bullying causes and the effect it has on lives and we are determined to help schools tackle the problem. Our guidance pack 'Bullying: Don't Suffer in Silence', the anti-bullying Charter and the anti-bullying website offer detailed advice on preventing and addressing bullying.

In November 2003 to June 2004 we ran a series of regional conferences, part of the 'Make The Difference' campaign. These conferences, which were well attended, offered an opportunity for schools and other partners to share good practice on this issue and to learn at first hand about what has worked elsewhere. In July 2004 we funded the Anti-Bullying Alliance (ABA), a grouping of voluntary sector organisations, including Childline and the NSPCC. The Alliance works to support schools in addressing bullying behaviour. November 2004 saw the launch of the first ever National Anti-Bullying week which featured a variety of events including a Radio One campaign and a new public information film. An event on countering racist bullying will be taking place in March 2005.

Domestic Violence

Vera Baird: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what plans she has to ensure that (a) regulations, (b) training and (c) the Common Assessment Framework for Information Sharing Databases in Children's Services takes full account of domestic violence and recognises it as a serious child protection issue. [213126]

Margaret Hodge: We recognise the importance of ensuring that children are protected from domestic violence. In framing the regulations, guidance and staff training that will govern the operation of information sharing databases, or indexes, we will address protection from domestic violence. This will include the facility for certain details, such as an address, to be blocked out or not to appear on the index at all where a parent has good cause to believe that the inclusion of such information may lead to a crime being committed. It will include ensuring that training for index managers and users covers the right of the child to be protected from harm and the fact that this qualifies the right of a parent to access to information, for example, about a child's current address. We will also ensure that similar issues
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are addressed as appropriate in the guidance and training for introduction of the Common Assessment Framework.

Education Maintenance Allowance

Rob Marris: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many and what proportion of those in receipt of education maintenance allowance in England are studying in (a) schools, (b) further education colleges, (c) sixth form colleges, (d) private schools and (e) institutions which are not recognised education providers; and if she will make a statement. [209600]

Dr. Howells: As of the 6 January 2005 there were 262,823 young people who had received an EMA payment. Of these 167,353 (67.3 per cent.) attended FE colleges and 6th form colleges, 86,054 (32.7 per cent.) attended schools, and 5,443 (2.1 per cent.) were studying in independent and special schools. The remaining 3,973 (1.5 per cent.) students study with a range of institutions including dance and drama schools, outreach providers, charities and specialist institutions.

Education, Youth and Culture Council

Mr. Hood: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills, what the outcome was of the Education, Youth and Culture Council held on 15 and 16 November; what the Government's stance was on the issues discussed, including its voting record; and if she will make a statement. [201337]

Dr. Howells [pursuant to his reply, 7 December 2004, Official Report, c. 433W]: I am reporting back on the outcome of the culture session of the Education, Youth and Culture Council, which was attended by Lord McIntosh of Haringey, Minister for Heritage and the Media, on 16 November. My earlier response provided details of the Education and Youth parts of the council only, and indicated that colleagues at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport would be writing to you with a short summary of what happened on the culture part. However, I have since been advised that outcomes of all parts of council meetings should be provided by written parliamentary answer. As the parliamentary question was put down for reply by the Secretary of State for Education and Skills, it is, therefore, appropriate that the reply comes from this Department. I apologise for the delay in providing the information on the culture part of the council.

During the culture/audiovisual session, Ministers discussed the Commission's proposed 2007–13 culture programme, which will provide funding for cooperation between cultural organisations. Discussion focused on
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two areas of contention: (a) whether individual sectors should be specifically singled out in the decision and (b) whether and how to enable smaller organisations to participate. The UK submitted a written statement calling for an open programme and bigger projects to ensure the EU-level added value of the programme.

Ministers adopted a two-year work plan on culture, which will focus on five topics: contribution of culture and audiovisual industries to the Lisbon Agenda; digitisation of cultural heritage; improving the Commission's Culture Portal on the Europa site; mobility of museum collections; and improving the mobility of artists.

The council approved without discussion the nominations of Dr. Brian Hennessy (Ireland) and Bert van Meggelen (Netherlands) as the council representatives on the European Capitals of Culture selection panel for 2005.

The council gave unanimous agreement on the mandate authorising the Commission to negotiate on behalf of the EC in negotiations of the draft UNESCO convention on cultural diversity. However the UK, supported by Greece, called for a non-paper to clarify how co-ordination of an EU line would operate in practice to ensure that respective roles and responsibilities of the Commission, the presidency and the member states were clarified. The UK also took the opportunity to emphasise that the final UNESCO convention must not undermine trade negotiations in other international fora.

Ministers then discussed the Commission's proposed Media 2007 Programme, which provides financial support for the European film industry. Discussions focused on whether the programme should offer more support to television broadcasters and countries with limited film making capabilities.

The UK submitted a written statement calling for further quantified information on the effectiveness of the programme expenditure in achieving its aims, the establishment of an effective system for monitoring and evaluating the programme, and mechanisms to secure added value at a European level.

The council agreed without comment a general approach on a Recommendation on Film Heritage, which encourages member states to establish national archives for films.

The council agreed a general approach on a Recommendation on the Protection of Minors and Right to Reply. Lord McIntosh submitted a minute statement explaining that, while we agreed with the parts of the proposal aimed at improving children's media literacy, the UK objected to the parts of the recommendation which lean in the direction of content regulation of the internet and to applying right to reply to the online environment. Lord McIntosh explained that the UK felt that these elements of the recommendation would work contrary to its overall aim of improving competitiveness in the audiovisual sector.

During the course of a discussion on Public Service Broadcasting, which was continued over lunch, Lord McIntosh pointed out that the council should not seek to cut across European competition rules.
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Finally, the Luxembourg Minister, Octavie Modert, presented plans for their presidency. She mentioned that they would be looking at intercultural dialogue and cultural tourism and would explore establishing an Anna Lindh foundation. She explained that there would be a culture ministerial on 26–27 June, a seminar on Television without Frontiers in May and a conference on high-definition television in June.

Mr. Connarty: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the outcome was of the Education, Youth and Culture Council held on 15 and 16 November 2004; what the Government's stance was on the issues discussed, including its voting record; and if she will make a statement. [209500]

Dr. Howells: I refer my hon. Friend to the replies given on 7 December 2004, Official Report, column 433W, and today 1 February 2005.

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