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7 Feb 2005 : Column 1236W—continued

School Meals

Ms Shipley: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills when Ofsted will take school meals
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into account during inspections as set out in the White Paper, Choosing Health: making healthy choices easier". [213297]

Mr. Stephen Twigg: This is a matter for Ofsted. HM Chief Inspector, David Bell, will write to the hon. Member and place a copy of the letter in the House Library.

Science Colleges

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many entries there were at A-level in (a) physics, (b) chemistry, (c) biology and (d) mathematics from schools designated as specialist science colleges in each of the last eight years, including entries from such schools before their designation as specialist schools. [213300]

Mr. Stephen Twigg: The information requested on GCE A-level entries for 16 to 18-year-olds in specialist science colleges between 1997 and 2004 is given as follows:

The 153 specialist science colleges included are those operational on 1 September 2004 that were published in the 2004 School and College Achievement and Attainment Tables.


Ross Cranston: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what her policy is on installation of sprinklers in schools; what advice she has given to schools on installation of sprinklers; and if she will make a statement. [213328]

Mr. Stephen Twigg: Since April 2001, all new construction work at schools has been subject to the Building Regulations. Projects will not be approved unless they are designed in accordance with the 2000 edition of Approved Document B (Fire Safety), which accompanies the regulations. The Building Regulations do not require the installation of fire sprinkler systems in new school accommodation but that does not mean that local education authorities are prohibited from specifying their use.

My Department's cost guidelines do not include for the cost of installation of sprinklers as standard. Where risk assessment shows that sprinklers are desirable, their costs can be included as an abnormal.

The Department's guide Fire Safety" includes information on fire sprinklers. It states that, though expensive to install, their use may be worthwhile in schools where the risk of arson is high. In these circumstances sprinkler systems can help minimise the
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loss of valuable course work and teaching materials through fire, and prevent major disruption to the life of a school.

Teachers (Abuse Allegations)

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills for what reasons teachers accused of assaulting pupils are not granted anonymity. [213552]

Mr. Stephen Twigg: It is not appropriate to provide anonymity for people accused of crime for a number of reasons. The principle that criminal trials should take place in open court and be freely reported is one of the key foundations of our criminal justice system. The fact that the system is open and transparent, and that the media is able to report freely what has taken place publicly in court, helps ensure public confidence in the system and helps encourage victims and witnesses to come forward. Also anonymity would raise important principles of the freedom of the press and the public interest. Publicity can work to an accused person's advantage: by helping him or her gather support and bringing to light evidence in his or her behalf. Equally there have been examples of responsible investigative journalism bringing to light cases of serious abuse that might otherwise have gone undetected.

However, someone who is under investigation by the police but who has not been charged with a criminal offence should not be identified in the press. The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) has issued revised guidance to all police forces, applying to all offences, which makes it clear that anyone under investigation, but not charged, should not be named, or details provided to the press which might lead to their identification before they are charged.

Teachers' Pensions

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what funding was provided for schools to support teachers' pensions in (a) 2003–04 and (b) 2004–05 in (i) school sixth forms and (ii) further education colleges. [211578]

Mr. Stephen Twigg: The Department does not separately allocate funds for school sixth forms or further education (FE) colleges to meet the costs of the Teachers Pension Scheme (TPS). We expect schools and colleges to meet staffing costs from funds they receive from the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) and other sources. The LSC funding includes provision for changes to the TPS in 2003.


Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many unauthorised absences from secondary schools there were in each (a) local education authority and (b) Government Office Region in each year since 1996–97. [211978]

Mr. Stephen Twigg: The information requested is placed in the Libraries.

Vocational Learning

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what discussions she has had with
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employers' organisations on the requirements for structured work placements arising from the Tomlinson Report's recommendations on vocational learning; and if she will make a statement. [211239]

Mr. Stephen Twigg: We are currently preparing a White Paper on the 14–19 phase, including our response to the recommendations of the final report of the Working Group on 14–19 Reform chaired by Mike Tomlinson. Our White Paper will include an assessment of the impact of our recommendations on the requirements for structured work placements, which we will discuss with employers' organisations.

Welsh Language Scheme

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills whether her Department's Welsh language scheme was approved by the Welsh Language Board; and on what date the scheme was implemented. [211330]

Mr. Stephen Twigg: The Department's Welsh Language Scheme has been prepared in accordance with section 21(3) of the Welsh Language Act 1993. The Scheme received the endorsement of the Welsh Language Board on 28 March 2000 and was implemented from 3 April 2000.


African Aid

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on his policy for funding aid for Africa. [214111]

Mr. Timms: The UK policy for funding aid to Africa is to collaborate effectively with other donors to funding Government-owned poverty reduction plans. UK aid to Africa will rise to £1.25 billion a year by 2008, from around £864 million today. However, in order to meet the Millennium Development Goals, Africa faces a large funding gap. The UK proposes to fill this gap by working with G7 and EU countries to agree 100 per cent. multilateral debt relief and the launch of the International Finance Facility.


John Mann: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he expects to resolve the issue raised in the letter to the Inland Revenue on 19 June 2004 from the hon. Member for Bassetlaw regarding overpayments and his constituent Tracey Moore. [213748]

Dawn Primarolo: The Inland Revenue wrote to the hon. Member in July 2004 in response to his letter of 19 June. They wrote to him again on 21 December 2004 in response to his further letter of 30 November. The Revenue will also be writing to his constituent shortly.

ATM Charges

John Robertson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what discussions his Department has had with (a) the LINK network, (b) high street banks and (c) cash machine operators on charges for use of cash machines. [213219]

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Mr. Timms: Officials meet with representatives from LINK, Banks and independent operators on a regular basis to discuss this and other issues.

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