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Mrs. Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what discussions her Department has had with the Local Government Association on local authority support for marriage and relationship support services; and if she will make a statement. 
Margaret Hodge: The Department is unable to provide details of child care places for Morecambe and Lunesdale. However, from April 1999 to March 2004 Lancashire local authority increased the number of child care places in Lancashire by 9,826 registered and unregistered places. The registered child care places in Lancashire in March 2004 was 26,391 places.
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills for each of the last five years, if she will list the cases referred to the school adjudicator in each of the last five years in respect of (a) admissions,
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(b) school closures, (c) proposals to open new schools and (d) proposals to expand existing schools; and what the outcome of each case was. 
Derek Twigg [holding answer 28 February 2005]: This information is published each year by the Office of the Schools Adjudicator in their annual report. Copies, for each year since the office was created in April 1999, have been placed in the House Library.
Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the percentage rate of school attendance in (a) Hartlepool and (b) England and Wales was in the last period for which figures are available. 
Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what estimate she has made of the average cost of the food content of school meals; and if she will make a statement. 
Derek Twigg: Local education authorities publish details in their annual budget statements of sums delegated to schools for school meal provision, but this information does not include a breakdown detailing thesum allocated in respect of school meal ingredient costs. We cannot, therefore, provide the information requested. However, we are considering whether any changes are needed in the context of our future plans for improving the quality of school meals, which include stricter nutritional standards from 2006 and a school food trust.
Derek Twigg: My Department is committed to managing sickness absence effectively and is working towards meeting the recommendations of the recently published report, Managing Attendance in the Public Sector".
Managers are responsible for day to day sickness absence management. Absence data for each employee are recorded centrally and monitoring arrangements are in place that trigger when formal action must be taken. The Department's HR Business Partners work closely with managers to identify trends and problem areas and deliver tailored support and solutions. A pilot scheme is running bringing occupational health nurse advisers to headquarters buildings on a regular basis to provide advice and support on sickness absence. Sickness absence statistics are reported annually to Cabinet Office.
Other action taken to improve sickness absence rates include: introducing health awareness programmes, with screening for cholesterol and high blood pressure,
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to promote and encourage healthy lifestyle options; and a variety of fitness programmes available to staff. On National No Smoking Day, we will announce a package of support for smokers who want to quit as part of our commitment to become a smoke free workplace by 2006. Systems and practices are being developed, in line with HSE guidance, to help prevent work-related stress occurring.
Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the total expenditure on the Sure Start Strengthening Families Grant has been in each year that it has been in operation; and what the projected spending on this scheme is for the next three years. 
Margaret Hodge: The Strengthening Families Grant represents the coming-together, in July 2004, of the Family Support Grant (FSG, originating in the Home Office) and the Marriage and Relationship Support Grant (MARS, originating in Department of Constitutional Affairs). Awards for this grant programme will become effective for financial year 200506. The fund allocation for this programme totals £11 million. The same spend is projected for the next three years. This will include committed funds for ongoing MARS and FSG grants and newly allocated SF grants.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will make a statement on (a) the operation of the Sure Start programme in Gloucestershire, and (b) planned further schemes. 
Sure Start Barton, Tredworth and White City was approved in October 2000 and supports around 900 young children and their families living in these areas. Sure Start Cheltenham was approved in February 2003 and supports around 740 young children and their families living in the Hester's Way and Oakley, Whaddon, Lynmouth and Priors area of the district. Barton, Tredworth and White City Sure Start Local Programme have spent £1,214,000 on their capital projects and Cheltenham Sure Start Local Programme have had approximately half of their £1,075,000 capital allocation approved for specific projects in the area.
Both programmes deliver a wide range of child, family health and parental support services. Recent Sure Start Unit monitoring reports for the month September 2004 show that Sure Start Barton, Tredworth and White City saw around 35 per cent. of children that month and has visited all of families with newborn babies within the first two months of their child's life. Sure Start Cheltenham has visited around 70 per cent. of families with newborn babies within the first two months of their child's life. Evidence of impact from local evaluation of the Sure Start Barton, Tredworth and White City programme also shows that from a baseline of 51 per cent. of mothers breastfeeding at birth, the rate is now
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57 per cent. The programme has also reported that activities associated with the 'Improving and Learning' objective has resulted in a 30 per cent. increase in the use of library services.
There is one mini Sure Start local programme (Dursley and Cam) in Stroud which was approved in December 2002. The programme received a revenue grant in 200405 of £100,000 to support the delivery of outreach and health services, family support and adult education. This programme is linked to a 50 place neighbourhood nursery (Treetops Nursery) in Dursley with additional outreach and family support being delivered from Rednock Community Centre in Dursley and from GL11 Community Project in Cam. Sure Start has contributed £256,000 in capital funding towards the nursery's integrated education and care facilities. We are also providing start up revenue grant funds of £270,000, available over three years to help ensure the Nursery is firmly established. This is being developed into a children's centre and is expected to be designated by March 2006. The children's centre will reach children and families in Dursley, Cam East and Cam West wards.
Gloucestershire has five neighbourhood nurseries delivering 190 new early education and childcare places. Gardners Lane Early Excellence Centre in Cheltenham was approved in 2002. It has received a revenue grant of £242,150 in 200405 and will continue to receive this level in 200506. It has had a one-off capital grant of £376,100. This centre is also being developed into a children's centre.
Gloucestershire county council is planning to create eight children's centres by April 2006. The locations of these children's centres are as follows: Treetops children's centre in Dursley ward; Hesters Way children's centre building on existing provision from the Cheltenham Sure Start local programme and the neighbourhood nursery in Hesters Way ward; Bartongate children's centre building on existing provision from Barton, Tredworth and White City Sure Start Local programme and the Neighbourhood Nursery in the Eastgate ward in Gloucester; Finlay children's centre building from the Gloucester Sure Start Local Programme on a school site and covering the Barton and Tredworth ward; Gardners Lane children's centre building on the Early Excellence centre and reaching those in the wards of St. Peter's, St.Paul's, Lower High Street and Swindon Village; Robinswood children's centre building from the Early Years centre in the Matson ward; Rowanfield children's centre building on Rowanfield Infants School in St.Mark's ward and Linden children's centre building on Linden Primary School covering Moreland and Westgate wards.
These centres will reach 4,731 children under five resident in the areas. 176 new child care places will mean that 469 full-time child care places are available within the eight areas. Gloucestershire have been given indicative allocations of £1 million for capital development and £355,000 of revenue funding for the development of these children's centres.
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