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24 Mar 2005 : Column 998W—continued

Special Educational Needs

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will make a statement on Government policy on children with special educational needs. [223616]

Margaret Hodge: The Government's policy on special educational needs is set out in its SEN Strategy,

Removing Barriers to Achievement",

published in February 2004.

Accidents

Jon Trickett: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many accidents occurred at her departmental premises in each of the last five years involving (a) members of her Department's staff and (b) members of the public. [222575]

Derek Twigg: The Department for Education and Skills records are only maintained for a three year period in line with the guidance from the Health and Safety Executive. Our records do not differentiate between accidents to staff and other people. The following table provides the information requested.
Total number of accidents reportedRIDDOR reports
2000n/a15
2001n/a12
2002132Yes
2003141Yes
2004107Yes
2005(16)14(17)




n/a = not available.
(16) Year to date.
(17) None to date.


Jon Trickett: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what arrangements for monitoring accidents at work involving members of staff of her Department are in place; and if she will make a statement. [222637]

Derek Twigg: All accidents in the Department for Education and Skills are investigated by trained health and safety officials. Reports on the nature and cause of
 
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all accidents are completed and investigations undertaken to identify the appropriate remedial action to reduce or eliminate any risks.

Adult Education

Linda Perham: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) whether her Department will fully fund courses for adults at Level 3 in Redbridge in 2005–06; [223074]

(2) whether she expects fees for courses above Level 2 for adults in Redbridge to rise in 2005–06. [223076]

Dr. Howells: It is our policy to ensure that those groups of people benefiting from fully funded further education provision will continue to do so. There will be no change in the fee concessions arrangements that help unemployed people, those on income based benefits, and retired people and working families on low incomes, to access further education. We will continue to make substantial levels of public funding available to all which covers the largest part of the cost of courses but we also expect adult learners, who can afford to do so, to make a contribution to the costs of their learning. Those people already qualified at Level 2, or not in one of our priority groups, will on average pay a higher fee contribution in 2005/06 unless they qualify for fee concessions.

Linda Perham: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will ensure fee concessions remain in place for those aged over 60-years who wish to study in a further education college in Redbridge. [223075]

Dr. Howells: Older people will continue to be eligible for concessions funded by my Department through the Learning and Skills Council if they are receiving an income based benefit such as housing benefit or council tax benefit, and they may be eligible for fee concessions if they are receiving the pension credit. learners of any age will also continue to have access to literacy, numeracy and English language courses free of charge. Colleges such as those in Redbridge will continue to have considerable discretion in setting fees, and although we want colleges to raise more of the income they voluntarily forgo, we have no plans to stop colleges offering additional concessions if appropriate.

Apprentices

Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what information she has on the number of apprentices who continue on to university in England. [219019]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: Details of entry qualifications of entrants to higher education are collected annually by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) but students with apprenticeships are not identified separately.

We are committed to strengthening the links between higher education and apprenticeship, and have commissioned work to explore the current evidential base on apprenticeship progression to higher education which will inform LSC and DfES workin this area.
 
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Children's Commissioner for England

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the (a) remit and (b) salary will be of the new Children's Commissioner for England. [222044]

Margaret Hodge: The Children's Commissioner's remit is set out in the Children Act 2004. He will promote awareness of the views and interests of children and young people; working as an independent champion, with a strategic role which gives him wide scope and influence in advancing their interests. He will be particularly concerned with the five outcomes that children and young people told us were critical to their well-being: being healthy, staying safe, enjoying and achieving, making a positive contribution and achieving economic well-being. He must have regard to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in carrying out his work. The Commissioner will be able to focus on the widest possible interpretation of children's well-being and have the freedom to pursue whatever issues he judges most important to children and young people.

In addition, where the Children's Commissioner considers that the case of an individual child in England raises issues of public policy of relevance to other children, he may hold an inquiry into that case.

In line with the Devolution Settlements, the Children's Commissioner has the function of promoting awareness of the views and interests of children in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland in so far as they relate to non-devolved matters.

The Children's Commissioner's salary is £130,000 per annum.

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what special arrangements will be put in place when the Children's Commissioner for England deals with complaints about the conduct of paediatricians dealing with children. [222691]

Margaret Hodge: None.

As stated in the Children Act 2004, the Children's Commissioner has the function of promoting awareness of the views and interests of children. As part of this function, he may choose to consider or research any matter, relating to the interests of children, including the operation of complaints procedures. He also has an inquiry function which means that when he considers that the case of an individual child raises questions of relevance to children generally, he may hold an inquiry into that case. He is also independent of Government and if he chooses to deal with complaints about the conduct of paediatricians or any other professional group, it will be up to him how he exercises this duty and what arrangements he will make.

As in all his work, whether the Commissioner holds an inquiry or considers an issue, he will exercise impartiality at all times.
 
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Stourbridge

Ms Shipley: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will set out, with statistical evidence relating as closely as possible to Stourbridge constituency, the effects on the constituency of changes to her Department's policies since 1997. [223339]

Mr. Stephen Twigg: The Stourbridge constituency lies within Dudley local education authority. The most recent Key Stage 2 and GCSE and equivalents Achievement for pupils attending schools in Stourbridge are given in the following tables:
 
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Key Stage 2 Achievements of 11-year-old pupils attending schools in the Stourbridge constituency—Percentage of pupils gaining level 4 and above

19972004Percentage point improvement 1997–2004
Stourbridge
English(18)658318
Maths(18)657813
National average
English(19)'637815
Maths(19)617413


(18) Pupils attending schools in Stourbridge constituency
(19) The average for all schools in England (including independent schools)



GCSE and equivalents(20) Achievement of 15-year-old pupils(21) attending schools in the Stourbridge constituency

Percentage of 15-year-olds gaining19972004Percentage point improvement 1997–2004
Stourbridge—5 + A*-C51.054.83.8
Stourbridge—5 + A*-G90.092.02.0
National Average—5+ A*-C45.153.78.6
National Average—5+ A*-G87.088.81.8


(20) For 2004 only results incorporate GCSEs, GNVQs and a wide range of other qualifications approved pre-16. Prior to 2004 results are based on GCSEs and GNVQs only.
(21) As standard the results reported relate to pupils aged 15 at the start of the academic year i.e. 31 August and therefore reaching the end of compulsory education at the end of the school year.


At national level, standards have improved across all key stages. The Primary and Key Stage 3 National Strategies, together with the measures we have taken to help schools in the toughest areas are continuing to deliver better results.

Further information by constituency, is provided within the Department's 'In Your Area' website available at http://www.dfes.gov.uk/inyourarea. Where information is not available at the constituency level it has been provided at local education authority level.

This website allows users to access key facts and local information about education and skills based on postcodes. The data available within the site offers comparisons between 1997 and the latest available year and covers five geographies. These are parliamentary constituency, ward, local authority district, local education authority and Government office region. England figures are also provided.

The information available within the web site is grouped in a number of broad categories including Literacy and Numeracy at age 11, Literacy and Numeracy at age 14, GCSE/GNVQ results, Pupils with Special Educational Needs, School Initiatives, School Workforce, School Funding and Resources, Children's Social Services, Early Years, Class Sizes, Post 16, Higher Education and Adult Education.

Additional information could be provided only at disproportionate cost. However, my Department is investigating ways in which we can disseminate more information about the effects of our policies at a local level. The 'In Your Area' website will be further developed over the coming months to include additional information about Adult Education, School Funding, School Initiatives, School Performance, School Workforce and Post 16.


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