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5 Apr 2005 : Column 1338W—continued

Further Education (Shrewsbury and Atcham)

Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many students at (a) Shrewsbury Sixth Form College and (b) Shrewsbury College of Arts and Technology paid tuition fees in each year since 1997. [223176]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: This is a matter for the Learning and Skills Council (LSC). Mark Haysom, the Council's Chief Executive, will write to the hon. Gentleman with the information requested and a copy of his reply will be placed in the Library.

Immigration and Asylum Skills Body

Pete Wishart: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills when the skills advisory body announced as part of the Home Office strategy for asylum and immigration in Controlling our Borders: making migration work for Britain, is expected to be set up; whether it will have statutory Scottish representation; and if he will make a statement. [223540]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: We will work closely with the Home Office, the Department of Trade and Industry and the Skills for Business Network to set up the new Skills Advisory Body in the course of this year. We are not proposing to place the new body on a statutory footing. It will have Scottish representation.

Looked After Children

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what steps she has taken to improve the line of accountability of social services departments placing looked after children out of area since the passage of the Children Act 2004. [222068]

Margaret Hodge: Children's services authorities are in the process of appointing the directors of children's services (DCS) and lead members for children's services required under the Children Act 2004. About 60 authorities report that they have a DCS in place or have appointed one; almost as many have designated a lead member. The director and lead member will improve children's services authority accountability for the placement of all looked after children by being, respectively, professionally and politically responsible on behalf of the authority for the safety and welfare of such children.

Although all members of the authority have a shared responsibility for corporate parenting, the lead member will take the lead in ensuring that looked after children have their interests protected, their opportunities maximised, their educational achievement enhanced and their care shaped to meet their needs. Draft statutory guidance, on which we have consulted and which will be published shortly, states explicitly that the lead member should take the local political lead in all corporate parenting issues. The 2004 Act also introduces a new duty on local authorities to promote the educational achievement of looked after children.

The Department is currently conducting a review of local authority practice in placing looked after children in other local authority areas, with a view to both reducing their dependence on such placements and improving support for children who are placed out of
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authority. In the meantime, we have written to local authorities to remind them of the importance of ensuring that looked after children are placed out-of-authority only where their assessed needs clearly justify it, and to review their current practice to ensure that they are meeting their existing statutory responsibilities; taking steps to prevent, wherever possible, children being placed away from home (e.g. by developing an adequate supply of good quality local foster and residential care places); and securing good outcomes for children who are placed out-of-authority.

We have also asked the Commission for Social Care Inspection to offer advice on how best they can monitor and assess local authority practice in this area.

National Literacy Strategy

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will describe the synthetic phonics programme in the National Literacy Strategy. [224328]

Derek Twigg: The National Literacy Strategy, now the Primary National Strategy, places a clear and early emphasis on synthetic phonics instruction, reinforced by complementary reading strategies such as context, grammatical knowledge and word recognition. This is in line with the best available international research.

We have produced structured teaching materials for teachers on synthetic phonics entitled Progression in Phonics" published in 1999, and Playing with Sounds": a supplement to Progression in Phonics" published in 2004. Copies of these have been placed in the House of Commons Library.

The approach to the teaching of synthetic phonics advocated by the Primary National Strategy is that children should be taught as quickly as possible to identify, segment and blend phonemes in speech and writing, and that this should be taught directly, and not left to inference or invention. We recommend that synthetic phonics should be taught as a separate set of skills and knowledge within the broader structure of the literacy hour.

The Playing with Sounds programme is designed to support the learning and teaching of synthetic phonics for children from the ages of three to six. It begins with developing children's awareness and discrimination of sounds and supports their progression through segmentation and blending, to an ability to read and spell regular polysyllabic words. The pace at which children are introduced to phonic knowledge through the Playing with Sounds programme is quicker than that set out in the original National Literacy Strategy framework and supports the achievement of the foundation stage early learning goals.

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many cues to word recognition are recommended in the Searchlight approach within the National Literacy Strategy; and if she will describe each of these cues. [224329]

Derek Twigg: The National Literacy Strategy is based on the best international research available and supports the statutory requirements of the National Curriculum. It advocates a model of teaching reading which has come to be known by the Searchlights"
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metaphor. The model characterises reading as the ability to coordinate and orchestrate four basic cues. These are:

The Searchlight model is designed to enable the reader to cross-refer between cues, which support each other. The ability to use this range of cues together makes it less critical if one of them fails on any given occasion. However, we promote phonics as the first and foremost strategy that children employ as they encounter new words.

Phonic decoding and instant recognition of high frequency irregular words are the cues employed at the level of word recognition; grammatical knowledge and understanding of context operate at the level of phrases, sentences and text as a whole. Therefore both aspects of the reading process, decoding and comprehension, are represented in the approach and complement each other.

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the names are of the officials in her Department responsible for advising her on her response to the Clackmannanshire longitudinal study into the teaching of reading. [224330]

Derek Twigg: Officials in the School Standards Group are responsible for advising the Secretary of State on all aspects of the teaching and learning of literacy in schools. Further details can be obtained from the Civil Service Year Book and the DfES website. In addition, through the National Strategies, we draw on the expertise of a number of practitioners and academics who are constantly responding to and keeping abreast of the latest research. In this capacity Dr. Kevan Collins, Director of the Primary National Strategy, has provided advice to Ministers and officials on the implications of the Clackmannanshire study.

Over time our approach to phonics, which is the subject of the Clackmannanshire study, has been informed by a wide range of experts in the field. In 2003 we convened a seminar of all the leading researchers and practitioners working on phonics issues. The findings of this seminar were independently reviewed and used to inform the development of our most recent guidance on phonics Playing with Sounds: A supplement to Progression in Phonics".

National Voluntary Youth Organisation Grant

Mr. Nicholas Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will list the successful bidders in the 2005 to 2008 round of the National Voluntary Youth Organisation grant scheme, broken down by amount of grant. [224289]

Margaret Hodge: The successful bidders in the 2005–08 NVYO grant scheme are detailed in the following table, together with the amounts awarded for the three-year duration of the scheme.
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Name of organisationNVYO grant—three-year total
Academy of Youth, University of the First Age (UFA)279,443
African and Caribbean Evangelical Alliance (ACEA)150,000
Baptist Union of Great Britain317,866
Boys' Brigade211,142
Brathay Hall Trust286,167
The British Diabetic Association (Diabetes UK)131,316
British Red Cross452,474
British Youth Council486,430
Changemakers Foundation280,088
Children's Express146,716
Children's Society179,802
Church of England Board of Education421,905
Churches Together In Britain and Ireland (Spectrum)167,475
Churches Together in England156,951
Commonwealth Youth Exchange Council150,000
Community Matters174,423
The Crusaders294,258
Development Education Association150,815
Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Award for Young People—Continyou204,158
Duke of Edinburgh's Award348,277
Eating Disorders Association (EDA)47,509
Endeavour Training688,825
Girlguiding UK100,841
Girls' Brigade174,233
Girls Venture Corps Air Cadets97,260
Hope UK231,830
Inspire Trust190,904
International Voluntary Service120,446
Jewish Lads' and Girls' Brigade340,038
The Leaveners15,000
Maccabi GB196,290
Message Trust and Project Caleb168,201
Methodist Church (MAYC)251,848
Minorities of Europe155,303
Muslim Youth Helpline150,000
National Association of Clubs for Young People779,641
National Association of Youth Theatres333,105
National Community Boats Association123,990
National Deaf Children's Society179,145
National Federation Young Farmers Clubs396,000
The National Trust290,447
National Youth Theatre of GB280,218
NYA (on behalf of Youth Bank)215,452
ONE20 trading as Timebank150,000
Outward Bound Trust248,487
The Prince's Trust150,000
The Princess Royal Trust for Carers101,330
Raleigh International166,509
Reformed Synagogues of GB (Reform Judaism)150,060
Rural Youth Network235,556
Scout Association309,453
Student Action for Refugees (STAR)151,442
Tall Ships Trust224,404
Time for God149,963
Trident Trust—Brathay Hall297,726
UJIA Makor150,000
UK Youth694,690
UNICEF UK306,978
United Reformed Church150,000
Weston Spirit193,299
Wildlife Trust150,000
Youth Access608,122
Youth Access and Leap Confronting Conflict150,000
Youth Action Network150,000
Youth for Christ235,461
Youth Music Theatre UK202,193
YWCA England and Wales486,144

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Mr. Nicholas Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what criteria were used to assess bids for inclusion in the National Voluntary Youth Organisation grant scheme. [224290]

Margaret Hodge: The criteria by which all decisions on the 160 applications for funding under the National Voluntary Youth Organisation (NVYO) grant scheme were made were explicit in both the application forms and guidance notes, to assist organisations through the application process.

The guidance notes clearly stated that applications should make a strong contribution to the achievement of the outcomes for young people set out in Every Child Matters.

The Department looked for bids that (this was in paragraph 13.2 of the guidance):

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