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Deaf Pupils

Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what research she has commissioned on the effects of matching teaching methods to the degree of deafness on the academic achievements of deaf and hard of hearing pupils; [2071]

(2) what research she has commissioned on academic achievements of deaf and hard of hearing pupils in (a) mainstream schools and (b) special schools and units. [2072]

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Beverley Hughes: In 2003 the Department commissioned Cambridge and Manchester universities to carry out a joint study of teaching approaches for different types of special educational needs (SEN). The study found a large degree of overlap between different approaches—in essence, good teaching skills are much the same for all pupils, regardless of whether or not they have SEN, or the type of SEN.

That study did not include a detailed assessment of the effectiveness of different specialised approaches in teaching children with hearing impairment. We are considering what further work might be undertaken in that area.

From 2004 the Department has—as part of the Annual School Census—collected information on the type of Special Educational Need of individual pupils. This enables us to monitor the progress of pupils with different types of SEN, including those with hearing impairments, in various settings.

As with other categories of special need, it is important that parents of children with hearing impairment feel supported. The Department's Early Support Programme has published an information booklet for parents on hearing impairment. The Programme has also produced a monitoring protocol for deaf babies and children. This is designed to help families and professionals document the progress of children in the first three years or so after deafness has been identified.

Extended Schools

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will require extended schools to make facilities available to supplementary schools in their community free of charge upon request; and if she will make a statement. [1854]

Beverley Hughes: My Department recognises the contribution, over a great number of years, that many communities make towards the education of our children, particularly those from minority ethnic backgrounds, through supplementary school initiatives.

We encourage mainstream and supplementary schools to work together to share experiences, expertise and resources. There are many positive examples of collaboration, including schools that make their facilities available free of charge or for a 'peppercorn' rent.

The Department also encourages schools to use funding received through the Ethnic Minority Achievement Grant to support the development of partnerships with supplementary schools.

We want all schools to develop a core offer of extended services by 2010, to include child care, study support, parenting support, family and adult learning and community use of school premises, all of which can clearly link with the supplementary schools agenda. It will be for schools, working with key partners and in consultation with other key stakeholders, including parents and local communities, to decide what services they should offer. This will be based on a range of factors including the school's capacity to offer services; the need for particular services; and what already exists
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in the local community. From 2005–06 all local authorities are receiving funding to support the development of extended services in their schools.

Looked-after Children

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what support her Department will provide to local authorities to support them in their duty under the Children Act 2004 to promote the educational achievement of looked-after children. [2319]

Maria Eagle: The Department is publicly consulting on statutory guidance which sets out what local authorities need to do to fulfil their duty to promote the educational achievement of looked-after children. We are also continuing to fund our 10 regional education protects networks to play a key role in sharing and disseminating good practice as local authorities implement the statutory guidance. In addition to mainstream funding for children's services, since 2003–04 we have provided local authorities with £42 million each year through the vulnerable children grant in order to improve access to education for vulnerable children, including looked-after children.

Mobile Phones (Children)

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what guidance has been issued by her Department to schools in relation to mobile phone use by children. [2203]

Jacqui Smith: When the original report of the Independent Expert Group on Mobile Phones (IEGMP)—known as the Stewart Report—was published in 2000 we informed all schools that it was available. Schools were also told that the Department of Health leaflet 'Mobile Phones and Health' was available, and we drew their attention to the paragraphs relating to children and young people under 16. Our guidance on Teachernet states that schools, in drawing up health and safety policies, may wish to take into account advice from the UK chief medical officers that where children and young people do use mobile phones, they should be encouraged to:

Psychopathic Tendencies (Children)

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what research her Department has conducted into children with early psychopathic tendencies and their predisposition to antisocial behaviour. [2312]

Mr. Byrne: I have been asked to reply.

The Department, the Home Office and the Medical Research Council have jointly funded a large-scale research study of twins looking at the aetiology and developmental pathways of psychopathic tendencies in children.

This research found that in children with psychopathic tendencies, antisocial behaviour appeared to be strongly inherited. In contrast, the antisocial behaviour of children who did not have psychopathic
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tendencies was mainly influenced by environmental factors. These findings suggest that psychopathic tendencies may have a large heritable component. However, environmental factors are still important and early intervention may ameliorate the impact of these traits in later life.

The Department has also produced an expert paper entitled "Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD): Children and Adolescents" which explores the scope for preventing ASPD by intervening in adolescence. This can be found on the website of the National Forensic Mental Health Research and Development Programme at

The following associated research is currently being undertaken:

Registered Foster Carers

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what progress has been made in identifying and resolving collection difficulties to enable the Government to work towards the collection of data relating to the number of registered foster carers. [2200]

Maria Eagle [holding answer 6 June 2005]: Work to identify and resolve data collection difficulties is ongoing. It is planned to undertake fieldwork involving a sample of 10 local authorities in order to explore fully the range of relevant issues, to enable the development of an informative and workable data collection process. This fieldwork is expected to be completed by the end of 2005.
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Schools (Hertfordshire)

Mr. Walker: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what measures she will take to assist parents who fail to get their children into any of their chosen schools in Hertfordshire; and if she will make a statement. [779]

Jacqui Smith: Where a school is oversubscribed, it naturally follows that not every parent will be able to have their preference met. Parents who fail to secure a place at any of their preferred schools will be offered an alternative place; usually the nearest school to their home with places available. Parents should be able to make informed decisions on the likelihood of being able to secure a place at their preferred school and all local authorities already publish information for parents to help them do so. However, we would expect local authorities to continue looking at ways in which parents could be better informed.

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