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Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to her Answer of 6 July 2004, Official Report, column 340W, on the Leading Edge Schools Programme, what discussions her Department is having on the Leading Edge Partnership Programme; and with whom. 
Jacqui Smith: Discussions have taken place about the future of the Leading Edge Partnership Programme, in the context of the Five Year Strategy commitment to offer leading roles for high performing specialist schools, with a wide range of professionals. The Department has had discussions with, among others, the Specialist Schools Trust, the Youth Sport Trust, the Teacher Training Agency, the Leading Edge Partnership Programme's Steering Group and other interested Head Teachers.
Jacqui Smith: Happy slapping incidents may well be considered violent crimes under existing criminal law legislation, and therefore should be dealt with in the same way as other such incidents. Guidance on dealing with such incidents is available on the teachernet website and further advice to schools on violence reduction is currently being developed.
In terms of bullying by mobile phone, part of the Anti-Bullying Alliance (ABA) remit under the funding provided by the Department is to develop innovative and practical approaches to tackling bullying, including the modern menace of bullying by text messaging. Bullying by text messages on mobile phones is also referred to in our guidance pack for schools 'Don't suffer in Silence'.
Mr. Bailey: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will consult mobile phone companies on the development of new technologies to block the use of mobile phones in schools. 
Jacqui Smith: Local authorities are responsible for planning school places in their area including the creation and retention of small schools. In the interests of raising standards, we expect local authorities to take parents' preferences for a particular type of provision into account in the planning process. Statutory Guidance to school organisation committees and the schools adjudicator makes clear that they must not assume a school must be of a certain size to be a good school.
Jacqui Smith: Where the appropriate response to low standards in an area is the establishment of a new schoolwhether an additional school or a school to replace one or more existing schoolsthe local authority will be required under the Education Act 2005 to invite potential providers to bring forward proposals.
Jacqui Smith [holding answer 23 May 2005]: This is a matter for the Learning and Skills Council. Mark Haysom, the Council's Chief Executive, will write to the hon. Member with this information and a copy of his reply will be placed in the Library.
The IT Centre offers free, low level IT courses mainly to adults, that are funded entirely from the college's funding allocation from the LSC. This provision is not a priority for the LSC and the college, having reviewed its adult provision, has decided to close the Centre because it is not economically viable. In making this decision the college was aware that suitable alternative provision was available in Colchester. Colchester has a large FE college, a large adult community college and numerous private providers that offer similar IT courses.
In order to achieve Government targets for 200506 LSC funding has been focused on priorities which has reduced the funding available for non-priority adult provision such as that offered at the IT Centre in Colchester. The scale of reduction in adult provision is likely to be greater than anticipated due to our need to support unprecedented numbers of young people in FE provision, and the LSC is currently reviewing planning arrangements and modelling funding implications to assist college plans for 200607.
Jacqui Smith: We recently commissioned MORI to conduct research into the extent and nature of study support in schools. Findings indicated that 90 per cent. of primary and 98 per cent. of secondary schools now offer some study support. The most popular activities are PE and sport, followed by music and ICT.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many places have been available in out-of-school units in each year since 1995; and what plans she has to increase the number. 
Jacqui Smith: The available information is given in the table. It is the responsibility of local authorities (LAs) to provide suitable education for those children of compulsory school age who, by reason of illness, exclusion from school or otherwise, may not otherwise receive it. Therefore each LA will decide how many PRU places it needs, in line with its own policies, the efficient use of resources and DfES guidance.
|Number of pupils|
|Position in January|
|Pupils on the unit register only(40)||Dually registered pupils(41)||Total|
The actions we are taking to increase (a) flexibility of provision and (b) choice and diversity in 1619 education are set out in the Departments' five year strategy, the 1419 White Paper and the Government's manifesto.
14 Jun 2005 : Column 366W
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what plans she has to increase diversity in 1619 provision of education outside sixth form colleges, school sixth forms and further education colleges. 
Jacqui Smith: An objective of competitions for new 1619 provision is to open the market to new providers. These could include schools and colleges. They could also include others, for example private sector providers of vocational learning. The intention is that competitions will attract high quality, and where appropriate innovative proposals that will contribute to an improved local offer.
Jacqui Smith: The guidance on increasing choice and diversity in 1619 provision that was prepared earlier this year has been reviewed in the light of policy developments. We plan to issue it for consultation later in the summer.
Jacqui Smith: Departmental officials have worked with the LSC on developing draft guidance on how the new measures for increasing choice and diversity in 1619 provision will work in practice. We plan to consult stakeholders more widely on the draft guidance later in the summer.
Mr. Blizzard: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will allocate a portion of the funding for rebuilding of secondary schools to further education colleges for delivery of vocational education to 14 to 16-year-olds. 
The Spending Review settlement for 200506 to 200708 provides however, for capital investment in both the schools and further education sectors. The Department has been working with the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) to ensure that this capital investment is complementary. Where BSF proposals address the 1419 agenda in association with a local further education college, the LSC will consider this when determining applications to upgrade further education provision, where this is deemed to be necessary as part of the overall local strategy. In order to support the needs of further education colleges, the Chancellor's March 2005 Budget statement included additional resources for the sector of £100 million and £250 million in 200809 and 200910 respectively.
14 Jun 2005 : Column 367W
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