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21 Jun 2005 : Column 1027W—continued

School Meals

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to the answer of 7 June 2005, Official Report, column 477W, on school meals, how many schools provide (a) vegetables and (b) fruit on a majority of school days. [5021]

Jacqui Smith: The Department does not hold this information centrally. However current nutritional guidelines stipulate that, for primary and secondary schools, a piece of fruit and a vegetable must be available on the menu every day.
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The Department of Health is funding the school fruit and vegetable scheme, part of the 5 A DAY programme, to increase fruit and vegetable consumption. Under the scheme, all four to six-year-old children in LEA maintained infant, primary and special schools will be entitled to a free piece of fruit or vegetable each school day.

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment her Department has made of the impact of existing catering contracts on plans to improve school meals services. [5608]

Jacqui Smith: We will expect all schools to meet the new standards for school meals—whether they have LEA catering provision, in-house catering or contract directly with a private provider. That is why we are working closely with all stakeholders, including industry, to develop and implement the transformation.

Officials are examining the implications of a change to the law for existing contracts, for when the proposed tougher minimum nutritional standards become mandatory in September 2006. We envisage that the majority will not present a problem, but are working to understand the scale and nature of any potential difficulties.

School Places (Berkshire)

Mr. Rob Wilson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many vacant (a) primary and (b) secondary school places there are in each local education authority in Berkshire. [5458]

Jacqui Smith: The latest published figures on the number of empty primary and secondary places in each local authority in Berkshire are set out in the following table.
Local authorityPrimarySecondary
Bracknell Forest972895
West Berkshire1,328330
Windsor and Maidenhead670524

Surplus Places Survey 2003

Mr. Rob Wilson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many secondary school exclusions there have been in each local education authority in Berkshire in each year since 1997. [5459]

Jacqui Smith: The requested information is given in the table. Figures for 2003/04 will be available from 23 June 2005.
Maintained secondary schools1: Number and percentage of permanently excluded pupils 1997/98 to 2002/03

867Bracknell Forest320.52360.99260.43
868Windsor and Maidenhead340.35210.21220.22
869West Berkshire280.26180.16140.12

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867Bracknell Forest230.3823038180.30
868Windsor and Maidenhead300.29170.17170.16
869West Berkshire190.16210.18220.18

(53) Includes middle schools as deemed.
(54) The number of permanent exclusions expressed as a percentage of the number (headcount) of pupils in maintained secondary schools.
Annual Schools Census

Schools (Special Measures)

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what percentage of students were entitled to free school meals in each of the schools placed in special measures in the last 10 years. [3223]

Jacqui Smith: The information requested has been placed in the Library.

Secondary Pupils (Educational Achievement)

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment she has made of the study conducted by Professor David Jesson of York university into the secondary school educational achievements of children who achieved the highest marks in Key Stage 2 tests in 1999. [5838]

Jacqui Smith: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave on 7 June 2005, Official Report, column 474W-75W to the hon. Member for Hertsmere (Mr. Clappison).

Sex Education

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what sex education information her Department has distributed to secondary school pupils; and if she will make a statement. [4798]

Jacqui Smith: The Department is not responsible for distributing information on sex education to secondary school pupils. Head teachers and governors decide on the content and materials used in sex and relationship education (SRE) in consultation with parents and with support from Government websites such as the PSHE Teachernet site. Individual schools' SRE policies should have regard to the Department's SRE guidance issued to all schools in July 2000.

SRE in secondary schools should inform young people about contraception and safer sex, and enable them to develop skills to avoid being pressured into unwanted or unprotected sex. It should also cover information and knowledge about HIV/AIDS.

Special Educational Needs

Mr. Cameron: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will seek legislative changes to remove the presumption in favour of inclusion for children with special educational needs; and if she will make a statement. [4727]

Maria Eagle: Removing Barriers to Achievement, our special educational needs strategy, already provides a clear national vision for improving support and
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outcomes for all children with special educational needs. It sets out the way in which policy and practice in SEN will need to develop in the coming years, and sets out an ambitious programme of sustained action and review. The aim of the strategy is to build the capacity of schools, both special and mainstream, early education settings and local education authorities, from a solid base nationally, to take forward change to meet diverse pupil needs and to increase parents' confidence in SEN provision. We believe that this is best achieved without further legislation, particularly as there have been significant changes to the statutory framework within the last four years.

Synthetic Phonics

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to the answers of 13 June 2005, Official Report, column 229W, regarding the independent review of the role of synthetic phonics, when she will announce the names of the people who will work alongside Mr. Jim Rose in conducting the review. [5025]

Jacqui Smith: We are currently discussing with Jim Rose the support he will need. We will announce the names of his advisers as soon as possible.

Teacher Recruitment

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much was paid to agencies for teacher recruitment by each local education authority in the last year for which figures are available; and how much was spent by (a) each such authority and (b) schools in each such authority on teacher recruitment in that year. [5799]

Jacqui Smith: The information is not collected centrally.

Teenage Pregnancies

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what steps the Government are taking to tackle teenage pregnancies. [5395]

Beverley Hughes: The Government's 10-year Teenage Pregnancy Strategy continues to make progress in meeting its target of a 50 per cent. reduction in under-18s conception rates by 2010. There has been a 9.8 per cent. decline in under 18 conceptions between 2003 (latest year for which we have figures available) and 1998, the baseline year for the Teenage Pregnancy Strategy and a 9.9 per cent. reduction in under 16 conceptions between 1998 and 2003. Four out of five
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local authorities show an overall decline in their rates and eight out of nine regions have reductions ranging from 8–16 per cent.

This comprehensive strategy covers four key themes which includes joined up action, national campaign, prevention and support. Delivery of the strategy continues to be a priority for the Government. It is clear that an accelerated rate of reduction is needed to meet the target by 2010. We have asked all local partnerships to intensify their efforts to strengthen the delivery of the strategy to areas with the highest under-18 conception rates. 50 per cent. of under 18 conceptions are in 20 per cent. of wards with the highest rate. The vast majority of local authority areas have at least one high rate ward. Effective, comprehensive targeting of local strategies in these 'hot spot' areas is now vital, together with dissemination of best practice for those local authorities whose reduction chance is well above the national average.

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