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28 Jun 2005 : Column 1445W—continued

Special Schools

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many special schools have closed since 1997. [5932]

Jacqui Smith: There have been 240 special school closures in England within the period January 1997 to January 2005, with some 121 schools opening in the same period (nine of which subsequently closed and are counted above) giving a net reduction in special schools of 119 in the period. This compares to 234 closures between 1986–97.

Spending per Pupil

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the spending per pupil was in
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(a) primary, (b) secondary and (c) special schools in (i)1985 and (ii) in the last year for which figures are available. [7213]

Jacqui Smith: The information is as follows.
School based expenditure(37)per pupil(38)in cash terms 1985–86 and 2003–04(39)(5507940040)in England—as reported by LEAs as at 23 June 2005


(37)School based expenditure includes only expenditure incurred directly by the schools. This includes the pay of teachers and school-based support staff, school premises costs, books and equipment, and certain other supplies and services, less any capital items funded from recurrent spending and income from sales, fees, charges, rents and rates. This excludes the central cost of support services such as home to school transport, local authority administration and the financing of capital expenditure.
(38)Pupil numbers include only those pupils attending LEA maintained schools and are drawn from the DfES Annual Schools Census adjusted to be on a financial year basis.
(39)1999–2000 saw a change in data source when the data collection moved from the RO1 form collected by the ODPM to the section 52 form from the DfES. 2003–04 is the latest year for which figures are available.
(40)The main difference between 1985–86 and 2003–04 is that meals and milk are no longer excluded and that no adjustments for balances are now made. However, 1985–86 also includes all premature retirement compensation (PRC) and Crombie payments, mandatory payments and other indirect employee expenses, while in 2003–04 only the schools element of these categories is included. Also, for some LEAs, expenditure that had previously been attributed to the school sectors was reported within the LEA part of the section 52 form in 2003–04 and would therefore be excluded, though this is not quantifiable from existing sources.
Figures are rounded to the nearest £10 and are in cash terms.

Sure Start

Mrs. Ellman: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills whether she expects the current level of Sure Start provision in Everton to continue. [6901]

Beverley Hughes [holding answer 27 June 2005]: Everton in Liverpool has benefited from both the trailblazer Sure Start West Everton and Breckfield local programme approved in 1999 and the Everton Early Childhood Centre (EEC) approved in February 2001
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which are based on the same site. The building was developed with local and national Government funding including both the Sure Start and Early Excellence programmes. The Sure Start local programme and the EEC were brought together and designated as one of the first integrated children's centres in June 2003.

For 2005/06 the Sure Start revenue funding for this children's centre is currently:
Amount (£)
Sure Start Local Programme Revenue787,623
Early Excellence Centre Revenue75,647
Total Revenue Funding 2005/06863,270

From 2006/07 funding will begin to taper for the trailblazer" local programmes as part of the planned process of incorporation in to mainstream services. Everton's Sure Start local programme funding for 2006/07 will be £590,717. Early Excellence Centres have been funded until March 2006. However, Liverpool local authority will receive children's centre funding of £2,955,804 for 2004–06 and £9,025,886 for 2006–08. This is to support existing children's centres like Everton as well as to develop more. We expect Early Years provision to be maintained and to grow through children's centres, so that by 2010 there is a children's centre for every community. The Sure Start budget will more than double to £1.8 million by 2008. Exactly how and when this funding is used to support children's centres is a matter for the local authority to decide based on their assessment of existing provision, levels of deprivation and families needs.

Tuition Fees

Jim Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much was raised from higher education tuition fees in each education authority in England in (a) 2002–03, (b) 2003–04 and (c) 2004–05; from how many students the sums were raised in each case; and what the average payment was in each year. [6328]

Bill Rammell: The information requested has been placed in the Libraries.


Abduction of African children

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what measures his Department has taken to prevent abduction of African children in England and Wales. [4649]

Paul Goggins: Under section 1(1) of the Child Abduction Act 1984, it is an offence for a person connected with a child under the age of 16 (for example a parent or guardian) to take or send the child out of the UK without the appropriate consent.

The Act also criminalises abduction by other persons. Under section 2(1) of the 1984 Act, a person commits an offence if, without lawful authority or reasonable excuse, he takes or detains a child under 16 so as to: (a) remove him from the lawful control of any person
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having lawful control of the child; or (b) keep him out of the lawful control of any person entitled to lawful control of the child.

Ultimately, it is for the police to decide whether to prefer any charges and the Crown Prosecution Service to determine whether to proceed with a prosecution. Only the courts can decide if an offence has been committed.

The maximum penalty, on summary conviction, for an offence of abduction is six months' imprisonment or a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum or both. The maximum penalty, on conviction on indictment, is seven years' imprisonment.

Anti-terrorism Legislation

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he plans to implement the recommendations made by Lord Carlile of Berriew QC in his review of the operation of anti-terror laws. [3567]

Mr. Charles Clarke: I will shortly be placing copies in the House Library of the Government response to Lord Carlile. This will outline progress made on the recommendations made in his report on the operation in 2004 of the Terrorism Act 2000.

I am grateful to Lord Carlile for the work that he has undertaken which has found that overall the Act continues to be fit for purpose.

Biometric Information

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what information he has collated on which other countries are (a) planning and (b) using biometric information on (i) passports and (ii)identification cards. [6161]

Andy Burnham: All the Schengen states will be required to use biometrics in passports under Council Regulation 2252/2004. These biometric are facial images and finger prints, which will be introduced by 18 months and three years respectively for the date of adoption. Non-Schengen states may choose to follow the requirements, though they would not be bound by the timetable. Similar information has not been collated for Non-EU states. All ED member states which issue identity cards are considering introducing biometrics to increase security. This is part of a world-wide move towards using biometrics in travel and other identity documents, not an EU requirement as there is no legal basis for the Community to act on identity cards. Our information on current procedures is that biometric information is only currently stored on the Italian national identity card. Among non-EU states, Hong Kong currently includes biometric information on its national identity cards and Thailand is planning their introduction.

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when the Passport Service expects to issue biometric passports in accordance with US requirements. [6178]

Andy Burnham: The UK Passport Service plans to commence the introduction of biometric passports in February 2006 and to be producing the new passport for all its customers by end of July 2006. The new passport
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will comply in all respects to the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) standards for biometric passports.

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what his estimate is of the cost of producing biometric passports (a) to comply with US requirements and (b) with a facial recognition biometric obtained in the most cost-effective manner. [6187]

Andy Burnham: The UK Passport Service has not finally completed commercial negotiations with its security printers Security Printing and Systems Ltd on the production of the biometric passport, so is not in a position to provide the cost estimate requested.

Mr. Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the accuracy of biometric readings. [4137]

Mr. McNulty: We have taken a number of steps to assess the accuracy of biometric readings. We have closely reviewed leading scientific evidence in the field; consulted with biometric experts from academia and industry; sought to build on the experience and knowledge of other organisations, such as IND, PITO and Communications-Electronic Security Group's (CESG's) biometric readings group and we have conducted a review of the experiences of other examples of biometric systems, including systems holding millions of sample records. Current thinking is that three separate biometrics will be recorded (iris image; fingerprints and facial recognition) which would increase the accuracy of biometric readings from individuals. In addition, we will keep emerging research in this field under constant review and it is envisaged we will hold performance tests during procurement and the early phase of implementation of the ID card scheme.

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the merits of automatic face recognition technology; and if he will make a statement. [4796]

Mr. McNulty: The Home Office and UKPS (UK Passport Service) have examined the use of facial recognition as part of the biometric enrolment trial. This was not a technology evaluation but supported the view that facial recognition has applications in 1-to-1 matching but is not suitable for matching against very large numbers of records. Facial recognition is still being considered as one of the biometric technologies which may be used for Identity Cards. Police Information Technology Organisation (PITO) has an active biometrics programme and maintains awareness of many biometric and human identification technologies, including facial recognition. PITO is engaged in producing a facial images database for identification purposes as part of the Facial Images National Database (FIND) project which should complete in 2006. UKPS is currently assessing the suitability of automatic face recognition technology for use within the passport application process for detecting fraudulent applications. A standalone Automatic Face Recognition (AFR) system is being deployed in the UKPS's seven fraud and intelligence units to help prove the concept and to establish the benefits of using AFR, and assist in the development of technical and
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operational specifications for full system integration. The UKPS plan to complete their assessment by the end of 2005.

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