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4 Jul 2005 : Column 168W—continued

Prison Education

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to the answer of 15 June 2005, Official Report, column 491W, on Prison Education, (1) how much has been spent on supporting Open University undergraduate courses for offenders in custody for each year between 2002–03 and 2004–05; and what the projection is for 2005–06; [7373]

(2) what the projected number of offenders in custody who will study (a) Open University undergraduate courses and (b) access courses is in 2005–06. [7387]

Phil Hope: The following table sets out the spend from the Department for Education and Skills offender learning and skills budget on Open University courses for offenders in custody since 2002–03, and the projected spend for 2005–06:
OU courses

Funding (£)

The budget for 2005–06 is intended to support up to 1,300 opportunities for offenders in custody to commence study (1,050 new places on undergraduate and 250 Openings access courses) in addition to those offenders already studying and those who finance their own learning. Actual numbers taking up the opportunities will be affected by demand, and by operational considerations, including security.

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to the Answer of 15 June 2005, Official Report, column 491W, on prison education, which subjects are covered by access courses; which service providers are employed to provide each one; and what proportion of prisoners who apply to participate in such courses are offered places on them. [8182]

Phil Hope: The entire suite of Openings (access) courses are available to offenders in custody, subject to Prison Service security considerations. The courses are provided by the Open University. Data is not collected centrally regarding the numbers of offenders in custody who apply for places.

Qualifications and Curriculum Authority

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will list reviews of examination standards undertaken by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority since its establishment. [8494]

Jacqui Smith: The list of QCA reviews of examination standards is as follows. Access to the reports is available on QCA's website at

QCA has carried out investigations of standards over time in the following areas. All reports are published on the QCA website.
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A level
Art and Design1978–98
Classical Subjects1977–97
Design and Technology1979–99
English Literature1996–99
General Studies1980–2000
Government and Politics1976–96
Art and Design1979–99
Design and Technology1978–98
English Literature1980–2000
Physical Education1976–96
Religious Studies1976–96
Science Double Award1995–2000

In addition, there have been reports on GCSE and Alevel biology, 1997/98 to 2003 and GCSE and A level chemistry, 1997/98 to 2003 and one looking across GCSE and A level business studies and economics, 1978–2003. Work is currently under way on A level computing/ICT, A level French, A level sociology and GCSE and A level mathematics, all looking at 2004 examinations in comparison with predecessors.

School Building Projects (Chorley)

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many school building projects will take place in 2005–06 in Chorley; and how much money has been allocated. [9611]

Jacqui Smith: My Department does not have this information, which is held locally. The bulk of schools capital funding is allocated by needs-related formula to schools and local authorities so that they can address their local priorities.

Schools capital funding has increased from under £700 million in 1996–97 to £5.5 billion this year, and will increase further to £6.3 billion by 2007–08. For 2005–06, Lancashire and its schools have been allocated £38 million and this will rise to £43 million by 2007–08. Additionally, Lancashire has been prioritised in wave one of the Building Schools for the Future programme which starts this year.
4 Jul 2005 : Column 170W

School Bullying

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills whether schools are under an obligation regularly to review their school bullying policy. [8470]

Jacqui Smith: Under section S61 of the School Standards Framework Act 1998, head teachers have a legal obligation to ensure an anti-bullying policy is in place within their school and to publicise it annually.

Our guidance additionally suggests that this policy is reviewed regularly through the feedback provided by staff, families, pupils and governors, enabling the policy to be updated and improved, if necessary.

School Leavers

Mr. Rob Wilson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many and what percentage of secondary school pupils left formal education at the statutory permitted age of 16 in each of the last five years. [9986]

Jacqui Smith: Estimates of the number and percentage of young people aged 16 who were not in full-time education in England in each of the last five years are given in Table 1. Many of these were in Apprenticeships or other training, so the numbers and percentages of young people in the age cohort who were not in any education or training are also shown in the table.
Table 1

Not in full-time education(72)
Not in any education or
End of
calendar year
Number (thousand)PercentageNumber (thousand)Percentage

(72)This group comprised of those who were in work based learning programmes; employer funded training; other education and training; and those who were not in any education or training.

These estimates are snapshot information as at the end of the calendar year. They are taken from the Department's Statistical First Release (SFR 27/2005) entitled, 'Participation in Education, Training and Employment by 16–18 year olds in England:

2003 and 2004'.

School Meals

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what discussions she has had on implementing the Government's strategy for improving school meals; and how many of these discussions involved (a) trade unions and (b) staff who work in the school meals service. [9301]

Jacqui Smith: The Secretary of State and I have had conversations and meetings with a range of partners who have expressed interest in helping us improve school meals. The Secretary of State spoke at the Unison conference on 1 June and had a productive dialogue with members on issues affecting cooks and caterers. She met Jamie Oliver on 4 February and Sir Donald
4 Jul 2005 : Column 171W
Curry, Chairman of the Sustainable Farming and Food Implementation Group on 22 June. I have recently had a meeting with Suzi Leather who is chairing the School Meals Review Panel and acting as interim Chair of the School Food Trust.

We have asked officials to liaise with a wide group of stakeholders in drawing together and implementing the strategy for improving school meals. This group includes union representatives, local authority and primary care trust (PCT) officers, ConfEd, the Bursars' Association and the National Governors' Council, and has met once a month since February this year. A senior official met with the Workforce Agreement Monitoring Group, comprising of union representatives on 3 February to outline our emerging strategy.

The School Meals Review Panel, which has met twice, includes a union representative, and several members work in the school meals service.

Dr. Starkey: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will require schools to comply with the nutrient-based standards for school meals published by the Caroline Walker Trust on 23 June. [9631]

Jacqui Smith: The Department has commissioned the School Meals Review Panel to review the nutritional standards for school meals. The new, draft guidance willbe available from September 2005, with the new standards mandatory from September 2006.

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