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Mr. Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many days were lost due to sickness among (a) teachers and (b) head teachers at (i)primary and (ii) secondary schools in each of the last five years for which figures are available. 
|Days lost||Days lost per teacher|
Mr. Binley: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills whether the closure of St. John's Secure Unit in Tiffield, Northamptonshire would necessitate repayment to the Treasury by Northamptonshire county council of the grant given by the Department of Health for its construction. 
Maria Eagle: This issue has recently been raised with the Department for Education and Skills by Northamptonshire county council. Discussions are currently taking place between the Department and Her Majesty's Treasury, which are ongoing. The county council's request will be responded to as soon as discussions have been concluded.
Maria Eagle: We have completed or made progress with four fifths of the sustainable development action plan we launched in 2003. We are considering whether the remaining fifth are still appropriate to pursue. We are also working on producing a new action plan by the end of the year, in the same way that all Government departments have been requested to do in the UK sustainable development strategy.
Good progress has been made, for example, in school capital with the 'Building schools for the future' programme. It is making an important contribution to sustainable development in the public sector. We plan during 2005 to embed the use of the new schools building research establishments' assessment method (BREEAM) and to publish best practice guidance on sustainable school design.
The Department has also published 'Putting the World into World Class EducationAn international strategy for education, skills and children's services' which lists sustainable development as one of the eight key concepts for instilling the global dimension into the learning experience of all children and makes a strong commitment to develop and offer educational support programmes to developing countries, especially Africa. The implementation plan for the strategy is currently being developed.
Mr. Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what recent steps have been takenby her Department to review its arrangements for public reporting of its sustainable development impacts. 
Maria Eagle: The Department is currently reviewing and updating the information contained on its website in the light of the 2005 UK Strategy and the requirement to produce the revised departmental action plans by December 2005.
Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the drop out rate was among (a) newly qualified teachers and (b) teachers within the Teach First scheme in the last period for which figures are available. 
Jacqui Smith: Provisional estimates show that in March 2004 9.3 per cent. of newly qualified teachers, who were in full or part-time regular maintained sector service in England in March 2003, were no longer in such service. This is the latest information available.
Information from the Training and Development Agency for the Teach First scheme shows that in 200405 of the 197 students who were recruited 176 attained qualified teacher status. This represents a drop-out rate of 10.7 per cent. It is not known what proportion of these teachers remain in teaching service.
Mr. Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will offer trainee teachers in the post-16 sector bursaries commensurate with those available to prospective school teachers; and if she will make a statement. 
Bill Rammell: The teacher training bursary initiative is a pilot programme which is currently under review as part of a wider review of recruitment and retention incentives for FE teachers. The results of the review will be announced shortly.
Mr. Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills whether her Department's procurement policy includes timber used on and in the construction of departmental building projects; and if she will make a statement. 
Maria Eagle: The Department has not engaged in any building or building refurbishment projects in 200405 or plans to start any building or building refurbishment projects in 200506. Therefore no timber will be procured by the Department or its suppliers.
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many truancy sweeps have taken place within the Bedfordshire local education authority in each year since 1999; how many children were stopped in that period; how many children stopped
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did not have a valid reason for absence; how many hours of police time were spent on such sweeps; and if she will make a statement. 
Jacqui Smith: Local authorities have the discretion to organise truancy sweeps as they see fit and we do not collect data on these locally arranged sweeps. However, the Department has invited authorities to take part in nationally co-ordinated sweeps each autumn and spring since 200203. Bedfordshire has taken part in each of these sweeps and provided the following data to the Department:
|Truancy sweeps||Children stopped||Children stopped without a valid reason|
|Spring and autumn 2003||28||178||62|
|Spring and autumn 2004||36||143||52|
The Government believe that truancy sweeps are an effective tool to raise the profile of school attendance in the community and help to stop those pupils who may be in the early stages of drifting into the habit of truancy. They also reinforce the message to pupils and their families that school and local authorities take the issue of attendance seriously. Since nationally co-ordinated sweeps began in 2002, some 92,000 pupils have been stopped: 37,000 (nearly 40 per cent.) of them were out of school without a valid reason and 42 per cent. (almost 16,000) of those without a valid reason were with an adult.
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