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Autistic Children

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what plans she has to introduce a requirement of minimum training standards for people who work with autistic children; and if she will make a statement; [24275]

(2) how much teacher training time is devoted to lessons on training to identify children with dyslexia; and if she will make a statement. [24276]

Maria Eagle: The National Standards for Qualified Teacher Status, and the Induction Standards for Newly Qualified Teachers, both cover special educational needs (SEN), which would include autistic spectrum disorders as well as specific learning difficulties, such as dyslexia. The requirements are designed to ensure that teachers are able to support pupils with SEN and can differentiate their teaching to meet the needs of such pupils.

The National Occupational Standards for Teaching/Classroom Assistants also contain elements relevant to working with pupils with SEN or particular educational needs. Similarly, the Standards for Higher Level Teaching Assistants (HLTAs), for which the Training and Development Agency for Schools is responsible, require HLTAs to be familiar with guidance about meeting SEN given in the SEN Code of Practice. The IDA will be reviewing its standards as part of its new responsibilities for the school work force.

Some social workers also come into contact with autistic children and their families. The new Social Work degree was introduced in 2003 as a three year course to improve the skills base and competence of newly-qualified social workers. For non qualified Social Care staff, the National Minimum Standards, set by the Department of Health, require that 50 per cent. of care staff and 100 per cent. of registered managers achieve an NVQ qualification by 2005/06.

Information as to the specific amount of time allocated by teacher training institutions or schools to training in particular aspects of SEN, such as autism and dyslexia, is not collected centrally by the Department. However, we have pointed to the importance of these areas. The Good Practice Guidance on Autistic Spectrum Disorders, which the Departments for Education and Skills and Health published in 2002, made knowledge and understanding of ASDs the first of its key principles which should underlie provision for children with the disorders. It advised that

As regards dyslexia, the Department's Primary National Strategy has produced an extensive range of specific guidance material for schools on evidence-based interventions for children with significant literacy and numeracy difficulties. A three wave model of
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intervention has been developed, designed to identify and support those children experiencing difficulty in literacy and/or mathematics, a good many of whom are likely to fall somewhere on the dyslexia spectrum.

We have also produced guidance material on classroom strategies to enable dyslexic pupils to access learning and have recently released a new interactive CD-ROM based in-service training resource, Learning and teaching for dyslexic children". This has been developed in collaboration with the British Dyslexia Association and the Dyslexia Institute. The resource is designed to help school staff increase their awareness and understanding of the barriers to learning presented by dyslexia, and the teaching strategies that can be used to overcome them.

Dental Schools

Jim Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what extra allocation of dental school training places was made for 2005–06; to which dental schools; how many of these extra places were temporary allocations for one year; and if she will make a statement. [24256]

Bill Rammell: Intake targets for English dental schools have been increased by 261 for 2005–06. The allocations by dental school are shown in the table.
Allocations of additional dental school training places 2005–06

Dental schoolPermanent allocationTemporary allocationTotal
King's College London131831
Queen Mary, University of London23932


These changes represent a significant expansion of dental student intake targets from 576 to 837, and have enabled actual undergraduate dental numbers to increase by 170. The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and Department of Health are currently in the process of assessing bids to make permanent arrangements for the temporary allocations, and will make recommendations to the HEFCE Board in January. HEFCE and the Department for Health intend to inform institutions of the Board's decision early in the new year, and will be assessing the need for further expansion in dental places in the lead up to the next Comprehensive Spending Review.

Departmental Energy Consumption

Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much energy has been consumed by her Department in each of the last five years; and how much was spent on energy in each year. [22452]

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Maria Eagle: Energy consumption and spend in the Departments' HQ buildings in each of the last five years' is shown as follows:
KwhSpend (£)

Departmental Research

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will list research commissioned by the Department in the past 12 months. [24514]

Bill Rammell: I am able to list the 68 research projects that the DfES has commissioned in the past 12 months (from 1 November 2004 to 1 November 2005).

List of research commissioned by the DfES since 1 November 2004

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