|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will make a statement on the operation of sections (a) 510 and (b) 511 of the Education Act 1996 in (i) Essex and (ii) Southend. 
Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the responsibilities in the field of Education and Skills are of (a) the Greater London Authority, (b) the Government Office for London and (c) the London Development Agency. 
The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is currently reviewing the Mayor's powers and, in preparation for this, the Mayor submitted detailed proposals on subjects including skills to the Government on 20 July. Further details about this are available on the GLA website at: www.london.gov.uk/mayor/powers/index.jsp
The Government Office for London (GOL) works with key stakeholders to support the effective delivery of the Government's education and skills objectives in particular through ensuring proper linkage with regeneration policies and programmes. These stakeholders include the Learning and Skills Councils, local authorities, the London Development Agency, the voluntary and community sector and employer representatives. GOL also contracts with and funds the Connexions Service for young people.
GOL is working with partners to improve educational achievement and attainment and also carrying forward work with the London Skills Commission to improve the skills and employability of Londoners through the implementation of the Framework for Regional
22 Nov 2005 : Column 1947W
Employment and Skills Action. Currently, a key responsibility is to ensure that the Government's Every Child Matters agenda is implemented effectively so that outcomes for London children are improved.
To fulfill this role, the LDA acts to co-ordinate the activities of other education and labour market institutions to be in line with the regions economic development strategyensuring that the final outcomes of their interventions yield an increase in the employment rate.
To do this the LDA supports and shapes investments being made by the Learning and Skills Councils, Higher Education, Jobcentre Plus, European Funding, the Government Office for London, the local authorities and that delivered through charitable foundations (e.g. lottery).
The LDA are funding approximately £75 million of skills related activity this year, around £16 million over the next three years directly on joining up activity (the 'London Regional Skills Programme') and a planned further £40 million on supporting locally based skills initiatives ('Creating Opportunities Fund'). Much of the funds available for businesses and communities have attracted European additional money nearly doubling initial investment. The London Skills Commission 2005/06 action plan is designed to wrap round and shape the £5 billion (approximately) that is invested in adult skills, education post-14 and business support in London each year, making it more fit for business needs.
Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to the answer of 10 November 2005, Official Report, columns 7289W, on free school meals, what steps she is taking to close the gap between those pupils eligible for free school meals and those taking free school meals (a) in Northamptonshire and (b) in England. 
Jacqui Smith: The Department is aware that there is a gap between eligibility and take up of free school meals, and has funded research, commissioned by the Child Poverty Action Group, into the reasons children fail to take up their free school meal entitlement. The findings were published in a report entitled 'Improving the Take-Up of Free School Meals' in May 2001. The report showed that pupils and parents considered that the quality and choice of food on offer discouraged take up.
In March 2005, the Secretary of State for Education and Skills announced a package of measures designed to improve significantly the quality of school meals, by, among other things introducing improved school meals
22 Nov 2005 : Column 1948W
standards and a 'toolkit' for parents to inform them how to work with their schools to improve school meal provision.
Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the criteria are for determining access to free school meals; when the definition of eligibility was last changed; and what the basis was for the change. 
Jacqui Smith [holding answer 21 November 2005]: Children whose parents are in receipt of income support; income-based jobseekers allowance, support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999; child tax credit provided they are not entitled to working tax credit and have an annual income (as assessed by the Inland Revenue) that from 6 April 2005 does not exceed 13,910; or the guaranteed element of state pension credit are entitled to free school meals. Children who receive income support of income based jobseekers allowance in their own right are also entitled to free school meals.
The definition of eligibility was last changed from 30 April 2005 whereby the guarantee element of state pension credit was introduced as an additional qualifying benefit for free school lunch eligibility purposes. This change was introduced to remove impracticality for LEA's and schools when checking free school meals entitlement for those parents in receipt of the guaranteed pension credit.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|