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23 Nov 2005 : Column 2072W—continued

Belford College, Werneth

Mr. Cameron: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills on what criteria the decision to close Belford College in Werneth, Oldham, was based; how much notice was given to parents of learners; and what alternative provision will be made. [28688]

Bill Rammell: The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) informed Belford College on 17 October 2005 that it would terminate its contract for the provision of education and training. Pending a final decision about the College's future, the LSC has appointed a dedicated team of educational advisers, experienced in the field of complex learning difficulties and/or disabilities, to ensure appropriate alternative provision is focused for the young people affected. This team has been working with parents, Connexions and other local partners to explore appropriate options for the young people. They are now finalising the details of alternative arrangements that are intended to take effect from January 2006 for all 11 learners at the College. A further meeting with parents and the LSC is planned to take place shortly.

The parents of the learners at the College were informed in a letter from their local LSC in week commencing 17 October that the LSC had made a decision to terminate the contract for the provision of education and training with Belford College from 31 December 2005. The LSC's original intention was to
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give the College notice that the contract would terminate in February 2006. Following discussion with the College, the LSC agreed to the College's request to terminate the contract on 31 December 2005. The College have since requested that his date be varied and the LSC are considering this request.

The funding decision follows an Ofsted and Adult Learning Inspectorate inspection of Belford College in February 2004 when overall provision was judged to be inadequate. Since then Ofsted has undertaken a series of monitoring visits and an annual assessment visit to the college. The LSC is concerned about the rate of progress made by Belford College in addressing the weaknesses identified in the Inspection. In view of this, the LSC has made the difficult decision to terminate the College's contract.

Business Studies

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment she has made of the provision of education about business and enterprise in schools in (a) 1997 and (b) the most recent year for which information is available; which schools offered such education in each year since 1997; what average number of hours of such education was offered to pupils of (i) primary, (ii) secondary and (iii) sixth form age groups in each year since 1997; what proportion of teachers received training in the delivery of such education in each year since 1997; and what the Government's target level of provision for such teaching is for (A) hours per week and (B) proportion of schools. [31237]

Jacqui Smith: The Department does not collect data of the type sought, nor set targets as described.

Enterprise education is a key factor in improving future competitiveness. Following the Davies Review of 2002, in 2003 we launched Pathfinders involving 700 schools over two years, to develop the first national guidance on Enterprise Education. This was disseminated at 47 regional conferences between May and July 2005, attracting 67 per cent. of all secondary schools. Business and Enterprise Colleges came into the specialist schools programme for the first time in 2002, and in March 2005 there were 201 such specialist schools. We have allocated £60 million a year for the three academic years from September 2005 to support a new focus on enterprise education in all secondary schools.

Child Protection

John Hemming: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many children have been placed on the child protection registers by child protection committees as a result of an allegation of Munchhausen Syndrome by Proxy in each year since 2002; and how many of those children were taken into care. [30111]

Maria Eagle: The Department for Education and Skills does not collect this information, as 'Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy' is not a recommended category for registration on child protection registers, nor is it a ground for the making of care orders under section 31 of the Children Act 1989.
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Children's Diets

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment she has made of the relationship between pupils' diet and (a) behaviour and (b) academic attainment. [25185]

Jacqui Smith: The Department has made no assessment of the relationship between pupils' diet, behaviour and academic attainment. However, a healthy, balanced diet is a key factor in protecting health and promoting children's proper growth and development.

The Food Standards Agency has recently commissioned a review on diet and behaviour in school children that will scope the evidence base to assess the effect of nutrition, diet and dietary change on school children's learning and performance (i.e. on academic tests, behaviour, attendance and motivation). The final report is expected in April 2006.


Mr. Winnick: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills when she will reply to the letter of 10 October from the hon. Member for Walsall, North regarding a school in Walsall, North constituency. [30582]

Jacqui Smith: I responded to my hon. Friend's letter on 22 November.

Departmental Assets

Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will list the 10 most valuable (a) movable and (b) immovable assets owned by her Department. [27389]

Maria Eagle: The most valuable assets owned by the departmental group are as follows:
Movable assets (net book value as at 31 March 2005)

Owning organisation£000
Work Based Learning software (LSC)3,127
Sure Start IT system (DfES)1,707
ESF software (LSC)1,391
Bulk furniture 2003–04 (DfES)1,355
Bulk computers 2004–05 (DfES)1,210
Bulk furniture 2001–02 (DfES)1,160
Dual datacentre computer system, Moorfoot (DfES)1,014
Bulk furniture 2000–01 (DfES)958
Online systems software (LSC)932
Dual datacentre computer system, London (DfES)871

Immovable assets (net book value as at 31 March 2005)

Owning organisation£000
National College for School Leadership building (DfES)25,660
Moorfoot, Sheffield building (DfES)13,262
Castle View House, Runcorn building (DfES)6,662
National office major structural fit out works (LSC)5,340
Mowden Hall, Darlington building (DfES)3,353
Culham Estate, Oxford building (DfES)2,104
Caxton House, London capital expenditure on lease office 1998–99 (DfES)1,396
Bircham training centre (CITB)1,188
Greater Manchester major structural fit out works (LSC)1,179
Moorfoot, Sheffield land (DfES)1,171

CITB—Construction Industry Training Board.
DfES—Department for Education and Skills.
LSC—Learning and Skills Council.

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Departmental Procurement

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will make a statement on her Department's procurement policy. [28179]

Bill Rammell: My Department's procurement policy is to secure value for money, primarily through competition, in accordance with the Government and wider legal framework.

It is also departmental procurement policy to promote non-discriminatory competition and selection of contractors on criteria related to the economic benefits of the contract taking sustainability and diversity into account where appropriate.

Contracts are awarded on either:

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