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The statutory National Curriculum Science Order requires that all pupils should learn about the effects of alcohol and other drugs. In addition, schools are expected to use the non-statutory frameworks for Personal Social Health Education (PSHE) and Citizenship at key stages 1 and 2, PSHE at key stages 3 and 4 and the Citizenship programme of study at key stages 3 and 4 as the context for developing
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drug and alcohol education further. It is for schools to decide how much curriculum time is necessary to meet these requirements.
We are supporting schools to deliver better alcohol education. In 2004, we issued all schools with new guidance on all aspects of drug education, including alcohol. We have invested in the development of the PSHE certificate for teachers which supports standards in the teaching of PSHE, including alcohol education. We have made up to 2,000 places available in both 200405 and 200506.
Together with the Home Office and Department of Health, we are supporting a national five year research programme called Blueprint" to test the effectiveness of drug education initiatives in schools. It will make a significant contribution to developing a UK evidence base for drug, alcohol and tobacco education.
Jacqui Smith: Funding for anti-bullying work during the financial year 2005/06 is £1,145,000. Work during this period includes conferences and events to disseminate good practice, alongside the development of guidance and resources for schools.
Funding for CHIPS (ChildLine in Partnership with Schools) is £200,000. The CHIPS scheme encourages young people to set up programmes, with the help of ChildLine and their teachers, to support their peers and to create safe environments in which to learn.
The Department has also shown its continuing support for the Diana Memorial Award for anti-bullying, by contributing £50,000 of funding. The award highlights the achievements of young people trying to tackle bullying in their school or community.
A key message of our guidance pack for schools, Bullying: Don't Suffer in Silence", is that children should report bullying to someone they trust. The pack also provides information on monitoring bullying through the use of school surveys drawn up with the help of pupils.
We have created anti-bullying postcards and posters in a variety of community languages to help pupils, especially newly arrived pupils, to report acts of bullying. These have been made available to schools through conferences and can be downloaded from the DfES website.
Information is made available directly to children through our public information films. 'Tell Someone' encourages children who are being bullied to tell someone, and not suffer in silence. The film 'I Am' uses celebrities to show young people that they are not alone if they are being bullied, and should tell someone. We have encouraged schools to use these films.
Bill Rammell: We remain committed to the principles of freedom of expression and thought in universities and colleges as they are essential to modern democracy. The principles underpinning these are encapsulated in Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights as well as legislation more specific to particular education sectors. However, such freedoms also bring responsibilities, and we have to balance freedom of speech with the need to protect national security and the rights of citizens not to be put at risk from criminal and violent acts. We therefore continue to look to universities and colleges to uphold the safeguards for freedom of speech set out in legislation, and to take such action as they see fit to allow their students and staff to operate in safety on campus.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) how many (a) males and (b) females were (i) charged and (ii) convicted of offences under section 466 of the Education Act 1996 in (A) Essex and (B) England and Wales in each of the last 10 years for which figures are available; 
Jacqui Smith: Sections 464, 465 and 466 of the Education Act 1996 have been replaced by sections 158, 159 and 160 of the Education Act 2002. The main difference between the 1996 and 2002 provisions is that independent schools may no longer open unless they meet minimum standards which are set out in regulations made under the Education Act 2002.
Any proprietor who operates an unregistered school is doing so illegally and could face prosecution under section 159 of the 2002 Act, formerly section 466 of the
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1996 Act. In the last 10 years there have been no prosecutions under section 466 of the Education Act 1996 or section 159 of the Education Act 2002.
Jacqui Smith: This Government are committed to improving levels of attendance at school. Figures published in September for 2004/05 show that the level of absences from school have fallen for the fourth consecutive years to a record low level. The equivalent of 12,500 more pupils are in school each day on average in 2004/05 than in 2003/04. There are 50,000 more pupils in school each day on average than would be the case if absence rates were still at 1996/97 levels.
This Government believe that, for most children, school is the right place in which to receive education. However, we respect parents' fundamental right, under section 7 of the Education Act 1996, to educate their children at home if they so wish. Where that happens, the parents must take responsibility for ensuring that the education provided is suitable and, for children of compulsory school age, is full-time. We have no plans to change this right.
Section 9 sets out the general principle that pupils are to be educated in accordance with their parents' wishes. The courts have ruled that, while local authorities must have regard to the general principle that pupils are to be educated in accordance with the wishes of their parents ... ... .", that this is subject to other considerations, and that there are many things to which the education authority may have regard and which may outweigh the wishes of (particular) parents'.
How this operates in relation to school admissions is that section 86 of the school Standards and Framework Act 1998 gives parents a right to express a preference for the school they want their child to attend, and to give their reasons for that preference. If a school is oversubscribed, then the school's published admission arrangements (or 'oversubscription criteria') are applied to determine which applicants should be offered the available places. Those who are unsuccessful have a statutory right of appeal to an independent appeal panel.
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