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Disability Rights

Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what action the United Kingdom Government are taking to ensure children's rights are fully and appropriately addressed in the final text of the forthcoming convention on human rights of people with disabilities. [35258]

Maria Eagle: The Department for Education and Skills (DfES) is committed to improving the life chances of everyone, to help them realise their full potential, including disabled children. My officials are working with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), who take the lead for the UK Government, to ensure our aims for disabled children are reflected within the convention.

Disabled People (Services)

Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what steps she is taking to assess the impact of children's services on families with disabled children; and if she will make a statement. [37345]

Maria Eagle: The Governments document Every Child Matters Change for Children (December 2004) sets national and local priorities for children's services in England based around an outcomes framework containing five outcomes for all children and young people, including disabled children and young people. These outcomes were given legal force in the Children Act 2004. Within this framework, local authorities evaluate their own services and set their priorities for development. The Department monitors services through annual priorities meetings with local authorities, guidance to them on preparing their plans, and field force support including where necessary formal intervention. Inspectorates assess the contribution of services to improving the outcomes for children through
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annual performance assessments of children's services by Ofsted and the Commission for Social Care Inspection, and multi-inspectorate joint area reviews of children's services. These mechanisms consider the impact of services on disabled children and their families.

Drinking Water

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many schools have used their developed capital to improve drinking water provision in each of the last three years. [37329]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 13 December 2005]: The Department does not collect this information. Devolved formula capital (DFC) gives maintained schools direct funding to help support the capital needs of their buildings. Schools decide how they use the funding, but are advised to invest it in the priorities agreed locally and identified in local asset management plans. This could include making improvements to the provision of drinking water.

In the current financial year, 2005–06, a typical primary school is receiving approximately £25,500 of DFC for its investment priorities, and a typical secondary school is receiving £87,250. By 2007–08, these figures will rise to £34,250 and £113,000 respectively.

Faith Schools

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) whether the Department has a target for the creation of faith schools; [37018]

(2) what assessment the Department has made of the impact of its policies on the number of faith schools. [37019]

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Jacqui Smith: We welcome faith schools to the maintained sector, where parents and the local community want them, but we do not have a target for the creation of faith schools. Nor have we made a formal assessment of the impact of our policies on the number of faith schools. Decisions about whether new faith schools should open are made locally, following consultation, by the School Organisation Committee or schools adjudicator if the Committee are not unanimous. Decisions are made on the merits of the individual proposals, and in the light of local circumstances.

The White Paper Higher Standards Better Schools For All" aims to make it easier for independent schools, including faith schools, to enter the maintained sector but proposals will still have to follow the local decision making process. We have funded the Association of Muslim Schools UK to assess how many independent
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Muslim schools wish to join the maintained sector and are able to do so in their existing buildings. The Association is due to report back at the end of March.

Foundation Schools

Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many foundation schools were placed in special measures in each year since 1999. [37152]

Jacqui Smith: 14 primary and 24 secondary foundation schools went into special measures during the period 1 September 1999 to 31 August 2005. The breakdown by year is shown in the following table together with the total number of primary and secondary schools going into special measures for comparison purposes. Currently some 3 per cent. of primary schools and 25 per cent. of secondary schools have foundation status.
Number of foundation schools in special measures
Number of schools in special measures
1 September 1999 to 31 August 20044716935
1 September 2000 to 31 August 2001(24)219821
1 September 2001 to 31 August 2002309619
1 September 2002 to 31 August 2003319831
1 September 2003 to 31 August 20041813060
1 September 2004 to 31 August 2005175536

(24) One special school was also placed in special measures during 2000–01.

Holocaust Memorial Day

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what plans her Department has made in preparation for Holocaust Memorial Day 2006. [37378]

Jacqui Smith: The Department for Education and Skills fully supports the aims of Holocaust Memorial Day. From 2001 to 2005, the DfES worked closely with the Home Office to help deliver the day by producing free resources for schools.

Those resources are still available and suitable for Holocaust Memorial Day 2006. They are promoted by the newly established independent Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, with whom the Department has a good relationship. The Department will soon be releasing a letter of support for Holocaust Memorial Day 2006 activities, and is in ongoing discussions as to other ways the Department can be of assistance in 2006 and in future years.

Learning and Skills

Mr. Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many 14 and 15-year-olds spent up to two days per week in (a) 2003–04, (b) 2004–05 and (c) 2005–06 at (i) a further education college and (ii) a work-based learning provider. [35184]

Bill Rammell: The vast majority of 14 to16-year-old learners who attend FE colleges or work- based learning providers will be part of either the Increased Flexibility programme (IFP) or Young Apprenticeship programme (YA). Since

September 2002, the Increased Flexibility programme (IFP) for 14 to16-year-olds has enabled schools, in partnership with FE colleges to offer pupils the opportunity of vocational learning through new GCSEs in vocational subjects and part-time placements in colleges. In 2003/04 we estimate that there were around 90,000 14 to16- year-olds participating in the programme of which around 70 per cent. were being taught in FE colleges for part of the week, and 3 per cent. attended other providers. Figures for 2004–05 and 2005–06 are not available, however, it is anticipated that participation in IFP will be similar to 2003–04.

The Young Apprenticeship (YA) programme also began in September 2004 and enables 14 to 16-year-olds pupils to pursue industry specific vocational programmes outside of school for up to two days a week, in many cases spending time in FE colleges or with training providers. The first YA cohort in 2004 involved around 1,000 pupils. A second cohort began in September 2005 involving a further 2,000 pupils.

The data on IFP and YA has been obtained from baseline data collection exercises with participating schools as part of the national evaluations of these programmes.

Ministerial Visits

Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many times she has visited (a) Dacorum and (b) Hertfordshire in her official capacity in the last 12 months; and what the purpose was of each visit. [29909]

Maria Eagle: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has visited Hertfordshire once in the last 12 months. The visit was to St. Michael's Catholic Secondary School in Watford to celebrate the school being one of the top 100 most-improved schools nationally.

She has not yet visited Dacorum.
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