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Jacqui Smith: Information on the number of educational psychologists in service is collected in January of each year. The following table provides the full-time equivalent number of educational psychologists employed in each local authority in January 1997 and 2005.
|City of London||(28)||(28)|
|Hammersmith and Fulham||7||11|
|Kensington and Chelsea||9||6|
|City of Westminster||10||9|
|Barking and Dagenham||13||15|
|Kingston upon Thames||5||8|
|Richmond upon Thames||7||7|
|Newcastle upon Tyne||14||13|
|Isles of Scilly||(28)||(28)|
|Bath and North East Somerset||5||(28)|
|City of Bristol||17||16|
|Redcar and Cleveland||5||5|
|Stockton on Tees||9||10|
|City of Kingston Upon Hull||8||12|
|East Riding of Yorkshire||8||9|
|North East Lincolnshire||4||7|
|Brighton and Hove||n/a||12|
|Stoke on Trent||n/a||14|
|Windsor and Maidenhead||n/a||6|
|Southend on Sea||n/a||6|
|Former Hereford and Worcester||22||n/a|
|Blackburn with Darwen||n/a||11|
|Telford and Wrekin(30)||n/a||14|
|Isle of Wight||4||6|
Mrs. Hodgson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment has been made by the Department of the effects of falling school rolls in (a) the North East and (b) Gateshead, East and Washington, West constituency. 
Jacqui Smith: The Department's national forecasts indicate that primary school rolls will fall by 129,000 between 2004/05 and 2007/08 with secondary rolls falling by 133,000 between 2004/05 and 2007/08.
Local authority forecast data are at authority level and we do not have forecasts for the Gateshead, East and Washington, West constituency. Gateshead local authority's 2004 forecasts indicate that primary rolls will fall by 1,176 between 2004/05 and 2007/08 and secondary rolls will fall by 422 between 2004/05 and 2010/11. Sunderland local authority's 2004 forecasts indicate that primary rolls will fall by 2,739 between 2004/05 and 2007/08 and secondary rolls will fall by 1,876 between 2004/05 and 2010/11. We have developed a toolkit offering practical advice to help local authorities manage the challenges and opportunities presented by falling primary rolls. The toolkit is available at www.teachernet.gov.uk/fallingrolls.
Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what steps the Government are taking to ensure that foster carers are not discouraged by the welfare and benefits system from taking children on foster placements, with particular reference to housing benefit; and if she will make a statement. 
All payments to foster carers in respect of children placed with them are disregarded in the calculation of entitlements for income support, income-based jobseeker's allowance and housing benefit. For the purposes of jobseeker's allowance, foster carers are treated as not being in remunerative work and so no account is taken of the hours spent in 'caring' for the children whom they are fostering. In cases where single foster parents are caring for a child, they are treated in the same way as lone parents in terms of their entitlement to income support (provided they meet the criteria). This means that their potential entitlement is not dependent on their availability for employment.
Moreover, in March 2003 Home Responsibilities Protection was extended to include foster carers. The number of years they need to work to qualify for the state pension will therefore be reduced to take into account their years of caring (including periods when they are awaiting a placement), thereby increasing their long-term financial security.
More widely, we are seeking to improve the financialsupport that foster carers receive through the introduction of a national minimum allowance. We shall be consulting on our proposals later this month.
16 Jan 2006 : Column 1007W
Kelvin Hopkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what plans she has to promote a national brand for (a) sixth-form colleges and (b) general further education colleges, as recommended in the Foster report. 
Bill Rammell: As the Secretary of State for Education and Skills said at the Association of College's annual conference on 16 November, we think Sir Andrew Foster has produced an impressive report which sets out a clear direction of travel. We want to take the time to consider the detailed recommendations in Sir Andrew's report. These recommendations, and how they should be taken forward, are being discussed with the Learning and Skills Council, colleges and other stakeholders. This includes those recommendations that relate to the branding and reputation management of FE and sixth-form colleges. We plan to announce in the spring the next stage of our reform of further education.
Stephen Pound: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what steps she is taking to ensure that the Learning and Skills Council is able to fund further education colleges sufficiently to meet the demand for places on non-basic skills courses for people aged over 19 years; and if she will make a statement; 
(2) what assessment she has made of the extent to which the Learning and Skills Council is able to fund further education colleges sufficiently to meet the demand from those wishing to study English for speakers of other languages courses; and if she will make a statement. 
Bill Rammell: On 21 October the Government set out their priorities for post-16 education including adult line. I set out the Government's priorities for the learning and skills sector and the impact on funding in 200607 and 200708 on the 21 October, and full details can be found in Priorities for Success" on the LSC's website. Overall funding for further education (FE) which includes adult skills increased by 4.4 per cent. in 200506. Funding for non-vocational learning opportunities for adults, delivered mainly through local authority adult education services, has also increased. In 200405 we provided over £207 million to the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) in support of this learning. This has risen to £210 million in 200506. After piloting from 2002 we have also announced the national roll-out of the National Employer Training Programme in 200607 with a budget rising to £399 million in 200708. Through their dialogue with providers and their assessment of the needs of local communities, LSCs agree plans which enable colleges and other providers to deliver a wide range of learning opportunities to meet the needs of learners and employers. Literacy, numeracy and English language learning is a key priority.
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