Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what analysis the Department for Education Northern Ireland has made since 2000 of alternative models to the 11-plus test of post-primary academic selection; and if he will make a statement. 
Angela E. Smith: No such analysis has been undertaken by the Department of Education. The Post-Primary Review Body, established by the Department in 2000 to consider future arrangements for post-primary education in Northern Ireland, recommended that academic selection should end (Burns Report). The Post-Primary Review Working Group (Costello) established by the Department in 2003 was required to take account of the consultation on the Burns recommendations and to provide advice on options for new arrangements for post-primary education. It advised that no form of academic selection would remove the high-stakes, high-stress element and that academic selection at age 11 is itself educationally unsound, as this age is too young to commit pupils to particular pathways. Accepting the Costello Report's recommendations, the Government announced in January 2004 that academic selection would end and that the last Transfer Tests will take place in 2008.
Future transfer arrangements will be on the basis of informed parental choice. Parents will have a broader assessment of their child's needs using the Pupil Profile and advice from schools. The new arrangements are about parents choosing schools not schools choosing pupils. They will give parents the right and responsibility to choose the school most appropriate to their child's needs.
The following figures represent the total cost of the provision of bottled water for the Northern Ireland Office, excluding its Agencies and NDPBs. The total cost includes water and the provision and maintenance of water coolers.
13 Feb 2006 : Column 1525W
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland with whom consultations were carried out prior to the decision to introduce pre-movement testing of cattle; how results are being monitored; by whom; and what research is planned to assess the impact of the change. 
Angela E. Smith: The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) consulted between July and October 2002 with a wide range of stakeholders about the proposal for brucellosis pre-movement testing, as part of its consultation about the 2002 Brucellosis Policy Review recommendations. The list of consultees who were specifically asked for views has been placed in the Library of the House. The decision to introduce compulsory pre-movement testing for brucellosis in Northern Ireland was announced on 16 June 2003.
During 2004, DARD consulted widely again about the draft legislation needed to introduce the requirement to test. Compulsory pre-movement testing was introduced in Northern Ireland on 1 December 2004.
The purpose of the measure is to assist in the detection of brucellosis and to help prevent disease spread by reducing the number of infected animals moving between farms. The measure also ensures compliance with the relevant EU legislation. Under Council Directive 64/432/EEC, pre or post-movement testing is required in a member state (or region thereof) where the percentage of bovines infected with brucellosis exceeds 0.2 per cent. during a two-year period.
DARD monitors the results of pre-movement testing, using the information held on its Animal and Public Health Information System (APHIS), as part of its overall management of the brucellosis control programme. The effectiveness of pre-movement testing as a disease control measure is assessed on an on-going basis as part of this monitoring activity. DARD plans to review the impact of the existing control measures on the incidence of brucellosis as part of its next formal review of brucellosis control policy.
Angela E. Smith: Child safety is a priority for Government and is at the core of a number of key strategies across Departments and agencies. The 10-year strategy for Children and Young People will provide an overarching framework within which we will deliver on a number of outcomes for children and young people, including child safety. The strategy will be delivered through a programme of strategic actions, which will include: a road safety strategy aimed at reducing fatal and serious casualties among children; education and training in schools; safety promotion and awareness campaigns targeted at children; implementation of traffic calming measures; programmes to address antisocial behaviour, vandalism and crime related measures; and multi-agency arrangements to assess and manage the risks posed by sex offenders living in the community. Finally, safeguarding children is a subject that is actively being considered by the Ministerial Sub-Committee on Children and Young People.
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many responses to the Government's public consultation on the Costello report proposals indicated opposition to the decision to prohibit academic selection. 
Angela E. Smith: The remit of the Post-Primary Review Working Group required it to take account of the responses to the multi-stranded consultation on the Burns recommendations, including the diversity of views on academic selection. The advice from the group (the Costello report) was not published for consultation and responses were not therefore sought on its content.
Mr. Woodward: Information on the number of defibrillators in public places is not available as there is no central control of their purchase and distribution. Only a proportion of those currently provided in public places are funded by government agencies.
|Total departmental budget (percentage)
David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many departmental employees have taken early retirement due to ill-health in each of the past five years for which figures are available.