Previous Section Index Home Page

13 Feb 2006 : Column 1559W—continued


Carers (Equal Opportunities) Act

Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what steps she is taking to ensure that local authority children's services are aware of their new obligations under the Carers (Equal Opportunities) Act 2004 when assessing young carers' needs. [48806]

Maria Eagle [holding answer 6 February 2006]: In August 2005 the Department of Health published, jointly with my Department, combined policy guidance on the Carers and Disabled Children Act 2000 and the Carers (Equal Opportunities) Act 2004. This was the product of extensive consultation with local authorities and other agencies and voluntary organisations. The guidance is widely available via the Department of Health website. Local authorities are required to act in accordance with the guidance under section 7(1) of the Local Authority Social Services Act 1970. Local authorities also have a duty under Schedule 2, paragraph 1(2) of the Children Act 1989 to publicise their services to families with children in need, and to take steps to ensure that those who might benefit from the services receive the information.
13 Feb 2006 : Column 1560W

Choice Advisers

Mr. Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) how many choice advisers she expects will be required in each local education authority; and if she will make a statement; [50785]

(2) what (a) training and (b) qualifications will be required to be a choice adviser; and if she will make a statement. [50786]

Jacqui Smith: The number of choice advisers required in each local area will vary in relation to levels of deprivation.

We intend to publish guidance for local authorities on choice advice which will cover a range of issues including the role of the choice adviser, potential delivery models, and the training and skills necessary to perform the role.

Citizens Juries

Mr. Wills: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills on how many occasions her Department consulted citizens' juries on departmental policies in the last five years; in how many of those consultations the recommendations of the citizens' jury differed from existing departmental policy; and on how many occasions departmental policy was changed to reflect the recommendations of the citizens' jury. [46230]

Bill Rammell: The Department has not conducted any citizens' juries on departmental policies in the last five years.

Class Sizes

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the average class size is in (a) primary and (b) secondary schools in (i) Leicester and (ii) England. [49612]

Jacqui Smith: The requested information has been placed in the House Libraries.

Contact Centres

Ms Keeble: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will list the contact centres for children and absent parents funded by her Department. [44665]

Maria Eagle: The information requested is listed as follows.

New supervised child contact centres

13 Feb 2006 : Column 1561W

Child contact centres awarded funding from the sustainability fund

13 Feb 2006 : Column 1562W


Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment her Department has made of the impact of the projected increases in the population of England upon demand and capacity in schools. [50791]

Jacqui Smith: The latest population projections produced by the Government Actuary's Department show that although the population of England is projected to rise by nearly 7 million people between 2004 and 2031, the trends are different depending on the age group. In particular, the population of children of approximately primary school age (5–10) has been falling since 1999 and is projected to continue falling until 2008. The population of children of compulsory secondary school age (11–15) started to fall in 2005 and is expected to continue falling until 2014.
Population in England at mid-year by age at last birthday (thousand)

Age 5–103,6453,4803,5913,6013,6833,703
Age 11–153,2523,0322,8813,0083,0043,086
Age 16–181,9571,9421,8371,7721,8211,848
All ages50,09451,71553,00954,34455,59456,832

Government Actuary's Department 2004-based principal population projections

The Department uses these population projections (along with annual schools census data and estimates of participation in education for non-compulsory ages) to produce pupil projections by age and school type to 2020. These pupil projections are used by the Department to inform the setting of teacher training places.

The impact of demographic changes will also be considered by the Department in work on revenue funding as part of the spending review process. On planning the supply of school places our policy is that this is best done at a local level by the local authority, and they are allocated the capital resources to meet future demand. Local authorities have a duty to ensure that there are sufficient places and that high quality education is provided in a cost effective way.
13 Feb 2006 : Column 1563W

Many local authorities are facing falling primary rolls. Funding empty places can represent a poor use of resources particularly where schools with spare places also perform poorly. Working with local authorities and other partners we have developed a toolkit offering practical advice to help local authorities and schools manage falling rolls. The toolkit is available at

Next Section Index Home Page