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16 Feb 2006 : Column 2255W—continued

Child Care

Edward Miliband: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many child care places have been created in Doncaster North in each year since 1997. [50590]

Beverley Hughes: We do not have information relating specifically to the number of child care places in the Doncaster North constituency. Nor do we have information broken down to local authority level for the number of child care places for 1997 and 1998.

The following table show the number of new child care places created in the Doncaster local authority area since 1999.
Gross new child
care places
Net increase in child care places
(after closures)

Figures quoted for years 1999/2000 to 2001/02 are based on local authorities' quarterly child care returns to DfES. From March 2003 onwards the figures are drawn from Ofsted's registration data.

Child Protection

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many individuals convicted or cautioned for a sexual offence against children listed under schedule 3 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 are not included on the Protection of Children Act 1978 List. [46657]

Ruth Kelly [holding answer 30 January 2006]: Since the establishment of the Protection of Children Act List all those individuals referred to the Secretary of State and who meet the criteria set out in legislation have been included in the Protection of Children Act List. That includes those people who have been referred with a caution or conviction for a sexual offence against children under schedule 3 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003.

The Protection of Children Act 1999 List is primarily a referral system for employers who have dismissed an individual for misconduct that harmed a child or placed a child at risk of harm. For all regulated/child care positions it is mandatory to check whether individuals are on the Protection of Children Act List prior to appointment (subject to exceptions where, for example, another specified organisation has carried out a check within the last 12 months). That check is carried out through a CRB check. The Protection of Children Act List provides an additional safeguard within the CRB system for a limited range of circumstances set out in legislation, for example where somebody employed in a regulated child care position has been dismissed because they harmed a child.
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Civil Servant Relocations

Mr. Gauke: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many employees of (a) her Department and (b) the Office for Standards in Education have been redeployed from London and the South East since July 2004; and how many she expects to be redeployed in this way in the next two financial years. [50968]

Maria Eagle: My Department and sponsored organisations are implementing the Lyons Review recommendations to relocate around 800 posts from the Department and its non-departmental public bodies out of London and the South East by 2010.

During the financial year 2004–05, 58 posts in DfES were relocated from London to our existing offices in Runcorn, Sheffield and Darlington. So far in 2005–06, 21 posts have been relocated and up to a further nine posts will have relocated by the end of period. There has been no redeployment of staff from London to fill these posts. There are no plans to redeploy staff out of London in the next two financial years.

At 1 July 2004, Ofsted has just over 750 office-based posted in London and the South East. Ofsted estimate that by June 2006 there will be 360 office-based posts in London, as a result of their restructuring programme to meet the Government's efficiency target. To date, 30 staff have been redeployed to other Ofsted offices outside London and the South East and 49 staff have been redeployed to posts elsewhere in the civil service. Ofsted has no plans for further redeployment in the next two financial years.

Computer-based Marking

Mr. Gauke: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what steps she has taken to extend computer-based marking. [51311]

Jacqui Smith: The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, which regulates qualifications in England, has responsibility for ensuring that ICT is used appropriately and efficiently for examinations and tests. Some awarding bodies are piloting use of ICT to support marking of a range of different qualifications. Already, over 600,000 on-screen tests have been taken successfully by people seeking to gain key skills qualifications and skills for life certificates.

Within the national curriculum test context, a new test in ICT at key stage 3, to be taken on-screen and marked by computer, is being developed, and subject to a successful pilot, will be introduced in 2008.


Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much her Department has spent on outside consultants in each of the last five financial years. [51727]

Bill Rammell: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Angus (Mr. Weir) on 31 January 2006, Official Report, column 340W.
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Consultation (Youth Issues)

Mr. Willis: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the outcome of the consultations on youth matters was; what steps she plans to take as a result of those consultations; and if she will make a statement. [51210]

Maria Eagle: There was a record response to the consultation on the Youth Matters Green Paper, which attracted over 19,000 completed questionnaires from young people and 1,000 submissions from organisations, professionals and parents. They generally welcomed the proposals, with strong support for more opportunities for young people and empowering them to make decisions and influence provision. We will shortly publish the Government response and plans to implement the proposals.

Corporate Services

Mr. Gauke: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what measures she has taken to improve the efficiency of corporate services functions within further education colleges; and what savings have been made as a consequence. [52399]

Bill Rammell: As part of the Learning and Skills Council's (LSC) agenda for change business excellence strand, the LSC will develop and share with colleges benchmarking data showing the relative efficiency of colleges' corporate services. Providing this information will demonstrate to colleges the potential for them to reduce spending on these services to current sector averages, increasing their own ability to deliver to the front line.

We will be measuring efficiency gains from a range of specific initiatives which contribute to our Gershon efficiency target, including corporate services efficiencies in colleges. These are set out in our efficiency technical note. In most cases, the gains are recyclable at the frontline into other activities rather than being clawed back by the Department. The Department is reporting progress towards our overall efficiency target through existing departmental reporting processes. We reported progress towards our target in the Department's autumn performance report and will report further progress in the departmental annual report which we expect to publish in April.

Departmental Entertainment

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much was spent on entertainment by her Department in 2004–05; and how much of that sum is accounted for by (a) food, (b) alcohol, (c) staff and (d) accommodation. [50888]

Maria Eagle: All expenditure on official entertainment is made in accordance with Departmental guidance on financial procedures and propriety, based on the principles set out in Government Accounting. The Department for Education and Skills spent a total of £35,000 on entertainment in 2004–05. It is not possible to split these figures into the elements requested. The figures exclude costs incurred as part of official events or formal meetings held to further Departmental business.
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Early Years Education

Edward Miliband: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many three and four-year-olds in Doncaster North constituency have received (a) 12.5 hours a week, (b) 15 hours a week and (c) 20 hours a week of free early-years education in each year since 1997. [50591]

Beverley Hughes: Information is not collected in the form requested.

All four-year-olds have been entitled to a free early education place since 1998 and from April 2004 this entitlement was extended to all three-year-olds. The free entitlement consists of a minimum of five two and a half hour sessions per week for 33 weeks of the year for six terms before statutory school age, which is the term following their fifth birthday. This will increase to 38 weeks from 1 April 2006 and to 15 hours a week by 2010. By that time, parents who wish to do so will also be able to access the free entitlement flexibly across a minimum of three days.

Some local authorities may additionally offer subsidised child care places but this information is not collected centrally.

Figures for January 2005 show that all four-year-old children receive some form of free entitlement. The figure for three-years-olds is 96 per cent. This covers all maintained, private, voluntary and independent providers and represents 535,100 three-year-olds and 568,300 four-year-olds.

In January 2005 in Doncaster North constituency there were 800 free nursery places taken up by three-year-old children. The equivalent figure for four-year-olds was 940.

The latest figures on early education places for three and four-year-olds in England were published in Statistical First Release 43/2005 Provision for children under five years of age in England—January 2005 (final)" in September, which is available on my Department's website at:

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