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Mr. Gauke: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what steps she has taken to improve the structures and delivery of local government services for children and families; and what savings have been made as a consequence. 
Beverley Hughes: The Every Child Matters Green Paper, published in 2003, and the Children Act 2004, have brought about a series of structural and other changes at local level which support the drive to improve outcomes for all children and young people. These include the appointment of Directors of Children's Services and Lead Members for Children's Services, the development of children's trusts and the preparation of Children and Young People's Plans.
We will be measuring efficiency gains from a range of specific initiatives which contribute to our Gershon efficiency target. 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.
Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what additional safeguards local authorities are required to put in place for looked-after children placed out of area; and what assessment she has made of whether these safeguards are effective. 
The same statutory safeguards for looked-after children apply regardless of where the child is living. All looked-after children, including those placed out-of-authority, are required under the Children Act 1989 to have an individual care plan, which is subject to a regular statutory review overseen by an independent reviewing officer. In addition, an
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authority responsible for looking after a child which places the child in another area is required to inform the local authority and the primary care trust (or if there is no PCT, the health authority) for the area in which the child is now living. The placing authority is also required to notify the PCT where the child has been living that the child is leaving their area.
Last year, the Department conducted a national project on out-of-authority placements for looked-after children. We know from that project that the system for notifying local authorities and PCTs is not working as effectively as it should. That is why we have undertaken to consider how best to improve this system, alongside wider work both to reduce local authorities' dependence on out-of-authority placements and to improve outcomes for looked-after children who are placed out-of-authority. This work will be taken forward as part of the wide-ranging proposals for transforming outcomes for looked-after children which we announced in the recent White Paper Higher Standards, Better Schools for All".
Bill Rammell: The DfES does not undertake continuous analysis of national media coverage of education issues. Over the past 12 months it has conducted evaluation of national, regional, specialist and consumer media coverage of communications campaigns on Aimhigher, Aimhigher Student Finance, Educational Maintenance Allowances, Foundation Degrees and Teenage Pregnancy. It has also used media evaluation to assess the effectiveness of a partnership with Mersey TV, and undertaken national and specialist media evaluation around the publication of the White Paper Higher Standards, Better Schools for All".
Mr. Hepburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many school leavers in (a) Jarrow constituency, (b) South Tyneside, (c) Tyne and Wear, (d) the North East and (e) England have taken up a modern apprenticeship after the completion of their GCSEs in each year since 1997. 
Jacqui Smith: Figures for those participating in apprenticeships funded by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) derive from the Individual Learner Record (ILR). This was collated for the first time in 2001/02 (as an Interim ILR) and comparable figures are currently only available for the three following years.
|Tyne and Wear||1,882||1,746||1,903|
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many school leavers in Coventry South took up a modern apprenticeship after the completion of their GCSEs in each year since 1997. 
Phil Hope: Figures for those participating in apprenticeships funded by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) derive from the individual learner record (ILR). This was collated for the first time in 2001/02 (as an interim ILR) and comparable figures are currently only available for the three following years.
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will make a statement on the planned allocation of funding committed to the teaching of modern languages in schools; and on what basis such resources will be distributed between local education authorities and languages taught. 
Jacqui Smith: In December 2005 we confirmed Standards Fund allocations for 200607, which included £22 million specifically to support language provision at key stage 2. The languages money is part of the primary strategy targeted support funding. Allocations to each local authority comprise a lump sum and a per capita figure based on the number of key stage 2 pupils within that authority. Individual allocations have not been influenced by the languages currently taught in the authority.
Prior to this, in March 2005, we announced that during the financial years 200508 we would invest £115 million to support the continuing implementation of our national languages strategy. This investment will provide funding for primary initial teacher training with a languages specialism; support for foreign language assistants; provide in-service training for teachers and teaching assistants; support new approaches to teaching and learning for 11 to 18-year-olds, including vocational language options; extend the role language colleges play in supporting local primary and secondary schools, including an additional grant to every school with either an initial or second specialism in languages; introduce the national recognition scheme for languagesthe languages ladder; and, encourage international links between schools and enable research to be carried out to evaluate the effectiveness of our policies.
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Paul Farrelly: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the benefits of trust school status will be for standards at Newcastle community high school in Newcastle-under-Lyme. 
Jacqui Smith: Acquiring a trust will allow schools to raise standards through drawing on the expertise and experience of their partners to support their strategic leadership. Trusts will be an option for every school, allowing them to create a sustainable and stable partnership, with clear aims and outcomes agreed at the outset. Any school seeking to acquire trust status will be able to choose who they wish to collaborate with in order to strengthen their governance, support their long term continuing improvement, meet the aspirations of their pupils and local community and develop a distinctive ethos. They could help schools in an area to work together, or could support a network of schools across the country in developing a particular specialism or approach.
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