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20 Mar 2006 : Column 96W—continued

Children in Care

Mr. Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what progress has been made towards ensuring that by 2008 80 per cent. of children under 16 years who have been looked after for two and a half or more years will have been living in the same placement for at least two years, or are placed for adoption. [58025]

Maria Eagle: Performance at national level against this measure was as follows.
Year to MarchPercentage

This data is published by the Department for Education and Skills and can be accessed at:


John Hemming: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many classrooms in schools have been built under private finance initiative schemes; what the size is of each new classroom; what guidance she has issued on the minimum size of classroom; and if she will make a statement. [59393]

Jacqui Smith: The Department does not hold information specifically on the number or size of new classrooms in PFI schools. We produce non-statutory guidance on the overall size of schools and of individual classrooms in the form of Building Bulletins 98 and 99: 'Briefing Framework for Secondary School Projects'
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and 'Briefing Framework for Primary School Projects', respectively. The application of this guidance to individual projects is a matter for local decision-making, although the Department strongly encourages local authorities to follow the area guidelines set out in its Building Bulletins.

Education White Paper

Mr. Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills whether a race equality impact assessment has been carried out on the proposals contained in the education White Paper Higher Standards, Better Schools for All. [49452]

Ruth Kelly [holding answer 7 February 2006]: A full race equality impact assessment has been carried out on relevant proposals within the White Paper. The assessment was published on my Department's website on 28 February, the day the Education Bill was introduced.

European Diploma Supplement

Mr. Boris Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will make a statement on the progress of the European Diploma Supplement. [58975]

Bill Rammell: A recent survey by the sector-wide UK Higher Education Europe Unit reported that 99 per cent. of UK higher education institutions (HEIs) are aware of the supplement and that one in three is already issuing it. The Europe Unit is advising HEIs on issuing the Diploma Supplement in the UK and is working with the UK National Academic Recognition Information Centre (UKNARIC) and the UK network of Bologna Promoters to increase the implementation of the Diploma Supplement.

Further Education

Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what definition her Department uses of a full-time course in further education. [58913]

Bill Rammell: The main DfES and Learning and Skills Council (LSC) statistical series define further education full-time learners as those enrolled on programmes of at least 450 guided learning hours per year, or of at least 150 guided learning hours per tri-annual period or more than 16 guided learning hours per week for shorter courses.

Angela Browning: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) how many 16 to 18-year-olds in Devon colleges were funded in part by virement from other further education funding in (a) 2002–03, (b) 2003–04 and (c) 2004–05; [59451]

(2) how many 16 to 18-year-old full-time equivalent students in Devon colleges were not funded at the further education average rate for 16 to 18-year-olds in 2003–04. [59452]

Bill Rammell [holding answer 17 March]: Since 1997 funding for further education has increased by around £2.5 billion—equivalent to around 48 per cent. in real terms. Our investment in FE participation will increase further from £4.9 billion in 2005–06 to £5.1 billion in 2006–07. However, colleges are independent bodies and
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decide for themselves how they manage the funds they receive from the Learning and Skills Council (LSC). We do not collect information on the decisions that colleges take regarding the management of their budgets. No 16 to 19-year-olds were unfunded in 2003–04. Further education colleges delivering learning for young people above the planned volumes agreed with the LSC were provided with extra funding for these additional learners.

GCSE Grades

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what percentage of secondary school students in Tamworth constituency achieved five or more GCSEs at grades A*-C in (a) 2005 and (b) 1997; and if she will make a statement. [58081]

Jacqui Smith: Pupils nationally have made excellent progress since 1997. The improvement in the proportion of 15-year-olds achieving 5 A*-C grades at GCSE and equivalents has been 11 percentage points. Over 67,000 more pupils 1 are now achieving at this level than in 1997.

The GCSE and equivalent achievements of young people, in 1997 and 2005, in the Tamworth constituency are provided in the table. They are also available on the'In Your Area' website at
Percentage of 15-year-olds achieving the
equivalent of 5 or more GCSEs at A*-C

(27)Local figures are based on maintained schools only
(28)National figures are based on all schools

Head Teachers

Mr. Streeter: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment she has made of the use of mentoring for head teachers by Plymouth City Council; and whether there are circumstances under which her Department would seek to intervene if it considered such mentoring costs to be excessive. [59420]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 17 March 2006]: We have made no assessment because Plymouth's use of the mentoring scheme is a local matter, based on local needs. It is for schools and local authorities to determine the arrangements they put in place to support their school leaders. Head teacher mentoring can play a key role in supporting school leaders in their goal to raise standards.

Homophobic Bullying

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the outcome was of the meeting of Ministers on 23 March 2004 to consider measures to tackle homophobic bullying in schools; and if she will make a statement. [59706]

Jacqui Smith: Following the meeting in March 2004, the Department for Education and Skills has been leading on work across Government to counter homophobia in our schools. Work on tackling
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homophobic bullying is one strand of this. As recommended by the Practitioners Group on Behaviour and Discipline, the recent White Paper committed the Department to producing specific guidance for schools on countering homophobic bullying as part of a suite of materials on prejudice driven bullying. We recently hosted a scoping meeting, involving leading experts from the fields of both anti-bullying and anti-homophobia, along with the professional associations and representatives from local authorities. The advice will be published during anti bullying week 2006, and between now and then we will be further consulting schools, local authorities and children and young people to inform its development.

This guidance will build on advice already offered to schools in Stand Up for Us: Challenging Homophobia" in Schools which was prepared by the National Healthy Schools Programme with considerable input from the Department. Stand Up For Us" was made available to schools in November 2004 and sets out a practical approach for schools and suggests steps to create an environment where everyone can feel welcome and valued.

To establish the baseline position here, we published Homophobia, Sexual Orientation and Schools: a review and implications for action", during anti bullying week in November 2004. This review, by the Thomas Coram Research Unit, looks at three areas: behaviour and bullying; teaching and learning about sexual orientation and relationships; and employment issues. It collates, summarises and assesses both peer reviewed research material, from this country and abroad, and less formal work conducted by bodies active in this area.It also reports the views of a wide range of organisations, 28 in all, with an interest in this area to paint a picture of how the issues are currently perceived. The report is available on the DfES website and the findings will be used to inform the development of further advice to schools.

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