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25 May 2006 : Column 1958Wcontinued
Colin Challen: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list publicly funded schemes of greater than £50,000 in value for transport infrastructure in (a) London and (b) West Yorkshire. 
Gillian Merron: The Department does not hold comprehensive lists of all publicly funded transport infrastructure schemes in London and West Yorkshire.
For schemes in London, the Department allocates funds to Transport for London through the London Transport Grant. It is for Transport for London to decide how to allocate that money.
For improvement and maintenance schemes in West Yorkshire costing less than £5 million, the Department allocates block (not scheme-specific) support to the metropolitan district councils and passenger transport authority to implement the West Yorkshire local transport plan.
In addition, railway schemes in London and West Yorkshire are funded mainly by Network Rail.
The major schemes which have been funded directly by this Department, and which have opened or been fully approved in the last five years in London and West Yorkshire are as follows:
Kings Cross station LUL ticket hall modernisation. Under construction.
A64 York Road Guided Bus scheme (Leeds). Opened 2001.
A641 Manchester Road Guided Bus scheme (Bradford). Opened 2002.
South Bradford Integrated Transport Scheme. Opened 2004.
Connecting the City (Bradford City Centre). Opened 2004
Leeds Inner Ring Road Stage 7. Under construction.
East Leeds Link Road. Fully approved with construction due to commence autumn 2006.
13. Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will make a statement on future Standards Fund funding of music education in schools. 
Mr. Dhanda: Funding beyond 2007-08 is dependent on the outcome of the comprehensive spending review. However, there has been an overall increase in funding of music education in schools through the standards fund for this year and next.
In addition to grant of around £60 million made to local music services, there has been a further £30 million identified for schools intended specifically to support instrumental and vocal tuition for key stage 2 pupils.
14. Kali Mountford: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what guidance he has issued to children's directors on co-ordination of their different policy responsibilities. 
Beverley Hughes: There has been guidance since 2004 when Every child matters: change for children was published along with a joint DH/DfES publication on supporting local delivery. The White Paper Our health our care, our say (January 2006) set out expectations for joint working between PCTs, GPs and children's trusts, including commissioning of services, local area agreements, delivery through multi-disciplinary networks and teams, performance assessment and alignment of planning and finance cycles for PCTs and local authorities. Guidance for practitioners and managers is also kept up to date.
Communications with local authorities are coordinated through a communications gateway which significantly contributes to the coherence of communications to local authorities.
15. Mrs. Dorries: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will make a statement on changes to the arrangements for studying single sciences at GCSE level. 
Mr. Dhanda: The science and innovation investment framework 2004 to 2014: next steps document outlines our commitment to encourage schools to provide greater access to the three separate sciences. By September 2008 our aim is that all pupils achieving at least level 6 at key stage 3 will have access to study three separate science GCSEs, to increase progression to, and attainment at, A-level science.
16. Ms. Keeble: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what action his Department has taken to pursue the Commission for Africa's recommendation on support for children's policies in Africa. 
Bill Rammell: We have recently supported a very successful young carer's workshop in Nairobi in partnership with the Commonwealth organisation for social work, the Commonwealth youth programme and the Children's Society.
I am particularly pleased there was such a strong contribution from young carers from Africa and the UK. The conference has strengthened the voice of young people who carry out these difficult responsibilities in very challenging situations.
17. Ms. Diana R. Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what proposals the qualification and curriculum authority has developed for making financial capability education more explicit in the national mathematics curriculum. 
Jim Knight: QCA are taking forward the remit to raise the profile of financial capability education in a number of ways. To identify financial contexts within the development of functional mathematics; through guidance for mathematics teachers; and through a suite of sample lesson plans, set in the context of shopping and retailing.
Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what process was undertaken to assess the suitability of Ataullah Siddiqui for the role of adviser to the Government on Islam in Higher Education; 
(2) what steps his Department took to investigate whether there were links between Ataullah Siddiqui and the Jamaat-e-Islami Party prior to his appointment as adviser to the Government on Islam in Higher Education; 
(3) what steps his Department took to investigate whether there were links between the Islamic Foundation of Leicester, the Markfield Institute of Higher Education and the Jamaat-e-Islami Party prior to the appointment of Ataullah Siddiqui as adviser to the Government on Islam in Higher Education. 
Bill Rammell: I have appointed Dr. Siddiqi to advise the Department on how the quality of information about Islam available to students in universities and colleges can be improved. Dr. Siddiqi will be taking account of a range of views, and will be making recommendations early in 2007.
I appointed Dr. Siddiqi to this role because after careful consideration I decided he was the best qualified of a number of candidates. Dr. Siddiqi has a commitment to improving relationships between Muslims and the wider community, and is vice-chair of the Christian-Muslim forum launched by the Archbishop of Canterbury in January 2006. He has a distinguished academic record and an appropriate level of understanding of the education system. While the content of his report is a matter for him to decide, after appropriate consultation, Dr. Siddiqi shares the Government's concern that the material available about Islam in educational institutions is often unduly narrow in its outlook, and does not deal adequately with the role of Islam in a modern pluralistic society.
Dr. Siddiqi has assured me categorically that he has no links to the Jamaat-e-Islami Party.
Dr. Siddiqi is director of the Markfield Institute for Higher Education, although his appointment is in a personal capacity. The Markfield Institute of Higher Education is a higher education institution whose courses are validated by the University of Loughborough, and are subject to an audit of quality by the Quality Assurance Agency. It is sponsored by the Islamic Foundation Trust, an organisation which has a number of collaborations with universities in the UK and overseas. Neither Markfield nor the Islamic Foundation Trust have organisational links to Jamaat-e-Islami.
John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills which individuals and organisations his Department consulted before making the decision to contract out childrens centre support work from the Department. 
Beverley Hughes: The decision to contract out support for the roll-out of children's centres followed a recommendation from a wider review of the Government's 10-Year Childcare Strategy, during which a wide range of stakeholders were consulted, including local authority lead officials, children's centre managers and Sure Start and Children's Fund regional team leaders.
Before deciding to accept this recommendation the Departmentin addition to work with a range of its own staffheld discussions with the Training and Development Agency for Schools, the Children's Workforce Development Council, with Government Office Directors of Children and Learners and with the Department's Trade Union side.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Connexions Card, with particular reference to take-up. 
Beverley Hughes: The latest independent evaluation report of the effectiveness of the Connexions Card, undertaken by York Consulting Ltd. and published in January 2005 found that there had been improvements in engagement of schools and colleges and young people since 2003. There was also indicative evidence that the card may be having a positive effect on some cardholders and that many cardholders are positive about the potential benefits of the card. However, there was no evidence that the originally intended impact on increasing post-16 participation in further education and training is yet being achieved. Numbers taking up the card at that time were lower than original expectations. There are currently 604,645 Connexions cardholders.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills which foreign languages are taught in schools in Coventry South. 
Jim Knight: Information is not collected on the subjects taught in schools. While it is possible to provide information on schools where at least one pupil has been entered for a particular subject, it is not possible, however, to say whether the school has actually taught the subject or whether the pupil has been entered privately. 15-year old pupils in Coventry South entered GCSEs in 2005 in the following languagesArabic, Bengali, Chinese, Classical Civilisation, French, German, Greek, Gujarati, Italian, Latin, Panjabi, Portuguese, Spanish, Turkish and Urdu. Similar information is not readily available for other age groups.
Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the (a) originally estimated, (b) most recently estimated and (c) outturn cost was in each of the five largest information technology contracts agreed by his Department with outside suppliers over the last five years. 
Phil Hope: The information as requested is not readily available centrally within the Department for Education and Skills. To respond fully would involve an extensive internal and external information collection exercise which would exceed the recommended disproportionate cost threshold.
An analysis of the Departments individual learning account (ILA) programme is given in the report: The House of Commons Committee of Public Accounts (2003), individual learning accounts, tenth report of session 2002-03 (Ref: HC 544), TSO, London.
An analysis of the Department's UK e-university project is given in the report: The House of Commons Education and Skills select committee (2005),UK e-university, third report of session 2004-05(Ref: HC 205), TSO, London.
In addition, I refer the hon. Member to the answers given by the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children Young People and Families on 13 June 2005, Official Report, column 192W; and, 3 November 2005, Official Report, column 1314W.
Margaret Moran: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what plans he has to improve the quality of information and communication technology teaching in schools. 
Phil Hope: Through the national strategies and national council for school leadership we are developing materials and peer-to-peer support to help school leaders and teachers make the best use of information and communications technology teaching to raise standards across the curriculum. We are supporting schools to invest in new teaching technologies such as interactive whiteboards and tablet PCs that are transforming many classrooms.
John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills with which private companies the Department has contracts; and what the (a) value and (b) purpose of each contract is. 
Bill Rammell: This information could be supplied only at disproportionate cost.
Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations she has made to the Iraqi government on the detention since October 2004 without charge or trial of joint UK/Iraqi national Abdul Razzaq Ali al-Jedda; and if she will make a statement. 
Dr. Howells: Mr. al-Jedda is being detained by the British contingent of the Multi-National Force in Iraq for imperative reasons of security under the authority conferred by United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1546 (2004) and 1637 (2005).
Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what timetable has been set for the modernisation of the Cayman Islands Constitution; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Hoon: The timetable for Overseas Territory constitutional reviews is a matter for agreement between the Government and the Territory concerned. Following the publication of the Cayman Islands Constitution Review Commissioners report in March 2002, there were initial negotiations on a new constitution between representatives of the UK and the Cayman Islands in December 2002. A new draft Constitution was prepared to reflect the outcome of these discussions and sent to the Islands in February 2003. This was debated by the Legislative Assembly in November 2003. The then Cayman Islands Government put the review process on hold in early 2004. Following the election of a new government in May 2005, constructive exploratory talks were held between a UK team and Cayman Islands representatives in March 2006. Once the consultation process, which
we understand the Cayman Islands intends to hold, has been completed, the UK stands ready to participate in further discussions with Cayman Islands representatives.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment his Department has made of (a) the rebel attack on 13 April on N'Djamena and (b) allegations of Sudanese involvement (i) in this action and (ii) with rebel groups in Chad; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. McCartney: The United Nations Security Council has condemned the recent attempt to overthrow the Government of Chad by force and called on the parties in Chad to resolve their political differences by negotiation.
We are aware of reports concerning the Government of Sudan's alleged support for Chadian rebels. We welcome the African Union's (AU) initiative to send a mission to Chad to examine the political situation and investigate such allegations. This mission arrived in N'Djamena on 21 April and will report to the AU Peace and Security Council.
We continue to call on all sides to show restraint, and on the Governments of Chad and Sudan to resolve their differences and restore calm to the region without the use of violence.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations he has made to (a) Sudan, (b) the African Union and (c) the UN regarding the attack on N'Djamena. 
Mr. McCartney: The Chadian army defeated attacks on N'Djamena and Adre by rebel groups on 13 April. We are aware of reports concerning the Government of Sudan's alleged support for Chadian rebels. We continue to call on all sides to show restraint, and on the Governments of Chad and Sudan to resolve their differences and restore calm to the region without the use of violence.
Although we have not made recent representations to the African Union (AU), we welcome their initiative to send a mission to Chad to examine the political situation and investigate such allegations. This mission arrived in N'Djamena on 21 April, and will report to the AU Peace and Security Council.
We were proactive in supporting the United Nations Security Council's condemnation of the attempt to overthrow the Government of Chad by force and called on the parties to resolve their political differences by negotiation.
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