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|Maintained primary, secondary and all special schools( 1, 2) : number and percentage of pupils whose primary need is visual impairment( 3, 4 ) as at January 2006( 5)|
|Pupils whose primary need is visual impairment|
|Number||Percentage ( 6)||Number||Percentage ( 6)||Number||Percentage ( 6)||Number||Percentage ( 6)|
|(1) Includes middle schools as deemed.|
(2) Includes maintained and non-maintained special schools. Excludes general hospital schools.
(3) Excludes dually registered pupils.
(4) Pupils at School Action Plus and those with a statement of SEN provided information on their type of need. Figures for those pupils whose primary need was reported as being visual impairment are given here.
(6) Number of pupils with visual impairment expressed as a percentage of all pupils at School Action Plus or with statements of SEN.
(7) Includes Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland, Stockton-on-Tees and Darlington Local Authorities.
Pupil numbers have been rounded to the nearest 10. There may be discrepancies between the sum of constituent items and totals as shown.
Since 2004, the Department for Education and Skills has collected data on pupils by type of SEN as part of the annual school census. The above table shows pupils with SEN supported at School Action Plus or with a statement of SEN where visual impairment is recorded as their primary need.
Local interpretation of definitions
Classification of children with multiple needs
Differences in diagnoses between education and health professionals
Availability of special school provisions in authorities [deleted or clarified]
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what reasons were given by the relevant trade unions for rejecting the pay offer made to staff at the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service during 2005-06; and if he will make a statement; 
Mr. Dhanda: These are matters for the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS). Anthony Douglas, the chief executive, has written to my hon. Friend with this information and a copy of his reply has been placed in the Library.
Parliamentary Questions Concerning CAFCASS
I am writing to you in response to the three parliamentary questions that you tabled recently.
PQ74682what reasons were given by the relevant trade unions for rejecting the pay offer made to staff at the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service during 2005-06; and if he will make a statement
The pay award for 2005/06 was rejected because the initial offer was regarded as too low. Following a short and constructive negotiation, a revised offer was accepted.
PQ74683how many vacancies there were in the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service in the most recent period for which figures are available, broken down by region
At the end of March 2006, CAFCASS staff vacancies were equivalent to 65.3 full time posts, broken down as follows:
Family Court Advisors37.9;
Service Managers7.5; and
A regional breakdown is attached. The vacancies represent 3.5% of the workforce. CAFCASS vacancies levels are kept under regular review.
PQ74683what plans he has to negotiate a new strategic pay deal with the trade unions in the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service
CAFCASS has agreed a set of principles with the CAFCASS trade unions, to underpin a strategic pay review, and discussions on the review have started. Completion is expected before the end of 2006, with at least partial implementation anticipated from April 2007, depending on the progress made and budgetary considerations at the time.
|CAFCASS regional vacancy analysis at 31 March 2006|
|Vacancy analysis||Establishment (Full-time equivalent)||Vacancy (Percentage)|
Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will establish an independent body to oversee the work of Children and Family Court Advisory and Support service; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Dhanda: There is already considerable independent oversight of CAFCASS work. It is inspected by Her Majestys Chief Inspector of Court Administration, and inspection reports are published. Complaints about CAFCASS in particular cases, which are not resolved by its complaints procedure, can be referred to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman. CAFCASS annual reports and accounts are audited by the National Audit Office before they are published and laid before Parliament. In addition, CAFCASS has a non-executive board; the chair and 10 members are appointed by the Secretary of State for Education and Skills and 2 members are co-opted to provide particular expertise.
Jim Knight: We are keen to explore innovative ways of raising levels of motivation and achievement among school pupils and have supported the English Chess Federation to develop a handbook for schools in setting up school chess clubs.
We do not collect data on the number of under 16s who play chess as part of school activities. However, we know that a number of schools incorporate chess clubs within their study support (out of school hours learning) provision. Schools and local authorities have access to Government funding for study support and the freedom to decide which activities to offer to best meet local need and demand. By 2010 the Government also wants all schools, as part of their extended schools provision, to provide a varied range of interesting activities, such as chess clubs, before and after school and during the school holidays.
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many staff in his Department have had (a) five or more, (b) four, (c) three and (d) two periods of sick leave of less than five days in each of the last three years. 
|Periods of sick leave of less than five days||Number of staff|
The Department is committed to effective attendance management. In support of the recommendations of Managing Sickness Absence in the Public Sector it has introduced a number of initiatives to reduce absence levels to seven days per person by 2010. These initiatives have been shared with Cabinet Office to whom my Department provides regular updates on progress. One such initiative is the publication of a comprehensive Attendance Management and Health Guide which brings together the guidance on these issues.
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many staff in his Department attended the Civil Service Islamic Society Eid-Ul-Adha event in London in 2005; and what the total cost to his Department was of their attendance. 
Mr. Dhanda: My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster will write to the hon. Member with details of the Civil Service Islamic Society Eid-Ul-Adha event. Copies of her letter will be placed in the Library.
Mr. Dhanda: Members of the Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme (PCSPS) can pay additional contributions to top up their pension either through the Civil Service Additional Voluntary Contributions Scheme (CSAVCS), a money purchase arrangement, or by buying added years of service in the PCSPS. As an alternative to membership of the PCSPS recruits from 1 October 2002 have been able to join a stakeholder arrangement, the partnership pension account.
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