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7 Jun 2006 : Column 652W—continued


Free Fruit Scheme

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what recent discussions he has had with the organisers of free fruit schemes for schools. [75451]

Jim Knight: The Government’s School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme is administered by the Department of Health. The Secretary of State for Education and Skills has not met recently with organisers of free fruit schemes for schools.

Gershon Report

Peter Viggers: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many civil servants were employed in his Department before the Gershon Report; what net reductions were proposed in the Gershon Report; how many reductions have been made; and how many civil servants are expected to be employed in his Department in the Gershon target month of April 2008. [74291]

Mr. Dhanda: The agreed baseline figure that my Department is using to assess progress against its target to reduce civil service posts in response to the Gershon report is 4,660 and is at 1 October 2003. The baseline of October 2003 reflects the starting point for the Department’s restructuring programme.

The Gershon report commits my Department to achieving a total of 1,460 staff reductions by 31 March 2008, which would reduce overall numbers to 3,200 (this has now reduced to 3,142 as a result of Machinery of Government changes which transferred 58 staff to DCA with effect from 1 April 2006).

As at 1 April 2006, my Department had reduced staffing numbers by 1,025 from its baseline figure, to 3,635, and expects to meet its target of 3,142 by 31 March 2008.

Lip Reading (Yorkshire)

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what representations he has received on the reduction of funds enabling lip reading classes at York College; [75034]

(2) what discussions he has had on the provision of sign language and lip reading classes for those with deafness or partial deafness in the Vale of York; [75035]


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(3) what alternative provision will be made for those affected by the termination of lip reading classes at York College. [75036]

Bill Rammell: We understand that there no plans to reduce the availability of sign language or lip reading provision in York. The Learning and Skills Council will continue to support sign language courses at York College as these are priority programmes and an integral part of the college’s adult provision. Lip reading classes have been run by York city council for a number of years some under a sub-contracting arrangement with York College. York city council have reviewed this arrangement and decided that in future all lip reading courses will be delivered directly through York city council.

We have been clear that provision to support deaf and hard of hearing learners and more generally for all learners with learning difficulties and/or disabilities remains a priority and this continues to be the case in York.

Medical School

Mr. Devine: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many places were allocated in each English university for studying medicine in 2005; and how many of those places were taken by (a) students from overseas and (b) those educated in the private sector. [72267]

Bill Rammell: The available information is given in the following table. Information on the previous educational establishment of the intakes of medical schools is not held centrally. The planned and actual intakes of UK and overseas students are determined independently. An increase in overseas students does not affect the number of places available for UK students.


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Planned and actual intakes of medical schools in England 2005/06
of which:
Institution Planned intake Actual intake( 1) Home and EU( 2) Other overseas( 3)

Birmingham

385

432

389

43

Brighton-Sussex

138

136

129

7

Bristol

256

265

248

17

Cambridge

299

301

280

21

East Anglia

141

129

126

3

Hull-York

141

136

135

1

Imperial

330

342

318

24

Keele

130

126

126

0

King’s College

415

404

373

31

Leeds

263

254

225

29

Leicester/Warwick

422

485

449

36

Liverpool

317

343

327

16

Manchester

381

357

332

25

Newcastle/Durham

352

381

354

27

Nottingham

336

352

316

36

Oxford

186

187

183

4

Peninsula

181

176

174

2

QMW

324

327

300

27

St. George’s

264

297

280

17

Sheffield

241

264

248

16

Southampton

246

253

233

20

UCL

330

351

327

24

Total England

6,078

6,298

5,872

426

(1) Intake figures for 2005/6 are provisional until November 2006. (2) Home and EU domiciles cannot be separated in the return as both pay the same fees. (3) Includes students from the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands as they do not pay home fees. Source: HEFCE's medicine and dentistry return.

School Milk

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) if he will make a statement on his policy concerning the provision of whole milk for drinking in schools; [74792]

(2) what assessment he has made of the relative nutritional benefits to school children of drinking skimmed milk, semi-skimmed milk and whole milk; and if he will make a statement. [74793]

Jim Knight: Local authorities are not obliged to provide milk, but where they do so they must provide it free of charge to pupils entitled to receive a free school lunch. Local authorities decide whether or not to provide whole milk. They are also free to make use of the EU School Milk Subsidy Scheme, which reduces the cost of whole milk and semi-skimmed milk purchased. The new nutritional standards in schools, announced on 19 May 2006, stipulate that only semi-skimmed and skimmed milk should be made available in schools.

The advice of the School Meals Review Panel and the School Food Trust was that only very young children require full-fat milk as part of their diet; and that once children are at school, semi-skimmed and skimmed versions of milk are entirely adequate. This approach reflects current nutrition advice, which is based on advice from the Committee on Medical Aspects of Food Policy (now replaced by the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition) who considered this issue in relation to cardiovascular disease. Current advice highlights the important role that milk and dairy products play in children’s diets, particularly their contribution to children’s calcium intake; and states that school-aged children should have the opportunity to choose lower fat versions of milk as these contain at least the same amount of calcium as whole milk, but less fat.

Munchausen's Syndrome by Proxy

Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what plans his Department has to review the 2002 guidelines “Safeguarding Children in whom Illness is Fabricated or Induced”; what discussions he has had with other Government departments about this issue; and if he will make a statement. [75040]


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Mr. Dhanda: We have no plans to review the Government’s guidance “Safeguarding Children in Whom Illness is Fabricated or Induced (2002)”. Consequently, we have not discussed review of the guidance with any other Departments. This guidance was produced jointly by the Department of Health, Home Office, Department for Education and Skills and the Welsh Assembly. It is intended to provide a national framework within which agencies and professionals at local level—individually and jointly—draw up and agree upon their own more detailed ways of working together in cases of fabricated or induced illness. It is addressed to those who work in the health and education services, the police, social services departments, the probation service, and others whose work brings them into contact with children and families.

New Schools

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills which (a) primary and (b) secondary schools have been (i) built and (ii) opened in (A) Southend-on-Sea and (B) England in each year since 1997. [73422]

Jim Knight: The information requested has been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

NUT Conference

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what representations he has received following the recent National Union of Teachers conference. [75442]

Jim Knight: The NUT leadership has made no formal representations since their recent conference.

Pastoral Care

Mr. Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what (a) guidance and (b) training his Department and its agencies provide to teachers on dealing with the impact on school children of parental separation and divorce. [75486]

Jim Knight: There is scope in the Personal Social and Health Education framework for schools to explore issues such as parental separation and divorce. Since 2003, we have been providing training for teachers of PSHE through the PSHE certificate for teachers, from which over 5,000 teachers have so far benefited. In addition, the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority has produced a package of guidance for teachers of PSHE. This package includes units of work which can be used to address issues of divorce and separation.

The DfES-funded Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning (SEAL) curriculum resource for primary schools provides ideas for developing children's ability to deal with loss and separation, sometimes through explicit reference to the separation and divorce of parents, as well as other areas of loss. There is also brief guidance for staff on working with children on these subjects.


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Personalised Learning

John Hemming: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what pilot studies involving personal digital assistants and other mobile technology are being conducted to help enhance personalised learning in the education system; and if he will make a statement. [74752]

Phil Hope: The Department is currently supporting an innovative project in Wolverhampton called Learning2Go, involving provision of hand held devices to 1,100 students and their teachers across a range of institutions. This exercise is seeking to understand the impact:

The Department provided funding to Wolverhampton local authority to enable them to fund the conversion of existing educational software for use on the devices. Becta (British Educational Communications Technology Agency) will be conducting a full and detailed evaluation of the project and we will share what we learn to inform future investment/approaches.


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