Mr. Marshall-Andrews: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will take steps to allow young people in full-time education to receive the education maintenance allowance while carrying out voluntary work. 
Mr. Dhanda [holding answer 8 June 2006]: Young people in full-time education receive EMA when they have attended all the sessions for which they are required, and will not receive a weekly payment if they fail to attend. EMA is based on a something for something approach. Therefore, the general principle is that if the activity, for example volunteering, forms part of the young person's learning agreement EMA may be paid, if not; EMA will not be paid.
Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what initial assessment he has made of the impact of the level 2 entitlement for free tuition as announced in the White Paper, 21st Century Skills and if he will make a statement. 
During 2004/05 the level 2 entitlement was trialled in the north east and south east regions. The Learning and Skills Development Agency, on behalf of the Learning and Skills Council (LSC),
produced an early report in January 2005 entitled, An early assessment of the impact of the Level 2 offer. In March 2006 the Adult Learning Inspectorate completed a short report entitled, Evaluation of the Level 2 entitlement. Both documents have been used to help shape the national LSC's communication strategy with the regions prior to the national availability of the entitlement from September 2006.
Dr. Alasdair McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what aspects of information and communications technology the personalised learning review group will examine as part of its work; whether the review group will look at mobile and other wireless technology; and if he will make a statement. 
Phil Hope: The Teaching and Learning in 2020 Review will consider the potential of all aspects of ICT to facilitate personalised learning including, for example, its impact on teaching and learning strategies, on access to learning, on communication with parents and on schools use of data. The Review Group will draw on a wide range of evidence and examples of best practice, including submissions commissioned from experts in this field.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what steps he has taken to ensure that students (a) graduations and (b) immediate job prospects are not affected by the industrial dispute between lecturers and universities; and if he will make a statement. 
Bill Rammell: Although this dispute was between universities and trade unions, I have kept closely in touch with both sides throughout its progress and consistently urged that the dispute be urgently resolved and the impact on students lifted.
I welcome the agreement reached between the HE employers and unions, on pay, and the immediate suspension of the University and College Unions industrial action. This is good news for staff and students alike. I expect that institutions and staff will work hard to ensure that all students get their marks and the opportunity to graduate in good time. The employers and UCU have agreed to work together to ensure a quick return to normal business. I can assure you that we will continue to monitor closely the situation with regard to any residual effects of the dispute.
Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will bring forward amendments to the Children Act 1989 to make it a requirement that there is a presumption of equal contact between separating parents. 
Mr. Dhanda: Currently, there are no plans to bring forward such amendments. The Government do not believe that a legal presumption of equal contact would be in the best interests of most children. The most appropriate arrangements for contact between children and their separated parents will depend on a variety of issues particular to their individual circumstances. Where equal contact arrangements appear to be in the best interests of a child, whether agreed between the parents or determined by a court, they are already able to be, and should continue to be, put in place.
Jim Knight: 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. 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. The School Food Trust will publish guidance on the new standards in late June.
The Rural Payments Agency, a Defra executive agency, is responsible for the administration of the EU school milk subsidy scheme in Britain. It provides advice online, in response to individual requests and via its helpline to those schools and local authorities which choose to participate in the scheme. This advice covers how to apply for the payment of subsidy on milk.
Mr. Bone: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what estimate he has made of the number of children of secondary school age who live in Wellingborough and do not go to a Wellingborough secondary school. 
|Wellingborough local authority district
|(1) Includes pupils aged 11 to15. Source: School Census January 2006 (provisional).
Mr. Bone: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many notifications Northamptonshire county council had received of children of secondary school age who do not have a school place in (a) Northamptonshire and (b) Wellingborough on 26 May. 
Jim Knight: This is a matter for Northamptonshire county council. Following the hon. Members point of order on Thursday 26 May after the Departments oral question session, I wrote to him concerning this matter and copies of the letter have been placed in the House Library.
Jim Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many serious case reviews for children have been carried out; and what guidance his Department issues on (a) the scrutiny of the full review of the review and (b) the single agency contributions to the review by elected representatives on the relevant social services authority. 
Beverley Hughes [holding answer 9 May 2006]: The Child Protection database, maintained by the Commission for Social Care Inspection, indicates that 78 cases from 2003-04 were the subject of a Serious Case Review (SCR), while 82 cases from 2004-05 were the subject of a SCR. The data for 2005-2006 are not yet complete.
Guidance on these issues is contained in Working Together to Safeguard Children, which includes guidance on the role and functions of local safeguarding children boards (LSCBs). One of the core functions of LSCBs is to undertake SCRs. Chapter 8 of Working Together sets out how and when SCRs should be undertaken. This includes specifying how the relevant services should undertake separate management reviews, and how the LSCB should commission an overview report which brings together and analyses the findings. Working Together states that the LSCB should consider carefully who might have an interest in reviews, for example, elected and appointed members of authorities, and what information should be made available to each of these interests, considering a number of factors including the need to maintain confidentiality in respect of personal information, and the accountability of public services. In all cases there is a public executive summary.
Working Together also states that LSCBs should have clear work programmes, including measurable objectives, and budgets. This will enable LSCBs work to be scrutinised by local authorities, other local partners and key stakeholders as well as by the inspectorates. Elected members role, through their membership of governance bodies such as the cabinet of the local authority or a scrutiny committee or a governance board, is to hold their organisation and its officers to account for their contribution to the effective functioning of the LSCB. The lead member for children's services within the local authority will have a particular focus on how the local authority is fulfilling its responsibilities to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and will hold the director of children services to account for the work of the LSCB.
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many students are availing themselves of the arrangements that permit them to
take a gap year in 2005-06 and be exempt from variable fees from 2006-07. 
Bill Rammell: Information from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) shows that, of the 301,798 students from England who obtained a place on a full-time undergraduate course in 2005, 25,171 (or 8.3 per cent.) opted to defer entry to 2006. This is a similar proportion to the previous year, when 23,006 (or 8.3 per cent.) out of 277,079 students deferred entry from 2004 to 2005.
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the total cost of collecting university tuition fees from students in the London borough of Havering has been in each year since they were introduced. 
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much was raised through tuition fees from students in the London borough of Havering in (a) 1998, (b) 1999, (c) 2000, (d) 2001 and (e) 2002. 
Bill Rammell: Students on full-time undergraduate courses and their families are expected to make a contribution towards the cost of their tuition based on household income. Students from lower income backgrounds are wholly or partially exempt from paying tuition fees.
|Contribution from students paying all or part of their tuition fees
| Source: Student Loans Company (SLC)
Data in the answer cover the period from 1999/2000 to 2004/05. Contributions towards tuition fees of up to £1,000 were introduced in academic year 1998/99 but, as that year was treated as a transitional year, data are not available on the same basis as subsequent years.
Students on full-time undergraduate courses and their families are expected to make a contribution towards the cost of their tuition based on household income. Students from lower income backgrounds are wholly or partially exempt from paying tuition fees.
(1) Rounded to the nearest 10 students.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will discuss with representatives of the insurance industry problems experienced by young people accessing the workplace (a) as apprentices, (b) as young workers under 18 and (c) on work experience from school and college in relation to (i) obtaining insurance and (ii) the level of premiums required, with particular reference to small businesses and sole traders. 
Phil Hope: In March 2004 my officials discussed with the Association of British Insurers insurance issues related to school-age work experience. The ABI confirmed the continuation of the long-standing convention by which school students on placement are considered to be covered by the employers liability policy, as if they were employees. Generally, insurers make no charge for this insurance, provided they are notified of the placement in advance or have a longer-term agreement that the employer will regularly offer work experience. There should not therefore be premiums to pay which might act as a barrier to the employers involvement. This is also the case when employers take on apprentices. Further discussions on these questions would be welcome.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment he has made of the impact of child protection policies on the work experience of young people and young apprentices employed by small businesses. 
Phil Hope: In December 2004 the Department produced supplementary guidance for people organising work experience which reassured organisers, and through them, schools and employers, about the effective implementation of new requirements designed to ensure the protection of vulnerable young people.
We have no evidence to indicate that work experience placement offers, including those linked to the Young Apprenticeship Programme, have been reduced overall through any impact of child protection policies. Working with the Sector Skills Councils, we have provided advice and support to employers involved in work experience, including the Young Apprenticeship Programme, and we plan further efforts to reassure them about the availability of support on this and other issues which might concern them.
Phil Hope: Apprenticeships are the main programme for young employed people seeking vocational qualifications at Level 2 and Level 3. Other opportunities are also being developed, including a pilot programme that started in April this year aimed at encouraging 16 to 18-year-olds in jobs without training to gain a Level 2 qualification, whether academic or vocational. For those over 19 and without either basic skills or a first Level 2 qualification we have put in place the Train to Gain service to deliver high- quality flexible qualifications in the workplace.
Mr. Ingram: On 17 May, the Musa Qaleh District Centre in Northern Helmand was attacked by an estimated 150 insurgents. Afghan National Police (ANP) successfully responded to the incident and the insurgents fled further North towards the town of Tisney. The ANP pursued the insurgents, suffering 13 fatalities and approximately ten wounded; UK forces provided medical support to the injured ANP. It is thought that up to 50 insurgents were killed by the Afghan forces, 10 were wounded and some equipment (including a 4x4 vehicle) was seized.
UK forces, along with the ANP and Afghan National Army, have since established a presence in Musa Qualeh to prevent insurgents from returning there, and to help establish the rule of law and aid reconstruction efforts. This has been well received by the local population.