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Norman Baker: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what the reasons are for the delay in answering parliamentary questions (a) 74493 tabled on 24 May 2006, (b) 65241 tabled on 19 April 2006, (c) 65227 tabled on 19 May 2006 and (d) 74469 tabled on 24 May 2006 by the hon. Member for Lewes; and when she expects to answer them. 
Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much his Department has spent in each year since 1997 on the provision of (a) mainstream and (b) specialist education provision for children with autism. 
Funding for schools is a shared responsibility between central and local government. The majority of funding is provided by central Government, with Local Authorities (LAs) providing the rest. For the first time this year, schools will receive
their funding from a Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) rather than as part of the local government settlement. The DSG is a ring-fenced grant and must be used for schools' budgets. It is for each LA to distribute funding using a locally agreed formula, and for schools' governing bodies to decide how to spend the available resources.
Since 1997-98, total funding for education in England has increased nationally, by £1,170 per pupil from £2,940 in 1997-98 to £4,110 per pupil in 2005-06. This represents a rise of nearly 40 per cent. per pupil.
Support for children with special educational needs (SEN) accounts for a high proportion of all education expenditure. We do not hold information centrally about expenditure on autism but information collected from LAs shows planned expenditure on the education of children with SEN has increased from £2.8 billion in 2001-02 (when data was first available) to £4.1 billion in 2005-06. This is about 13 per cent. of all education spending. The figure of £4.1 billion includes about £1.4 billion for maintained special schools, £2.0 billion for mainstream schools, £481 million for independent and non-maintained special schools and £264 million for LA duties and support services.
In addition, between 1997-98 and 2003-04 the Government allocated a total of £360 million through specific grants, to support SEN. The SEN element of the School Development Grant in 2004-05 was £84 million (not ring-fenced, schools decide how they use SDG). Total SDG for 2005-06 is £674 million. This will increase by 3.4 per cent. per pupil in 2006-07 and 3.7 per cent. in 2007-08.
Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many parents in Leyton and Wanstead constituency have received book packs for their babies in the Book Start Scheme since it started in October 2005; and if he will make a statement. 
Beverley Hughes [holding answer 26 June 2006]: The London Childcare Affordability Programme began in November 2005, with the aim of creating up to 10,000 affordable and flexible child care places. The Department has commissioned an independent evaluation, which began in February 2006 and will be completed in April 2009, to assess the effectiveness of the programme. Interim findings will be published at key points in the study and used to inform the development of policy on affordable child care both in London and more widely.
Sir Gerald Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will obtain a reply to the letters of (a) 18 April and (b) 18 May 2006 from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton to Mr. J. Korzeniewski, Regional Director of the Learning and Skills Council, Greater Manchester with regard to the Greater Manchester Bangladesh and Community Centre; and what the reasons are for the delay in replying hitherto. 
Bill Rammell: This is a matter for the Learning and Skills Council. I understand that Mr. Korzeniewski replied to the Greater Manchester Bangladesh Association last month and has copied his response to my right hon. Friend.
Charles Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many websites there are within his responsibilities; and what the total cost of maintaining such websites was in the last year for which figures are available. 
Mr. Dhanda: The Department runs 25 main URL domains for communication, information and services to parents, young people, frontline workers, campaigns and its corporate presence. Public-facing content is being migrated to Directgov.
Mr. Dhanda: The full-time equivalent number of educational psychologists in post in local authorities in England as at January 2005 is 2,156, compared to 1,768 in January 1997. There were 100 vacant full-time permanent posts as at January 2005.
Educational psychologists are employed by local authorities and it is for those authorities to determine how many to employ in light of their assessment of local needs and available resources, and to plan for future needs. The Department makes no manpower planning estimates for this group of local employees, nor do we collect centrally information on the number of EPs trained or the cost of EP training, funding for which is not provided by DfES.
There have been no recent discussions between the Department and the British Psychological Society on funding of EP training. Questions relating to clinical psychologists are for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health.
Mr. Dhanda [holding answers 14 June 2006]: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport issue the guidance for flying flags on Government buildings. This includes flying the St. Georges Flag on St. Georges Day 23 April and the European Flag on Europe Day 9 May on buildings with two or more flag poles provided they are flown alongside the Union Flag with the Union Flag in the superior position.
Mr. Dhanda [holding answer 14 June 2006]: The Department for Education and Skills follows the rules and guidance on flag flying issued by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. These rules are approved by the Queen on advice from the Department. There are no plans at present to change the number of days flags can be flown from Government buildings.
In the academic year 2004/05 there were 272 19 to 25-year-olds in Tamworth studying for a full NVQ level 3 or equivalent qualification in further
education and work based learning(1). This does not include access to HE qualifications or wholly privately funded study aims.
We do not have estimates below national level for the firstness of learning aims. Research from 2005 showed that nationally 49 per cent. of full level 3 learners in further education and work based learning were studying for their first full level 3 qualification.
( 1 ) Source:
Individualised Learner Record, 2004/05
Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many compulsory redundancies will arise from the restructuring of the Learning and Skills Council under its Agenda for Change. 
The LSC and PCS Union have been working together to do everything reasonably possible to avoid compulsory redundancies. They have agreed that no compulsory redundancies or issue of notice of compulsory redundancy will take place before 31 October 2006. Both sides will continue to work together on a series of redundancy avoidance measures which include, as appropriate, offers of suitable alternative roles, redeployment, promotion and further training of staff to help them secure posts within the LSC, the wider civil service and beyond.
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the total cost was of overnight accommodation for (a) civil servants and (b) special advisers in his Department staying overnight in (i) mainland Great Britain, (ii) Northern Ireland, (iii) the Republic of Ireland and (iv) other countries in each of the last three years. 
Mr. Dhanda: There is no central record of the breakdown of civil servants and special advisers and an assessment of the staff time and associated costs could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
Mrs. Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what steps his Department plans to take to monitor the extent to which public bodies which report to him comply, from October, with their duty to conserve biodiversity in exercising their functions, under section 40 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006. 
Under Section 40 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006, all public bodies have a duty to have regard to the conservation of biodiversity in the exercising of their functions. There is no statutory obligation on Departments to monitor the extent to which public bodies comply with this duty. However, we understand
Defra is working with a wide range of partners to develop guidance for public bodies to support the implementation of this duty and will involve all relevant Departments on the development of guidance.
Mr. Paul Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment his Department has made of the extent to which the hourly Nursery Education Grant covers the cost for (a) private and (b) voluntary providers of providing child care. 
Beverley Hughes [holding answer 26 June 2006]: With effect from April 2006, funding has been channelled to local authorities through the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) to fund educational provision for children aged up to 16 in all types of settings. This includes private, voluntary and independent settings delivering the free nursery education entitlement. The DSG provides the total funding to local authorities. It is then up to the local authority to decide how best to apply the total funding across different settings and age groups.
The level of funding provided to local authorities for under fives is determined by the number of full-time equivalent pupils in the authority, multiplied by the DSG guaranteed unit of funding. The number of full time equivalent pupils for under fives in PVI settings are calculated according to their age and the number of sessions they complete. The Department consulted widely on the Dedicated Schools Grant between February and May 2005, and on the method of its distribution over summer 2005. The Department will be reviewing various aspects of the funding arrangements over the conning months.
Local authorities are best placed to determine the most effective use of resources at local level and have discretion over the rate at which they fund settings for delivery of early years provision. However, the Code of Practice on the Provision of Free Nursery Education Places for Three and Four Year-Oldsa copy of which has been placed in the Librarystrongly encourages local authorities to fund provision delivered in different sectors on an equal basis, taking into account local need and circumstances.
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what paid apprenticeship programmes are available through his Department (a) for people aged over 55 years and (b) for people in retirement. 
Phil Hope: We currently support a pilot programme for adult apprentices, in three sectors, construction; engineering; and health and social care and the LSC has local flexibility to fund some apprenticeship training for adults. We will decide on the way ahead in the autumn in light of the evaluation of current pilot activity, in England, and the availability of resources.
Susan Kramer: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to the remarks of the Minister for Children and Families in Standing Committee B on the Children and Adoption Bill, on 14 March 2006, Official Report, column 33, when he plans to publish guidelines for fee-charging on overseas adoptions. 
Beverley Hughes [holding answer 26 June 2006]: The Children and Adoption Act 2006 allows the Government to charge a fee to prospective adopters in order to contribute to the cost of processing of inter-country adoption casework. Charging will not be introduced before April 2007. The fees charged cannot exceed the cost to the Government of providing this service and we are committed to making charging fair, straightforward and based on income. We are currently working to develop the details of a system for charging based on these criteria. We intend to discuss this with stakeholders in the autumn before publishing details of the scheme prior to its introduction.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills which Private Members' Bills were drafted by his Department in each session since 1997; and which subsequently received Royal Assent. 
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