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Alan Johnson: To promote the study of foreign languages for learners of all ages, the Government published their National Languages Strategy: Languages for All: Languages for Lifea Strategy for England in December 2002. The cornerstone of the strategy is that by 2010 all Key Stage 2 pupils will have the opportunity to study a foreign language in class time. It is for individual schools to decide which languages they offer depending on their expertise and access to resources and support.
At Key Stages 3 and 4, secondary schools must give access to at least one course in an official working language of the European Union that leads to an approved qualification. The official working languages of the European Union, for which there are approved qualifications, are: Danish, Dutch, French, German, Modern Greek, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish and Swedish. Once this offer has been made schools may then decide to offer additional languages. Approved qualifications are available in a wide range of languages in the categories raised in the question.
Ancient languages do not form part of the national curriculum. It is for individual schools and their governing bodies to decide whether to include the classicsincluding classical languagesin their respective curriculum. Their decision may depend on demand for the subject, having a specialist classics teacher available to teach it, and in meeting the needs of their pupils.
As part of our Specialist Schools Programme, secondary schools can apply to become humanities colleges. As part of this specialism, schools have the option to focus on the teaching and learning of classical studies (that is, Latin, Classical Greek and classical civilisation) alongside a core humanities option of History, Geography or English.
In 2005 the Department launched the Languages Ladderthe national, voluntary recognition scheme for languagesas an alternative qualification route to complement existing qualifications. The Languages Ladder endorses achievement in language skills at all levels of competence for all ages. It is available currently in eight languages: French, German, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, Panjabi, Spanish and Urdu. A further 13 languages, in the first three stages of the scheme, will be added in September this year and will include: Arabic, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Modern Greek, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Somali, Swedish, Tamil, Turkish and Yoruba.
Mark Durkan: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much his Department spent on the promotion of positive parenting in the last period for which figures are available; and what this figure represents per child in England. 
The Parenting Fund supports voluntary and community sector organisations that provide a range of information, advice and guidanceincluding the promotion of positive parenting, to parents when and if they need it. The fund is not allocated on a per child basis. It would therefore be misleading to provide a general population, per child figure for parenting spend.
Fiona Mactaggart: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills which local authorities had an increase in the number of schoolchildren in (a) key stage 1 and (b) key stage 2 between 2001 and 2005. 
This shows that nine local authorities have reported an increase in the number of pupils in the key stage 1 age group between 2001 and 2005; and over the same period, 13 local authorities have reported an increase in the number of pupils in the key stage 2 age group.
Jim Knight: The Department does not hold data on pupils recorded as truant. However, the figures for the proportion of half days missed due to unauthorised absence (of which truancy forms a part) in maintained mainstream schools in Lancashire local authority are given in the following table:
|Percentage of half days missed in maintained mainstream schools( 1) in Lancashire local authority due to unauthorised absence( 2,3)|
|Primary schools||Secondary schools|
|(1) Includes middle schools as deemed.|
(2) Due to local government reorganisation, regional figures are not available prior to 1998.
(3) Local authority figures are only available to 1 decimal place prior to 2000.
Unauthorised absence is absence without leave from a teacher or other authorised representative of the school. This includes all unexplained or unjustified absences, such as lateness, holidays during term time not authorised by the school, absence where reason is not yet established and truancy.
|Maintained primary, secondary and all special schools( 1,2) : number of permanently excluded pupils by age1997/98 to 2003/04 Lancashire local authority area|
|Primary, secondary and special schools|
|Pupils aged||1997/98( 3)||1998/99( 4)||1999/00( 4)||2000/01( 4,5)||2001/02( 4,5)||2002/03( 4,5)||2003/04( 4,5)||2004/05( 4,5)|
|n/a = Not applicable|
(1) Includes middle schools as deemed.
(2) Includes maintained and non-maintained special schools.
(3) Before local government reorganisation
(4) After local government reorganisation
(5) For these years schools are known to have under-reported the number of permanent exclusions. The Department carried out a checking exercise but this confirmed only the overall number of permanent exclusions in each authority. The numbers of excluded pupils by age are based on incomplete data as reported by schools and should be used with caution.
(6 )1 or 2 pupils.
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