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In January 2006, the Department published a report entitled Mathematics and Science in Secondary Schools: The Deployment of Teachers and Support Staff to Deliver the Curriculum. The research, sponsored by the Department, was conducted during 2005 by the National Foundation for Education Research. Their sample survey found that an estimated 66 per cent. of maths A-level curriculum time was delivered by a teacher with a degree in maths, 15 per cent. by a teacher with a PGCE incorporating maths and 13 per cent. by a teacher with a B.Sc, BA with QTS or a B.Ed in maths. For further mathematics, an estimated 73 per cent. of curriculum time was delivered by a teacher with a degree in maths, 13 per cent. by a teacher with a PGCE incorporating maths and 10 per cent. by a teacher with a B.Sc, BA with QTS or a B.Ed in maths.
For biology A-level, the study found that an estimated 61 per cent. of curriculum time was delivered by a teacher with a biology degree and 31 per cent. by a teacher with a degree in another (including general) science. For chemistry A-level, an estimated 61 per cent. of curriculum time was delivered by a teacher with a chemistry degree and 26 per cent. by a teacher with a degree in another (including general) science. Finally, for physics A-level, an estimated 53 per cent. of curriculum time was delivered by a teacher with a physics degree and 13 per cent. by a teacher with a degree in another (including general science). For physics it is useful to note that an estimated 17 per cent. of the curriculum time was delivered by a teacher with a B.Sc, BA with QTS or B.Ed in science, and 13 per cent. by a teacher with a PGCE in science.
Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what guidance is followed when Asian children are placed for fostering or adoption with other Asian families from different religious backgrounds. 
Mr. Dhanda: The national minimum standards for fostering services make clear that proper consideration should be given to a childs racial, religious, cultural and linguistic background when making any decisions regarding the care of that child. In cases where a child is placed with carers who do not share his or her ethnicity or culture, the standards state that the responsible authority should provide the foster family with additional training, support and information to enable the child to receive the best possible care and to develop a positive understanding of his or her heritage. It is for fostering providers themselves to determine the most appropriate arrangements for doing so. Volume 3 of the Children Act Guidance and Regulations does, however, recognise that
the religion of foster parents [...] may in some cases be more important than their ethnic origin.
With regard to adoption, the 2005 statutory guidance on the Adoption and Children Act 2002 requires adoption agencies to consider the childs religious and cultural upbringing as well as any wishes and feelings which the childs parent or guardian may have about the childs religious and cultural upbringing. The guidance also requires agencies to provide the child with counselling, in a manner which is sensitive to the childs religious beliefs.
Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills whether the Department plans to publish a National Behaviour Charter of Responsibilities and Rights as recommended in the report of the Practitioners Group on school behaviour and discipline chaired by Sir Alan Steer. 
Beverley Hughes: The Government have carefully considered the Practitioners Groups conclusions about a National Behaviour Charter, in consultation with key partners in the education service represented on the Ministerial Stakeholders Group on School Behaviour and Attendance. The Stakeholders Group was mindful of the fact that events have moved on since the Practitioners Group reported, particularly with the clear new statutory framework for disciplining pupils in the Education and Inspections Bill. It was therefore concluded that the role of a National Behaviour Charter might more appropriately be fulfilled through the guidance which my Department is preparing for schools on the relevant provisions in the Education and Inspections Bill.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to the answer of 18 July 2006, Official Report, column 308W, on Buddhism, what factors were taken into account in including the Network of Buddhist Organisations on his list of consultees; what other Buddhist organisations are included on the list; and if he will make a statement. 
Jim Knight: The Department will always seek to consult as widely as is reasonably practicable. Factors taken into account include the nature, scale and subject of the consultation. The Network of Buddhist Organisations has 27 member organisations and 25 associate member organisations, from a range of Buddhist traditions, and is one of the groups with which the Department has consulted on relevant issues. The Department has previously consulted the Clear Vision Trust, The Buddhist Society and individual Buddhists.
Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many and what proportion of contracts tendered by his Department were awarded to Capita Group plc. and its subsidiaries in each of the past five years. 
Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what research his Department has commissioned on the link between communication disabilities and literacy difficulties in primary school children; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Dhanda: The Department has not commissioned research on this topic for primary school children. However, the Department is currently funding research carried out jointly by the Institute of Education in London and Warwick university (Professors Dockrell and Lindsay) on raising the achievement of children with speech, language and communication difficulties.
This is the fourth stage of a longitudinal study of a cohort of young people with specific speech and language difficulties who were originally identified by practitioners when they were aged seven. These pupils are now at the stage of leaving compulsory education.
The first phase of this research looked at the impact of specific language difficulties on learning and literacy in primary schools. Results of this research have been published in journals to inform practice. Other researchers, both in the UK and internationally, have contributed to our knowledge on this issue over the last few years.
The research in this area also notes the importance for this group of children of aspects like self-esteem. The importance of the home learning environment in childrens learning is covered in the answer to PQ 87963.
Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment he has made of the relationship between a childs home learning environment and literacy and communication skills. 
Beverley Hughes: Research evidence, such as my Departments effective provision of pre-school education (EPPE) study, shows that the quality of the learning environment in the home (where parents are actively engaged in activities with children such as teaching songs and nursery rhymes, playing with letters and numbers, and reading to the child) promoted intellectual development, including literacy skills, in children at the end of key stage 1 compared to children whose parents did not engage in such activities. In fact the quality of the home learning environment is a more significant factor than parents social class and education levels. A review of the literature on parents involvement in their childrens education funded by my Department (Desforges and Abouchaar, 2003) also found that such parental activities in the home were associated with early literature and communication and skills development. In addition to the actual activities, the review found that the values a parent has, such as enthusiasm for learning and a positive parenting style, are associated with improved outcomes for the child such as increased self-perception as a learner, more motivation and self-esteem and higher educational aspirations. Further information can be found at www.dfes.gov.uk/research.
Jim Knight: Academies are required to comply with public procurement procedures, including competitive tendering and adhere to departmental good practice; in the same way as local authority maintained schools.
Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many (a) USB (i) flash drives and (ii) memory sticks, (b) compact discs, (c) DVD-ROM discs, (d) laptop computers, (e) external computer hard drives, (f) internal computer hard drives and (g) desktop computers were purchased for use in his Department in each month since March 2005. 
|(a) Flash drives/Memory sticks||(b) Compact discs||(c) DVD-ROM discs||(d) Laptops||(e) External hard discs||(f) Internal hard discs||(g) Desktop computers|
|(1) This information could be supplied only at disproportionate cost.|
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