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10 Jan 2007 : Column 610W—continued


Table 3: Number of foster placement that occurred during the years ending 31 March 2000 and 2005( 1, 2 , 3)
Numbers
All foster placement that occurred during the year
1999-2000( 4, 5) 2004-05( 4, 6)

England

92,200

86,700

Buckinghamshire

380

380

(1) All foster placement that occurred during the year.
(2) Children looked after who were placed with a foster carer and subsequently changed to another foster placement in the years ending 31 March 2000 and 2005 were counted more than once.
(3) Figures exclude children looked after under an agreed series of short term placements.
(4) For the purpose of preserving confidentiality, national figures have been rounded to the nearest 100 if they exceed 1,000 and to the nearest 10.
(5) Figures are derived from the SSDA903 return, which in 1999-2000 covered a third of children looked after.
(6) Figures are taken from the SSDA903 return which since 2003-04 covers all looked after children.

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Ritalin

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) how many schools have requested that pupils are prescribed Ritalin as a condition of remaining at the school; [112838]

(2) what assessment he has made of the extent of the use of Ritalin by school pupils; [112839]

(3) what discussions he has had with colleagues in the Department of Health on the prescribing of Ritalin to school pupils; [112840]

(4) what assessment he has made of whether pressure is being brought to bear on pupils by schools to take Ritalin and on their parents to ensure that they do so. [112880]

Mr. Dhanda: I have no evidence of schools asking that pupils be prescribed Ritalin as a condition of their remaining at school, or of putting pressure on them to take Ritalin and on their parents to ensure that they do. Schools do not have authority to request that pupils be prescribed any medicines, including Ritalin. Ritalin can be prescribed only by an appropriately qualified prescriber. In 2005 my Department issued guidance on “Managing Medicines in Schools and Early Years Settings” designed to help schools develop policies on managing medicines and supporting individual children with medical needs.

The Department does not collect information on the number of children prescribed Ritalin (methylphenidate). According to Prescribing Analysis and Cost Tabulation (PACT) Data issued by the Prescription Pricing Division of the NHS Business Services Authority, in the year to 31 August 2006, 384,000 prescriptions for methylphenidate were dispensed in England to children aged 0 to15 years and those aged 16 to 18 years in full time education. This does not show how many children were prescribed the drug.

The Department works closely and regularly with the Department of Health (DH) on children’s mental health issues. While DH has responsibility for the clinical aspects of mental health conditions, including ADHD, DfES has taken a number of steps to raise the profile of mental health and emotional well-being issues generally across our educational settings and children’s services.

School Absences: Coventry

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many unauthorised absences from schools in Coventry South there were in each year between 1997 and 2006. [112764]

Jim Knight [holding answer 8 January 2007]: The number of half days missed due to unauthorised absence in Coventry South between 1997 and 2006 is shown in the following tables.


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Half days missed in maintained primary schools( 1) due to unauthorised absence( 2, 3)
Percentage

1997/98

0.4

1998/99

0.3

1999/2000

0.3

2000/01

0.4

2001/02

0.4

2002/03

0.2

2003/04

0.2

2004/05

0.2

2005/06(4)

0.2


Half days missed in maintained secondary schools( 1) due to unauthorised absence( 2, 3)
Percentage

1997/98

1.2

1998/99

1.4

1999/2000

1.2

2000/01

1.1

2001/02

0.9

2002/03

0.9

2003/04

0.8

2004/05

1.1

2005/06(4)

1.0

(1) Includes middle schools as deemed.
(2) Due to local government reorganisation, regional figures are not available prior to 1998.
(3) Figures are only provided to 1 decimal place.
(4) Figures for 2005/06 are provisional.

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.

School Playing Fields

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) how many school playing fields sold since May 1997 he was informed were used by (a) local community clubs and associations and (b) after-hours sports groups; [107196]

(2) how much revenue has been made from the sale of school playing fields since May 1997; and what total area of such fields has been sold in that period; [107226]

(3) if he will list the school playing fields sold in London since May 1997; [107227]

(4) how many sales of school playing fields since May 1997 were subsequently subject to a planning inquiry; [107228]

(5) how much money raised from the sale of school playing fields since 1997 has been directed towards state funding of (a) private finance initiative and (b) public private partnership schemes; and to list the projects involved. [107231]

Jim Knight: Since 1997, the Department has approved 174 applications from local authorities and schools to dispose, or change the use, of areas of school playing fields which are capable of forming at least a sports
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pitch, that is, greater than 2,000 sq m. Such applications are considered initially by the School Playing Field Advisory Panel, which provides independent advice on the extent to which individual applications meet the published criteria. In providing its advice, the panel will have regard to any existing community use, including use by after-hours sports groups, and will ensure that any community users are fully consulted and their interests protected. The Department does not keep any records relating to the consultation with local authority and other users.

The Department does not have comprehensive data as to how much revenue has been made from the sale of school playing fields. This may be because the sale does not actually go ahead or, even if it does, the Department is not necessarily informed. However, the estimated value of the land for which approval has been given is £278 million involving an area of 273 hectares. The information requested about the use of the sale proceeds in relation to the private finance initiative and public private partnership schemes is not held centrally. There is, however, an expectation that all proceeds from the sale of school playing fields will be re-invested to provide, firstly, new or improved sports facilities at schools or, secondly, will be used to help raise standards by providing educational facilities. Almost half of the land for which approval has been given is at schools that have closed.

Since 1997 the Secretary of State has approved the disposal of areas of playing field at 13 schools in London. These are:

The Department does not have any information as to the number of playing field disposals that have subsequently been subject to a planning inquiry.

Special Educational Needs

Anne Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what proportion of children with special educational needs in (a) St. Albans and (b) Hertfordshire are on a school action plan. [112999]

Mr. Dhanda: The following table shows information on pupils in maintained primary, secondary and special schools and non-maintained special schools who are supported at School Action and School Action Plus as part of the graduated approach to meeting the needs of
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children who have special educational needs (SEN). The table also shows children with SEN but without statements who attend maintained nursery schools, pupils referral units and independent schools.


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10 Jan 2007 : Column 616W
Number of pupils with special educational needs (SEN) without statements by type of school, January 2006, Hertfordshire local authority and St. Albans parliamentary constituency
Hertfordshire local authority area St. Albans parliamentary constituency

All schools( 1)

Pupils with SEN without statements

25,892

1,999

Pupils on roll

198,338

20,453

Incidence (percentage)(2)

13.1

9.8

Maintained schools

Nursery

SEN provision—early years action

68

(3)

SEN provision—early years action plus

40

(3)

Pupils with SEN without statements

108

(4)

Pupils on roll

1,248

130

Incidence (percentage)(2)

8.7

3.1

Placement (percentage)(5)

0.4

0.2

Primary

SEN provision—school action

8,410

610

SEN provision—school action plus

4,725

408

Pupils with SEN without statements

13,135

1,018

Pupils on roll

92,150

8,184

Incidence (percentage)(2)

14.3

12.4

Placement (percentage)(5)

50.7

50.9

Secondary

SEN provision—school action

7,410

580

SEN provision—school action plus

3,278

300

Pupils with SEN without statements

10,688

880

Pupils on roll

80,252

9,192

Incidence (percentage)(2)

13.3

9.6

Placement (percentage)(5)

41.3

44.0

Special( 1,7)

SEN provision—school action

0

0

SEN provision—school action plus

0

0

Pupils with SEN without statements

0

0

Pupils on roll

2,082

238

Incidence (percentage)(2)

0.0

0.0

Placement (percentage)(5)

0.0

0.0

Pupil Referral Units( 6,7)

Pupils with SEN without statements

75

9

Pupils on roll

139

10

Incidence (percentage)(2)

54.0

90.0

Placement (percentage)(5)

0.3

0.5

Other schools

Independent( 8)

Pupils with SEN without statements

1,886

88

Pupils on roll

22,413

2,699

Incidence (percentage)(2)

8.4

3.3

Placement (percentage)(5)

7.3

4.4

Non-Maintained Special( 6)

SEN provision—school action

0

n/a

SEN provision—school action plus

0

n/a

Pupils with SEN without statements

0

n/a

Pupils on roll

54

n/a

Incidence (percentage)(2)

0.0

n/a

Placement (percentage)(5)

0.0

n/a

n/a = no schools of this type.
(1) Excludes general hospital schools. Data for pupils with SEN without statements is not collected from these schools.
(2) Incidence of pupils—the number of pupils with SEN without statements expressed as a proportion of pupils on roll.
(3) Less than three.
(4) Less than five.
(5) Placement of pupils—the number of pupils with SEN without statements expressed as a proportion of pupils with SEN without statements in all schools.
(6) Excludes dually registered pupils.
(7) Includes pupils with other providers.
(8 )Including direct grant nursery schools, city technology colleges and academies.

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