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1 Feb 2007 : Column 490W—continued

Public Service Vehicle Drivers

Margaret Moran: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what guidance he issues to local authorities on whether bus drivers regularly used for school transport should be checked by the Criminal Records Bureau. [112611]

Mr. Dhanda: We are currently consulting on draft school transport guidance. This states that


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Runaways

Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what recent estimate he has made of the numbers of children who are classified as runaways. [117616]

Mr. Dhanda: In 2002 the Social Exclusion Unit’s report estimated the number at around 77,000 in the UK, of whom around 65,000 were in England. The Children’s Society, a leading voluntary sector body on runaways issues, estimated in 2005 that these numbers have remained stable since 1999. We are currently working closely with the Children’s Society to assess how far local authority services for young people provide an effective response to runaways.

Special Educational Needs

Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many education supervision orders were put in place for children with special educational needs in West Lancashire in each of the last five years. [112224]

Mr. Dhanda: The Department does not collect data relating to education supervision orders.

Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what steps he has taken to improve the provision of specialised education facilities for visually impaired children in Milton Keynes. [112369]

Mr. Dhanda: The Department part-funds 10 Regional Partnerships in England, which bring together local authorities with the aim that they collaborate to promote inclusion and positive outcomes for children with special educational needs and/or disabilities and looked-after children. The Partnerships that cover the South East region have developed materials and initiatives to improve the provision of services for children with a sensory impairment, including a visual impairment. These include:

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many students there were with (a) special educational needs which were statemented at school and (b) unstatemented special educational needs who did not complete courses in further education colleges in each year from 1997 to 2006, broken down by local authority. [116890]

Mr. Dhanda: To answer the question with a degree of accuracy requires a combination of information from the pupil data submitted to the DfES by schools and the learner data that is submitted to the LSC by FE colleges. The two datasets have not been combined for all adult learners to match the learner information together, so an analysis of retention rates in further education provision based on post-16 pupils' special educational needs (SEN) status during their time in compulsory education is not possible.

However, learner self-assessment of whether they have a learning difficulty, disability and/or health problem is recorded on the LSC's learner data. In 2004-05 the national success rate for these learners was 73 per cent., compared with 74 per cent. for those without a learning difficulty, disability and/or health problem.

In the future it will be possible for information about the SEN status of pupils in schools to be matched to information about individuals in the FE sector as the education and training sector adopts Unique Learner Numbers (ULNs) as part of the portfolio of work within the Managing Information Across Partners (MIAP) programme. This will enable the progress of learners with SEN to be monitored in terms of the schools local authority legal definition, enabling local areas to understand better how they are supporting their local communities and what changes they may need to make to improve services.

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what assessment he has made of the practicability of level P1 for science for children with severe and multiple disabilities; [117646]

(2) what assessment he has made of the evidence base underlying P level assessments for special schools. [117647]

Mr. Dhanda: The P scales are for pupils with special educational needs (SEN) working below level 1 of the National Curriculum. For children working at levels P1 to P3, we would expect teachers to assess the type and range of performance that a child working at this level might demonstrate across a range of subjects. The guidance issued by my Department, “Supporting the target setting process”, provides the same descriptors of performance across all subjects at P levels 1 to 3, with some subject specific examples to help teachers with assessment.

The P scales were first published to assist schools in setting targets for pupils with special educational needs (SEN) and were further developed following a review in 2003. The review sought the views of a range of respondents including staff in mainstream and special schools, Ofsted inspectors and members of Her
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Majesty’s Inspectorate. There was endorsement for the use of P scales in all settings and for the collection of national data.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Balkans

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions she has had with her counterpart (a) in the US and (b) at the UN on proposed EU enlargement to the Balkans. [117735]

Mr. Hoon: Ministers and officials have regular discussions with their US and UN counterparts on the Western Balkans. In these meetings we restate our commitment to EU enlargement for the Western Balkans.

Bermuda

Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the total cost of the Governor of Bermuda and his staff met by her Department, including the Residence and Government House and other offices and residential accommodation used by staff, was in the last year for which figures are available; how much and what proportion of these costs are met by the Finance Ministry of Bermuda; and if she will make a statement. [111698]

Mr. Hoon: The majority of the costs for the Governor of Bermuda and his staff are met by the Government of Bermuda. In the financial year 2005-06 the costs borne by the Bermuda Ministry of Finance were Bermudian $1.345 million. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office pays for certain expenditure related to the terms and conditions applicable to the UK-based staff in the Governor’s Office such as accommodation running costs, travel, and medical insurance cover. In the financial year 2005-06 this amounted to approximately Bermudian $50,000.

Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what initiatives the Government of Bermuda has taken consequent on the report she received from Colonel Baxter of the British Defence Staff, Washington DC into the Bermuda Regiment’s Fitness for Role Inspection dated 29 November 2005; and if she will make a statement. [115118]

Mr. Hoon: The Governor has invited the Defence Board to take forward the recommendations made in the report.

Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the basis was for Governor Sir John Vereker’s statement on 22 January that there was no public support for an end to male conscription to the Bermuda Regiment; and if she will make a statement. [111489]


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Mr. Hoon: The Governor made no statement on 22 January. On 10 January, he commented that the suggestion that conscription to the Bermuda Regiment should be ended was not widely supported. This was on the basis of public opinion polling in Bermuda.

Colombia

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment she has made of the human rights record of the Colombian Department of Administrative Security. [117532]

Mr. Hoon: In our regular assessments of the overall human rights situation in Colombia we take into account the actions of the Colombian Government, including the Department of Administrative Security (DAS). As in other areas of Government, there have been allegations of irregularities on the part of the DAS, such as links with paramilitaries (according to the 2005 United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Annual Report). While we are concerned by this, we are encouraged by the willingness of the relevant Colombian authorities to investigate these issues and by President Uribes’s statement that he will not tolerate abuses by state officials or members of the security forces. For example, the former head of the DAS is currently under investigation. We regularly raise human rights issues with the Colombian Government and urge them to take steps to improve the record of the security forces, including the DAS.

Departmental Expenditure

Mr. Newmark: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much was spent by her Department on buying, operating and supporting (a) all commercial software products and (b) software products produced by Microsoft in each of the last three years. [112607]

Mr. Hoon: As the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) operates devolved budgets the information needed to answer the hon. Member’s question is not held centrally and could be collated only at disproportionate cost.

However, the hon. Member may wish to know that:

Departmental Fixed Assets

Mr. Francois: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which fixed assets her Department sold for more than £10,000 in (a) 2004-05 and (b) 2005-06; and what the (i) sale value, (ii) purchaser and (iii) date of sale was of each asset. [110802]


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Mr. Hoon: The details of property assets disposals for 2004-05, and property and vehicle disposals for 2005-06, are contained in the following tables. Where applicable, figures have been rounded to the nearest £000. Each property was sold individually, with the majority purchased by private individuals. Details on the purchaser can be provided only at disproportionate cost. The information for vehicles sold in 2004-05 has been archived following the conclusion of the 2005-06 audit, and can be provided only at disproportionate cost.


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Property disposal 2004-05
Date of sale Post Type of Asset Gross sales receipt (£)

21 April 2004

Budapest

Residential

139,000

29 April 2004

The Hague

Residential

154,000

7 May 2004

Budapest

Residential

155,000

7 May 2004

Port Louis

Residential

77,000

18 May 2004

San Salvador

Office

940,000

30 June 2004

Tunis

Site

1,076,000

5 July 2004

Santiago

Residential

424,000

9 July 2004

Santiago

Residential

46,000

15 July 2004

Buenos Aires

Residential

107,000

19 July 2004

Buenos Aires

Residential

370,000

28 July 2004

Canberra

Residential

856,000

28 July 2004

Kuala Lumpur

Residential

203,000

29 July2004

Budapest

Residential

4,000

3 August 2004

Bucharest

Residential

1,059,000

22 September 2004

Kampala

Site

14,000

12 October 2004

Kiev

Residential

69,000

21 October 2004

Vienna

Residential

807,000

29 October 2004

Tashkent

Residential

19,000

11 Nov ember 2004

Dublin

Residential

524,000

15 November 2004

Tel Aviv

Residential

725,000

8 December 2004

Lusaka

Office

223,000

10 December 2004

Caracas

Office

763,000

13 December 2004

San Salvador

Residence

215,000

15 December 2004

Pretoria

Residential

69,000

17 December 2004

Lusaka

Residential

120,000

30 December 2004

Beirut

Amenity

373,000

4 January 2005

Copenhagen

Residential

661,000

6 January 2005

Wellington

Residential

128,000

23 March 2005

St. Georges

Residence

254,000


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