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Jim Knight: I was delighted to meet the Leader of Northumberland Council, the Director of Childrens Services, a number of Councillors and Northumberland Education Action Group during my visit to Ashington, when I delivered my key note speech on improving life chances for all children on 21 November 2006. I hope to return to visit a number of schools in Northumberland later this year.
Jim Knight: Since 1997, head teacher vacancies have remained low and fairly stable at under 1 per cent., but we know some schools are finding recruitment difficult and that more heads are approaching retirement age. That is why we recently announced an additional £10 million to support NCSLs work on succession planning and why PwC were asked to report on recruitment and retention issues as part of their independent review of school leadership.
14. Gordon Banks: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment he has made of the consistency of provision across English regions of foreign language teaching to primary school children. 
Alan Johnson: We are currently carrying out research into the progress primary schools are making towards teaching languages to seven to 11-year-olds by 2010. Findings will help us target those regions where provision could be better. The last Headspace survey reported that 71 per cent. of primary schools are teaching or planning to teach languages.
Alan Johnson: We want every young person to undertake education or training that they find appealing and stretching up to at least the age of 18. This is why we are already moving to ensure that 90 per cent. of 17-year-olds participate by 2015. We are looking at ways of moving beyond even this ambitious target, and will bring forward further proposals in the spring.
16. Dr. Pugh: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many incidents of violence against teachers in the state system there were in the last year for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. 
Jim Knight: This information is not collected centrally. We know that, in 2004/05, there were 1,270 permanent and 18,480 fixed period exclusions for physical assault against an adult. Violence against school staff should not be tolerated. We fully back schools taking tough action against anyonepupil or parentwho behaves aggressively.
18. John Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what measures his Department is considering under its strategy for widening participation in higher education; and if he will make a statement. 
Bill Rammell: Last November, the Department published Widening Participation in higher education setting out our commitment to widening participation and the action we are taking. Most importantly, we have reformed student support, giving more help to poorer students; we have established the Office for Fair Access; and we have extended the Aim higher programme to 2008.
Richard Younger-Ross: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what representations he has received from Jewish and Muslim community representatives on the effect on the operation of Jewish and Muslim adoption agencies of the Equality Act 2006; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Dhanda [holding answer 5 February 2007]: This Department has not received any formal representations from either Jewish or Muslim community representatives on the effect on the operation of faith-based adoption agencies of the Equality Act 2006.
Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what estimate he has made of the likely total number of closures of adult education courses at colleges; and if he will make a statement. 
Bill Rammell: We do not collect information on the actual number of courses offered by colleges. We have been clear that in order to meet the skills challenges we face we need to increasingly focus on longer and more appropriate courses that lead to progression and give adults the skills they need for employment, such as full Level 2 courses. There are now more adults than ever successfully completing these sorts of courses.
Mr. Dhanda: The Government expect that provisions in part 1 of the Children and Adoption Act 2006 in relation to Family Assistance Orders and risk assessments will be implemented from October 2007. This time scale is subject to completion of necessary changes to the court rules, following consideration by the Family Proceedings Rule Committee. We will be making a written ministerial statement shortly outlining the timetable for implementation of the remaining provisions in Part 1on contact activitiesas well as financial regulations.
Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many children's social workers were employed by local authorities in each of the last 10 years, expressed as (a) headcount and (b) whole-time equivalents. 
|Headcount||Whole time equivalent|
1. Data have been rounded to the nearest 100.
2. Figures as at 30 September.
Mr. Dunne: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the average class size for (a) primary and (b) secondary schools was in (i) Ludlow constituency and (ii) Shropshire in each year since 1997; and what the national average was in each year since 1997. 
|Maintained primary and secondary schools ( 1) : average class size ( 2) 1997-2006|
|Parliamentary constituency||(Before Local Government reorganisation)||(After Local Government reorganisation)||England|
|Position in January each year||Primary||Secondary||Primary||Secondary||Primary||Secondary||Primary||Secondary|
|n/a - not applicable|
(1) Includes middle schools as deemed.
(2) Classes taught by one teacher during a single selected period on the Census day in January.
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