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Jim Knight: In developing the new secondary curriculum the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) talked with over 4,500 teachers and head teachers, approximately 1,000 officers from local authorities and more than 3,000 other parties including parents, governors and pupils.
The consultation launch at the British Library generated a great deal of media coverage. QCA is using its website and ongoing communications with stakeholders and customers to raise awareness of the consultation.
QCA is seeking the views of schools, teachers, governors, parents and pupils through its consultation. The consultation is primarily being conducted online, although QCA will provide printed consultation documents and other formats on request. A summary of the consultation responses will be published some time after the consultation ends on 30 April. The chief executive of the QCA is responsible for ensuring that all of its consultations follow best practice.
Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) whether schools will be required to have regard to the supporting materials which accompany the proposed programmes of study as part of the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority secondary curriculum review; 
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the (a) statutory and (b) non-statutory duties of special educational needs (SEN) advisers are; what (i) guidance and (ii) legislation sets out their duties; what mechanisms of accountability are in place to audit their performance;
and what targets have been set to measure effectiveness of SEN advisers. 
Mr. Dhanda: The Department's Special Educational Needs Adviser Team was appointed in 2004 to provide support to local authorities in their strategic planning and management of provision for children with special educational needs in the context of the Government's Special Educational Needs Strategy Removing Barriers to Achievement. Their duties are non-statutory.
Removing Barriers to Achievement indicates that their role includes providing advice in relation to building the capacity of schools to meet children's needs earlier and where possible without the need for a statement; developing a spectrum of provision to meet local needs; improving information to parents on special educational provision while reducing unnecessary bureaucracy. A report on the work of the advisers is published at www.teachernet.gov.uk/wholeschool/sen
Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the practice of teaching in discrete academic subjects at (a) Key Stage 3 and (b) Key Stage 4. 
Jim Knight: The best teachers are those who have a real enthusiasm and passion for the subjects they teach and who have developed the detailed understanding and confidence to apply the principles of good teaching and learning across the whole curriculum. In March 2003, we consulted on how subject specialism might be more effectively supported and developed through the school work force.
Research also suggests that drawing connections between different subjects and areas of the curriculum is an effective approach which impacts on pupils learning. The revised secondary curriculum will provide greater opportunity for pupils to develop deep subject knowledge and a better understanding of the connections between subjects.
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what public funding has been supplied to (a) the Union Academy and (b) Union Learning; and what courses have been funded involving (i) media studies, (ii) negotiating skills and (iii) economics. 
In 2006-07, the Department has made available £16.9 million to help trade unions develop the key role they can play in raising the demand for learning and skills in the workplace. £4.4 million was allocated to support unionlearn, the TUCs new learning organisation (academy), and £12.5 million was allocated to support the Union Learning Fund. The primary purpose of both these budgets is to develop the capacity of trade unions and Union Learning Representatives (ULRs) to work with employers, employees and learning providers to encourage greater take-up of learning in the workplace. The resources
enable trade unions and their ULRs to provide advice, guidance and support to workers to help them access existing learning opportunities to improve their skill levels.
There are now over 15,000 trained ULRs who have helped over 250,000 workers back into learning since the Union Learning Fund was introduced. There were more than 100,000 last year alone, a quarter of whom were Skills for Life learners, those most in need of new skills, whom employers and training providers find difficult to reach and engage.
Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what representations he has received on the funding of young carers' services by local authorities; and if he will make a statement. 
The Children Act 1989 places a duty on councils with children's social care responsibilities to safeguard and promote the welfare of children in need in their area through the provision of services appropriate to the needs of such children. Children who are carers should routinely be assessed under the Act. Local authorities have discretion in allocating their resources to this service.
The Department of Health supports local authorities by means of the carers grant, which will be £185 million in 2006-07 and 2007-08. Annual Department of Health guidance suggests that authorities can earmark particular percentages of their grant for the support of children, adults and older people, as well as for administration costs.
The guidance recommends that 20 per cent. of the carers grant be targeted at children's services, including young carers. However, it is for councils to decide precisely how to allocate their funding, taking into account local demand and need for support from the various groups.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what provision is made by the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety for (a) counselling for and (b) treatment of post-abortion trauma; and if he will make a statement. 
Paul Goggins: A questionnaire sent to HSS trust chief executives found that of the 10 hospital trusts which provide in-patient maternity care, five indicated that they provide post-abortion counselling services to women considering a termination and who satisfy the legal requirements in NI.
care should be taken to ensure that any woman who presents with symptoms or complications following a termination of pregnancy, regardless of where it was carried out, has access to appropriate treatment and counselling where required.
referral for further counselling should be available for the small minority of women who experience long-term post-termination distress.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whom the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety consulted on the physical and psychological sequelae of abortion before drawing up the guidelines on termination of pregnancy in Northern Ireland; what research was evaluated; and if he will make a statement. 
Paul Goggins: The Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety set up a working group which included representatives from nursing and midwifery, obstetrics and gynaecology, public health, psychiatry, clinical genetics, family planning doctors and general practitioners to develop guidance on the termination of pregnancy in Northern Ireland. In addition to input from these health professionals, the draft guidance draws on an expert body of opinion, including evidence-based clinical guidelines from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) and guidance from the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), the British Medical Association (BMA) and the General Medical Council (GMC) on midwifery care, consent and confidentiality. The working group was also informed by a review of the literature on maternity and mental health provided by a consultant psychiatrist.
Paul Goggins: The draft guidance on termination of pregnancy for Northern Ireland has been issued to all interested parties for comment by 20 April 2007. Following receipt and consideration of comments, final guidance will be issued to relevant health professionals and statutory and voluntary groups. I will let the hon. Gentleman know when the Department of Health and Social Services and Public Safety is in a position to issue final guidance for the termination of pregnancy in NI.
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many non-European Economic Area (EEA) students (a) applied for and (b) enrolled in medical degrees at Queen's university Belfast in each of the last five years; how much in fees Queen's university Belfast received from non-EEA medical
students during that period; and how many non-EEA students are studying medicine at that university, in each year of study. 
|Queen's university Belfastinternational entrants and applicants to medicine|
|Academic year||Number of entrants||Number of applicants|
Queen's University Belfast
Students follow a five-year degree programme and in any year there will be a population of approximately 60 students with 12 in each year of study. The total fee income over the five-year period was approximately £4.682 million.
David Cairns: Consideration is currently being given to the appropriate protections for existing members of the local government pension scheme in Northern Ireland. Members and employers will be advised of the outcome of that consideration in early 2007.
Mr. McGrady: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many people in Northern Ireland were in receipt of meals on wheels in each health trust area (a) at 1 January 2005 and (b) 1 January 2007. 
Paul Goggins: Information on the number of people in receipt of meals on wheels is not available centrally for the position at 1 January 2005 and 1 January 2007. Information is, however, available on the number of people in receipt of a meals service provided by each of the health and social services trusts at 31 March 2005 and 31 March 2006 (the latest date for which such information is available centrally), and is shown in the following table:
|Number in receipt of meals service|
|Health and social services trust||31 March 2005||31 March 2006|
Information relates to all meals provided, including frozen meals (cook/chill meals service), and not only to meals on wheels. Armagh and Dungannon HSS trust does not provide a meals service. The increase in figures for Newry and Mourne HSS trust is partly due to an improved recording system in place in the trust.
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