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The following positions have recently been advertised:
Director, Corporate Services
Director, Learning and Skills
Her Majestys Inspectors (HMI) - annual campaign
Administrators, Midlands (8 posts in Education and Childrens Directorate)
Case Officers, Complaints, Investigation and Enforcement, Midlands (5 posts)
The following positions will be advertised shortly:
Deputy Director, Corporate Services
Deputy Director, Children
Deputy Director, Learning and Skills
Deputy Director, Finance
Secondment opportunities for Headteachers/senior managers
Statistician, Post 16 Education team, Research, Analysis and International
Our recruitment activity is slightly higher than normal because of the need to fill essential posts in the run up to the creation of the New Ofsted following the passage of the Education and Inspection Act last year.
A copy of this reply has been sent to Jim Knight MP, Minister of State for Schools, and will be placed in the Library of both Houses.
Natascha Engel: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment he has made of the provision of out-of-school child care for children aged 11 years or over in the context of the formulation of his policy on lone parents. 
Beverley Hughes: Local authorities have an existing duty to carry out an annual assessment of child care provision in their area, including out-of-school provision for 11-year-olds. From April 2007, the Childcare Act 2006 places a new duty on local authorities to carry out a comprehensive assessment of the sufficiency of child care in their area, taking into account for all age groups the demand for child care, supply of child are, and any gaps between the two. Jobcentre Plus are designated partners of local authorities in the fulfilment of this duty. Recently published statutory guidance highlights the importance of considering the child care needs of lone parents and their families.
Local authorities must complete their first sufficiency assessment within one year in order to prepare for their new duty, coming into force in April 2008, to secure sufficient child care provision to enable parents to enter or remain in work, or to make the transition to work. Statutory guidance will make it clear that local authorities will need to ensure that there is sufficient provision available to meet the needs of families at risk of social exclusion, including lone parent families. The greater availability of child care should make it easier for lone parents to return to work.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what obligations there are on local education authorities to provide education for excluded pupils; and what funding is available for these pupils; 
In addition to these statutory arrangements local authorities have discretion to include in their local funding formula a factor that makes a further adjustment to a schools budget for a permanent exclusion. This provides the local authority with additional funding that can be used to support the pupil while he attends a Pupil Referral Unit or other provision or be given to an admitting school.
Currently local authorities are committed to providing suitable full-time education for all permanently excluded pupils from the 16th day of their exclusion until such time as they are admitted to another school. From 1 September 2007 (subject to Parliamentary approval) there will be a statutory duty on local authorities to provide suitable full-time education for all permanently excluded pupils from the sixth day of their exclusion. We estimate the cost to local authorities of provision for pupils that have been permanently excluded is £3.5 million in 2007-08 (for September 2007 to March 2008), which local authorities will need to meet from within the 5 per cent. increase in the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) per pupil that all authorities have received for 2007-08. Subject to the 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review, funding will be included in authorities DSG allocations for 2008-09 and beyond to cover the whole year cost. Guidance on implementing day six provision is published online
Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what measures have been taken in the last five years to help teachers to tackle homophobic bullying of (a) pupils and (b) teachers in schools. 
The Government believe there is no place for homophobic bullying in schools and our general guidance on bullying and the Anti-Bullying Charter make this clear. In 2004 my Department and the Department of Health jointly published guidance on challenging homophobia in schools called Stand up for us. Recognising that homophobic bullying can be a particularly difficult issue for many teachers to deal with, my Department has more recently commissioned Stonewall and Educational Action Challenging Homophobia (EACH) to produce web-based guidance for schools which will look more specifically at how to prevent and tackle homophobic
bullying. We intend to issue the guidance later this year and will follow this up with a series of regional seminars for local authorities and schools.
The responsibility for ensuring that teachers are not discriminated against at work rests with their employer (the governing body of the school or the local authority). The Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003 outlaws discrimination and harassment in employment and vocational training on the grounds of sexual orientation, and schools and staff representatives work together to ensure that the framework provided by the Regulations keep all school staff free from homophobic bullying and harassment.
Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills, pursuant to the answer of 21 February 2007, Official Report, columns 1829-30W, on pupils: sexuality, what steps he is taking to combat bullying of transgendered children in schools. 
Jim Knight: Further to my answer of 21 February 2007, my officials are meeting transsexual representative groups to discuss their concerns, and we will consider how best to proceed in the light of those discussions.
Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many meetings have taken place between officials from (a) his Department and (b) the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority and Professor John White in the last 12 months. 
Jim Knight: Officials from the Department and the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) have met Professor John White through his attendance at meetings of QCAs Secondary Curriculum Review External Committee. My officials have not met separately with Professor John White.
Mr. Grogan: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what discussions he has had with the National Union of Students on the implications of the Charities Act 2006 for plans by universities to integrate student unions into their own structures; and if he will make a statement. 
Bill Rammell: I recently met with the National Union of Students and this was one of the issues they raised. We share the opinion of their legal advisers that, in almost all circumstances, a Student Union is separate from its parent university. I have raised this issue with Universities UK, the universities representative body, and they will be ensuring that their members are made aware of the NUS legal advice.
Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many undergraduate students resident in (a) Suffolk, (b) the East of England and (c) England declared themselves bankrupt in each year since 1997. 
|Number of students( 1) with publicly-owned student loans who notified the Student Loans Company (SLC) of their bankruptcy, or individual voluntary arrangement (IVA) while studying( 2) Students domiciled in Suffolk, East of England government office region and EnglandCalendar years of bankruptcy or IVA 1997 to 2006|
|Calendar year||Suffolk( 3)||East of England( 3)||England( 4)|
|(1 )Figures are rounded to the nearest five borrowers. There may be delays between borrowers becoming bankrupt and notifying SLC, therefore figures can increase over time, particularly for the most recent years. There may be some borrowers who do not notify the SLC of their bankruptcy, as the Higher Education Act 2004 included provisions to prevent student loans being written-off on bankruptcy. Students on postgraduate initial teacher training courses can be eligible for loans. The table covers all student loan borrowers, and therefore may include those who took out loans for postgraduate study in addition to those who were undergraduate students.|
(2) The table shows those who became bankrupt or made an IVA before or during the last academic year in which they took out a student loan.
(3) Income-contingent loans only. Information on mortgage-style loan borrowers who are bankrupt or have IVAs is not available by local authority or government office region.
(4 )Mortgage-style and income-contingent loans.
(5) Nil or less than five.
Student Loans Company
Media coverage of the issue of student loan borrowers declaring themselves bankrupt during the passage of the Enterprise Act 2002 may have contributed to the rise in bankruptcies in 2003 and 2004. In addition, one of the effects of the Enterprise Act itself was to reduce the period of discharge from bankruptcy from three years to one.
Provisions were therefore included in the Higher Education Act 2004 to prevent student loans being written off on bankruptcy. This may explain the subsequent fall. While borrowers who have become bankrupt remain liable to repay their student loans, they continue to benefit from the same terms as other borrowers, with repayments linked to income and no obligation to repay if their annual income is below £15,000.
In reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about the Child Support Agency, the Secretary of State promised a substantive reply from the Chief Executive.
You asked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, which targets are in place for the processing and clearing of Child Support Agency cases.
The Child Support Agency has been set six targets by the Secretary of State for 2006-07, which were published in the Agencys Business Plan, a copy of which is available in the House of Commons Library, or on the internet via the following link:
Two of these targets relate to the processing and clearing of applications received since the new scheme was introduced in March 2003.
The first concerns the volume of applications being cleared and states that: by 31 March 2007, the Agency will have reduced the volume of uncleared new scheme applications by 25 per cent. of the amount outstanding by the end of March 2006.
The second concerns the speed with which new applications should be processed and stated that: by 31 March 2007, the Agency will clear 55 per cent. of new applications within 12 weeks of receipt and 80 per cent. within 26 weeks.
The Agencys latest performance against these targets was published in table 2.1 and table 3 of the December Child Support Agency Quarterly Summary Statistics, a copy of which is available in the House of Commons Library, or on the internet via the following link:
Mrs. Maria Miller: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether Child Support Agency staff have received guidance on the prioritisation of the Agency's caseload by age of case; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Plaskitt [holding answer 23 February 2007]: The administration of the Child Support Agency is the matter of the Chief Executive. He will write to the right hon. Lady with the information requested.
In rely to your recent Parliamentary Question about the Child Support Agency, the Secretary of State promised a substantive reply from the Chief Executive.
You asked the Secretary of Stat for Work and Pensions, whether Child Support Agency staff have received guidance on the prioritisation of the Agencys caseload by age of case; and if he will make a statement. 
The Secretary of State sets a number of targets to measure the performance, and set the priorities, of the Child Support Agency on a yearly basis. The Secretary of States case clearance target by March 2007 is to clear 55 per cent. of cases received that month within 12 weeks, and 80 per cent. of cases within 26 weeks. In addition, under the Operational Improvement Plan, the Agency is committed to reducing the number of uncleared new scheme applications by 25 per cent. by March 2007. The Agency issues guidance to its employees in order to ensure people and resources are effectively deployed to meet these targets and commitments, and to ensure more money gets to more children as quickly as possible.
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