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19 Apr 2007 : Column 718W—continued


19 Apr 2007 : Column 719W
Local LSC Adult learners achievement of Skills for Life/basic skills learning aims ( T housand)

Bedfordshire and Luton

10

Berkshire

11

Birmingham and Solihull

21

Black Country

13

Bournemouth, Dorset and Poole

6

Cambridgeshire

9

Cheshire and Warrington

8

County Durham

5

Coventry and Warwickshire

8

Cumbria

5

Derbyshire

5

Devon and Cornwall

17

Essex

11

Gloucestershire

6

Greater Manchester

32

Greater Merseyside

22

Hampshire and Isle of Wight

15

Hereford and Worcestershire LSC

4

Hertfordshire

5

Humberside

11

Kent and Medway

9

Lancashire

12

Leicestershire

12

Lincolnshire and Rutland

6

London Central

26

London East

29

London North

12

London South

10

London West

17

Milton Keynes, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire

10

National Employer Service

28

Norfolk

6

North Yorkshire

4

Northamptonshire

5

Northumberland

2

Nottinghamshire

13

Shropshire

2

Somerset

4

South Yorkshire

13

Staffordshire

8

Suffolk

8

Surrey

6

Sussex

13

Tees Valley

8

Tyne and Wear

18

West of England

10

West Yorkshire

20

Wiltshire and Swindon

5

Total

539

Source:
LSC’s Individual Learner Record (ILR) and Employer Training Pilots (ETP) databases, October 2007 estimates.

Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the budget for the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service is for each of the next three years; and what it was for each of the last three years. [132119]

Mr. Dhanda: At a time of budget restrictions the Government have maintained the budget for the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS) and it was increased to £106,698,000 (net of receipts) in 2007-08. The CAFCASS budget for future years has not yet been finalised. The resource budgets in previous years are as follows:

£

2006-07

106,003,000

2005-06

(1)107,000,000

2004-05

(1)107,000,000

(1) Includes the budget for CAFCASS Cymru

These are the latest agreed budgets for each year and some include increases for specific activity in that year.

Classroom Assistants: Qualifications

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the minimum qualification requirements are for learning support assistants. [132579]


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Jim Knight: There are no general minimum qualification requirements for learning support/teaching assistants in schools. It is for schools to determine the suitability of individual candidates for posts. However, there are a range of qualifications and professional standards that support staff can undertake to develop their depth of skills and abilities. These range from bespoke Vocational Qualifications (VQ) such as the Support Work in Schools VQ, through to Level 2 and 3 National Vocational Qualifications and the professional standards for Higher Level Teaching Assistants.

Education: Assessments

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) how much was spent by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority on the key stage 3 and 4 review supplement in The Guardian newspaper on 3 April; [132232]

(2) which employees within the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority contributed to the key stage 3 and 4 review supplement in The Guardian newspaper on 3 April; [132233]

(3) if he will place in the Library a copy of the brief the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority agreed with Guardian Professional in relation to the key stage 3 and 4 review supplement in The Guardian newspaper on 3 April. [132234]

Jim Knight: The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority spent £66,975 (including VAT) on The Guardian, ‘Freedom to Learn’ supplement on 3 April. The sponsored supplement package included the hardcopy format (editorial, design and print) and an online version, with web chat facilities. Part of QCA’s role is to communicate curriculum changes effectively to teachers, head teachers, and the wider subject community.

Those from the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority who contributed to the supplement were the Director of Curriculum, the Head of Curriculum Development, members of the Curriculum Development Team and members of the Communications and Marketing Division.

A copy of the brief agreed with Guardian Professional for the 3 April is to be placed in the House Library.

Education: Sight Impaired

Lyn Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what strategies are in place to increase the availability of approved educational materials that are accessible for the visually impaired; [131994]

(2) what assistance his Department (a) provides and (b) plans to provide to increase the availability of educational materials to the visually impaired; [131995]

(3) what funding his Department provides for educational resources that are accessible to visually impaired schoolchildren; [131996]

(4) what discussions he has had with educational publishers on increasing the availability of educational materials available in formats more accessible by those with disabilities. [131997]


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Mr. Dhanda: The Department’s SEN Strategy “Removing Barriers to Achievement” sets out our vision for giving children with special educational needs (SEN) and disabilities the opportunity to succeed. Provision for children with SEN and disabilities, including support for those with a visual impairment is made by schools and local authorities through the SEN and disability frameworks.

In particular Part 4 of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 requires schools and local authorities to plan to improve access to the curriculum and written materials for disabled pupils over time. Additionally the new Disability Equality Duty introduced by the Disability Discrimination Act 2005 requires all public bodies including schools and local authorities to promote disability equality more widely. We also continue to invest significant resources to support the education of children with SEN and disabilities, some £4.5 billion in 2006/07.

To assist the provision of materials in accessible alternative formats for children with a visual impairment, the Government supported the Copyright (Visually Impaired Persons) Act 2002 which reduces delays in gaining copyright clearance to produce books and other printed materials in formats accessible to visually impaired people. The Department of Trade and Industry is also working on a feasibility study to look at opportunities for publishers to provide education material in accessible formats more quickly and the Department for Education and Skills is involved in the process.

Foster Care: Vetting

John Hemming: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what Criminal Records Bureau checks take place before someone can qualify as a foster parent; and what criteria are used to determine a person's suitability for fostering following such checks. [131998]

Mr. Dhanda: The approvals process for prospective foster carers is set out in the Fostering Services Regulations 2002. Paragraph 13 of schedule 3 of the regulations requires that, before any person can be approved as a foster parent, an enhanced disclosure check must be obtained. Adult members of the prospective foster carer's household are subject to a standard disclosure check.

In assessing any person whom it considers may be suitable to become a foster carer, the fostering service provider is required to obtain the range of information prescribed in schedule 3 of the regulations as well as any other information it considers appropriate. On the basis of this information, the fostering service provider is required to prepare a written report which is referred to the fostering panel for consideration; the fostering panel then makes its own recommendation about the individual's suitability to foster. The final decision is made, taking into account this recommendation, by the fostering service provider. Subject to paragraph 27(6), a person would automatically be considered unsuitable to become a foster carer if he/she, or any other adult member of the household, had committed a specified offence under the terms of the regulations. If this is not the case, the decision as to whether or not to approve an individual as a foster carer is made by the fostering service provider in line with the process outlined above.


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Further Education: Standards

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many times the power to intervene in further education colleges under section 57 of the Further and Higher Education Act 1992 was exercised in each year since 1997; and what the circumstances were of each intervention. [133089]

Bill Rammell: The Department’s records indicate that the powers under section 57 of the Further and Higher Education Act 1992 have never been used except where, following the resignation of the governing body, the Secretary of State has been required to appoint new governors. We consider that the existence of these powers does contribute to better outcomes in resolving cases where institutions get into difficulties.

We expect these powers to be used only in exceptional circumstances—where all other options have failed. We believe that having the power available and the possibility of it being exercised, has been the trigger in some cases for governing bodies to act themselves.

Geography: Curriculum

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills where in the revised geography programme of study produced by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority as part of the secondary curriculum review he expects pupils to learn about (a) tectonic processes, (b) geomorphological processes, (c) weather and climate, (d) ecosystems, (e) population distribution and change and (f) the growth and development of settlements. [132175]

Jim Knight: The proposed key stage 3 programme of study for geography requires that pupils develop an understanding of the physical and human characteristics of real places, and how physical and human processes shape places, landscapes and societies. They are also required to study people-environment interactions and their consequences.

These requirements give the opportunity to cover all the topics identified in the question for instance, tectonic and geomorphological processes are physical processes; ecosystems are studied by learning about specific places; and population distribution and change, and the growth and development of settlements are influenced by the interaction between human and physical geography. The supporting text to the programme of study emphasises that weather and climate should be included in physical geography.

Teachers will use the national curriculum planning guidance to ensure appropriate coverage of these topics, while taking full advantage of the flexibility offered by the new programme of study.

Higher Education: Applications

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many applications were received by universities for each discipline in the last 12 months, broken down by (a) gender, (b) ethnicity and (c) age group. [132156]


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