Previous Section Index Home Page

23 May 2007 : Column 1293W—continued

Babies: Lancashire

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many babies were abandoned by their parents in Lancashire in each of the last 10 years. [125237]

Mr. Dhanda: This information is not collected by the Department for Education and Skills.

Carers: Education

Dr. Francis: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what steps he has taken to support carers while they are engaged in learning activities; and if he will make a statement. [121268]

Mr. Dhanda: Statutory responsibility for supporting carers under the age of 18 who have been assessed as children in need lies with the local authorities concerned, and my Department issued guidance with the Department of Health in August 2005 on the Carers and Disabled Children Act 2000 and the Carers (Equal Opportunities) Act 2004. The latter Act requires authorities, in making an assessment, to take into account the carer’s wishes to undertake education, training, work, or a leisure activity.

23 May 2007 : Column 1294W

The Department’s guidance to administrators of the discretionary Access to Learning Fund covers students with caring responsibilities, although this is chiefly designed with adult carers in mind. Young carers in full-time education—that is, with at least 12 guided learning hours per week—may be eligible for Education Maintenance Allowances (EMAs). Although in general a weekly allowance payment is only made to a student where they have attended all required sessions, a school or college has discretion to authorise an absence caused by caring responsibilities. Learning providers should not, however, authorise a student’s absences regularly for this reason.

Carers aged over 16 who provide at least 35 hours of care a week may be entitled to Carers Allowance, where they are undertaking less than 21 hours a week of supervised study, and institutions will need to take this into account when considering appropriate arrangements for enabling carers to access learning.

Children in Care

Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will include in the White Paper following Care Matters proposals for regulatory change to enable young people to stay in care longer; and if he will make a statement. [138113]

Mr. Dhanda: The forthcoming White Paper on children in care will set out the Government’s proposals for delivery across services for children in care. It will follow on from the proposals published in the Care Matters Green Paper last year and will include information about how we intend to support young people so that they only move from their care placement with proper preparation when they feel ready to leave. In general, this will mean that we would expect young people to remain longer with their carers.

Children in Care: Custodial Treatment

Helen Southworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many young people in the care of a local authority received (a) a custodial and (b) a non-custodial sentence in 2006. [134482]

Mr. Dhanda: At present, this information is not collected centrally; data on the number of children who ceased to be looked after because they have been sentenced to custody will be available from autumn 2007.

Children: Abuse

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what steps he is taking to reduce the number of children experiencing physical abuse and neglect. [137881]

Mr. Dhanda: The Government are committed to improving safeguards for children. We have introduced new legislation, new guidance, new structures and new policy initiatives to make children safer and to ensure that there is a proper focus on children at the very heart of Government.

To reduce the amount of abuse and neglect we need safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children to
23 May 2007 : Column 1295W
be clearly everyone's responsibility—to be fundamental duties for everyone who has regular contact with children. Section 11 of the Children Act 2004 places a statutory duty on all key agencies (including prisons, the police, and health bodies) to make arrangements for ensuring that their functions are discharged having regard to the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. It mirrors a requirement on education institutions in the Education Act 2002. We published updated guidance on the section 11 duty earlier this year.

Last year we set out clear guidance for the rest of the safeguarding framework with the publication of “Safeguarding Children and Safer Recruitment in Education”, the new version of “Working Together To Safeguard Children”, which is the core guidance to help all agencies act effectively to safeguard children, and an updated version of “What To Do If You're Worried A Child Is Being Abused” which is a guide for front line staff. New Local Safeguarding Children Boards were put in place by April 2006 to co-ordinate what is done in each local area to safeguard children and to ensure that it is effective. The Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 will deliver the first centralised vetting and barring scheme for all those working with children and vulnerable adults.

The Act will introduce a new system with a number of improvements over the current arrangements to make the work force safer. These improvements include: bringing together in one place for expert judgement all information relevant to vetting and barring; introducing tough penalties on employers who fail in their responsibility to carry out the necessary checks; making barring decisions when new information becomes available, and notifying employers when an employee’s status changes; and making it possible for parents to check that home tutors and nannies are members of the new vetting scheme. The new scheme will apply in the same way to the volunteers and those organising the work of volunteers as it will to employees and employers.

Departments: Manpower

David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how his Department determines the staffing levels and grade mix for its directorates; and what cover for contingencies and emergencies is built into its resource planning for ongoing staff reductions in the Department. [137680]

Mr. Dhanda: The Department's March 2008 target of 3,200 (full time equivalents) was set following Sir Peter Gershon's independent review of public sector efficiency. This recognised that the Department will be smaller but more strategic enabling it to deliver its priorities for improved outcomes for children and learners within the planned headcount. Reform programmes within each Directorate, underpinned by a project and programme management approach to delivery, allows the Department to focus its resources efficiently but flexibly.

The Department's board maintain an awareness of issues and business priorities and are regularly provided with detailed analysis of current and anticipated labour market and work force issues. The
23 May 2007 : Column 1296W
board decides any necessary reallocation of staff resources to best meet the needs of the business and ministerial priorities.

Cover for key staff and resource planning for incidents/emergencies are part of the business continuity planning process which is undertaken across the Department.

Departments: Market Research

Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to the answer of 9 May 2007, Official Report, column 290W, on Departments: market research, how much his Department spent on researching public opinion in each of the previous five years; and what methods his Department uses to research public opinion. [138502]

Mr. Dhanda: The Department has spent a total of £527,128 on public opinion research surveys in the last five years. The research findings are available on the Department's website.

Financial Year Cost (excluding VAT ) (£)











Departments: Sovereign Strategy

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many meetings (a) Ministers and (b) officials from his Department held with Sovereign Strategy in each year between 1997 and 2006. [136862]

Mr. Dhanda: The information requested is not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate costs.

Ministers and civil servants meet many people as part of the process of policy development and advice.

Education Maintenance Allowance: Eastern Region

Mr. Vara: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many young people received (a) £30, (b) £20 and (c) £10 in education maintenance allowance in (i) North West Cambridgeshire constituency and (ii) the East of England in each year since the scheme began; and what percentage of all young people in the area each figure represented. [134213]

Jim Knight: This is a matter for the Learning and Skills Council, who operate the education maintenance allowance (EMA) for the DfES and hold the information about take-up and payments made under the scheme. Mark Haysom, the Council’s Chief Executive has written to the hon. Member with the information requested and a copy of his reply has been placed in the House Library.

23 May 2007 : Column 1297W

Letter from Mark Haysom, dated 15 May 2007:

Take-up of EMA in each academic year
Band £30 £20 £10 Total







East of England











East of England





2006/07 to end April






East of England





Percentage of population receiving EMA in each academic year
2004/05 (16-year-olds only) 2005/06 (16 and 17-year-olds) 2006/07 to end January (16, 17 and 18-year-olds)





East of England




Foundation Degrees

Mr. Boris Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many students were studying for foundation degrees in each of the last five years, broken down by course title. [138129]

Bill Rammell [holding answer 18 May 2007]: The latest available information is shown in the following table. Data, relating specifically to the course title of foundation degrees, are not held centrally.

23 May 2007 : Column 1298W
Total number of students enrolled on foundation degrees in higher education institutions and further education colleges in England—academic years 2002/03 to 2006/07
Number of students











1. Figures are rounded to the nearest five.
2. 2006/07 values are provisional. Figures for earlier years have been subject to minor changes where institutions were given the opportunity to further verify and then correct any data errors found in their returns, the figures therefore differ slightly to those published previously.
Higher Education Students Early Statistics Survey (HESES)

General Certificate of Secondary Education: Standards

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what (a) number and (b) proportion of pupils in mainstream maintained secondary schools achieved five A* to C GCSEs including English, mathematics, science, a modern language and either history or geography in each year between 1997 and 2006. [129707]

Jim Knight: The information requested is given in the following table and reflects the increased level of qualification choice at key stage 4.

15-year-old( 1) pupils at maintained mainstream schools( 2) who achieved five or more A*-C at GCSE including English, Mathematics, Science, a Modern Foreign Language and History or Geography( 3)
Number Percentage































(1) Aged 15 at the beginning of the academic year.
(2) Includes academies, community schools, voluntary aided schools, foundation schools and city technology colleges.
(3) Includes pupils who achieved both grades A*-C at both Geography and History GCSE and those that gained a grade A*-C at GCSE in either Geography or History.

Next Section Index Home Page