Previous Section Index Home Page

23 May 2007 : Column 1302W—continued

Higher Education: Student Numbers

Mr. Boris Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the participation rate in higher education is of people aged 18 to 21 in (a) each parliamentary constituency, (b) each local council area and (c) each electoral ward in the latest year for which figures are available. [138203]

Bill Rammell: The latest available figures on participation in higher education by local areas were published by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) in January 2005 in “Young Participation in England”, which is available from their website at: 037. Copies have been placed in the House Library.

This report shows participation rates for young people who enter higher education aged 18 or 19 for the years 1997 to 2000 by parliamentary constituency, local authority and Learning and Skills Council areas. HEFCE have not produced participation rates beyond 2000.

The Department uses the Higher Education Initial Participation Rate (HEIPR) to assess progress on increasing first-time participation of English students aged 18-30 in higher education towards 50 per cent.: the latest provisional figure for 2005/06 is 43 per cent. The HEIPR is not calculated at parliamentary constituency level or local authority level.

Olympic Games: Greater London

Mr. Marshall: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to the answer of 10 May 2007, Official Report, column 344W, on the Olympic games: Greater London, how his Department plans to monitor progress towards and achievement of the targets set by construction skills to address the skills needs of the Olympic project; whether these targets will extend beyond 2012; and if he will make a statement. [138894]
23 May 2007 : Column 1303W

Phil Hope: The ConstructionSkills Council and CITB-ConstructionSkills’ Board review performance against targets regularly, using data supplied by the Construction Skills Network. Regular meetings between CITB-ConstructionSkills and DFES at both official and ministerial level ensure that the Government is kept well-informed about progress. The achievements of key targets for London and the South East will to continue to be reported in CITB-ConstructionSkills’s annual report which is laid before Parliament each spring.

The Construction Skills Network works to a five year forecasting model and current forecasts cover up to 2012. They are, however, working with the Office for Government Commerce to develop models for London, the Greater South East and the rest of the UK that extend 10 years forward. This will help to ensure that ConstructionSkills and the Government have a better understanding of the industry's capacity in the longer term.

Part-time Education

Dr. Francis: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what recent assessment he has made of the effect of the fees regime on the provision of part-time courses by higher education institutions. [135987]

Bill Rammell: The effect of the new fee and student support arrangements will be considered in 2009 by an independent review in the light of the data available at that time, but we expect both the demand for and supply of part-time courses provided by higher education institutions to expand as we increase and widen participation. An increasing proportion of such courses should be co-funded by employers.

Physical Education: Further Education

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what proposals and programmes his Department has put in place to promote physical education and healthy living in the further education sector. [138849]

Bill Rammell: FE colleges are independent institutions catering for the diverse needs of young people and adults participating in learning. Colleges have an important role in promoting physical education and healthy living. Government funding is provided for all 16 to19-year-olds in FE to support a range of extra curricula activities including sport and health promotion. We are also supporting the FE sector as it implements a number of sector led initiatives to promote healthy living and participation in sport and physical education, including for the 2012 games. With Government funding, the new sector co-ordination and communications unit will ensure that learners in FE colleges benefit from and contribute to the success of the games. In addition, a wide range of publicly funded learning programmes for learners of all ages, ranging from construction through to hospitality and tourism, delivered through FE colleges, incorporate modules relating to physical education and health promotion.

23 May 2007 : Column 1304W

Schools: Fingerprints

Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills whether schools have powers to collect pupils’ fingerprints without the prior written consent of parents; and if he will make a statement. [126223]

Jim Knight [holding answer 8 March 2007]: Maintained schools have the power to collect pupils’ personal data, including biometric data without prior written consent of parents. Under paragraph 3(1) of Schedule 1 of the Education Act 2002 the governing body of a maintained school has the legal power to do anything which appears to them to be necessary or expedient for the purposes of, or in connection with, the conduct of the school. Schools must process biometric data in compliance with the Data Protection Act 1998. DfES guidance recommends that schools should engage fully with parents and pupils if they decide to introduce biometric technology systems.

Schools: Parents

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what guidelines his Department has issued to schools on contacting students' parents. [139010]

Mr. Dhanda: In June 2000, the Department issued guidance to schools about who they must involve in issues about a child's education and who they must keep informed about school matters (Guidance DfES/0092/2000). It includes guidance about responding to non-resident parents who wish to be involved in their children's education.

A copy of the guidance has been placed in the Library. It is in the process of being updated and a new version should be available later this year.

Schools: Safety Measures

Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what guidance, other than that relating to the Criminal Records Bureau checking procedures, he provides on the measures schools should take to ensure that they are safe. [138435]

Mr. Dhanda [holding answer 22 May 2007]: The Department has a number of guidance documents aimed at keeping schools safe, in the sense of safeguarding pupils from abuse or neglect. We issued guidance last year to safeguard children in schools. "Safeguarding Children and Safer Recruitment in Education" covers safeguarding children, recruitment and selection, vetting checks, and dealing with allegations of abuse against education staff.

Beyond this specific area of safeguarding from abuse or neglect, the Department also provides a wide range of guidance on other aspects of school, staff and pupil safety.

23 May 2007 : Column 1305W

Sure Start Programme

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) how many Sure Start children's centres closed in each of the last five years; and how many such centres were the subject of requests to him for additional resources without which the centre would be closed in each year; [138091]

(2) pursuant to the answer of 28 March 2007, Official Report, columns 1538-9W, on children's centres, whether he would expect to be informed in all cases of closures of Sure Start children's centres; and of how many such closures he has been informed since 28th March 2007. [138092]

Beverley Hughes: The Department has not received any reports of the closure of Sure Start children’s centres since the programme began in 2003. I would expect local authorities to alert us if any centre were to be threatened with closure. This would enable Together for Children (the consortium appointed to support the delivery of children’s centres) to broker a solution with local partners for the continuation of children’s centre services in the area concerned.

Unemployment: Young People

Mr. Boris Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) how many and what proportion of (a) 16-year-olds, (b) 17-year-olds, (c) 18-year-olds and (d) 19-year-olds were not in employment, education or training in England in each of the last three years; [138490]

(2) how many and what proportion of (a) 20-year-olds, (b) 21-year-olds, (c) 22-year-olds, (d) 23-year-olds and (e) 24-year-olds were not in employment, education or training in England in each of the last three years. [138491]

Bill Rammell: The following table gives the number and proportion of (a) 16, (b) 17 and (c) 18-year-olds not in education, employment or training (NEET) in England in each of the last three years for which figures are available. Comparable figures are not available for older ages.

End 2003 End 2004 End 2005

(a) Age 16





Proportion (percentage)




(b) Age 17





Proportion (percentage)




(c) Age 18





Proportion (percentage)




Record numbers of 16-year-olds are in full-time education. But, we recognise the need to take action to reduce the proportion of young people not in any form of education, employment or training, and have set ourselves a very challenging target to get the proportion down to 8 per cent. by 2010.

23 May 2007 : Column 1306W

It is vital that all young people gain the essential skills and qualifications so that they are better prepared for getting on and success in life. Our 14-19 reforms will ensure there are suitable routes through the education and training system in place for every young person.

To keep them in learning, we need to help them tackle the other issues in their lives that might cause them to leave which we are doing through our Every Child Matters reforms.

Young People: Carers

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what steps are being taken to ensure children who act as principal carers for family members have necessary support at school; what budget has been allocated for that purpose; what strategy is in place to monitor the educational outcomes of such children; and if he will make a statement. [138722]

Mr. Dhanda: Schools are already required to promote the education and welfare of all their pupils, and they should take pupils' particular circumstances into account. The Government are clear that if a school is concerned that one of their pupils may be a “child in need”, whether as a young carer or for any other reason, they should consider communicating with the child's family and with local children's services.

The Government are committed to ensuring that the revised guidance on attendance management, “Advice and guidance to Schools and Local Authorities on Managing Behaviour and Attendance: groups of pupils at particular risk”, is understood by schools and publicised by the Department. This guidance includes young carers as one of the groups that is at risk of becoming disengaged from education, and it was revised in October 2006 to reflect comments from the Princess Royal Trust for Carers. Young carers will be mentioned in our revised anti-bullying guidance, Safe to Learn (due to be issued later this term), as one of the categories of pupil particularly vulnerable to bullying. We also plan to ensure that schools are aware of their duties under the Disability Discrimination Act 2005 (DDA), and to draw their attention to our resource Implementing the DDA in Schools and Early Years Settings. Once this work is complete, we plan to draw the attention of teachers, schools, and local authorities to the specific application to young carers of these resources.

There is no specific budget allocated for the support of young carers at school: head teachers and governors have discretion to allocate their resources flexibly in response to local needs. As part of their general funding, local authorities have substantial resources to fulfil their responsibilities towards children and families. They also receive the carers special grant which supports local authorities in providing breaks and services for carers.

Schools are not required to collect data on children and young people with caring responsibilities. The Government accept that not all young carers wish to discuss what they regard as sensitive family issues with their schools.

23 May 2007 : Column 1307W

Electoral Commission Committee

Elections: Reviews

Mr. Hood: To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission what the terms of reference are for the Electoral Commission’s review of the Scottish parliamentary and local government elections held on 3 May. [138120]

Peter Viggers: As I told the House during oral questions on 21 May, the Electoral Commission announced the broad scope of its review, and that it would be independently led by Mr. Ron Gould, an international specialist in electoral administration, on 14 May. The Commission announced further details, including terms of reference, on 21 May, and has informed me that a copy of this announcement has been placed in the Library. I also refer the hon. Member to the exchanges on this matter in the House on 21 May 2007, Official Report, columns 973-75.

Electoral Commission

Adam Afriyie: To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission when the Electoral Commission’s five-year plan 2007-08 to 2011-12 is expected to be published. [138104]

Peter Viggers: The Electoral Commission’s Corporate Plan 2007-08 to 2011-12 (HC474), approved by the Speaker’s Committee on 21 March, was laid before the House by the Committee on 9 May. Copies are available in the Vote Office. The Commission informs me that it has also published the plan on its website and that paper copies will be generally available shortly.

Damian Green: To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission what consideration the Speaker’s Committee has given to the response of the Electoral Commission to the report by the Committee on Standards in Public Life on the work of the Commission, Cm. 7006. [138199]

Peter Viggers: The Electoral Commission has sent to the Speaker’s Committee a copy of its published response to the recommendations of the eleventh report of the Committee on Standards in Public Life. The Speaker’s Committee is in the process of considering its own response to the report and, in doing so, will take due account of the Commission’s observations.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Cattle: Registration

Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the number of cattle in England with certificates of registration. [138130]

23 May 2007 : Column 1308W

Barry Gardiner [holding answer 21 May 2007]: According to records on the cattle tracing system, the number of live cattle in Great Britain with certificates of registration, that is cattle born before July 1996 when passports began to be issued, is 383,000.

It has not been possible to obtain a precise figure for England only in the time available but, based on the proportion of the national herd that is resident in England, I estimate that there are just under 250,000 cattle with certificates of registration in England.

Next Section Index Home Page