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11 Jun 2007 : Column 800W—continued

Schools: Sanitation

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what steps his Department is taking to inform (a) local education authorities, (b) governors and (c) schools of their responsibility for ensuring the standard and cleanliness of school toilet facilities; [141077]

(2) what steps his Department is taking to ensure that (a) local education authorities, (b) governors and (c) schools are made aware of the recently published guidance on school toilets issued as part of the Building Schools for the Future programme; [141078]

(3) what plans he has to monitor improvements in the provision of school toilets as a result of the recently published guidance on school toilets. [141079]

Jim Knight: The day-to-day responsibility for ensuring the standard of cleanliness of school toilet facilities lies with the school governors with, in general, the local authorities having an overarching responsibility. This is laid out within the Education (School Premises) Regulations 1999, SI No.2 1999.

The guidance referred to in PQ 141078 is ‘Standard Specifications, Layouts and Dimensions SSLD 3: Toilets in Schools’. This guidance has been developed to inform the building schools for the future (BSF) programme. It sets out standards of performance for toilet facilities and shows how they might be delivered through design examples. The aim of the SSLD series of specifications is to disseminate best practice and avoid “reinventing the wheel” every time a school building is designed so that consistently high quality environments can be delivered, offering best whole-life value for money. The new guidelines also seek to address the issue of bullying in toilet blocks, helping ensure that cramped, dirty and vandalised toilets become a thing of the past. Toilets in BSF schools will no longer provide bullies with places that lend themselves all too readily to antisocial behaviours.

School building clients, their professional advisers, contractors and their supply chains will use the guidance at the early stages of a project's development whether for new build, extension or refurbishment.

The guidance was published on both the Department(1) and Partnerships for Schools' websites and local authorities will be informed through newsletters that the guidance exists. The guidance is being reflected in the BSF standard documentation. The published guidance applies to new toilet facilities only.


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The Department has no plans to monitor improvements in provision of school toilets.

Secondary Education

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills on how many occasions his Department has issued (a) directives, (b) requirements and (c) advice to (i) primary schools and (ii) secondary schools in the last 12 months. [138853]

Jim Knight: The Department only sends information automatically to schools in England in exceptional cases having stopped regular paper mailings in December 2004.

Discussions with head teachers and detailed research showed that schools wanted to be able to choose the printed publications they needed, when they needed them, and to be able to order multiple copies.

Instead, the Department has successfully introduced an online ordering service where schools are able to either download or order paper based copies of publications including guidance. A regular fortnightly e-mail is sent to schools to inform them of new publications. In addition, Spectrum provides schools, head teachers and chairs of governors with a summary of all the latest resources, publications, guidance and regulations. It is available online and can also be requested in paper copy.

Students: Loans

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills when the departmental inquiry on student loan fraud took place; what its nature was; who conducted it; what its scope and duration was; and when he expects to report its findings to the House. [140576]

Bill Rammell [holding answer 4 June 2007]: We constantly review procedures to ensure we can prevent and detect fraud, while making it straightforward for genuine students to obtain the funds they need to pursue their studies.

Over the last year, DfES officials—in conjunction with the student loans company and local authorities—have investigated a number of cases of suspected fraud, including some involving the use of stolen birth certificates to create false identities, which resulted in successful prosecutions. Alongside this the NHS Counter Fraud and Security Management Service has estimated the fraud rate for student support at around 0.6 per cent. of applications in 2005/06. We will work to reduce it further, but it is appreciably lower than other similar systems which involve payments.

Targeted Capital Fund

Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills whether the Targeted Capital Fund will be accepting applications in the 2008-09 financial year. [141500]

Jim Knight: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State is considering his priorities for capital investment for 2008-09 to 2010-11, including the Targeted Capital
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Fund. As part of that, the focus and operation of the Targeted Capital Fund are under review. This is to ensure that investment best meets national education objectives, such as school kitchens to support healthy eating.

We will announce our capital programmes later this year, together with the arrangements for the Targeted Capital Fund.

Teachers: Sustainable Development

Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) if he will make it his policy to ensure that training courses for new teachers and headteachers include learning about sustainable development; [141192]

(2) if he will make changes to schools’ curriculums to include more content about sustainable development; [141193]

(3) what support his Department provides for the eco-schools programme; and if he will adopt a target to make every school an eco-school; [141194]

(4) if he will introduce beacon school status for those schools which put sustainable development into practice; [141195]

(5) if he will make it his policy to require Ofsted (a) to inspect and (b) to report on schools’ commitment to sustainable development in (i) teaching and (ii) property management. [141208]

Jim Knight: Building on school workforce remodelling and the reform of teachers’ pay, we are working with social partners to deliver a new teacher professionalism in which all teachers are engaged in ongoing professional development that takes account of individual development needs, career aspirations and school’s improvement priorities, along with national, regional and local priorities. Sustainable development can easily be incorporated into courses as part of a qualified teacher’s professional development.

The National College for School Leadership already covers learning on sustainable development on the National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH) as part of ‘Developing a Strategic Educational Vision for the School’. The NPQH will be a mandatory qualification for new head teachers from April 2009.

Sustainable development is already a statutory part of the National Curriculum in citizenship, design and technology, geography and science. The current review of the secondary curriculum will mean that there is a sharper focus on sustainable development in these subjects. QCA will be developing supporting material to demonstrate how sustainable development can be taught across the curriculum.

Beacon school status was phased out in 2005 as part of a streamlining of existing programmes. The Government wants all schools to put sustainable development into practice and is encouraging them to do so through the current sustainable schools year of action. We value award schemes like Eco-schools and also local schemes such as Sandwell’s Sustainable Schools Charter. DEFRA has provided £65,000 this year to the Eco-schools programme. The Department has no plans to adopt an Eco-schools target but all schools are encouraged to be sustainable schools by 2020.


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We believe that school inspection should recognise where the efforts made to create sustainable schools are having a significant impact on a school’s overall effectiveness.

As stated in ‘Sustainable Schools for Pupils, Communities and the Environment—an action plan for the DfES’, published in March 2007, we will be discussing with Ofsted how best to ensure that sustainable development is recognised during school inspections. The Department has developed a tool linked to the Ofsted self-evaluation form to enable schools to record and report their efforts on sustainable development. Sustainable Development is an important part of value for money in property management and as such should already be factored into inspectors’ judgments.

Vocational Education: Gloucestershire

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what plans he has to replace the access course in Gloucestershire in order to provide trainees with sufficient skills to progress from education to employment. [139286]

Bill Rammell: The LSC will be continuing to fund engagement provision throughout Gloucestershire in 2007/08 aimed at the same vulnerable learners that have been provided for through the access course. The local partnership team will shortly begin contracting discussions to take the work forward.

Written Questions: Administrative Delays

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills when he expects to answer questions (a) 115508 on GCSEs tabled on 10 January 2007, (b) 116080 on GCSEs tabled on 11 January 2007, (c) 115509 on GCSEs tabled on 10 January 2007, (d) 117405 on GCSEs tabled on 17 January 2007, (e) 110498 on history and geography tabled on 17 January 2007, (f) 110756 on data security in schools tabled on 18 January 2007, (g) 110754 on the e-Learning credits tabled on 18 January 2007, (h) 110753 on e-Learning credits tabled on 18 January 2007, (i) 112155 on the 14 to 19 implementation plans tabled on 24 January 2007, (j) 117653 on GCSE results tabled on 25 January 2007, (k) 117650 on GCSEs tabled on 25 January 2007, (l) 117655 on GCSEs tabled on 25 January 2007 and (m) 117654 on GCSEs tabled on 25 January 2007, by the hon. Member for Bognor Regis and Littlehampton. [122125]

Jim Knight: The following table lists the current status of each PQ.


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UIN Number Status

115508

Answered on 19 February, Official Report, columns 441-43W.

116080

Answered on 19 February, Official Report, columns 443-44W.

115509

Answered on 19 February, Official Report, columns 441-43W.

117405

Answered on 17 May, Official Report, columns 854-56W.

110498

Answered on 19 February, Official Report, columns 440-41W.

110756

Answered on 21 February, Official Report, columns 766-67W.

110754

Answered on 19 February, Official Report, columns 438-39W.

110753

Answered on 19 February, Official Report, columns 438-39W.

112155

Answered on 26 February, Official Report, column 1017W.

117653

Answered on 17 April, Official Report, column 545W.

117650

Answered on 21 May, Official Report, columns 1068-72W.

117655

Answered on 6 June, Official Report, column 496W.

117654

Answered on 6 June, Official Report, column 496W.


Young People: Sexual Offences

Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much was spent on therapeutic services for children and young people who display sexually harmful behaviour in 2006-07. [140586]

Bridget Prentice: I have been asked to reply.

This specific information is not available. However, improving Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) is a priority for the Government. The commitment to improve CAMHS is backed up by significant additional funding, with over £400 million in the four years to March 2007 made available to local authorities and the NHS. Over £100 million has also been made available for 2007-08. An element of these funds will have been used on services for young people who have sexually abused and who need CAMHS.

Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what plans the Government have to promote and implement the new national strategy on young people who sexually harm others. [140609]

Bridget Prentice: I have been asked to reply.

The development of a cross Government National Policy Framework for the development of services for young people who sexually abuse is being led by the Department of Health and the Ministry of Justice. The framework will aim to use existing resources in a more coherent and consistent approach. A major focus is to build on and bring together what is known about the best practice and most effective treatment interventions so that practitioners at the local level can share these and define responsibilities more clearly. The intention is to publish this document by the end of the year.

Youth Opportunity Fund

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to the answer of 15 May 2007, Official Report, columns 672-75W, on the Youth Opportunity Fund, which local authorities made unsuccessful applications for funding from the (a) Youth Opportunity Fund and (b) Youth Capital Fund in each of the last two years; and for what reasons their applications were unsuccessful. [140656]


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Mr. Dhanda: No local authorities have been refused funding. Every local authority in England receives a grant funding allocation, based on the size of the local 13-19 population and indices of deprivation. It is up to the local authority to operate the funds within the conditions of the grant.

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to the answer of 15 May 2007, Official Report, columns 672-5W, on the Youth Opportunity Fund, what the reasons are for the regional disparities in local authority allocation for the (a) Youth Capital Fund and (b) Youth Opportunity Fund. [140657]

Mr. Dhanda: Funds are allocated to all local authorities on the basis of the local 13-19 population and indices of deprivation. These produce different grant allocations for each LA area.

Work and Pensions

Cemeteries: Inspections

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many gravestones were deemed dangerous by inspectors in 2006. [140522]

Mrs. McGuire [holding answer 4 June 2007]: The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) does not consider the risk posed by toppling gravestones to be a priority as compared to other workplace risks. Therefore, HSE would only inspect a graveyard following a serious incident. There were no reported incidents that warranted an inspection by HSE in 2006.

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many graveyards were inspected by the Health and Safety Executive in (a) 2006 and (b) 2007. [140507]

Mrs. McGuire: The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) does not consider the risk posed by toppling gravestones to be a priority as compared to other workplace risks. Therefore, HSE would only inspect a graveyard following a serious incident. There were no reported incidents that warranted an inspection by HSE in 2006.

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the minimum height is of a gravestone or memorial requiring inspection under Health and Safety Executive guidelines. [140524]

Mrs. McGuire: The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) does not consider the risk posed by toppling gravestones to be a priority as compared to other workplace risks. Therefore, HSE has not produced any guidelines on this issue. Additionally, whether the gravestone is secure and the condition of the surrounding ground are the factors more likely to effect the stability of gravestones and memorials.


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