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Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what proportion of the total contract value PFI credits are normally expected to cover in cases where local authorities are allocated Private Finance Initiative credits for Building Schools for the Future contracts. 
Jim Knight: PFI is the preferred route for funding new build projects within the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme. Through work with Pathfinder and Wave 1 local authorities the level of PFI credits has been set at a rate whereby authorities may be expected to provide an additional contribution to their PFI projects, which DFES expects to be affordable. Each BSF project is unique and some local authorities seek to include elements/services outside of the scope of what DFES will fund for BSF. As a result, the contribution made by individual local authorities varies by project and the proportion of the total contract value which is expected to be funded through PFI credits will vary.
Jane Kennedy: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what mechanisms his Department has in place to ensure that (a) local authorities and (b) childrens trusts ensure that calls to report child protection concerns are referred on to the appropriate agency with the appropriate level of urgency; 
(2) what statutory time limits are in place within which a (a) local authority and (b) childrens trust must respond to a call reporting child protection concerns from (i) a member of the public, (ii) schools, (iii) the police and (iv) other local authority child protection agencies; 
[holding answer s 21 June 2007]: All organisations that work with children share a commitment to safeguard and promote their welfare,
and for many organisations that is underpinned by a statutory duty or duties. Local authorities that are childrens services authorities have a number of specific duties to organise and plan services and to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. Childrens trusts are local area partnership arrangements, underpinned by the Children Act 2004 duty to cooperate, for bringing together key agencies which deliver services for children, young people and their families.
Section 11 of the Children Act 2004 places a duty on key people and bodies to make arrangements to ensure that their functions are discharged with regard to the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. The application of this duty will vary according to the nature of each agency and its functions.
Councils with local authority childrens social services functions have particular responsibilities towards all children whose health or development may be impaired without the provision of services, or who are disabled (defined in the Children Act 1989 as children in need). They should agree, with LSCB partners, criteria with local services and professionals as to when it is appropriate to make a referral to local authority childrens social care in respect of a child in need. They should also agree the format for making a referral and sharing the information recorded.
Professionals who phone local authority childrens social care should confirm referrals in writing within 48 hours. The Common Assessment Framework provides a structure for the written referral. At the end of any discussion or dialogue about a child, the referrer (whether a professional or a member of the public or family) and local authority childrens social care should be clear about proposed action, timescales and who will be taking it, or that no further action will be taken. The decision should be recorded by local authority childrens social care and by the referrer (if a professional in another service). Local authority childrens social care should acknowledge a written referral within one working day of receiving it. If the referrer has not received an acknowledgement within three working days, they should contact the local authority childrens social care again.
Local authority childrens social care should decide and record next steps of action within one working day. This information should be consistent with the information set out in the Referral and Information Record (Department of Health, 2002). This decision should normally follow discussion with any referring professional/service and consideration of information held in any existing records, and involve discussion with other professionals and services as necessary (including the police, where a criminal offence may have been committed against a child). This initial consideration of the case should addresson the basis of the available evidencewhether there are concerns about the childs health and development or actual and/or potential harm that justifies and initial assessment to establish whether this child is possibly a child in need. Further action may also include referral to other agencies, the provision of advice or information, or no further action.
All child protection conferences, both initial and review, should have a dedicated person to take notes and produce a record of the meeting. The record of the conference is a crucial working document for all
relevant professionals and the family. Cases where s47 inquiries do not result in the substantiation of referral concerns should be retained in accordance with agency retention policies. These policies should ensure that records are stored safely and can be retrieved promptly and efficiently.
Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to the answer of 19 June 2007, Official Report, column 1701W, on children: work permits, when he proposes to issue guidance on child employment; and what steps he is taking to consult key stakeholders. 
Mr. Dhanda: Government guidance on child employment will be issued within the next year. All key stakeholders will be invited to comment on the scope and content of the guidance, and to play an active part in its preparation.
Jim Knight [holding answer 7 June 2007]: Staff in Academies are not employed by private sector sponsoring companies but by the Academy governing body. The Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations (TUPE) apply when a school closes and becomes an Academy, and general employment law applies to all open Academies.
Mr. Jeremy Browne: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the average teacher-pupil ratio was in (a) mainstream primary, (b) mainstream secondary and (c) special needs schools in each local authority area in each of the last 10 years. 
Jim Knight: The table which has been placed in the House Libraries shows the pupil to teacher ratio in maintained primary, secondary and special schools in each local authority in England, January 1997 to 2006.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) pursuant to the answer of 5 March 2007, Official Report, column 1702, on curriculum: expenditure, whether the £3 billion allocated to the delivery of free nursery education for three and four-year-olds is additional to the £3 billion allocated to local authorities through the General Sure Start Grant; and what the timetable is for the allocation of such funding; 
(2) pursuant to the answer of 2 February 2007, Official Report, column 983, on nursery services, whether the further £3 billion per year allocated by his Department to childrens centres has been transferred to local authorities; on what basis it is distributed to individual authorities; what mechanisms are in place to
analyse the spending of this funding; and for what period this annual spending has been committed. 
Beverley Hughes: The funding of around £3 billion a year for delivery of the free entitlement to nursery education for 3 and 4-year-olds is provided to local authorities through the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) and is additional to the £3 billion of funding allocated to local authorities through the General Sure Start Grant (GSSG) for the period 2006-08.
The school funding settlement for 2006-08 announced in December 2005 set out individual local authority allocations of DSG for 2006-07 and 2007-08 subject to finalisation in light of actual pupil numbers. Distribution of DSG funding to schools and other providers is up to each individual LA in consultation with their School Forum.
GSSG allocations for the 2006-08 period were announced to local authorities by letter on 5 December 2005. Transformation Fund allocations (part of the GSSG) and additional funding for children's centres were announced by letter on 13 February 2006.
GSSG includes funding for Sure Start Childrens Centres, extended schools, inclusion, workforce development, child care affordability and sustainability initiatives, and the implementation of the new duties in the Childcare Act. Local authorities have the freedom to decide how much is spent on each of these areas within the Main Revenue and Main Capital elements of GSSG.
Local authorities are required to report actual expenditure, for each of the blocks within the GSSG, at the end of quarters 2 and 3 of each financial year. Within one month of the year end, authorities are required to provide a more detailed breakdown of actual expenditure (including that for Sure Start Childrens Centres) for the year.
Mr. Boris Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many and what percentage of (a) women and (b) men of (i) white, (ii) Afro-Caribbean and (iii) Asian ethnicity received (A) first class, (B) upper second class and (C) lower second class degrees in English universities in the last five years for which figures are available. 
The Department undertook analysis to find out whether ethnicity, after controlling for other factors, still had predictive power in explaining degree attainment. The Ethnicity and Degree Attainment report, published in January 2007, concluded that much of the attainment gap between students from
minority ethnic communities and their White peers could be explained by factors other than ethnicity (e.g. gender, prior attainment, disability, deprivation, subject, term-time accommodation, and age). However, even after controlling for these other factors, coming from a minority ethnic community was still found to have a statistically significant and negative effect on degree attainment. The research also showed that women are more likely to obtain a higher degree classification than men, except when it comes to attaining a first.
The Government are committed to ensuring that people from all backgrounds and all sections of society have the opportunity to benefit from the thrive in higher education. That is why we undertook this research and why we have asked the Higher Education Academy and Equality Challenge Unit to work with Higher Education Institutions, to investigate these results further. This work is supported by Universities UK and GuildHE and will build upon existing good practice. We have to ensure that every student regardless of race or sex is given equal opportunity to succeed within Higher Education. The full report can be accessed here:
|UK domiciled first degree qualifiers at English HEIs by degree classification obtained. 2001/02 to 2005/06|
|Ethnicity||Class of degree||Female||Male||Total||Female||Male||Total||Female||Male||Total|
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