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Paul Goggins: The PSNI recognise the very real and genuine concerns regarding the protection of young children from sex offenders. Specific measures include the Multi-agency Sex Offender Risk Assessment and Risk Management process, which involves PSNI, Northern Ireland Probation Service, Northern Ireland Prison Service, Health and Social Services, Northern Ireland Housing Executive and representatives from the voluntary sector. The primary purpose of the agencies work is to help protect the public from harm by reducing the opportunities available for offenders to gain access to victims, and also to reduce their propensity to offend at all.
Effective collaboration is also incorporated into the day-to-day work of police officers and social workers, to ensure that the welfare of children remains paramount. These measures are enshrined in the Protocol for Joint Investigation by Social Workers and Police Officers and in the Area Child Protection Policy and Procedures documents.
Police are also actively involved in various other campaigns around this issue, for example, Stop-it-Nowa campaign which encourages early recognition and responses to the problem, and Leisurewatch (currently piloting in three areas) whereby leisure staff are trained to be observant and aware of ways to minimise the risks from sex offenders.
The overall staffing position of the Northern Ireland Prison Service is kept under regular review. The target staffing level baseline for uniform staff was reviewed and adjusted from 1 April 2007 to take account of existing and projected staffing needs in light of an increasing prisoner population. In addition, the service has reviewed the grades and skills needed to reflect greater emphasis on prisoner engagement, education and rehabilitation work. New types of
operational and support staff have been introduced over the past two years and approximately 200 such staff have been recruited. The service is continuing to recruit new grades of staff.
|Table 1: Number of childcare places that have opened and closed in 2005-06, England|
|(1) The net steady state refers to registered providers whose registration status has not changed, but whose number of places has fluctuated over the period in question. Note: Figures are rounded to the nearest 10 if under 100, and to the nearest 100 if over 100. Source: Ofsted|
Beverley Hughes: The Government believe that the best child care market is a diverse one which offers parents real choice about the type of child care they can access. Accordingly, the Childcare Act 2006 builds on our 10-year child care strategy to help maintain and strengthen the great diversity that already exists.
The Act requires local authorities to complete, by April 2008, an assessment of the sufficiency of child care in their area, including the extent to which parents' requirements for different types of provision are being satisfied, It then requires local authorities to secure the provision of sufficient child care to meet the
requirements of working parents, with particular attention to the needs of those with low incomes or disabled children.
From October this year, the Act will place a restriction on local authorities providing child care where there are alternative and appropriate means of delivery available in the market. Before providing new child care themselves, local authorities will have to determine whether another provider is willing to provide it and whether it is appropriate, in all the circumstances, for the authority to provide the child care itself.
Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what representations he has received on provision of Care to Learn support for teenage mothers who commence a course over the age of 19 years. 
Beverley Hughes [holding answer 9 July 2007 ]: The Department and the Learning and Skills Council have received representations from various bodies to further extend Care to Learn support to young adult parents who want to go into learning and have difficulty accessing child care. We extended Care to Learn to 19-year-olds in August 2006 and teenage parents receiving Care to Learn support can carry on receiving help past their 20th birthday while they continue on their course.
As I announced on 28 July, I am making available an additional £75 million, over the next three years, to support 50,000 workless families with child care to help them access training and move into work.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what assessment has been made of the effect of Sure Start children's centres in areas where there is existing sufficient nursery provision provided by the private, voluntary and independent sector. 
Beverley Hughes: Sure Start childrens centres serving communities in the most disadvantaged areas must include, as part of their offer to parents, integrated full day care and early learning places for children under five. In many cases, this will build on existing provision, like Sure Start Local programmes or Neighbourhood Nurseries. 58 per cent. of children's centres have child care provided by the private, voluntary or independent sectors. In less disadvantaged areas, if existing provision is meeting parents' needs centres will simply provide parents with advice and information about local child care options.
In planning their children's centres, local authorities must consult with existing private, voluntary and independent child care providers to determine the best way of ensuring parents have access to sufficient, good quality provision. In addition, from October this year, the Childcare Act 2008 will place a restriction on local authorities providing child care where there are alternative and appropriate means of delivery available in the market.
The assessments of child care sufficiency that local authorities are required to complete by April 2008 can be expected to give a clear indication of how child care
provided by Sure Start children's centres fits with other child care in their areas. Local authorities will be expected to act in accordance with their assessments when fulfilling the duty to secure, from April 2008, sufficient child care for working parents.
Ms Dari Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many students in Stockton, South claimed education maintenance allowance in each year since it was introduced, broken down by ward of residence. 
This is a matter for the Learning and Skills Council, who operate the education maintenance allowance (EMA) for the DCSF and hold the information about take-up and payments under the scheme. Mark Haysom, the council's chief executive, has written to my hon. Member with the information requested and a copy of his reply has been placed in the House Library.
I am writing in response to your recent Parliamentary Question that asked: How many students in Stockton South claimed education maintenance allowance in each year since it was introduced; broken down by ward of residence.
Information on the number of young people who have applied, enrolled and received Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) is available at Local Authority Level, but not at Ward level EMA take-up is defined as young people who have received one or more EMA payments in the academic year.
EMA take-up for Stockton-on-Tees Local Authority area during each academic year since inception is as follows:
|(1 )To end of May.|
EMA Take-up data showing the number of young people who have received one or more EMA payments during 2004/05, 2005/06 and to date in 2006/07 are now also available on the LSC website, at the following address:
http://www Isc.gov.uk/providers/Data/statistics/learner/EMA_take _up.htm
I hope you find this information useful.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what (a) safeguards are in place and (b) checks are made to ensure that local authorities are sufficiently funding the free entitlement to early years education for three and four year olds. 
The code of practice on the provision of free nursery education places for three and four-year-olds is statutory guidance to which local authorities must have regard, when planning and managing the delivery of the free entitlement. The code requires local authorities to ensure settings are funded equitably, transparently and fairly, according to local need and market dynamics. My letter in December 2006, to all local authority chief executives asked them to reassure themselves that their funding levels support
a diverse local childcare market and take into account provider sustainability. Local authorities are responsible for ensuring that funding is allocated and spent appropriately.
Last month, we announced a series of changes to how local authorities fund the free entitlement to early learning and care for three and four-year-olds, designed to ensure that local funding allocations are transparent and consistent across the sectors, and give providers stability to plan for the future and improve quality.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what exemptions there are for (a) Waldorf and Steiner kindergartens and (b) Montessori pre-schools from the proposed new guidelines for working with pre-school children; and what consultations his Department has held on (i) these exemptions and (ii) whether the guidelines are legally enforceable. 
Beverley Hughes [holding answer 9 July 2007]: Currently all Waldorf Steiner kindergartens and Montessori pre-schools offering the free entitlement to 3 and 4-year-olds must comply with the Curriculum Guidance for the Foundation Stage. No exemptions have been sought, or granted, from the Foundation Stage.
From September 2008 the Foundation Stage will be superseded by the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) which will be a statutory requirement for all early years providers and will be legally enforceable. The Government carried out a formal public consultation between 1 March and 24 May 2007 on the circumstances under which exemptions to the Early Years Foundation Stage learning and development requirements might be granted and the process for such exemptions. I am considering the responses to the consultation exercise and the representations made by Waldorf Steiner and Montessori and expect to publish the Government's response to the consultation this month and regulations will follow in the autumn. The Early Years Foundation Stage is a very flexible set of requirements which is designed to be inclusive and compatible with the vast majority of educational philosophies.
Dr. Stoate: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families whether local authorities are entitled legally to ask to inspect the financial accounts of private, voluntary and independent sector nurseries, pre-schools and day care providers relating to activities that are not directly funded by public money for free early years education places for three and four-year-olds. 
The code of practice on the delivery of nursery education places for 3 and 4-year-olds is statutory guidance to which local authorities must have regard when planning and managing the delivery of the free entitlement. The code
states that local authorities should put in place appropriate accounting and auditing procedures to ensure that funding paid in respect of free places is administered properly. Local authorities do so, in consultation with providers, through delegated local conditions of funding, which may in some cases require settings to provide access to accounts relating to administration of public funding. Local authorities may also ask providers for sight of their accounts in order to assess their financial viability before contracting with or providing funding to the setting. However, settings are under no obligation to comply with requests for inspection of accounts related to activity not undertaken in respect of public funding.
Dr. Stoate: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) what estimate his Department has made of the cost per capita to nurseries, pre-schools and daycare providers in (a) Kent and (b) south east England of delivering the free 2.5 hour early years session for three and four year olds; 
(2) what assessment his Department has made of the level of funding per capita for the free 2.5 hour early years session for three and four year olds that is being passed onto (a) private, voluntary and independent sector nurseries, pre-schools and daycare providers and (b) maintained sector nurseries, pre-schools and daycare providers by each local education authority in south east England. 
Beverley Hughes: The free entitlement is delivered by a very diverse range of providers in the maintained, private, and voluntary and independent sectors, which would make it impossible to identify a single unit cost for delivery of nursery education and care.
Because of this diversity. local authoritiesin consultation with their school forumsare responsible for deciding how best to apply their total school and early years funding across all age groups and between different types of provider, based on an assessment of local circumstances. The code of practice on the provision of free nursery education places for three and four-year-olds requires local authorities to ensure settings are funded equitably, transparently and fairly, reflecting local need.
At national level, estimated expenditure on under 5s by local authorities in 2005-06, the latest year for which outturn data is available, is £3,473 million The Department is currently working with authorities to produce estimates of the level of funding allocated to early years in each local authority and its distribution between the PVI and maintained sectors in 2005-06 and 2006-07. We intend to collate and publish these estimates in August so that authorities can benchmark their approaches to funding the free entitlement. This is part of a wider package of reforms of the early years funding system announced on 25 June 2007 and available at
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