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10 July 2007 : Column 1404W—continued

School Meals: Take-Up

Mr. Moss: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families pursuant to the answer
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of 5 June 2007, Official Report, columns 372-3W, on school meals: take-up, whether the 4 per cent. target relates exclusively to lunches. [147930]

Kevin Brennan: The strategy to increase demand by at least 4 percentage points by March 2008 relates exclusively to school lunches.

Schools: Hyperactivity

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) what steps his Department is taking to ensure schools adhere to regulations on the use of social, behavioural and psychological interventions in conjunction with the prescription of Ritalin to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder; [147678]

(2) what training and support is provided to teachers and school staff to help them provide for students with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. [147679]

Kevin Brennan: Local authorities, schools, early education settings and those who help them—including health and social services—must have regard to the special educational needs (SEN) code of practice (2001), These bodies must fulfil their statutory duties towards children with SEN in the light of the guidance in the code of practice.

Although there are no regulations on interventions, ‘Managing Medicines in Schools and Early Years Settings’ DfES/DH (2005) is designed to help all schools and all early years settings and their employers develop policies on managing medicines, and to put in place effective management systems to support individual children with medical needs. It provides specific advice on the supply, possession and administration for controlled drugs such as methylphenidate (commercial name Ritalin). Where a child has an ongoing health need, including medicines, schools are advised to produce an individual health care plan for a child with medical needs that identifies the level of support that is needed.

The SEN code and ‘Managing Medicines’ guidance make clear that education staff should work closely with, and take advice from health professionals to form the whole ‘package’ of support required for children taking medicines as a means of managing a special educational need or disability.

In order to be awarded qualified teacher status, all trainee teachers must demonstrate that they understand their responsibilities under the code, know how to seek advice from specialists on less common types of SEN, can differentiate their teaching to meet the needs of pupils, including those with SEN, and can identify and support pupils who experience behavioural, emotional and social difficulties.

We are proposing that from September 2007 the standards for qualified teacher status will be strengthened to require teachers to know and comply with current legislation on the well-being of children and young people, to know and understand the role of others when dealing with children who have SEN or disabilities, and to communicate effectively with parents and carers.

The current induction standards require newly qualified teachers to demonstrate that they can plan effectively to meet the needs of pupils in their classes with SEN, with or without a statement. The standards
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also demand that they work collaboratively with both other teachers and specialists to ensure that provision is suitable for SEN pupils. The revised standards framework will reinforce, build on and strengthen the current standards surrounding SEN.

All schools receive a school development grant which they are able to use to support improvements in any aspect of teaching and learning. A wide variety of courses are available covering SEN, ranging from awareness-raising through to in-depth studies leading to specific qualifications. It is, however, a matter for individual teachers, other staff and their schools to determine their own particular training and development needs. Local authorities may retain a proportion of this grant, under certain conditions, to provide specific training and development of SEN.

We are also launching later this year an inclusion development programme (IDP) which will deliver continuing professional development for teachers and other staff, in key areas of SEN. The opening round will focus on children with speech, language and communication needs and dyslexia as the ability to communicate is fundamental to learning and progression. The IDP will subsequently address behavioural, emotional and social difficulties, including children with ADHD.

Sure Start Programme: Standards

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Sure Start outreach programmes. [148051]

Beverley Hughes: There is a comprehensive national level evaluation of Sure Start local programmes (SSLPs) in place, which began in January 2001 and will run until 2008. Outreach is part of the core work SSLPs are expected to deliver, and is a theme that runs through much of the evaluation. In particular, the study “Outreach and Home Visiting in Sure Start Local Programmes(1)” (November 2006) provides extensive information evaluating how far outreach and home visiting are contributing to the aim of Sure Start.

Innovation, Universities and Skills

Higher Education: Admissions

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what steps he is taking to promote fair access to higher education. [148187]

Bill Rammell: Widening participation in higher education is both an economic and social necessity. Everyone who has the potential and qualifications to succeed in higher education, whatever their family background, should have the opportunity to participate. That is why my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills announced on 5 July a further package of improvements to the financial support available in England to students from hard working families on modest incomes; so that no one from such backgrounds
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is held back from realising their potential by concerns about the affordability of university study. Alongside those arrangements, we have the Aimhigher programme, raising aspiration and attainment levels amongst those currently under-represented in higher education; the Office for Fair Access, ensuring that institutions charging variable tuition fees for their courses safeguard and promote fair access through bursaries and other financial and outreach work; and the work of the higher education sector to reform the current university application system so that it is more transparent, efficient and fairer.

Higher Education: Business

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what plans he has to encourage closer working between business and universities. [148465]

Bill Rammell: Many higher education institutions (HEIs) are already highly successful in engaging both public and private sector employers. However, if we are to realise the stretching ambition set for us by Lord Leitch, and transform the UK into a truly world-class skills economy by 2020, then we will need to scale up the number of working adults who are engaged in higher-level learning, and this in turn will necessitate even greater engagement between employers and HEIs. A growing list of universities have expressed an intention to make their core mission “business facing”; several of these have already received grants from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) to take forward employer engagement projects which will help to build capacity and develop best practice.

The grant letter sent to HEFCE by the Secretary of State for Education and Skills in January 2007 set out an expectation for 5,000 additional student places in demand-led, employer co-funded provision in the academic year 2008-09, and asked HEFCE to develop a growth strategy to deliver at least an additional 5,000 entrants year-on-year over the comprehensive spending review period. HEFCE have invited HEIs and Sector Skills Councils (SSCs) to develop joint proposals to respond to its allocation of the 5,000 additional co-funded places.

Higher Education: Student Numbers

Mr. Boris Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills whether his Department is responsible for Aimhigher and other Widening Participation activities in schools; and how he plans to ensure that schools and universities continue to work together to improve access to higher education. [148275]

Bill Rammell: The Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills is responsible for widening participation in higher education, including the Aimhigher programme. The Aimhigher programme, in particular, brings together universities, colleges and schools in partnership to raise the attainment levels of young people and their aspirations towards higher education. Higher education institutions themselves will also often have well developed programmes of activities to raise the aspirations of pupils in schools and colleges which are built on strong local partnerships. These links are already well established
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and I will continue to work closely with my colleagues in the Department for Children, Schools and Families to ensure they are maintained and strengthened.

Improving the attainment and outcomes at all stages of education for people from disadvantaged backgrounds, particularly low socio-economic groups, is a shared Government objective. As part of our strategy to widen participation my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills announced on 5 July a further package of improvements to the financial support available in England to students from hard working families on modest incomes; so that no one from such backgrounds is held back from realising their potential by concerns about the affordability of university study. This package includes an expansion of the popular and successful Student Associate Scheme involving high achieving HE students helping out as mentors and assistants in school classrooms where, as role models, they can inspire young people to achieve and progress into higher education. Our two Departments will continue to work together on this and a range of other programmes.

Learning Disability: Prisoners

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many and what proportion of prisoners had (a) learning disabilities and (b) dyslexia over the last 10 years. [148114]

Mr. Lammy [holding answer 9 July 2007]: The information requested is not available centrally. The ‘No One Knows’ research report recently published by the Prison Reform Trust, suggests that between 20- 30 per cent. of offenders have learning difficulties or learning disabilities.

Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform

Electricity: Meters

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what factors underlay the decision to set a 10 year time frame for the roll out of smart meters. [148222]

Malcolm Wicks: In the Energy White Paper, the Government made clear their expectation that smart meters would be rolled out within 10 years. The industry has confirmed that this broad timeframe is achievable, but we will test this as we develop our policy over the coming months.

Energy Supply: Solar Power

Alan Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how much electricity installed photovoltaic generation has contributed to the UK electricity supply through the national grid in each of the last five years. [148429]

Malcolm Wicks: The latest available data are as follows:


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GWh
Generation from photovoltaic sources transferred to the public distribution system Total electricity supplied

2001

1.5

371,187

2002

2.2

368,979

2003

2.4

374,469

2004

3.6

373,401

2005

7.5

379,485

Source:
Digest of UK Energy Statistics, 2006.

The proportion of total photovoltaic energy generation supplied to the grid is estimated. The proportion of UK electricity supplied accounted for by photovoltaics is in each year less than 0.01 per cent.

EU External Trade: Agriculture

Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what concessions on agricultural subsidies were offered by the European Union at discussions with the United States, Brazil and India in Potsdam. [146854]

Jonathan Shaw: I have been asked to reply.

The 19-21 June meeting of the G4 Ministers (US, EU, India and Brazil) failed to reach convergence on the Doha Development Agenda. This means that the focus now returns to Geneva and the World Trade Organisation (WTO) as a whole. We can expect WTO Chairs’ texts to come forward very soon and the WTO Director General, Lamy, to lead the process.

At the beginning of April 2007, the G6 (India, Brazil, US, EU, Japan and Australia) all committed to conclude negotiations by the end of the year. The Government remain committed to achieving an ambitious outcome this year. We believe that this remains possible providing all parties show the necessary flexibility and commitment.

Low Carbon Buildings Programme

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what the increase has been in the overall committed spend figure under the domestic stream of the Low Carbon Buildings programme since its relaunch on 29 May; and what assessment he has made of the likely spend by summer 2008. [148560]

Malcolm Wicks: When the Chancellor announced in the Budget 2007 that an additional £6 million would be made available for the Low Carbon Buildings Programme household stream, we took the opportunity to suspend this funding stream, as it provided us with the opportunity to consult widely over how to use the remaining funds through to scheme closure.

By the time we suspended the household stream on 21 March 2007, we had committed £6,456,091 to 3,988 household projects. Since re-launching the scheme on 29 May 2007, we have to date committed a further
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£624,316 to 629 household projects, with a much more even spread of funds committed across the technologies.

With the increased flexibility that the removal of the monthly cap provides, we cannot predict future spend with any certainty. However, we will continue to monitor and report on grant commitments and payments going forward.

National Grid: Carbon Emissions

Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what the carbon content is of grid electricity; and what targets the Government are setting to reduce that carbon content. [148653]

Malcolm Wicks: According to table 5C published in the current “Digest of United Kingdom Energy Statistics” (paragraph 5.45, http://www.dtistats.net/energystats/dukes06_c5.pdf), UK power stations emitted 124 tonnes of carbon per gigawatt hour (GWh) of electricity supplied during 2005 on average.

The Government do not target the carbon content of UK electricity generation at present.

Nuclear Power Stations: Design

Dr. Whitehead: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform which vendors of nuclear reactor designs had submitted letters to the regulator’s joint programme office by 30 June nominating the designs for which they intend to seek generic design assessment in the UK. [148699]

Malcolm Wicks: The closing date for applications for generic design assessment of nuclear reactor designs to reach the regulator’s joint programme office was 22 June 2007.

We received four applications by this date. These were from: AECL, AREVA, GE-Hitachi and Toshiba-Westinghouse. A press notice was issued on 5 July 2007 accordingly.

All applications and supporting letters of endorsement will be published on the Department’s website in due course.


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