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Climate Change: Curriculum

Dr. Alasdair McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what provision is made in the national curriculum for educating children about renewable energy; and what measures are in place to ensure that all school children are suitably educated about climate change. [150611]

Jim Knight: Under both the current national curriculum in England for science and the new science curriculum to be taught in schools from September 2008, pupils aged 11-14 are taught about renewable energy and the possible impact of human activity, such as the burning of fossil fuels, on the environment. The current geography curriculum for 11 to 14-year-olds requires pupils to be taught about resource planning and management issues, for example developing alternative energy sources. From September 2008, ‘environmental interaction and sustainable development’ will be one of the key concepts in the new geography curriculum for 11 to 14-year-olds with a requirement to study climate change.

In May 2007, DCSF and DEFRA sent a climate change pack to every secondary school in England. The online teacher guidance accompanying the pack provides material to support the teaching of climate change in geography, science and citizenship. The pack is part of the wider DCSF Sustainable Schools programme which aims to embed sustainability in the curriculum, how schools operate (eg reducing energy usage) and in their work with the local community www.teachernet. gov.uk/sustainableschools. In addition to work being supported by DCSF, DEFRA have sponsored a number of projects aimed at raising awareness of climate change through the Climate Challenge Fund. Seventeen out of the 83 projects have schools as their main audience or have specifically targeted aspects of their project, www.climatechallenge.gov.uk. The Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) has developed programmes for renewable energy education for primary and secondary schools www.berr.gov.uk/energy/sources/renewables/renewables-schools. BERR has provided grant funds to hundreds of schools for installations of microgeneration on their properties, and currently provides these through phase 2 of the Low Carbon Buildings Programme www.lowcarbonbuildingsphase2.org.uk.

Creative Partnerships Initiative: Disadvantaged

Mr. Allen: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) what assessment he has made of the ability of schools in disadvantaged communities to pay 50 per cent. of the costs of engagement in the Creative Partnership programme; and if he will make a statement; [150905]

(2) what plans he has to increase funding to extend the Creative Partnership programme to more schools in England; and if he will make a statement. [150906]

Jim Knight: We are currently considering options for the future funding of the Creative Partnerships programme beyond 2008.

Departments: Disciplinary Proceedings

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many people in his Department and its predecessor have been (a) disciplined and (b) dismissed for (i) inappropriate use of the internet while at work and (ii) using work telephones to access premium rate telephone numbers in the last 12 months. [149197]

Kevin Brennan: From May 2006 to June 2007 in the Department, and its predecessor, one person was disciplined for inappropriate use of the internet while at work, and one person was disciplined for using work telephones to access premium rate telephone numbers.

Departments: Legislation

Mr. Clegg: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what legislative provisions introduced by his Department’s predecessor since 1997 have been repealed. [149585]

Kevin Brennan: The following table sets out the legislative provisions, introduced by my Department’s predecessors in relation to England since 1997, that have been repealed:


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Act Section

Teaching and Higher Education Act

section 20

Inspection of institutions training teachers for schools

School Standards and Framework Act 1998

section 2

Plans by LEAs for reducing infant class sizes

section 6

Preparation of Education Development Plans

section 7

Approval, modification and review of statement and proposals

section 13

Disapplication of Pay and Conditions Order in relation to teachers and participating schools

sections14-19

Intervention in schools causing concern—amended to apply to Wales only

section 24

School Organisation Committees

section 26

School Organisation Plans

section 26A

Plans of local Learning and Skills Councils

sections 28, 29, 31, 32, 33, 34 and 35

Amended to apply to Wales only in respect of school organisation

sections 36-44

Government of maintained schools

sections 54-57

Staffing and conduct of schools

sections 64-68

Exclusion of pupils

section 91

Special arrangements to preserve religious character of foundation or voluntary aided schools

section 93

Fixing admission numbers

sections 115-116

LEA functions concerning school lunches

sections 120 and 121

Early years development and childcare plans

sections 122-134

Publication of inspection reports

section 135

Inspection

Learning and Skills Act 2000

sections 52-72

Adult Learning Inspectorate

section 90

FEFC transfer scheme

Children Act 2004

section 20(4)(b) and (c)

Joint area reviews

section 24

Performance rating of social services

Education Act 2002

sections 54-59

Powers of intervention in schools causing concern amended to apply to Wales only

sections 70-71, 73 and 74

School organisation

section 179

Rights of entry in relation to inspections

section 188

School inspections

Education Act 2005

sections 1-4

School Inspectors and school inspections—HM Inspectorate for England

Childcare Act 2006

sections 14, 31, 50(4), 61(4) and 80-81

Inspection



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Departments: Ministerial Red Boxes

John Hemming: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many ministerial red boxes his Department and its predecessor bought in each of the last five years; what the cost of each was; who the suppliers were; and what tendering process was used in selecting them. [150486]

Kevin Brennan: Red boxes are ordered as and when they are needed from the Department's stationery supplier, Business Banner Supplies. Ministerial boxes are used by successive Ministers over many years.

Departments: Racial Harassment

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many complaints of racial abuse relating to staff for which his Department is responsible have been (a) investigated and (b) upheld in the last 12 months. [149258]

Kevin Brennan: No complaints of racial abuse were investigated in my Department, and its predecessor, in the last 12 months. Formal complaints of racial abuse would be investigated quickly and thoroughly and, where complaints were upheld, appropriate disciplinary action would be taken. All cases are treated seriously.

The Department believes that each and every individual has the right to be treated fairly, with dignity and respect. As such, we do not tolerate unacceptable behaviour towards others. The overall aim of our harassment and bullying policy is to prevent such unacceptable behaviour occurring but, where it does occur, to ensure that appropriate and effective action is taken to deal with it and prevent it happening again. This applies to everyone in the Department. Every individual is personally responsible for their own behaviour, and every manager is responsible for enforcing the policy in accordance with the guidance and procedures set out in our staff handbook.

Education: Assessments

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what evidence he has evaluated on whether there has been grade inflation in (a) GCSEs and (b) A levels since 1990; and if he will make a statement. [151195]

Jim Knight: It is for the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) as the independent regulator to act to ensure that standards in both GCSE and A level are maintained. Since 1997, QCA has carried out reviews of standards in a wide range of A level and GCSE subjects. The reports are available on their website at http://www.qca.org.uk

The Independent Committee on Examination Standards chaired by Dr. Barry McGaw, Director for Education at OECD, published its findings about A levels in December 2004. The report concluded that:


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The improvements we have seen reflect the hard work of pupils and teachers supported by record investment; double the number of support staff and billions invested in rebuilding schools.

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what his policy is on the use of multiple choice questions in GCSE English exams; and if he will make a statement. [151196]

Jim Knight: It is for the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) as the independent regulator to ensure that exams are fit for purpose and to make judgments on how to govern the use of multiple choice questions.

While elements of multiple choice testing may be included, this would be within the context of an exam that maintains the high standards of GCSE and requires a suitably challenging breadth and depth of knowledge. For instance, candidates will still have to read Shakespeare, write essays and give reasoned, individual responses to texts to pass English GCSE.

Education: Departmental Responsibilities

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families for which public service agreement targets of the former Department for Education and Skills his Department now has responsibility. [147741]

Kevin Brennan: The Department is responsible for the following PSA targets, each of which were agreed between the former Department for Education and Skills and HM Treasury as part of the 2004 Spending Review:


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