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9 Jan 2008 : Column 641W—continued


9 Jan 2008 : Column 642W

(c) have gone missing from care during each of the years ending 31 March 2005 to 2007 was as follows:

Number

2005

860

2006

890

2007

950


These figures account for all children looked after, excluding children looked after under an agreed series of short-term placements, and where a child was reported missing from his or her agreed placement on more than one occasion during the same year, he or she has been counted only once.

Communications Directorate: Standards

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what the aims are of his Department's Communications Directorate; what targets have been set for it; and if he will make a statement. [176820]

Kevin Brennan: The aim of the DCSF Communications Directorate is to provide high quality, innovative communication activities to help deliver the Department's objectives. The Communications Directorate works with departmental colleagues, partners and stakeholders to ensure a clear understanding of children, schools and families policy among all audiences.

The Communications Directorate supports the Department's strategic objectives to:

Dance

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families if he will increase the priority given to dance in the Learning Outside the Classroom manifesto. [176817]

Jim Knight: The Manifesto vision is for every young person to experience the world beyond the classroom as an essential part of learning and personal development, whatever their age, ability or circumstances. More than 750 organisations, covering a range of activities from adventure and field studies to heritage and the arts, have signed up to this vision. Signatories include the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and individual sports colleges.

We recognise the importance of young people having opportunities to perform and to see live dance. That is why one of our eight Manifesto sector partnerships is dedicated to Creativity and Arts, represented on the national advisory group by Arts Council England.


9 Jan 2008 : Column 643W

The Department is developing an Out and About package, which will include guidance, resources and continuing professional development. The Association of Physical Education has been invited to contribute. The review of access and provision to dance both within and beyond the curriculum, led by Tony Hall, the chief executive of the Royal Opera House, will also feed into the process.

Delivery Unit

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families which aspects of his Department’s work programme he requested the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit to look at during his September meeting with the unit; and if he will make a statement. [166686]

Jim Knight: The Secretary of State has requested that the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit look at the academies programme, in addition to departmental public sector agreements.

Departmental Data Protection

Jo Swinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many confirmed security breaches of databases controlled by his Department occurred in each of the last five years; whether the breach resulted from internal or external sources in each case; how many records were compromised on each occasion; and what estimate was made of the total number of records accessible to the individuals concerned. [174566]

Kevin Brennan [holding answer 17 December 2007]: Except in exceptional cases, when it is in the public interest, it has been the policy of successive Governments not to comment on breaches of security.

Departmental Equality

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how much has been spent by his Department (a) in total and (b) on staff costs on promoting equality and diversity in each of the last three years for which figures are available; and how many people are employed by his Department for this purpose. [173845]

Kevin Brennan: The Department for Children Schools and Families is committed to an agenda to narrow inequality. Under the relevant legal duties all members of the Department have a responsibility for promoting disability, ethnicity, arid gender equality. Tackling inequality is central to raising attainment and improving life chances. Details of the Department's total resources are published in our annual reports. As a Department we also aim to be an exemplary employer, ensuring that all staff have an equal opportunity to meet their aspirations and realise their potential

In the former DFES, and now at DCSF, 13 people are dedicated to work on anti-discrimination law, mainstreaming a focus on equality into all policy making, and on achieving equality as an employer. The budget for this in 2007-08 is £681,530; broken down as: salaries £514,067; other related costs £167,463.


9 Jan 2008 : Column 644W

The budget for 2006-07 was £725,216—salaries £563,959; other related costs £161,257.

The budget for 2005-06 was £675,111—salaries £580,421; other related costs £94,690.

Departmental Parliamentary Questions

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many staff work in his Department’s parliamentary branch; and what proportion of their time is spent on dealing with (a) Parliamentary Questions and (b) correspondence from hon. Members and Peers. [174953]

Kevin Brennan: We have six members of staff who deal with the parliamentary business for my Department and the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills. We do not keep a record of the proportion of staff time spent dealing with parliamentary questions. Correspondence from hon. Members and Peers is not dealt with by the parliamentary team.

Education: Appeals

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) how many appeals were made to the Independent Schools Adjudicator against decisions taken by local education authorities in each year since 2000; and how many of these appeals have been successful; [176338]

(2) how many appeals against decisions taken by the Essex Local Education Authority have been directed toward the independent schools adjudicator since 2000; [176681]

(3) how many appeals made to the independent schools adjudicator against decisions taken by the Essex Local Education Authority since 2000 have been successful. [176682]

Jim Knight: Under local decision-making arrangements in force from September 1999 to May 2007, local authorities decided statutory proposals for changes to school provision in their areas where there were no objections. There was no right of appeal against local authority decisions. Other proposals were normally decided by the local School Organisation Committee (SOC) unless the SOC failed to reach a unanimous decision. In these cases, the proposal passed to the adjudicator to decide. There was no right of appeal against SOC decisions until May 2003. From May 2003, it was possible for the proposers of a new school (other than the local Church of England or Roman Catholic diocesan bodies) and the governing body of a school (other than a grammar school) proposed for expansion to appeal to the schools adjudicator against decisions made by the local SOC.

Under the new local decision-making arrangements introduced from 25 May 2007, local SOCs have been abolished and decisions are taken by the local authority in most cases. The following may appeal to the schools adjudicator against local authority decisions: the local Church of England and Roman Catholic diocesan bodies; the proposers for a new school (other than in a school competition); the governors and trustees of a foundation or voluntary schools; the Learning and Skills Council where proposals relate to a school
9 Jan 2008 : Column 645W
providing education for pupils aged 14 or over; and the governing body of a community school (other than a grammar school) that is proposed for expansion.

There was one appeal to the schools adjudicator, against a decision made by a local SOC, between May 2003 and May 2007 and this was rejected. There has been one appeal against a decision by a local authority since 25 May 2007 and this was approved. Neither of these was to a decision made by Essex local authority.

Education: Assessments

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what response his Department has made to the recommendation from the General Teaching Council in 2006 that the Government should introduce a sample test of pupils in English schools on an annual basis across the whole curriculum; and if he will make a statement. [163455]

Jim Knight: We have no record of the Department being formally approached in 2006 by the GTC for a response to their recommendations about sample testing.

Tests have, and will continue to have, an important place in this Government’s strategy for further raising standards. Tests provide an objective means of assessing all pupils on a consistent basis providing information on standards nationally, improving accountability and helping inform parents and teachers how individual pupils are progressing. This could not be achieved with sample testing.

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many complaints his Department has received from (a) primary school head teachers, (b) secondary school head teachers and (c) further education colleges on the marking standard of external exam papers in the last 12 months. [163554]

Jim Knight: The Department has received two complaints from primary school head teachers, three complaints from secondary school head teachers and
9 Jan 2008 : Column 646W
one complaint from a further education college on the marking standard of external exam papers in the last 12 months.

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what the average time taken was for A-level papers to be re-marked after the original marks had been appealed in each year since 2001, broken down by (a) subject and (b) examination board. [163557]

Jim Knight: This information is not held centrally. However, all awarding bodies must abide by common deadlines for handling appeals. These deadlines are sent out to schools and colleges in the Enquiries About Results (EAR) booklet which is published every year by the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ).

Data on remarking of exam papers back to 2003 can be found in the EAR report for the summer GCSE and A level exams series. These reports are published on the QCA's website at http://www.qca.org.uk/qca_5778 .aspx.

Education: Copeland

Mr. Jamie Reed: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) how many 16 to 18-year-olds were in full-time education within Copeland in each year between 1997 and 2007; [175946]

(2) how many 16 to 18-year-olds were not in full-time education within Copeland in each year between 1997 and 2007. [175947]

Jim Knight: The requested information is not available. The Department’s estimates of local participation in education and training cannot be broken down to parliamentary constituency level, and only cover people of academic age 16 and 17(1). However, we can provide estimates for the numbers and proportions of young people of academic age 16 and 17 who were in full-time education in Cumbria between 1997 and 2005. These are provided in the following tables:

Number of 16 and 17-year-olds in full-time education in Cumbria
1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005

16-year-olds

In full-time education

4,123

4,137

4,351

4,168

4,454

4,231

4,342

4,540

4,540

Not in full-time education

1,910

1,703

1,668

1,946

1,769

1,941

1,869

1,953

2,035

17-year-olds

In full-time education

3,540

3,439

3,479

3,360

3,383

3,488

3,477

3,388

3,749

Not in full-time education

2,417

2,442

2,152

2,451

2,601

2,687

2,654

2,823

2,748

16 and 17 - year - olds

In full-time education

7,663

7,576

7,830

7,528

7,837

7,719

7,819

7,928

8,289

Not in full-time education

4,327

4,145

3,820

4,397

4,370

4,628

4,523

4,776

4,783


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