Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what his Departments policy is on the future of small rural schools; what discussions he has had with the National Association for Small Schools on closures of such schools; and if he will make a statement. 
Jim Knight: There has been no change in Government policy towards small rural schools. The Department has taken, and will continue to take, measures to support both schools and communities in rural areas. The presumption against the closure of rural primary schools, which we introduced in 1998, is working well and local authorities must continue to make decisions on the future of rural schools in accordance with our statutory guidance.
Responsibility for the overall planning of school places rests with local authorities and we expect them to ensure that school places are where parents want them. The case for closure needs to be strong and clearly in the best interests of educational provision in the area. There are other actions that can be taken to reduce surplus places without closing schools.
The Secretary of State has not had discussions with the National Association for Small Schools but I have responded to correspondence from this organisation in December 2007 confirming the measures that are in place to protect small rural schools.
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families if he will undertake an assessment of the appropriateness of the value for money criteria in relation to the schools grant for providing education services in rural areas; and if he will make a statement. 
The distribution mechanism for DSG does not include value for money criteria in relation to education services in rural areas. The starting point for the calculation of 2008-09 DSG allocation is each authoritys DSG guaranteed unit of funding per pupil, which in turn depends on the amount the authority budgeted to spend in 2005-06. This was closely related to the Schools Formula Spending Share (FSS) calculation, which took account (as one of a number of factors) of the needs of rural authorities through an
addition for pupils in primary schools: this recognised the additional costs faced by rural authorities in keeping open more small primary schools than other authorities.
Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families pursuant to the answer of 28 January 2008, Official Report, columns 174-75W, to the hon. Member for South Holland and the Deepings (Mr. Hayes), on secondary education: standards, what the figures are excluding pupils from selective schools. 
Jim Knight [holding answer 1 February 2008]: The table shows the number and rate of permanent and fixed period exclusions from grammar and other secondary schools for the latest available reporting period.
|Secondary schools( 1) : Number of exclusions2005/06England
|Other secondary schools
|(1) Excludes city technology colleges and academies. Includes middle schools as deemed.
(2) Figures relating to permanent exclusions have been estimated.
(3) The number of exclusions expressed as a percentage of the school population.
Numbers have been rounded to the nearest 10.
Ms Dari Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what research his Department has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the reasons why (i) foster family units break down and (ii) family units with an adopted child or children breakdown. 
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many appeals against a refusal on the part of Essex County Council to issue a statement of special needs there were in each of the last five years. 
In the period 1 January 2003 to 31 December 2007 (the last five calendar years) the special educational needs and disability tribunal (SENDIST) has registered 19 appeals against Essex LEA where the type of appeal was against refusal to make a statement. This was out of a total of 674 appeals that SENDIST registered against Essex LEA.
Mr. Liddell-Grainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many tribunals were held in Somerset relating to children with special educational needs statements in the latest period for which figures are available; and what the outcome was of those tribunals. 
The special educational needs and disability tribunal (SENDIST) publish statistical information in its annual reports by the school year. In the latest period, 1 September 2006 to 31 August 2007, SENDIST decided 12 appeals against Somerset local education authority. Of the 12 appeals decided, seven were upheld, either wholly or in part, and five dismissed.
Mr. Liddell-Grainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many children in Somerset had special educational needs statements at the latest date for which figures are available. 
Mr. Liddell-Grainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what the special educational needs budget is for Somerset county council in 2007-08; how much of the budget is allocated to each category of special educational needs; and how much is allocated for (a) the employment of staff and (b) other expenditure. 
|Budgeted net expenditure on the provision of education for children with special educational needs( 1,)( )( 2) , 2007-08( 3,)( )( 4)
|(1) Includes planned expenditure on the provision for pupils with statements and the provision for non-statemented pupils with SEN, support for inclusion, inter authority recoupment, fees for pupils at independent special schools and abroad, educational psychology service, local authority functions in relation to child protection, therapies and other health related services, parent partnership, guidance and information, the monitoring of SEN provision and inclusion administration, assessment and co-ordination. Also included is the funding delegated to nursery, primary and secondary schools identified as notional SEN and the individual schools budget (ISB) for special schools.
|(2) The ISB for special schools will include some general education costs for pupils with SEN in addition to those costs specifically for SEN while the figures recorded against notional SEN are only indicative of the amount that might by spent by schools on SEN. In addition to the planned expenditure in the table, Somerset LA also budgeted £3.3 million for SEN transport expenditure during 2007-08.
(3) 2007-08 data are subject to change by the local authority.
(4) Figures are rounded to the nearest thousand pounds and may not sum due to rounding.
1. Cash terms figures as reported by Somerset local authority as at 29 January 2008.
2. The data are drawn from Somerset local authority's 2007-08 Section 52 Budget Statements (Tables 1 and 2) submitted to the DCSF (formally the DfES).
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what estimate he has made of the number of teachers that will be required to undergo training to teach a syllabus for the new diplomas. 
Jim Knight: The Department has estimated that up to 3,800 teachers (including those in the further education and post-compulsory education sectors) will be required to undergo training to prepare for the first teaching of diplomas in September 2008.
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what estimate he has made of the average cost per head of the training which teachers will be required to undertake to teach a syllabus for the new diplomas. 
Jim Knight: The Department directly funds a package of blended support that includes face to face training supplemented by a combination of materials, online resources and access to local teacher development networks. The current face to face training component is estimated to cost about £1,160 per head.
Dr. Stoate: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families pursuant to the answer of 9 January 2008, Official Report, column 666W, on Sure Start, what discussions his Department has had with Kent County Council on the allocation of its ring-fenced Sure Start, Early Years and Childcare Grant since 9 January 2008; and if he will make a statement. 
There have been no further discussions between officials in the Department and Kent county council on the allocation of the ring-fenced Sure Start, Early Years and Childcare Grant since my response to my hon. Friend the Member for Sittingbourne and Sheppeys (Derek Wyatt) question on 9 January 2008. Together for Children, the consortium we have appointed to support local authorities during the development of Sure Start Childrens Centres, are, however, in discussion with Kent county councils Early Years Officers about their future plans for childrens centres. The memorandum
of grant for 2008-09, referred to in my earlier answer, will be issued to Kent county council shortly. This will set out the conditions attached to the Grant and make clear that the ring fenced grant can only be used for services in Sure Start Local Programmes (SSLPs), and centres based on SSLPs, and cannot be used for new childrens centres.
Jim Knight: In his parliamentary statement of 15 January 2008, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has indicated that he intends to set the School Teachers' Review Body a remit in the course of 2008 to enable them to ensure that the teachers' pay increases they have proposed for 2009 and 2010 continue to be appropriate.
Hugh Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many full-time equivalent (a) teachers, (b) teaching assistants and (c) support staff there were in local education authority schools in (i) Yorkshire and Humber and (ii) City of York in (A) 1997 and (B) the latest period for which figures are available. 
Jim Knight: The following table provides the full-time equivalent number of regular teachers, teaching assistants and other support staff employed in local authority maintained schools in England, Yorkshire and the Humber government office region and the City of York local authority in England, January 1997 and 2007.
|Full-time equivalent regular teachers, teaching assistants and other support staff in local authority maintained schools in England, Yorkshire and the Humber government office region and the City of York local authority, January 1997 and 2007
|Regular teachers( 1)
|Teaching assistants( 2,)( )( 3)
|Support staff( 2,)( )( 4) (excluding teaching assistants)
|(1) SourceDCSF annual survey of teachers in service and teacher vacancies (618 g)
(2) SourceDCSF School Census
(3) Teaching assistants include special needs support staff and minority ethnic support staff.
(4) Support staff include administrative staff, technicians and other support staff.
Figures are rounded to the nearest 10.
David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many girls between the ages of 13 and 16 were removed from school rolls after failing to return from an authorised absence abroad during 2006. 
Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what steps his Department has taken to encourage sharing good practice in the provision of transport for young people since his Department published, Youth matters: next steps, in March 2006; and if he will make a statement. 
Beverley Hughes: As a result of Youth Matters: Next Steps, the Education and Inspections Act 2006 places a duty on local authorities to secure young people's access to positive activities. To do so local authorities will need to identify and address barriers to access, including, where applicable and practicable, issues associated with the provision of transport. There are a number of ways in which local authorities can tackle transport barriers, including using subsidy and involving young people in local transport planning.
The Department for Children, Schools and Families signalled its further commitment to improving transport for young people taking part in positive activities through Aiming High for Young People: a ten year strategy for positive activities published in July 2007. The strategy contains a commitment to improve existing guidance, support and challenge to children's trusts and transport planners to encourage joined up planning and commissioning of transport for the benefit of young people.
In Bedfordshire, £50,000 of Youth Opportunity Fund money is supporting a transport scheme to help young people in rural areas access activities. In Nottingham, the DCSF is supporting the city council in a pilot which will give economically disadvantaged young people the equivalent of £20 a month free public transport to help them access positive activities.