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Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what steps the Government has taken to provide support for parents with autistic children during school holidays since 1997. 
The Good Practice Guidance on autistic spectrum disorders which the Department for Education and Skills and the Department of Health published in 2002, included pointers to good practice on family support and encouraged schools and local authorities to ensure that there were suitable arrangements to support children and families out-of-school hours and during the school holidays.
The Government have made a commitment that all schools will be providing access to extended services and activities by 2010, and we have set out a core offer of activities that we want all children to be able to access through schools by that time. The Government have published guidance which makes clear that children with disabilities and special educational needs must be able to access all the services. We have also been working with the Council for Disabled Children to review access to and inclusion in extended schools, and in childrens centres, for disabled children and their families.
A report of this work will be published shortly, to help schools and childrens centres identify effective practice in including disabled children and young people in the services and activities they provide, including services provided in the school holidays.
The Government recently announced the start of a three-year transformation in short break services for disabled children. 21 local areas will launch the first wave of £370 million investment for local authorities that will extend to all of England from 2009. This will provide many more disabled children, including those with autism, with enjoyable and valuable experiences away from their parents and carers, in turn providing them with the opportunity to take a break from caring.
Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what steps children and learners teams working in Government offices for the regions have taken to implement child care strategies in their areas; and what assessment he has made of the impact of regional teams on child care providers. 
Children and learners teams in the Government offices for the regions work with local authorities to provide challenge and support as local authorities implement the Governments 10 year child care strategy and Childrens Plan in their areas. Practical measures taken have included child care discussions as part of the negotiation of local area agreements, and the establishment of child care regional networks, with Government offices working with local authorities on their child care sufficiency
assessments and helping them prepare for their new duty to secure sufficient child care for working parents from 1 April 2008.
This Government office work is enabling local authorities to work more effectively with child care providers, shaping and supporting local child care markets which will ensure that sufficient child care is available.
Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what assessment he has made of the occupancy rate in nursery facilities provided in Sure Start children centres. 
Beverley Hughes: Sure Start childrens centres serving the most disadvantaged communities in England must provide integrated early learning and full day care as part of their core services. Centres serving less disadvantaged communities may provide integrated early learning and day care places where local demand is not being met by existing, good quality providers. Information on the occupancy rate in nursery facilities in Sure Start childrens centres is not collected centrally by my Department.
The 2006 Childcare and Early Years Providers Survey, conducted when the first Sure Start childrens centres were at an early stage in setting up their integrated early learning and child care services, estimated that there were 37,700 registered full day care places provided in centres in England, an average of 55 places per centre and 6,600 vacancies, an average of 12 vacancies per centre.
Mrs. Maria Miller: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) how many and what proportion of Sure Start children's centres in each local authority area have (a) child care staff vacancies, (b) manager and/or administrator vacancies, (c) outreach staff vacancies and (d) speech and language therapist vacancies; and if he will make a statement; 
Information on the workforce in Sure Start children's centres workforce is not collected centrally. The 2006 Childcare and Early Years Providers Survey estimated that 31 per cent. of full day
care providers based in children's centres in England were actively recruiting staff. This snapshot is based on a sample survey of providers and an estimate of the number of full day care providers based in children's centres who had staff vacancies is not available. Data are not available at a local authority level.
Sure Start children's centres offer a range of integrated services for young children and families, delivered by statutory, private and voluntary and independent sector agencies working together. Recruitment and retention of children's centre staff is a matter for local management by children's centres, local authorities and their partner agencies. By 2010 Sure Start children's centres will be serving all communities across the country providing universal, mainstream and permanent services for children under five and their families. Last summer we advised local authorities of their children's centres funding allocations for the next three financial years (2008 to 2011) to encourage longer-term planning and to increase stability in recruitment and retention of staff.
John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families in how many schools in my constituency (a) were working with creative partnerships in 2007 and (b) are planning to work with creative partnerships in 2008. 
Creative Partnerships has continued to work with six of these schools this year and expects to work with a number of new schools in Bassetlaw in the next financial year. Final decisions on this will be made shortly in consultation with Nottinghamshire county council.
Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how much money was allocated to local authorities to be spent on educational transport for wheelchair-bound people (a) under 18, (b) under 25 and (c) aged 25 and over in each of the last five years. 
Jim Knight: The Department is unable to answer the question in the way it has been asked. However, the following table shows the budgeted expenditure of transport for pupils with special educational needs:
|2005-06( 1)||2006-07||2007-08( 2)|
|Local authority name||Budgeted SEN transport expenditure( 1, 3)||Budgeted SEN transport expenditure( 1, 3)||Budgeted SEN transport expenditure( 1,3)|
|(1) Cash terms figures as reported by local authorities as at 15 February 2008.|
(2).Data are drawn from local authorities Section 52 Budget Statement (Table 1) submitted to the DCSF (formally DfES).
(3 )SEN transport expenditure includes budgeted expenditure by local authorities in England on the cost of LA vehicles, public transport and contract hire for:
travel between home and mainstream schools, early years settings and special schools where
entitlement to assistance is agreed for reasons of SEN and/or disability
additional travel arrangements made during the school day to facilitate inclusion
additional travel arrangements made to support pupils with SEN and/ or disabilities to take part in extended school activities outside of normal school hours
travel to provision, other than a school, where it is made to meet a special educational need
the cost of those escorts provided to support travel for children with SEN and / or disabilities
travel between home and mainstream schools and special schools for young people over the age of 16 where entitlement to assistance is agreed for reasons of SEN and/or disability
any costs for home to college transport for special education needs pupils.
2007-08 data are subject to change by the local authority.
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