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17 Mar 2008 : Column 924W—continued

In addition to the advice and materials already available to support the National Framework for Sustainable Schools, we will shortly publish new guidance called "Planning a Sustainable School" which will enable schools to develop strategic plans to drive school improvement through Sustainable development. The guidance will be available in March 2008.

The Department has no plans to list the sources of public funding available to head teachers for investment in energy efficiency, deployment of renewable energy or the reduction of a school’s carbon footprint. This service is already available from government agencies and other organisations, which provide information on funding available for these measures nationally and regionally, and which list both public and private sources of funding.

Under the New Relationship with Schools we are committed to high levels of delegated budget and fewer specific funding streams—so we are not inventing another pot of funding that schools would have to account for separately. A Sustainable school works smarter with its existing budget. “A Bursar’s guide to Sustainable school operation” outlines measures that can be taken to reduce a school’s environmental impact
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and make real cash savings while enhancing the teaching and learning element of Sustainable working practices within the school.

Secondary Education: Admissions

Dr. Starkey: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what proportion of children in care who are starting secondary school in September 2008 have been offered a place at their first preference school. [192796]

Jim Knight: Legislation now requires admission authorities to give highest priority to children in care when deciding who should have places if schools are oversubscribed.

The Department is collecting secondary school preference data from local authorities for the first time this year, which will include the number of families obtaining an offer at their first, second, third or lower preference school in each authority area. However, the data provided will not identify individual or specific groups of children. The data were published on 11 March 2008 on the DCSF Research Gateway:

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) how many children did not gain a place at their first choice of secondary school in (a) Ribble Valley constituency and (b) Lancashire in each of the last five years; [194965]

(2) how many children did not gain a place at their first choice of primary school in (a) Ribble Valley constituency and (b) Lancashire in each of the last five years. [194966]

Jim Knight: This is the first year that local authorities have been required to provide data to the Secretary of State on secondary school offers of made to parents on national offer day. These data were published on the DCSF research gateway ( on 11 March at local authority, regional and national levels. Data have not been collected at constituency level. Figures for Lancashire show that 13 per cent. (1,748) of children did not obtain a place at their first choice of secondary school. We do not collect data relating to primary school offers.

Students: Plagiarism

Mr. Sarwar: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what his policy is on regulation of companies which offer essay writing services for students. [193722]

Jim Knight: We have no powers to regulate such companies. In relation to accredited qualifications in England, the awarding bodies are responsible for putting in place procedures to ensure the authenticity of candidates' coursework. The Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) develops guidance on behalf of the awarding bodies for dealing with instances of suspected malpractice.

It places a responsibility on staff in schools and colleges who must sign a written declaration that students' coursework is authentic. Students must also
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sign a declaration that the coursework they submit is their own work. The guidance is reviewed annually in light of experience.

Vocational Education

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what research his Department has commissioned since 1997 on the returns to (a) individuals and (b) the economy from vocational education; and if he will make a statement. [174262]

Bill Rammell: I have been asked to reply.

The Department has commissioned a number of research projects examining the returns to individuals and the economy from vocational education since 1997. Reports in the departmental research series are as follows:

In addition, the Department co-funds the Centre for the Economics of Education. This research centre has also carried out a lot of research on the returns to the economy and individuals from vocational education and training. Their publications can be found on their website at:

The Department will continue to monitor the returns to education and training, both through commissioned research and through internal analysis of data. It is vital that we gain as full an understanding as possible of the returns to training and qualifications. This will enable us to make sure that the qualifications we deliver in future provide economically valuable skills for individuals, employers and the economy as a whole, and help us to achieve the ambitions for a high-skilled work force set out in the Leitch report on skills.

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Young People: Crime

Joan Ryan: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families if he will include issues relating to crime among young people, including anti-social behaviour and knife crime, in the national curriculum. [191805]

Jim Knight: The revised curriculum for Citizenship in secondary schools provides opportunities to explore the issue of crime, antisocial behaviour and carrying weapons through an examination of the concepts of democracy and justice, weighing up what is fair and unfair in different situations, understanding that justice is fundamental to a democratic society and exploring
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the role of law in maintaining order and resolving conflict. Through the concept of rights and responsibilities pupils can explore legal and moral rights and the responsibilities that go with these.

In addition, the framework for Personal, Social, Health and Economic education (PSHE) provides opportunities for pupils to be taught to recognise and manage risk to help them make safer choices and to recognise when pressure from others threatens their personal safety. Pupils learn about developing relationships, recognising their rights and responsibilities and that their actions have consequences. As PSHE is non-statutory, the implementation of the subject is decided by schools on an individual basis.

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