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Schools: Admissions

Mr. Allen: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many head teachers, school governors and members of academy trusts were disciplined for breaches of the Admissions Code in the most recent period for which figures are available. [197651]

Jim Knight: From a recent examination of the admission arrangements of schools in three local authority areas, we found evidence to suggest a significant minority appeared to contain aspects that did not comply with the relevant statutory requirements. We have written to the admission authorities concerned (either the local
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authority or school governing body) to verify our findings and will present detailed information to Parliament in due course.

To ensure admission arrangements fully comply with the law for 2009, I have written to all admission authorities across the country to remind them of their statutory duties and we are taking measures to further strengthen the admissions system. As announced in the Secretary of State’s written statements of 11 and 17 March, we have launched a consultation to increase the period within which objections against unfair or unlawful arrangements are referred to the Schools Adjudicator for investigation and are introducing amendments to the Education and Skills Bill to improve the process by which admission arrangements are consulted on.

Schools: Armed Forces

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) if he will make a statement on his Department’s policy regarding visits by armed forces personnel to schools; [196603]

(2) what discussions his Department has had with the National Union of Teachers on the provision of materials on (a) the armed forces and (b) Iraq to schools; and what steps have been taken as a result of such discussions. [196604]

Jim Knight: The Department received one letter from the National Union of Teachers (NUT) in October 2007, drawing the attention of the Secretary of State to teaching materials which were being prepared by the Ministry of Defence (MOD). The letter sought reassurance that action would be taken to ensure that
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all materials issued by the MOD were compliant with sections 406 and 407 of the Education Act 1996. The Secretary of State responded that the Department does not endorse or promote specific teaching resources or methods, and that sections 406 and 407 of the Education Act 1996 place the duty on teachers to secure balanced treatment of political issues.

The Department is supportive of activities that help children and young people understand the role of the armed forces and we are in discussions with the Ministry of Defence as to how we might increase access to Cadet Forces and Army Cadet Forces for pupils in state schools. However, it is for head teachers to determine whether to invite armed forces personnel to visit their schools.

Schools: Nurses

Mr. Leech: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many school nurses there are in England. [197478]

Ann Keen: I have been asked to reply.

The annual national health service work force census collected accurate information on the number of school nurses employed by the NHS in England for the first time in 2004. The number of school nurses from 2004-07 is shown in the following table.

The 2007 census showed there were 2,232 qualified nurses in the school nursing area of work in England, an increase of 613 or 37.86 per cent. since 2004. Of these there were 893 school nurses with a post registration school nurse qualification. This is an increase of 286 or 47.12 per cent. since 2004.

School nurse numbers—England
2004 2005 2006( 1) 2007 Increase 2004-07 Percentage increase since 2004


School nursing service nurses







of which:

Nurses with a post registration school nursing qualification







Full-time equivalent

School nursing service nurses







of which:

Nurses with a post registration school nursing qualification







(1) More accurate validation processes in 2006 have resulted in the identification and removal of 9,858 duplicate non-medical staff records out of the total workforce figure of 1.3 million in 2006. Earlier years’ figures could not be accurately validated in this way and so will be slightly inflated.
The level of inflation in earlier years’ figures is estimated to be less than 1 per cent. of total across all non-medical staff groups for headcount figures (and negligible for full-time equivalents). This should be taken into consideration when analysing trends over time.
The Information Centre for health and social care, Non-Medical Workforce Census, general and personal medical services statistics.

Mr. Leech: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many schools in England do not have access to a school nurse. [197479]

Ann Keen: I have been asked to reply.

Information is not collected centrally on how many schools in England do not have access to a school nurse.

It is for primary care trusts in partnership with local authorities, strategic health authorities and other local stakeholders to determine how best to use their funds
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to meet national and local priorities for improving health, and to commission services accordingly. This process provides the means for addressing local needs within the health community including the provision of school nursing services.

Specialised Diplomas: Independent Schools

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families which independent schools are planning to offer diplomas; and if he will make a statement. [194868]

Jim Knight: One independent school, Polam Hall School in Darlington local authority, is part of a consortium that has approval to deliver Diplomas in September 2009. The Government encourage independent schools to deliver Diplomas. It is important for Diplomas to be available in all parts of the education sector. We are working closely with the independent schools' associations to encourage independent schools to join 14-19 consortia.


Births: Romford

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many babies have been born at the Queen’s hospital, Romford since it was opened. [196552]

Ann Keen: I have been asked to reply.

This requested information is not collected centrally.

The hon. Member may wish to raise this matter with the chief executive of Barking, Havering and Redbridge Hospitals National Health Service Trust, of which Queen’s hospital is a part.

Council Housing: Repairs and Maintenance

Lembit Öpik: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether consideration has been given to reducing the VAT rate on renovation work to social housing; whether there are legal barriers that would prevent such a VAT rate reduction; and if he will make a statement. [198144]

Jane Kennedy: European VAT agreements allow for the application of a reduced VAT rate, of not less than 5 per cent. for the ‘provision, construction, renovation and alteration of housing, as part of a social policy’. This is subject to the general Community law principles of equal treatment and fiscal neutrality, under which similar supplies are usually taxed at the same VAT rate.

The Government keep the impact of VAT on different types of building work under review, and since 1997 have introduced VAT rate reductions to support the regeneration and renewal of housing stock, and domestic energy efficiency. At Budget 2008 the Chancellor announced that the Government would explore the case for further targeted and cost-effective VAT measures for the refurbishment and renovation of dwellings that are of too poor quality to rent or sell.

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Devolution: Finance

Andrew George: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what reviews of the Barnett formula have been undertaken by the Government since 1997; and when he plans to publish the factual paper on the Barnett formula to support the Scottish parliamentary review of the devolution settlement. [198392]

Yvette Cooper: The Barnett formula is regularly updated in spending reviews. The Treasury will publish a factual paper on the Barnett formula in due course.

Exercise: Health Education

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps the Government are taking to promote increased cardiovascular exercise by persons under 40 years of age. [196672]

Dawn Primarolo: I have been asked to reply.

The Department and the national health service promote the benefits of physical activity to people of all ages and are keen to target those individuals most at risk of inactivity.

Action includes the piloting of a physical activity care pathway model in a number of general practitioner practices in London, targeting sedentary adults while the National Step-o-meter programme is already providing training and free loan pedometers to health professionals for use with inactive patients.

Other examples of current action include:

A copy of this publication is available in the Library.

Government Departments: Annual Reports

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will place in the Library a copy of the guidance provided by his Department to other Government Departments on what should be included in their 2008 departmental annual reports. [195684]

Angela Eagle: A copy of the guidance to Departments on their spring 2008 departmental reports has been deposited in the Library of the House.

Pensioners: Standard of Living

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps the Government have taken to improve
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living standards for pensioners in (a) the UK, (b) the North East, (c) the Tees Valley and (d) Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland constituency since 1997. [195673]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: I have been asked to reply.

Latest available information shows that average net incomes of pensioner households in the UK increased by 29 per cent. between 1996-97 and 2005-06, and average net incomes of pensioner households in the north east increased by 29 per cent. between 1994-95 to 1996-97 and 2003-04 to 2005-06. Information for the Tees Valley and Middlesbrough, South and East Cleveland is not available.

The Government have introduced a number of measures since 1997 to help older people to enjoy a better standard of living, most notably the introduction of the minimum income guarantee and its successor pension credit. We have successively raised the pension credit standard minimum guarantee by earnings in every year since its introduction. For 2008 the standard minimum guarantee will rise to £124.05—an increase of 4.2 per cent.—more than keeping pace with earnings and prices.

In addition we have introduced winter fuel payments for those aged 60 and over, including an extra one-off payment for winter 2008-09 of £50 for households with someone aged 60 to 79 and £100 for those with someone aged 80 or over announced in the Budget on 12 March 2008.

We have also introduced free television licences for people aged over 75 and from April 2008 those over 60 will be entitled to free off-peak bus travel in England. We have committed to increasing the basic state pension by earnings by 2012, subject to affordability and the fiscal position, or by the end of the next Parliament.

As a result of the personal tax and benefit changes that we have introduced, pensioner households nationally will be around £1,500 a year better off in 2008-09 than they would have been under the 1997 system. The poorest third of pensioner households will on average be around £2,100 a year better off.

Our new public service agreement ‘Tackle poverty and promote greater independence and wellbeing in later life’ demonstrates our commitment to ensure that the specific needs of the older population are given due priority.

Revenue and Customs: Manpower

Danny Alexander: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many full-time equivalent employees worked in HM Revenue and Customs criminal investigation arm in each year since its creation. [197980]

Jane Kennedy: The number of full-time equivalent employees that have worked in HM Revenue and Customs criminal investigation directorate since its creation in 2005-06 are as follows:

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Staff in post (FTE)







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