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20 May 2008 : Column 240W—continued

The Department allocates capital and revenue funding to local authorities for children's centres and former Sure Start local programmes through the Sure Start, Early Years and Childcare Grant.

Local authorities have responsibility for allocating the resources they receive from the Department to individual children's centres in their area. Funding should be targeted on children's centres serving the most disadvantaged children and families and we have provided guidance to local authorities on directing the greatest resource to where needs are highest.

Females: Employment

Lorely Burt: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what assessment he has made of progress made by Connexions in encouraging girls into non-traditional occupations; and what steps he is taking to ensure further progress. [206157]

Kevin Brennan: This is a deep-rooted and intransigent problem which will require action on a number of fronts and we do not have evidence of the impact of Connexions in isolation. The Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Select Committee report: “Jobs for the Girls: Two Years On”, published in February this year, recognised that progress had been made but stressed the importance of careers advice and work experience in achieving our gender equality aims—recommending that more resource should be allocated to this.

We know, therefore that there is much more to be done and we are planning a range of measures which will make clear our expectations on countering gender stereotyping and seek to embed good practice. Connexions services will continue to play a key role. From April of this year local authorities will commission and manage local information, advice and guidance services. The new Quality Standards for young people's information, advice and guidance published last autumn set out our expectations of the services that will be delivered—including emphasising the importance of challenging gender stereotypes and limited career aspirations.

GCE A-Level

Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many A-level examination scripts were re-marked in 2007. [203222]

Jim Knight: 57,648 A Level examination units were re-marked by the awarding bodies in 2007, out of a total of 6.8 million A Level unit entries.

A re-mark involves a second examiner (who wherever possible was not involved in the original marking) checking the candidate’s script to make sure that the authorised mark scheme was applied correctly. It also includes a clerical re-check of the candidate’s
20 May 2008 : Column 241W
script to make sure that every question has been marked and that the total number of marks awarded for each paper is correct.

More information is available in the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority’s 2007 report on Enquiries About Results And Appeals which is published online at:

Pre-School Education: Finance

David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families if his Department will collaborate with local authorities to provide guidance to nurseries on the changes likely to occur to the distribution of the Nursery Education Funding Grant as a result of the provision of free nursery places from 2010. [206623]

Beverley Hughes [holding answer 19 May 2008]: This Department is currently working with six local authorities who are accelerating progress to implement a single funding formula in April 2009. This project will contribute to good practice guidance. Initial guidance drawn from the experience of these authorities was issued to all local authorities in March and further comprehensive guidance will be distributed this summer. Our expectation is that local authorities will be responsible for developing their own formulas and for issuing guidance to early years providers as part of the implementation process.

Schools: Sports

Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what steps he is taking to improve access to sport in schools for blind and partially-sighted children. [206089]

Kevin Brennan: The requirements of the National Curriculum for physical education (PE) are compulsory for all pupils aged five to 16. This includes blind and partially-sighted pupils. The statutory documents for PE set out an inclusion statement which requires schools to adapt their provision so that it is appropriate for the pupils being taught. These enable schools to adapt their PE and sporting provision in order to: set suitable learning challenges; respond to pupils' diverse learning needs; and overcome potential barriers to learning for individual pupils or for groups of pupils.

The PE and School Sport Professional Development Programme includes resources and materials which help teachers to improve the inclusive nature of their PE and sporting provision. The training is free to all schools and, since 2006, over 1,300 resources have been accessed by teachers wanting to improve in this area.

Equity is also imbedded within the national PE and Sport Strategy for Young People, which is creating a five hours of sport offer for all five to 16-year-olds. Blind and partially-sighted children will benefit from the network of 450 multi-sport disability clubs that will be created through this.

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Special Educational Needs: Freedom of Information

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families whether schools are required to inform parents when their child is identified as having a special educational need; and if he will make a statement. [206041]

Kevin Brennan: Yes. Section 317A of the Education Act 1996, which was inserted by the Special Educational Needs and Disability Act 2001, obliges the governing bodies of maintained schools to inform a child's parent that special educational needs provision is being made for him or her because it is considered that the child has special educational needs.

Sure Start Programme: Communication Skills

Mrs. Maria Miller: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what recent assessment he has made of the capacity of Sure Start centre staff to help children develop language skills. [206090]

Beverley Hughes: From September 2008, all settings offering early years provision will be required to deliver the Early Years Foundation Stage. This supports all settings to plan play, activities and experiences that can help all children to make progress in their development and learning. It stresses the importance of practitioners being alert to the early signs of needs that could lead to later difficulties and provides a framework to enable early years practitioners to respond quickly and appropriately, involving other agencies as necessary.

Sure Start children’s centres play a key role in the positive promotion of children’s vocabulary, speech and language development and in identifying speech and language difficulties. We expect staff in children’s centres to have a good understanding of how to promote children’s language acquisition and identify speech and language difficulties as part of a centre-wide strategy and approach, supported by access to more specialist speech and language services which are jointly commissioned by PCTs and local authorities.

We are working with I CAN, the children’s communication charity, to pilot their Early Talk training programme in 200 children’s centres. This will train children’s centre practitioners, alongside speech and language therapists, to develop their knowledge and understanding of language development, and the ways in which they can help support parents in developing communication skills at home.

Youth Referral Orders

Ms Keeble: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many youth referral orders have been issued in each region. [203825]

Beverley Hughes: The information requested is set out in the following table.

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Persons sentenced to reference to a youth justice panel—referral order( 1) by criminal justice area, 2006
Referral orders

Avon and Somerset














Devon and Cornwall










Greater Manchester




















Metropolitan Police




North Wales


North Yorkshire








South Wales


South Yorkshire










Thames Valley




West Mercia


West Midlands


West Yorkshire




Total England and Wales


(1) Under Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000 SS 16-18, includes extensions of referral orders under S 18 (1c) (6).
Please be aware that these figures have been drawn from administrative data systems. Although care is taken when processing and analysing the returns, the detail collected are subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large scale recording system.


National Lottery: Olympic Games 2012

Pete Wishart: To ask the Minister for the Olympics what proportion of national lottery revenue have been attributable to the Dream Number Olympic Lottery game since that game was launched; and what the proportion was in each quarter of 2007-08. [205756]

Andy Burnham: I have been asked to reply as my Department has responsibility for National Lottery income issues.

As at 29 December 2007, sales attributable to the Dream Number Olympic Lottery Games since the first draw on 15 July 2005 totalled £103,430,390. This constitutes 1.4 per cent. of total national lottery sales.

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(a) Dream Number sales for each, available, quarter of 2007-08 and what this constitutes as a percentage of total national lottery sales:

(b) The National Lottery Commission advise that sales figures, for all national lottery games, for the final quarter of 2007-08 will not be available until figures from the lottery operator have been audited. They will be available from 27 May via the ‘Sales reporting’ section of the National Lottery Commission's website at:

Culture, Media and Sport


Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many (a) apprenticeships and (b) advanced apprenticeships there were in (i) his Department and (ii) the agencies for which he is responsible in the most recent year for which figures are available. [206804]

Mr. Sutcliffe: In 2007-08 no DCMS staff undertook apprenticeships or advanced apprenticeships. However, the Royal Parks Agency initiated an apprenticeship scheme for 10 contractors in September 2007 with a further 20 places planned over the next two years. DCMS is also in discussion with Government Skills concerning future participation in the Apprenticeships Pathfinder scheme.

Departmental Public Participation

Stewart Hosie: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what consultants have been contracted by his Department to conduct public participation activities in the last three years; and how much expenditure his Department has incurred on each such contract to date. [206215]

Mr. Sutcliffe: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport contracted the Central Office of Information (COI) to conduct the following public participation activities in the year 2007-08:

Event Cost (excl VAT) (£)

London 2012: Ask the team Birmingham, 25 June 2007


London 2012: Ask the team London, 11 October 2007


London 2012: Ask the team Plymouth, 13 March 2008


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