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Fiona Mactaggart: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what assessment he has made of the areas of the country facing difficulties in recruiting teachers; and what the reasons are for such difficulties. 
Jim Knight: Information collected by the Department relates to full-time vacancy rates. These figures are published in table 7 of the Statistical First Release on School Workforce in England (including pupil: teacher ratios and pupil: adult ratios), January 2008 (provisional), accessible through:
Overall vacancy rates have decreased since 2002. There is no national shortage of teachers and the overall gap between the demand and supply of teachers continues to close. There are 441,200 full-time equivalent teachers in maintained schools1,900 more than last year; 176,900 full-time equivalent teaching assistants13,100 more than last year and 149,500 full-time equivalent administrative staff, technicians and other support staffup 5,000 on last year. The pupil-teacher ratio has fallen in primaries from 21.8 pupils for every teacher to 21.6 and in secondary schools from 16.5 to 16.1.
Fiona Mactaggart: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what research he has commissioned on reasons for teachers leaving the profession within a few years of qualification; and if he will make a statement. 
Jim Knight: The Department has commissioned a six-year longitudinal study of teachers' experiences of initial teacher training and early professional development. The project, Becoming a Teacher, started in 2003 with a sample of trainees in their final year of initial teacher training and is ongoing as it follows them through their early career. Ninety-one per cent. of survey respondents who were currently teaching or planning to be in teaching in the following term indicated that they expected to still be in teaching in four years' time. At the time of the survey there were 106 participants who had worked as a teacher since completing their training but were not now working as a teacher and were not looking for a teaching post. Reasons cited included being unable to find a job, behaviour of pupils/pupil discipline, deciding to move into another career, family reasons/commitments and workload. However, over half the respondents anticipated returning to teaching in the future.
This area has been researched extensively, and the Department has also commissioned a series of reports by Smithers and Robinson, published in 2003, 2004, 2005 to investigate teacher turnover, wastage and destinations.
It should be noted that many teachers return to service after a break. In 2005-06, the latest year for which figures are available, around 10,000 qualified teachers returned to service in the maintained sector (all school types) after a break of at least one year.
Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what percentage of classes in (a) primary and (b) secondary schools were set by ability at the most recent date for which figures are available. 
Jim Knight: As stated in the responses to the hon. Gentlemens parliamentary questions 202069 and 202073 (April 2008), data on how many lessons in England are set by ability are not currently collected. The latest period for which Ofsted data indicate the proportion of lessons in each school year which are set by ability is 2002-03.
The figures for the percentage of secondary lessons set, as observed by Ofsted, in 2002-03 were included in our reply to parliamentary question 202073. The figures for primary lessons are outlined in the following table.
|Lessons in primary schools observed by Ofsted during inspections in 2002-03percentage set by ability|
|Class formed on the basis of prior attainment in the subject (setted)|
The figures in the table have been provided by Ofsted, which is responsible for the inspection and regulation of care for children and young people, and the inspection of education and training for learners of all ages.
Shona McIsaac: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what percentage of pupils in secondary education in (a) Cleethorpes, (b) Great Grimsby, (c) North East Lincolnshire and (d) North Lincolnshire were classed as persistent truants in the most recent period for which figures are available. 
|State funded secondary schools( 1,2) : Pupil absence 2006-07|
|Number of enrolments( 3)||Percentage of persistent absentees( 4)|
|(1) Includes middle schools as deemed. (2) Includes maintained secondary schools, academies and city technology colleges. (3) Number of enrolments in schools between from start of the school year until 25 May 2007. Includes pupils on the school roll for at least one session who are aged between 5 and 15. Excludes boarders. Some pupils may be counted more than once (if they moved schools during the school year or are registered in more than one school). (4) A persistent absentee is defined as missing more than 63 sessions in the yeartypically, missing more than 20 per cent. of the school year. Source: School Census.|
Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the Thai government's influence over the government of Burma on human rights; and what plans he has to make progress on alternative means of persuading the Burmese regime to take account of human rights. 
Meg Munn: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary and I both met Thai Foreign Minister Noppadon Pattama on 2 June and encouraged the Thai government to bring its influence to bear to support democracy, human rights and an improved quality of life for the people of Burma. Thailand and Burma share a 2,400 kilometre border and strong economic links and Thailand is home to an estimated 2 million Burmese migrants and 140,000 refugees. Both countries are members of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). Thailand is therefore in a key position to influence the government of Burma.
The human rights situation in Burma is of grave concern to both the UK and the wider international community. We have consistently used all available channels to highlight the dire situation in Burma. This has included engagement with civil society, bilateral action, multilateral action in the UN (including its Human Rights Council) and sustained dialogue and lobbying of all those who may have influence over the Burmese government. In discussions with ASEAN member countries, we have emphasised the leading role they have to play in supporting reform in their fellow member state.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions (a) Ministers and (b) officials have had with their French counterparts on the French EU Presidency's programme for the mid-term review of the Common Agricultural Policy; and if he will make a statement. 
David Miliband: My right hon. Friends the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and I, as well as officials at our Embassy in Paris, and at the UK Representation in Brussels and across our European network, are in regular contact with our French interlocutors on a full range of issues.
We support the French presidencys work to conclude the Common Agricultural Policy Health Check by the end of the year. We will be seeking an ambitious outcome which cuts market distortion, reduces the burden on farmers and brings greater environmental benefits.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps his Department is taking to mitigate the possible effects of foreign exchange movements on his Department's budget; and if he will make a statement. 
David Miliband: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has recently contracted, through the Bank of England, the forward purchase of 80 per cent. of our forecast net euro and US dollar exposure to the end of the current financial year, providing us with budgetary certainty on this substantial proportion of our budget.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions (a) Ministers and (b) officials have had with their French counterparts on the French EU presidencys programme for European security and defence policy; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the UK put forward proposals on strengthening the International Atomic Energy Agency at the 28 April to 9 May Preparatory Committee for the 2010 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Second Session; and if he will make a statement. 
David Miliband: At the recent Non-Proliferation Treaty Preparatory Committee, the UK called for universal adoption of integrated safeguards which would make a major contribution to strengthening the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) safeguards regime and, with EU partners, for as many states as possible to ratify the amended Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material. The UK also urged a leading role for the IAEA in the development of multilateral approaches to the nuclear fuel cycle and, along with P5 partners, called for Iran to implement fully its IAEA obligations.
Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will condemn publicly the recent arrests of members of the Baha'i community in Iran; and whether his Department has attempted to establish the whereabouts of those detained. 
Meg Munn: The Government remain deeply concerned that the seven leading members of Iran's Baha'i community are still detained following their arrest over a month ago. The individuals were held incommunicado for a number of weeks but we have recently received confirmation, from the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the UK, that most of the group are now known to be in Evin Prison in Tehran. We understand that further arrests of Baha'is have since taken place in Esfahan and Ghaemshahr.
The Government are committed to raising human rights concerns with the Iranian authorities and regularly raise concerns about the ongoing persecution of Iranian Baha'is, both bilaterally and through the EU. On 21 May the EU, with strong UK support, issued a public statement of concern calling for the release of these individuals and an end to the persecution of the Baha'i community. We have also publicly and consistently expressed our concerns about the situation of the Baha'is in Parliament.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what sanctions the European Union member states have agreed to impose if Iran does not accept the refreshed package of incentives to be presented to it. 
David Miliband: The UK continues to work closely with international partners, including the EU, to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue. We expect further EU sanctions shortly, but it would not be appropriate to disclose at this stage the details of any further measures that may be applied to Iran.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Government of Iraq on the situation of Iraqi Christians resident in Iraq. 
Our diplomatic missions in Iraq and my right hon. Friend the Prime Ministers Special Envoy on Human Rights in Iraq regularly raise the need for
adequate protection of minority groups with the Government of Iraq. The key to improving the position of vulnerable or minority groups is political reconciliation and further reduction in the violence which is affecting all sectors of Iraqi society. Although we do not support the use of the death penalty, we are encouraged by the recent conviction of the killer of Archbishop Rahho of Mosul as an example of Iraqi commitment to tackling those responsible for violence against minority groups.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the likely effects of the expiration in December 2008 of the UN mandate for the international coalition in Iraq (UNSCR 1790 (2007)) on the activities of British armed forces in Iraq; what his policy is on the expiration of the mandate; and if he will make a statement. 
David Miliband: UK forces have a clear mission to fulfil in southern Iraq, focused on the mentoring and training of 14 (Iraqi Army) Division in Basra until it is fully operational. Final decisions on our military plans and presence in Iraq in 2009 have not yet been taken, but will be based on conditions in Iraq.
We are in discussion with coalition partners and the government of Iraq over our legal requirements following the anticipated expiry of the UN Security Council mandate at the end of 2008, with a view to ensuring that our military (and civilian) assistance to Iraq remains on a sound legal footing.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the mandate for the international coalition in Iraq has been reviewed in accordance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1790 (2007). 
David Miliband: The UN Security Council reviewed the mandate of the Multinational Force-Iraq (MNF-I) on 13 June. Members of the Security Council agreed upon the continuation of the MNF-I mandate and of the arrangements for the Development Fund for Iraq and the International Advisory and Monitoring Board for Iraq, in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1790 (2007).
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