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16 July 2008 : Column 494W—continued

Personal Injury

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what the highest 10 payments made by his Department in settlement of personal injury claims brought against it were over the last 12 months for which figures are available; which of those cases were (a) contested and (b) uncontested by the Department; and what the nature of the incident was in each case. [216676]

Kevin Brennan: The Department has made two settlements in respect of personal injury claims brought against it over the last 12 months for which figures are available, which covers the period 1 December 2006 to 30 November 2007. Both claims were contested. No payments have been made in settlement of personal injury claims since November 2007.

Because of the low numbers involved, disclosure of any details of the claims would allow the individuals to be identified.


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Positive Activities for Young People Programme

Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what steps he took in choosing local authorities to take part in the COO-L positive activities bursary pilot. [219582]

Beverley Hughes: The two COO-L (Choice and Opportunities On-Line) pilots are part of a programme involving nine local authorities to test different approaches to addressing the particular barriers to participation in positive activities that exist for disadvantaged young people in their area. Local authorities were invited to take part because the development work they had already undertaken, as pilot areas for the youth opportunity card, showed evidence of the benefits to be gained both for disadvantaged young people in their area and in informing national strategy on youth activities. Each local authority was required to submit a detailed plan, demonstrating value for money, against clearly defined criteria.

Pre-school Education: Finance

Susan Kramer: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families pursuant to the answer of 19 June 2008, Official Report, columns 1149-51W, on pre-school education: finance, if he will break down the budget lines for (a) 2005-06, (b) 2006-07 and (c) 2007-08 by category of expenditure; and if he will make a statement. [219085]

Beverley Hughes: Expenditure on under fives is provided to local authorities in a single amount as part of the wider Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) which provides funding to schools across the 3 to 16 age range. It is a matter for each local authority to distribute the grant between all schools and early years settings in response to local needs.


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Pupil Referral Units: Special Educational Needs

Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what percentage of pupils with statements of special educational needs in pupil referral units obtained one or more GCSEs at grades A* to C in the school year 2006-07. [219264]

Kevin Brennan: The information required to answer this question is not held centrally.

Pupil Referral Units: Truancy

Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) how many pupils received (a) temporary and (b) permanent exclusions from pupil referral units in school year 2006-07; [219261]

(2) how many unauthorised absences there were of pupils in pupil referral units in (a) 2004-05, (b) 2005-06 and (c) 2006-07 [219265]

(3) what percentage of pupils in pupil referral units were classed as persistent truants in school year 2006-07. [219266]

Kevin Brennan: The requested information on exclusions from Pupil Referral Units in 2006-07 is not collected centrally. Information is available for the years 2004-03 and 2004-05 and this is shown in the following table,

Information on absence from Pupil Referral Units for complete school years is not yet collected centrally, therefore no information is available on unauthorised absence or persistent absentees (pupils who are absent for more than 20 per cent. of possible sessions of attendance). Information for the 2007-08 school year will be collected in spring 2009; however, this does not include information on persistent absentees. The Department does not maintain records of ‘truancy', as authorised absence rates include lateness and unauthorised holidays during term time.

Pupil referral units: Number and percentage of exclusions 2003-04: England
Permanent exclusions Fixed period exclusions
2003-04 2004-05 2003-04 2004-05

Number Percentage( 1) Number Percentage( 1) Number Percentage( 1) Number Percentage( 1)

England(2)

30

0.26

40

0.28

5,780

44.34

7,630

52.75

(1 )The number of exclusions expressed as a percentage of the number of pupils in Pupil Referral Units.
(2) National figures have been rounded to the nearest 10.
Source:
Termly exclusions survey.

Pupils: Diabetes

Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what steps his Department is taking to ensure that children and young people with diabetes receive the support they need to manage their condition in school. [219504]

Kevin Brennan: The Department issued guidance entitled ‘Managing Medicines in Schools and Early Years Settings’, in 2005. This guidance was published jointly with the Department of Health, and specifically addresses what schools can do to help children with diabetes and other medical conditions. We also produced sister guidance in the same year, entitled ‘Including Me: managing complex health needs in schools and early years settings’.

In April 2007, the Department of Health published a report entitled ‘Making Every Young Person with Diabetes Matter’, and has convened a group to support the implementation of best practice as set out in the report. The Department for Children, Schools and Families is represented on that group.

Schools: Bureaucracy

Mr. Malins: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what proposals he has to reduce levels of bureaucracy in schools following the introduction of the New Relationship with schools; and if he will make a statement. [219036]


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Jim Knight: The New Relationship with Schools was launched in early 2004 with two aims: to lift burdens from schools and also to sharpen school accountability. It was prompted by a review in 2003 which reported that schools felt burdened and confused by the demands placed on them by Government and other external agencies. Changes since 2004 have yielded significant reductions in burdens:

With these gains now achieved, our approach now is to tackle the issue of burdens as an integral part of the development of any policy affecting schools. Our Children’s Plan sets out an important enhanced role for schools, alongside other children’s services, in helping all children live happy and fulfilling lives. So we keep the issue of burdens on schools under constant review as we develop all our policies. To take two examples,

This approach recognises and tackles important imperatives which can pull in different directions and where the balance is not always easy to strike.

Schools: Disabled

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) how many (a) secondary schools, (b) special schools and (c) primary schools have put a disability equality scheme in place; [218132]

(2) what steps his Department is taking to assist schools to develop a disability equality scheme where such schemes do not already exist; and if he will make a statement; [218133]

(3) what steps his Department is taking to monitor the implementation of schools' disability equality schemes; and if he will make a statement; [218134]

(4) what arrangements his Department has put in place to monitor the extent to which schools achieve compliance with the provisions of the Disability Discrimination Act 2005. [218135]

Kevin Brennan: Local authorities and schools are required by the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (as amended) to develop accessibility strategies and plans to improve access to school education for disabled pupils, and to have disability equality schemes. We would expect all schools and local authorities to meet
16 July 2008 : Column 498W
their statutory duties under the Act, including schools informing parents of the accessibility plan and disability equality scheme and providing annual progress reports. To aid schools and local authorities in developing their accessibility and equality plans, the Government have issued a training resource entitled ‘Implementing the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) in schools and early years settings’. This provides schools and local authorities with practical tools to improve their effectiveness in (a) making reasonable adjustments to include disabled pupils and (b) in reviewing and revising their accessibility plans. In 2006, the Government facilitated a number of national roadshows to aid schools and local authorities in developing reasonable adjustments and accessibility plans. In 2007, the Government facilitated a further series of roadshows to support schools and local authorities in developing their disability equality schemes.

Schools are also expected to complete Ofsted's self-evaluation form to outline the extent to which they have complied with the general requirements of the Act and other equalities legislation, as part of the inspection arrangements. The National Strategies SEN regional advisers’ visits to local authorities also consider whether systems are in place for assessing whether schools have disability equality schemes.

The Secretary of State has the power to direct a school or local authority not fulfilling their duties in relation to accessibility strategies and plans. The Equalities and Human Rights Commission is responsible for taking action against a school that has not met its duties under the disability equality duty (part 5 of the DDA). We would expect all schools and local authorities to have disability equality schemes and do not collect data centrally on those which have them in place.

Schools: Transport

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many local authorities did not produce a transport policy statement under Schedule 19 of the Education Act 2002 in each of the last three years. [216078]

Jim Knight: We of course expect all local authorities to satisfy their duties under the Education Act 1996 (as amended by the Education Act 2002). Local authorities in England are required to prepare and publish a transport policy statement specifying what arrangements for the provision of transport or otherwise, and for the provision of financial assistance in respect of travelling expenses, it considers necessary to facilitate attendance at schools and institutions of further education of students who are over compulsory school age but under 19 and students who are over 19 but who began their course before they reached 19.

The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) has responsibility for delivering the administrative functions in relation to local authority duties for transport for people of sixth form age (as set out in the Education and Inspections Act 2006 and related statutory instrument).

Therefore, I will make arrangements for Mark Haysom, the LSC’s Chief Executive, to write to the hon. Member for Yeovil with the information requested and a copy of his reply will be placed in the House Library.


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Letter from Mark Haysom dated 14 July 2008:

Specialised Diplomas: Young Offender Institutions

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many young offender institutions he expects will offer teaching for the new diplomas in (a) September 2008, (b) September 2009 and (c) September 2010; and if he will make a statement. [219237]

Beverley Hughes: Teaching for the new Diplomas is not scheduled to be offered in Young Offender Institutions (YOIs) in September 2008 or 2009, although HMYOI Lancaster Farms is currently participating in a functional skills pilot. YOIs wishing to deliver Diplomas from 2010 will be able to apply through the Diploma Gateway this autumn and applications from YOIs will be welcomed.

As part of the implementation of the 14-19 reforms and our plans to improve education in custody, we are considering how we best deliver the 14-19 curriculum for young people in juvenile custody.


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Wood

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) how much timber and timber products were procured by his Department and its predecessor in each of the last five years; and at what cost; [213719]

(2) how much timber and timber products were procured by his Department and its predecessor originating from independently verified legal and sustainable sources or from a licensed FLEGT partner in each of the last five years; and at what cost. [213720]

Kevin Brennan: The Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) can only provide aggregate spend for the purchase of office furniture which includes chairs and other non timber purchases. It does not hold separate information on timber products alone and is therefore unable to provide costs on those timber products which originated from independently verified legal and sustainable sources or from licensed FLEGT partners. The breakdown of aggregate spend for each of the last fours years is:

Total cost (£)

2004-05

524,490

2005-06

315,124

2006-07

123,703

2007-08

1,269,169


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