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10 Sep 2008 : Column 1857W—continued

Government Communications

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many staff in (a) his Department and (b) its agencies (i) are classified as Government communicators and (ii) have access to the Government Communication Network. [215099]

Kevin Brennan: The information is as follows:

Health Education

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what recent steps the Government has taken to promote healthy living in schools and family homes. [220599]

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Kevin Brennan: Promoting healthy living within families and in other children’s settings such as schools is a priority for the Government.

The roll out of Sure Start children’s centres, which provide access to services, including health services and advice on staying healthy in pregnancy and early childhood, for families with young children continues. There are now 2,900 children’s centres with 3,500 planned for 2010, one for every community.

Our guidance for schools on their duty to promote pupil well-being, issued for consultation on 3 July, makes clear that schools have a key role to play in encouraging pupils to adopt healthy lifestyles and encourage healthy eating. In particular, the Government are promoting healthy lifestyles to children and young people through the national healthy schools programme. The programme uses a whole school/whole child approach to health. Schools achieving healthy schools status have to satisfy criteria under four core themes: Physical Activity; Healthy Eating; Personal, Social, Health and Economics education; and Emotional Health and Well-Being. Currently, 65 per cent. of schools have achieved healthy schools status and in total nine out of 10 schools are participating in this voluntary programme.

As the initial step in achieving our new ambition of being the first major nation to reverse the rising tide of obesity, in January 2008, the Government published “Healthy Weight, Healthy Lives: A Cross-Government Strategy for England”. Through this comprehensive strategy we aim to enable everyone to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Everyone has a part to play and the strategy sets out a vision of what this means for schools, the food industry, employers, health services, local authorities and central Government to play their part in helping children, young people and their families to make healthy choices in food and physical activity. The initial focus is on children, and by 2020 the Government aim to reduce the proportion of overweight and obese children to 2000 levels.

Fulfilling an important commitment in “Healthy Weight Healthy Lives”, in March 2008 we published the updated Child Health Promotion Programme. This sets out the schedule of services to be offered to all families with young children and includes a range of health promotion topics to be raised with families such as safety in the home, nutrition, physical activity and smoking.

Another strong contribution to “Healthy Weight, Healthy Lives” is being made by the National PE and Sport Strategy for Young People. Already, 86 per cent. of school pupils are engaged in two hours of high quality PE and sport per week. Following the Prime Minister’s announcement in July 2007, we have an increased focus on engaging all children and young people in PE and sport with an ambition of providing up to five hours of PE and sport a week for all five to 16-year-olds, and three hours for young people aged 16-19. This ambition includes a drive to secure full participation in at least two hours of PE or sport as part of the working school day, combined with effective signposting to further physical activity opportunities outside of school.

From 31 July we are moving from piloting parent support advisers in 20 local authorities to national expansion. These advisers have been working with parents
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to improve children’s behaviour and school attendance, offering advice with parenting, and providing support for families at the first sign a child or young person may be experiencing behavioural or emotional issues. In many cases they may be the first point of contact between parents and schools and where health issues are raised they are well placed to refer parents to the relevant specialist agencies.

In addition we are:

In the autumn we will set out our strategy to further improve health outcomes for children and young people over the next 10 years.

Languages: Education

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what proportion of 15-year-olds took (a) a GCSE and (b) an A-level in (i) French, (ii) German, (iii) Spanish, (iv) Italian, (v) Mandarin Chinese and (vi) another modern foreign language in each year since 2001; and if he will make a statement. [223456]

Jim Knight: The available figures for GCSE are given in the table. The information for the remaining years can be provided only at disproportionate cost.

The Department does not hold information on the A level achievements of 15-year-olds.

GCSE attempts in Modern Foreign Languages

1997 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007




































Other MFL







Figures relate to 15-year-olds (age at start of academic year, i.e. 31 August) in all schools.
“Other MFL” includes ‘Arabic’, ‘Bengali’, ‘Dutch’, ‘Gujarati’, ‘Japanese’, ‘Panjabi’, ‘Persian’, ‘Polish’, ‘Portuguese’, ‘Russian’, ‘Turkish’ and’ Urdu’.

National Curriculum Tests

Mrs. Maria Miller: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families in how many schools in (a) England, (b) Hampshire and (c) Basingstoke fewer than 65 per cent. of pupils achieved level 4 or above in mathematics and English in (i) 2006, (ii) 2007 and (iii) 2008. [223400]

Jim Knight: The information is shown as follows:

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Number of schools where fewer than 65 per cent. of pupils achieved Level 4
2006 2007

English Maths English Maths
















2008 results are not available until after the publication of the Primary School Achievement and Attainment Tables.

The public service agreement (PSA) target is to reduce by 40 per cent. by 2008 the number of schools where less than 65 per cent. of pupils achieve level 4 in English and in maths (using the 2003 published figures as the baseline for measurement).

We have made exceptional progress to reduce low performance and are ahead of trajectory. In English the number of schools has reduced by nearly half (48 per cent.) with 1,484 schools below the target in English down from 2,849 in 2003. In mathematics the number of schools has reduced by 43 per cent. down from 3,570 to 2,026.

Oxford University: Disadvantaged

Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many of those students who were offered places at either Oxford or Cambridge University in (a) 2006 and (b) 2007 were in receipt of free school meals. [215740]

Bill Rammell: I have been asked to reply.

Analysts in the Department are currently working on producing progression figures for FSM and non-FSM pupils, and we are planning to publish these by autumn. Information on the FSM background of higher education entrants in 2006 and 2007 is not currently available.

Parents: Alcoholism

Stephen Hesford: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what assessment he has made of the impact of alcohol dependency of one or both parents on family income; and what steps his Department is taking to protect the welfare of children in such circumstances. [219921]

Kevin Brennan: Department for Work and Pensions research on Public Attitudes to Child Poverty indicates an association between poverty and substance misuse that affects a very small minority of children. 4 per cent. of lone parents have alcohol dependency and 2 per cent. drug dependency and the respective figures for couples with children are 3 per cent. and 1 per cent. This is compared to the 22 per cent. of children living in poverty due to other factors.

The Government do not annually record the number of young people affected by parental alcohol misuse. However, the Interim Analytical report produced for the 2004, “Alcohol Harm Reduction Strategy for England” by the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit estimates that between 780,000 and 1.3 million children are affected by parental alcohol problems. The Government recognise that parental alcohol misuse is a serious problem in the family and has negative effects on a child’s life chances.
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This is why my Department is investing in targeted services for those families at risk that will help to reduce the risk of dependency on alcohol and break the cycle of problems being transferred between generations.

The drug strategy, “Drugs: Protecting Families and Communities”, published in February 2008, identified families as a key priority and highlighted the need for support to prevent future problems for children. This proposed a programme of intensive support services to reach the most chaotic families through programmes, such as the Family Interventions Project and Family Pathfinders, to develop local systems and services that improve outcomes for families at risk. We are committing to further evaluating a number of programmes to better gauge their impact on reducing alcohol problems.

Secondary Education: Standards

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families which local authorities required to submit plans to his Department as part of the National Challenge did so before 1 August. [223193]

Jim Knight: In June we asked local authorities to review their existing plans for school improvement and consider the extra support that they and local partners would provide to lift schools above the floor by 2011. We asked local authorities to send us their plans, and their judgment on the support needed, by the end of July 2008.

All local authorities with schools below the floor target submitted their plans before 1 August, with the exception of local authorities in the Greater Manchester and Black Country City Challenge areas. These local authorities were asked to work on existing City Challenge time scales for agreeing support for schools.

Officials from the Department and the National Strategies are meeting with Directors of Children’s Services throughout September to discuss these plans in more detail.

Special Educational Needs

Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what steps he plans to take to ensure that changes to special educational needs and disability tribunals do not add to costs for parents. [220893]

Bridget Prentice: I have been asked to reply.

Under the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007, new rules of procedure have been drawn up for the Health, Education and Social Care chamber. SENDIST's judiciary and members have been fully involved in their creation. Members of SENDIST and the Tribunals Service are working to put in place a system which remains consistent with the tribunal’s aims.

None of the changes will result in an increase in costs for parents. There will be no changes to the hearing or how it is conducted. Appeals will continue to be held by the same panel of judges and members and in the same accessible and informal manner as they are now.

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Specialised Diplomas

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many pupils have enrolled on diploma courses for (a) Construction and the Built Environment, (b) Engineering, (c) Society, (d) Health and Development, (e) Creative and Media and (f) Information Technology; and if he will make a statement. [223455]

Jim Knight: Learner numbers for all qualifications are still subject to change during the first weeks of the autumn term, as young people make their final decisions about the courses they want to pursue. We are gathering data from local authorities on Diploma learner numbers during this term, in order to make adjustments to the funding areas receive for Diplomas. We will publish this information before the end of the year.

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