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14 Oct 2008 : Column 1103W—continued


Figures relate to pupils at the end of Key Stage 4 in all maintained schools.

Children: Databases

Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families members of which professions will have access to the ContactPoint database. [225830]

Beverley Hughes: The purpose of ContactPoint is to support practitioners in fulfilling their duties under section 10 (duty to co-operate to improve well-being), and section 11 (safeguarding and promoting welfare of children) of the Children Act 2004, section 175 of the Education Act 2002 (duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of children), and the local authority duties established by section 436A of the Education Act 1996 (to identify children not receiving education).

Regulation 9(2) of the Children Act 2004 Information Database (England) Regulations 2007 provides that such access to ContactPoint may only be granted, in line with this purpose, by a local authority to the persons specified in schedule 3 (listed at annex A). Regulation 9(3) provides that such access to ContactPoint may only be granted, in line with the same purpose, by a ‘national partner’ (listed at annex B), to an employee of that ‘national partner’.


14 Oct 2008 : Column 1104W

Children: Disadvantaged

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what percentage of schoolchildren in Ribble Valley constituency qualify for free school meals. [226673]

Jim Knight: The requested information is given in the table.

Maintained nursery, primary and secondary schools( 1) : School meal arrangements—Ribble Valley parliamentary constituency—position as at January 2008

Number/percentage

Maintained nursery and primary schools

Number on roll(2)

8,425

Number of pupils taking free school meals

226

Percentage taking free school meals

2.7

Number of pupils known to be eligible for free school meals

261

Percentage known to be eligible for free school meals

3.1

Maintained secondary schools( 3)

Number on roll(2)

8,690

Number of pupils taking free school meals

540

Percentage taking free school meals

6.2

Number of pupils known to be eligible for free school meals

598

Percentage known to be eligible for free school meals

6.9

(1) Includes middle schools as deemed
(2) Includes dually registered pupils and boarding pupils
(3) There are currently no city technology colleges and academies open in Ribble Valley constituency.
Source:
School Census

Children: Human Trafficking

Mr. Bone: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families if he will bring forward plans for secure children’s homes for children trafficked into the UK for the purpose of sexual exploitation. [225959]

Beverley Hughes: It is extremely important that all children in care are protected properly. Decisions on whether a child should be placed in a secure children’s home are made according to the child’s best interests. It would be inappropriate for the Government to second guess individual placement decisions by promoting secure children’s homes as a preferred option. Where a local authority looks after a child, including those that have been trafficked, then they are responsible for identifying a placement that will be appropriate to meeting their needs, including their need to be kept safe from any likely harm.

Children: Literacy

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what recent steps the Government has taken to improve literacy levels among key stage 2 children. [224988]

Jim Knight: The Primary Framework for literacy offers access to a broad range of guidance and resources to support teachers in planning and ensuring their
14 Oct 2008 : Column 1105W
teaching is personalised to the needs of every child. This includes, from this September, new Support for Writing materials to improve the teaching of writing and raise standards in children’s learning in this area. Through the Assessing Pupil Progress materials which underpin the Framework teachers can make secure judgments on where children are in their learning and what the next steps in their teaching should be.

In addition, we have started pilots this term of the new Every Child a Writer programme—a Children’s Plan commitment. This programme focuses on pupils in years 3 and 4 and includes some one to one tuition. The Making Good Progress Pilot is trialling tuition to pupils who entered the Key Stages behind the expected level and who are not on track to make two levels of progress. Lessons learned from the pilot will inform a wide scale rollout of one to one tuition to reach 300,000 children a year in English by 2010-11 across Key Stages 2 and 3.

Children: Numeracy

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what recent steps the Government has taken to improve numeracy skills among key stage 2 children. [224989]

Jim Knight: The primary framework for literacy and mathematics offers access to a broad range of guidance and resources to support teachers in planning and ensuring their teaching is personalised to the needs of every child. Through the Assessing Pupil Progress materials which underpin the framework, teachers can make secure judgments on where children are in their learning and what the next steps in their teaching should be.

The Independent Review of Mathematics Teaching in Early Years Settings and Primary Schools carried out by Sir Peter Williams reported on 17 June 2008. The Government accepted all 10 recommendations which focused on improving mathematics teaching and learning. The review’s main recommendation was that every primary school should have access to a mathematics specialist by 2019. We are developing the training programme for mathematics specialists through a pathfinder project.

In addition, our Every Child Counts programme is in its development phase and will aim to help approximately 30,000 children by 2011. Pilots have started this term. By improving attainment and progression in the bottom 5 per cent. of achievers in key stage 1, this should have a knock-on effect on attainment and progression in key stage 2.

We have set up the National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics to provide better access to good quality continuing professional development opportunities for all teachers of mathematics.

We have published a directory of mathematics enhancement and enrichment activities for schools that aim to improve pupils’ attitude, motivation and enthusiasm for mathematics.

The Making Good Progress Pilot is trialling tuition to pupils who entered key stages 2 and 3 behind the expected level in mathematics and who are not on track to make two levels of progress. Lessons learned from the pilot will inform a wide scale roll-out of tuition to reach 300,000 children a year in each of mathematics and English by 2010-11. 2010-11 will also see the
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introduction of an entitlement to individual tuition in mathematics for any pupil in key stage 2 who meets this criterion.

Children: Vetting

Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what measures are in place to vet people coming into contact with children as part of their work experience for foundation and higher diplomas. [226026]

Beverley Hughes: All people having regular contact with and direct, unsupervised access to young people engaged in work experience as part of a foundation or higher diploma should be considered for a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) disclosure. The decision to seek a CRB disclosure will depend on an assessment of the overall potential risks posed to a young person and should take into account the placement provider's systems for minimising such risks.

The Department has published a range of guidance—both statutory and non-statutory—setting out the roles and responsibilities of both work experience providers and those arranging such placements to ensure that students are learning in a safe environment and are protected from harm.

Children’s Centres

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) what the adult to child ratio in Sure Start children’s centres in England was in 2007-08; [225275]

(2) what percentage of children attending Sure Start children’s centres in 2007-08 were from each socio-economic group; and what percentage of eligible children from each socio-economic group attended in that period. [225276]

Beverley Hughes: There are no adult/child ratios that are specifically for Sure Start children’s centres. Where a centre’s services include registered early years provision (integrated early learning and full day care places) this provision is subject to the same ratios and standards as all registered early years provision.

The Childcare and Early Years Providers Survey collects information on the number of Ofsted registered places per paid member of staff in full day care settings in Sure Start children’s centres. In 2007, there were 3.9 registered places per paid member of staff.

The Department does not collect information centrally about the percentage of children attending Sure Start children’s centres or their socio-economic group. Sure Start children’s centres provide universal services for families with children under five. All children, no matter what their socio-economic group, are eligible to access services as are their fathers, mothers and carers. There are currently over 2,900 centres up and running providing early childhood services for almost 2.3 million children. By 2010, there will be at least 3,500 Sure Start children’s centres—one for every community.


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Children’s Centres: Disadvantaged

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many and what percentage of children starting primary school in 2008 and eligible for free school meals attended a Sure Start children's centre in the 2007-08 academic year. [225274]

Jim Knight: The information requested is not held centrally.

Custody

Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families under what circumstances and for what reasons legal custody of a child may be removed from the parents of that child in cases where custody is not contested between the parents themselves. [225217]

Beverley Hughes [holding answer 8 October 2008 ]: A local authority can only intervene in the care and upbringing of a child without the parents' agreement if the local authority obtains a court order. The Children Act 1989 set out the circumstances under which a child may become subject to a care or supervision order. The threshold criteria for such intervention are:

Before any application is made in proceedings, the local authority will undertake a core assessment to assess the parents' capacity to meet the child's developmental needs in the context of the wider family and environmental factors. Other specialist assessments may also be commissioned. This assessment will identify whether there is evidence to support concerns about significant harm but will also focus on family strengths. The information will be analysed and lead to the development of a plan for the child which may result in care proceedings if the local authority consider that the criteria set out above have been met.

It is for the court to determine whether the threshold criteria are met and whether a care order is in the best interests of the child. All the other parties involved have the right to respond to any allegations made in the analysis.

Departmental Consultants

Mrs. Maria Miller: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how much his Department and its predecessors spent on consultations in each year since 1997. [226092]

Sarah McCarthy-Fry: This information could not be provided without incurring disproportionate cost.

Departmental Manpower

Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many civil servants employed by his Department stopped working for the Department in each of the last (a) 12 months and (b) five years. [224802]


14 Oct 2008 : Column 1108W

Sarah McCarthy-Fry: The Department was formed as part of the machinery of government changes announced on 28 June 2007. Figures are only available up to the end of August 2008.

During the period 28 June to 31 August, 389 people ceased working for the Department.

Number of people

2008

August

27

July

17

June

13

May

23

April

82

March

59

February

14

January

49

2007

December

11

November

23

October

18

September

21

August

20

July

12


Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many civil servants were employed by his Department on a permanent basis in each of the last (a) 12 months and (b) five years. [224803]

Sarah McCarthy-Fry: The Department was formed as part of the machinery of government changes announced on 28 June 2007. Figures are only available up to 31 August 2008:

Month New recruits to the Department

2008

August

12

July

15

June

8

May

15

April

14

March

3

February

5

January

23

2007

December

4

November

9

October

17

September

22

August

12

July

15


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