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| Notes: 1. Age quoted is the respondent's academic age, which is defined as their age at the preceding 31( )August. 2. Estimates from the Labour Force Survey are subject to sampling error. The figures should therefore be treated with caution. Source: Labour Force Survey Q2 (April to June) of each year.|
Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) for how many children who were (a) white, (b) mixed race, (c) Asian or Asian British, (d) black or black British and (e) of other ethnic groups, it was decided that adoption was in their best interests in each of the last 10 years, broken down by local authority; 
(2) how many children who were (a) white, (b) mixed race, (c) Asian or Asian British, (d) black or black British and (e) of other ethnic groups, were adopted in each of the last 10 years, broken down by local authority. 
Sarah McCarthy-Fry: Information on the date a decision is made that adoption is in the best interest is currently only collected retrospectively for those looked after children who are adopted. We currently do not collect information on when the decision is made for those children that are placed for adoption. However we have made a change to our data collection from 2008-09 which will mean from autumn 2009 we are able to provide this information for children when the decision is made, irrespective of whether the adoption has taken place.
Information is published on the number of looked after children adopted by local authority. However this cannot be broken down by ethnicity due to data disclosure reasons. The number of children adopted in the year ending 31 March 2007 is just over 3,000. Breaking this down by local authority (see table LAE1) and then again by ethnicity would produce very small numbers and would result in most of the figures being suppressed with a hyphen (-). It may be possible to produce figures by local authority and ethnicity by region but we would be able to provide this only at a disproportionate cost.
The available information by local authority can be found in table LAE1, taken from the Statistical First Release (SFR 27/2007) entitled Children looked after in England (including adoption and care leavers) year ending 31 March 2007. This shows the number of looked after children adopted during the years ending 31 March 2003 to 2007.
The available information at a National level on characteristics of looked after children who are adopted can be found in table E1, taken from the Statistical First Release (SFR 23/2008) entitled Children looked after in England (including adoption and care leavers) year ending 31 March 2008. This shows the number of Looked after Children adopted during the years ending 31 March 2004 to 2008 by gender, age at adoption,
ethnic origin, category of need, final legal status, duration of final period of care and age on starting final period of care.
Sarah McCarthy-Fry: The Department has not issued specific guidance to Ofsted in respect of creative learning. It does however regularly engage with Ofsted on this and other policy matters so that HM Chief Inspector can consider any implications for inspection.
John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what mechanisms exist for assessing the content and effectiveness of children's services authorities' (a) disability and (b) race equality schemes. 
Sarah McCarthy-Fry: Joint Area Reviews and Annual Performance Assessment of children's services consider the arrangements that local authorities and their partners have put in place to secure race and disability equality for children and young people. This includes ensuring that race and disability equality schemes are in place and that there is evidence that the strategies and actions agreed are securing equality of opportunity for these children and young people.
Joint Area Reviews include a detailed assessment and grade for the contribution of local services to improving outcomes for children and young people with disabilities and or learning difficulties. Where areas of weakness in race equality and other areas are identified then the JAR can include focused investigations into these issues.
Joint Area Reviews and Annual Performance Assessments conclude in 2008-09 and are replaced by the Comprehensive Area Assessment, a new performance assessment framework, within which diversity will be promoted and assessments produced of arrangements for disability and race equality with identification of those services that need to improve. The Audit Commission is currently finalising its proposals for the new assessment. Ofsted is currently consulting on its role in Comprehensive Area Assessments in assessing children's services.
Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what his policy is on the extent to which the curriculum taught in publicly-funded schools should be determined centrally. 
Sarah McCarthy-Fry: Our policy is for all pupils, irrespective of background or ability, to have an entitlement to a core of learning set out in the National Curriculum statutory Programmes of Study. It is the role of Government to decide the overall aims, values, principles and subject requirements of the National Curriculum, to ensure that all young people are prepared for their future role in society.
Schools may decide when and how National Curriculum Programmes of Study are delivered, which aspects to cover in depth, and how long to spend on each subject. They are not required to teach the subjects discretely and there are no prescribed time allocations for particular subjects. Schools may adapt the Programmes of Study in order to provide all pupils with appropriately challenging work at each key stage; they may group pupils in whichever way best meets their needs and are free to use a range of teaching methods. Head teachers may also introduce other experiences and subjects once they are satisfied that they are meeting the statutory requirements of the National Curriculum.
Recent curriculum developments have been aimed at reducing the statutory core and allowing schools even more autonomy to organise their curriculum. With these changes I believe we have got the balance right between a national statutory curriculum entitlement and a school-level curriculum designed to meet the specific needs of pupils.
Sarah McCarthy-Fry: In keeping with good procurement practice most consultancy contracts placed by DCSF are based on a requirement for the delivery of outcomes or outputs, and not for a number of consultancy days or hours. We are, therefore, unable to answer the question in the way it has been asked. However, the total number of live consultancy contracts in DCSF at the end of August 2008 was 354.
The number of page hits received is 48,826,311. This is the number of times any page on the Departmental website is viewed.
Unique visitors to the site as a whole are 9,895,761. This is the number of visits people have made to the Departmental website.
To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what the cost of maintaining his Department's website was in 2007-08; and what the
forecast costs for maintaining websites within his responsibility are in 2008-09. 
Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how much was spent on entertainment by his Department in 2007-08; and how much of that sum is accounted for by expenditure on (a) food, (b) alcohol, (c) staff and (d) accommodation. 
Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many and what proportion of civil servants in his Department and its agencies are members of the (a) Classic, (b) Classic Plus, (c) NUVOS and (d) Premium civil service pension schemes. 
|Pension scheme||Number of staff||Proportion (Percentage)|
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