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Connexions Service

Mr. Rob Wilson: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many people have sought individual advice from Connexions Direct via (a) an online adviser, (b) telephone and callback, (c) textphone, (d) text and (e) email in each of the last five years. [244444]

Beverley Hughes: We only have information on customer contacts under current contracts which began in September 2004. Call volumes are as follows:

Total Connexions direct call volumes by channel
January to December Online Adviser Telephone Callback Textphone Text Email

2004

30,862

19,638

4,929

8,153

2005

144,903

80,615

11,392

35,962

2006

165,122

79,568

1,540

9,125

35,897

2007

146,311

76,586

1,826

9,095

30,833

2008

144,853

70,055

4,214

69

7,683

34,632


Connexions Service: Expenditure

Mr. Rob Wilson: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how much his Department has spent on the Connexions service in respect of information, advice and guidance on (a) health, (b) careers, (c) money, (d) relationships, (e) learning, (f) personal rights, (g) housing, (h) travel, (i) work and (j) free time in each year since 2001 for which figures are available. [244441]

Beverley Hughes: We only collect information on the total amount spent on Connexions services and not the detailed breakdown requested. The amount spent on Connexions services in each year since 2001 is as follows:

Spend (£ million)

2001-02

110

2002-03

337

2003-04

439

2004-05

458

2005-06

464

2006-07

466

2007-08

467

2008-09

469


In addition to the above figures, £5 million per annum has been spent on the Connexions Direct service since the helpline was rolled out nationally in 2004-05.


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Departmental Procurement

Alan Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what proportion of invoices for goods and services procured from small and medium-sized businesses were paid within 10 days of receipt by his Department in (i) 2006-07 and (ii) 2007-08; and if he will make a statement. [243493]

Sarah McCarthy-Fry: I would direct the hon. Member to the departmental published accounts for 2006-07 and 2007-08 which set out the performance of the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) in this regard. The Department paid 97.7 per cent. of all valid invoices for goods and services within 30 days in 2006-07 and 98.8 per cent. in 2007-08.

The Department for Children, Schools and Families welcomed the 8 October 2008 statement by the Prime Minister on moving to the payment of invoices within 10 days. The Department is working towards this goal.

DCSF does not currently publish information about the size of its suppliers. We do not discriminate by size of business because many small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) can be found within larger supply chains. Alongside speeding up Government payments we are also looking to our main contractors to pass on the benefits to smaller suppliers in their supply chains.

The Department for Children, Schools and Families was created on 28 June 2007 as a result of a Machinery of Government change. The data included in the 2006-07 and 2007-08 accounts also include that of its predecessor Department, the Department for Education and Skills. The Department does not have any Executive agencies.

Family Intervention Projects

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families which local authorities have applied unsuccessfully for funding to implement family intervention projects and the Think Family reforms. [244526]

Beverley Hughes: Local authorities that are delivering family intervention projects did not enter into a bidding process and therefore there were no unsuccessful areas. There were 76 unsuccessful LAs who applied to become a family pathfinder and develop and test the Think Family approach. Since then, funding has been made available through the Youth Crime Action Plan to support every local authority to deliver a family intervention project and the Think Family approach from April 2009.

GCSE

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what proportion of 15-year-olds (a) not entitled and (b) entitled to free school meals achieved (i) five GCSEs at A* to C and (ii) five GCSEs at A* to C including English and mathematics, in each year since 1997. [241630]

Sarah McCarthy-Fry: The information available is given in the following table.


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Percentage
Non-FSM FSM

Five GCSE at A*-C Five GCSE at A*-C with English and mathematics Five GCSE at A*-C Five GCSE at A*-C with English and mathematics

2007

62.8

49.0

35.5

21.1

2006

60.7

47.5

32.6

19.5

2005

59.3

48.1

31.1

19.8

2004

56.8

44.8

27.4

16.8

2003

56.0

45.1

25.7

16.7

2002

54.5

43.1

24.1

15.3

Source:
National Pupil Database.

Prior to 2002, the achievement and attainment data was not matched to individual pupil characteristics.

Methadone

Meg Munn: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many children who were subject of serious case reviews died from ingesting methadone in each of the last three years. [244118]

Beverley Hughes: Child deaths which result in a serious case review being undertaken may be due to a range of causes but it is not possible precisely to quantify the number of methadone related child deaths from the information held by the Department for Children, Schools and Families. Serious case reviews should always be conducted when a child dies and abuse or neglect is known or suspected to factor in the death.

Secondary Education: Vocational Guidance

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) how many secondary schools have a specialist full-time careers adviser attached to their staff; [243336]

(2) how many secondary schools have no specialised careers service or careers adviser; [243337]

(3) how many secondary schools have staff employed to teach specific subjects and to act as a careers adviser; [243338]

(4) how many secondary schools have a part-time careers adviser attached to their staff; [243339]

(5) how many teachers are employed in a dual role as a teacher and a careers adviser; [243340]

(6) how many hours teachers who provide careers advice must undergo to do so; [243341]

(7) what training in careers guidance and progression careers advisers in schools receive prior to starting their job; [243342]

(8) what training in careers guidance and progression careers advisers in schools receive during their practice period. [243343]

Beverley Hughes: Responsibility for curriculum organisation and staff training is delegated to local authorities and schools. We do not keep records centrally of how careers advice is provided within all schools or about the numbers, or the skills and knowledge, of teaching staff involved in providing careers advice. However, the Secondary School Curriculum and Staffing Survey 2007 shows there are 1,900 teachers delivering at least
17 Dec 2008 : Column 818W
one period of Careers Education per week. These teachers are also responsible for delivering a wide variety of other subjects of the curriculum.(1)

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what the status of specialist careers guidance in secondary schools is; and if he will make a statement. [243344]

Beverley Hughes: Specialist careers guidance is provided by Connexions services who work in partnership with schools to ensure that young people are supported to make decisions about learning and careers that best meet their needs. Partnership agreements between schools and Connexions set out local arrangements for how the partners will work together.

All maintained schools have a statutory duty to provide a planned programme of careers education from years 7-11. This is delivered principally within the new PSHE: Economic Well Being curriculum. But schools also embed information about learning and careers into other subject teaching and provide additional, personalised support through a range of learning and pastoral support arrangements.

The Government’s 14-19 reform programme places considerable emphasis on the importance of all young people receiving high quality, comprehensive and impartial information, advice and guidance on learning and careers. We will be publishing, in spring 2009, our strategy for further improving the provision of help and advice on learning and careers to young people.

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what his policy is on teachers acting as careers advisers; and if he will make a statement. [243345]

Beverley Hughes: If a teacher is called upon to provide advice on learning and careers in the delivery of his/her day-to-day duties, they should consider their competence to respond and offer advice as appropriate. If necessary, they should refer the young person to specialist advisers for an answer.

Special Educational Needs: North West

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how much funding was provided for special education in (a) Chorley, (b) Lancashire and (c) the North West region in the latest period for which figures are available. [245063]

Jim Knight: The Department allocates education funding to local authorities so the requested information for Chorley is not available.

Vocational Guidance

Mr. Rob Wilson: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many and what percentage of children have a careers interview with an independent adviser before they leave school. [244440]


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Beverley Hughes: All young people have access to independent specialist careers advisers through local Connexions services. Connexions provide advice and guidance on a range of issues. Our data shows that around 44 per cent. of young people in year 11 received one to one support in 2007-08 and a further 15 per cent. prior to their entry to year 11. However, these data are not disaggregated to identify the proportion of interventions focused specifically on careers.

Leader of the House

Departmental Correspondence

Grant Shapps: To ask the Leader of the House how many (a) letters and (b) e-mails received by her Office had not been responded to as at 15 December 2008. [244711]

Chris Bryant: The Leader's Office aims to respond to all correspondence received, where an answer is requested or required, including both letters and e-mails, from hon. Members and peers within 15 working days, and within 20 working days to members of the public. As of 15 December there were 85 items of correspondence (including e-mails) awaiting response, of which 82 are expected to be answered within that deadline.

In 2007 the Leader's Office answered 94 per cent. of correspondence from hon. Members and peers within deadline, and 90 per cent. of correspondence from members of the public.


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