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19 Jan 2009 : Column 1130W—continued

Prisons: Wales

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice when he expects to announce the site of a new prison in Wales. [247069]

Mr. Hanson: We expect to make an announcement in early 2009.


Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the projected Probation Service caseload is for (a) 2009-10 and (b) 2010-11. [247078]

Mr. Hanson: No projections of probation caseload are available.

However, projections for the number of order and licence starts have been made. These are set out in the following table:

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Projected community demand (starts) 2008-09, 2009-10 and 2010-11

Community Order and suspended sentence order Licence supervision







Probation Service for England and Wales: Manpower

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many probation posts he estimates will be lost as a result of the budget cuts anticipated during (a) 2008-09, (b) 2009-10, (c) 2010-11 and (d) 2011-12. [246927]

Maria Eagle: Budgets for later years are not yet agreed but funding plans for 2009-10 require efficiency savings from operational budgets in probation of 2.2 per cent. This is in the context of a 70 per cent. real terms increase in probation funding over the last 10 years.

The NOMS agency is providing guidance that will help achieve savings first by simplifying process and reducing administration but ultimately, the size and scope of any staffing reductions will rest with the 42 areas and trusts who manage probation business at the local level.

Probation: Recruitment

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many probation staff who have been fully qualified outside the Probation Service are planned to be recruited in (a) 2009-10 and (b) 2010-11. [247074]

Mr. Hanson: The 42 probation boards and trusts within the National Probation Service function as separate employers and work force planning takes place at local level. Decisions about the timing and profile of staff requirements are therefore a matter for local employers and take into account of local resources.

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many trainee probation officers are planned to be recruited in each month of (a) 2009 and (b) 2010. [247076]

Mr. Hanson: Trainee probation officers are not recruited on a monthly basis. The last intake of trainee probation officers was in October 2008. There are currently 550 due to complete training this year and 300 in 2010.

Probation: Training

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what staff at each grade are responsible for the design and delivery of future probation training; and what the length and nature of their direct experience of probation services is in each case. [247070]

Mr. Hanson: The responsibility for the design and delivery of future probation training rests with the Project Board, supported by a project team and Reference Group. All three groups include probation representatives at chief officer level and other members with substantial probation practitioner experience.

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the budget is for the training of probation staff in each month of (a) 2009-10 and (b) 2010-11. [247073]

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Mr. Hanson: The budget for training probation staff in the first six months of 2009-10 will be £2,916,674 each month. This figure includes the salary and university costs associated with training a Trainee Probation Officer (TPO) plus the costs allocated centrally for training Probation Service Officers (PSO). It is not possible to calculate the likely costs for 2010-11 at this time.

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what plans he has for the future training of probation staff; and if he will make a statement. [247075]

Mr. Hanson: The current qualification arrangements for probation staff are under review with the intention of introducing a new framework later this year. These proposals will be subject to formal consultation. Training for probation staff is a high priority and this will be reflected in the new requirements.

Children, Schools and Families

Building Schools for the Future Programme

Lorely Burt: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many new schools he estimates will be opened by March (a) 2009, (b) 2010, (c) 2011 and (d) 2012 through the (i) Building Schools for the Future programme, (ii) Further Education programme and (ii) Primary Education programme; and how these estimates differ from those made before the announcement of capital spending being brought forward made in the pre-Budget report. [247840]

Jim Knight: Our current predictions go as far as 2010-11 in line with the current Spending Review.

50 schools have now opened through BSF. Our current predictions suggest that 112 BSF schools will open in 2009-10 and 165 schools in 2010-11.

In addition to these, through the Learning and Skills Council’s capital programme, current predictions are that a further eight new school sixth forms are due to complete this year, 15 in 2009-10, and a further eight in 2010-11.

Management of the Primary Capital Programme (PCP) is largely delegated to local authorities, but we have derived estimates from authorities’ plans, as follows:

PCP 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 Total

New Schools





New Rebuilt Schools










The capital spend that is being brought forward from 2010-11 to 2009-10 relates to local authority devolved capital funding. It has no effect on Building Schools for the Future or on schools sixth forms. The returns received from local authorities so far indicate that the funding brought forward will be used to improve and extend existing schools at an earlier date than previously possible, rather than to build new schools which would take longer to procure. In some authorities, some of the primary programme capital expenditure may also be
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brought forward, but we do not expect that to affect the number of new schools built.

Children: Protection

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what steps the Government has taken to protect children in schools from abuse in the last 12 months. [247934]

Beverley Hughes: The Government are committed to improving safeguards for children and have taken a range of actions over the past year. This includes making significant progress towards the implementation of the new vetting and barring scheme, which will further strengthen the system for preventing unsuitable adults from working with children, including in schools. In October 2008 Sir Roger Singleton, chair of the Independent Safeguarding Authority, was asked to lead a review of safeguarding arrangements in independent school, non-maintained special schools and boarding schools. The review will examine the practical operation of the current statutory and non-statutory safeguarding arrangements that apply to independent schools, non-maintained special schools and boarding schools in the maintained, non-maintained and independent sectors in England. Sir Roger expects to conclude his work in February 2009.

In April 2008, Ministers wrote to local authorities and schools to remind them of their responsibilities in relation to the issue of forced marriage and of the materials and guidance already available. In June new materials on forced marriage were launched specifically for schools and for young people. These were sent to all secondary schools, pupil referral units, local authorities and Local Safeguarding Children Boards. New statutory guidance on forced marriage was launched on 25 November.

Within schools, staff have powers to bar people from their premises if they consider them a threat or a nuisance. The DCSF, in addition, has an ongoing programme of work to prevent and tackle the bullying of children. This includes a suite of overarching and specialist guidance for schools under the title “Safe To Learn” which advises schools on preventing and tackling bullying related to race, religion, special educational needs, disability, homophobia and cyberbullying. New guidance on out-of-school bullying is to be launched in February 2009. The Department is also funding the Anti-Bullying Alliance and National Strategies to ensure this work is embedded in schools effectively.

Children’s Centres: Standards

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what progress has been made in the project to look at benchmarking systems already in use in local authorities and children’s centres and to judge the feasibility of a system for Sure Start Children's Centres along the lines of the system used in schools; and if he will make a statement. [247464]

Beverley Hughes: Local authorities have a range of different benchmarking systems. Hedra Ltd. were commissioned in August 2008 to undertake a feasibility study looking at the potential for designing a national benchmarking system for Sure Start Children’s Centres, similar to that introduced for schools. They are currently finalising their report which will be published shortly.

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Education: Assessments

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families whether the revised rules on skills tests under the Education (Specified Work and Registration) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2003 have been implemented. [247274]

Jim Knight: The rules specified in the Education (Specified Work and Registration) (England) Regulations 2003 (as amended in 2007) are in force. It is the responsibility of employers to check the qualifications of teachers to ensure that they can work lawfully in a maintained school or non-maintained special school. As a result of 2007 amendments, from 1 September 2008 those who have completed initial teacher training but have not been awarded qualified teacher status, because they have not passed all the skills tests, cannot lawfully be employed as teachers.

Forced Marriage: Research

Margaret Moran: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what tendering process was undertaken by his Department before contracting the National Centre for Social Research to conduct research on forced marriage; which organisations were (a) informed of and (b) invited to tender for the contract; and what the (i) cost, (ii) timetable and (iii) terms of reference of the research are. [247671]

Beverley Hughes: This research was commissioned through a fair and open procurement process in line with the Department's protocols and in consultation with the Forced Marriage Unit.

(a) Expressions of interest to conduct the research were invited through notification on the Department's research website placed on 1 October 2008 with a closing date of 20 October.

(b) Expressions of interest were received from 13 organisations and these were then assessed by DSCF officials against published criteria. As a result, six of these 13 organisations were invited to submit full tenders (with a closing date of 18 November).

The organisations chosen to submit full tenders were:

General Certificate of Secondary Education

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families with reference to the answer of 19 November 2008, Official Report, columns 635-36W, on general certificate of secondary education, which qualifications other than GCSEs were included as equivalents. [240584]

Jim Knight: All level 2 qualifications approved under section 96 of the Learning and Skills Act (2000) contribute towards the reported performance at key stage 4.

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Some of the most prevalent qualifications at each level of study are given as follows:

For a more exhaustive list of equivalent qualifications and the size of their contributions can be found at QCA’s National Database of Accredited Qualifications website at:

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families when the 2008 GCSE results for secondary schools will be published. [247035]

Jim Knight: The secondary school (GCSE and equivalent) achievement and attainment tables for 2007-08 were published on 15 January at 9:30 am.

They were published at the following link:

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families in how many schools less than 25 per cent. of pupils aged 16 achieved the equivalent of five GCSEs at grades A* to C in 2008. [247476]

Jim Knight: This information was published on Wednesday 14 January at 9:30 a.m. in the following Statistical First Release (SFR):

DCSF: GCSE and Equivalent Results in England, 2007-08 (Revised)

Figures relating to GCSEs and equivalent are reported for all pupils at the end of Key Stage 4.

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