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Specialist Schools

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families when his Department plans to review its policy on specialist schools. [253100]

Jim Knight: The Department publishes guidance on the specialist schools programme annually setting out the objectives of the programme and the procedures relating to the designation and redesignation of specialist schools. We expect to publish the 2009 guidance in the summer.

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many specialist schools there are in (a) England, (b) the North East and (c) Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland constituency. [253101]

Jim Knight: There are 2,993 specialist schools in England, of which 170 are in the North East and five are in Middlesbrough and South East Cleveland constituency. These are Freebrough Specialist Engineering College (Engineering), Huntcliff School (Humanities), Laurence Jackson (Sports), Newlands Catholic School (Maths and Computing) and Kilton Thorpe Special School (Arts).

Teachers: Stress

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what steps his Department is taking to reduce stress on teachers. [253116]

Jim Knight: The Department recognises that there are a variety of factors that contribute to teachers’ stress. Accordingly we have put in place a range of measures to address the causes.

Through our ongoing work with social partners, we are undertaking a significant programme of work force reform to help address those causes associated with work load. The National Agreement on Raising Standards and Tackling Workload, which was signed in January 2003, led to guaranteed time for planning, preparation and assessment, limits on the amount of cover teachers could do, and a transfer of admin tasks to support staff, all of which help address the issue of workload. There have also been increases in the number of teachers and support staff working in schools. Since 1997, the number
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of support staff has more than doubled and teacher numbers have risen by over 40,000.

Encouraging better pupil behaviour and attendance also has a direct impact on reducing teacher stress. That is why we are investing in a comprehensive national programme to strengthen schools’ capacity to manage pupil behaviour.

In addition we have encouraged better management of teacher health matters through improved occupational health guidance for schools and local authorities, and we are working with employers to encourage early intervention to avoid ill health retirements. We have recently reinforced those moves through the release of guidance on common mental health problems which give practical advice on positive action to support teachers through the stresses and strains that can arise through life and work.

Young, Gifted and Talented Programme

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families pursuant to the answer of 18 December 2008, Official Report, column 1126W, on Young, Gifted and Talented Programme, what percentage of pupils aged between (a) four and 10 and (b) 11 and 18 are participating in the Young, Gifted and Talented Programme in each local authority. [248475]

Sarah McCarthy-Fry: Reliable data cannot be provided because, as indicated in the reply of 18 December 2008, Official Report, column 1126W, the relevant local authority can be confirmed only for less than one-third of pupils registered with the Young Gifted and Talented (YG and T) Learner Academy.


Alcoholic Drinks: Misuse

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what subsequent support is available to people who successfully complete NHS alcoholic treatment courses; [252858]

(2) how many people (a) have and (b) have not successfully completed NHS alcoholic treatment courses in (i) Ribble Valley and (ii) England in each of the last five years. [252859]

Dawn Primarolo: On 1 April 2008, a National Alcohol Treatment Monitoring System (NATMS) begun operation to collect and report local and national information on the provision of structured care-planned treatment for alcohol misuse in England. Prior to 1 April 2008 there was no routine collection of data on numbers receiving alcohol treatment in England.

The first year's data will be reported in October 2009 and will include data on the number of individuals who have completed their treatment; however, this is a new system and it may not be possible at this early stage to accurately report the number of successfully completed treatments.

Furthermore, the data are unlikely to represent a complete picture of alcohol misusers receiving treatment.
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They primarily represent contact with specialist alcohol treatment services, and are therefore unlikely to include a significant number of alcohol misusers who receive interventions in primary care and/or accident and emergency departments.

Limited NATMS data are reported on the National Drug Treatment Monitoring System website, at

The currently available data, for those in structured care-planned treatment and for discharges, are given as follows for England and North West strategic health authority (SHA), which includes the constituency of Ribble Valley:

North West SHA England

Number in treatment Discharges Number in treatment Discharges










































It is important to note that data for November 2008 are likely to be an under-representation due to the time it takes to verify the data; additionally, there is likely to be an overall under-representation as NATMS is not yet fully established.

We know that for some alcohol dependence can be a relapsing condition and that aftercare following the completion of treatment is needed to ensure that they maintain the benefits gained from their treatment and do not return to their previous higher-risk drinking habits.

To aid commissioners and providers in delivering effective interventions and treatment for adults affected by alcohol misuse, the Department and the National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse jointly published, in June 2006, best practice guidance, “Models of care for alcohol misusers” (MoCAM). A copy has been placed in the Library.

MoCAM advises that commissioners take into account the role of aftercare in helping individuals maintain the gains they have made from alcohol treatment. Aftercare can involve:

Allergies: Medical Treatments

Jo Swinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidance his Department has issued to NHS trusts on the use of desensitisation as a treatment for allergy; and if he will make a statement. [254391]

Dawn Primarolo: It is the responsibility of Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), with advice from the Commission on Human Medicines
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(CHM), to assess a medicinal product intended for desensitisation as a treatment for allergy (allergen immunotherapy). The products will need to establish quality, safety, efficacy and a favourable benefit:risk profile, as for any medicinal product. Neither the MHRA nor the CHM has any objection to the principle of immunotherapy for allergy. However, in view of the small risk of life threatening anaphylactic reactions associated with immunotherapy, the CHM has, naturally, been cautious in its approach to the licensing of desensitising vaccines.

There are three currently licensed desensitisation products:

Each application was assessed on the scientific evidence provided taking account of the current prevailing medical and scientific opinion.

Allergies: Research

Jo Swinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 11 December 2008, Official Report, columns 223-24W, on allergies: research, which aspects of allergy research his Department intends to prioritise; and what criteria are used in the allocation of funding for such research. [254533]

Dawn Primarolo: The Government's investment in health research in England is channelled through the Department via its Policy Research Programme and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and the Medical Research Council. Their usual practice is not to ring-fence funds for expenditure on particular topics: research proposals in all areas compete for the funding available. Each organisation welcomes applications for support into any aspect of human health and these are subject to peer review and judged in open competition, with awards being made on the basis of the scientific quality of the proposals made.

NIHR programmes identify and prioritise topics for research taking account of the views of those who work in, manage and develop policy for the national health service and of patients and the public. The NIHR website ( provides an overview of the institute's role and functions and detailed descriptions of its various funding streams.


Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many incidents of (a) lung and (b) cervical cancer there were (i) in the North West and (ii) on average in all other regions in each year since 2004; and what steps have been taken in the North West (A) to prevent cancer, (B) to inform the public about the causes of cancer, (C) to provide equipment and services to treat cancer and (D) to provide palliative care for patients who are terminally ill since 2004. [253415]

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Ann Keen: The information is not available in the format requested. However, the following table shows registrations of newly diagnosed cases of lung and cervical cancer in the Government office for the north-west region compared with the average of all other regions in England from 2004 to 2006.

2004 2005 2006

North-west Others North-west Others North-west Others

Lung cancer















Cervical cancer








1. Lung cancer is coded to C34 and cervical cancer is coded to C53 in the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10).
2. ‘Others’ is the average of all other regions in England.
3. Before the 2006 volume of Cancer Statistics, the rates in the government office regions table were crude rates.
4. In 2006, the north-west had the highest number of registrations for both lung and cervical cancer.
5. However, as there are differences in both the age profile of cancer patients between geographical areas and the population size and age profile of the nine regions in England, the unbiased way to compare cancer incidence between different regions is to calculate directly age-standardised incidence rates. Such rates, by region, are given in table five of the annual reference volume Cancer Statistics: Registrations Series MB1, available on the National Statistics website:;Pos=&ColRank=l&Rank=272
This shows that the north-west region has the second highest rate for lung cancer and the fourth highest rate for cervical cancer.
Office for National Statistics

The Cancer Reform Strategy, published in December 2007, sets out guidance to the local national health service on how to improve cancer prevention, speed up the diagnosis and treatment of cancer, reduce inequalities, improve the experience of people living with and beyond cancer, ensure care is delivered in the most appropriate settings and ensure patients can access effective new treatments quickly. It is for primary care trusts (PCTs) to use the funds made available to them and work in partnership with strategic health authorities, local services, cancer networks and other local stakeholders to deliver these aims. Information on the work being done in the north-west can be obtained from the individual PCTs directly.

Through the Cancer Reform Strategy’s National Awareness and Early Diagnosis Initiative, the Department, in partnership with Cancer Research UK, is co-ordinating a programme to support local interventions to increase cancer symptom awareness, and encourage people to seek help early.

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