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5 May 2009 : Column 145W—continued

Travelling People: Caravan Sites

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent guidance her Department has issued to (a) police forces and (b) local authorities on the eviction of unauthorised Traveller camps. [272437]

Mr. Iain Wright: Communities and Local Government has produced the following guidance to assist the relevant authorities in dealing both with unauthorised camping (where the land is owned by others), and with unauthorised development (where the land is owned by the developer):

All of these publications are available on the Communities and Local Government website:

Children, Schools and Families


Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what the application process is for an apprenticeship under the Government apprenticeship scheme for 16 to 18 year-olds. [272502]

Sarah McCarthy-Fry: There are various routes by which young people may enter an apprenticeship.
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Connexions services, and other agencies providing information, advice and guidance, refer young people to training providers and employers offering suitable apprenticeship opportunities. Young people may also apply directly to training providers and employers. From the beginning of this year the national apprenticeship on-line system for vacancy matching has been operating, providing a free service for employers and providers to advertise apprenticeship vacancies, and allowing potential apprentices to register and apply for vacancies. The National apprenticeship Service, launched on 1( )April 2009, will provide an end-to-end service to promote and deliver apprenticeships for employers and individuals, including young people.

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what the role and responsibilities are of local colleges in delivery of the apprenticeship programme for 16 to 18 year-olds. [272677]

Sarah McCarthy-Fry: Further education colleges are important delivery partners in achieving our ambitions for 16 to 18-year-old apprentices. Where a local college is contracted by the Learning and Skills Council to deliver the apprenticeship programme they, along with other training providers, work with employers and their apprentices to deliver the training both on the job and at the college. The college will ensure the young person receives the training, work experience and personal support required to achieve the apprenticeship framework—the detail of which is determined by Sector Skills Councils or Standard Setting Bodies in conjunction with employers in their sector. Colleges may also be involved in delivering components of apprenticeship frameworks on behalf of other training providers and employers.

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what steps his Department has taken to publicise the apprenticeship programme for 16 to 18 year-olds in (a) rural areas and (b) Cheshire; and if he will make a statement. [272678]

Sarah McCarthy-Fry: Local Connexions services and other information, advice and guidance agencies publicise the apprenticeships programme across the whole country, covering both urban and rural areas, including Cheshire. Our new national apprenticeship on-line system for vacancy matching provides access to apprenticeship vacancies for all potential apprentices. The national advertising campaign, fronted by Sir Alan Sugar, ran successfully in February and March, generating over 4,000 employer leads and increasing visitors to the apprenticeships website to 100,000 a week.

The Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Bill currently before Parliament will place a duty on the Chief Executive of the National apprenticeship Service (NAS) to promote apprenticeships to employers and apprentices, and we would expect rural areas to be covered by this commitment. We are also working with the Commission for Rural Communities to research particular issues around increasing the number of apprenticeship places in rural areas.

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The NAS team for Cheshire are working with employers across the county to develop apprenticeship opportunities, and work with Connexions and other agencies to ensure that young people have the information and support they need to access them.

Children: Care Homes

David Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what factors he took into account in making the recent decision to decommission beds at local authority secure children's homes. [272687]

Beverley Hughes: The secure children's homes contract decisions followed a joint tendering exercise by the Youth Justice Board and the Department for Children Schools and Families. New contracts were offered to nine homes following a detailed evaluation, consisting of an assessment of the quality of the bids received and a financial assessment, based on the submitted prices. The required number of beds in each region, value for money, and overall affordability were factors in the decision-making process.

Education: Finance

Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what role (a) local authorities, (b) sub-regional groups of local authorities, (c) Government offices of the regions, (d) regional planning groups, (e) the Young People’s Learning Agency, (f) regional development agencies and (g) his Department will have in (i) funding and (ii) commissioning education and training required for 16 to 19-year-olds in (A) schools, (B) academies, (C) sixth-form colleges and (D) further education colleges. [272552]

Jim Knight: Our plans for the roles of these parties in the funding and commissioning process is set out in the “Raising Expectations: enabling the system to deliver (March 2008)” White Paper. Implementation of those plans is subject to the passage of the legislation now before the House.

Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families which sub-regional groups of local authorities he expects to provide funding for 16 to 19 education from April 2010; and what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the arrangements established by each sub-regional group for such funding. [272625]

Jim Knight: As part of the transfer of responsibilities from the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) to local authorities, the Department asked for proposals for sub-regional groupings by October 2008. Local authorities developed those further and submitted proposals in February 2009 to a national panel, involving the Local Government Association, Association of Directors of Childrens Services, Association of Colleges, Association of Learning Providers, Government Office, LSC and DCSF. A total of 43 proposals have now been considered by the national panel and demonstrate how well local authorities are responding to the plans to devolve
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commissioning for 16-19 provision to them. The sub-regional groupings are intended to plan the commissioning of provision with individual local authorities responsible for the funding. A list of the sub-regional groupings is set out as follows.

The conclusions of the national panel are being considered by Ministers at the moment, although there are a number of themes such as the need to strengthen the involvement of providers in the process. A letter will be issued to each sub-regional grouping in May which will indicate the areas they should continue to develop and what further evidence the Secretary of State will be seeking to ensure their competence to take on this critical role by April 2010.

Sub-regional Group Proposals

Following the National Panel in April 2009, proposals were received from 43 sub-regional groups:

North East

South West

East Midlands

North West

East of England


South East

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West Midlands

Yorkshire and Humberside

Educational Psychology: Finance

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) what consideration he gave to continuing the top-slicing of funding for the training of educational psychologists in the annual revenue support grant; and if he will make a statement; [272607]

(2) what estimate he has made of the funding to be available to local authorities for training educational psychologists in each year from 2009-10 to 2012-13. [272608]

Sarah McCarthy-Fry: The continued use of top slice of the revenue support grant (RSG) for local authorities, as a means of funding the entry training of educational psychologists (EPs), was one of the options considered by a group of interested parties, including members drawn from the Local Government Association (LGA), EP professional interests and training providers. The LGA, however, decided that it no longer wished to use RSG top slice for that purpose. The effect of this recommendation was that the funds were redistributed to local authorities through the formula grant system administered by the Department for Communities and Local Government.

As formula grant is an un-hypothecated block grant it is not possible to identify amounts within it provided for a particular purpose. The decision as to how much of its budget an individual local authority might wish to earmark to a particular activity, such as support for the training costs of trainee EPs, is a matter for each local authority and not something on which this Department collects information.

The Children's Workforce Development Council (CWDC) is working with interested parties to develop a long-term and sustainable, employer-led funding and entry training scheme for EPs, while administering the current training arrangements. To this end, the CWDC will continue to seek the views and engagement of all key stakeholders through its Educational Psychology National Forum, and to carefully examine options for future funding, while working with local authorities to secure their support for the current subscription scheme.

The CWDC has commissioned a work force development model to help future planning. This will be used to help decide the number of training places needed nationally and regionally for the 2010/11 intake of students.

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Further investigation into the role of EPs in the children's work force of the future is also being commissioned to inform planning.

Further Education: Finance

Stephen Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what funds his Department has allocated to (a) further education and (b) sixth form colleges to support capital building projects in (i) 2008-09, (ii) 2009-10 and (iii) 2010-11; and when such funds will become available. [268454]

Jim Knight: The Department has responsibility for the 16-19 capital programmes which fund building projects for additional places for 16 to 19-year-olds in expanded and new school sixth forms and new 16-19 provision in schools and colleges resulting from 16-19 competitions. The 16-19 capital budget is (i) £210 million in 2008-09 (ii) £210 million in 2009-10 and (iii) £240 million in 2010-11.

We have also made £53 million available in 2009-10 and 2010-11 for exemplar 14-19 capital projects in schools and colleges to support delivery of diplomas and will announce the projects to be funded in the next few weeks.

Learning and Skills Council for England: Manpower

Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many staff will transfer from the Learning and Skills Council in 2010 to (a) each local authority in England and (b) each regional office of the Young People’s Learning Agency. [272553]

Jim Knight: We expect, subject to the passage of the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Bill, to transfer some 950 posts to transfer to local authorities from the Learning and Skills Council in April 2010. A further 500 posts will transfer to the Young People’s Learning Agency, with approximately 300 posts in the nine English regions. A breakdown of the number of posts by local authority is set out in the following table, together with the regional figures for YPLA. The precise number of staff will be finalised as they are matched to a suitable post in a region.

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