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7 July 2009 : Column 756W—continued

Children: Databases

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many local authorities did not meet the ContactPoint readiness assessment 7 deadline of 26 June 2009. [283441]

Dawn Primarolo [holding answer 2 July 2009]: All but five local authorities had completed RA7 (ContactPoint readiness assessment 7) by the checkpoint date of 26 June. All other local authorities completed RA7 in the following week.

Children: Protection

Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) what changes he is planning to the integrated children's system; [284785]

(2) what estimate he has made of the cost to local authorities of implementing proposed changes to the integrated children's system. [284658]

Dawn Primarolo: Baroness Delyth Morgan's letter to all directors of children's services on 22 June was accompanied by a circular setting out the principles which will guide future development of the Integrated Children's System. These principles make clear that it is the responsibility of local authorities to determine how information systems can be used to support the delivery of social care services.

The Government will work with practitioners to simplify the national specifications of ICS, local authorities will not be required to comply with the published specifications, although this does not alter their obligations to comply with their statutory duties towards children and their families.

A copy of Baroness Delyth Morgan's letter is available from:

The detailed local consequences of these changes will depend upon the decisions of individual local authorities. It is a matter for the authorities to determine how to invest their budgets in the maintenance and upgrading of their IT systems,, and information on this expenditure is not collected centrally. The Department has indicated that it will support this expenditure with a capital grant for ICS of £6.4 million in 2009-10.

Children's Play: Enfield

Joan Ryan: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how much funding his Department has allocated for children's play schemes in (a) the London Borough of Enfield and (b) Enfield North constituency in the last 12 months. [282576]

Dawn Primarolo: Enfield are one of 30 play pathfinder authorities across England and began receiving play funding from April 2008, as part of the first wave of the
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children’s plan play capital investment programme. The authority has already received £594,107 capital funding and £138,510 revenue funding during 2008-09 which was used to successfully deliver 12 new/improved public play areas in the borough. They have been allocated a further £1,569,237 capital funding and £218,633 revenue funding to be spent in 2009-10 to deliver another 16 public play areas and one adventure playground.

The play capital investment programme will provide capital and revenue funding to every one of the 152 top-tier local authorities in England in order to develop/improve play spaces. Decisions on where the capital funding is spent within local authority boundaries are taken locally, based on grant requirements around improved play spaces being provided where they are most needed and based on a robust consultation process with local children and young people, families and wider communities.

We are encouraging all Members of Parliament to proactively engage with their local play capital programmes as they roll out, and we are asking local authorities to ensure that their local Members of Parliament and council elected members are appropriately consulted, and briefed, about where the capital funding is spent.

English Language: Standards

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what information his Department holds on England’s position in international rankings of countries in which English is the first language for educational attainment in English in each of the last five years. [284653]

Mr. Coaker: There have been no international comparisons studies designed specifically to test English as a first language.

Families: Coventry

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what services his Department provides to assist young families in Coventry. [283499]

Dawn Primarolo: Supporting families is a key priority for the Department for Children Schools and Families. Over the current spending review period (2008-11) Coventry has been allocated approximately £21 million in capital and revenue funding to support the development of children’s centres, early years and child care provision in the area, including outreach work for the most disadvantaged. There are currently 20 designated Sure Start Children’s Centres offering services to around 15,987 children under five and their families, with a further three centres in development.

Over £75 million is being made available nationally for 2009-10 for targeted initiatives to support families with high levels of need, with a particular focus on parenting skills. This will enable all local authorities to have family intervention projects, the parenting early intervention programme (for parents of 8-13 year olds) and to each employ two expert parenting practitioners.


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Funding: Milton Keynes

Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) how much funding his Department has allocated to teacher recruitment in Milton Keynes in each year since 1997; [279717]

(2) how much funding the Government has allocated to reducing class sizes in Milton Keynes in each of the last 10 years. [279718]

Mr. Coaker: Local authorities are responsible for the distribution of funding (including funding provided through the dedicated schools grant (DSG)) to schools in their area. Each local authority in consultation with their Schools Forum can choose to include a factor in their funding formula to direct resources to schools with infant classes to enable them to meet the class size duty. The Department does not collect information on how much funding was allocated to recruiting teachers for Milton Keynes schools.

Integrated Children's System

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families pursuant to the answer of 17 June 2009, Official Report, column 392W, on the Integrated Children's System, (1) who was responsible for the Quality Protects Management Information project when the Integrated Children's System requirements were developed; how many (a) local authority officers and (b) frontline social workers were consulted at each stage of development; which commercial suppliers of children's social care systems were consulted; with which contracted specialists his Department collaborated; and if he will publish the correspondence between his Department and commercial suppliers connected with the Integrated Children's System; [282022]

(2) how many meetings there were with (a) local authorities and (b) front-line social workers in developing the requirements for local authorities to procure systems from IT suppliers to support delivery of the model. [282510]

Dawn Primarolo [holding answer 24 June 2009]: The Quality Protects Management Information project was the responsibility of the then Secretary of State for Health when the original Integrated Children's System (ICS) requirements were developed between 2001 and 2003.

10 consultation events were held in 2000 with over 500 representatives from organisations responsible for child welfare in England and Wales, including local authority social services departments, private and voluntary agencies, the then Central Council for Education and Training in Social Work, pilot post-qualifying child care courses, software houses, and a number of other interested individuals. Two additional events in Wales drew together an inter-agency audience in the context of the Children First programme. As part of the consultation exercise, specific groups consulted included foster carers, children, young people, families with disabled children and families from ethnic minority groups. Information on exactly how many meetings were held with either local authorities or frontline social workers
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or on how many local authority officers and frontline social workers were consulted at each stage of development is not available.

Following this exercise, the Department of Health (DH) published the conceptual framework for ICS as a consultation document (“Integrated Children's System: Working with Children in Need and Their Families”) addressed to Councils with Social Services Responsibilities (CSSRs) in December 2002. DH and the Welsh Assembly Government addressed a further consultation document (“Information Outputs for Children's Social Services A Conceptual Framework”) to CSSRs in March 2003.

The commercial systems suppliers consulted by DH were OLM, Anite, Careworks, and TCO. Anite's ICS interests were purchased in 2008 by Northgate; TCO was acquired in 2005 by CACI.

Following machinery of Government changes in 2003, the Department for Children, Schools and Families took responsibility for ICS. Capgemini consultants were contracted by DCSF to conduct a readiness review of local authorities' ICS preparedness in 2006. These consultants were then retained to prepare industry-standard requirements documentation, in response to feedback from local authorities during the review.

Correspondence with IT suppliers contracting for ICS systems is the responsibility of those individual local authorities which either are, or might wish to become, their customers. The Department's direct relations with these suppliers concern product assessment activities undertaken to assist local authorities in light of the readiness review. The results of these assessments have all been published on the Department's website at

under the heading "Supplier compliance summary". Other exchanges antecedent to the published assessments are covered by non-disclosure agreements, as they relate to commercially-sensitive information concerning product compliance and performance.

Mathematics

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what information his Department holds on England's position in international ranking in educational attainment in mathematics in each of the last five years. [283628]

Mr. Coaker: Information on England's international rating in mathematics over the last five years is available for pupils aged 10, 14 and 15 from two studies: the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) 2007 at ages 10 and 14 and, to a lesser extent, the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2006 at age 15. England was ranked 7th out of 36 countries at age 10 and 7th out of 49 countries at age 14 in TIMSS 2007. England was ranked 25th out of 57 countries in PISA 2006. However, it should be noted that PISA 2006 did not test the full range of mathematical competencies as mathematics was a subsidiary subject in the study and less than one-third of the available assessment time was given over to it.

Further information is available from the TIMSS 2007 and PISA 2006 National Reports for England and I have arranged for copies to be placed in the Libraries.


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National Strategies Field Force

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families pursuant to the answer of 24 June 2009, Official Report, column 996W, on schools: standards, how many field forces there are; what the remit of the National Strategies Field Force is; and what expenditure his Department incurred on each of the 10 largest field forces in the latest period for which figures are available. [283238]

Mr. Coaker: We do not hold a definitive list of field forces focused on school standards. One of the principal field forces in this area is the national strategies, which has a wide remit for raising standards of achievement and rates of progression for children and young people in all phases of schools and early years settings. Its principal remit is to support both schools and local authorities to improve teaching and learning, and to develop strategies for whole school improvement. The cost of this field force is given within our answer of 24 June.

In our answer of 21 April we estimated a figure of around £90 milliom in 2008-09 to cover all field force advisers that work directly with LAs and Children's Trust partners. It is difficult to provide a precise breakdown of expenditure on each of these, since they are delivered through a range of mechanisms—some are directly contracted (so the cost of advisors is incorporated within a larger contract), some are located in Government Offices as secondees, and some are employed directly by DCSF or its NDPBs. However, based on the information available, our estimate of the largest (in terms of 2008-09 expenditure) 10 field forces working directly with LAs and Children's Trust partners are listed as follows:

Further information on the role of every field force is set out in the National Prospectus for Children's Services Improvement Support, a copy of which will be available in both Libraries.

Pupil Referral Units

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many and what proportion of pupil referral units in each local authority area (a) provide places for teenage mothers, (b) have child care facilities, (c) make provision for children with (i) special educational need and (ii) emotional and behavioural difficulties, (d) offer full-time provision and (e) offer tuition by other providers, according to records held on the Edubase database. [282014]

Mr. Coaker: This requested information has been placed in the House Libraries.


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Schools: Admissions

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many parents in each local authority area appealed against their child’s school allocation (a) successfully and (b) unsuccessfully in each of the last 10 years; and if he will make a statement. [279554]

Mr. Coaker: The requested information, covering the years 1997/98 to 2006/07, has been placed in the House Libraries. Information for 2007/08 will be published shortly.

Schools: Playing Fields

Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families which schools have sold land which had been used as playing fields in each year since 1997. [278033]

Mr. Iain Wright [holding answer 4 June 2009]: Before 1997 there were no figures collected about the loss of school playing fields but there was widespread public concern over the increasing loss of such facilities. Schools and local authorities could sell off playing fields without any restriction and use the sale proceeds however they wished.

Section 77 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 stopped the indiscriminate sale of school playing fields. Schools and local authorities must obtain the Secretary of State’s approval before they can dispose
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of their land. The legislation sets out clear criteria for obtaining consent which includes ensuring that the land is genuinely surplus to schools and community groups. Also, any sale proceeds must be used to improve sports or educational facilities.

Since 1997 the Secretary of State has approved 203 applications that involve the sale of an area of land capable of forming a sports pitch of at least 0.2 hectares at schools in England. Of these 99 were at schools that had closed and the land was not needed by any other local school. Of the 104 applications at operating schools, the proceeds of sale will be used to improve the on-site sports facilities in 86 cases. In the other 18 applications the schools will benefit from improved educational facilities. A list of the schools concerned will be placed in the House Libraries.

Schools: Transport

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many and what proportion of pupils in (a) primary, (b) secondary and (c) special schools were recorded by the 2009 school census as (i) walking and (ii) cycling to school; and for how many pupils no transport data were recorded by that census. [282601]

Mr. Coaker: The requested information is shown in the table.

Maintained primary( 1) , state-funded secondary( 1, 2 ) and special schools( 3) : Mode of travel( 4) , as at January 2009 (provisional), England

Number of pupils who walk to school Percentage of pupils who walk to school Number of pupils who cycle to school Percentage of pupils who cycle to school Number of pupils for whom travel data were not supplied Percentage of pupils for whom travel data were not supplied

Primary

2,262,990

55.5

39,520

1.0

150,100

3.7

Secondary

1,296,930

39.7

94,890

2.9

219,640

6.7

Special

2,610

3.0

230

0.3

3,970

4.5

(1) Includes middle schools as deemed. (2) Includes CTCs and academies. (3) Includes maintained and non-maintained special schools. Excludes general hospital schools. (4) The collection of mode of travel to school data are only mandatory at pupil level for schools with an approved school travel plan. Data were received for 7,057,190 of the total number of 7,430,910 solely registered pupils (excludes boarders). Source: School Census.

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