Previous Section Index Home Page

15 Dec 2009 : Column 1065W—continued

15 Dec 2009 : Column 1066W

Departmental Written Questions

John Mason: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many questions tabled for answer on a named day his Department received in each of the last 12 months; and to how many such questions his Department provided a substantive answer on the day named. [305378]

Ms Diana R. Johnson: The information requested is in the following table.

1 December 2008 to 15 December 2009 inclusive
Tabled Replied to on named day

December 2008



January 2009



February 2009



March 2009



April 2009



May 2009



June 2009



July 2009



August 2009



September 2009



October 2009



November 2009



December 2009



Central guidance on answering parliamentary questions is now available in the 'Guide to Parliamentary Work', at:

In the response to the Procedure Committee Report on written parliamentary questions, the Government accepted the Committee's recommendation that Departments be required to provide the Procedure Committee with sessional statistics in a standard format on the time taken to respond to written parliamentary questions, accompanied by an explanatory memorandum setting out any factors affecting their performance. This will be taken forward as soon as possible.

Ecosystem Project

Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what recent estimate he has made of the cost of Becta's learning resources ecosystem project. [305711]

Ms Diana R. Johnson: Becta has allocated £150,000 for this initiative, which is designed to make it easier for learners, teachers and parents to access many millions of pounds worth of existing learning content. This will result in efficiency savings by reducing teacher workload, while improving the quality of the learning experience and value for money for schools.

Extracurricular Activities

John Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) what plans his Department has to support the development of after-school clubs; [306610]

15 Dec 2009 : Column 1067W

(2) what recent estimate he has made of the average number of after-school activity clubs in schools in Leeds, West constituency; [306613]

(3) what his most recent assessment is of the effectiveness of after-school clubs in reducing levels of youth crime; [306612]

(4) what his most recent assessment is of the effectiveness of after-school clubs in improving academic achievement. [306611]

Dawn Primarolo: The Department does not collect data on the number of after school clubs. However, over £1 billion in funding is being made available to ensure all schools are offering access to the core offer of extended services by 2010. This includes access to a rich and varied menu of before and after school activities from 8 am to 6 pm and during school holidays where there is demand. In England, over 19,800 (92 per cent. of) schools are already providing access to the core offer of extended services; the Government expect all maintained schools to be doing so by 2010.

In the constituency of Leeds, West, 30 schools (93 per cent.) are offering the full range of extended services.

The evidence to date points to the positive effect extended services are having on pupil motivation, behaviour, attendance and disposition to learning. Before and after school clubs not only offer extended learning opportunities but also provide children and young people with the opportunity to participate in diversionary activities which are fun and delivered in an environment which is safe.

The Department will continue to monitor the effectiveness of the policy as it beds in and more data become available. Previous evaluation from the Full Service Extended Schools research (Cummings C, Dyson A, Muijs D, Papps I, Pearson D, Raffo C, Tiplady L and Todd L 2007 "Evaluation of the Full Service Extended Schools Initiative"), as well as reports by Ofsted (Ofsted, 2006 "Extended services in schools and children's centres", Ofsted, 2008, "How well are they doing? The impact of Children's Centres and Extended Schools") provided some qualitative evidence of a positive impact on pupil attainment. These were based on case study evidence of views, perceptions and observations of practitioners and teachers in the context of individual school case studies.

Free School Meals

John Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what plans his Department has to extend the provision of free school meals. [306614]

Ms Diana R. Johnson: As part of the pre-Budget report, the Chancellor has announced a phased roll out of free school meals to primary children from low income families, who are in receipt of work-related benefits, starting with 50 per cent. of eligible children in September 2010, and with full roll out in 2011. He also announced an extension to the universal free school meal pilots for primary children so that there is a pilot in each English region.

15 Dec 2009 : Column 1068W

Free School Meals: Leeds

John Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many (a) primary and (b) secondary school pupils receive free schools meals in Leeds, West constituency. [306615]

Ms Diana R. Johnson: The requested information is shown in the table, together with the numbers of children eligible for free school meals.

Maintained primary( 1) and state-funded secondary( 1, 2) schools: School meal arrangements as at January 2009 in Leeds, West parliamentary constituency
Number on roll( 3) Number of pupils taking free school meals( 4) Percentage taking free school meals Number of pupils known to be eligible for free school meals( 3) Percentage known to be eligible for free school meals







Secondary(1, 2)






(1) Includes middle schools as deemed.
(2) Includes City Technology colleges and academies.
(3) Includes sole and dual (main) registrations.
(4) Number of pupils taking a free school meal on the day of the census. Those eligible may choose not to take up their offer of a free school meal for various reasons e.g. through preference or through non-attendance on the day.
Pupil numbers have been rounded to the nearest 10.
School Census

Freud Communications: Public Relations

Mr. Hurd: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what the monetary value is of the communications contract his Department has awarded to Freud Communications; which Minister approved the contract; and if he will place in the Library a copy of the contract under which such payments have been made. [305156]

Ms Diana R. Johnson: The contract with Freud Communications to deliver the Year of Music, approved by the Secretary of State, is £1 million across the two financial years 2009-10 and 2010-11. This covers all costs associated with the project with Freud acting as the sole agency working with DCSF to delivery this initiative.

DCSF is aiming to reflect COI's new (to be standard) measures for assessing the impact of PR activity and so the contract is currently still in draft. A copy of the invitation to tender document against which the contract was drawn up has been placed in the House Libraries.


Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what guidance his Department issues to (a) primary and (b) secondary schools on educating pupils on tolerance of homosexuality. [305699]

Mr. Coaker: The Department has sent out a strong message that bullying is not acceptable in our schools, making it clear that all forms of bullying, including those motivated by prejudice, must not be tolerated and should always incur disciplinary sanctions. Homophobic bullying can negatively affect a young person's attainment and future life chances. In order to ensure that schools
15 Dec 2009 : Column 1069W
have the most practical and accessible tools at their disposal to prevent and tackle homophobic bullying, the Department published guidance, which gives schools the knowledge and expertise to tackle homophobic bullying.

The Department's "Sex and Relationship Education Guidance" (2004) issued to all schools makes it clear that schools should teach about all types of relationships that exist within society, including homosexual relationships. Both primary and secondary schools should address the underlying attitudes and values that underpin homophobic bullying as part of a well planned and age-appropriate programme of sex and relationships education (SRE).

We are issuing revised SRE guidance to schools next year and it is our intention that the revised guidance will reinforce this message.


Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what recent estimate he has made of the cost of the Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency's MyCurriculum initiative. [305712]

Mr. Iain Wright: There is no cost to the Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency from the initiative, which has been entirely funded from the revenue of the self-funding commercial arm of QCDA-the registered company QCA (Enterprises) Ltd. This is a pilot of an initiative intended to bring significant benefits to teachers in creating, developing and collaborating on learning resources and activities, allowing teachers to share best practice.

National Safeguarding Delivery Unit

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) how often the National Safeguarding Delivery Unit has met since it became active on 1 July 2009; what work the Unit has undertaken since it became active; how many times the Unit has reported to (a) the Cabinet sub-committee on families, children and young people and (b) the Children, Schools and Families Select Committee; and on what dates those reports were made; [307261]

(2) who is employed on the National Safeguarding Delivery Unit; and at what pay scales; [307262]

(3) pursuant to his answer of 6 July 2009, Official Report, columns 594-95W, on the national safeguarding delivery unit, for what reasons the National Safeguarding Delivery Unit's work programme has not yet been published; and when he expects it to be published. [307263]

Dawn Primarolo: The new cross-Government National Safeguarding Delivery Unit (NSDU) became operational on 1 July 2009. The NSDU is an operational unit of 27 staff, co-located in the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF), drawn from the DCSF, the Ministry of Justice, Department of Health, and Home Office, as well as secondees from local authorities.

The unit was established to drive forward the implementation of the Government's response to Lord Laming, giving strong, co-ordinated national leadership
15 Dec 2009 : Column 1070W
across the safeguarding system and to provide support and challenge to local authorities and their partners in driving up the quality of front-line practice. The unit will continue to work with a wide range of partners, including front-line practitioners and their managers, to develop further and take forward the priorities, all of which are designed to help improve safeguarding practice and outcomes for children and young people.

The grades and associated pay scales of NSDU staff are set out in the following table.

Grade Number of people in the NSDU at this scale D C S F pay scales( 1) (£)

SCS pay band 1A



SCS pay band 1



Grade 6



Grade 7



Senior executive officer



Higher executive officer



Executive officer



(1) Pay scales vary between Government Departments as a result of devolved pay bargaining arrangements

The work of the unit is overseen by a programme board of senior officials. The unit has submitted two progress reports to the DA(FCY) ministerial sub-group in July and December.

The unit works closely with, and supports, the chief adviser on the Safety of Children who is due to submit the first of his annual reports to Parliament by April 2010.

The NSDU's work programme will be published shortly and will include a summary of progress on the unit's work to date. It was decided to postpone the publication of this work programme in order to allow the new head of unit, who took up post on 7 December, to be consulted. The delay has not prevented the unit's work from being taken forward: significant progress has been made, as will be set out in the work programme that will be published.

Next Section Index Home Page