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Child Trust Fund

Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what the level of take-up of child trust funds was in households with children
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classified as economically deprived in the latest period for which figures are available; what research has been undertaken by his Department into levels of awareness of parents in such households of their entitlements under the Child Trust Fund programme; and what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the operation of the fund. [309988]

Sarah McCarthy-Fry: I have been asked to reply.

All children born since 1 September 2002 that live in the UK and are not subject to immigration controls are eligible for a Child Trust Fund. If the child's parents or guardians do not open an account within a year HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will open one for them, ensuring that all eligible children get a Child Trust Fund.

The latest information published on Child Trust Fund parental opening rates, awareness levels and administration can be viewed on HMRC's website at:

Included are data regarding the opening rates of accounts in families in receipt of the maximum child tax credit. The Government do not hold data on awareness levels broken down by socio-economic classification.

GCSE

Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many and what proportion of students of (a) white, (b) mixed race, (c) Asian, (d) Black and (e) Chinese ethnicity gained (i) five GCSEs including English and mathematic at grades A* to C, (ii) five GCSEs at grades A* to G and (iii) at least one key stage 4 pass in each year since 1997. [310561]

Mr. Coaker: Information on pupil attainment linked to their characteristics was not recorded before 2002, therefore the requested information for 1997 to 2001 is not available. All the requested information has been published for 2006 to 2009, with some elements published for earlier years.

The requested information for the years 2006 to 2009 is published on the departmental website at:

The available information for 2005 is published on the departmental website at:

The available information for 2004 is published on the departmental website at:

The available information for the years 2002 and 2003 is published on the departmental website at:

Measure (i), five GCSEs including English and mathematics at grades A* to C, is available for 2005-09.

Measure (ii), five GCSEs at grades A* to G, is available for 2002, 2003 and 2006 to 2009.

Measure (iii), at least one key stage 4 pass, is available for 2004-09.

In addition, the number of pupils achieving no GCSE passes is available for 2002 and 2003.


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Primary Education: Finance

Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families from which line of Table 8.4 in his Department's 2009 annual report the £300 million funding for new primary school places announced on 30 November 2009 has been taken. [303981]

Mr. Coaker [holding answer 3 December 2009]: This funding will be provided from capital for investment in school buildings, which will include accumulated end year flexibility which is not reflected in Table 8.4. It is resource originally set aside in the event that school projects found it problematic to secure PFI funding. Although the start of 2009 was a challenging time for the PFI market, BSF schemes have not had to use these additional resources. Partnerships for Schools has closed 17 PFI deals since the beginning of this financial year so we have been able to free up the resource set aside and use it for other purposes.

Pupil Exclusions: Disadvantaged

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families pursuant to the answer of 11 January 2010, Official Report, column 728W, on pupils exclusions: disadvantaged, what the equivalent figures were for (a) 1997 and (b) 2003. [311928]

Mr. Coaker [holding answer 19 January 2010]: Information is not available in the form requested.

Data on permanent and fixed period exclusions linked to free school meal eligibility are only available for secondary schools from 2005-06 onwards. This was extended to primary and special schools in 2006-07.

Pupils: Attendance

Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what steps he is taking to ensure that attendance records of schools which open during extreme weather conditions are not compared unfavourably with schools which close in such conditions and are notionally recorded as having 100 per cent. attendance. [311368]

Mr. Coaker: Every lesson counts and it is right that schools should stay open during poor weather conditions where it is safe to do so. Those schools that remained open during the recent spell of poor weather should be commended for doing so.

It is for this reason that we are asking local authorities to ensure that schools are not penalised for remaining open during the recent snow and to make it clear that we expect authorities to take any increased absences due to the poor weather into consideration when looking at school absence figures-where the head teacher is able to provide suitable evidence.

The Pupil Registration Regulations 2006 are clear that where a school is open and pupils do not attend, their non-attendance has to be recorded whether it is due to the poor weather or for any other reason (e.g. illness, or being on holiday). While this will mean that those schools will have a higher absence rate than if they had been forced to close, head teachers should not
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take decisions about closing schools based on concerns about absence records. Their primary concern in such cases should be for the welfare of their pupils and staff.

The Department are currently looking at ways that absences due to exceptional circumstances, such as the recent poor weather conditions, can be reported and monitored within the school absence data. However, we will not be able to do this for the recent snow.

School Leaving

Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many and what proportion of Key Stage 4 students went on to (a) education, (b) employment and (c) training in each year since 1997; and how many and what proportion were not in employment, education or training in the year after leaving school in each such year. [310559]

Mr. Iain Wright: Information on destinations of Key Stage 4 (KS4) students does not exist in the form requested. The Department publishes an annual Statistical First Release "Participation in Education, Training and Employment by 16-18 year olds in England" which as well as containing estimates of participation rates, includes the Department's best estimate of the number and proportion of young people not in education, employment or training. The participation estimates are presented by academic age. Estimates for 16-year-olds are a very close proxy for the destinations of KS4 students, but will include a small number of 16-year-olds who have not yet completed KS4 due to their repeating a year of learning. The estimates will also include those young people who entered the country, either from elsewhere in the UK or abroad, after KS4. The figures can be found on the DCSF website here under "additional information":

It is important to note that the categories education, training and employment are not mutually exclusive. For instance, many young people in full time education, and the majority of those in training, are also employed.

Schools: Leeds

Mr. Truswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families if he will take steps to ensure that schools in Leeds that have opened during recent extreme weather conditions will not be penalised for student non-attendance during that period. [311379]

Mr. Coaker [holding answer 18 January 2010]: Every lesson counts and it is right that schools should stay open during poor weather conditions where it is safe to do so. Those schools that remained open during the recent spell of poor weather should be commended for doing so.

It is for this reason that we are asking local authorities to ensure that schools are not penalised for remaining open during the recent snow and to make it clear that we expect authorities to take any increased absences due to the poor weather into consideration when looking at school absence figures-where the head teacher is able to provide suitable evidence.


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The Pupil Registration Regulations 2006 are clear that where a school is open and pupils do not attend, their non-attendance has to be recorded whether it is due to the poor weather or for any other reason (e.g. illness, or being on holiday). While this will mean that those schools will have a higher absence rate than if they had been forced to close, head teachers should not take decisions about closing schools based on concerns about absence records. Their primary concern in such cases should be for the welfare of their pupils and staff.

The Department are currently looking at ways that absences due to exceptional circumstances, such as the recent poor weather conditions, can be reported and monitored within the school absence data. However, we will not be able to do this for the recent snow.

Schools: Snow and Ice

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families if he will make it is his policy that where a school has remained open during the recent inclement weather those days should not be included in statistics on absenteeism; if he will advise education authorities accordingly; and if he will make a statement. [310837]

Mr. Coaker [holding answer 14 January 2010]: Every lesson counts and it is right that schools should stay open during poor weather conditions where it is safe to do so. Those schools that remained open during the recent spell of poor weather should be commended for doing so.

It is for this reason that we are asking local authorities to ensure that schools are not penalised for remaining open during the recent snow and to make it clear that we expect authorities to take any increased absences due to the poor weather into consideration when looking at school absence figures-where the head teacher is able to provide suitable evidence.

The Pupil Registration Regulations 2006 are clear that where a school is open and pupils do not attend, their non-attendance has to be recorded whether it is due to the poor weather or for any other reason (e.g. illness, or being on holiday). While this will mean that those schools will have a higher absence rate than if they had been forced to close, head teachers should not take decisions about closing schools based on concerns about absence records. Their primary concern in such cases should be for the welfare of their pupils and staff.

The Department are currently looking at ways that absences due to exceptional circumstances, such as the recent poor weather conditions, can be reported and monitored within the school absence data. However, we will not be able to do this for the recent snow.

Young People: Unemployment

Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what methodology his Department used to determine the number of people not in education, employment or training expected to start courses in January as part of the January Guarantee. [309211]

Mr. Iain Wright [holding answer 6 January 2010]: I refer the hon. Member to the reply given on 7 January 2010, Official Report, column 589W.


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International Development

People Trafficking

8. Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much financial assistance his Department has provided to overseas non-governmental organisations to reduce numbers of people already trafficked to and then deported from the UK from being re-trafficked to the UK. [311682]

Mr. Michael Foster: DFID does not provide assistance to overseas non-governmental organisations to prevent people from being re-trafficked to the UK. However, we do support projects which are tackling human trafficking, forced labour and child labour.

Sri Lanka

10. Mr. Pelling: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much funding his Department has provided to development programmes in Sri Lanka since December 2004; and if he will make a statement. [311684]

Mr. Michael Foster: Since the financial year 2004-05 to 2008-09, DFID has provided £28.07 million of bilateral assistance to Sri Lanka. During the same period, DFID has also provided £11.54 million of humanitarian assistance. I refer my hon. Friend to my statement of 24 November 2009 for an assessment of the current humanitarian situation.

Haiti

11. Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development when he expects to meet relevant non-governmental organisations to discuss humanitarian aid to Haiti. [311685]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: I held a first meeting with NGOs on the morning of 14 January to discuss Haiti.

My right hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State Mike Foster held a second meeting with NGOs yesterday 19 January.

The scenes of devastation in Haiti are almost unimaginable. The need for relief is desperate. This is the time for the international community to come together and support the people of Haiti in their hour of need.

EU: Aid

12. Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of his Department's aid delivered through the EU; and if he will make a statement. [311686]

Mr. Thomas: Analysis from the OECD's Donor Assistance Committee, Oxfam, the House of Lords and our own staff indicate that the effectiveness of Commission aid has improved considerably.

St. Helena: Airport

13. Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent representations he has received on proposals for an airport for St. Helena. [311688]


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Mr. Michael Foster: The Department for International Development (DFID) held a public consultation on options for access to St. Helena from 9 April-31 July 2009. The Consultation Report contains an annex listing all representations made on the issue of an airport for St. Helena. This report is available in the House of Commons Library and on the DFID website;

Overseas Development Assistance

14. Chloe Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent steps he has taken to increase transparency in respect of his Department's overseas development assistance. [311689]

Mr. Michael Foster: The Department for International Development (DFID) is committed to increasing the transparency of its aid programme. We have already implemented our White Paper commitment to publish a
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database of DFID projects on our website. We continue to lead the International Aid Transparency Initiative to enhance the transparency of all global donor aid programmes.


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