|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
22 Jun 2010 : Column 204Wcontinued
Ed Balls: To ask the Secretary of State for Education from which of his Department's grants to local authorities ring fences will be removed as indicated in the Chancellor of the Exchequer's announcement of 24 May 2010. 
Mr Gibb: To increase local authorities flexibility over the use of their resources the Department of Education will be removing the ring fence in 2010-11 from the following grants to local authorities:
Think Family Grant
Youth Opportunity Fund
Youth Crime Action Plan Grant
Challenge and Support Funding
Fair Play Pathfinders Capital
Fair Play Playbuilders Capital
Lisa Nandy: To ask the Secretary of State for Education for which public spending projects in (a) Wigan constituency and (b) the Metropolitan Borough of Wigan his Department secured Treasury approval between 1 January 2010 and the date of his appointment as Secretary of State. 
Mr Gibb: In the period in question there were no capital projects in Wigan constituency or the Metropolitan Borough of Wigan for which the Department sought or obtained Treasury approval.
Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Education if he will reverse the decision not to extend the free school meals pilot scheme. 
Mr Gibb [holding answer 21 June 2010]: The decision not to extend the free school meals pilot scheme was taken to protect frontline school budgets and we have no plans to reverse the decision at this time. We are continuing to support the existing free school meal pilots in Durham, Newham and Wolverhampton, the evaluation of which will provide evidence to help us assess better the case for extending eligibility for free school meals in future.
Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what assessment he has made of the likely effects on low income families of the decision not extend the free school meals pilot scheme. 
Mr Gibb [holding answer 21 June 2010]: All pupils who meet the current eligibility criteria will continue to receive free school meals.
The Government also continue to support reducing child poverty in other ways, and will be producing their child poverty strategy this year to ensure that the routes into poverty are tackled and that children's life chances are improved. Given the current financial climate, it is right to focus schools' budgets on the Government priority of raising attainment, which is key to improving their life chances.
The Government are continuing to assess the case for extending free school meals, which is why we are continuing the pilots currently under way in Newham, Durham and Wolverhampton. We await their evaluation to see what lessons we can learn.
Grahame M. Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how much funding his Department has allocated to further education colleges for 16 to 18 learning in (a) financial year 2010-11 and (b) each of the last five financial years. 
Mr Gibb: Planned funding for 16 to 18 FE providers (including E2E provision that will be subsumed into foundation learning) will be £4,000 million in 2010-11. Equivalent funding for the previous five years is shown in the following table.
Mr Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education whether he plans to review the provisions of the Children Act 1989 relating to grandparents and extended kin and leave to make applications for contact; and if he will make a statement. 
Tim Loughton: The Government are committed to reform of the family justice system, as set out in "The Coalition: our programme for government".
A Family Justice Review is already underway. We will ensure the review examines the system as a whole, including how best to support contact between children and grandparents. The Review is due to report in 2011. If changes are to be made to the family justice system in view of the Review, there will, of course, be a formal announcement.
Graham Stringer: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what his most recent estimate is of the number of functionally illiterate 11 year olds; and what estimate he has made of the likely change in the number of such children in each of the next five years. 
Mr Gibb [holding answer 21 June 2010]: There is no specific measurement for 'functional illiteracy' in primary school children. However, in 2009 14% of 11-year-olds did not reach the expected level 4 or above in reading, and 32% in writing. The Government's aim is that no child who is capable of learning to read should leave primary education without a secure level of literacy. We will be seeking to strengthen the teaching of systematic synthetic phonics and encourage schools to adopt robust and well-evidenced approaches.
Mr Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what plans he has for the future of the system of standard assessment tests; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Gibb: We intend to review how key stage 2 National Curriculum tests will operate in future. We will maintain external assessment to ensure that all schools are accountable to parents and the tax payer.
Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many staff presently working for the Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency in Coventry he expects to transfer to his Department. 
Mr Gibb [holding answer 8 June 2010]: National curriculum tests will continue and the people supporting tests will therefore continue to be needed. Some other functions, such as support for the administration of examinations, will continue at least for the medium term, and again we will need to retain the people who work on these areas.
Lisa Nandy: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what plans he has for the funding of Salford and Wigan Local Education Partnership; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Gibb: The Department has not taken any decisions on funding of schools capital programmes, including those being procured through joint local education partnerships. Any future rollout decisions will be announced in due course.
John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what guidelines are in place for the provision of school meals to students with (a) kosher, (b) halal, (c) vegetarian, (d) vegan and (e) other dietary requirements. 
Mr Gibb: Guidelines for providing school lunches to pupils with diverse diets and special dietary needs are provided in the School Food Trust's publication 'A guide to introducing the Government's food-based and nutrient-based standards for school lunches'. This publication is available on the Trust's website at:
Angie Bray: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what requirement applies to schools to inform the police when a criminal act involving the possession of a knife is committed on school property. 
Mr Gibb [holding answer 15 June 2010]: If school staff find and seize a knife they should promptly inform the police and must deliver it to them as soon as is reasonably practicable. Guidance on screening or searching for knives in-school in England was issued in 2007.
Lisa Nandy: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what plans he has for the future of diploma qualifications. 
Mr Gibb: The Government announced on 7 June that all work on the development of the three academic diplomas in languages, humanities and science will stop.
The Department for Education will be looking at diplomas as part of work to improve the quality of vocational education currently provided to young people, as set out in the coalition agreement.
We have also announced savings that we will make by cutting back on all but essential diploma development.
Ed Balls: To ask the Secretary of State for Education whether his Department has amended its budgetary provision for (a) Every Child a Reader, (b) Every Child a Writer and (c) Every Child Counts for 2010 following the Chancellor of the Exchequer's announcement on spending plans of 24 May 2010. 
Mr Gibb: £144 million was committed at the last comprehensive spending review (2008-11) to support Every Child Counts and Every Child a Reader. A further £25 million was allocated to the Every Child a Writer programme for 2008-11.
The Department for Education will spend £89 million this year on the Every Child programmes. We have been able to make savings of £5 million across all three programmes for 2010-11 through the identification of unallocated spending.
Ed Balls: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what changes his Department has made to its budgetary provision for one-to-one tuition in 2010-11 as a consequence of the Chancellor of the Exchequer's announcement on spending plans of 24 May 2010. 
Mr Gibb: The £256 million allocated to schools and local authorities for the provision of one-to-one tuition in 2010-11 is unaffected. Funding for schools has been protected and the Secretary of State has made clear that there will be no impact on the front-line provision of tuition.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer's spending announcement of 24 May included from the one-to-one tuition budget £47 million which the Department has returned to the Treasury. This saving has been made from centrally held funding for one-to-one tuition which had not yet been allocated and for which no spending plans had been announced.
Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education when he plans to answer Question (a) 126, on departmental manpower, (b) 292, on departmental official vehicles and (c) 374, on departmental public appointments, tabled on 25 May 2010. 
Tim Loughton: A response has been issued to the hon. Member's questions today.
Lisa Nandy: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many young people in Wigan constituency are not in education, employment or training. 
Mr Gibb: The official estimates of participation in education, training and employment for those aged 16 to 18 are published by the Department in a Statistical First Release (SFR) each June and can be found on the Department's website
These estimates cannot be broken down to sub-national levels.
However, Connexions Services collect information on the number and proportion of 16 to 18-year-olds NEET in each local authority area. Connexions information shows that 830 16 to 18-year-olds were NEET in the Wigan local authority area at the end of 2009, 7.1% of the 16 to 18-year-old population. The Connexions NEET data cannot be disaggregated to constituency level.
Julie Hilling: To ask the Secretary of State for Education whether all local authorities will receive the previously agreed allocation of funding for the (a) Youth Opportunity Fund and (b) Youth Capital Fund for 2010-11. 
[holding answer 14 June 2010]: The Government published details on 10 June 2010 of the
£1.166 billion local government contribution to the £6.2 billion cross government savings in 2010-11. Following the announcement on 10 June, the Youth Opportunity Fund will be paid under Section 31 of the Local Government Act 2003. The removal of the ring fence will give local authorities more flexibility over their spending. The Department has not taken any decisions on the Youth Capital Fund. Any future decisions will be announced in due course.