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Lord Elton: My Lords, what provision is made in colleges of education to train teachers to teach the subject? Calling up a subject out of space and putting it into the classroom without training is bound to lead to questions such as we heard from the Liberal Democrat Front Bench.
Lord Adonis: My Lords, 200 specialist teachers in citizenship have been trained each year since 2001. This year 240 places have been allocated with pressure from higher education institutions for more places because the course is so popular. We are therefore making solid progress, but we are starting from a base where there are almost no specially trained citizenship teachers.
Baroness Howe of Idlicote: My Lords, is the Minister satisfied that the vital role of parenting, with all the involved duties and responsibilities as well as the joys, is being adequately covered? The information I have received on that would give no one such a guarantee.
Lord Adonis: My Lords, parenting is not part of citizenship education; it comes much more within PSHE in schools. Substantial progress has been made on that and we are seeking to put in place a much more robust framework for the teaching of parenting and parenting skills in schools. There is no direct relationship with citizenship, but the role of citizens as parents is central to their role in society at large.
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Baroness Walmsley: My Lords, is the Minister aware of the role of the parliamentary education department in helping teachers with the section in the citizenship curriculum on the government and constitution of Parliament? Is he further aware that when I have talked to such groups their main concern has been lack of training? The teachers are feeling under-confident that they can adequately teach these subjects. What are the Government doing to address that matter?
Lord Adonis: My Lords, as I said, we are seeking to train a much larger cadre of specialist citizenship teachers across the system which would meet those concerns. But we also welcome the work of the trust and the much wider work that Parliament itself can do to bolster citizenship education in schools, as was set out very ably, we thought, by the report by the Hansard Society chaired by my noble friend Lord Puttnam.
Lord Laidlaw: My Lords, I thoroughly commend the teaching of citizenship and, if the curriculum that I have seen is anything to go by, it will be a very worthwhile activity. However, is the Minister aware that the teaching of citizenship can happen only if the rest of the curriculum is squeezed? Are the Government considering any extension of the school day in order to be able to teach citizenship adequately?
Lord Adonis: My Lords, we are not considering an extension of the school day specifically to teach citizenship, which is a statutory subject that must be taught within school hours. However, we have an extensive programme of extending school hours for a wide range of activities, which will make possible a much greater range of provision in schools, including catch-up and other provision in respect of curriculum subjects that could well include citizenship.
The Lord Bishop of Coventry: My Lords, how do the Government hope to ensure that community servicean important part of the curriculum for many schoolsis to be a significant feature of pupils' education?
Lord Adonis: My Lords, specifically in respect of citizenship, active citizenship counts as a third of the required activity in the new GCSE and is essential to what many schools do as part of their citizenship education. I recently visited colleagues who had been working with Deptford Green Schoolone of the most outstanding schools in the development of citizenship in south Londonwhich had been very actively engaged in local recycling projects and, I was also told, in an investigation of the sale of cigarettes to under-16s by local shops, for which my briefing said that a short film was made on the subject and submitted as part of GCSE coursework. It does not say whether it led to any court action as a result. These sorts of activities are now widespread in schools as part of citizenship.
Lord Phillips of Sudbury: My Lords, I thank the Minister for his kind reference to the Citizenship
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Foundation, of which I have the honour of being president. Although many schools support citizenship with imagination and real endeavour, many do notthat is the nub of the Questionpartly because citizenship currently has no place in the accreditation of schools. Therefore the quality of citizenship teaching does not show up in the league tables, which are so dominant. Are the Government planning to try to do something about that beyond the increase in GCSEs and half-GCSEs to which he referred?
Lord Adonis: My Lords, that is an important aspect of extending citizenship. As well as the half-GCSE, there are plans for a full GCSE and a full A-level in citizenship from 2008. I will look further at the issue of accreditation to which the noble Lord referred, but it is important that the accreditation for GCSE league tables relies on hard exam results. There are many activities that schools undertake which are very important to themcareers education, PSHE and so onwhich do not count towards the performance tables.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (Baroness Andrews): My Lords, Planning Policy Guidance Note 15 "Planning and the Historic Environment" makes clear that, wherever possible, roads should be kept away from listed buildings, conservation areas and other historic sites. Where this is unavoidable, local planning authorities should initially identify any features of the historic environment and evaluate their importance. Each proposed scheme would be subject to a detailed appraisal. This will take into account all the relevant assessment and impacts, including environmental and heritage.
Baroness Trumpington: My Lords, I am grateful to the Minister for her reply. She will know that I am particularly concerned with the future of much loved Sloane Square. Is the Minister aware of the local council's scheme to convert Sloane Square into a crossroad at the cost of at least £5 million? Is she further aware that English Heritage is against such a scheme? Does she agree that such a scheme would certainly add congestion to that historic area?
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Baroness Andrews: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Baroness for her advance warning about Sloane Square. She is absolutely right: it is a very well loved and important square. It has been recognised by Kensington and Chelsea council as such because it has done extensive work with local residents to develop a range of options. The council has now refined those options. There will be a further opportunity, probably early next year, to comment on them.
In view of what the noble Baroness said about English Heritage, I am sure that its views will be taken into consideration. I understand that while it appreciates that there is a case for regeneration of the square, it is concerned about some of the details. The noble Baroness will know that I cannot comment further because it is a matter for the local council involved.
Lord Ezra: My Lords, in her supplementary question the noble Baroness, Lady Trumpington, referred to the position taken up by English Heritage. Is the Minister aware that in its representations English Heritage put forward a number of proposals for improvement of the square without changing its present shape or integrity? Will those proposals be seriously taken into account? Is she further aware that during the period of construction, if this project should go ahead of transforming the square into a road intersection, there will be major disruption lasting for one year or more and that a large amount of the traffic presently going around the square would be diverted probably into residential areas, and that the City of Westminster, which neighbours onto the square, has expressed reservations about this matter to its colleagues in Kensington and Chelsea? Is it not regrettable that such a much loved square, as the noble Baroness, Lady Trumpington, described it, should be changed in this way at a total cost, I am told, of some £7.5 million, including the contribution from elsewhere? Should this matter not be very carefully considered before being gone ahead with?
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