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Correspondence

Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills when she will reply to the letter of 11 October on bullying from Reverend Alan Burgess of New Milton. [16412]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: A reply has been issued today.

Gender Stereotyping

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what measures she is taking to eliminate gender stereotyping throughout the curriculum; and if she will make a statement. [16862]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: We have repeatedly confirmed our commitment to ensuring that all pupils, regardless of their background or gender, have an equal opportunity to achieve. The national curriculum provides an entitlement to a broad and balanced education for all pupils. Since the last national curriculum review it contains, for the first time, a statutory inclusion statement which sets out the steps which teachers should take to overcome potential barriers to learning for boys or girls.

The inclusion statement contains recommendations that teachers should create a climate where stereotypical views are challenged and pupils learn to view positively differences arising from race, gender, ability or disability. In order to respond to pupils' diverse learning needs teachers should ensure that boys and girls are able to take part in lessons fully and effectively. For example, they can take account of the interests and concerns of boys and girls by using a range of activities and contexts for work, allowing a variety of interpretations and outcomes and avoiding gender stereotyping in assigning pupils to activities or arranging access to equipment.

Substance Abuse (Education)

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what guidance has been issued to schools on the best way of informing students of the problems of tobacco, drug and alcohol addictions; and if she will make a statement. [16872]

Mr. Ivan Lewis [holding answer 22 November 2001]: DfES guidance Circular number 4/95 sets out the statutory position on drug education in schools and was supplemented by the guidance "Protecting Young People" (1998) which gives detailed advice on how to deliver drug education effectively.

To further support schools, in partnership with the Department of Health, the DfES commissioned DrugScope (formerly the Standing Conference On Drug Abuse) to produce three further guidance documents for schools, "The Right Approach", "The Right Response", and "The Right Choice".

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On 16 October we also announced details of a £1 million drug, alcohol and tobacco education training package for teachers that we will deliver as part of the drug strategy to achieve the target to halve the number of young people using illegal drugs by 2010. Guidance to support this package is available on the DfES website at www.dfes.gov.uk/lea/guidance/drugs alcohol tobacco.

Bullying

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what measures she is taking to tackle bullying in schools; and if she will make a statement. [16873]

Mr. Ivan Lewis [holding answer 22 November 2001]: From September 1999 head teachers of maintained schools have been placed under a duty to draw up measures to prevent all forms of bullying among pupils, including racist or homophobic bullying. Bullying is a serious problem for those who experience it and schools should take all complaints seriously.

Last December we launched a new anti-bullying strategy, including a new pack for schools entitled "Bullying: don't suffer in silence" with an accompanying video aimed at pupils. Schools can order one free copy of the pack from DfES publications. There is also a new anti-bullying website at www.dfes.gov.uk/bullying. The Department is also co-funding the Parentline Plus free helpline for parents whose children are being bullied and we have produced a public information film to raise awareness of bullying. In addition Baroness Ashton has recently provided a short foreword to "Safe for All: a best practice guide to prevent homophobic bullying in secondary schools" published by Stonewall.

We have made it clear that heads can permanently exclude pupils responsible for persistent or violent bullying. However, the key message of our strategy is that victims should be able to report bullying to someone they trust and not suffer in silence.

Mr. Woodward: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what plans she has to review the implementation of anti-bullying policies. [16977]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: Anti-bullying policies became compulsory in schools in September 1999. Each school's policy should be reviewed by the head teacher on a regular basis in consultation with the rest of the school community. Whenever my officials investigate alleged bullying with a school they verify that the school has an anti-bullying policy and that this has been followed closely in the case in question.

The Framework for Inspection for the Office for Standards in Education requires inspectors to obtain the views of pupils, parents and teachers on the incidence of bullying in a school and the school's response. This

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includes assessment of the anti-bullying policy. We meet Ofsted regularly and discipline issues are part of our continuing discussions with them.

Mr. Woodward: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the Government policy is on bullying in (a) primary and (b) secondary schools. [16978]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: All maintained schools in England, including primary and secondary schools, are required by law to have an anti-bullying policy. Schools should treat bullying seriously and take steps to combat it promptly and firmly whenever and wherever it occurs.

In December 2000 we launched a new anti-bullying strategy, which includes a new pack for schools entitled 'Bullying: don't suffer in silence' with an accompanying video aimed at pupils. The pack describes strategies for use in primary and secondary schools and it can be ordered from DfES Publications on 0845 602 2260. The cost is £15 although schools can order one free copy each. We have encouraged as many schools as possible to order the pack; so far about 5,000 have done so. We also have a new anti-bullying website at: www.dfes.gov.uk/ bullying. The key message of our strategy is that pupils should report bullying to someone they trust and not suffer in silence.

Sure Start Birkenhead

Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills, pursuant to her answer of 16 November 2001, Official Report, column 927W, what the original allocation for 2000–01 was for Birkenhead. [17338]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 23 November 2001]: In the 2000–01 financial year, Sure Start Birkenhead was allocated £394,500 as revenue and £266,500 as capital.

South Tyneside

Mr. Hepburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what percentage of children in south Tyneside remained in education after the completion of their GCSEs in the last year for which figures are available. [17402]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The percentage of 16-year-olds in full-time education in south Tyneside local education authority was 53 per cent. in 1998–99, the latest year for which figures are available. A further 7 per cent. entered part-time education.

Participation rates by LEA for 16 and 17-year-olds are published in an annual statistical bulletin, "Participation in Education and Training by Young People Aged 16 and 17 in Each Local Area and Region, England".

Performance-related Pay

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will make a statement on the operation of performance-related pay for assistant head teachers, with particular reference to the subsidies granted by local education authorities in the current year. [17809]

Mr. Timms: Schools were able to appoint assistant heads posts from September 2000. Like other members of the leadership group, schools may award assistant heads additional pay points for sustained high performance. A

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new special grant will help schools meet the cost of performance points awarded to any teacher or leadership group member, including points awarded this school year. The grant will be worth £250 million over the next two financial years. This is in addition to continuing real terms increases in general school funding.

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will make a statement on the differences in the operation of performance-related pay for (a) heads, (b) deputy heads, (c) assistant heads and (d) advanced skills teachers, with specific reference to the execution of the pay spine in each case. [17823]

Mr. Timms: Members of all four groups are paid on individual pay ranges set by governing bodies. These ranges are positioned on the leadership group pay spine in the case of head teachers, deputies and assistant heads; and on the Advanced Skills Teacher (AST) pay spine in the case of ASTs. In annual pay reviews, governing bodies may award a point on the relevant pay range to members of all four groups for sustained high quality of performance taking account of performance objectives.


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