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Teacher Recruitment

Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many teachers her Department aims to recruit from countries where (a) the majority of the population live on less than $1 a day and (b) the majority of the population live on less than $2 a day. [45796]

Mr. Timms: None. The Government do not themselves recruit teachers, so they do not seek any particular level of overseas recruitment.

Local education authorities, schools and supply teacher agencies in the private sector may recruit from overseas, although we do not encourage it in developing nations where there is likely to be an adverse effect on the economy. My Department shares the aspirations of the Department for International Development outlined in their White Paper "Eliminating World Poverty: Making Globalisation Work for the Poor".

Overseas-trained teachers who do choose to come and work in our schools make an important contribution. Many will stay for limited periods, and can in any event teach for no more than four years here without acquiring Qualified Teacher Status. They may then return, taking back with them to their home country valuable practical teaching experience.


Linda Perham: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what action she has taken to combat work-related stress in the teaching profession. [45830]

Mr. Timms: We have taken a number of steps designed to ease the work pressures of teachers. We have asked the School Teachers' Review Body (STRB) to make recommendations on workload by the end of April, taking into account the independent study of workload we commissioned last year from PricewaterhouseCoopers. The STRB report will cover a range of possible contractual changes, including whether it is possible to move to a meaningful guarantee of professional time for teachers and headteachers.

Extra money in school budgets will provide 10,000 more teachers, 20,000 more support staff and 1,000 more trained bursars over the lifetime of this Parliament. We have announced a £4 million project for 30 schools to try new approaches to the deployment of teachers, support staff and ICT to reduce workload. We have also allocated an extra £50 million for capital projects to improve staff workspaces.

We recognise that poor behaviour is a major contributor to teacher stress. We are developing a number of measures to tackle this—including a consultation on new guidance

10 Apr 2002 : Column 133W

on exclusions that will lead to improvements that could remove a significant barrier to effective teaching and learning.

We have supported the setting-up of an independent 24-hour telephone counselling helpline for teachers, operated by the "teacher support network".

Disability Discrimination Act

Linda Perham: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what guidance she has given to schools on the implications for them of the Disability Discrimination Act 1999. [45832]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: Part IV of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, as amended by the SEN and Disability Act 2001, will apply to schools from September 2002. The Disability Rights Commission (DRC) has produced a Code of Practice for the schools sector to help those affected by the new legislation understand their rights and responsibilities. The DRC consulted on a draft Code last year and, subject to Parliamentary approval, it is expected that the code will be published in early summer.

The Department is producing guidance for schools and local education authorities on the duty to plan to increase over time the accessibility of schools to disabled pupils. the Department has consulted on draft guidance and the final guidance will be published in early summer.

School Transport

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if her Department will issue guidance on the age at which children can be expected to use public transport unaccompanied to travel to school. [45855]

John Healey: It would not be appropriate for the Secretary of State to issue guidance on the age at which children can be expected to use public transport to travel unaccompanied to school. This is a decision which parents are best placed to make, taking into consideration local circumstances.

Sixth Forms

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what her policy is on balancing arrangements for the new structure for sixth-form funding proposed by county councils; and which authorities have made similar proposals. [45856]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: Many LEAs are still finalising their arrangements for funding in 2002–03. We require all LEAs to ensure that school sixth forms that stand to gain from the LSC's funding formula receive at least one third of the difference between their real terms guarantee figure and their actual LSC allocation.

Surrey county council has received approval for an "additional arrangement" which follows these requirements but also includes transitional arrangements to provide a cash guarantee related to the funding which would have been payable under Surrey's own funding formula.

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Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many children were found to be truant each year since 1997; if she will make a statement on truancy and measures planned and introduced to combat it; and what is done with children that are consistently truant from school despite action taken. [46169]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The table gives the number of children who had one or more sessions (half-days) of unauthorised absence in each year since 1997. Unauthorised absence includes all absences that the school has decided not to approve.


Academic year(29)Number of pupils with at least one session of unauthorised absenceTotal number of compulsory school age pupils

(29) Information is collected from schools for the period from September to May

We have put into place a package of measures that help schools to set a tough clear policy on truancy including all of the measures recommended in the Social Exclusion Unit's report 'Truancy and School Exclusion' in 1998. We are providing more support than ever before to schools and local education authorities to tackle attendance and behaviour problems; over three years we have provided in excess of £500 million to support local projects.

Improving school attendance is a key aim for the new Connexions Service; personal advisers provide support to young people disengaged from education, helping to reduce barriers to attending school regularly. Learning Mentors in Excellence in Cities areas have an important role in securing good relations between school and home, fostering a positive attitude to learning on the part of families and helping them to support their children.

Policy Making

Phil Hope: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how the results of the consultation of young people will be taken into cross-departmental policy making processes. [46327]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: We have involved young people in many of the Department's initiatives including consulting pupils on the Education White Paper and engaging young people in the development of the Connexions Service. We are currently consulting them on our 14–19 proposals. Involving children and young people is an important part of the Department's commitment to understanding its customers and supporting better delivery of its policies and services. We will launch an action plan at the end of May, reflecting that commitment and the core principles on participation published by the Children and Young People's Unit in "Learning to Listen". We are putting in place a central point of advice as a focus for raising awareness, sharing practice and promoting the benefits of participation across the whole Department.

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Youth Work

Phil Hope: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills when he will be announcing the next stages of implementing 'Transforming Youth Work'. [46324]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: Implementation of the Transforming Youth Work agenda is already under way. A series of measures were outlined at the Association of Principal Youth and Community Officer's Annual Conference in October 2001. This announcement followed the Government's 'Transforming Youth Work' consultation on the future of the youth service.

Ministers will make a full and published response to the 'Transforming Youth Work' consultation in July 2002.

Phil Hope: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessments she has made of the role youth work plays in the personal and social development of young people identified by Ofsted as missing from the school system. [46329]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Government's long-term strategy for the Youth Service is described in the March 2001 publication 'Transforming Youth Work'. This set out the Government's view of the Youth Service in England and outlined a programme of modernisation.

Both the statutory and voluntary youth sectors will play a key role in providing support and personal development for young people. They will continue to work with the education system to provide suitable development opportunities for school pupils.

The personal and social development provided by the youth services will be particularly important for those who are at risk or who have lost contact with formal education.

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