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29 Oct 2002 : Column 711W—continued

Beacon Schools

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many schools have not been successful in reapplying for beacon status. [77746]

Mr. Miliband: There have been two renewal exercises to date involving a total of 250 schools. Beacon status was not extended in 26 cases.

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what weight he gives to an increase of pupils with statements of special education needs when evaluating the educational results of a school when assessing a renewal application for beacon status. [77747]

Mr. Miliband: Renewal of beacon status is dependent on a school being able to show that it has had an impact as a beacon and that it has maintained or improved its own performance in its three years as a beacon . Schools are advised to provide evidence of any factors that may have an effect on the school's performance, such as the number of pupils with statements of special education needs, so that these can be taken into account at the time of the assessment.

Children's Education

Dr. Ladyman: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many SENDIST and IAP members there were as at the end of June; how many SENDIST and IAP members had received any training as at the end of June in their forthcoming disability-related duties; what type and quantity of training they had received respectively; and what measures the Department has put in place to ensure that all SENDIST and IAP members will be able to perform their legal duty effectively when hearing claims of disability discrimination relating to exclusions. [77860]

Mr. Stephen Twigg: There are three main types of panel or tribunal relating to educational provision for children: SEN and Disability Tribunals (SENDIST), Admission Appeal Panels, and Exclusion Appeal Panels.

SENDIST consider disputes between parents and LEAs about statementing of children with Special Educational Needs. They also consider complaints of disability discrimination made by parents against individual schools or LEAs.

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At the end of June the Special Educational Needs Tribunal had 51 legal chairmen and 97 specialist members. The Secretary of State appointed 39 new specialist members in July. The Lord Chancellor has appointed 11 new chairmen.

By the end of June, 21 SEN Tribunal chairmen and 40 specialist members had received one and a half day's training on disability discrimination legislation. The training included theoretical and practical sessions that covered all the relevant provisions of the Disability Discrimination Act, including the implications for school exclusions. The President of the Tribunal arranged training for tribunal members at three conferences, in June, July and September. The SEN Tribunal became SENDIST from September. Tribunal panels are likely to hear the first claims under the new legislation in the new year.

Independent Admission Appeal Panels consider parents' appeals against refusal of admission of their children to particular schools. Responsibility for setting up a panel, and recruitment and training of panel members lies with the school's Xadmission authority" (in the case of voluntary aided and foundation schools this is the school's governing body, for community and controlled schools it is the local education authority). Although admission authorities themselves are responsible for the training of panel members, Information for School and College Governors (ISCG), who are one of a number of organisations delivering practitioner training, produced a training pack which is available free of charge to schools and LEAs. The revised Admission Appeals Code (to be laid before Parliament soon) contains guidance on the Disability Discrimination Act, and refers readers to other appropriate sources of help.

Exclusion Appeal Panels consider appeals made by parents whose children have been excluded from a school, and the exclusion upheld by the school governing body. The panels are set up by LEAs, who are responsible for appointing and training members. The Department is currently revising its guidance in the XExclusion Appeal Panels Training Pack", with regard to the Disabilities Discrimination Act. This revised guidance will be issued shortly.

The Department does not collect data on admission or exclusion appeal panel members or information on the training they receive.

The Council of Tribunals (which operates under the Tribunals and Inquiries Act 1992) advises and supervises the procedures and working of tribunals. The Council, and the Judicial Studies Board, has a significant interest in the training of panel members. The Council of Tribunals publication XMaking Tribunals Accessible to Disabled People: Guidance on Applying the Disability Discrimination Act" is available to both panel members and those responsible for their training.

Children's Health

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will make a statement on

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the role of schools in the health of children; and what measures have been taken to ensure that food and meals provided at school are nutritional. [77010]

Mr. Stephen Twigg: Schools are encouraged, as part of the National Healthy School Standard, to present consistent messages about healthy eating. Food on offer in vending machines, tuck shops and school meals, for example, should complement the information about healthy eating covered in the taught curriculum.

In April 2001, the Government introduced regulations which set minimum nutritional standards for school lunches. They were accompanied by guidance entitled 'Healthy School Lunches', which is available for school caterers, heads and others implementing the standards.

Class Sizes

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many primary schools in Castle Point had class sizes of 30 or above in each of the last three years. [75470]

Mr. Miliband: Figures for January 2002 show that there were 19 maintained primary schools in Castle Point parliamentary constituency with classes of 30 pupils or more. The corresponding figures for 2000 and 2001 were 19 and 21, respectively.

The School Standards and Framework Act 1998 placed a duty on Local Education Authorities and schools to ensure that infant classes for 5, 6 and 7 year olds taught by one qualified teacher are limited to no more than 30 pupils per class by September 2001 at the latest. The legislation does allow the limit of 30 to be exceeded in certain circumstances.

Figures related to the pledge for Castle Point parliamentary constituency show there were no classes of 31 or more pupils in 2002. In 2001 there was one class, and in 2000 there were 9 classes, of 31 or more pupils.

Classroom Assistants

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what representations he has received supporting the extension of the work of classroom assistants into some aspects of teaching; who was consulted before the proposal was announced; and how many representations (a) for and (b) against he has received. [77678]

Mr. Miliband: A working party involving representatives of teachers and support staff, local government employers and other government bodies has met monthly over the past year and has had extensive discussions about the proposed extension of roles and responsibilities of teaching assistants and other support staff. These discussions led to the development of a consultation paper, XDeveloping the Roles of School Support Staff", which was published on 22 October 2002. An analysis of responses to the consultation will be produced after the response deadline of 22 January 2003.

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Connexions

Mr. Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many people have visited Connexions, seeking advice, in each region in which it operates. [77349]

Mr. Stephen Twigg: Information is not collected in the exact format requested; however the following table shows the number of occasions that young people have received assistance in each region since April 2001. Young people may have received assistance on more than one occasion. 2001–02 and 2002–03 are shown separately as different definitions of management information have been used in the two years, reflecting the move away from counting all contacts with young people to recording only those of a substantial nature.

RegionApril 2001 to March 2002(12) (assistance given)April 2002 to September 2002(13) (interventions)
South East74,26650,250
London126,84995,077
East of England35,34566,770
South West188,858148,272
West Midlands259,249161,362
East Midlands58,53298,792
Yorkshire and The Humber148,245140,472
North West366,093282,200
North East083,207
England1,257,4371,126,402

(12) Data relate to 15 Connexions Partnerships which were launched before March 2002. There were no Connexions Partnerships operating in the North East during this period.

(13) Data relate to 41 Connexions Partnerships (including the 15 partnerships referred to above) which were launched before the end of September 2002.


Mr. Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the annual budget for the Connexions service is, broken down by region. [77350]

Mr. Stephen Twigg [holding answer 28 October2002]: In total #334,627,254 was allocated to Connexions Partnerships in 2002–03. The regional totals are as follows:

#
South East32,060,363
London58,091,947
East of England29,063,827
South West34,644,952
West Midlands44,858,545
East Midlands26,890,604
Yorkshire and the Humber34,626,011
North West54,093,700
North East20,297,304

Mr. Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what grants have been made to voluntary organisations working with young people by the Connexions service, for each region in which it operates. [77351]

Mr. Stephen Twigg [holding answer 28 October 2002]: 15 Connexions partnerships became operational through the course of 2001–02. Details of grants provided by these partnerships to voluntary and community organisations in 2001–02 by English region

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are as given in the table. Connexions partnerships will be allocating grants throughout the year so figures for 2002–03 are not currently available.

Grants to voluntary and community organisations 2001–02

#000
Eastern109
East Midlands
London453
North East
North West505
South East
South West605
West Midlands738
Yorkshire and the Humber216
Totals2,626

Note:

These figures are as reported to the Connexions Service National Unit by Government offices for the regions. No Connexions partnerships were operational in the north east during 2001–02. In the east midlands and south east only one partnership was operational in each region during 2001–02. Grant arrangements in these partnerships had not been finalised at the time so figures are unavailable. The total represents 4.17 per cent. of the total grant allocation to partnerships by the Connexions Service National Unit.



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