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Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what criteria Partnerships for Schools use to assess the readiness of local authorities to join the reformed Building Schools for the Future programme. 
Mr. Coaker: A Readiness to Deliver assessment covers: educational transformation; project deliverability; investment strategy; affordability and value for money; local resources and capability; and benefits realisation. In essence, local authorities have to prove that they are ready to deliver a clear education vision and estate strategy that will show how the investment through Building Schools for the Future will help improve education for every young person and deliver best value to the public purse.
Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families with reference to paragraph 6.21, page 121, of Budget 2009, what his most recent assessment is of progress made by the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme in changing its procurement model so as to enable BSF projects with Partnership for Schools to join the programme on a gradual basis. 
Mr. Coaker: In March this year, we announced the revised national programme for Building Schools for the Future (BSF), in line with the proposals of our consultation last year, based on the revised expressions of interest which authorities had proposed, including initial projects from authorities which have not yet started in BSF, and prioritised on the educational and social need of schools in the projects. Partnerships for Schools (PfS) then had meetings with prioritised authorities to discuss their readiness to deliver. A total of 23 authorities provided evidence of their readiness to deliver, and PfS is evaluating this evidence with a view to recommending to me the first projects which are fully ready to start in BSF. We aim shortly to give further details.
Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families with reference to paragraph 14, page 8 of the National Audit Office report on Financial management in the Department for Children, Schools and Families, HC 267, Session 2008-09, for what reasons the Building Schools for the Future programme has an under spend of £2.4 billion. 
the original expectations of project completion dates were over-optimistic, given the scale of the programme and the aspiration of achieving a step-change in educational outcomes from the capital investment;
many local authorities in the early waves of BSF found identifying and resourcing the necessary project management skill sets to deliver the programme more challenging than expected;
many of the local authorities selected for the early waves of BSF also had the biggest challenges to manage, were pioneering the processes, and were at the forefront of resolving unexpected difficulties with innovative solutions.
Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what changes have been made to the methods of recording the number of places provided by childminders since September 2008. 
Dawn Primarolo [holding answer 19 June 2009]: These are matters for Ofsted. The Chief Inspector, Christine Gilbert, has written to the hon. Member and a copy of her reply has been placed in the House Libraries.
Your parliamentary question has been passed to me, as Her Majesty's Chief Inspector, for a response.
The method used by Ofsted to record numbers of childcare places changed with the introduction of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) in September 2008. Ofsted now holds two registers, the Early Years Register (for settings providing for children between birth and aged five) and the Childcare Register. The Childcare Register has two components, the compulsory register (for settings providing for children aged between five and seven) and the voluntary register (for settings providing for children older than aged eight). These registers replace the single register previously held for settings providing for children between birth and aged seven.
For providers only registered on the Early Years Register, or those registered on both the Early Years Register and the compulsory part of the Childcare Register, the only change is to the breakdown of age ranges recorded on the new registers.
For those providers only registered on the voluntary part of the Childcare Register, there is no maximum number of places stipulated. The maximum number of places a setting on the other registers can offer is set out in their conditions of registration.
A copy of this reply has been sent to Rt Hon Dawn Primarolo MP, Minister of State for Children, Young People and Families, and will be placed in the library of both Houses.
Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families pursuant to the answer of 24 June 2009, Official Report, column 989W, on children: databases, by what date he expects all local authority ContactPoint teams to have been given access to ContactPoint. 
Dawn Primarolo: All local authorities have had access to ContactPoint for shielding records, however, full access to ContactPoint will not be given to all local authorities until the ContactPoint management teams have completed the necessary training.
All Early Adopter local authorities and Early Adopter national partners have completed such training. For local authorities and national partners that are not early adopters, we expect ContactPoint management teams to be trained between June and August, so that all local authority ContactPoint management teams should have access to ContactPoint by autumn.
Mark Hunter: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what monitoring his Department plans to undertake to ensure that Aiming High for Disabled Children short break funding meets its objectives in respect of the provision of services to (a) disabled children and (b) disabled children with palliative care needs. 
Ms Diana R. Johnson: The Department has contracted with Together for Disabled Children (TDC) to support local authority and PCT delivery of the short breaks programme. TDC tracks local area progress both in terms of the work undertaken to improve services and the growth in provision and number of additional disabled children in receipt of breaks. Local authorities are expected to collect information on short breaks provision to enable this tracking to take place. The information collected does not however distinguish as to whether breaks are received as part of a package of palliative care.
Mark Hunter: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what steps he is taking to ensure access for local voluntary sector providers to the Aiming High for Disabled Children short breaks funding distributed to local authorities. 
Ms Diana R. Johnson: The Department is advising local authorities on short break commissioning through two intermediary bodies: Together for Disabled Children and the Commissioning Support Programme. Advisors from both agencies support local authorities in securing appropriate providers, including local voluntary sector bodies.
In response to the inadequate judgments in Doncaster Metropolitan borough council's 2008 annual performance assessment, the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) commissioned a comprehensive diagnostic review of the council's children's services. The diagnostic review confirmed the seriousness of inadequate performance in Doncaster and, in response, the Secretary of State issued a direction under section 497A of the Education Act 1996, to the effect that the council was directed to secure a new senior leadership team for children's services, to prepare an Improvement
Plan, and to appoint an Improvement Board with an independent Chair, Tony Elson, to oversee improvements. On 1 April, the council appointed Gareth Williams, Director of Children's Services (DCS) for Leicestershire county council, as interim DCS for Doncaster on a six month secondment. The council has prepared an Improvement Plan, which is being implemented. DCSF is supporting the council to secure a new senior leadership team for children's services for the longer term.
Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what estimate he has made of his Department's capital underspend in 2009-10; and how much of that sum he proposes to return to the Exchequer. 
Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) how many (a) maintained comprehensive and (b) independent schools have applied for funding to teach the pre-U qualification; 
Mr. Coaker [holding answer 13 July 2009]: Post-16 funding allocations to maintained schools are made on the basis of overall learners' volumes and not by qualification type. It is not possible to provide information on the allocation of funding to maintained schools for the pre-U qualification. DCSF does not fund independent schools.
Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what recent assessment he has made of the relevance of diploma qualifications to the needs of employers; and what steps he is taking to take employers' views into account when revising the content and structure of diplomas. 
Mr. Iain Wright: Diplomas were created through consultation with over 5,000 employers, and employers lead the Diploma Development Partnerships responsible for developing diploma content. We have a network of over 100 Diploma Employer Champions who support Diplomas and act as champions for them in their sectors. Many employers are actively engaging in the delivery of diplomas, working directly with schools and colleges in their local areas, reinforcing the principle that diplomas are applied learning in the workplace. The Employer Task Force, which will be launched in the autumn, will provide further opportunities for employers to become involved with diploma delivery.
We are still in the first year of teaching of the diploma and so have no plans to revise content and structure. We are evaluating the first three years of delivery for each of the four phases of diplomas and this will include an evaluation of employer involvement.
Mr. Coaker: The following table provides the average age of full-time head teachers in local authority maintained nursery/primary and secondary schools in England, March 1997 to 2008, the latest information available.
|Average age of full-time head teachers in local authority maintained schools. Coverage: England. Years: March 1997 to 2008|
Figures are rounded to the nearest whole year.
Database of Teacher Records.
Hugh Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how much mainstream grant funding was allocated by the Training and Development Agency for Schools to (a) the University of York and (b) York St. John University in (i) 1996-97 and (ii) the latest year for which figures are available. 
Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families when he plans to provide a substantive response to the letter from a constituent of the hon. Member for the Isle of Wight of 22 April 2009, ref ART 63589019765, on that constituent's daughter. 
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