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Written Answers to Questions

Friday 9 November 2012

Church Commissioners

Plough Sunday

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the hon. Member for Banbury, representing the Church Commissioners, whether he has made an assessment of the popularity of Plough Sunday celebrations; and if he will make a statement. [126966]

Sir Tony Baldry: Plough Sunday is not officially part of the Church of England Liturgical Calendar but in many rural communities it is a significant local event. Its popularity has been growing over the last decade as churches assist in making links between food producers and consumers and reach out to the farming community.

Plough services are increasingly part of church life in cities, particularly in cathedrals, where large scale plough services take place and attract many hundreds of people from a wide background, often to raise money for Farming Help Charities. Plough services are also used to encourage rural church congregations and communities to think about food issues and to provide opportunities training for rural clergy.

Plough Sunday, marked on the First Sunday of Epiphany, was traditionally the start of the new farming year. Before the first working day after the 12 days of Christmas the plough, horses and seeds would be blessed and prayers offered for successful cultivation.

Education

Academies: Brighton and Hove

Simon Kirby: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what proportion of secondary schools (a) are and (b) are about to become academies in (i) Brighton and Hove and (ii) the Brighton Kemptown constituency. [126950]

Elizabeth Truss: In Brighton and Hove, there are two open secondary academies, representing 22% of secondary schools. In Brighton Kemptown constituency, there is one open secondary academy, representing 33% of secondary schools. No other secondary schools in either area are currently working towards academy status.

Billing

Mike Freer: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what the average cost to his Department was of processing the payment of an invoice in the latest period for which figures are available; and what proportion of invoices settled in that period his Department paid (a) electronically and (b) by cheque. [125683]

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Elizabeth Truss: The average cost to the Department for processing the payment of an invoice in the latest period was £4. All payments are made electronically.

Children: Abuse

Mr Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for Education whether he has any plans to introduce compulsory education on what constitutes sexual abuse for children under 13 years old. [126610]

Elizabeth Truss: Personal safety and recognising and reducing risk can be taught as part of non-statutory Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education. We are reviewing PSHE education to look at how schools can be supported to improve the quality of PSHE teaching, including giving teachers the flexibility to use their judgement about how best to deliver it.

The review will only propose making new elements of PSHE education compulsory if there is clear evidence of the benefit to pupils of doing so and if, within the national curriculum review's consideration of the overall statutory burden on schools, it is practicable to do so.

Children: Day Care

Bridget Phillipson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education whether he has plans to bring forward legislative proposals for a minimum staff:child ratio for children with special educational needs attending formal childcare. [126516]

Elizabeth Truss [holding answer 8 November 2012]:Requirements for minimum staff:child ratios in child care settings are already in place, as set out in the Safeguarding and Welfare Requirements of the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage. The framework specifies ratios and qualification requirements by setting, child age and time of the day and covers the education and care of all children in early years provision, including children with special educational needs and disabilities.

Together with the Department for Work and Pensions, my Department is currently looking at a range of issues relating to the affordability, availability and quality of child care, through the child care commission. We will report to the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister later in the year.

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what recent steps he has taken to ensure that child care is accessible. [126891]

Elizabeth Truss: The Government have extended free early education—all three and four-year-olds are now entitled to 15 hours a week. From September 2013, 20% of two-year-olds will also be entitled to 15 hours a week of free early education, rising to 40% in September 2014.

The Prime Minister announced a commission on child care on 19 June. The commission is looking at how to reduce the costs of child care for working families and remove burdens on child care providers, without compromising the safety or quality of provision. A call for evidence ran from 19 July until 31 August this year, and drew on expert advice from those involved in

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child care and early education. International evidence on high-quality, affordable child care is also being considered.

The commission will report to the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister in the autumn.

Children's Centres

Mr Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Education with reference to his Department's report Child Poverty in the UK: report on the 2010 target, what steps has he taken to ensure that Sure Start centres do more research to reach parents who can most benefit from their services. [125326]

Elizabeth Truss [holding answer 29 October 2012]: The Government have set out clearly the core purpose of Sure Start children's centres, which is to improve outcomes for young children and their families, with a particular focus on the most disadvantaged families, in order to reduce inequalities, so that children are equipped for life and ready for school.

We do not prescribe how children's centres should achieve this purpose since that is for each children's centre to decide according to its local circumstances. However, we have collected examples of good practice in effective outreach and family support delivered from children's centres to help them to identify and engage with those families that need extra support and we are making sure that children's centres have access to that information.

English Baccalaureate

Sir Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education (1) what steps he is taking to ensure that students studying science and geography as part of the English Baccalaureate will have full and equitable access to fieldwork; and if he will make a statement; [127039]

(2) if he will make it his policy to secure the provision of fieldwork as part of high-quality science and geography teaching in GCSEs and their successor qualifications; and if he will make a statement; [127040]

(3) what assessment he has made of the likely effects of changes to assessments and examinations on the provision of high-quality fieldwork in science and geography GCSEs; and if he will make a statement. [127041]

Elizabeth Truss: We are currently working with subject experts in science and geography to develop the subject content and assessment requirements which will be used in the new English Baccalaureate Certificates. These will ensure that the new qualifications will cover essential aspects of science and geography. As part of this work we are considering what fieldwork requirements may be needed to provide a rigorous, rich education in these subjects.

We expect that the content requirements for both science and geography will be published next year, subject to the outcomes of the current consultation exercise on the reform of Key Stage 4 qualifications launched on 17 September.

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Free Schools

John Pugh: To ask the Secretary of State for Education (1) following the closure of St George of England School, Bootle and the decision of the governing body to found a free school, who is responsible for redundancy payments to staff not willing to accept employment at the new free school; [125647]

(2) what his policy is on the application of the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 in the event of the governing body of a previously maintained school electing to become a free school following a decision by the local education authority to close it. [125648]

Elizabeth Truss: The Hawthorne's free school proposal was not brought forward by the governing body of the (now closed) St George of England High School. The local authority took the decision to close two local schools, St George's and St Wilfrid's Catholic High school, before the free school application was made and it is for the local authority as the former employer to honour its commitment to pay those staff without jobs any redundancy to which they are entitled.

Free schools are new and additional state provision, so our view is that TUPE does not apply to them. The only exception is where existing independent schools apply successfully to become free schools.

Vernon Coaker: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what applications have been made to set up free schools to date; in what location in each such case free schools have (a) opened and (b) been given permission to open; and what the location is of each such school in each category. [126359]

Elizabeth Truss [holding answer 2 November 2012]: To date, over 800 free school applications have been received from groups and individuals throughout England. The names and locations of both the free schools that have opened, and the applications that have been approved for further development, are published on the Department's website at:

http://www.education.gov.uk/schools/leadership/typesofschools/freeschools

GCE A-level

Chris Skidmore: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many and what proportion of pupils (a) eligible and (b) not eligible for free school meals sat A levels in each subject in the last year for which figures are available; and if he will place a copy of the data in the Library. [125507]

Elizabeth Truss: The information requested is shown in the following table:

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Number and percentage of students attempting GCE A-level subjects(1) by free school meal (FSM) eligibility(2), year: 2010/11 (final). Coverage: England, maintained schools (including academies and CTCs)(3)
 Students eligible for FSMAll other studentsAll students
 Number of students attempting GCE A-level subject(1)Percentage of students attempting GCE A-level subject(1)Number of students attempting GCE A-level subject(1)Percentage of students attempting GCE A-level subject(1)Number of students attempting GCE A-level subject(1)Percentage of students attempting GCE A-level subject(1)

Total number of eligible students

25,806

310,356

336,162

       

Biological science(4)

2,180

8.4

39,824

12.8

42,004

12.5

Chemistry

1,876

7.3

30,054

9.7

31,930

9.5

Physics

765

3.0

20,632

6.6

21,397

6.4

Other Science(5)

104

0.4

3,268

1.1

3,372

1.0

Mathematics(6)

2,587

10.0

50,728

16.3

53,315

15.9

Further mathematics

236

0.9

7,234

2.3

7,470

2.2

Design and Technology(7)

395

1.5

9,961

3.2

10,356

3.1

Computer studies

155

0.6

2,926

0.9

3,081

0.9

ICT

565

2.2

6,990

2.3

7,555

2.2

Accounting and Finance

299

1.2

2,611

0.8

2,910

0.9

Business Studies(8)

1,288

5.0

21,567

6.9

22,855

6.8

Economics

749

2.9

12,512

4.0

13,261

3.9

Geography(9)

491

1.9

20,792

6.7

21,283

6.3

Government and Politics

551

2.1

9,043

2.9

9,594

2.9

History

1,422

5.5

34,447

11.1

35,869

10.7

Law

1,011

3.9

10,902

3.5

11,913

3.5

Psychology

2,966

11.5

43,098

13.9

46,064

13.7

Sociology

2,335

9.0

22,649

7.3

24,984

7.4

Other Social Studies(10)

216

0.8

3,200

1.0

3,416

1.0

Art and Design(11)

1,647

6.4

28,703

9.2

30,350

9.0

Drama

586

2.3

11,394

3.7

11,980

3.6

English(12)

3,479

13.5

64,039

20.6

67,518

20.1

Media/Film/TV

1,544

6.0

20,759

6.7

22,303

6.6

Other communication studies(13)

526

2.0

8,300

2.7

8,826

2.6

French

268

1.0

7,301

2.4

7,569

2.3

German

102

0.4

3,033

1.0

3,135

0.9

Spanish

171

0.7

3,887

1.3

4,058

1.2

Other modern language(14)

345

1.3

2,142

0.7

2,487

0.7

Classical studies(15)

78

0.3

2,759

0.9

2,837

0.8

Religious Studies

956

3.7

12,953

4.2

13,909

4.1

Music(16)

183

0.7

6,008

1.9

6,191

1.8

PE(17)

390

1.5

15,695

5.1

16,085

4.8

General Studies(18)

1,152

4.5

37,098

12.0

38,250

11.4

(1) Students aged 16-18 attempting a GCE A-level subjects. (2) Students eligible for free school meals at the end of year 11. (3) Maintained schools and FE sector colleges only. Students taking A levels in independent schools are not included. (4) Includes students attempting biology and human biology. (5) Includes students attempting single science, electronics, environmental science, geology and science for public understanding. (6) Includes students attempting mathematics, mechanical mathematics, pure mathematics, discrete mathematics, applied mathematics, statistical mathematics and additional mathematics. (7) Includes students attempting design technology and food technology, design technology and systems and design technology and production. (8) Includes students attempting business studies and business studies and economics. (9) Includes students attempting geography and world development. (10) Includes students attempting social science citizenship, logic/philosophy, archaeology and European studies. (11) Includes students attempting art and design, graphics, textiles, photography, 3D studies, critical studies, fine art and history of art. (12) Includes students attempting English, English literature and English language. (13) Includes students attempting communication, performing and film studies. (14) Includes students attempting Welsh as a second language, Dutch, Italian, modern Greek, Portuguese, Gujarati, Japanese, modern Hebrew, Punjabi, Polish, Russian, Turkish, Urdu and Persian. (15) Includes students attempting ancient history, Greek, Latin, classical civilisation and other classical studies. (16) Includes students attempting music and music technology. (17) Includes students attempting physical education and dance. (18) Includes students attempting general studies and critical thinking. Source: National Pupil Database

Health Education: Sex

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what his policy is on teaching children about pornography as part of sex education. [126894]

Elizabeth Truss: The Government want all young people to have high quality, age appropriate sex and relationships education.

The current non-statutory programmes of study for Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education, which include sex and relationship education, can provide opportunities for schools to teach about pornography.

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We believe that teachers should be free to use their professional judgment to decide what to include in PSHE lessons, according to needs of their pupils.

History: Curriculum

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what recent steps he has taken to encourage the study of British history in secondary schools. [126859]

Elizabeth Truss: We believe the teaching of history should be at the heart of the school curriculum and that all schoolchildren should be taught about the key events and figures in British history. That is why we are conducting a root and branch review of history teaching as part of the review of the National Curriculum in England, to guarantee that pupils are engaged and inspired to learn British history within a rigorous chronological framework.

History: GCSE

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many pupils were studying history at GCSE in the latest period for which figures are available. [126860]

Elizabeth Truss: The Statistical First Release “GCSE and Equivalent Results (Provisional) and National Curriculum Teacher Assessments at Key Stage 3 in England, 2011/12” provides information on the number of pupils attempting GCSEs in a range of subjects. This publication is available from the Department's website here:

http://www.education.gov.uk/researchandstatistics/statistics/recentreleases/a00214981/gcse-national-curriculum-teacher-assessment-ks3-england

Table 7 shows that the number of pupils at the end of Key Stage 4 in the 2011/12 academic year who attempted

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GCSE history was 197,800. This includes attempts by these pupils in previous academic years.

ICT

Graham Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what assessment he has made of the difficulties encountered by pupils currently transitioning from ICT to computer science. [126601]

Elizabeth Truss: There is no statutory requirement for schools to teach computer science instead of ICT.

The recent disapplication of the National Curriculum Programmes of Study, Attainment Targets and statutory assessment arrangements for ICT means that schools now have more freedom to develop their own local curricula for the subject. We hope that many schools will use this opportunity to implement more rigorous and ambitious approaches to teaching ICT, which could involve greater emphasis on aspects of computer science. However, it is for schools to decide whether and how fast to do this in the best interests of their pupils.

Languages: GCE A-level

Stephen Twigg: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many and what proportion of students studied A-level (a) Hindi, (b) Arabic, (c) Portuguese, (d) Russian, (e) Punjabi, (f) Mandarin and (g) Cantonese in each of the last 10 years. [126105]

Elizabeth Truss [holding answer1 November 2012]:The information requested for each of the last five years is included in the following table. To provide this information for earlier years would incur a disproportionate cost. There are no entries for GCE A-level Hindi over this time period. We are not able to identify GCE A-level Mandarin and Cantonese therefore GCE A-level Chinese has been given.

GCE A-level examination attempts in selected subjects by students aged 16 to 18(1, 2). Year: 2007/08 to 2011/12(2) Coverage: England
 2007/08 (final)2008/09 (final)2009/10 (final)2010/11 (final)2011/12 (provisional)

Total number of students aged 16-18 entered for GCE/Applied GCE A-levels and Double Awards

256,616

261,218

267,345

258,892

266,221

      

Arabic

     

Number of students aged 16-18 attempting

217

203

224

228

262

Percentage of all students aged 16-18 entered for GCE/Applied GCE A-levels and Double Awards

0.1

0.1

0.1

0.1

0.1

      

Portuguese

     

Number of students aged 16-18 attempting

90

119

159

175

168

Percentage of all students aged 16-18 entered for GCE/Applied GCE A-levels and Double Awards

0.0

0.0

0.1

0.1

0.1

      

Russian

     

Number of students aged 16-18 attempting

506

547

555

563

673

Percentage of all students aged 16-18 entered for GCE/Applied GCE A-levels and Double Awards

0.2

0.2

0.2

0.2

0.3

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Punjabi

     

Number of students aged 16-18 attempting

64

56

46

45

57

Percentage of all students aged 16-18 entered for GCE/Applied GCE A-levels and Double Awards

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

      

Chinese

     

Number of students aged 16-18 attempting

1,612

1,739

1,364

1,709

2,275

Percentage of all students aged 16-18 entered for GCE/Applied GCE A-levels and Double Awards

0.6

0.7

0.5

0.7

0.9

(1) Age in years at the start of the academic year, ie 31 August 2011 for the 2011/12 academic year. (2) Includes attempts that were; ungraded, no award (absent/declined) and pending.

Leveson Inquiry

Chris Bryant: To ask the Secretary of State for Education whether he was asked to provide a witness statement and documents to the Leveson inquiry under section 21(2) of the Inquiries Act 2005. [126625]

Elizabeth Truss [holding answer 5 November 2012]: The Secretary of State for Education, my right hon. Friend the Member for Surrey Heath (Michael Gove), was invited by the Leveson inquiry to provide a witness statement and supporting documents. These were submitted to the inquiry on 30 April and can be found on the inquiry website at:

www.levesoninquiry.org.uk

Mathematics and Science: Education

Simon Kirby: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what steps his Department is taking to promote the study of mathematics and science in schools. [126952]

Elizabeth Truss: The Government are doing much to promote the study of science and mathematics in schools. These subjects are at the heart of its key reforms.

A formal consultation on the new primary and secondary mathematics and science curriculum content will take place in early 2013. The Department is also currently consulting on a new suite of world class qualifications replacing GCSEs in core academic subjects, to be called English Baccalaureate Certificates (EBCs). The first teaching of EBCs in mathematics, science and English will be in 2015 with the first exams taken in 2017.

Good teaching is vital to engaging more students in mathematics and science. The Department is attracting the best graduates into mathematics and science teaching through bursaries of up to £20,000.

The Department has also teamed up with the Institute of Physics and the Royal Society of Chemistry to offer £20,000 scholarships to the most gifted aspiring physics and chemistry teachers. The Department is funding the network of science learning centres and the National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics to provide existing teachers with access to high quality professional development.

The Department is continuing to fund programmes to support greater take up of GCSE triple science and further mathematics and physics A levels.

The Department is also working with Cambridge university to develop an advanced curriculum to deepen young people's understanding of mathematical ideas and give them a greater mastery of the subject. The Department is also working with Mathematics in Education and Industry (MEI) to develop a mathematical and statistical problem solving advanced level curriculum that will be appealing and useful to students who would not normally continue to study mathematics post-16.

New maths specialist Free Schools for talented 16 to 18-year-old mathematicians will increase the likelihood of students studying mathematics, engineering and science at university.

Members: Correspondence:

Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Education when he plans to reply to the letter from the hon. Member for Bridgend of 3 August 2012, reference MM/DH/03/08/2012. [121462]

Elizabeth Truss: I am sorry to hear that the hon. Member has not received a response to her letter of 3 August 2012, reference MM/DH/03/08/2012. Having reviewed our records, I can confirm that the response was sent out on 24 September 2012.

National Curriculum Tests

Andrew Griffiths: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what the average points score was of pupils taking (a) English, (b) mathematics and (c) science key stage 2 examinations in each lower layer super output area in the last year for which figures are available. [126097]

Elizabeth Truss [holding answer 1 November 2012]: A table showing total average point score of pupils within each super output area, has been placed in the House Libraries. Information on average point scores for individual subject breakdowns could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Andrew Griffiths: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what the average points score was of pupils taking (a) English, (b) mathematics and (c) science key stage 3 examinations in each lower layer super output area in the last year for which figures are available. [126098]

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Elizabeth Truss [holding answer 1 November 2012]: Average points scores from National Curriculum assessments at key stage 3 were last published at lower layer super output area level for the 2006-07 academic year on the Neighbourhood Statistics website at the following page:

National Curriculum Assessments at Key Stage 3 by Gender in England (Referenced by Location of Pupil Residence), 2007

Since then, average point scores have not been calculated at that level, and it is not possible to provide the information requested for recent years without incurring disproportionate cost.

More up to date information about National Curriculum teacher assessments at key stage 3 were last released for the 2011/12 academic year in the following statistical first release published on the 18 October 2012:

http://www.education.gov.uk/rsgateway/DB/SFR/s001094/index.shtml

Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education

Mr Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for Education whether he plans to include Personal, Social, Health Economic education in the national curriculum. [126658]

Elizabeth Truss: The Government's intention is to slim down the statutory national curriculum. We have already ruled out making Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education as a whole a statutory subject within the national curriculum.

Pupils: Bullying

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what recent assessment he has made of the effect of bullying on children's well-being; and if he will place a copy of any statistics related to that matter in the Library. [127063]

Elizabeth Truss: The Department has not commissioned any external research or statistics to look solely at the effect of bullying on children's well-being. However, other research the Department has commissioned has looked more widely at the extent of bullying and the effect on attainment and outcomes.

According to the 2009 Tellus4 survey, published by the Department in February 2010, a quarter of children and young people said that they were worried about being bullied. The survey included questions on bullying experienced in school and out of school and how well they felt schools dealt with bullying, and separate questions about emotional well-being. The report can be found at:

http://publications.education.gov.uk/eOrderingDownload/DCSF-RR218.pdf

The Department published a report, conducted by the National Centre for Social Research, called ‘The Characteristics of Bullying Victims in Schools’ in July 2010. The report investigated the characteristics of pupils aged 14 to 16 who had been bullied, using the longitudinal study of young people in England. It examined the relationships between these characteristics and the likelihood of a young person reporting that they had experienced bullying. The report can be found at:

https://www.education.gov.uk/publications/eOrderingDownload/DFE-RR001.pdf

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Schools: Libraries

Sir Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what consideration he has given to the introduction of a statutory duty on the establishment and maintenance of school libraries; what consideration he has given to the inclusion of school libraries on the Ofsted Inspection Schedule; and if he will make a statement. [127053]

Elizabeth Truss: School libraries play an important role in helping to improve young people's literacy and love of reading. Schools should decide whether to provide and maintain a library service for their pupils. Introducing a statutory duty that requires schools to provide a library would risk increasing the burden on schools and would not take account of different school's circumstances.

Ofsted's survey report ‘Moving English Forward’ published in March 2012 emphasised the importance of encouraging reading for pleasure. It highlighted examples of schools using libraries effectively to promote reading. The use of school libraries as a resource to support children's learning and progress is within the scope of the schools inspection framework. Inspectors will consider evidence presented by schools to demonstrate the contribution of any school library to improving standards of literacy and encouraging reading for pleasure.

Departmental Staff

Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what proportion of his Department's staff are (a) male and (b) female. [126158]

Elizabeth Truss: At 30 September 2012 the headcount for Department and its agencies was 3,880; 60% were female and 40% male.

Vacancies

Mike Freer: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what his Department's vacancy rate was in 2011-12; and what vacancy rate has been assumed for 2012-13. [125687]

Elizabeth Truss: The Department had 397 vacancies for grades below the senior civil service (SCS) during the period 1 April 2011 to 31 March 2012. These vacancies were advertised to all DFE staff and shared with the Department's arm's length bodies. Vacancies not filled within DFE or its arm's length bodies were then advertised across the civil service.

34 vacancies were advertised externally (outside of the civil service) during the period 1 April 2011 to 31 March 2012 where suitable candidates could not be sourced from within the DFE or civil service.

There were 18 SCS appointments during this period.

For 2012-13, the Department profiled 452 internal vacancies. As at 30 September 422 vacancies have been advertised.

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World War I: Education

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what steps he has taken to increase awareness of the first world war in schools in advance of the 2014 centenary of the outbreak of that war. [126858]

Elizabeth Truss: The Government believe that it is important that pupils learn about the first world war. That is why, as part of our plans to mark the centenary, the Department for Education and the Department for Communities and Local Government are providing £5.3 million in funding to enable pupils and teachers from every state funded secondary school in England to participate in battlefield tours of the western front.

Home Department

Children in Care: Missing Persons

Alex Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) whether her evaluation of the pilot schemes by her Department and the Association of Chief Police Officers relating to children missing from care will include an assessment of the risks related to children categorised as absent; [127237]

(2) when the evaluation of the pilot schemes by her Department and the Association of Chief Police Officers relating to children missing from care will be published. [127238]

Mr Jeremy Browne: The aim of the pilots is to better protect children and vulnerable adults through a more proportionate and risk based approach to the management of missing incidents by better targeting of the initial police response. The evaluation examines whether the pilots have achieved these aims and includes an assessment of whether the approach has had any adverse impact on forces’ ability to manage risk in the absence category, which includes both children and adults. The evaluation of the pilot schemes is due to be published in the new year.

Driving: Eyesight

Mr Leech: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what guidance she issues on the suspension by police of a driver's licence to allow a full eyesight examination to take place following a road traffic accident; [127398]

(2) what information her Department holds on the number of drivers who, on causing a road traffic accident, had their eyesight tested at the scene by a police officer. [127399]

Mr Jeremy Browne: No information is held centrally about the number of eyesight tests carried out on drivers by police officers following a collision. No guidance has been issued as police officers are not empowered to suspend a driving licence. The police can test a driver's eyesight at the roadside to determine whether they meet the minimum eyesight requirements for driving. If the driver fails the roadside test, the police can inform the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency who will revoke the driving licence.

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Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) whether her Department collects information on the number of drivers who, on being involved in a collision, had their eyesight tested at the scene by a police officer; [127442]

(2) what powers police have to suspend a driver's licence to allow a full eyesight examination to take place following involvement in a road traffic collision. [127443]

Mr Jeremy Browne: No information is collected centrally about the number of eyesight tests carried out on drivers by police officers following a collision. Police officers are not empowered to suspend a driver's licence to allow a full eyesight examination to take place following a road traffic collision. The police can test a driver's eyesight at the roadside to determine whether they meet the minimum eyesight requirements for driving. If the driver fails the roadside test, the police can inform the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency who will revoke the driving licence.

Prostitution

Gavin Shuker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many offences relating to prostitution were recorded in 2011 by (a) police force and (b) type of offence. [128116]

Mr Jeremy Browne: Offences committed by prostitutes are summary offences and do not form part of the police recorded crime statistics collected by the Home Office.

Data on recorded offences of exploitation of prostitution and soliciting for the purposes of prostitution are available and are given in the table:

Selected sexual offences recorded by the police in England and Wales, 2011
Number of offences
Police force areaExploitation of prostitutionSoliciting for the purposes of prostitution

Avon and Somerset

4

228

Bedfordshire

2

4

British Transport Police

2

0

Cambridgeshire

2

12

Cheshire

0

0

Cleveland

0

1

Cumbria

1

0

Derbyshire

0

4

Devon and Cornwall

2

0

Dorset

0

18

Durham

0

1

Dyfed-Powys

0

0

Essex

3

1

Gloucestershire

1

0

Greater Manchester

9

46

Gwent

1

1

Hampshire

3

25

Hertfordshire

0

0

Humberside

0

13

Kent

4

1

Lancashire

0

8

Leicestershire

3

6

9 Nov 2012 : Column 775W

Lincolnshire

0

0

London, City of

1

0

Merseyside

5

0

Metropolitan Police

21

100

Norfolk

1

2

Northamptonshire

2

4

Northumbria

1

0

North Wales

1

0

North Yorkshire

0

0

Nottinghamshire

1

94

South Wales

1

1

South Yorkshire

4

11

Staffordshire

1

28

Suffolk

4

1

Surrey

1

0

Sussex

3

0

Thames Valley

6

44

Warwickshire

0

0

West Mercia

3

0

West Midlands

7

51

West Yorkshire

9

62

Wiltshire

1

2

Total

110

769

Business, Innovation and Skills

Billing

John Woodcock: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what the average time taken by his Department to settle invoices to external suppliers or contractors was in each of the last three financial years. [125309]

Jo Swinson: The Department aims to make payment to suppliers within five working days of receiving a valid invoice.

The percentage of invoices paid within five working days during the last three financial years, are as follows:

 Percentage

2010/11

94.9

2011/12

94.8

2012/13 (April to October)

90.8

The Department continues to monitor prompt payment closely and is currently looking at ways to improve upon the figures reported for this current financial year. The monthly achievement of 92.3% for October 2012 represented an increase of 1.6% on the previous month.

Catering

Ms Abbott: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how much his Department has spent on refreshments since May 2010. [127111]

9 Nov 2012 : Column 776W

Jo Swinson: Since May 2010 until 31 October 2012 the departmental expenditure on refreshments with the Department's catering services contractor BaxterStorey was £353,333.

The Department's policy is that hospitality should only be ordered for meetings where visitors will be present.

The expenditure is for teas, coffees, fruit juices and biscuits.

Credit: Interest Rates

Justin Tomlinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (1) what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the pay-day loan industry's code of practice; [127855]

(2) what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of self-regulation in the payday loan industry. [127856]

Jo Swinson: Government are committed to ensuring that the payday lending industry can self-regulate effectively to drive out rogue traders. We also recognise that a voluntary approach can deliver real improvements in consumer protection more quickly than Government regulation.

That is why we welcomed the strengthened Codes of Practice and new Customer Charter published in July 2012 by the four main payday lending trade associations. These codes were developed to respond to the Office of Fair Trading's findings in its High Cost Credit Review which said that more could be done to help ensure that the markets for high cost credit are seen as responsible industries which are able to address concerns without the need for additional regulation by Government.

The codes are to be implemented by individual lenders by 26 November 2012, and we expect that these revised codes will deliver enhanced consumer protections as well as provide greater transparency about how these loans work. Citizens Advice and the four trade associations will be monitoring lenders' compliance.

The trade associations will carry out a review of the effectiveness of the codes of practice in summer 2013. I look forward to considering the outcomes of that review.

Galileo System

Mr Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent progress he has made on the Galileo programme; and if he will make a statement. [127795]

Mr Willetts: The European Union's satellite navigation programme Galileo is moving from its testing phase into full deployment with the European Commission, the programme manager, estimating that the first services will be offered from a partial system by the end of 2014.

Last month, the last of the four in-orbit validation satellites were successfully launched and are performing well in space. The payloads for these satellites were built by Astrium UK. Surrey Satellite Technologies Ltd is building the payloads for the next 22 satellites and UK companies have wide range of other contracts from the programme, demonstrating the vibrant and healthy space industry we have in Britain.

9 Nov 2012 : Column 777W

As Galileo becomes operational and services start, it is important that the UK continues to capitalise on the opportunity this offers for growth in the space sector and the wider economy. I am hosting the largest EU space event of 2012 in London on 3-5 December. The focus of the 'European Space Solutions' event is on stimulating growth in the downstream market for space-based services and technologies. I look forward to welcoming European Commission Vice President Antonio Tajani, together with a senior representative from the European Space Agency and participants from across Europe to focus on how to stimulate the take up and use of new services such as Galileo. Interested Members of Parliament can register for the conference or visit the public exhibition on Horse Guards Parade from 3-9 December where they can learn about the significant progress in this key sector.

New Businesses: Havering

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many small and

9 Nov 2012 : Column 778W

medium-sized enterprises were set up in the London borough of Havering in the last 12 months. [127671]

Mr Hurd: I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Cabinet Office.

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Glen Watson, dated November 2012:

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question concerning how many small and medium sized enterprises were set up in the London Borough of Havering in the last 12 months. [127671]

Annual statistics on the number of enterprise births are available from 2004 onwards in the ONS release on Business Demography at:

www.statistics.gov.uk

Data for the last 12 months, however, are not yet available.

The following table contains the latest statistics, which cover the calendar year 2010.

 Small size businesses (0-49 employment size band)Medium size businesses (50-249 employment size band)

Count of enterprise births by small and medium employment size bands in the London borough of Havering, 2010

885

5

Note: The above figures have been rounded to the nearest five, to avoid disclosure.

Nurseries

Owen Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many child care places his Department provides on its estate; what the cost is of providing such places; how many such places his Department provided in 2010; what the cost was of providing such places in 2010; what plans he has for changes in the provision of such child care places; and what the number of places will be once any such changes have been implemented. [121261]

Jo Swinson: The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) does not have any on-site nurseries. However, we do provide facilities for a cross-government holiday play scheme to run from our Westminster premises, which is available to our London based staff. We are currently reviewing the support we offer to staff for child care.

Olympic Games 2012

Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills which Ministers or officials in his Department have had (a) discussions and (b) correspondence with (i) construction companies and (ii) trade unions on reports that blacklists were used by contractors completing construction work on public contracts for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. [126815]

Jo Swinson [holding answer 6 November 2012]: There have been no discussions or correspondence between Ministers or officials from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and construction companies or trade unions on these allegations of blacklists being used by contractors working on the Olympic stadium.

I understand this dates back to 2008 and that the previous Administration introduced regulations in 2010 to outlaw blacklisting.

I am unaware of any evidence that these regulations are not doing their job, but if any evidence comes to light, I would be interested to see it.

Public Houses: Closures

Mr Denham: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what estimate he has made of the number of pubs that have closed in (a) England, (b) each English county and (c) each English unitary council in each of the last five years. [126452]

Jo Swinson [holding answer 5 November 2012]: The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, my right hon. Friend the Member for Twickenham (Vince Cable), has not made any direct estimate of the number of pubs that have closed in England, the English counties or each English unitary council in the last five years. In the Government's response to the Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee inquiry on pub companies published in November 2011, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills drew on publicly available data from CGA Strategy on behalf of CAMRA, the British Beer and Pubs Associations Handbook and the annual benchmarking survey of the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers.

CGA Strategy and CAMRA report the following closures since December 2008. These figures appear to cover England, Scotland and Wales.

9 Nov 2012 : Column 779W

Period coveredNet pub closures

December 2008 to December 2009

2365

December 2009 to December 2010

1278

December 2010 to June 2011

367

September 2011 to March 2012

(1)c. 300

March 2012 to September 2012

(1)c. 450

(1) Taken from press release.

Regional Growth Fund

Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (a) how many and (b) which successful bids to the Regional Growth Fund

9 Nov 2012 : Column 780W

have (i) received an agreed offer, (ii) received a final offer letter, (iii) drawn down funding and (iv) not yet reached these stages in each region and in each funding round. [127560]

Michael Fallon: 176 bids under Rounds 1 and 2 of the Regional Growth Fund were conditionally allocated funding subject to confirmatory due diligence. These bids translate to 239 individual awards as some bids have multiple counterparties. Details on successful bids from the two rounds are as follows. Announcements on selected bids from Round 3 were made on 19 October and none of these selected bids has yet received an agreed offer.

 Received an agreed (conditional) offerReceived final offerDrawn down fundingConditions not yet agreed (in correspondence)
RegionR1R2R1R2R1R2R1R2

East midlands

1

0

1

4

1

1

0

2

West midlands

1

4

6

12

2

4

1

2

North-east

5

12

14

35

10

12

0

3

North-west

2

9

6

22

4

9

0

5

South-east

0

4

2

5

0

1

0

0

South-west

0

3

5

6

1

3

0

0

Yorkshire and Humber

0

3

7

14

4

5

0

3

East of England

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

1

National

0

0

5

4

4

3

0

0

Total

9

35

46

102

27

38

1

16

Sickness Absence

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills for how many and what proportion of days, on average, staff of his Department at each pay grade were absent from work as a result of ill health in each of the last five years. [127186]

Jo Swinson: In June 2009 the Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) was merged with the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS) to create the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). Therefore we only have access to data from this date.

The following tables show the average working days lost by grade for staff in BIS along with the percentage of staff who had one or more periods of sickness absence. The information is published on the BIS website on a quarterly basis and calculated on a 12-month rolling period.

 AAAOEOHEO
12 month-rolling periodAverage working days lost%Average working days lost%Average working days lost%Average working days lost%

June 2011 to July 2012

17.2

68

11.0

57

7.8

44

4.6

38

April 2011 to March 2012

19.6

65

11.0

54

7.8

43

4.5

37

January 2011 to December 2011

21.3

60

10.3

54

7.9

46

4.4

36

October 2010 to September 2011

15.8

31

4.9

45

5.8

45

3.0

32

July 2010 to June 2011

11.5

39

5.5

42

5.1

40

3.2

31

April 2010 to March 2011

4.3

28

6.5

48

5.7

45

3.5

35

January 2010 to December 2010

4.4

63

5.9

47

5.2

43

3.2

34

October 2009 to September 2010

7.5

55

5.3

47

5.3

43

2.8

34

July 2009 June 2910

9.4

57

6.1

54

6.3

52

3.2

38

 SEOG7G6SCSUnknown
12 month-rolling periodAverage working days lost%Average working days lost%Average working days lost%Average working days lost%Average working days lost%

June 2011 to July 2012

4.2

39

3.6

29

2.1

26

2.4

20

April 2011 to March 2012

3.8

39

3.3

26

2.0

26

1.6

21

January 2011 to December 2011

3.1

38

3.2

25

2.2

23

1.1

18

9 Nov 2012 : Column 781W

9 Nov 2012 : Column 782W

October 2010 to September 2011

2.9

34

1.8

19

1.1

19

0.4

14

July 2010 to June 2011

2.3

31

1.8

19

1.4

18

0.4

11

April 2010 to March 2011

2.5

34

2.4

24

2.0

19

0.6

12

480.0

0

January 2010 to December 2010

3.0

35

2.3

25

2.3

19

0.6

15

6.1

3

October 2009 to September 2010

2.7

35

2.1

26

2.1

19

0.5

17

3.6

0

July 2009 June 2910

4.2

42

2.8

29

2.9

24

0.7

17

4.8

1

Students: Loans

Ann McKechin: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what proportion of student loans written off because of bankruptcy in 2011-12 were issued to students from (a) England, (b) Scotland, (c) Wales, (d) Northern Ireland and (e) other EU countries. [127750]

Mr Willetts: Since 2004, student loans have been excluded from a borrower's bankruptcy debts, so that during and upon discharge from bankruptcy the borrower remains liable to repay his student loan.

The vast majority of loan cancellations due to bankruptcy prior to the regulation change were processed by the Student Loans Company before financial year 2009-10. However, in 2011 the SLC conducted a casework review which identified some early bankruptcy cases which required student loan cancellations to be processed. This led to a peak in write-offs due to bankruptcy to the value of £4.2 million in financial year 2011-12. This amount relates to English domiciled students.

The value of loans written off due to bankruptcy is published annually in Table 1 of the Statistical First Release ‘Student Loans for Higher Education in England’:

http://www.slc.co.uk/media/333174/slcsfr012012.pdf.

Equivalent statistics relating to students domiciled in the devolved Administrations are available at the following links. Student loans were not made available to EU students studying in the UK until 2006 so they would not appear in these statistics.

Wales:

http://www.slc.co.uk/media/333177/slcsfr022012.pdf

Scotland:

http://www.slc.co.uk/media/333183/slcsfr042012.pdf

Northern Ireland:

http://www.slc.co.uk/media/333180/slcsfr032012.pdf

Trade Promotion

Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills by what mechanisms he is monitoring the Business Ambassadors programme; and what benchmarks and metrics he and UKTI have set for such monitoring. [127742]

Michael Fallon: The Business Ambassadors programme is supported by a dedicated Secretariat based in UK Trade and Investment (UKTI), responsible for managing and developing the programme of key events and opportunities in the calendar which enable Business Ambassadors to promote the UK economy and business environment. The Secretariat also ensures that Business Ambassadors are properly briefed for each event with key facts on live issues.

Given the nature of the Business Ambassadors' role, it is not possible to develop a means of measuring the specific impact of their involvement in a particular campaign. We assess the network's effectiveness in communicating core messages about the UK, and promoting UK excellence to as many potential customers and inward investors as possible: this includes where appropriate media coverage and feedback from UKTI trade teams overseas on events, and discussion with the Business Ambassadors themselves to ensure we learn from each event and tailor activities to the strengths and interests of each Business Ambassador.

A summary list of activities undertaken by the Business Ambassadors network throughout 2012 is published at:

http://www.ukti.gov.uk/uktihome/aboutukti/keypeople/businessambassadors.html

Working Hours: EU Law

Charlotte Leslie: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what his policy is on reform of the European Working Time Directive; and what progress he has made on such reform. [127723]

Jo Swinson: The Government committed in the coalition agreement to limit the application of the Working Time Directive in the UK. Our absolute priority is the retention of the individual's right to opt-out of the 48 hour limit on weekly working time.

The Working Time Directive is currently being negotiated by EU Social Partners. The EU Social Partner negotiations are autonomous, and operate independently of the Commission, Council and Government.

Written Questions

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many written parliamentary questions to his Department received a substantive answer (a) within five working days, (b) between six and 10 working days and (c) after more than 10 working days in the last 12 months for which figures are available. [127257]

9 Nov 2012 : Column 783W

Jo Swinson: Ministers and officials in the Department are committed to providing hon. Members with substantive answers to House of Commons ordinary written parliamentary questions (WPQs) within five working days.

For the period 3 November 2011 to 2 November 2012 the figures for this Department were:

 NumberPercentage

(a) within five working days

1,449

69

(b) between six to 10 days

529

25

(c) over10 days

107

5

Total

2,085

Following restructuring within the Department's Parliamentary Relations team the internal parliamentary data source has been upgraded, allowing officials to check on progress of all active WPQs on a twice daily basis. Using this new device, the Department is aiming to improve its performance in answering WPQs on time during this and future sessions of Parliament.

The Government have committed to providing the Procedure Committee with information relating to written parliamentary question performance on a sessional basis and will provide full information to the Committee at the end of the current session. Statistics relating to performance for the 2010-12 parliamentary session are available on the Parliament website as follows:

http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons-committees/procedure/P35_Memorandum_Leader_of_the_House_ Monitoring_PQs.pdf

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many and what proportion of written parliamentary questions to his Department received holding responses in the last 12 months for which figures are available. [127258]

Jo Swinson: Ministers and officials in this Department are committed to providing hon. Members with substantive answers to parliamentary questions on the date stipulated by the Member.

In the past 12 months (3 November 2011 to 2 November 2012) the Department sent 366 holding responses, representing 31% of all Commons named day PQs received in this period.

The Government have committed to providing the Procedure Committee with information relating to written parliamentary question performance on a sessional basis and will provide full information to the committee at the end of the current session. Statistics relating to performance for the 2010-12 parliamentary session are available on the Parliament website as follows:

http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons-committees/procedure/P35_Memorandum_Leader_of_the_House_ Monitoring_PQs.pdf

Treasury

Catering

Ms Abbott: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much his Department has spent on refreshments since May 2010. [127101]

9 Nov 2012 : Column 784W

Mr Gauke: In the 29 months from 1 May 2010 to 30 September 2012, the Treasury spent £188,000 on refreshments for meetings and hospitality, mainly for external visitors to the Department. The equivalent spending in the 29 months prior to 1 May 2010 was £650,000.

Child Benefit

Rachel Reeves: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his latest estimate is of the number of people who will cease to claim child benefit due to the higher rate child benefit charge. [125084]

Mr Gauke [holding answer 26 October 2012]:HMRC's latest costing assumption is that 100,000 families will opt out of receiving child benefit due to the higher income child benefit charge. This assumption will be reviewed by the Office for Budget Responsibility for the autumn statement.

Mr Stewart Jackson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how many claims for child benefit for (a) two, (b) three and (c) four or more children whose parents are citizens of an EU member state and who themselves reside outside the UK have been (i) received and (ii) paid in the latest period for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement; [127509]

(2) how many claims for child benefit his Department received from EU citizens with children resident outside the UK in the latest period for which figures are available; what sum was paid or remitted to such claimants in that period; and if he will make a statement. [127510]

Mr Gauke [holding answer 8 November 2012]: HM Revenue & Customs maintains a database showing the number of ongoing UK family benefit awards made under EC Regulation 883/2004 which provides information about the aggregate number of awards and the aggregate number of children involved per member state of the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland. I would refer the hon. Member to the answer given to my hon. Friend the Member for Witham (Priti Patel) on 22 October 2012, Official Report, columns 619-20W, for the latest published data.

Information about the number of child benefit claims received under the EC regulations is not available. Information about the amount of child benefit paid is available only at disproportionate cost because not all awards are made at the full UK rate.

Dr Alasdair McDonnell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many families are claiming child benefit for more than two children in (a) England, (b) Northern Ireland, (c) Scotland and (d) Wales. [127754]

Mr Gauke: This information is published in the HMRC publication ‘Child Benefit Statistics Geographical Analysis’, which can be accessed at:

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/stats/child_benefit/chb-geog-aug11.pdf

The latest available data are for August 2011.

The number of families claiming child benefit for more than two children, broken down by country, can be found on pages 16-21 of this publication, but for ease has also been reproduced in the following table.

9 Nov 2012 : Column 785W

Number of families containing a certain number of children by country of the UK
Thousand
 Three childrenFour childrenFive or more children

England

758.7

202.0

74.9

Northern Ireland

35.5

10.1

3.1

Scotland

62.1

13.5

3.6

Wales

42.0

10.4

3.5

Railways: Capital Allowances

Mr Leech: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) whether he has considered a review of the exclusion of the railway industry from the enhanced capital allowances scheme; [127744]

(2) what estimate his Department has made of the spending by the railway industry that would qualify for inclusion under the enhanced capital allowances scheme were it to be eligible for that scheme; [127745]

(3) for what reason the railway industry is excluded from the enhanced capital allowances scheme. [127746]

Mr Gauke: The scope of the enhanced capital allowances (ECA) scheme for energy saving and environmentally beneficial technologies is kept under regular review. As with all tax policy, any announcements on changes to the ECA scheme are made as part of the annual Budget process in the context of the wider public finances.

HMRC does not have the information necessary to estimate the total expenditure incurred by the whole rail industry that would potentially qualify under the ECA scheme.

Considerations taken into account in excluding railway assets from the ECA scheme were the nature of the scheme in relation to the railway industry, the industry's assets, and the other allowances available in respect of capital expenditure on those.