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13 Jan 2011 : Column WA449

Written Answers

Thursday 13 January 2011

Children: Fingerprinting

Question

Asked by Lord Taylor of Warwick

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): The Government intend to introduce legislation in the Freedom Bill to ensure that no children's biometric data are taken in schools or colleges without parental permission.

Children: Inequality

Question

Asked by The Earl of Listowel

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): The Government welcome the publication of this research. It is useful to see how the UK ranks against other OECD countries in inequality in material, educational and health well-being measures.

This report covers data from 2006 to 2008. There is clearly more to do to reduce inequality which is why the schools White Paper The Importance of Teaching highlights the importance of reducing attainment gaps between the rich and the poor while maintaining high standards. A strong foundation in the early years increases the probability of positive outcomes across the child's life. A weak foundation increases the risk of later difficulties.

The Government are committed to the goal of eradicating child poverty by 2020. We believe the best way to do this is to address the causes of child poverty, rather than just treat the short-term symptoms. Progress requires a new focus on promoting fairness, opportunity and social mobility. We will be publishing our child poverty strategy in spring 2011 which will show how we expect a range of policies to help eradicate child poverty.

Education: Funding

Question

Asked by Lord Taylor of Warwick



13 Jan 2011 : Column WA450

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): The Government's recent funding announcements on the early years reflects the Government's commitment to ensuring that all children, particularly those from the most disadvantaged backgrounds, have greater opportunities for social mobility. The spending review confirmed that early years funding has been protected so that all three and four year-olds will continue to receive 15 hours of free nursery education per week, delivered more flexibly. Furthermore, we want to make sure that the poorest two year-olds have the same opportunities as other children, and subject to parliamentary approval, have said that we will extend the entitlement to free early education to all disadvantaged two-year-olds from 2013. The investment over the next four years on free two year-old places will be £64 million in 2011, £233 million in 2012, £331 million in 2013 and £380 million in 2014. In 2011 and 2012 funding will come via the Early Intervention Grant.

Equality Act 2010

Question

Asked by Lord Harries of Pentregarth

Baroness Verma: Officials are currently assessing the costs and benefits related to exercising the power in Section 9(5)(a) of the Equality Act 2010 and the Government will consider this work when they respond in due course to the National Institute of Economic and Social Research's report on caste discrimination and harassment in Great Britain.

Genetically Modified Organisms

Question

Asked by The Countess of Mar

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): Defra has received a copy of one notification of a transboundary movement of a genetically modified (GM) organism intended for deliberate release into the environment in a third country under Regulation (EC) 1946/2003. This notification, from Oxitec, concerned the export of mosquito eggs for the release of hatched mosquitoes in the Cayman Islands. This information

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was received on 1 December 2010. A copy of the risk assessment pertaining to the planned GM organism release will be placed in the Libraries of the House.

Olympic Games 2012

Question

Asked by Lord Bates

Baroness Garden of Frognal: The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) will be promoting the principles of the Olympic Truce in schools and colleges through the Get Set education programme.

Current activities include a Film Shorts project encouraging 14 to 25 year-olds to create films to articulate their understanding and experiences of truce.

LOCOG's plans for Get Set for the 2011-12 academic year are being developed and will be announced this year.

In addition, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is currently considering options to promote the principles of the truce.

Schools: Budgets

Question

Asked by Lord Taylor of Warwick

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): The spending review announced that funding for schools will be maintained at cash flat per pupil, meaning that it will rise in line with pupil numbers.

In addition, we are introducing a pupil premium from April 2011 which will be worth £2.5 billion a year

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by 2014-15. In 2011-12, the total amount of the premium will be £625 million, which translates to an extra £430 per deprived pupil going directly to schools.

The flat cash per pupil protection and the pupil premium combined mean we will increase funding for the schools budget by £3.6 billion in cash terms by the end of the period.

We are unable to translate the national position into a guarantee about individual schools' budgets.

The actual level of budget for each individual school will vary-it will depend on each school's specific circumstances and local decisions about how best to meet needs.

Swine Flu

Question

Asked by Lord Taylor of Warwick

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): We continue to monitor the position closely. We do not currently envisage widespread school closures to prevent or slow down the spread of seasonal flu in schools. We expect schools to remain open, though they may wish to seek advice from local health protection units if they notice a significant number of cases-and in some instances, they may be advised to close for a short period.

Vaccination for those in any of the identified risk groups for flu is the best form of protection, and is available from local GPs. H1N1 2009-swine flu- is one of the strains in this year's seasonal flu vaccine.

Special schools teaching children with medical conditions that may make them more vulnerable should seek advice from health protection units if they become aware of any cases among their pupils.

Parents whose child shows influenza symptoms should keep the child at home and seek medical advice from their GP.

We encourage schools to promote good hand and respiratory hygiene. This can be very effective in preventing the spread of a number of viruses.


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