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15 May 2007 : Column 662W—continued

The percentage of looked after children under 16 who have been looked after for 2.5 or more years and who have been living in the same placement for at least two years, or placed for adoption, has remained stable at around 65 per cent. since this target was introduced. As a result, we have undertaken intensive targeted work with a number of local authorities to help support them in improving placement stability.


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Carers: Training

Dr. Francis: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what discussions he has had recently with (a) educational bodies and (b) carers organisations on improving access to skills opportunities for carers; and if he will make a statement. [121270]

Phil Hope: Officials in my Department and in the Learning and Skills Council have discussed with Skills for Care, the Sector Skills Council for the care sector, how the national employer training programme in England, Train to Gain, could be made more relevant to the needs of employers and employees within the care sector, and are currently considering proposals.

In England, Train to Gain offers employers in all sectors easy access, via a free skills brokerage service, to a full range of training provision including fully subsidised training leading to a Skills for Life or first full level 2 qualification, such as a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) at level 2. At the end of March 2007 a total of 6,550 employers from the health and social work sector had been engaged by Train to Gain which, at 21 per cent., represents the largest level of sectoral engagement in the programme. That is consistent with Train to Gain’s predecessor—the Employer Training Pilots—where the care sector represented 26 per cent. of participating employers.

From September 2006, all adults in England who do not have a full qualification at level 2 are entitled to free tuition to get one, even if they do not work for an employer who is involved with the Train to Gain programme. They can access this level 2 entitlement
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through their local further education college or a range of other publicly funded training providers.

The Department of Health, together with 13 other Government Departments, has recently made a Skills Pledge commitment to train those staff members without a first full level 2 qualification and we anticipate this will lead to benefits for others who work in its sector including carers.

ChildLine: Lancashire

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many children in Lancashire contacted ChildLine in each of the last five years. [125743]

Mr. Dhanda: ChildLine is operated by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children and the Government do not hold this sort of statistical data about the number of calls to the helpline.

Children in Care: Missing Persons

Helen Southworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many young looked after children went missing from care in each of the last five years; and in how many of these cases the whereabouts of the child are unknown. [122477]

Mr. Dhanda: The number of young looked after children who went missing from care in the last five years and of those the number whose whereabouts were unknown is shown in the following table.

Children looked after who were reported missing in the years ending 31 March, 2002-06( 1,)( )( 2,)( )( 3,)( )( 4,)( )( 5) England
Number
Placement 2002( 1) 2003( 1) 2004( 2) 2005( 2) 2006( 2)

All children missing from at least one placement

1,100

1,200

880

1,000

1,000

In refuge (Section 51 of Children Act)

10

10

Whereabouts known (not in refuge)

240

300

210

230

210

Whereabouts unknown

820

900

670

790

820

(1) Figures are taken from the SSDA903 one-third sample survey.
(2) Figures are taken from the SSDA903 return which in 2003-04, 2004-05 and 2005-06 covered all looked after children.
(3) Historical figures may differ from older publications. This is mainly due to the implementation of amendments sent by some local authorities after the publication date of previous materials.
(4) To maintain the confidentiality of each individual child, data at national level are rounded to the nearest 100 if they exceed 1,000 or to the nearest 10 otherwise. Where the number was five or less (other than 0) this has been suppressed and replaced with a long dash (—).
(5) A child is recorded with a missing placement if he/she is absent for more than 24 hours from his/her agreed placements.

Children in Care: Qualifications

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many looked after children achieved (a) five or more GCSE grades A*-E, (b) two or more A-levels and (c) entry to a higher education establishment in each local education authority in the Eastern region in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement. [121187]

Mr. Dhanda: We do not collect information about the numbers of looked after children who achieve 5 or more GCSEs at grades A*-E. However, data collected since 2000 and published in “Outcome Indicators for Looked After Children Twelve months to 30 September”, show the percentage of children who were looked after for at least 12 months achieving five GCSEs (or equivalent) at grades A*-G by region. Data for the East of England are in the table as follows.


15 May 2007 : Column 665W
Percentage of children who were looked after for at least 12 months achieving 5 GCSEs (or equivalent) at grades A* to G , 30 September 2000 - 06 , East of England
Percentage obtaining at least 5 GCSEs (or equivalent) at grade A* to G

2000

37

2001

38

2002

37

2003

37

2004

41

2005

44

2006

38


We do not collect data centrally on how many looked after children achieving two or more A-levels or entering a higher education establishment.

Departments: Energy

Mr. Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what (a) instructions are issued to staff in his Department and (b) technical procedures are in place to shut down computers at night. [136094]

Mr. Dhanda: Part (a) Simple and easy to use guidance is available to all staff via the Departments’ internal intranet system.

Part (b) All of the Department’s computers have energy saving enabled by default. They also have software installed which enables them to be turned on and off remotely and any computers not being actively used at 11 pm every night are shut down using a centrally run automated programme.

Education: Research

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much his Department spent on educational research in the last two years for which figures are available; and how much was spent (a) in-house and (b) externally. [137144]

Bill Rammell: Over the last two financial years, 2005-06 and 2006-07, the Department has spent £26.5 million and £29.5 million respectively on externally commissioned research. The Department does not separately monitor in-house research activities; to collect this information would incur disproportionate costs.

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much his Department spent on educational research from the National Foundation for Educational Research in the last two years for which figures are available. [137145]

Bill Rammell: Over the last two financial years, 2005-06 and 2006-07, the Department has spent £1.9 million and £2.6 million respectively on research from the National Foundation for Educational Research.

Education: Young Offender Institutions

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what education is provided for juveniles aged between 10 and 17 years in (a) young offender institutions, (b) secure training centres and
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(c) local authority secure children’s homes; who provides the teaching; and for how many hours each week. [136429]

Phil Hope: The curriculum delivered to young people in custody is guided by “The Offender’s Learning Journey (juveniles)” in young offender institutions (under the Learning and Skills Council’s Offender Learning and Skills Service) and the National Specification for Learning and Skills in secure training centres and secure children's homes. It specifies a curriculum balance of approximately one third basic skills, one third academic or vocational subjects and one third physical education, arts, information and communications technology, and personal, social and health education. The learning is based on a young person’s needs to support progression to education, training or employment on release, alongside a daily literacy and numeracy session and an hour per month with a career guidance professional.

In young offender institutions education is provided under the Offenders Learning and Skills Service (OLASS) contracts managed and funded by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC). The LSC contracts with further education colleges as well as private providers to deliver the teaching. Latest Youth Justice Board performance statistics for 2005-06 indicate that young people received an average of 28.24 hours per week of education, training and personal development activity, against a target of 25 hours a week.

Secure training centres are privately run; two contract with further education providers to deliver their education, one contracts with a private provider and the other delivers education in-house. The latest YJB performance statistics indicate that 99.4 per cent. of young people received 30 hours or more per week.

Teachers in secure children’s homes are usually recruited directly by their local authority. Latest figures show that 79.9 per cent. of young people in secure children’s homes received 30 hours or more education, training and personal development activity a week.

Foster Care

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what level of financial support is provided for children who are (a) in recognised foster care and (b) subject to special guardianship or residence orders with friends or family other than their parents. [136835]

Mr. Dhanda: All approved foster carers receive an allowance in respect of each looked after child in their care. The level and structure of payments are at the discretion of local authorities and independent fostering providers. However, to create a fairer system of payments across the country, we have announced new national minimum allowance rates for foster carers. From April 2007, the national minimum allowance, which is subject to regional variation, is £100-£116 per week for a baby, rising to £151-£176 per week for an older teenager

With regard to residence orders, local authorities have a power to pay an allowance, which is most often used to enable children to leave care to live with relatives.


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In addition, local authorities are required to make arrangements for the provision of special guardianship support services as prescribed by the Special Guardianship Regulations 2005; these include financial support. Before making any decision about financial support, local authorities are required to consider the needs of the child and the resources available to the special guardian. We have developed a model means test to assist local authorities in calculating appropriate levels of financial support for both adoption and special guardianship.


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Nursery Schools: Copeland

Mr. Jamie Reed: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many nursery school places were available in Copeland in (a) 1996-97 and (b) 2006-07. [136269]

Beverley Hughes: The available information is shown in the tables.

Number of part- time funded places( 1,)( )( 2,)( )( 3) filled by three and four-year-olds—parliamentary constituency: Copeland—position in January
Three-year-olds Four-year-olds
Maintained nursery and primary schools( 4) Other maintained and private, voluntary and independent providers( 5) Total three year olds Maintained nursery and primary schools( 6) Other maintained and private, voluntary and independent providers( 7) Total four year olds

2006

400

240

630

580

100

690

(1) A place is equal to five or more sessions and can be filled by more than one child.
(2) Figures are rounded to the nearest 100 if they exceed 1,000 and to the nearest 10 otherwise.
(3) Prior to 2004, information on early education places was derived from returns made by local authorities as part of the Nursery Education Grant (NEG) data collection exercise. These data were collected at local authority level, therefore, data for this parliamentary constituency 1996-97 are not available.
(4) Headcount of children aged three at 31 December in the previous calendar year from the Schools Census.
(5) Part-time equivalent number of children aged three at 31 December in the previous calendar year from the Early Years Census and the Schools Census.
(6) Headcount of children aged four at 31 December in the previous calendar year from the Schools Census.
(7) Part-time equivalent number of children aged four at 31 December in the previous calendar year from the Early Years Census and the Schools Census.

Number of part-time funded places( 1,)( )( 2) filled by three and four-year-olds—local authority: Cumbria—position in January each year
Three-year-olds Four-year-olds
Maintained nursery and primary schools( 3) Other maintained and private, voluntary and independent providers Total three year olds Maintained nursery and primary schools( 4) Other maintained and private, voluntary and independent providers Total four year olds

1997

2,600

n/a

2,600

n/a

n/a

(5,6)5,600

2006

2,400

(7)1,900

4,300

4,200

(8)670

4,800

n/a = not available.
(1) A place is equal to five or more sessions and can be filled by more than one child.
(2 )Figures are rounded to the nearest 100 if they exceed 1,000 and to the nearest 10 otherwise.
(3) Headcount of children aged three at 31 December in the previous calendar year from the Schools Census.
(4) Headcount of children aged four at 31 December in the previous calendar year from the Schools Census.
(5) Part-time equivalent number of children aged four at 31 December in the previous calendar year from the Nursery Education Grant data collection exercise.
(6) For the years 1997-2001, four year old sub national figures from the Nursery Education Grant data collection exercise can not be disaggregated between the maintained and private, voluntary and independent sectors.
(7) Part-time equivalent number of children aged three at 31 December in the previous calendar year from the Early Years Census and the Schools Census.
(8) Part-time equivalent number of children aged four at 31 December in the previous calendar year from the Early Years Census and the Schools Census.

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