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19 Jun 2007 : Column 1703W—continued

Departments: Sexual Harassment

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many complaints of sexual harassment have been investigated in his Department in the last 12 months; and how many complaints have been upheld. [135370]

Mr. Dhanda: No complaints of sexual harassment were investigated in my Department in the last 12 months.

The Department believes that each and every individual has the right to be treated fairly, with dignity and respect. As such, we do not tolerate unacceptable behaviour towards others. Formal complaints of sexual harassment would be investigated quickly and thoroughly and, where complaints were upheld, appropriate disciplinary action would be taken. All cases are treated seriously.

The overall aim of our harassment and bullying policy is to prevent such unacceptable behaviour occurring but, where it does occur, to ensure that appropriate and effective action is taken to deal with it and prevent it happening again. This applies to everyone in the Department. Every individual is personally responsible for their own behaviour, and
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every manager is responsible for enforcing the policy in accordance with the guidance and procedures set out in our Staff Handbook.

Departments: Sick Leave

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what average number of days per year was taken by staff in his Department as sick leave in each of the last five years for which records are available. [143107]

Mr. Dhanda: The information is set out in the following table.

Calendar year Average number days lost through sick leave per staff year

2005

8.9

2004

9.0

2003

10.3

2002

9.8

2001

8.4


The data are taken from the report ‘Analysis of Sickness Absence in the Civil Service’, which Cabinet Office publishes annually.

Departments: Working Hours

David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many staff at each grade in his Department have opted out of the Working Time Regulations. [137679]

Mr. Dhanda: The Department is committed to reducing the number of employees who work in excess of the Working Time Directive maximum to an absolute minimum.

The current number and grade of employees who have signed a formal opt out from the Working Time Directive is set out in the table as follows:

Grade Number

AO

6

EO

12

HEO

12

SEO

6

Grade 7

7

Grade 6

2

SCSB1

2


The number of hours that each employee works per week is not kept centrally, therefore the number of hours in excess of the maximum allowed under the Working Time Directive could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Executive Agencies

Mr. Hurd: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills which executive agencies are the responsibility of his Department; what the function is of each agency; and what the budget was of each agency in the most recent year for which figures are available. [116746]


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Mr. Dhanda: The Department for Education and Skills (DfES) is not responsible for any executive agencies.

Foster Care: North East Region

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many children in the North East are (a) in recognised foster care and (b) subject to special guardianship or residence orders with friends or family other than their parents. [134887]

Mr. Dhanda: Information on the numbers of children that are (a) in recognised foster care and (b) subject to special guardianship or residence orders with friends or family other than their parents is not collected centrally by the Department for Education and Skills (DfES).

Information on looked after children who were taken into care is collected in the annual SSDA903 return which is completed by local authority social services departments in England. The SSDA903 return does not distinguish whether a foster care is recognised or not. The closest data available are the number of children in the North East of England that are in foster care at 31 March 2006. The information is available in table 4 at:

The data do not distinguish whether looked after children subject to special guardianship or residence orders are with friends or family other than their parents. The closest data available are the number of children who ceased to be looked after during the year ending 31 March 2006 in England by reason episode ceased and age on ceasing. Please note that the information only shows the number of children who ceased to be looked after because of the granting of a special guardianship or residence order who are living in all types of placement, and not just for those who are placed with friends or family other than their parents. The information is available in table AH at:

Pupils: Dyslexia

Mr. Jeremy Browne: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many children of (a) primary and (b) secondary school age in each local authority area were diagnosed with dyslexia in each of the last 10 years. [141219]

Mr. Dhanda: The available information has been placed in the House Library.

Information was collected from schools on pupils who are supported at School Action Plus and those pupils with statements of special educational needs (SEN) about their main or primary need and, if appropriate, their secondary need for the first time in 2004.

Information on the number of pupils with dyslexia alone is not collected centrally. Figures relating to pupils with Specific Learning Difficulties have been provided. Pupils with Specific Learning Difficulties have a particular difficulty in learning to read, write,
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spell or manipulate numbers and this includes pupils with dyslexia, dyscalculia and dyspraxia.

There are a number of sensitivities about categorising pupils by their type of SEN. It is important that anyone using the data should be aware of the concerns and also understand the limitations of the data’s reliability and validity. There are a range of factors which may affect the data recorded, including:

Respite Care

Mr. Streeter: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what progress has been made on the issuing of best practice guidelines to local authorities on the provision of respite care to families with disabled children pursuant to the Government's commitment given on 23 February 2007; [141280]

(2) how the recently announced additional £280 million funding to increase respite care for families with disabled children will be spent; and if he will make a statement. [141281]

Mr. Dhanda [holding answer s 11 June 2007]: The Council for Disabled Children has started to develop good practice guidance to help local authorities commission quality short breaks services for disabled children and their families. A first draft of the guidance will be submitted to the Department in the autumn and this will be trialled with a small number of authorities. The trial findings will be used to inform the final draft of the guidance for publication in spring 2008.

Implementation plans are being developed to deliver the step change in the provision of short breaks announced in the DfES/HMT report ‘Aiming high for disabled children: better support for families’ (May 2007). There is an expectation the £280 million made available for this purpose will be phased—with pathfinders in 2008-09 and 2009-10 and national roll-out in 2010-11. The priority is to support the development of sustainable short breaks services locally.

Our plans will need to take account of the NHS comprehensive spending review settlement later this year which will provide additional funding to provide short breaks for disabled children with complex health needs.

Special Educational Needs: Pupil Exclusions

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many and what percentage of current pupils with (a) statemented special educational needs (SEN) and (b) non-statemented SEN have received a fixed period exclusion from (i) maintained mainstream and (ii) other schools (A) once, (B) twice, (C) more than twice and (D) more than five times. [132386]

Mr. Dhanda: The available information is given in the tables.


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19 Jun 2007 : Column 1708W
Maintained primary, secondary and all special schools( 1) : Number of pupils excluded for a fixed period from school by special educational needs (SEN) , 2004/05 , England
Maintained primary and secondary schools
Pupils with statements of SEN Pupils with SEN without statements Pupils with no identified SEN Total( 2)
Number of fixed period exclusions per pupil: Number Percentage( 3) Number Percentage( 3) Number Percentage( 3) Number Percentage( 3)

1

6,820

3.2

42,130

19.6

86,880

40.5

135,830

63.3

2

2,770

1.3

16,170

7.5

22,260

10.4

41,190

19.2

3 to 5

2,700

1.3

13,930

6.5

14,970

7.0

31,600

14.7

More than 5

630

0.3

2,930

1.4

2,260

1.1

5,810

2.7

Total number of pupils

12,910

6.0

75,150

35.0

126,370

58.9

214,440

100.0


Maintained special schools
Pupils with statements of SEN Pupils with SEN without statements Pupils with no identified SEN Total
Number of fixed period exclusions per pupil: Number Percentage( 3) Number Percentage( 3) Number Percentage( 3) Number Percentage( 3)

1

2,590

40.5

90

1.5

280

4.3

2,960

46.3

2

1,160

18.2

40

0.6

120

1.9

1,320

20.7

3 to 5

1,360

21.2

60

1.0

100

1.5

1,520

23.7

More than 5

520

8.2

20

0.2

60

0.9

600

9.3

Total number of pupils

5,640

88.0

210

3.3

550

8.7

6,400

100.0

(1) Includes middle schools as deemed. Excludes non-maintained special schools.
(2) Includes pupils for whom information on stage of SEN has not been established.
(3) Number of pupils who have been excluded for a fixed period expressed as a percentage of the total number of pupils who were excluded for a fixed period from the same type of school.
Note:
Numbers have been rounded to the nearest 10. There may be discrepancies between the sum of constituent items and totals as shown.
Source:
Termly Exclusions Survey

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