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Lord Rooker: Fees in respect of liquor licences and applications for additional permitted hours in Northern Ireland are the responsibility of the courts. The department has issued a consultation on licensing, copies of which are available in the Library.
What is the latest estimate of additional transport costs per annum that will be incurred by (a) pupils; and (b) teachers to give effect to the entitlement framework as detailed in the report by the Costello working group on post-primary education in Northern Ireland. [HL2201]
Lord Rooker: Schools will develop the arrangements necessary to ensure access to the curricular entitlement framework with other schools in their locality and with further education colleges. In doing so they will seek to minimise disruption to the school day; for example, by the use of synchronised timetabling, e-learning and distance learning. As these arrangements will be developed locally, it is not possible at this stage to estimate the costs associated with them.
Lord Rooker: The pupil profile will provide a range of useful information on each pupil's progress, aptitudes, interests and aspirations and will help parents, teachers and pupils to make informed choices throughout each pupil's education. CCEA has been trailing and developing the pupil profile over the past two years to ensure that it is robust, manageable and useful. Development work is continuing in 200506 and details of the outcomes of the first two years of trials were recently published on the CCEA website at www.ccea.org.uk.
The information in the pupil profile will be based on ongoing teacher assessment supported by a range of assessment tools. CCEA will ensure that the pupil profile will meet standards of validity and reliability by benchmarking them against the assessment reform group's principles for effective teacher assessment.
Whether, in implementing the proposals of the Costello working group on post-primary education in Northern Ireland, legislative provision will be made to ensure that parents who attempt to choose educational pathways best suited to their children's abilities will be obliged to seek the benefits of professional advice from post-primary schools as well as from primary teachers. [HL2245]
Lord Rooker: The role of primary and post-primary schools in the new admissions arrangements for post-primary schools was part of the recent consultation on the new arrangements which will operate when academic selection ends after 2008. The Government will be announcing decisions on new admissions arrangements in early December.
Whether planning for the implementation of the proposals by the Costello working group on post-primary education in Northern Ireland is on target to ensure that the present transfer test, the 11-plus, will end as scheduled in 2008. [HL2246]
Lord Rooker: Progress is being made in planning for implementation of the Costello proposals, and we remain on schedule to put key arrangements in place before 2008 when the final transfer tests take place.
Further detail on recent developments is contained in the Department of Education's Entitled to Succeed newsletter, which is distributed to schools and published on the department's website. Copies of the newsletter have been placed in the Library.
17 Nov 2005 : Column WA167
The chairman of the Independent International Commission for Decommissioning (IICD), General John de Chastelain, announced on 25 September 2005, that it had witnessed full and final decommissioning by the PIRA of arms and weaponry.
The seventh Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC) report published on 19 October 2005 recognises that statement as "very significant" and that "initial signs following the PIRA statement are encouraging". The report concluded "we have no evidence of training or recruitment after the 28 July statement".
Lord Rooker: The Independent Monitoring Commission's 7th Report, published on 19 October 2005, confirmed that RIRA is continuing to recruit and train new members and that existing members are receiving training. Chapter 2, section 3.22 of the report concludes that RIRA remains "active, prepared to use violence against both law enforcers and the general public, and has continued terrorist and other criminal activity as its clear aim".
The Government's position is clear: In order to create the conditions for political progress to continue to flourish, there must be an end to all criminality and paramilitary activity.
17 Nov 2005 : Column WA168
Whether the equality screening exercise under Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 on the proposal to reform the liquor licensing laws in Northern Ireland in relation to the surrender of existing licences took account of any community imbalance in the licensed trade. [HL2165]
Lord Rooker: There are no known equality implications or community balance issues arising from the reform of the liquor licensing laws in Northern Ireland in relation to the surrender of existing licences.
In the proposal document on reforming the liquor licensing laws in Northern Ireland in relation to licence surrender, what they mean by the words "in order to minimise the impact on existing licence holders for pubs and off licences, a period of time would have to be allowed in which to write off the notional value of the licence". [HL2166]
Lord Rooker: The higighted words indicate that the proposed abolition of the surrender provision would be phased in over a specified period of time to prevent licences losing overnight the commercial value they have acquired over a number of years. This would allow current licence holders to adapt to the change in market. The consultation is open until 31 January 2006.
Lord Rooker: Prior to his decision to introduce comprehensive tobacco controls on smoking in enclosed public places and workplaces in Northern Ireland, Health Minister Shaun Woodward made fact finding visits to Dublin and New York. The Dublin visit took place on 4 and 5 July 2005 and involved discussions with officials from the Department of Health and Children, the Office of Tobacco Control, the Restaurants' Association of Ireland, the Irish Hotels' Federation and Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), Ireland.
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