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The following items are fromChildren & Parliament, autumn and winter 1999. Children & Parliament is an abstracting service based on Hansard and produced by the National Children's Bureau. It covers all parliamentary business affecting children and is available on subscription via the internet ( TheChildren & Parliament web site provides direct links to full text Hansard, government department sites, the sites of the Office for National Statistics, Ofsted, and other relevant organisations. For further details contact Lisa Payne, Editor, Children & Parliament, National Children's Bureau, 8 Wakley Street, London EC1V 7QE, UK (tel: +44 (0) 171 843 6000; fax: +44 (0) 278 9512). (The Hansard reference is given in parentheses; from 17 November 1999 column numbers for written questions will be followed by W).

• The government is to establish 48 000 new free nursery places for 3 year olds in 1999–2000.

(27 July 1999, Col 165–167)

• The School Standards and Framework Act 1998 came into force in September 1999 and makes corporal punishment illegal for pupils in maintained and non-maintained schools and for children receiving nursery education.

(19 Oct 1999, Col 543)

• Recent government action against smoking includes the allocation of up to £60 million over 3 years to help health authorities develop specialist services, £47.5 million over 3 years to prepare a health education programme, NHS smoking cessation services in health action zones, draft regulations to ban tobacco advertising, the Public Places Charter, and consultation on an Approved Code of Practice on smoking in the workplace.

(19 Oct 1999, Col 468)

• The government is making money available for 1999–2002 to help the recruitment and training of an additional 20 000 (full time equivalent) school assistants, including learning support assistants, for children with special educational needs.

(19 Oct 1999, Col 540)

• Although £20 million has been allocated to the Schools Access Initiative for 1999–2000, the government is planning large increases for the subsequent two years.

(19 Oct 1999, Col 534)

• An intended change in the law will mean that local education authorities will have to conduct the “transition review” of a child's statement during academic year 9 instead of after the child's 14th birthday as is the present requirement. This means that statemented 16 year old school leavers will have had at least two and usually three annual reviews at which their transition from school has been planned.

(19 Oct 1999, Col 535–536)

• The higher rate mobility component of Disability Living Allowance will be extended to 3 and 4 year olds by a clause in the Welfare Reform and Pensions Bill. An additional 8000 children should benefit beginning in April 2001.

(25 Oct 1999, Col 729)

• The British Dyslexia Association, with the help of a grant from the Department of Education and Employment, has recently produced a schools resource pack calledAchieving dyslexia friendly schools. Teachers in training will need to demonstrate competence in identifying children with special educational needs including dyslexia.

(1 Nov 1999; Col 68–69)

• In 1998–99 the Medical Research Council spent some £160 000 on research into juvenile arthritis, and the Department of Health has recently given over £500 000 to projects on the same topic.

(4 Nov 1999, Col 286)

• The government is to give £22.5 million over the next three years towards education in schools about drugs.

(10 Nov 1999, Col 578)

• In 1998, 284 sudden infant deaths were recorded in England and Wales.

(10 Nov 1999, Col 643)

• In 1998–99 Medical Research Council spending on epilepsy research was £3.6 million.

(11 Nov 1999, Col 816–817)

• The NHS Direct telephone helpline should cover 60% of the population of England by December 1999 and the whole population by the end of 2000.

(11 Nov 1999, Col 814)

• An Early Day Motion calling for more research into autism and improved services for children and adults with autism was signed by 11 MPs.

(17 Nov 1999, Early Day Motion no. 24)

• Legislation referred to in the Queen's Speech and likely to affect children includes the following Bills: the Care Standards Bill, the Children (Leaving Care) Bill, the Child Support, Pensions and Social Security Bill, the Crime and Protection of Children Bill, the Freedom of Information Bill, the Learning and Skills Bill, the Race Relations (Amendment) Bill, the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill, the Special Educational Needs Bill, and the Local Government Bill.

(17 Nov 1999, Col 4–7, 1–6)

• In 1996 there were an estimated 4.3 million or more fuel poor households, defined as those who need to spend more than 10% of household income to achieve satisfactory heating.

(22 Nov 1999, 26 Nov 1999, Col 48 W, 209–210 W)

• The government is to consult on Quality Strategy for Social Services and proposes to establish an institute for excellence in social care early in 2000.

(23 Nov 1999, Col 92 W)

• Low income single parents may have further education tuition fees reimbursed from the Further Education Access Fund and may be considered for a free or subsidised child care place.

(26 Nov 1999, Col 251 W)

• Childcare Link, a freephone national child care information line and website was launched by The Under Secretary of State for Education and Employment on 1 December 1999.

(29 Nov 1999, Col 44–45 W)

• In a debate about under age smoking attention was drawn to Gutkha, a sweetened chewing tobacco which, it was claimed, is being cynically marketed at children, especially within the Asian community. A three year £50 million tobacco education programme was to be launched on 13 December 1999. It will be translated into 11 languages and some programmes will be targeted at ethnic minorities.

(30 Nov 1999, Col 32–39 WH)

• The Children's Fund to be set up in the 2000 spending review will support work with low-income families and their children.

(6 Dec 1999, Col 450 W)

• People who were sexually or physically abused as children can claim compensation under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme administered by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority.

(7 Dec 1999, Col 499 W)

• Around the world the number of couples having access to modern contraception has risen from 9% to almost 60% in the last 30 years. There is an international commitment to make it 100% by 2015.

(8 Dec 1999, Col 577 W)

• An investment of $390 million over 3 years (1999–2002) is intended to help achieve the target of free educational places for 66% of 3 year olds by 2002. Priority will be given to areas with the greatest social needs.

(8 Dec 1999, Col 589 W)

• Key international targets to which the government is strongly committed include sex equality in primary and secondary education by 2005 and universal primary education by 2015. The World Forum on Education is to be held in Dakar, Senegal in April 2000.

(9 Dec 1999, Col 629 W)


  • Note: from 30 November 1999 adjournment debates will take place on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings in Westminster Hall. They will be reported in Hansard with a separate sequence of columns with the suffix WH.