HC Deb 15 January 2004 vol 416 cc944-5
3. Hugh Bayley (City of York) (Lab)

What support is available to help schools to deal with antisocial behaviour. [147868]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education and Skills (Mr. Ivan Lewis)

Ours is the first Government to put behaviour and attendance at the heart of the school standards agenda. Our programmes include training in consultancy support for all secondary schools, behavioural improvement, enhanced support to tackle bullying, a concerted drive to reduce truancy, the work of Connexions and of the youth services, and positive activities during school holidays for young people judged to be at greatest risk of being involved in crime and antisocial behaviour.

Hugh Bayley

Does my hon. Friend agree that teachers are in the front line of antisocial behaviour by youngsters—not just as victims but as part of the solution—in working with youngsters who have behavioural problems? Will the Government consider earmarking resources for local education authorities' special educational needs budgets, so that resources can be made available centrally to schools, and provide learning support assistance? Further, does my hon. Friend agree—

Mr. Speaker

Order. One supplementary question is fine.

Mr. Lewis

In the Green Paper "Every Child Matters", we said that we sought to bring together all the resources that are being used in schools and by external organisations that support schools to ensure that children fulfil their potential. We want to bring the money together more cohesively to ensure that professionals work together to have maximum impact on schools' ability to nurture children's potential. We are currently reviewing that to ensure that we make best use of the vast amount of resources that are being invested in schools and support to schools.

Mr. Roy Beggs (East Antrim) (UUP)

Last week, I had the privilege of attending the north of England education conference in Belfast, at which several of the Under-Secretary's colleagues were present. I attended a seminar to promote and provide information on the success of the Prince's Trust XL club scheme. The principal who gave the address said that, in 16 years, he had not had to exclude a pupil. Will the Under-Secretary commend the use and involvement of the XL clubs project in schools as a means of increasing achievement and reducing antisocial behaviour?

Mr. Lewis

I shall support the work of that programme. We have to be imaginative and innovative in using the voluntary sector and community-based organisations to support our desire to ensure that we motivate young people positively, connect them with their local community's activities and support their development as positive citizens. We need to harness all the resources that are available to us in the statutory and voluntary sectors.

Helen Jones (Warrington, North) (Lab)

The measures that the Government have taken so far are welcome, but further to the question that the hon. Member for East Antrim (Mr. Beggs) asked, will my hon. Friend consider seriously methods of aiding and encouraging schools to allow young people to undertake useful work in the community that improves their behaviour and breaks down the barriers between the generations? Will he consider making perhaps a small amount of pump-priming money available to enable schools to get such projects off the ground?

Mr. Lewis

I agree that we need to ensure that we offer young people a personalised learning experience that is about educational attainment and their development as all-round citizens. That is why we are increasingly linking schools, colleges and employers and focusing on enterprise education. It is also why our long-term ambition for reforming education for 14 to 19-year-olds is to build a curriculum around the needs of each young person. It should consider not only educational content but their community activities.