§ Mr. Lidington
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what guidance he has issued to local education authorities about services to asylum seekers and their dependants. 
§ Jacqui Smith
[holding answer 11 July 2000]: Children of asylum seekers are entitled to the same educational opportunities as all other children. The Department has funded a number of publications by the Refugee Council aimed at helping children of asylum seekers access education. Officials here recently met representatives of the Refugee Council and the Local Government Association to discuss whether or not further guidance on the education of children of asylum seekers would be helpful to Local Education Authorities.
The Secretary of State has recently announced that £1.5 million is to be made available in this financial year to improve access to education for children of asylum seekers who are dispersed to cluster areas under the support arrangements in the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999. Up to £500 is available for each child. The money will go to schools to help with extra language lessons, and to help children settle in quickly.