(2) when he expects revisions to the framework for serious case reviews to have been made;
(3) what steps he plans to take together with the Home Secretary and the Secretary of State for Justice to establish explicit strategic priorities for the protection of children and young people;
(4) what estimate he has made of the cost of implementing Lord Laming's recommendations on safeguarding children;
(5) with reference to page 65 of The Protection of Children in England: a progress report, HC330, what changes he plans to make to existing practice to ensure that serious case reviews focus on the effective learning of lessons and implementation of recommendations and the timely introduction of changes to protect children;
(6) with reference to page 16 of The Protection of Children in England: a progress report, HC330, what new statutory targets for safeguarding and child protection he plans to introduce.
[holding answer 19 March 2009]: The Government have accepted all the recommendations made by Lord Laming in his recent report, ‘The Protection of Children in England: A Progress Report’. These include recommendations relating to the revision of statutory guidance in ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’, strengthening the framework for serious case reviews, setting strategic priorities by Government for the protection of children and young people, and establishing new statutory targets for safeguarding and child protection. As confirmed in the Government's immediate response to Lord Laming on 12 March, the Government will publish a detailed action plan in response to all his recommendations by the end of April.
Although schools are generally safe places for pupils and staff, the Department has given head teachers a power to search, without consent, any pupil they suspect to be carrying a weapon. This increases the options available to schools, and we issued guidance in May 2007 which includes what to do when an illegal weapon is discovered: confiscating and storing the weapon, informing the police, and delivering the weapon to the police. (The guidance also advised on the existing power, announced in October 2006, to screen pupils at random.) Determining the appropriate sanction to apply is a matter for the head teacher, who has the power to permanently exclude pupils for carrying an offensive weapon, including if this is a first or 'one off' offence.