§ Mr. Jim Cunningham
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what steps he is taking to ensure that community cohesion is emphasised within the school environment. 
§ Mr. Stephen Twigg
[holding answer 25 June 2003]: In December 2002, the Local Government Association, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, the Home Office, and the Commission for Racial Equality jointly published "Guidance on Community Cohesion". This gives advice to local authorities on the practical steps they can take to promote community cohesion through all their policies and services, including education.
The Government is also expanding the Specialist Schools Programme which requires schools to set objectives and targets to work with partner schools and the wider community, to spread the benefits of specialism to other schools and beyond.949W
Excellence in Cities establishes important links between the schools which deliver the programme and the communities they serve. In particular, City Learning Centres, Excellence in Cities Action Zones and Learning Mentors all work directly with the wider community as well as with pupils and students.
In addition, citizenship education, which has been a compulsory subject in secondary schools since September 2002, plays a part in building community cohesion in schools by teaching pupils tolerance, respect and understanding. It helps pupils learn how to become helpfully involved in the life and concerns of their school and develop socially and morally responsible behaviour towards those in authority and each other.