Hi Moby thanks for the suggestions, I must admit I didn't think my initial question was that hard to understand really but I will try to clarify the matter and code so here goes.
I've got a template container for all pages consisting of a container image, header image, body image and footer image. The html and styles for which is listed below.
<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd">
background:#fff url('plbodywide.jpg') repeat-y left top;
background:#fff url('PLheaderwide.jpg') no-repeat left top;
padding:150px 30px 5px 30px;
voice-family : "\";}\"";
voice-family : inherit;
background :#fff url('plbodywide.jpg') repeat-y left top;
padding : 5px 30px 0px 30px;
background : #fff url('plfooterwide3.jpg') no-repeat left top;
padding:200px 30px 0 30px;
<p>Vestibulum ornare, sapien in placerat feugiat, nisl quam rutrum tellus, hendrerit euismod lectus pede at lectus. Curabitur sit amet sem. Nunc aliquet mollis ligula!</p>
<p>Suspendisse non nisl vitae sem ullamcorper dignissim? Aliquam interdum sem vel tortor! Integer et odio.</p>
<h3 style="float:left; margin-left:13px; margin-top:0px; padding:0; width:450px; color:#000;">Recent News</h3>
<h3 style="float:right; margin-right:10px; margin-top:0px; padding:0; width:450px; color:#000">Upcoming News & Events</h3>
<ul style="float:left; list-style-type:none; margin-left:13px; margin-top:0px; padding:0; width:450px;">
<li><h5 class="newsheading">Best Ever Exams Results</h5>This year has seen our best ever results in public examinations. Over 70% of our students achieved 5 or more A* to C grades at GCSE, and our Sixth Form students achieved a 99.3% pass rate at A level..<a href="news.htm#examresults">[more]</a></li>
<li><h5 class="newsheading">Sports Award</h5>Abdi Ahmed has been presented with the Harold Whitham Award for the most outstanding performance at the 2008 English Schools Athletic Association Championships..<a href="news.htm#sportsaward">[more]</a></li>
<li><h5 class="newsheading">Ofsted Inspection</h5>Parents will know also that we had an Ofsted inspection in April of this year..<a href="news.htm#ofsted">[more]</a></li>
<li><h5 class="newsheading">Biology Department visit Peru</h5>This summer twenty-two students went to work as research assistants alongside a team of International Scientists on a Conservation project in the Amazon Rainforest..<a href="news.htm#biology">[more]</a></li>
<li><h5 class="newsheading">Jump Rope for Heart</h5>This year’s sponsored skip raised in excess of £750 for the British Heart Foundation, with Ryan Bondswell raising over £150. He received a special commemorative certificate and rucksack from the charity for his efforts..<a href="news.htm#jumprope">[more]</a></li>
<li><h5 class="newsheading">Stephanie Allen Award</h5>The Stephanie Allen Sixth Form Prize for Ecology was awarded by Mrs Allen in memory of her daughter, Stephanie. The award went to Matthew Sorsby and Jennifer Jebamani in recognition of their outstanding commitment to Ecology Fieldwork during a week-long residential trip to the North York Moors..<a href="news.htm#award">[more]</a></li>
<li><h5 class="newsheading">Uganda Partnership continues to develop</h5>The partnership with Soroti Secondary School in North Eastern Uganda, originally setup in 2006 has continued to develop. The sports leadership programme is now established and the sports leaders regularly organise events throughout the school year..<a href="news.htm#uganda">[more]</a></li>
<ul style="float:left; list-style-type:none; margin-left:20px; margin-top:0px; padding:0; width:450px;">
<li><h5 class="newsheading">Access your child's records online</h5>Did you know you can access your child’s school record on line? You will shortly be receiving a letter with your username and password.</li>
To mention at first, the page does validate without any errors.
Now again for a hopefully better explanation.
The problem appears to relate to the <ul> tags in conjunction with the background image found within div id #plbodywide. The background image fails to carry on down behind content within the <ul> tags.
This happens in IE7, FF 3.0.5 and also Safari.
On all other pages (which don't use <ul> but instead use <p> and/or floated images) the background image within the div plbodywide DOES scroll down behind the main page content.
If I add something else after the <ul> then the image does display. behind content
I'm not sure if there is a link between pages displaying correctly that contain block level html <p> tags and the non-correctly displayed page using <ul> list tags?
Somebody did mention to me about adding clear:both to the #plfooterwide div which I presume was to over come both floated lists but this then leaves a big gap after the footer in Internet Explorer 7?
Does this help more?