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Mr. Allen: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will list the schools in each local education area which were (a) closed and (b) partly closed for use as polling stations on 7 June. 
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Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many schools have been placed in special measures in each of the last three years for which figures are available, broken down by local education authority. 
|Hammersmith and Fulham||0||1||0|
|Kensington and Chelsea||0||0||0|
|London, City of||0||0||0|
|Barking and Dagenham||1||1||0|
|Kingston upon Thames||0||1||0|
|Richmond upon Thames||0||0||0|
|East of England|
|Brighton and Hove||2||2||0|
|Isle of Wight||0||1||0|
|Windsor and Maidenhead||1||0||0|
|Bath and North East Somerset||0||1||0|
|Isles of Scilly||0||0||1|
|North East Lincolnshire||1||0||0|
|Newcastle upon Tyne||0||1||0|
|Redcar and Cleveland||0||0||0|
|Blackburn with Darwen||3||1||0|
|Telford and Wrekin||1||0||0|
|Yorks and Humber|
|Kingston upon Hull||0||2||3|
27 Nov 2001 : Column: 777W
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many and what percentage of schools placed in special measures have been closed by the local education authority in each of the last three years. 
Mr. Timms: In 199899 38 schools in special measures were closed, representing 8 per cent. of the total number of schools in special measures at the end of that year. In 19992000 the equivalent figures were 40 and 9 per cent., and in 200001 16 and 5 per cent.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what guidance she gives to local education authorities about consultation on closure before (a) an action plan to help a school in special measures is drawn up and (b) the local education authority's plan of support is known; 
(3) what guidance she gives to local education authorities on the amount of time an action plan for recovery for a school in special measures should be accessed before closure of a school is considered; 
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(5) what guidance she gives to local education authorities on the control of school budgets for schools in special measures; and if control of the budget is automatically vested in the local education authority. 
Mr. Timms: The Government are committed to continuing to reduce the number of schools found to require special measures year-on-year, and to ensuring that no school is allowed to remain in special measures for longer than two years.
Where a school is found to require special measures, the Department writes to the governing body and the local education authority, and where appropriate the relevant Diocesan authority, to offer guidance on the action required. The governing body, in consultation with the LEA, must draw up an action plan to address the key issues identified.
The LEA must also submit its own commentary and statement of action, which should include an assessment of the scope for the school to be closed. If an LEA concludes that the school should be closed, it must consult on the proposal in the normal way.
Under Section 19 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State may at any time direct an LEA that a school subject to special measures should be closed. The Secretary of State must consult the LEA and the governing body, and if appropriate the Diocese, before giving such a direction. It may do so at any stage of the process.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what is the minimum (a) number of lessons, (b) number of teachers and (c) percentage of lessons to be deemed unsatisfactory for a school to be placed in special measures. 
Mr. Timms: A school requires special measures when it is judged to be failing or likely to fail to give its pupils an acceptable standard of education. The criteria used in reaching this decision are a matter for HM Chief Inspector of Schools. I have therefore asked Mike Tomlinson to write to the hon. Gentleman, and to place a copy of his letter in the Library.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what the average score in (a) England and (b) Essex County Council was for Key Stage 2 in (i) mathematics, (ii) science and (iii) English in the last three years for which figures are available; 
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write to the hon. Gentleman with the information requested as soon as possible thereafter. However, we do not collate this information separately for schools placed in special measures.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what guidance she issues to local education authorities on the retention of staff while a school is in special measures; 
27 Nov 2001 : Column: 780W
Mr. Timms: The Department's Circular 6/99 "Schools Causing Concern", which advises local education authorities on dealing with schools in special measures, does not specifically cover staff retention. However, the circular does make clear that, where an LEA withdraws a school's delegated budget because it is subject to special measures, it automatically takes over responsibility for most personnel issues, including the appointment and dismissal of staff.
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