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Key Stage 1

Mr. Willis: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many classes at Key Stage 1 have more than

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30 children in them; how many Key Stage 1 children are in classes of over 30; and when all Key Stage 1 children will be taught in classes of under 30 children. [55020]

Mr. Timms [holding answer 9 May 2002]: The School Standards and Framework Act 1998 placed a duty on local education authorities and schools to ensure that infant classes for five, six and seven-year-olds taught by one teacher were limited to no more than 30 pupils by September 2001 at the latest. The legislation does allow the limit of 30 to be exceeded in certain circumstances. Such circumstances include, for example, the admission of an infant outside of the normal admission round, and for whom there is no other suitable school nearby, or on the direction of an admission appeal panel.

The January 2002 annual schools census found that out of a total of 61,527 infant classes, 329 (0.5 per cent.) classes containing 10,398 children, were reported as containing 31 or more pupils on the day of the count. Of these classes 249 contained 31 or more pupils because of reasons permitted by the legislation. Over 99 per cent. of all infants are now in classes of 30 or fewer.

Cleeve School, Cheltenham

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will make a statement on the reasons underlying her decision on the bid made by Gloucestershire county council for a PFI for Cleeve School, Bishop's Cleeve, Cheltenham. [54649]

John Healey [holding answer 8 May 2002]: The application from Gloucestershire local education authority (LEA) for PFI credits in 2003–04 was not supported as it did not meet the criteria, as set out in the guidance issued to LEAs on 31 July 2001, to the same extent as those applications from other authorities which were supported. An official from the Department met with members and officers from Gloucestershire LEA on 26 April to provide detailed feedback and to explore how the application might be strengthened for future years.


Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many net additional staff her Department has recruited in each month since June 2001 at (a) executive officer level and (b) administrative level. [52425]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The information requested is set out in the table as follows.

Executive Officer level Administrative Officer level
Month/Type of staffHeadcountFTEHeadcountFTE
June 2001
Total +5+5
July 2001
Temporary +3+3+37+36
Total +7+7+40+39
August 2001
Total -11-11-27-26
September 2001
Total -2-2-14-14
October 2001
November 2001
Temporary -3-3-12-11
Total +22+21-5-5
December 2001
Total +5+6+5+6
January 2002
Total +15+15+22+22
February 2002
Total +9+9-7-6
March 2002
Total +4+4-11-11

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 = An increase in staffing numbers

- = A decrease in staffing numbers Note: Full-time equivalent (FTE) numbers are rounded to the nearest whole number.

Data Protection Act

Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will place in the Library copies of each version of the internal guidance which have been drawn up by her Department since 1 January 1999 to assist staff in her Department to answer subject access requests under the Data Protection Act 1998. [53362]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: I refer the hon. Member to the answer my hon. Friend the Member for North Swindon (Mr. Wills) gave to a question from my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Hall Green (Mr. McCabe) on 25 April 2002, Official Report, column 446W.


Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many (a) agency teachers and (b) teachers on contracts of one term or less were employed in schools in England, broken down by local education authority, in each of the last five years. [53663]

Mr. Timms [holding answer 30 April 2002]: The information requested has been placed in the Libraries.

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School Transport

Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many school buses are in use in England. [54861]

John Healey: The information requested is not available centrally.

Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what measures she has introduced to increase transport for children on the daily school run. [54862]

John Healey: Local education authorities provide home to school transport which fulfils statutory requirements set out in the Education Act 1996. They also have discretion to make additional transport provision to meet local needs. There have been no recent changes to these arrangements.

Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what plans she has to improve the safety of children on their journeys to and from school. [54796]

John Healey: Home to school transport is the responsibility of local education authorities. They must monitor the condition of vehicles used for transporting pupils from home to school and report any safety defects to the Vehicle Inspectorate, which sponsors the annual Operation Coachman inspection of buses and taxis used for the school run.

This Department, in partnership with the Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions, is taking steps to improve the safety of children whenever they use the roads, on the school journey and at other times, through a combination of engineering, enforcement and education measures. An example is a scheme recently announced by my transport colleagues that is giving children from vulnerable backgrounds practical roadside training.

Departmental Functions

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will list the functions of her Department that have been (a) market tested and (b) outsourced in each of the last five years, specifying the (i) money saving and (ii) percentage saving in each case. [42985]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: It will not be possible to answer this question without incurring disproportionate cost.

Post-16 Funding

Mr. Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what recent representations she has received on the transparency of the arrangements for post-16 funding by the Learning and Skills Council; and if she will make a statement; [55086]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: My right hon. Friend has received wide-ranging representations from a number of schools, local education authorities and trade unions.

14 May 2002 : Column 538W

The principles of the Learning and Skills Council's (LSC) common funding approach are based on extensive consultations since 1999.

The funding system is designed to be transparent, objective, and flexible enough to cope with different modes of learning. Key elements are: national base rates weighted to reflect the higher costs of some forms of training; rewarding achievement; additional funding recognising disadvantage factors; and an uplift to reflect the higher cost of delivery in London and related areas. The foremost principle is that funding follows the learner.

The Real Terms Guarantee given to sixth forms means that their funding will be maintained relative to 2000–01 funding levels, provided pupil numbers are maintained. The Learning and Skills Council has calculated two figures for each sixth form—its adjusted RTG and its LSC formula allocation—and the school will receive the higher of the two. The Financing of Maintained School Regulations 2002 have been amended to ensure that sixth forms funded through the LSC formula see some benefit. For 2002–03 schools should gain a minimum of one third of the difference between the RTG and the formula allocation, where that allocation is higher. We intend to amend the regulations further for 2003–04 to ensure that such schools have a minimum two-thirds gain in that year.

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