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10 Jun 2003 : Column 780W—continued

Key Stage One

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will assess the value of standardised testing at Key Stage 1. [117183]

Mr. Miliband: The Department is committed to raising standards in schools and believes that national testing of children's progress is necessary in order to achieve higher standards. It has a positive impact on the quality of teaching and learning and provides a comparable picture of a child's progress against local and national standards for schools, parents and the wider community.

We propose to trial, in 2004, an approach that uses testing to underpin teacher assessment and feed into a single overarching teacher judgment rather than being reported separately.

Looked After Children

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what steps his Department is taking to ensure all state-funded schools give priority to looked after children from care homes in their admissions policies; what the procedures are for

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monitoring that this happens; and what penalties he has at his discretion to ensure compliance with the guidance. [117111]

Mr. Stephen Twigg: The School Admissions Code of Practice recommends that admission authorities give looked after children top priority in their over-subscription criteria; and they must have regard to the Code's guidance. The Secretary of State may direct admission authorities to comply with the Code.

Admission authorities must consult on their proposed admission arrangements. Local schools and other admission authorities may object to the Schools Adjudicator on any aspect of those arrangements, including failure to give top priority to looked after children. If the Adjudicator decides that proposed admission arrangements should be changed, that decision is binding.

Admission Forums have been set up to consider existing and proposed admission arrangements for schools in their area. They are also responsible for seeking to ensure that looked after children are effectively provided for. Admission authorities must also have regard to any advice given by their local Forum.

Music Standards Fund

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much was allocated to each London education authority through the Music Standards Fund in (a) 1992, (b) 1997 and (c) 2002; and if he will make a statement. [115534]

Mr. Miliband: The Music Standards Fund was established in 1999 and so no allocations were made in 1992 or 1997.

Music Standards Fund allocations for London local education authorities in the financial year 2002–03 are available on the Standards Fund website at and are set out in the table:

LEA number and nameAllocation (£)
201 Corporation of London1,753
202 Camden373,500
203 Greenwich264,228
204 Hackney360,380
205 Hammersmith and Fulham157,481
206 Islington222,002
207 Kensington and Chelsea85,513
208 Lambeth233,044
209 Lewisham277,833
210 Southwark361,237
211 Tower Hamlets404,449
212 Wandsworth263,101
213 Westminster363,500
301 Barking and Dagenham217,091
302 Barnet193,251
303 Bexley210,000
304 Brent254,159
305 Bromley176,838
306 Croydon267,764
307 Eating335,508
308 Enfield289,111
309 Haringey358,000
310 Harrow158,000
311 Havering160,286
312 Hillingdon203,534
313 Hounslow360,000
314 Kingston Upon Thames 143,000
315 Merton168,221
316 Newham513,737
317 Redbridge211,511
318 Richmond Upon Thames 159,600
320 Waltham Forest269,225
319 Sutton131,322

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Nursery Staff

Mr. James Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) how many nursery staff are estimated to have been employed in each year since 1997; and what plans he has to increase numbers of nursery staff; [115129]

Maria Eagle: We do not collect annual data on the numbers of staff working in nurseries. In 2001, there were 274,528 people working in childcare in England, of whom 94,302 worked in day nurseries. This represents an increase from 226,340 childcare workers in 1998, of whom 43,080 worked in day nurseries.

A national childcare recruitment campaign has been running since 2000 to encourage people to consider a career in childcare. Local authorities promote childcare locally, and offer taster courses and links to further training.

Nursery staff are employed by a range of providers, including local authorities, private providers and voluntary organisations. These employers determine levels of pay and other rewards, and the tasks which their staff are expected to carry out.

According to the Labour Force Survey, the mean pay for all childcare workers in spring 2001 was £5.29 per hour. We do not collect annual data on levels of pay for nursery staff.

Nursery staff play a key role in giving young children a good start in life, by promoting their physical, intellectual and social development. Childcare and early education services are important community resources, helping parents work, learn and study; and promoting strong families and strong communities. Government funding for Sure Start, early years and childcare is planned to reach £1.5 billion budget by 2005–06.

Office of Fair Access

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what guidance he has given to universities on measuring potential for the purpose of adhering to the statement of principles issued by the Office of Fair Access. [115685]

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Margaret Hodge: The Office for Fair Access (OFFA) will not issue a statement of principles. Universities are responsible for their own admissions policies and procedures.

My right hon. Friend has asked Professor Steven Schwartz, Vice Chancellor of Brunel University, to lead a team to identify good practice in admissions and we expect one of the outcomes of Professor Schwartz's work to be a statement of high level principles about admissions which we would hope all universities would adopt.

Public Service Agreement

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many and what grades of officials are responsible for the monitoring of progress towards the public service agreement targets of the Department. [109464]

Mr. Stephen Twigg: Monitoring progress towards the Department's PSA targets is undertaken by a wide variety of staff at all levels of the organisation.

School Catering

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will make a statement on schools to which chicken adulterated with beef protein has been supplied. [116851]

Mr. Stephen Twigg: Schools are encouraged to follow the Department's guidance on nutritional standards. However, it is the responsibility of the LEA, or schools with delegated budgets, to decide on the suppliers and quality of the products they use in the preparation of school meals.

It is extremely regrettable that this has happened.

School Performance Tables

Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment he has made of the merits of the value added methodology used (a) in his Department's evaluation of the performance of specialist schools and (b) in the 2002 secondary school performance tables; and if he will make a statement. [116503]

Mr. Miliband: The value added methodology used in the secondary school performance tables in 2002 has been developed over a number of years, and following extensive consultation with schools and other stakeholders. We continue to keep our approach under review.

Our evaluation of the merits of specialist schools takes account of all the evidence we have seen, including the Department's value added measures and those used by Professor David Jesson (University of York) in his analysis of specialist schools performance.

School Workforce Agreement

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what discussions he has had with (a) local education authorities and (b) head teachers concerning the National Agreement on Restructuring the School Workforce; [117638]

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Mr. Miliband: Following the publication of "Time for Standards" in October 2002, I chaired a series of meetings of national partners, including the local authority employers and head teacher associations, which culminated in the National Agreement signed in January 2003. Since then, I have continued regularly to meet the signatories, both bilaterally and in the Workforce Agreement Monitoring Group, to discuss implementation.

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