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10 Jun 2003 : Column 784W—continued

Specialist Status Schools

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to his answers of 19 May 2003, Official Report, column 560W, and 21 May 2003, Official Report, column 831W, on GCSE point scores, if he will make a statement on the academic impact of specialist status on sports colleges. [117316]

Mr. Miliband: Using a value added measure based on KS2 point scores and GCSE 5 or more A*-C outcomes in schools and sports colleges in 2002 produced an added value measure of +1 percentage point compared with a -1.5 percentage points compared with all non-selective, non-specialist schools and non-selective sports colleges. 1

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to his answer of 19 May 2003, Official Report, column 560W, on GCSE point scores, what the average capped GCSE/GNVQ point score was for pupils in specialist languages colleges in 2002; and if he will make a statement. [117317]

Mr. Miliband: In 2002 the average capped 1 GCSE/GNVQ point score 2 for Language Colleges (operational as at September 2001) was 39.1.

Language Colleges raise standards of achievement and the quality of teaching and learning in modern foreign languages, using this as a catalyst for whole school improvement.

GCSE grades A* to G count as 8 to 1 points respectively, GCSE Short Courses grades A* to G count as 4 to ½ respectively. The GNVQ grades D, M and P count as 7½, 6 and 5 points respectively at Intermediate level, and 4, 3 and 1½ points respectively at Foundation level. These points need to be multiplied by 2 for GNVQ Part One and by 4 for Full GNVQs.

Supply Teachers (Wandsworth)

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many supply teachers are working in schools in the London borough of Wandsworth. [117150]

Mr. Miliband: Occasional teacher numbers (teachers on contracts of less than a month who were in service for the whole of the survey date) in the maintained schools sector in Wandsworth local education authority are shown in table 17 of the January 2002 edition of Statistics of

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Education: School Workforce in England. This table shows data for January 2002 the most recent data currently available at local authority level. A copy of this volume has been placed in the Library. The table is also available on the statistics section of the DfES website at:

Synthetic Phonics

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) if he will make a statement on the role of synthetic phonics in the National Literacy Strategy Searchlights reading programme; [117181]

Mr. Stephen Twigg: The 2002 Ofsted report of the National Literacy Strategy (NLS) says that:

This has contributed to the best primary school results ever. The NLS advocates the 'Searchlights' model of reading, and is based on the view that children should be taught to read using synthetic and analytic phonics as well as other strategies such as knowledge of grammar and context. The 'Searchlights' model emphasises the central importance of early phonics but also accepts that children will attempt to make sense of a wide range of print and texts in the course of mastering the phonic code and need to be helped to do so efficiently. This is particularly true with English where, because of its linguistic heritage, a significant proportion of words are not phonetically regular.

The teaching of phonics in the NLS is based on international research over the last 30 years and on good practice seen in England and other countries. The NLS view is supported by international research such as The National Reading Panel Report commissioned by the US Federal Government, 'Teaching to read', in 2000.

The Department for Education and Skills held a seminar on 17 March 2003 to review the latest research and effective practice in the teaching of phonics. An independent report on the seminar is being finalised and will shortly be published. We will then respond to that report and set out our plans for further strengthening the teaching of phonics in primary schools.

The Jolly Phonics programme has been adopted by a number of schools, and some teachers have found it effective in helping children learn to read. Schools are able to choose from a range of phonics programmes including the NLS programme Progression in Phonics (PiPs). It is up to schools and teachers to decide which programme they consider most effective in meeting the needs of their children.

I have today placed a copy of the Early Literacy Support programme video in the Library.

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Vernon Coaker: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what grant is available to headteachers from 1 April 2003 to meet the cost of threshold payments for teachers in school; and if he will make a statement. [113517]

Mr. Miliband: Threshold payments will continue to be fully funded.

UKEU Project

David Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will make a statement on the monitoring arrangements for government expenditure via the UKEU project. [114137]

Margaret Hodge: The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) have arranged for public investment in UK eUniversities Worldwide (UKeU) to be handled by a Holding Company (the eLearning Holding Company Ltd.), which is owned by the higher education institutions of the UK. HEFCE currently requires that the Holding Company maintains at least a 50 per cent. stake in UKeU so that it may oversee the value for money represented in the services provided, and to oversee quality and standards of a venture which carries a brand backed by UK higher education. The Holding Company appoints three Directors to the Board of UKeU who have rights of veto over decisions of the UKeU Board. The Holding Company has rights to receive any information it requests from UKeU. The Holding Company monitors the venture and reports annually and by exception on the progress of the business to HEFCE as well as to its members, UK higher education institutions. As with all public funds routed through HEFCE, HEFCE are accountable to the Department's accounting officer for their appropriate disbursement. In addition, HEFCE regularly reviews the progress of UKeU, and I meet routinely with both HEFCE and UKeU to keep abreast of developments.


Housing Benefit (Scotland)

John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people in Scotland are in receipt of housing benefit, broken down by local authority. [117098]

Malcolm Wicks: The available information is in the table.

Housing Benefit recipients in Scotland by local authority—November 2002

Local AuthorityHousing Benefit Recipients
Argyll and Bute6,020
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar1,340
Dumfries and Galloway10,330
East Ayrshire11,890
East Dunbartonshire3,960
East Lothian5,930
East Renfrewshire3,400
North Ayrshire12,730
North Lanarkshire33,480
Perth and Kinross7,290
Scottish Borders6,950
South Ayrshire8,590
South Lanarkshire27,500
West Dunbartonshire11,870
West Lothian12,890


1. The data refer to households claiming Housing Benefit which may be a single person, a couple or a family. More than one benefit household can live in one property, for example two or more adults in a flat or house share arrangement.

2. Local authority figures are rounded to the nearest ten, the total for Scotland is rounded to the nearest thousand. Figures do not sum due to rounding.

3. The totals include estimates for local authorities that have not responded. These estimates are based on historical and regional data. This type of estimate is standard practice in reporting totals where there have been non-respondents.

4. Figures exclude any Extended Payment cases.


Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit Management Information System Quarterly statistical inquiry, November 2002.

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