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7 Sept 2004 : Column 1000W—continued

Pupil Expenditure (Great Yarmouth)

Mr. Anthony D. Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much public money was spent per pupil in the Great Yarmouth constituency in each year since 1997. [186709]

Mr. Miliband: The information requested is submitted to the Department according to local education authority areas rather than constituency level. The figures provided are for Norfolk LEA and are shown in the following table:
Net current expenditure (after recharges) per pupil


1. Net current expenditure (NCE) includes expenditure within schools and also that incurred centrally by the LEA. This is divided by the number of pupils educated in mainstream schools to calculate a unit cost.
2. Section 52 is collected at local authority level, not constituency level, so the figures provided are for Norfolk LEA.
3. 1999–2000 figures reflect the return of GM schools to local authority maintenance.
4. The outturn 2002–03 tables captured the data in a fundamentally different way to the previous years. Categories were aligned with the Consistent Financial Reporting framework and the spending by LEAs was no longer split by school sector. This change in calculation is identified by the dotted line. The 2002–03 figure is calculated by taking all the LEA expenditure, excluding CERA and Youth and Community, and dividing it by the FTE pupil numbers in maintained pre-primary, primary, secondary and special schools.
5. Data as reported by Norfolk LEA as at 22 July 2004.
6. Figures are reported in Cash Terms and are rounded to the nearest £10.
7. The financial data are taken from Norfolk LEAs' Section 52 Outturn Statement submitted to the DfES from 1999–2000 onwards and the ODPM's RO1 statement previously. 2002–03 data remains provisional and is subject to change by the LEA.
8. Pupil data are drawn from the Annual Schools Census adjusted to be on a financial year basis.

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Pupil Referral Units

Mr. Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what plans he has to permit academically-orientated students who have been expelled from mainstream education and who are in Pupil Referral Units to study in academic surroundings to complete their education. [186941]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: As part of their legal responsibilities, LEAs are able to make arrangements for all students within Pupil Referral Units (PRUs), including those who have been excluded, to attend other educational establishments (for example Further Education Colleges) in order to complete their education. This is in addition to the core curriculum that must be provided within PRUs. LEA's responsibilities are emphasised in the new guidance "Guidance for LEAs on PRUs and Alternative Provision", which will be issued in the autumn, but is already accessible by them in draft form.

School Budgets

Mr. Liddell-Grainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what action he is taking to give head teachers more control over school budgets. [186470]

Mr. Miliband: Governing bodies and head teachers are already free to deploy the resources allocated to them through local education authorities' school funding formulae in accordance with their own assessment of their schools' needs and priorities. From April 2006, individual schools will receive guaranteed three-year budgets and this will give them even more control of their own resources by enabling them to take a much more strategic approach to their budgets.

In addition to recurrent funding, each maintained school in England is also allocated direct capital funding which it can use for its investment priorities. This year, a typical secondary school will get about £85,000 of its own capital, and a typical primary school about £25,000.
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Mr. Liddell-Grainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what plans he has to conduct research into how school budgets are spent. [186471]

Mr. Miliband: The DfES is actively involved in a programme of research into how schools use their budgets. This includes a detailed analysis of school expenditure patterns from the Consistent Financial Reporting data, which will provide schools with an indication of how their own expenditure compares to the overall national picture. This work complements the existing Schools Financial Benchmarking web site that allows schools to compare their income and expenditure with other similar schools.

As well as analysis of expenditure information, qualitative analysis will be carried out in schools to identify the process by which schools allocate their resources to develop better advice.

Finally there is a work stream in progress developing measures of school efficiency and productivity. These methods look specifically at the relationship between the way in which a school allocates its resources and the outcomes it achieves given the context in which it operates.

School Refurbishment (Great Yarmouth)

Mr. Anthony D. Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much funding has been given to (a) primary and (b) secondary schools in the Great Yarmouth constituency for the refurbishment of school buildings since 1997. [186711]

Mr. Miliband: We do not hold information in the form requested. The bulk of capital funding is allocated to local education authorities (LEAs) and schools by formula so that they can decide their priorities for investment in line with locally decided asset management plans. It is therefore for them to decide the balance of investment between primary and secondary schools.

The Department allocates capital funding at local authority and school level. The following table sets out the capital support provided by the Department to Norfolk LEA and its schools since 1996–97.
Capital allocations to Norfolk and its schools


(40) Includes £92 million of Private Finance Initiative (PFI) credits.
(41) Includes £60 million of PFI credits.

School Start Date

Barbara Follett: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what plans he has to allow children to start primary education in the September of the calendar year in which the child has its sixth birthday. [187529]

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Mr. Miliband: We have no plans to change from the current statutory provisions which require that children start primary education in the term after their fifth birthday.

Science and Innovation Consultation

Mr. Pollard: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment he has made of the potential benefits to (a) science in schools and (b) biology fieldwork following the science and innovation consultation; and if he will make a statement. [186465]

Alan Johnson: The Government's Science and Innovation 10-year Investment Framework sets out our comprehensive strategy for tackling skills shortages in the science, engineering and technology. We outlined how we would improve science teaching and learning in schools by providing additional incentives to recruit more people to train to be science teachers, making better use of specialist science support staff and, subject to the advice of the School Teacher Review Body, enabling science Advanced Skills Teachers to be paid more. We also outlined the importance of a science curriculum that inspires young people, with opportunities for exciting science practical work in and outside the classroom.

To improve teacher confidence in using fieldwork, we have funded the Field Studies Council in association with the Geographical Association, the Association of Science Education and the Open University to develop a training course for geography and science teachers. Complementary courses on fieldwork will also be offered through the new national network of Science Learning Centres. Our Growing Schools programme supports teachers to educate pupils about food cultivation, farming, and understanding the natural environment, as well as how to use the outdoors for teaching subjects across the curriculum.

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