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9 Nov 2004 : Column 596W—continued

Home Education

Mr. Flook: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to his answer of 27 October 2004, Official Report, columns 1265–66W, on home education, what assessment he has made of the reasons underlying the one-year fall in the number of pupils not in school in Somerset local education authority in 2003. [195498]

Mr. Miliband: My Department has carried out an investigation into the one-year fall in the pupil numbers not in school in Somerset local education authority in 2003. At the time of the 2003 data collection the figures returned to the Department were checked and confirmed by Somerset LEA as being correct on 8 March 2003.

However, following the hon. Member's previous question, further investigation has been carried out. The LEA has now informed the Department that a group of pupils was omitted from the 2003 return. They have supplied an amended 2003 total.

A revised table showing this amendment is given as follows:
Number of pupils not in school and being otherwise educated 1997–2004—Somerset local education authority and England

Somerset local education authority
Pupils aged 5–10Pupils aged 11–15Pupils aged 16 plusTotal

(9) An age breakdown for 2003 is not available.
8B Survey

National Grid for Learning

John Cryer: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment he has made of the operation of the National Grid for Learning within the London borough of Havering. [196712]

Mr. Charles Clarke: My Department does not assess the operation of the National Grid for Learning (NGfL) programme, or its successor the ICT in Schools programme, at individual local authority level. Each authority is responsible for making sure that ICT in Schools' funding is used to best effect in support of national priorities. The NGfL Pathfinders and ImpaCT2 studies investigated the roll out and effect of the programme nationwide. These reported the different approaches to implementing the then National Grid for Learning taken by authorities and ImpaCT2, for example, reported that the effective use of ICT could improve levels of pupil attainment by the equivalent of half a grade at GCSE.
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Ofsted Inspections

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many complaints were made about Ofsted inspections in 2003–04. [196696]

Mr. Miliband: This is a matter for Ofsted. HM Chief Inspector, David Bell, will write to my hon. Friend and place a copy of his letter in the Library.

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills whether he expects the new school inspection system to be in place nationwide by September 2005. [196697]

Mr. Miliband: Subject to parliamentary scrutiny, time and approval, we plan for the new system to be operational as planned.

Pupil Exclusions

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many children with special educational needs were subject to (a) a permanent exclusion and (b) a fixed term exclusion in the most recent period for which data is available. [194763]

Margaret Hodge: The requested information relating to permanent exclusions is given in the table.

The Department started to collect information on fixed period exclusions from summer term 2003 and published some information about the first term on 29 July. However, there were concerns about the reliability of some of the data. They were not sufficiently robust to provide an analysis by special educational needs. We expect that future surveys will result in improved data quality.
Maintained primary, secondary and all special schools1,2: Number of permanent exclusions by special educational needs (SEN)—2002/03 (estimates) 3—England

Number of permanent exclusionsPercentage of permanent exclusionsPercentage of school population(13)
Pupils with SEN6,170660.45
of which:
Pupils with statements of SEN1,030110.43
SEN pupils without

(10) Includes middle schools as deemed.
(11) Includes maintained and non-maintained special schools.
(12) Estimates based on incomplete pupil level data.
(13) The number of excluded pupils expressed as a percentage of the school population by SEN.
Totals may not appear to equal the sum of constituent parts because numbers have been rounded to the nearest 10.
Annual Schools Census

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the latest figures are for the average periods between a child (a) with special educational needs and (b) without special educational needs being permanently excluded from school and being placed in a Pupil Referral Unit. [194765]

Margaret Hodge: The requested information is not collected centrally.
9 Nov 2004 : Column 598W

Religious Education

Mr. Allen: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what plans he has to extend the recently issued guidelines regarding the study of religious faiths other than Christianity to faith schools. [196076]

Mr. Miliband: The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA), in partnership with the Department, recently launched a new non-statutory national framework for Religious Education to support the delivery of high quality religious education (RE) in schools. While it provides for opportunities for pupils to study all of the principal religions in Great Britain, and other religious traditions and secular philosophies in line with the Government's goals of inclusion, tolerance and diversity, it also reinforces the position of Christianity as the dominant religion of this country. All of the major UK faith and belief communities and professional groups were involved in its development.

While the Framework is non-statutory, we will be encouraging Standing Advisory Councils on Religious Education (SACREs) and Agreed Syllabus Conferences (ASCs) to use it in drawing up their locally agreed syllabus for schools in their area. Voluntary aided schools of a religious character are required to deliver RE within the tenets of their own faith, but we hope they too will see the value of the Framework and adopt it to enhance their existing RE provision.

School Leavers

Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what percentage of pupils left full time education at the age of 16 in England in the last year for which figures are available. [196164]

Mr. Miliband: The provisional estimate of young people aged 16 who were not in full-time education in the previous academic year, 2003–04, is given in Table 1. Many of these were in Apprenticeships or other training, so the proportion of young people in the age cohort who were not in any education or training is also shown in the table.
Table 1

Not in full-time education(14)27.6
Not in any education or training12.9

(14) This group comprised of those who were in work based learning programmes; employer funded training; other education and training; and those who were not in any education or training

These estimates are taken from snapshot information as at the end of the calendar year. They are taken from the Department's Statistical First Release (SFR 18/2004) entitled, 'Participation in Education, Training and Employment by 16–18 year olds in England: 2002 and 2003'.

School Standards Grant

Mr. Dhanda: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) if he will make a statement on proposals to review the school standards grant; [195548]
9 Nov 2004 : Column 599W

(2) if he will assess the merits of (a) increasing the number of bands for the school standards grant and (b) allocating the school standards grant on a per pupil basis. [195611]

Mr. Miliband: Revenue funding for schools will increase by some £3.5 billion overall between 2005–06 and 2007–08. That means increased revenue funding for schools by about £1,300 per pupil or 45 per cent. in real terms in the 10 years since 1997.

We look forward in the months ahead to discussions with schools and local education authorities on the best way to deliver all the resources which support schools. There will be a new ring-fenced budget for schools from 2006–07 and the Government are committed both to delivering three year budgets for schools and to rationalising the existing funding streams.

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