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Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many applications the Department received in 2003 from schools in England for specialist status; and how many of these were successful. 
Mr. Stephen Twigg: 787 secondary schools in England applied for specialist school status in 2003, and 484 of these were successful (61.5 per cent.). In the first applications round of 2004, 385 secondary schools applied and 284 (74 per cent.) were successful. 289 schools have applied in the most recent applications round. The results of this round will be announced in January. The total number of operational specialist schools is 1,955.
Tables showing the number of statements of special educational needs (SEN) maintained by each local education authority and the number of children for whom a statement was made for the first time have been placed in the House of Commons Libraries.
10 Jan 2005 : Column 206W
Margaret Hodge: The General Sure Start Grant includes all funds made available to local authorities from the Sure Start budget with the exception of those to support local Sure Start programmes. Local authorities are required to use General Sure Start Grant funds to meet specific objectives and targets set for them by the Sure Start Unit.
Although schools have no specific entitlement, it is open to local authorities to allocate Sure Start funds to local schools where they consider it meets objectives. Schools in the Vale of York could potentially have access to funding related to the development of extended schools (from 200506) and revenue grant funding for the provision of breakfast and out of school clubs.
Local authorities are also encouraged to develop children's centres for families with children aged 05 years on school sites and can allocate funds to schools to achieve that. However, such funding is only currently available in areasunlike the Vale of Yorkwhich are considered to be disadvantaged.
In December 2004 the Government published "Choice for parents, the best start for children: a ten year strategy for childcare". That set out our vision for the future, whereby all familiesin the Vale of York, as elsewherewith children aged up to 14 and who need it will have an affordable, flexible, high quality child care place between the hours of eight and six, all year round. We have also said that we intend all schools to become extended schools over time and funding will be made available to all local authorities to support that.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many times the working party on surplus school places has met since it was established in February 2004; and who its members are. 
Mr. Stephen Twigg: The working group on falling primary school rolls has met four times-in May, July, November and December 2004. The next meeting will be in January 2005. Key stakeholder organisations were invited to nominate representatives. Members and their organisations are listed in the following table. The working group is serviced by DfES officials and meetings are attended by Audit Commission officials whose work the group is overseeing.
|Kathryn James||National Association of Head Teachers|
|Lindsey Wharmby||Secondary Heads Association|
|Judith Bennett||National Governors Council|
|Hadrian Southern||National Association of Governors and Managers|
|Ian Elliott||Local Government Associationto November 2004 awaitingreplacement|
|Bryan Slater||Norfolk LEA|
|Brian Edwards||Northumberland LEA|
|Selina Timmins||Birmingham LEA|
|Ian Craig||Kent LEA|
|David Whittington||Church of England Board of Education|
|Paul Briggs||Catholic Education Service|
|Robert Barr||Ofsted HMI LEA Divisionto December 2004|
|Marianick Mellender-Gele||Ofsted HMI LEA Divisionfrom January 2005|
|Jean Scott||Countryside Agency/DEFRA|
|Steve Sanderson||Primary Heads Reference Groupfrom January 2005|
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many and what proportion of surplus (a) primary and (b) secondary school places there are in each local education authority. 
Mr. Stephen Twigg: The following table shows the number of surplus school places and the surplus as a percentage of total places at primary and secondary level, broken down by local education authority. The figures state the position at the beginning of the calendar year 2003.
|LEA name||Number of places||Surplus as a percentage of total places||Number of places||Surplus as a percentage of total places|
|Barking and Dagenham||1,342||8||604||5|
|Bath and NE Somerset||1,520||11||843||6|
|Brighton and Hove||1,790||10||889||7|
|Corporation of London||6||3||0||0|
|Derby City of||2,356||10||755||5|
|East Riding of Yorkshire||2,606||9||1,011||4|
|Hammersmith and Fulham||1,254||13||1,369||18|
|Isle of Wight||1,012||12||1,543||11|
|Isles of Scilly||265||0||0||0|
|Kensington and Chelsea||617||9||202||5|
|Kingston upon Hull City of||3,913||15||1,070||6|
|Kingston upon Thames||768||7||619||7|
|Newcastle upon Tyne||2,280||11||1,427||7|
|North East Lincolnshire||1,865||12||931||7|
|Nottingham City of||3,940||15||1,540||10|
|Plymouth City of||3,017||13||863||5|
|Redcar and Cleveland||1,762||13||1,204||11|
|Richmond upon Thames||732||6||359||5|
|Stockton on Tees||1,947||11||839||6|
|Stoke on Trent||3,663||16||487||3|
|Telford and the Wrekin||1,542||10||854||8|
|Windsor and Maidenhead||670||8||524||5|
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