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Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) pursuant to the answer of 7 June 2005, Official Report, column 476W, on pupil behaviour, when she expects to (a) collect and (b) publish the first figures on attendance at pupil referral units; 
(2) pursuant to the answer of 7 June 2005, Official Report, columns 47576W, on pupil behaviour, when she intends (a) to ask and (b) to require local education authorities to publish figures on attendance at pupil referral units. 
Jacqui Smith: We plan to collect and publish figures on attendance at pupil referral units (PRUs) on a regular basis. However, we need to undertake a one-off exercise this year to ensure that the data currently available at PRUs are recorded in a suitable format for publication. We intend to issue the request for the data to local authorities in November 2005, with a view to collecting it in February 2006, and publishing it in April 2006. In the coming months, we also plan to amend the Education (School Performance Information) Regulations 2001, to require local authorities to provide these attendance figures to my Department at regular intervals, for publication.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to the answer of 7 June 2005, Official Report, columns 47576W, on pupil behaviour, what the process is for collection of information on attendance from local education authorities for (a) maintained schools, (b) independent schools and (c) pupil referral units. 
(a) From this school year, maintained schools have been asked to submit data in January and April on overall pupil absences in the autumn and spring terms respectively. These new termly collections do not require schools to distinguish between authorised and unauthorised absences. Data on authorised and unauthorised absences for the period from the beginning of the school year to the May half-term are collected from maintained schools in June each year.
(c) At present, pupil referral units are not required to submit data for either the termly or annual collections. We are currently considering the best way to arrange for the collection of absence data from pupil referral units which we expect to publish in April 2006.
Mr. Crabb: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the average (a) secondary and (b) primary school funding per pupil in England (i) was in 1997 and (ii) is in the current financial year. 
|Pupils aged 310||2,390||3,600|
|Pupils aged 1115||3,260||4,410|
Maria Eagle: We recently launched a new national framework for religious education to support the delivery of high quality religious education in schools. This reinforces the position of Christianity as the main religious tradition of this country. It also provides opportunities for pupils to study the principal religions in Great Britain, other religious traditions and secular philosophies in line with the Government's goals of inclusion, tolerance and diversity.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills which Building Schools for the Future projects will include building for the special schools sector; whether each will provide (a) new buildings and (b) improvements to existing buildings; what the cost will be of each such project; and in which wave of Building Schools for the Future they will occur. 
Jacqui Smith: Building Schools for the Future aims to ensure that all secondary-age pupils are educated in 21st-century facilities, whether in mainstream or special schools. We expect all local authorities that have special schools to include them in their plans. As for mainstream schools, depending on local circumstances, these plans can include new buildings and/or improvements to existing buildings. Costs of each project are only identified as they proceed through procurement and are not finalised until contract signature. We have indicated to local authorities broadly where in the 15-year programme their projects will come, but have not specified in which wave.
Building Schools for the Future is not the only programme which supports building improvements in special schools. Each special school receives its own allocation of Devolved Formula Capital and local authorities can use their formulaic capital allocations to address the needs of special schools, which should be included in their asset management plans. Special schools are also a priority project within the Targeted Capital Fund, and we are currently considering applications for funding in 200607 and 200708.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what estimate she has made of the cost of providing accessible facilities for pupils with disabilities in mainstream schools under the Building Schools for the Future programme. 
Jacqui Smith: All mainstream schools built under Building Schools for the Future or other programmes should provide accessible facilities for pupils with special education needs and disabilities. Guidance has been issued to help them do this in Building Bulletin 98.
We also support investment to improve the accessibility of school buildings through the School Access Initiative which has run since 1996. Funding for this, which is allocated to each local authority by formula, is £100 million in this and each of the next two financial years.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills whether special schools to be built under the Building Schools for the Future programme will include special schools for (a) primary level, (b) joint primary and secondary level, (c) secondary level, (d) secondary level with post-16 provision and (e) post-16 level. 
Jacqui Smith: Special schools to be built under Building Schools for the Future include those for joint primary and secondary level, secondary level, and secondary level with post-16 provision. Special schools for primary level will be included in the new primary capital programme announced by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer in his 2005 budget. There are no special schools for just post-16 level. Capital investment in specialist colleges is directed through the Learning and Skills Council.
Mr. Malins: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills on how many occasions in the last 12 months a pupil at a state secondary school in England has been found to be in possession of a weapon on school premises. 
Jacqui Smith: A Youth Justice Board survey in 2004 showed that 1 per cent. of age 1116 pupils in England and Wales had at some time in the last year carried a knife in school for offensive reasons, and 2 per cent. for defensive" reasons. We propose to give head teachers a power to search for knives, and will add to existing guidance on how police, schools and other local agencies can work together, to keep knives out of our schools.
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