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Extended School Services

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what restrictions apply to the bodies from which local education authorities can commission extended school services; and if she will make a statement. [5922]

Beverley Hughes: It will be for individual local authorities and schools to decide what partners they need to commission to support the development of extended services in schools. We have not put in place any restrictions. We envisage a strong role for the voluntary and private sectors in delivering extended services in partnership with schools, particularly for services such as child care. The services developed in schools will complement and join up with other services and providers where they are already in place. Written agreements will underpin any commissions awarded to providers to ensure that issues such as health and safety are addressed.

GCSEs (London)

Mr. Denham: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment she has made of the reasons for the change in performance in GCSE examinations in inner London local education authorities over the last five years; and if she will make a statement. [5142]

Jacqui Smith: For the first time in history, the 2004 GCSE results for state schools in London overtook the national average. We know that the single most important factor in the control of the education service in changing how well children do is the quality of the teaching that they experience. The quality of school leadership is the most important factor in determining how well a school is able to promote effective teaching. And the quality of local support for school improvement is the biggest external influence on the effective leadership and management of schools.

A range of factors are therefore significant. First, the focused attention of teachers, heads and LEAs on improving the quality of teaching and learning has been critical. Second, Ofsted identifies this generation of teachers as the best ever and strong improvements in teacher supply have been disproportionately beneficial in London, since times of shortage affect London most. There are now 63,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) teachers in London, compared to 58,300 in 2001. Third, the quality of leadership in London's schools is now identified by Ofsted as being better than the national average. Fourth, local education authorities play a crucial role in supporting school improvement, and we have seen their capacity to do so improve over the past five years. In 2004 20 London authorities were rated 'excellent' or 'good' in the comprehensive performance assessment (compared to 13 in 2002) and no authorities were rated 'poor' (compared to 4 in 2002).

National programmes have contributed to supporting this improvement. Excellence in Cities has provided focused support and very significant resources in London, as in other urban areas across the country. Intervention in those local education authorities which
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were failing has contributed to bringing in to those authorities the people and resources which have enabled them to be effective.

The London Challenge, which began in 2002, has sought to focus national programmes and get behind the efforts of all those who seek to raise standards in London. Through both targeted and pan-London work, it has sought to support teachers, leaders and local authorities in their work for raising the achievement of young people and creating a world-class education system.

Laptop Computers

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many laptop computers have been used by (a) Ministers, (b) special advisers and (c) officials in her Department in each year since 1995; how many have been (i) lost and (ii) stolen in that period; what the cost was of the use of laptops in that period; and if she will make a statement. [4128]

Maria Eagle: The breakdown of information regarding users is not available. Laptops are used by 1,629 members of the Department for Education and Skills. No laptops were lost and the following table shows the number of laptops reported as stolen since 1 January 1996.
Number of laptopsApproximate value per item (£)Total approximate value (£)


Graham Stringer: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what estimate she has made of literacy levels among 11-year-olds in (a) Manchester, Blackley, (b) Manchester, (c) Greater Manchester and (d) England. [5732]

Jacqui Smith: The 2004 results show that standards in primary schools are improving again. In English the percentage of 11-year-olds achieving the target level 4 of the national curriculum increased by (percentage) points to 78 per cent.

Standards in primary schools in the (a) Manchester, Blackley, constituency, (b) Manchester and (c) Greater Manchester have also improved. A summary of the 2004 outcomes compared to 2003 is set out in the table.

Information on education and skills by constituency is made available by the Department through the 'In Your Area' website, available at
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2004 Key Stage 2 English (achievement at Level 4 and above) compared to 2003

2003 results2004 resultsPercentage point increase
Manchester, Blackley7071+1
Greater Manchester7377+4

Parenting Programmes

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what financial support her Department has provided for parenting programmes in 2005–06; and what parenting programmes her Department has funded in each local education authority area. [5054]

Maria Eagle: The Department has made available £4.97 million through the Strengthening Families Grant to voluntary and community sector providing family and relationship support for the financial year 2005–06. We expect to announce successful applicants shortly. We also have made £16.4 million available to the sector from 2004–06 through the Parenting Fund (administered by the National Family and Parenting Institute).

Proposals for family and relationship support funding are sought from across England and grants are awarded on the basis of merit and adherence to published grant criteria. Information on the distribution of parenting programmes by local education authority is not requested or held.

Pre/after-school Clubs

Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much of the funds allocated for breakfast and after-school clubs will be allocated to Northern Ireland. [5957]

Beverley Hughes: The funding announced on Monday 13 June to support extended services, including breakfast and after school clubs, has been allocated to all local authorities in England. Funding arrangements in Northern Ireland are dealt with separately by the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what activities the proposed after-school clubs will offer; [6044]

(2) how the after school club scheme will be funded; what mechanisms will be put in place to audit the spending of the relevant funds; and what additional services will be provided from the funding provided direct to schools; [6045]

(3) what steps she will take to ensure that teaching staff do not experience increased workload from the proposed after-school club scheme. [6046]

Beverley Hughes: Though the development of extended schools, we want children and young people to be able to access a wide range of interesting activities such as homework clubs, sport, music tuition, dance and drama, arts and crafts, special interest clubs such as
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chess and first aid courses, visits to museums and galleries, foreign language tuition, volunteering, or business and enterprise activities. It will be up to schools in consultation with parents to develop activities that will best meet the needs of their children. The Department for Education and Skills' Extended Schools Prospectus' sets out the Government's expectation of a core set of extended services, including after school activities, that we want to see in or accessible through all schools by 2010.

The funding for local authorities announced on 13 June is to help 'kick-start' extended services, such as after school clubs. Funding was also announced to be directly distributed to schools. Overtime, in order to ensure that schools can make a sustainable all year round offer of extended services to families they will need to establish realistic costing and charging arrangements.

Local authorities will allocate funding to schools to develop extended services taking into account factors such as existing services in the community and levels of deprivation. Funding released to schools on that basis should be spent in accordance with that agreement. Local authorities already audit public funds spent by schools. Any additional funding provided for extended schools will fall within this existing audit regime.

It will be for individual schools to determine, in consultation with parents and young people, the focus of the funding provided directly to schools but it has been provided to help schools develop and sustain extended services.

There is no expectation that teachers will deliver extended services, nor is it necessary for head teachers to be responsible for their management. The funding made available can be used flexibly to support whatever barriers schools might face in developing extended services. This can include, for example, appointing a manager who works across a cluster of schools to develop extended services and hence ease any burden on existing school staff. The National Remodelling Team will take a lead role in supporting schools on the development of extended services and will provide schools with the support they need to ensure that services develop in way that is consistent with the tenets of school workforce reform.

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