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28 Jun 2005 : Column 1434W—continued

Chemistry Students

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to the Answer of 14 June 2005, Official Report, column 370W, on student numbers, what her assessment is of the factors behind the uptake of chemistry by undergraduate students in higher education institutions in England since 1995–96. [6760]

Bill Rammell: Chapter 6 of the Government's Science and innovation investment framework 2004–14" (HMSO, July 2004) discusses this in detail. Factors affecting the demand from students include teachers and their style of teaching; the teaching environment; the curriculum; public and media perception; and careers advice. There is also a perception by young people that science subjects are more difficult".

Action being taken in response by Government and others includes: enhancing the quantity and quality of teachers in science and maths in schools and in further education with teacher training bursaries and Golden Hellos"; supporting teachers' development through science learning centres; widening the variety of learning options to young people through curricular reforms; and raising the quality of careers education and guidance through partnership with schools and the Connexions Service.

City Academies

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will place in the Library a copy of the admissions policy of each city academy; and which academies use the national normal distribution curve of ability as part of their admissions procedure. [6585]

Jacqui Smith: The funding agreements for each academy, including their agreed admissions policies, will shortly be made publicly available on the DfES website. I will notify the Library when this has been completed and will provide the web address from where they can be obtained.

There are no academies operating banding systems which use the national normal distribution curve of ability. The earliest academies opened in 2003, well after
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the introduction of the requirement for fair banding contained within the Schools Standards and Framework Act 1998.

Dartington Tech

Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what funds have been made available to (a) the National Learning and Skills Council and (b) Dartington Tech in each of the of the last three years; and how much will be made available to Dartington Tech in this financial year. [5965]

Bill Rammell [holding answer 21 June 2005]: The budgets allocated to the Learning and Skills Council in each of the last three financial years, as notified in the relevant grant letters to the LSC are as follows:
Learning and skills council budgets 2002–2005

Total (£ million)

The funds allocated to Dartington Tech from all sources by the Learning and Skills Council are:
Dartington tech funding 2002–2005

Total (£ million)

Provisional budgets for 2005/06 are estimated to be £2.22 million.


Mr. Fabian Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what support is given to primary schools to help them identify children with dyslexia. [5250]

Maria Eagle: When dealing with dyslexia, as with other recognised special educational needs, schools and local authorities are expected to have regard to the SEN Code of Practice, published in November 2001, which gives practical advice on carrying out their statutory duties to identify, assess and make suitable provision for children with SEN. However, the precise arrangements for any screening and assessment arrangements are for local determination.

Under the Primary National Strategy, the Department has produced an extensive range of specific guidance material for schools on evidence-based interventions for children with significant literacy and numeracy difficulties. A three wave model of intervention has been developed, designed to identify and support those children experiencing difficulty in literacy and/or mathematics, a good many of whom are likely to fall somewhere on the dyslexia spectrum. We have also produced guidance material on classroom strategies to enable dyslexic pupils to access learning and have recently released a new interactive CD-ROM based in-service training resource, Learning and
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teaching for dyslexic children". This has been developed in collaboration with the British Dyslexia Association (BDA) and the Dyslexia Institute (DI). The resource is designed to help school staff increase their awareness and understanding of the barriers to learning presented by dyslexia, and the teaching strategies that can be used to overcome them.

The Department continues to work closely with both the BDA and DI to help raise awareness of dyslexia and encourage early intervention. We have, for example, given grant aid for the production of the BDA's Achieving Dyslexia Friendly Schools" pack which promotes a whole-school approach to supporting pupils with dyslexia and provides examples of best practice. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State provided the foreword for the latest edition.

All schools receive a School Development Grant which can be used to support improvement in any aspect of teaching and learning, including the training of staff in SEN. Local authorities may retain a proportion of this grant, under certain circumstances, to provide specific training and development for SEN and disabilities.

Mr. Fabian Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what procedures are in place to detect dyslexia in children below school age. [5251]

Maria Eagle: Dyslexia is extremely difficult to identify in very young children until they begin to develop their literacy skills, and therefore signs of language delay is a more appropriate indicator term in early years. Early signs of dyslexia could include difficulties with speech and language, particularly with rhyming. All early education settings, in receipt of Government funding, must have regard to the Special Educational Needs (SEN) Code of Practice, published in November 2001. This gives practical advice to those settings in carrying out their statutory duties to identify, assess and make suitable provision for children with SEN, including those with specific learning difficulties such as delayed language development.

The Curriculum Guidance for the Foundation Stage, for children aged 3–5 years, of the National Curriculum makes clear that monitoring of each child's progress is essential and that any particular difficulties in any areas of learning are identified and addressed. This should form part of the statutory Foundation Stage Profile, and the reception teacher's on-going observational assessment of individual children to record their achievements in working towards their Early Learning Goals. These set out expectations as to what most children should achieve by the end of the Foundation Stage.

We are also working with the National Assessment Agency to provide materials to support the effective use of the Foundation Stage Profile for head teachers, and to help Year 1 teachers to continue to meet diverse learning needs.

Where children do not make the expected progress, or demonstrate difficulties acquiring language skills, then practitioners should be able to refer to the Area Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) or Speech and Language Therapist for additional support and advice. The most effective procedures will be
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implemented via the Area SENCO who should be supporting practitioners to observe and assess children's progress, particularly where there is cause for concern, and then plan for next steps in learning. Local authority training to support children with difficulties (via Area SENCOs and SEN support services) will also assist in early identification.

As part of its Primary National Strategy, the Department has issued guidance on the early teaching of phonics, Playing with sounds", which includes specific guidance on early identification and support for children who demonstrate the phonological difficulties often associated with dyslexia.

The Department has also issued guidance for the Foundation Stage practitioners in the form of a checklist of early indicators of potential dyslexia, through its Primary National Strategy professional development materials, Learning and teaching for children with dyslexia".

EU Students

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to the answer of 14 June 2005, Official Report, column 356W, on EU students, what her estimate is of the cost of maintenance support for 6,000 full time EU students studying in English institutions in academic year 2006/07 as a result of the changes made by her Department to regulations in the light of the ECJ ruling. [6750]

Bill Rammell: It is difficult to estimate the costs of maintenance support for EU students who may become eligible for support as a result of the regulation changes in the light of the ECJ ruling. As explained in the answer to PQ3979 there is uncertainty around forecasting numbers of students and we have limited information on the income distribution of EU students in order to estimate their entitlement to elements of the student support package. Based on that limited data we estimate that the additional cost of providing maintenance support for EU students that may become eligible for support as a result of the change in regulations would be around £10 million 1 in resource terms in financial year 2006–07 2 .

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