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City Academies

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to the answers of 6 June 2005, Official Report, column 331W and 21 June 2005, Official Report, column 191W, on city academies, how
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manylessons in city academies have been inspected by Ofsted in each year since the first city academy was opened. [7940]

Jacqui Smith: The number of lessons in academies inspected by HMI since the first academy was opened is 386. This includes two formal Section 10 inspections of lessons at Greig city academy (December 2004) and Unity city academy (March 2005), as well as a number of monitoring visits. 203 lessons were inspected during 2004 and 183 lessons have been inspected, so far, for 2005.

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what plans her Department has to open new academies in Coventry south. [7978]

Jacqui Smith: My officials are currently in discussion about potential academy proposals in the north east and in the centre of Coventry. There are no academy proposals in the south of the authority at this time.

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what plans she has to evaluate the admissions policies of academies; [7980]

(2) what steps she is taking to ensure transparency and accountability in the admissions processes of academies. [7982]

Jacqui Smith: Academy admission policies are agreed with the Secretary of State, in consultation with the local education authority, at an early stage during the establishment of an academy. Should an academy wish to change its admissions policy, it is required—through its funding agreement—to seek the Secretary of State's consent to any changes, after first having sought comments on the changes from the local education authority, local schools and any other relevant admissions authority.

Academies are also required to follow the School Admissions Code of Practice, admit pupils in accordance to the local education authority's co-ordinated admissions arrangements and take part in, and have regard to the advice of, the local education authority's Admissions Forum.

Given all of these requirements, we consider that the current processes already ensures full accountability and transparency and do not see a need to add any further requirements or undertake any separate evaluate the admissions policies of academies.

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will make a statement on academies' obligations concerning applications from students with special educational needs. [7981]

Jacqui Smith: Academies are fully inclusive schools and admit pupils with special educational needs (SEN) on an equal basis with other schools in the area and this is reflected in their admissions policies. Although academies are independent schools, they have regard to the SEN Code of Practice (2001) and statutory guidance on inclusion. This obligation forms part of the funding agreement between each academy and the Secretary of State.
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Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will make a statement on teachers' representation on governing boards of academies. [7983]

Jacqui Smith: Academies are independent schools and the composition of their governing bodies, therefore, are principally a matter for the governing bodies themselves. Governance is one of the areas in which we wish academies to innovate; the Department, therefore, prescribes the makeup of academy governing bodies as little as possible.

That said, we are keen, where appropriate, for there to be a wide and varied representation on all governing bodies, including representation from both teaching and non-teaching staff. The majority of academies, therefore, do have within their memorandum and articles of governance provision for the election or co-option of staff governors. The principals of academies also sit on the governing body.

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what steps she has taken to protect teachers' rights in academies; and what further steps are planned. [7984]

Jacqui Smith: Teachers who transfer to academies from predecessor schools have their existing pay and conditions of service protected under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 1981 (TUPE). Academies are also required to ensure that all teachers they employ have access to the Teachers Pension Scheme and to comply with the statutory provisions underlying the scheme.

We also protect the professional standing of teachers in academies, by requiring that teachers employed at academies are qualified teachers within the meaning of the Education (School Teachers' Qualifications) (England) Regulations 2003 and that they meet the health standards set out in the Education (Health Standards)(England) Regulations 2003.

Education Funding (Birth Rates)

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment she has madeof the effect of falling birth rates on the funding that is required for (a) primary and (b) secondary schools. [8249]

Jacqui Smith: The Department takes account of projected pupil numbers in assessing future spending pressures on schools. The majority of costs in schools are closely related to the number of pupils, but some costs relate more to the existence and functioning of the school. Pupil numbers in primary schools have been falling for some years and in secondary schools will be falling from now on.

Education Services (Worcestershire)

Mr. Michael Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to the answer of 28 June 2005 to the hon. Member for Stroud to Question ref 6816, what assessment she has made of the financial impact on Worcestershire local education authority of 443 pupils from the county receiving their schooling in Gloucestershire. [9071]

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Jacqui Smith: The school funding formula distributes resources to authorities on the basis of where pupils are counted on the school roll. The 443 Worcestershire pupils who are attending Gloucestershire schools will therefore attract funding, on a per pupil basis, into Gloucestershire LEA's schools formula spending share (SFSS). Nevertheless, Worcestershire retains some residual responsibility for pupils who reside in their area—e.g in relation to SEN statementing—and therefore Worcestershire's LEA formula spending share (LEAFSS) includes an element of funding which is based on pupils' residence.


Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment she has made of the proportion of child care provided by grandparents. [7934]

Beverley Hughes: The Department collects information on the uptake, use of and demand for child care, including that provided by grandparents, via a series of surveys of parents and evaluation of initiatives such as Sure Start local programmes and neighbourhood nurseries.

These studies have shown that grandparents are a significant provider of informal child care (that provided by friends and relatives) and are often the 'glue' that holds different child care arrangements together.

The 2003 Families and Children Survey found that for children in couple families where the mother worked, the most common child care arrangement—after partner/ex-partner—was grandparents (26 per cent.). For children in lone parent families in which the mother worked, grandparents were the most common child care arrangement used (27 per cent.). The survey also found that child care provided by grandparents declined from 36 per cent. for 0 to 2-year-old children to 24 per cent. for 11 to 13-year-olds.

The Government recognise the major contribution that grandparents and other relatives play in child care. In order to support informal carers such as grandparents, Sure Start children's centres will provide support and drop-in facilities.

International GCSE

Mr. Quentin Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills for what reasons maintained secondary schools are not permitted to enter pupils for the international mathematics GCSE examination. [7999]

Jacqui Smith: For qualifications to be taught in the maintained sector they must be accredited by the QCA and approved for use under section 96 of the Learning and Skills Act 2000. The international GCSEs were designed primarily as qualifications for overseas candidates, and have not been put forward for accreditation. IGCSE in Mathematics therefore is not approved for use by pupils in maintained schools and is unlikely to be, since it is not currently aligned to the national curriculum programmes of study.
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