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14 Jul 2005 : Column 1236W—continued

Practical Food Skills

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will make practical food skills a mandatory part of the national curriculum at Key Stages 1, 2 and 3. [11479]

Jacqui Smith: Food technology is already a requirement for all pupils at key stages 1 and 2. Pupils learn practical food skills as well as basic food hygiene and safety, diet and nutrition. At Key Stage 3, food technology is an optional strand of design and technology. The Department strongly advises schools to offer food technology at Key Stage 3 and around 90 per cent. do provide it for their pupils. Practical food skills are part of the food technology curriculum at Key Stages 3 and 4.

Pupil Mobility

Mr. Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what assessment she has made of the merits of targeting funding to schools or local education authorities with high levels of pupil mobility; [10748]

(2) what representations she has received from (a) teachers' bodies, (b) local education authorities and (c) individual teachers on the effect of high levels of pupil mobility on teachers; [10750]

(3) what assessment her Department has made of the costs to schools of high levels of pupil mobility; [10746]

(4) what assessment her Department has made of the impact of high levels of pupil mobility on other children within affected schools; [10751]

(5) what assessment her Department has made of the effectiveness of value added measures of school performance in reflecting the work of schools with high levels of pupil mobility; [10745]

(6) what pupil mobility rates were in each education authority in England in the last period for which figures are available; [10749]

(7) what information her Department collects about pupil mobility at individual school level. [10747]

Jacqui Smith: We have been considering with our education partners, including representatives of head teachers and local authorities, whether there should be a mobility factor in the national school funding distribution formula, because of schools in some areas facing higher levels of pupil turnover than in others. We expect to announce our decisions on this issue soon. Local authorities are already allowed to take account of mobility in their funding formulae for schools.

This work has not included consideration of the costs to schools of high levels of pupil mobility or the impact of pupil mobility on other children in affected schools.
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We have not commissioned any research looking specifically at the impact of pupil mobility on others, but we did commission a research study Pupil Mobility in Schools—Dobson et al 1999—DfEE research report number 168" which investigated the general issue of pupil mobility.

In the current primary school achievement and attainment tables, a mobility indicator is provided alongside each school's value added measure. This provides context for the value added measure by showing the extent to which pupils eligible for the key stage 2 tests were not in the school for the whole of their key stage 2 education.

In the secondary tables, a pilot of contextual value added" is taking place in 2005. This will directly take account of a range of contextual factors which are outside the school's control and which are correlated with outcomes even after taking account of prior attainment. Mobility will be one of the factors included, since pupils who move between schools outside of normal transitions make lower progress than non-mobile pupils. A similar pilot is planned for primary schools in 2006.

The Department does not collect information from individual schools that is specifically about pupil mobility. However pupils' dates of entry to schools are collected as part of the Pupil Level Annual Schools census. Based upon these dates of entry various mobility rates can be calculated depending upon the definition used.

The Department published a school level mobility indicator as part of the 2004 Primary School (Key Stage 2) Achievement and Attainment Tables.

This indicator shows the percentage of pupils who were registered at the school for their entire key stage 2 education. However, this indicator has not been defined or calculated at LEA level.

School Meals

Helen Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) if she will provide guidance to schools on the method of allocation of the extra funding for school meals announced by the Government in March in time for schools to make adequate plans for the school year beginning in September; [11131]

(2) what proportion of the extra funding for school meals of £240 million over three years will be directly available to schools to improve the food quality of school meals. [11132]

Jacqui Smith: Over the three years 2005–06 to 2007–08, all maintained schools in England will receive a share of the £220 million set aside to help local education authorities and schools strengthen their support for healthy eating and to provide better quality food. Of this, £30 million each year will go to schools to help meet transitional costs involved in developing and improving their whole school" approach to food. £30/50/50 million will go to LEAs to enable them to support schools with this process, with an emphasis on schools in deprived areas and schools starting from a low base.
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The first instalment of this additional funding will be available to schools and LEAs this autumn. Further details about the distribution of both grants between individual local authorities and schools will be announced shortly.

School Playing Fields

Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills which schools in Norfolk have requested permission to sell playing fields. [12085]

Jacqui Smith: Section 77 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 requires local authorities and schools to obtain the written consent of the Secretary of State before they can dispose of any part of a school's playing field. Schools are only allowed to dispose of genuinely surplus areas of playing field.

The following schools in Norfolk have applied to sell areas of playing field larger than a small sports pitch for the under 10s, that is larger than 2,000 sq m:

Schools (Violence)

Mr. Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what assessment she has made of the level of violence in schools; what guidance she has provided on this issue to (a) teachers, (b) governors, (c) parents and (d) local authorities; and if she will make a statement; [11888]

(2) what steps are taken (a) to protect staff from violent and dangerous students and (b) to keep students who are judged to be of harm to themselves and others out of the classroom. [11890]

Jacqui Smith: In 2003/04 there were just under 88,000 exclusions from maintained school for physical violence, of which 80 per cent. were for violence to other pupils. This total is equivalent to just over 1 per cent. of the relevant pupil population. But any level of violence in schools is too high. So we have made it clear that head teachers may permanently exclude pupils for violence even when this is a first offence. It is even more important to help schools create an environment that reduces the risk of violence to an absolute minimum. To achieve that we have:

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In addition, we are:

Our guidance and training materials are primarily designed for head teachers and school staff. But they are readily available to local authorities and governors and accessible to parents through the DfES website.

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