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"Playing with Sounds" Programme

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) if she will list the strategies recommended for use by children in recognising words within the "Playing with Sounds" programme; [16453]

(2) when children are taught the long vowels in the "Playing with Sounds" programme. [16454]

Jacqui Smith: "Playing with sounds" is a set of phonics teaching materials designed to support teachers and practitioners working with children in the foundation stage and year 1. It emphasises phonics as the first approach to decoding and encoding, and primarily supports blending of different sounds to support reading and segmenting to support independent spelling and writing.

It is split into seven steps, beginning with early phonological and rhyme awareness training, moving on to teaching phoneme-grapheme (sound letter) correspondences through sounding and blending for reading, and segmenting for spelling and writing, and progresses to the long vowel sounds including the fact that some vowel sounds can be represented in more than one way and that sometimes the same grapheme is used to represent different sounds.

"Playing with sounds" covers all the phonemes by the end of year 1, including the long vowel sounds.

I will place a copy of the materials in the Library of the House.

Black Students

Mr. Pelling: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many black students were excluded from school in each academic year since 1997–98. [15542]

Jacqui Smith: The information requested is shown in the table.
Maintained primary, secondary and special schools1, 2: Number of permanent exclusions, academic years: 1997/98 to 2003/04, England

Ethnic group: Black
Number of exclusionsPercentage of
school population(19)
2002/034, 55900.25
2003/044, 57200.29

(17) Includes maintained and non-maintained special schools.
(18) Includes middle schools as deemed.
(19) The number of permanent exclusions of compulsory school age and above expressed as a percentage of the total number (headcount) of all pupils of compulsory school age and above in the Black ethnic group.
(20) Estimates have been made because the data on the characteristics of excluded pupils are known to be incomplete.
(21) In 2003 the categories for recording ethnicity changed to reflect the categories used in the 2001 National Population Census. Due to this data is not directly comparable to that of previous years.
Figures have been rounded to the nearest 10.
Annual Schools' Census

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Citizenship Curriculum

Mr. Hood: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment she has made of the new citizenship curriculum for 11 to 16-year-olds; what impact it has had on pupils since its introduction; and if she will make a statement. [16531]

Jacqui Smith: Good progress has been made since Citizenship became a statutory subject in secondary schools in 2002. Programmes of study have been developed for Citizenship alongside guidance developed by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority. 1,000 specialist teachers will be trained by the end of this academic year and we have 70 Advanced Skill Teachers in Citizenship. This year, there were 38,000 entries for the Citizenship Studies short course GCSE, an increase of 10,000 on last year.

City Academies

Mr. Hood: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment her Department has made of the impact academies have had on (a) pupils, (b) teachers and (c) local communities; and if she will make a statement. [16532]

Jacqui Smith: The Department has commissioned an independent five-year evaluation of the Academies Programme from PricewaterhouseCoopers reporting finally in September 2007. The Second Annual Report from the Evaluation of the Academies Programme demonstrated that academies are overwhelmingly popular with parents and pupils, and that they have made a significant difference to the teaching and learning culture from their predecessors. We also have evidence from examination results and Ofsted, including Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Schools who has said that

(a) Pupils:

In addition, Ofsted have conducted 13 monitoring visits to academies finding that five academies were making good progress and most were making at least satisfactory progress.
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(b) Teachers:

(c) Local communities:

Mr. Hood: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many academies are expected to be opened in England in the next two years; and if she will make a statement. [16533]

Jacqui Smith: There are 27 Academies currently open in England. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister in his speech at the City of London Academy on 12 September 2005 pledged for there to be at least 40 Academies by September 2006. The Department for Education and Skills has committed in its five-year strategy to there being 200 Academies open or in development by 2010, including 60 Academies in London.

Classroom Assistants

Mr. Hands: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many classroom assistants there are in each London borough. [16223]

Jacqui Smith: The following table provides the full-time equivalent number of teaching assistants in maintained schools in each London local authority in January 2005, the latest information available.
Teaching assistants(22) in maintained nursery, primary, middle and secondary schools, special schools and pupil referral units(23) in each London local authority, January 2005

City of London10
Hammersmith and Fulham380
Kensington and Chelsea300
Tower Hamlets1,150
Barking and Dagenham540
Kingston upon Thames360
Richmond upon Thames330
Waltham Forest780

(22) Includes teaching assistants, special needs support staff and ethnic minority support staff.
(23) Includes maintained and non-maintained special schools.
Figures are rounded to the nearest 10.
Annual school census

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