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Jacqui Smith: In all maintained secondary schools, sex education is a statutory element of science which is a core subject in the national curriculum. Sex and relationship education is discretionary in primary schools, though primary schools are encouraged to have a sex and relationship education programme tailored to the age and the physical and emotional maturity of the children. Schools are encouraged to deliver sex and relationship education through the non-statutory personal social and health education framework.
Jacqui Smith: In the Secretary of State's speech to IPPR on 26 July 2005, she set out the Government's commitment to help develop a society which can foster greater social mobility. The Secretary of State's speech underlined the important role that education can play in improving life chances for all individuals, and it set out the forward looking context for our programme of reform across the system.
Education has an important role to play in promoting social mobility. For example analysis by researchers at the London School of Economics in their report published by the Sutton Trust: Intergenerational Mobility in Europe and North America" estimate that measures of education account for 35 to 40 per cent. of the intergenerational income mobility for cohorts born in 1958 and 1970.
Early intervention to support very young children and families to lay the foundations for later successnot just in education, but in supporting the welfare of the whole child, carrying through into better services for all children and young people;
A continuing drive to ensure that every child leaves primary school with the basics in reading, writing and maths; and an enjoyment of learning, built through an enriched curriculum including the arts, music, sport and a foreign language;
Education has an important role to play in improving social mobility and so we must make sure that a good education is available to every child in every community. The White Paper Higher Standards, Better Schools for All" marks the next phase in the Government's continuing drive towards transforming our education system by:
Maria Eagle: 12 specialist special schools have been designated with a special educational needs specialism, 11 of which became operational this September. The 12th will become operational in September 2006.
Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what proportion of students who applied for (a) student loans and (b) grants from Suffolk local education authority for the 2005/06 academic year received them in time for the start of that year; and what the equivalent figures were in the 2004/05 academic year. 
By 16 September 2005, Suffolk local education authority had received just over 8,800 student finance applications, of which 68 per cent. had been
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processed to a point at which loan and grant payments could be released on the same date in 2004, 59 per cent. of Suffolk's applications had been processed to the same stage. In both years contingency payments were made to a number of Suffolk students to ensure that funds were available to them at the beginning of term; and other local authorities provided assistance to Suffolk to help the timely processing of their applications.
Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what proportion of students who applied for (a) student loans and (b) grants from Staffordshire Local Education Authority for the 2005/06 academic year received them in time for the start of that year; and what the equivalent figures were for the 2004/05 academic year. 
Bill Rammell: By 16 September 2005, Staffordshire Local Education Authority had received just over 14,200 student finance applications, of which 89 per cent. had been processed to a point at which loan and grant payments could be released. Staffordshire had also processed 89 per cent. of their applications to this stage by the same date in 2004.
Jacqui Smith: According to Ofsted, we already have the best ever generation of teachers and the quality of teaching in our schools has been transformed in our schools since 1997. Ofsted judged teaching to be good or better in 78 per cent. of secondary schools inspected in 2004/05 compared with 59 per cent. in 1996/97, and in 74 per cent. of primary schools compared with 45 per cent. in 1996/97. Our recent White Paper Higher Standards, Better Schools for All" set out our plans for a new professionalism" for teachers, in which career progression and financial rewards will go to those who make the biggest impact on pupil progress and those who show commitment to their own professional development and that of their colleagues. A thorough reform of all teachers' professional standards, with more stretch at every level, will set out what can be expected of teachers at each stage in their career. More effective performance developmentwhich includes performance managementwill help focus teachers on effective classroom practice and ensure that they are involved in the professional development that best meets their personal needs and the specific needs of the school and its pupils.
However, in light of the Report of the Practitioners' Group on School Behaviour and Discipline, we recognise that there are further steps we can take to improve teachers' authority in the classroom. We will:
further improve the effectiveness of the exclusion appeal panels, by ensuring that panels have to accept the judgments of head teachers and governors where it is clear that the pupil has committed the offence in question; emphasising the need for head teachers and governors to be from the same phase of education as the excluding school; and making training for clerks and chairs of panels mandatory; and
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