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Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to the answers to the hon. Member for Mid-Bedfordshire, of 2 November 2005, Official Report, columns 120304W, on science, whether the figures in Table 2 are included in the figures in Table 1. 
Jacqui Smith: The figures in Table 2 were not included in Table 1. Table 1 includes recruitment to initial teacher training in universities and other higher education institutions, school centred initial teacher training (SCITT) and the Open university but excludes recruitment to employment based routes.
All secondary schools have a science department. Primary schools are not organised by subject departments. Most primary schools appoint a science coordinator to lead, manage and guide the teaching of science in their schools.
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Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to the answer of 7 November 2005, Official Report, column 131W, on special schools, what the complex issues are; and if she will make a statement. 
Maria Eagle: There are clear advantages to special schools acquiring trust status but we also need to consider carefully the role of local authorities given that they have statutory responsibilities for identifying, assessing and making provision for children with SEN. We intend to consult special school head teachers, local authority and other representative bodies before coming to a final decision on this issue. We will announce how we intend to proceed in due course.
Beverley Hughes: There is a comprehensive national level evaluation of Sure Start local programmes in place which began in January 2001. It examines the impact of Sure Start on children, parents, families and communities, both in the short, medium and long term by tracking a sample of 8,000 children and their families over time. The first information on the effects of Sure Start on children and families will be available by the end of the year.
John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will make a statement on the steps she is taking to meet the Sure Start target to reduce the proportion of young children living in households where no one is working. 
Sure Start Local Programmes (and now children's centres) work closely with Jobcentre Plus in providing a range of initiatives to encourage and support parents of young children in moving towards the labour market. Childcare Partnership Managers in all Jobcentre Plus districts are fostering closer working in all local authority areas, including focusing on meeting the childcare needs of unemployed parents. Progress is good with the most recent data (200304) showing a 7.3 per cent. drop against the overall target of a 12 per cent. drop by March 2006.
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John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will make a statement on progress towards the Sure Start target to reduce the proportion of mothers who smoke during pregnancy. 
Beverley Hughes: Our target is to reduce the number of women in Sure Start local programme areas who smoke during pregnancy by 6 per cent. between 2003 and 2006. Up until March 2004 we have achieved a reduction of 1.4 per cent.
Programmes carry out a wide range of activities to reduce smoking from work with pregnant mothers to smoke free homes initiatives" and preventative work with school children. Some programmes have performed particularly well, reporting up to 25 per cent. reductions in some areas and we are encouraging them to share good practice. This is a challenging target with many programmes working in communities where smoking is the cultural norm. We know that programmes find this work easier where the PCT takes a strong strategic lead, for example, by providing training, advice or help with funding for programmes smoking cessation workers or midwives.
|Percentage of primary schools||Percentage of secondary schools|
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment she has made of the impact of the accessibility of extra-curricular
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activities, including sports, upon under-achievement (a) nationally and (b) by children from low socio-economic backgrounds. 
Jacqui Smith: Research shows that there are significant benefits for young people participating in study support (out of school hours learning) activities. In June 2001, my Department published The Impact of Study Support", which set out the findings of a three-year longitudinal study of around 8,000 pupils in 52 secondary schools. The research found that pupils participating in study support do better than their peers who do not in three key areasattainment, attitudes to school and attendance at school. The study also indicated that minority ethnic pupils and pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds gain most benefit, and that participation increases the likelihood of subsequent participation. Young people can benefit from a wide range of activities, not just those which are linked to curriculum subjects.
A recent MORI survey by my Department showed that the most popular study support activities are PE and sport. In addition to the health and fitness benefits, the medium of sport can be used to enhance young people's numeracy and literacy skills, as well as contributing to improved motivation and behaviour.
John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment she has made of the impact of a positive learning environment upon under-achievement (a) nationally and (b) by children from low socio-economic backgrounds. 
Jacqui Smith: There are a range of factors, in both the home and school, which are shown to influence a positive learning environment. Many of these factors are shown to particularly focus on supporting low achieving children, who disproportionately tend to be from lower socio-economic backgrounds.
Research shows that the quality of the home environment in the pre-school years has the strongest impact on child development at start of school and beyond, and is therefore the most important influence on child development in the pre-school period. The Department's effective provision of pre-school education (EPPE) study has shown that, for all children, the type and range of learning activities that parents undertake with their pre-school children (for example, reading, singing nursery rhymes and playing with numbers) are more important for intellectual and social development than parental occupation, education or income.
Research also highlights that school related factors such as, personalisation of learning, mentoring and tailoring the curriculum for pupils who are gifted and talented all contribute to a positive learning environment. Early findings from the excellence in cities programme and pupil learning credits pilot suggest an impact on attitudes, attendance and key stage 3 mathematics results. The research shows that the most progress in mathematics was made by pupils from the most deprived schools.
School organisation and ethos is also important in developing a positive learning environment. The behaviour improvement programme indicates that effective combinations of measures including behaviour
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audits, development of behaviour and attendance strategies, learning mentors, learning support units and multi-agency working, are effective in improving behaviour and attendance.
John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment she has made of the impact of low level classroom disruption on under-achievement (a) nationally and (b) by children from low socio-economic backgrounds. 
Jacqui Smith: The Department has made no formal assessment of the impact of low level classroom disruption on under-achievement However, research evidence indicates that there is a complex relationship between behaviour, attainment and social class. Research shows that being in a school where there are high levels of disruption can impact negatively on pupils' learning and there is some evidence that it may have more of an impact on pupils from low socio-economic groups. In addition the Department's data shows that schools with higher levels of permanent exclusions tend to have lower levels of attainment as do young people who have been excluded.
Evidence also suggests that there is a link between social class and behaviour both at an individual and a school level. Pupils from low socio-economic groups are more likely to report having been punished or excluded from school; and evidence from teachers suggests that schools with high levels of children on free school meals have higher levels of classroom disruption.
We have made clear our support for schools to take a zero tolerance approach in tackling low level disruption in the classroom. We are further strengthening our programme of work to combat such disruption by taking forward the recommendations of an experienced group of heads and teachers, led by Sir Alan Steer, who had a specific remit to address the impact of low level disorder on teaching and learning. A number of these recommendations feature in the recent Schools White Paper.
John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment she has made of the potential impact of setting by ability upon underachievement by children from low socio-economic backgrounds. 
Jacqui Smith: Effective grouping of pupils by ability can raise standards and better engage pupils in their own learning. Putting children in different ability groups within a class is now commonplace in primary schools and over a third of classes are set by ability in secondary schools including the majority of lessons in English, maths, science and modern foreign languages.
It is for schools to use their own professional judgment to determine for themselves how and when to set or group pupils so as to ensure that it helps to raise the attainment of all pupils, including those from low socio-economic backgrounds. We set out proposals in our recent schools' White Paper, for support for schools to tailor education so that no child falls behind and no child is held back from achieving their potential. Our proposals include helping schools to learn from the best practices around setting and grouping as well as investing an additional £60 million a year, and targeting
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£335 million within the new dedicated schools grant to support personalisation in key stage 3, over the next two years.
John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what assessment she has made of the capacity of schools to provide one-to-one teaching to tackle under-achievement by pupils from low socio-economic backgrounds; 
(5) what action is being taken by her Department to ensure that children from low socio-economic backgrounds in secondary education (a) attain the necessary skills and (b) achieve the best possible results; 
Jacqui Smith: Good schools have been personalising their teaching and learning, with great success for many years to raise standards and meet the learning needs of their pupils. We know that personalising learning, which includes assessment for learning; high quality tailored whole class, small group and one-to-one teaching; a flexible curriculum, effective school organisation and strong partnerships beyond the school, can raise pupil achievement particularly for low achieving pupils who disproportionately tend to be from low socio-economic backgrounds. We now want this to be common practice across all schools, particularly for children at either end of the ability spectrum whose needs can be the most challenging to meet.
We will therefore allocate £335 million by 200708, specifically earmarked within our Dedicated Schools Grant, to provide the resources secondary schools need to start delivering personalised learning for pupils in Key Stage 3, focusing funding on deprived areas, particularly for those who have fallen behind in literacy and numeracy and for those who are gifted or talented. For those schools with the highest numbers of children who have fallen behind we will provide a further targeted £60 million in each of 200607 and 200708, shared across the primary and secondary sectors, to provide more effective one-to-one and small group tuition. We will also provide all schools with best practice materials, guidance and access to training on the most effective teaching and learning strategies to personalise learning to the needs of each pupil.
Through School Improvement Partners and the new OFSTED inspection regime we will challenge every school to demonstrate they are planning and delivering effective tailored teaching and learning for every child,
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particularly for under-achieving groups of pupils, including those from low socio-economic backgrounds, as well as overall school performance.
Jacqui Smith: We know that the way schools currently involve parents is varied. For example, we know that in primary schools there is a much more inclusive approach to parents, resulting in parents of primary school children feeling more confident about engaging with their child's school. However, we know this is not always the case with secondary schools, where establishing such a relationship is more difficult. Further, we know that some parents, due to the complexities of their own lives or their own educational history, are more reluctant to engage with their children's school.
We want to help parents and schools to work well together and raise children's achievement. We know that the key to improving parental involvement in children's education is changing attitudes and moving towards a situation where parents are accepted as co-educators and partners in their children's learning, not only in schools but also in local authorities. It is crucial we ensure that the importance of parental involvement is embedded throughout the education chain to establish a culture of parental involvement and encourage a positive, two-way partnership.
To enable this, we are actively encouraging parents to become more closely involved in their children's education and learning at home and at school. Since 1997, we have sought to enhance parental involvement through a range of measures. These include information for parents such as videos, DVDs, the Learning Journey" guides and the Parents Centre website; and materials for schools such as the Involving Parents, Raising Achievement toolkit.
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Parental involvement is not only key to the standards agenda, but is equally central to creating a culture of lifelong learning and high aspirations in communities and families, regardless of background. This message has been reinforced by the White Paper Higher Standards, Better Schools for All".
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