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22 Nov 2005 : Column 1957W—continued

Primary Education

Jon Trickett: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will estimate the cost of reducing the teacher-pupil ratio in primary schools to (a) 1:28, (b) 1:25 and (c) 1:20. [27771]

Jacqui Smith: The teacher-pupil ratio is 1:22.5 in primary schools based on provisional 2005 data. We estimate that the increased cost in terms of teachers pay to reduce this ratio to 1:20 would be approximately £780 million per year. This excludes training, leadership and structural costs.

Prison Population

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many (a) teachers and lecturers and (b) learners amongst the prison population there were in each month in the academic year 2004/05. [27953]

Phil Hope: This information is not collated centrally by the Prison Service, and could be collected only at disproportionate cost.

New arrangements for the delivery of learning and skills, planned and funded by the Learning and Skills Council, were introduced in three development regions from 1 August 2005. Information on the number of learners for the first three months of the current
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academic year will be available for these regions later this month and I shall arrange to write to the hon. Member with the data when they are to hand.

Publicly Funded Courses (Drop-out Rate)

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what percentage of learners who have enrolled on publicly funded courses since 1992 have failed to complete those courses, broken down by age bands of 10 years. [28583]

Phil Hope: Non-completion rates are not available on a consistent basis for all publicly-funded courses combined. Separate rates are available for; further education colleges and external institutions from 1998/99, work based learning providers from 2001/02 and HE institutions from 1996/97. The rates for each category of provision are NOT comparable with the rates for the other categories of provision because they are produced using different data collection systems and different methodologies. Within the three categories of provision the rates for each year are produced on a consistent basis.

Due to the compulsory nature of pre-16 school education retention data for the schools sector are not currently collected centrally by government. Work is under way to develop a means of obtaining retention data for schools with sixth-forms.

Non-completion rates for the three categories of provision are given on subsequent pages.

Non-completion rates for Further Education Colleges

Non-completion rates for the age groups 16 to 18 and 19+ are readily available from LSC benchmarking data and are shown in the following table. The resource required to break down non-completion rates into age bands of 10 years would exceed the disproportionate cost threshold for answering Parliamentary Questions.
Age band
Year course due to finish16–1819+

DfES analysis of LSC Benchmarking data. Further details of the benchmarking data can be found on the LSC website at:

Non-completion rates for Work Based Learning Providers

Up to and including 2003/04 you could only start a Work Based Learning program if aged below 25 years of age. It is therefore not appropriate to break down non-completion rates into age bands of 10 years. Non-completion rates for all WBL learners are given in the following table.
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Year of leavingNon-completion rate (all frameworks or NVQs) (%)

LSC Individualised Learner Record. Further details can be found on the LSC website at:

Non-completion rates for HE institutions

Since 1996/97, information on non-completion rates for higher education students has been published annually by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) in Performance Indicators in Higher Education". The table gives the percentage of UK domiciled full-time first degree students expected neither to obtain an award nor transfer. The published figures cover students of all ages and are not calculated separately by age group. The figures for 2003/04 will be available in July 2006.
Students starting courses in:Non-completion rate (%)

Performance Indicators in Higher Education, published by HESA. Further details can be found on the HESA website by looking at the background to table T5 at:


Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills whether it is her policy to allow schools to select children for admission by interviewing their parents; and if she will make a statement. [29777]

Jacqui Smith: The statutory School Admissions Code of Practice makes it quite clear that we regard it as poor practice for schools to interview parents or children as any part of the admission process. The only exception to this is boarding schools, where we consider it reasonable to interview to assess a child's suitability to be a boarder.

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to her answer of 2 November 2005, Official Report, columns 1198–99W, on schools, what steps a local authority will have to take before deciding if a request from parents to set up a new school has support; and whether an individual parent will have the right of appeal to the schools adjudicator if such a proposal is rejected. [30714]

Jacqui Smith: Local authorities will be subject to new duties to promote choice and diversity in their areas and to respond to parental demand for new schools. In carrying out these duties, local authorities will need to consider representations from parents on their merits, taking account of the number of parents expressing a demand for a new school, and the extent to which a new school might add to the quality and diversity of provision. We intend to issue guidance to local
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authorities on the duties once the legislation is in place. The Schools Commissioner will monitor the effectiveness of local authorities in carrying out their duties.

People wishing to establish new schools—either with the support of the local authority or otherwise—will, as now, have to consult on and publish formal statutory proposals. In future it will be for the local authority to decide such proposals, taking account of the views of stakeholders. If the local authority reject the proposals, the promoters—the people or organisation who originally published the proposals—will be able to appeal to the schools adjudicator.

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what definition she uses for (a) a trust school, (b) a foundation school and (c) a voluntary aided school under the changes proposed in the White Paper Higher Standards, Better Schools For All". [30938]

Jacqui Smith: The characteristics of trust schools are described in the White Paper. In the terms of the existing legislation governing categories of schools—the School Standards and Framework Act 1998—a trust school will be a foundation school with a foundation. At present the foundation of such a school may only appoint a minority of the governing body: we intend to provide for foundations (trusts) to appoint a majority of the governing bodies of trust schools. A foundation school, as described in the White Paper, is a foundation school without a foundation. We are planning no changes to the existing characteristics of foundation and voluntary aided schools.

Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much funding was allocated by her Department to Hemel Hempstead constituency for (a) capital projects and (b) revenue funding in each of the last eight years. [25756]

Jacqui Smith: The Department does not hold information on funding at constituency level. However we do hold information centrally on funding allocated for education and children's services to Hertfordshire county council in which Hemel Hempstead constituency is situated. The information on capital and revenue funding is provided as follows. The figures exclude payments made by the Department's NDPBs which could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Table 1: revenue and capital funding for Hertfordshire county council

£ million

1. All figures are in cash not real terms.
2. Includes money paid out for education and for children's social services. Responsibility for children's social services transferred from DH to DfES in 2003–04 as part of Machinery of Government changes.
3. Includes school funding and children's social services funding paid through ODPM as well as grants paid directly to Hertfordshire by the Department.
4. Total funding also includes all revenue grants in DfES Departmental Expenditure Limits relevant to pupils aged 3 to 19 but exclude Education Maintenance Allowances (EMAs) and grants not allocated at LEA level.
5. Where responsibility for funding has transferred from an LEA, related funding no longer appears in the series.

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Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many grammar schools have closed in England since 1997. [20766]

Jacqui Smith: There have been no grammar school closures since 1997.

Anne Milton: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what her Department's target is for the number of specialist schools in (a) Surrey and (b) England; [30184]

(2) how many schools in (a) Surrey and (b) England have (i) applied for and (ii) been granted specialist status for each of the 10 specialisms; [30185]

(3) how many specialist schools in Surrey participate in the Leading Edge Partnership scheme. [30186]

Jacqui Smith: Local authorities are not required to set targets for the number of specialist schools however 79 per cent. of schools in Surrey have already achieved specialist status (greater than the national average of 75 per cent.) with more planned. Our national target is that 95 per cent. of maintained secondary schools will be specialist or Academies by 2008.

To date over 2,600 schools in England have applied for specialist status including 42 in Surrey.

The following is the breakdown by specialism of schools which have been granted specialist school status:

(a) In Surrey there are 41 specialist schools:

(b) In England there are 2,380 specialist schools:

There are two Leading Edge Partnerships in Surrey. Seven schools participate in the partnerships and six of these are specialist.

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