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16 Jan 2006 : Column 1025W—continued

Sector Skills Bodies

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State forEducation and Skills what the Government Capital Reserve in the Learning and Skills Council Annual Report and Accounts 2004–05 is; and what guidelines cover its use. [36579]

Bill Rammell: I have overall responsibility for the Learning and Skills Council (LSC). However the operations of the LSC are managed and overseen by Mark Haysom, the LSC's Chief Executive. Details of the LSC's Statutory Accounts and the guidelines and policies they use for the Government Capital Reserve are a matter for the LSC. Mark Haysom has written to the hon. Member with information and copy of his reply has been placed in the House Library.
 
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Letter from Mark Haysom, dated 22 December 2005:

Social Mobility

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will make a statement on changes in social mobility in relation to inter-generational academic achievement between 1978 and 2005. [41449]

Jacqui Smith: The Secretary of State's speech to IPPR on 26 July 2005 set out the Government's commitment to help develop a society which can foster greater social mobility. Her 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.

An assessment of changes in inter-generational academic achievement is constrained by data limitations. However in a paper accompanying the speech, Has the Social Class Gap Narrowed in Primary Schools", analysis was presented to show how gaps in attainment between pupils from high and low income brackets (proxied by free school meal (FSM) status) have changed. The paper focused on key stage 2 between 1998 and 2004, the period in which the data allow such comparisons to be made.

The analysis showed that performance has improved on average for both FSM and non-FSM pupils, but there was little significant change in the gap between the two groups. However it was found that schools with the highest proportions of pupils eligible for FSM did narrow the gap compared to schools with low proportions of FSM. For example in key stage 2 English, the gap in attainment at level 4 narrowed by eight percentage points in the period 1998–2004 between schools with high and low proportions of FSM pupils. The full paper is available on the Department's website.

Further analysis will be carried out over the coming months. In particular, we will look at key stages 1, 3 and 4, to the extent that data for these phases can be tracked over time on a comparable basis.
 
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Special Educational Needs

Ed Balls: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what support and services are available for new parents whose children have been diagnosed at birth as suffering from learning difficulties in (a) West Yorkshire, (b) Wakefield District and (c) Normanton constituency; and whether she plans to increase this assistance. [41098]

Maria Eagle: The Government are committed to improving services for all children and their families, including those with learning disabilities. The Every Child Matters programme, alongside the implementation of the National Service Framework for Children, Young People and Maternity Services and the Government's SEN strategy Removing Barriers to Achievement", supports and promotes early intervention to help families of very young disabled children. In particular, the Government's Early Support Programme has been funded to improve support to parents of disabled children aged 0–3 and to provide timely interventions at the very earliest stages of impairment being identified. The development of Sure Start Children's Centres will also improve the integrated support provided to families with children under 5. Disabled children and special educational needs are a priority for this programme.

In the West Yorkshire area there are currently 24 Children's Centres (expected to rise to 76 by September 2006) and 1 Early Support Programme (with one currently being developed in Wakefield). All local authorities have now been asked to begin using the Early Support approaches and materials to review and improve services for families with young disabled children.

Families of children with learning disabilities are, of course, entitled to access an additional range of local authority and health support. Details about these local services are not collected centrally and to do so would incur disproportionate cost.

State Schools (Selection)

Dr. Evan Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment she has made of the impact of selection on religious grounds in state schools on social cohesion. [41127]

Jacqui Smith: We welcome faith schools into the maintained sector as they can make an important contribution to community cohesion by promoting inclusion and developing partnerships with schools of other faiths, and with non-faith schools. Many faith schools play their part in social cohesion by admitting pupils of other faiths and none and we encourage them in the School Admissions Code of Practice to do this.

Summer Enterprise School

Charles Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what the forecast budget is for the Summer Enterprise School programme; how this budget is distributed between each pathfinder programme; and what the cost is for each school; [38889]
 
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(2) if she will list the organisations which bid to run the Summer Enterprise School pathfinder programme; which bid was successful; and what provision that bid made for the programme; [38890]

(3) which organisations her Department consulted on the estimate of costs for the Summer Enterprise School pathfinder programme; and what comparisons have been made with similar schemes overseas. [38891]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 20 December 2005]: Following the Chancellor's 15 November announcement that Young Enterprise (YE) will run Enterprise Summer School Pathfinders in 2006, the DfES have been given responsibility for the delivery of the Pathfinders. £2 million has been made available, and while we have had early discussions with YE about how, along with other organisations, they will deliver the Pathfinders, we are not yet at a stage to finalise detailed costings.

Enterprise Summer Schools were initially announced on 26 June 2005, and a number of proposals to run them were received following that announcement. However, Young Enterprise, as a nationally enabled charity with a regional structure, and long experience of enterprise education, had the only suitable proposal. In pathfinding and evaluating YE's different summer school models we will be taking account of international best practice.

Specialist Schools

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills for what reason selection of up to 10 per cent. of intake by aptitude is not permitted in schools which specialise in (a) business and enterprise, (b) engineering, (c) humanities, (d) mathematics and computing and (e) science; and if she will make a statement. [40728]

Jacqui Smith: Admission authorities of schools have been able to select up to 10 per cent. of their intake based upon applicant's aptitude in certain prescribed subjects. We allow this limited flexibility so that pupils with a relevant aptitude can gain access to particular schools.

However, we are opposed to academic selection and do not wish to see it extended. It is accordingly permissible only to use tests that assess aptitude in the particular subject as distinct from general academic ability.

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the average point score at (a) Key Stage 3 and (b) GCSE and equivalent was for specialist schools in 2004, (i) in total and (ii) broken down by specialism. [41672]

Jacqui Smith: The average point scores at Key Stage 3 and GCSE and equivalent for specialist schools in 2004 are shown in the following tables:
 
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2004 Key Stage 3:

SpecialismNumber of schoolsAverage points score
All specialist schools1,43334.9
Arts22634.4
Business and enterprise8234.5
Engineering1434.8
Language18736.1
Maths and computing7635.9
Science12136.1
Sports22633.9
Technology49134.7
Combined specialism1035.5

2004 GCSEs and equivalents:

Average points score
SpecialismNumber of schoolsCapped(54)Uncapped
All specialist schools1,443295.1361.2
Arts227290.1353.3
Business and enterprise82294.1363.0
Engineering14287.7340.8
Language187312.7383.7
Maths and computing76309.8379.4
Science121313.7385.7
Sports228276.7331.9
Technology498293.2362.1
Combined specialism10301.8358.0


(54)Average capped point scores are calculated using the best eight results.



 
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Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many and what proportion of pupils attending specialist schools attained five or more GCSEs including English and mathematics in 2004 (a) in total and (b) broken down by specialism. [41673]

Jacqui Smith: The number and proportion of pupils attending specialist schools who achieved five or more GCSE's including English and mathematics in 2004 is shown in the following table:
SpecialismNumber of
15-year-old pupils achieving five or more grades A*-C, including English and maths
Percentage of
15-year-old pupils achieving five or more grades A*-C, including English and maths
All specialist schools130,81245
Arts19,60342
Business and enterprise6,78144
Engineering1,22943
Language19,82453
Maths and computing7,59553
Science12,48053
Sports17,42038
Technology44,94344
Combined specialism93749

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many and what proportion of pupils attending specialist schools achieved (a) level 5 or above and (b) level 6 or above in 2004, (i) in total and (ii) broken down by specialism. [41674]

Jacqui Smith: The proportion of pupils attending specialist schools achieving level 5 or above and level 6 or above in 2004 are shown in the following table:
2004 Key Stage 3

SpecialismNumber achieving
L5 or above
Proportion achieving L5 or above (percentage)Number achieving
L6 or above
Proportion achieving L6 or above (percentage)
All specialist schools653,92974385,62744
Arts102,7647258,81541
Business and Enterprise35,9617320,23641
Engineering6,476733,81643
Language91,4247958,77151
Maths and Computing34,6277821,84149
Science58,1238036,94951
Sports97,5227053,29138
Technology222,48973129,23643
Combined4,543782,67246


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