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Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) if she will make a statement on John Smeaton Community High School in Leeds and the measures the school is taking to raise its standards; 
Jacqui Smith: Both Agnes Stewart Church of England High School and John Smeaton Community High School have been part of a project with four other high schools in Leeds supported by my Department and Education Leeds since 2004. The project is currently seeking to raise standards through a range of initiatives, designed to improve the quality of teaching and learning and raise attainment.
For Agnes Stewart support has included a collaborative arrangement with Garforth High School and Braimwood High School in Leeds. Agnes Stewart had serious weaknesses and on re-inspection in November 2005 was judged to still require significant improvement. Agnes Stewart and Braimwood are to close this year and be replaced by a new Academy in September.
For John Smeaton School support measures have included the appointment of an additional part-time Vice Principal, seconded from the David Young Academy, to ensure the school's assessment procedures are improved; targeted support from Secondary National Strategy consultants, who are working with the school's numeracy assistants; extra assistance from school improvement advisers from Education Leeds; and continued support from other schools within the local Leadership Incentive Grant collaborative partnership.
|Academic year||Number of schools closed|
These are schools judged by Ofsted to require special measures only. The figures do not include other schools closed by local authorities. For example, they do not include schools judged by Ofsted to have serious weaknesses; weak schools with falling rolls not in Ofsted categories; or, schools which were part of local authority school re-organisations to reduce surplus places.
Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to the answer of 23 January 2006, Official Report, column 1927W, on schools admissions, if she will list the schools where there have been objections to schools' proposals to interview parents and pupils as part of their admissions process; which objections were considered by (a) the Schools Adjudicator and (b) the Secretary of State; and what the outcome was in each case. 
In April 2004, the Schools Adjudicator determined part of the objection to the London Oratory School's admission arrangements for 2005 on the issue of the practice of interviewing prospective parents in a general sense. The Adjudicator upheld this part, but the determination was quashed at Judicial Review and permission to appeal was refused.
In 2004, the Secretary of State decided on the second part of the above objection to the lack of clarity, fairness and objectivity of the admission arrangements relating in part to a person's religion. The Secretary of State partially upheld this part and the school modified that section of its admission arrangements.
In 2005, two objections were made to the proposed admission arrangements to Gunnersbury Catholic School and The London Oratory School and were referred to the Secretary of State as both cases involved interviewing to determine religious affiliation.
The objection to interviewing at Gunnersbury School was upheld as the school proposed to interview only to verify that an applicant was a practising Catholic and this information could be verified by documentary evidence.
The objection to interviewing at the London Oratory was not upheld as the school was able to provide thorough and sufficient proof that its interviewing arrangements were the only appropriate way of assessing the degree of an applicant's religious commitment as set out in their admission arrangements.
Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to her answer of 12 January 2006, Official Report, column 830W, on schools for the hearing impaired, how many of the special schools approved to make provision for pupils with hearing impairment are (a) primary and (b) secondary schools. 
Jacqui Smith: Information on number of special schools is derived from Annual Schools' Census returns made by schools to the Department in January each year. Special schools form a distinct school type and they are not classified as being either primary or secondary schools.
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if her Department will issue best practice guidelines to schools to ensure that every child receives a high standard of sex and relationship education. 
Maria Eagle: The Department issued guidance to schools on sex and relationship education in July 2000. Additionally, in November 2005, the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority produced a package of guidance to schools including exemplar units of work on sex and relationship education.
To improve further the quality of teaching, all teachers of sex and relationship education are encouraged to undertake the Government funded teachers' certificate in Personal Social and Health Education (PSHE). The certificate supports standards in the delivery of PSHE teaching including sex and relationship education and is available to both primary and secondary school teachers.
|Number of schools in special measures at end of year||Percentage of schools|
in special measures
at end of year
Paul Farrelly: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what role (a) has been played by and (b) is envisaged for the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust in relation to specialist schools in England. 
Jacqui Smith: The Specialist Schools and Academies Trust is a non profit-making educational charity. It is the lead advisory body on the specialist school initiative for the DfES, providing advice and support for schools in England seeking to achieve or maintain specialist school status. Its work includes the promotion, development and support of specialist schools, conference and seminar activities and a publications programme. The Specialist Schools and Academies Trust also plays an important role in raising sponsorship and introducing potential sponsors to suitable candidate schools. We expect that the trust will continue to perform these roles.
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