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15 Feb 2006 : Column 2060W—continued

Class Sizes

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the average class size is in (a) primary schools and (b) secondary schools in (i) England, (ii) the Tees Valley and (iii) Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland. [49436]

Jacqui Smith: The requested information is given in the following table.
Maintained primary and secondary schools(3): average class size(4)(5)—as at January 2005.

Number of classesNumber of pupils in classesAverage class sizeNumber of classesNumber of pupils in classesAverage class size
Tees Valley(6)2,27056,68025.01,82040,33022.2
Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland3307,64023.41603,60023.1

(3) Includes middle schools as deemed.
(4) One teacher classes.
(5) Classes as taught during one selected period on the day of the census in January.
(6) Includes Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland, Stockton-on-Tees and Darlington local authorities.
Numbers have been rounded to the nearest 10.
Annual Schools Census


Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what evidence she has received of fraudulent use being made of the Connexions Card. [50036]

Maria Eagle: The Department has no evidence of Connexions Card holders attempting to claim rewards and discounts available under the scheme fraudulently. However, there is evidence of 17 young people attempting to use the Connexions Card to obtain age related services they were not entitled to. These incidences took place between 2004 and 2006 and were brought to our attention through the action of the police and licensees.

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills whether the Connexions Agency will assist 16-year-olds to apply for benefits to which they are entitled. [50123]

Maria Eagle: The role of Connexions includes ensuring that young people up to the age of 19 years are aware of and able to obtain the benefits to which they are entitled.

The most recent guidance to Connexions services states:

Curriculum Online

Mr. Gauke: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment she has made of the percentage of teachers using Curriculum Online; and what the trends of such usage have been since its introduction. [50964]

Phil Hope: Curriculum Online is a successful way of helping teachers to find appropriate resources to meet the educational needs of individual learners. In 2002, the DfES commissioned the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) and Bristol university to conduct a four year evaluation of Curriculum Online to examine educational impacts, operational effectiveness and impact on the suppliers of educational digital materials.

The evaluation of educational impacts is being conducted by NatCen and comprises a series of three surveys of teachers (winter 2002, autumn 2004 and the final report in March 2006) and two qualitative studies (the first was published in autumn 2004 and the second in winter 2005). The findings of the qualitative studies are that almost three fifths (58 per cent.) of school respondents in primary schools and 78 per cent. in secondary schools said that they used the Curriculum Online website as a source of information when selecting software.

The latest statistics (September 2005) show that the website attracts around 100 thousand users per month, these figures represent a 300 per cent. increase over September 2004.

Departmental Catering Budget

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what her Department's policy is on the procurement of fair trade produce for consumption on its premises. [49926]

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Maria Eagle: The Department encourages the sale of FairTrade and ethical products through our restaurant services that are provided by an external partner and has a range of products available for purchase consisting of coffee, tea, chocolate bars and fruit juices.

Departmental Expenditure

Mr. Gauke: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what estimate she has made of the savings made in the last two financial years as a consequence of (a) streamlined data collection and (b) reduced reporting and monitoring requirements for schools. [50122]

Jacqui Smith: No quantitative assessment has been made, partly because this would itself place significant burdens on schools. Informal feedback suggests that new data collection arrangements are working effectively, with schools and authorities reporting that processes are more efficient and less resource-intensive, while the data that is made available to them is of greater help for their own management. Six pre-existing surveys have been incorporated into the Schools Census, lowering the overall burdens of collecting from schools.

The Implementation Review Unit (IRU) is an independent panel of serving senior school practitioners which reviews the implementation of existing and new policy initiatives. The IRU has encouraged the Department to introduce a system of impact assessment for all initiatives that have workload implications in schools, including data collection and reporting and monitoring requirements. The 2004–05 IRU annual report welcomed the reduction in the number of new initiatives in 2005, down by 56 per cent. on 2004.

Education Finance

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) how Government grants for education will be affected by the White Paper proposals; [50456]

(2) what changes are expected under the White Paper proposals with respect to councils' allocated education budget; and what assessment she has made of the possible effects on levels of council tax. [50457]

Jacqui Smith: One of the main changes arising from the White Paper will be a greater emphasis on Personalised Learning, with its stronger focus on English and mathematics, and on those children who have a particular gift or talent. We see this greater focus as being key to driving up standards and to tackling the persistent achievement gaps between social and ethnic groups.

As I stated in the Schools Funding announcement on 7 December 2005, funds within the new Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) have been specifically earmarked for Personalised Learning. Primary schools will receive an additional £230 million by 2007–08, while £335 million will be available for secondary schools to deliver personalised learning for 11 to 14-year-olds.

Those schools with the highest number of children who have fallen behind in English and maths will receive a further targeted £60 million grant in each of 2006–07
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and 2007–08, shared equally across the primary and secondary sectors, to provide more effective one-to-one and small group tuition.

In making arrangements for the DSG and its distribution, we have allowed for the White Paper policies of more independent schools entering the maintained sector, and for more schools becoming academies. We do not otherwise expect that the White Paper will affect the Schools Budgets of authorities.

In so far as White Paper policies cause increased costs to affect the LEA Budgets of authorities, we will provide extra funding under the New Burdens rules. We do not therefore expect there to be an impact on council tax.

Anne Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what factors determined the funding allocation for Hertfordshire Local Education Authority's dedicated schools grant per pupil for 2006–07. [50776]

Jacqui Smith: I refer the hon. Member to my statement of 7 December, which set out the factors used to determine the allocations of Dedicated Schools Grant for all authorities. That statement and more detailed information may be found on the Teachernet website at:–07_funding_arrangements/

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what her Department's estimate is of the total cost to public funds of putting a child through state schooling from the age of 5 to 16 years. [51007]

Jacqui Smith: The estimated average cost of educating a pupil from the age of 5 to 16 years is £45,000.

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