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20 Mar 2006 : Column 106W—continued

School Staffing Structure

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what funding has been provided for schools in Gloucestershire to implement (a) the Schools Staffing Structure Review and (b) Planning Preparation and Assessment; [59156]

(2) what assessment she has made of the impact of (a) the Schools Staffing Structure Review and (b) planning, preparation and assessment on headteachers' workloads in small schools; [59157]

(3) what assessment she has made of the impact of the requirements of the (a) Schools Staffing Structure review and (b) planning, preparation and assessment on the workload of headteachers; and if she will make a statement; [59150]

(4) what (a) financial and (b) administrative assistance she has provided for headteachers in small schools to implement (i) the Schools Staffing Structure Review and (ii) the requirements of planning, preparation and assessment. [59109]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 16 March 2006]: We have given careful consideration, in consultation with our national education partners, to the additional resources that schools might require in the financial years 2005–06 and 2006–07 to implement guaranteed planning, preparation and assessment (PPA) time for
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allteachers. This included a survey of real schools including those with relatively low funding, small schools, and those in rural areas, to gain a better understanding of their starting points, how they planned to deliver PPA and the extent to which they could achieve this through the redeployment of existing resources and the additional resources required.

In the light of this, we concluded that there would be an average additional cost pressure for nursery and primary schools of 0.8 per cent. to 1 per cent. per pupil in 2005–06 and 0.7 per cent. per pupil in 2006–07. We reflected these extra pressures by setting the minimum funding guarantee for primary and nursery schools for 2005–06 at 5 per cent. per pupil, compared with 4 per cent. per pupil for secondary and special schools and at 4 per cent. per pupil in 2006–07, compared with 3.4 per cent. per pupil for secondary and special schools.

The minimum increases for schools have been backed by substantial headroom at local authority level in each year, which authorities can use to support schools with particular pressures arising from PPA, including very small schools. In 2005–06, Gloucestershire received an increase in its Schools Formula Spending Share of 6.9 per cent. per pupil, and for 2006–07 it will receive an increase in its allocation of the new Dedicated Schools Grant of 6.8 per cent. per pupil (compared with its budgeted spending in 2005–06). These increases equal the national average increase in each year. It is for each local authority, in consultation with its Schools Forum, to decide on the distribution of funding between the schools in its area.

Nothing in the review of staffing structure process compels schools to incur additional expenditure. Any changes to the staffing structure, and the timing of the implementation of such changes, are within schools' control, provided that they are implemented by 31 December 2008.

We have made no specific assessment of the impact of either the Schools Staffing Structure Review or PPA on headteachers1 workloads in small schools. However, we are aware that both the implementation of PPA time and the review of school staffing structures were major tasks for headteachers and school leaders to manage last year. Of course, headteachers who have a teaching timetable, which is most common in small schools, will themselves benefit from PPA time.

Headteachers will also benefit from other elements of our workforce reform programme, such as dedicated headship time for headteachers (introduced in September 2005) and the provisions on work/life balance (effective from September 2003). We are very conscious of the need to bear down on headteacher workload and, in response to a School Teachers' Review Body recommendation, have announced an independent study into the roles, responsibilities, structures and rewards systems for the leadership group.

We provided all headteachers with a great deal of guidance to help them implement PPA and review their staffing structure. On PPA, national guidance has been issued by the National Remodelling Team, and that has been backed up by practical advice and support from a national network of local authority based remodelling advisers. On the staffing structure review, I refer the hon.
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Member to the answers I gave him on 10 October 2005, Official Report, columns 350–1W, on Headteacher's Staffing Reviews, concerning the support provided.

Schools (Sales)

Mr. Bone: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what Government policy is on the use by local authorities of the proceeds from the sale of schools. [58971]

Jacqui Smith: Local authorities are free to dispose of redundant school buildings and to use any sale proceeds as they see fit. However, in the case of surplus or redundant school playing fields, local authorities are required, in line with the Government's policy to protect school playing fields, to obtain the Secretary of State's prior consent and such consent will only be given where the local authority undertakes to recycle the sale proceeds for sport or educational purposes.

School Funding

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the average funding per pupil is for 2005–06 in Coventry, South. [55992]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 7 March 2006]: The Department does not collect information on school funding at constituency level. It only collects funding information at the local authority level. The average funding per pupil aged 3 to19 in Coventry in 2005–06 is £4,200. In 1997–98 the equivalent figure was £2,920: this represents an increase over this period of some 1,280 in real terms.


Mr. Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what criteria schools will be able to use to select pupils for secondary education under the terms of the Education and Inspections Bill. [59692]

Jacqui Smith: Clause 36 of the Bill reaffirms the general rule that children should not be selected for admission to schools on the basis of academic ability. It prevents the introduction of any new selection by ability, and clarifies that any school that becomes its own admission authority will not be able to select pupils by ability, if it doesn't already do so.
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Legislation will continue to allow exceptions to the general restriction on selection—i.e. by grammar schools and other schools which, in 1997/98, selected a proportion of their intake by ability or aptitude. It will also continue to be permissible for admission authorities to introduce selection of up to 10 per cent. of their intake on the basis of aptitude for prescribed subjects.

But there are other means of 'selecting' or giving pupils priority for admission to schools. Clause 40 of the Bill prohibits schools from interviewing either parents or their children as part of their admission arrangements.

Clause 37 will give a new School Admissions Code greater force than the existing Code of Practice. It will impose requirements on admission authorities and they will have to act in accordance with its provisions and guidelines. The new Code will set out what are acceptable and unacceptable admission criteria and practices, to ensure that all schools use fair admissions processes.

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