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Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what percentage of (a) A-level candidates and (b) all 18-year-olds in England achieved two or more grades A to E at A-level in (i) 2004 and (ii)2005; [62060]

(2) what proportion of candidates in England achieved passes at grades A* to C at GCSE in at least five subjects including English and mathematics in (a) 2004 and (b) 2005. [62061]

Jacqui Smith: The figures requested are shown in the following tables.
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Percentage of 17-year-olds(9)(5509030010) achieving two or more GCE/VCE A-level passes34.334.4
Percentage of 16 to 18-year-old(10) candidates(11) achieving two or more GCE/VCE A-level passes93.292.0

(9)Based on estimates provided by the Government Actuary's Department.
(10)Age at start of academic year, i.e. 31 August.
(11)A candidate is a student who has attempted at least one GCE A-level, VCE A-level or VCE Double Award in summer of the academic year.

Number of 15-year-old pupils(12)636,796643,560
Percentage achieving 5 or more grades A*-C at GCSE or equivalent including English and mathematics GCSE A*-C44.342.6

(12)Age at start of academic year, i.e. 31 August.
(13)Includes attempts and achievements by these pupils in previous academic years.

Child Maintenance Payments

Mr. Newmark: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills whether her Department has made an assessment of the feasibility of including child maintenance payments in the household income figure used to calculate eligibility for (a) maintenance grant, (b) special support grant, (c) higher education grant and (d) the extra portion of the maintenance loan; and if she will make a statement. [60463]

Bill Rammell: Child maintenance payments were included in the household income for the purposes of the student support income assessment up to and including the 2004/05 academic year. For 2005/06, the treatment of maintenance payments has been aligned with other Government Department income assessments, in particular the income assessment for child tax credit, so that maintenance payments are no longer included. We have not made an assessment of the feasibility of changing back to the earlier system, and have no current plans to do so.

Classroom Behaviour

Mr. Hurd: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assistance her Department is giving to schools in the constituency of Ruislip-Northwood to promote good behaviour in the classroom. [61146]

Jacqui Smith: Our Secondary Strategy gives all secondary schools in Hillingdon access to high-quality behaviour management training materials and support from a DfES-funded behaviour management consultant. Our Primary Strategy is giving all primary schools access to high-quality training and curriculum materials to improve children's social, emotional and behavioural skills. In addition:

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The funding related to both these programmes will continue in 2006–07.

Climate Change

Colin Challen: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will introduce the subject of climate change into the National Curriculum. [60992]

Jacqui Smith: Through Geography, pupils aged 11 to 14 are taught about weather, climate and environmental change. The Department has funded the Met Office Education Service to produce a climate change CD-ROM for secondary pupils. In Science, pupils aged 14 to 16 are taught about the use of energy and environmental implications. From this September, the Science curriculum will be strengthened to specifically teach about climate change.

Commercial Marketing (Schools)

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what safeguards are in place to ensure children are not exposed to commercial marketing, including brand awareness, through the provision of education materials and facilities where schools are sponsored by private sector organisations. [55242]

Jacqui Smith: This is primarily a matter for head teachers and governing bodies. To assist them, in 2001 the Department published guidance entitled 'Commercial activities in schools: Best Practice Principles'. This was aimed at parents, teachers, school governing bodies, LEAs and businesses. Its principal aim was not only to safeguard children from commercial marketing, but to identify best practice and to ensure that commercial objectives were consistent with genuine educational benefits. We plan to review the guidance, with partner organisations, later this year.

The Specialist Schools Programme requires schools to engage with the private sector and to raise sponsorship; one of the main criteria for eligibility is that sponsorship must be unconditional, i.e. there must be no financial benefit to the sponsor for example in the future purchase of goods, equipment or services.


Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what criteria she uses to decide whether potential contractors are a bad financial risk. [60582]

Bill Rammell: It is departmental procurement policy to consider the assessment of a potential contractor's financial status at the supplier selection or tender evaluation stage and that the assessment is proportional to the financial risks associated with each individual contract. To avoid additional bidding costs, tenderers are only asked to provide sufficient financial information appropriate to an estimate of the level of risk. For higher risk procurements, information is assessed by qualified or part qualified accountants following supplier financial appraisal guidance issued by OGC or other appropriate guidance.
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In terms of general criteria the Department would expect a contractor to be of sufficient size to meet the contract demand and be able to finance any expenditure necessary before invoices are paid by the Department.


Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills when she will reply to the letter dated 8 February 2006 from the hon. Member for Tamworth about St. Leonard's primary school. [58080]

Jacqui Smith: I responded to the hon. Member's letter on 28 February.

Departmental Publications

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many publications her Department has sent to teachers in each year since 1997. [59814]

Jacqui Smith: The number of documents sent automatically to all primary and all secondary schools is detailed in the table. Where a document has been sent to all primary and all secondary schools it will appear in the totals for both primary and secondary.

The Department ceased sending publications automatically to schools in England on a phased basis between April and December 2004. Discussions with Head teachers and detailed research showed that schools wanted to be able to choose the printed publications they needed, when they needed them, and to be able to order multiple copies.

The online ordering system enables schools to choose whether to download electronic copies or order the paper based publications they need at the right time for them and in the multiples they require. This system is linked directly to the fulfilment service and an existing telephone ordering line. A fortnightly email service to schools informs them of new and important publications.

This has resulted in schools being able to order a wider variety of publications from the Department, putting schools in direct control of what they receive, when they receive it.

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