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Education-Business Partnerships

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what action her Department is taking to ensure (a) the continued operation of and (b) continuing public funding for Education-Business Partnerships. [62727]

Jacqui Smith: The nature of EBPs varies widely and they are largely independent bodies. We do not fund the EBPs nationally, however, through the LSC, we annually provide £25 million to support the local delivery of school business links activity.

Examination Papers

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what research she has evaluated comparing past examination papers with recent examples. [59504]

Jacqui Smith: The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) has statutory responsibility for maintaining examination standards over time. QCA has a rolling programme of standards reviews, which began in 1997. The programme was organised to run in five-year cycles. The first cycle of reviews investigated standards in a subject in four sample years over a 20 year
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period. Subsequent reviews investigate standards since the date of the previous review of a subject. They therefore normally cover the past five years. The reports are available on the QCA website.


Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many expulsions there have
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been from secondary schools in (a) Romford, (b) Havering and (c) Greater London in each of the last 10 years. [62978]

Jacqui Smith: Data on permanent exclusions are available from 1995/96 onwards. The available information is given in the following table.
Maintained secondary schools: number and percentage of permanent exclusions 1995/96 to 2003/04

Permanent exclusions from secondary schools
Romford parliamentary constituency
Havering local authority

(34)The number of exclusions expressed as a percentage of the total number of pupils on the school roll in January of the same school year. Excludes dually registered pupils.
(35)There are known quality issues with exclusions data for these years. Figures shown here for Romford parliamentary constituency are as reported by schools but are unconfirmed and should be used with caution. Figures for Havering local authority and London have been checked back with authorities.
Annual Schools Census

Federation Schools

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what additional funding is available for schools entering into full federation with another school. [62925]

Jacqui Smith: There is no specific central Government funding for schools entering into a hard governance federation. However, schools now receive increasing sums of direct funding and they may well choose to use some of that funding to support a partnership or federation as a strategy for school improvement. In addition, local authorities also have the opportunity to channel funding to schools where it is felt that a federation structure would contribute toward school improvement.

Free School Meals

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the end of year financial position was in 2004–05 of each of the 100 (a) primary and (b) secondary schools with the (i)highest and (ii)lowest percentage of children on free school meals. [61129]

Jacqui Smith: I have placed in the Library tables showing the requested financial data for 2004–05.

Happy Slapping

John Penrose: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what plans she has to issue guidelines to tackle the practice known as happy slapping. [61022]

Jacqui Smith: The Government have made clear that all forms of bullying are unacceptable and must be punished. This includes the practice known as happy slapping" where acts of bullying are recorded and transmitted, using mobile phones. Although there is no evidence to suggest that this is a widespread problem in schools, any incidents need to be dealt with firmly and appropriately.

Misuse of mobile phones was one of the specific issues considered by the Practitioners' Group on School Behaviour and Discipline, in its report Learning Behaviour" published last October. The report points to the fact that, while mobile phones are now a part of daily life, schools need a clear policy on their possession and use on school site. In the current Education and Inspections Bill we are re-enacting and strengthening the duty on schools to establish a behaviour policy, and we will be producing guidance on that duty which will specifically address the issue of mobile phone misuse. Bullying by mobile phones and the seriousness with which this should be treated is also referred to in our anti-bullying guidance pack for schools Don't Suffer in Silence", which is currently being updated. The wider problem of happy slapping" and how to tackle it will also be covered within the soon to be launched Violence Reduction in Schools Programme (VIRIS) guidance. In addition, the remit of the Anti-Bullying Alliance under the funding provided by the Department includes investigating this issue as part of its work on developing innovative solutions to bullying.

Higher Education

Ed Balls: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many people in (a) Wakefield District and (b) Normanton constituency went on to higher education in (i) 2004 and (ii) 2005; and what proportion of these attended universities in West Yorkshire. [62246]

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Bill Rammell: The latest information for the two most recent years is given in the table.
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Comparable figures for 2005/06 will be available in January 2007.
Students from Normanton and Wakefield Constituencies Entering Undergraduate Courses(36)by Institution of Study

Total entrants(37)7801001,015100840100980100
of which, those studying at:
Bradford University101252253252
Huddersfield University19525280281902329530
Leeds University8511110118510657
Leeds Metropolitan University15520155151451715516
Other HE institutions33543445443954744545

(36)Entrants to full and part-time undergraduate courses.
(37)Entrants to all higher education institutions in the UK.
Figures have been rounded to the nearest 5, so components may not sum to totals.
Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA).

Ed Balls: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what research she has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated into the effects of involving parents in post-16 career and education decisions. [62248]

Bill Rammell: Research commissioned by the Department demonstrates the important role of parents in young people's decision making: Payne's review of the literature (Choice At The End Of Compulsory Schooling: A Research Review, DfES Research Report 414") concluded that young people see parents as probably the most important source of advice and help when decisions about post-16 routes have to be taken". Recent qualitative research for the Department (How Do Young People Make Decisions at Ages 14 and 16"—forthcoming May 2006) also shows that the parental role was identified by both young people and teachers as being particularly influential in the decision-making processes at ages 14 and 16".

However the Department has not commissioned any research/evaluation looking specifically at the benefits of involving parents/carers in post-16 career and education decisions, or indeed how good parents are at providing advice. Such an issue would be difficult to research or evaluate, since it would be difficult to isolate the role of parents from other influencers (for example friends, teachers, careers advisers or labour market conditions), particularly in terms of hard outcomes.

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