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18 Apr 2006 : Column 173W—continued

Personalised Learning

Jim Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the planned basis is for the distribution of existing and additional funding announced in the Budget for personalised learning in 2006–07; whether local education authorities will decide their own local allocation scheme to schools; and whether local education authorities will be allowed to levy (a) brokerage payments and (b) service level agreement deductions from the funding they will receive. [63074]

Jacqui Smith: Funding for personalised learning will be allocated through the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG), the Standards Fund and School Standards Grant (SSG).

The Government announced in November 2005 new funding for personalised learning allocated as follows:
Dedicated schools grant
£ million

Primary schoolsKey Stage 3

This funding has been allocated to local authorities on the following basis:

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The Area Cost Adjustment (ACA), as announced in the Local Government Settlement on 5 December 2006, has been applied to all three distribution factors. Local authorities can decide how to allocate this funding to schools, in consultation with their Schools Forum. The Government expects the distribution across schools in the authority to be based on an assessment of relative need to:

Standards fund
£ million

Primary schoolsSecondary schools

This funding has been allocated to local authorities based on the number of schools in each local authority that have a high number of pupils behind age related expectations in English or maths. Local authorities must allocate this funding to schools facing the greatest challenges, based on an assessment of need by the National Strategy manager in each local authority.

Further additional funding for personalised learning of £220 million in 2006–07, rising to £365 million in 2007–08, was announced in the Budget Statement on 22 March 2006. This funding will be paid to schools as an addition to their Schools Standards Grant. The funding will be allocated to schools on a per pupil basis weighted for deprivation, as measured by Free School Meal take up, and low prior attainment. The exact distribution formula will be determined in consultation with school and local government representatives.

All of the additional funding must be fully allocated to schools on the conditions set out above. Local authorities cannot retain any of the funding or make deductions to the amounts allocated to schools.


Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what support she (a) is giving and (b) plans to give to local education authorities to develop phonics in primary schools. [62839]

Jacqui Smith: The Primary National Strategy (PNS) directly supports all Local Authorities (LAs) on developing effective teaching of literacy in primary schools, including phonics. This consists of regular guidance and training for key staff by PNS Regional Advisers; funding support and training for a consultant field force that works directly with schools; and provision of materials and funding to support training in schools. The PNS has produced dedicated phonics teaching materials to support teaching: Progression in Phonics" (1999) and Playing with Sounds" (2004).
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The implementation of the recommendations from Jim Rose's review of the teaching of early reading forms part of the renewal of the PNS Framework for teaching literacy and associated materials, and the development of the new Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). A formal consultation on the draft Literacy Framework is being launched after Easter; the final version will be available to schools in September, along with the revised Numeracy Framework. The PNS is now working with LAs to plan the implementation of this work in schools in the autumn, including establishing concentrated training programmes for school staff.

The relevant parts of the new EYFS will be fully aligned with the new Framework, and the rollout in 2008 will include further training for both maintained and non-maintained early years settings. Both the Framework and the EYFS will further strengthen work on speaking and listening skills, already reflected for instance within the Foundation Stage curriculum, as Jim Rose has highlighted these skills as a very important precursor to phonic work.

Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme

Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what proportion of members of the Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme in her Department joined the scheme before the age of (a) 20, (b) 25, (c) 30, (d) 35, (e) 40, (f) 45 and (g) over 45-years-old. [62011]

Maria Eagle: As at 31 March 2006 there were 3,901 active members of the Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme in the Department. The ages at which they joined the scheme are shown in the table.
(a) Before 20442
(b) 20 and before 25919
(c) 25 and before 30729
(d) 30 and before 35564
(e) 35 and before 40497
(f) 40 and before 45345
(g) 45 and after405

Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the current employer contribution rates to the Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme are; what assumed rate of return underlies those contribution rates; and what the contribution rate would be if the assumed rate of return was in line with current redemption yield on index-linked gilts. [62012]

Maria Eagle: I refer the hon. Member to the reply given by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Cabinet Office on 29 March 2006, Official Report, columns 1030–31W.

Remedial Education

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will make a statement on the role of her Department in providing remedial educational training for recruits to (a) the civil service and (b) other public sector roles, with particular reference to (i) basic literacy and (ii) simple arithmetic. [59827]

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Maria Eagle: The Department provides advice and guidance to any member of its own staff who wants to enhance their literacy and numeracy skills, and can arrange for screening and diagnostic assessment

The Department does not provide remedial educational training for recruits to either the civil service or other public bodies, although we do encourage other Departments and indeed all employers to address Skills for Life needs in their staff, where they occur.

Skills for Life is the Government's national strategy for improving adult literacy, numeracy and language skills It caters for the literacy, language (English for Speakers of Other Languages—ESOL) and numeracy needs of all post-16 learners, including those with learning difficulties or disabilities, from pre-entry level up to and including level 2.

Safeguarding Children

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to her oral statement of 19 January 2006, Official Report, columns 966–70, on safeguarding children, how many of her Department's staff are involved in the safeguarding vetting process; how many have received training, support and advice on child protection issues; and what the timetable is for training the remainder of staff. [45188]

Ruth Kelly: It is not possible to give precise numbers of the Department's staff working on the safeguarding vetting process. This is important work which requires the involvement of individuals from several different Divisions in the Department.

We are currently reviewing the training needs of all those involved with vetting activity and the scope for operational improvements in the light of recent events, and in the context of the statement made to the House on 19 January 2006 Official Report, columns 966–70. We will seek Sir Roger Singleton's expert input on these issues, and we expect operational changes and further training to be implemented over the next few months.

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