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11 May 2006 : Column 472W—continued

Physical Education

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will take steps to improve physical education in schools during (a) the current and (b) 2006-07 school year; and if he will make a statement. [69138]

Jim Knight: The Government are investing over £11/2 billion in the five years up to 2008 to deliver the first comprehensive national school sport strategy, which went live in April 2003. The strategy's prime objective?a joint Department for Education and Skills and Department for Culture, Media and Sport PSA target?is to increase the percentage of five to 16-year-olds who spend a minimum of two hours each week on high quality PE and school sport within and beyond the curriculum, to 75 per cent. by 2006 and 85 per cent. by 2008. The long-term ambition?by 2010?is to offer all children at least four hours of sport.

Spearheading action is the creation of a national network of sports colleges and school sport partnerships. There are currently 411 live school sport partnerships incorporating 80 per cent. of schools in England. All maintained schools will be within a partnership by September 2006. Good progress is being made towards the PSA target. The 2004/05 school sport survey found that 69 per cent. of pupils in the 11,4000 schools taking part were spending at least two hours in a typical week on high quality PE and school sport, an 11 per cent. increase on 2003/04. Copies of the survey reports for 2003/04 and 2004/05 have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses of Parliament.

Prison Education

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will enable successful charities working in the prison education sector to enter the quality assurance regime. [65578]


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Phil Hope: The Government recognise the contribution charities make towards offender learning and the importance of linking charity provision to a quality assurance regime. Charities are already a part of a prison's quality assurance regime and guidance on this matter was issued in March 2004 to Prison Service Heads of Learning and Skills and Education Managers in prisons.

Pupil Participation

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what plans he has to ensure that all schools put into effect the guidance on pupil participation in decision-making; and if he will make a statement; [68438]

(2) what assessment he has made of the impact of the Working Together guidance published in 2002 on dealing with pupil participation in decision-making in schools, with particular reference to its (a) circulation and (b) implementation; and if he will make a statement. [68439]

Jim Knight: The Department is encouraging schools to put the guidance on participation into practice in ways that are meaningful to children and young people. As a key outcome for all children, local partners including schools and local authorities have to listen to children and involve them in planning and delivery of services. We have ensured that inspection arrangements make the views of children and young people an important part of assessing how local areas are doing, and of school inspections. In addition, we have changed the law so that school governing bodies can now appoint pupils as associate members allowing them to attend governing body meetings and become members of committees.

Printed copies of the guidance were sent to all schools and local education authorities and are available online. Since then 10,853 additional copies have been requested. Evidence from the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority monitoring and the National Foundation for Educational Research longitudinal reports shows that more schools than ever before have set up school councils as a way of involving pupils in decision-making processes.

School Meals

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will make a statement on the operation of the Education (Nutritional Standards for School Lunches) (England) Regulations 2000; [68833]

(2) if he will bring forward legislation for mandatory (a) nutrient and (b) compositional standards for school meals, including maximum and minimum levels for (i) fat, (ii) sugar, (iii) salt, (iv) vitamins and (v) minerals; and if he will make a statement; [68835]

(3) what recent steps he has (a) taken and (b) plans to take to encourage the sale of healthy foods from vending machines in (i) primary and (ii) secondary schools in (A) Southend and (B) England; and if he will make a statement. [69621]


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Jim Knight: School lunches provided in all local authority maintained schools in England must meet the minimum requirements set out in the Education (Nutritional Standards for School Lunches) (England) Regulations 2000. Introduced on 1 April 2001, the first such regulations for over 20 years, they require schools to make foods from the following groups available on a daily basis:

In addition, the standards make separate requirements in relation to the frequency that certain foods e.g. red meat and fish are served.

Later in May 2006, we intend to announce, in response to recommendations from the School Meals Review Panel and the School Food Trust, a full suite of new standards for school food.

To implement these new standards, we intend to replace the Education (Nutritional Standards for School Lunches) Regulations 2000 with new regulations enshrining new food-based and nutrient-based standards for school lunches. In addition, the Education and Inspections Bill, currently in its parliamentary stages, includes a clause which would enable the application of standards to meals other than lunches and to other food in schools, e.g. tuck shops and vending machines.

These standards, which will form part of our forthcoming announcement, would play a significant role in preventing the sale of less healthy foods and drinks in schools, including through vending machines.

We believe that there are no vending machines in primary schools in England.

Guidance on healthy vending is already in place to support secondary schools and is available through both the joint Department for Education and Skills/Department of Health ‘Food in Schools' programme www.foodinschools.org, and the Food Standards Agency, www.food.gov.uk/news/pressreleases/2004/oct/vendinghealthy.

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will make a statement on the operation of the Education (Transfer of Functions concerning School Lunches etc.) (England) (No. 2) Order 1999 (S.I., 1999, No. 2164). [68837]

Jim Knight: Where an authority delegates funding resources for meals to schools, the Education (Transfer of Functions Concerning Schools Lunches etc.) (England)(No. 2) Order 1999 transfers the duty of providing a free meal and a paid meal from the local authority to the governing body of each school whose budget share includes a delegated amount in respect of meals and other refreshment. In most local authorities, the funding of school meals has been delegated down to schools, and therefore the Order passes the local authority's duty in providing meals on to schools.

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what research he has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on (i) the take-up and (ii) the quality of free school meals in (A) primary and (B) secondary school children; and if he will make a statement. [69624]


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Jim Knight: The Annual Schools Census collects data on free school meal eligibility and take up. In 2001, DfES commissioned research to explore factors which could improve the take up of free school meals (DfES Research Report 270). In addition, the Department's cost of schooling survey collected information from parents and carers about their child's school meal take up (DfES Research Report 588).

In addition, DfES has commissioned research to assess food consumption and quality of school meals (including free school meals) in maintained schools in England. A study of ‘School meals in secondary schools in England' reported in 2004 (DfES Research Report 557). A similar study of maintained primary schools has been conducted and findings will be reported this May.

Part of the remit of the school food trust is to ensure adherence to school food standards; and to increase the take up of school meals.

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will make a statement on the operation of the Education (School Premises) Regulations 1999; if he will amend the regulations to provide for free bottled mineral water for use in school dining halls; and if he will make a statement. [68834]

Jim Knight: The Education (School Premises) Regulations 1999 requires all maintained schools to have a wholesome supply of water for domestic purposes, including drinking water. The local authorities together with school governors are responsible for ensuring compliance with the Regulations. The Secretary of State can, under Section 497 of the Education Act 1996, take action to enforce compliance with the Education (School Premises) Regulations 1999.

Independent schools are subject to The Education (Independent School Standards) (England) Regulations 2003, which quote The Education School Premises Regulations 1999 in respect of water supplies. The Independent School Standards are the Regulations to which independent schools are inspected under Part 10 of the Education Act 2002. The Independent Schools Registration Authority will consider the inspector’s report and can take enforcement action.

Further guidance is available in Building Bulletin 87 (Guidelines for Environmental Design in Schools), which can be viewed on the website: www.teachernet.gov.uk/energy.

New school food and drink standards will require all local authority maintained schools to provide drinking water, free of charge, at all times to registered pupils on school premises. We do not consider there to be valid reasons to stipulate that water should be served in bottles.

We believe that schools are best placed to decide how best to deliver the requirements of the new standards. However, the School Food Trust plans to publish good practice guidance to assist with the implementation of the standards.

School Statistics

Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what percentage of pupils live outside the local authority in which the school is
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located in each secondary school that selects (a) wholly and (b) partly by ability. [68782]

Jim Knight [holding answer 10 May 2006]: The information requested for wholly selective schools has been provided in the following table. We are unable to provide figures for partially selective schools as they are not designated as such and therefore the Department has no definitive list.

England

Number of pupils attending grammar schools

111,426

Number of pupils attending grammar schools residing outside school local authority

23,779

Percentage of pupils attending grammar schools residing outside school local authority

21.4

Number of pupils attending grammar schools with unknown residence

380

Notes:
1. Includes secondary, middle deemed secondary, academies and City Technology Colleges.
2. Includes pupils aged 15 and under.
Source:
School Census January 2006 (provisional)

School Transport

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what discussions he has had with bus operators on developing innovative dedicated transport facilities for children's journeys to schools; [69589]

(2) what discussions he has had with environmental organisations on the steps necessary to create a more sustainable system of school transport. [69594]

Jim Knight: Officials in the Department have regular meetings with representatives from a wide range of organisations, including the environmental, and bus transport sectors, as part of the joint Department for Transport (DfT) and Department for Education and Skills (DfES) “Travelling to School” action plan. This plan includes work with a range of stakeholders to promote sustainable home to school travel, and to increase the proportion of pupils walking, cycling and taking the bus to school.

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what steps he is taking to encourage more efficient and sustainable transportation of children to school; [69592]

(2) how many local authorities have made bids for funding to pilot new systems of transport for school children in their area; [69593]

(3) what ring-fenced resources have been allocated in 2006-07 to encourage local authorities to develop innovative systems of school transport. [69596]

Jim Knight: The joint Department for Education and Skills and Department for Transport “Travelling to School” action plan aims to increase the proportion of pupils travelling to school by sustainable means. We want all school in England to develop travel plans by the end of the decade, and the Government are funding a network of travel advisers in each local authority to
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support them in drawing up and implementing measures to encourage more pupils to walk, cycle or take the bus to school.

The Education and Inspections Bill includes provisions to improve home to school travel and transport arrangements in three main respects:

The Department will support these improvements with additional funding as follows:

The Department will seek formal expressions of interest in Pathfinder schemes only after these proposals have been enacted.

Teacher Salaries

Mrs. Humble: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the average salary was for a teacher in (a) Blackpool, (b) Lancashire and (c) England in the latest year for which information is available. [66875]

Jim Knight: Provisional estimates show that in March 2004, the latest information available, the average salaries of full-time regular qualified teachers, of all grades, in Blackpool and Lancashire local authorities were £30,830 and £31,520 respectively. In England it was £31,710. These averages include all allowances including, for England, London Weighting.

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to the answer of 7 March 2006, Official Report, columns 1483-84W, to the hon. Member for Peterborough, on teachers' pay, what progress has been made in consideration of the issues arising from the consultation on enabling teachers to access tax-beneficial schemes. [68952]


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Jim Knight: We expect that an Order amending the statutory School Teachers' Pay and Conditions Document, to enable teachers to use salary sacrifice for child care vouchers and other recognised activities and thereby benefit from the advantages of reduced income tax, will be laid before Parliament shortly.

Truancy

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of school-home support organisations in reducing truancy. [69389]

Jim Knight: Local Authorities' Education Welfare Services work with schools and families to help parents discharge their responsibility for ensuring that their child attends school regularly, if they are of compulsory school age and registered at a school. They will arrange home visits where appropriate and work with families to resolve attendance issues.

Education Welfare Services are making a significant contribution to improving levels of school attendance. Overall absence from schools has fallen in each of the last four years and, in 2004-05, is at the lowest level since records began.

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many pupils were recorded as having at least one incidence of truancy in 2005-06. [68642]

Jim Knight: The Department does not hold data on pupils recorded as truant, it also does not yet hold the 2005/06 data. However, the figures for the number of pupils missing at least one half day due to unauthorised absence (of which truancy forms a part) in maintained mainstream schools in 2004/05 was 1,358,206, this accounts for 20.6 per cent. of the 6,602,061 pupils in maintained mainstream schools.


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