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In addition to educating pupils in PRUs, the local authority make use of other types of alternative educational provision available in the private and voluntary sector to meet the needs of other pupils who are unable to attend mainstream and special schools.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many (a) questionnaires, (b) statistical inquiries and (c) investigations have been carried out wholly or partly at public expense on behalf of or by his Department or public bodies for which he is responsible in each year since 1997; and what the (i) nature, (ii) purpose and (iii) cost was in each case. 
Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what funding his Department has made available for improvements to school sports facilities in (a) West Lancashire, (b) Lancashire and (c) England in each year between 1997 and 2005; 
The Department for Education and Skills allocates capital funding on a local authority basis, and on a financial year basis commencing 1 April. It then relies on the local authority to spend its allocation on improving school sports facilities, music facilities and other school assets in accordance with
priorities set out in the local asset management plan. Accordingly, an analysis by type of expenditure is not held centrally.
Capital allocations to (a) Lancashire county council and (b) England in each financial year since 1997 have increased significantly in the period 1997-98 to 2006-07, and are set out in the following table:
Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will make a statement on the creation of school confederations; what assessment he has made of the willingness of schools to enter into confederations; what incentives exist to encourage this initiative; and what benefits he expects to accrue to schools that choose to participate. 
Jim Knight: We know that successful partnerships can be a very effective way of improving a school at all levels and we expect that schools will wish to work with others to benefit from the partnership dividend. Schools are free to enter into a wide range of partnership arrangements, including federations. It is for individual schools governing bodies to decide whether it is in the best interests of their schools to enter into partnerships, therefore we do not hold detailed information centrally about the number of schools involved in every type of partnership with schools or with public, voluntary and private sector organisations.
The Government are committed to promoting partnership working through Education Improvement Partnerships (EIPs) or other types of collaboration where it will deliver improved standards and increased opportunities. We are encouraging partnerships to consider local needs and determine how best to meet these through collaboration.
All schools can benefit from reciprocal support, sharing best practice, pooling resources and offering wider ranges of opportunities to children and staff. However, there is no separate dedicated revenue grant for partnership and funding for school improvement is now part of the School Development Grant.
providing all schools with high-quality staff training materials;
giving all secondary schools access to expert advice from behaviour management consultants;
providing additional resources for schools facing the greatest challenges. These are being used to fund a range of additional support including learning mentors, in-school learning support units and multi-agency behaviour support teams; and
legislating to give school staff a clear statutory power to discipline pupils, extend the use of parenting contracts and orders for bad behaviour and provide a more effective exclusions regime.
Jim Knight: The information requested is collected at local education authority level. The Yeovil constituency falls within the local authority area of Somerset local authority and the information supplied is reported at the LA level.
|£ per pupil|
| Notes: 1. The combined LA and school based expenditure includes all expenditure on the education of children in LA maintained establishments and pupils educated by the LA other than in maintained establishments. This includes both school based expenditure and all elements of central LA expenditure except youth and community and capital expenditure from revenue (CERA). 2.1999-2000 saw a change in data source when the data collection moved from the RO1 form collected by the ODPM to the section 52 form from the DfES. 2002-03 saw a further break in the time series following the introduction of Consistent Financial Reporting (CFR) to schools and the associated restructuring of the section 52 outturn tables. 3. Pupil figures include all pre-primary pupils, including those under 5s funded by the LA and being educated in private settings, pupils educated in maintained mainstream schools and other LA maintained pupils. The pupil data for pupils attending maintained nursery, primary, secondary and special schools are taken from the DfES Annual Schools Census. Private voluntary and independent (PVI) under 5 pupil numbers are taken from the Early Years census but are only included from 1999-2000 onwards. Also included are other LA maintained pupils which includes all pupils attending schools not maintained by the authority for whom the authority is paying full tuition fees, or educated otherwise than in schools and pupil referral units under arrangements made by the authority drawn from the form 8b submitted to the DfES. Also included as other LA maintained pupils are all pupils attending pupil referral units who are not registered at a maintained mainstream school drawn from the DfES Annual Schools Census. All pupil numbers are adjusted to be on a financial year basis. 4. Figures prior to 1999-2000 exclude any expenditure on service, strategy and regulation. 5. Figures are rounded to the nearest £10. 6. Cash terms figures as reported by Somerset LEA as at 5 July 2006.|
Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many incidents there were of pupils found on school premises in possession of (a) a knife, (b) a firearm, (c) an explosive and (d) another weapon in each of the past three years. 
Jim Knight: Sixty-six people (of all ages) were convicted of possessing a blade or offensive weapon on school premises in 2004, 43 people in 2003 and 36 in 2002. There are no records of whether or not these convictions were incurred by pupils. Possession of firearms or explosives are not school specific offences, so no records are kept of whether or not they were committed by pupils or in school.
Mr. Dhanda: We propose to enable schools to search, without consent, a pupil they suspect is carrying a knife or other weapon. Guidance on the power to search will include advice on what equipment schools could use in searching, including metal detectors.
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to the answer of 10 May 2006, Official Report, Column 256W, on skills for life, which particular skill sets staff members regarded as requiring skills for life courses needed; how the requirements were identified; what grade each staff member who attended a course received at annual review (a) before and (b) after attending; and what course was taken. 
Mr. Dhanda: The Department's skills for life strategy targets literacy and numeracy skills for adults who have few or no qualifications and these are the skills sets the Department has identified for its skills for life provision. The skills for life course is run by a local provider, tailored to the requirements of the Department.
Learning requirements are identified by line managers in discussion with staff as part of regular development planning discussions. These discussions are a requirement of the Department's performance management arrangements and identify the development staff need to support delivery of their work objectives.
The information requested on recent annual review grades can be obtained only at disproportionate cost. But annual reviews take into account many aspects of performance and a skills for life course alone would not affect the overall grade.
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the total cost was of (a) staff away days and (b) staff team building exercises in his Department in each of the last three years. 
Jim Knight: The national curriculum for physical education requires that all pupils should be taught to swim at least 25 metres by the end of key stage two. There are no plans to remove swimming from the national curriculum in primary schools.
Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) if he will make a statement on the nature of the errors and inconsistencies in the provisional Teacher Assessment data published in his Departments Statistical First Release 32/2005; 
Jim Knight: The Teacher Assessment results published on a provisional basis in SFR 32/2005 were based on data provided by schools to the National Assessment Agencys data collection contractor. When these data were made available to local authorities the Department became aware of errors. These errors may have been introduced at any point in the collection and validation process including in the original data supplied by schools. These errors are known to affect up to a third of schools spread across almost all local authorities. However in the majority of cases the error is known to be very small, and serious errors occur in less than 1 per cent. of all cases.
Prior to provision to the DfES both the National Assessment Agency and its contractor perform quality checks and data cleansing exercises on the data. However, the nature of the errors was such that they would not be easily identifiable from inspection of the data. Only when the data were made available to local authorities were they able to identify these issues. As soon as the errors were notified to the Department, they were investigated and a warning note was added to the Departments statistical website. The National Assessment Agency has already put in place system changes for data entry in 2006 such that these errors can not happen again.
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will make a statement on what the estimated retention levels are of (a) newly-qualified and (b) existing teachers; and what the average number of years served by existing teachers is. 
Jim Knight: Provisional estimates show that of the 20,580 newly qualified teachers in full-time regular service in the maintained sector in England in March 2003,1,800 were no longer in full-time regular service in March 2004. This is a retention rate of 91 per cent. The equivalent retention rate for all full-time regular teachers in the maintained sector in England for the same period is 89 per cent.
Newly-qualified teachers are those that gained qualified teacher status in the calendar year 2002. The information is from the Database of Teacher Records and the latest information available from this source is for March 2004.
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