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25 July 2006 : Column 1464W—continued

School Toilets

Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the required toilet to (a) male and (b) female pupil ratio is in (i) primary and (ii) secondary schools. [86981]

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Jim Knight: To comply with the 1999 School Premises Regulations, mainstream schools should have at least one WC or urinal per 20 pupils over five years of age. Washroom facilities must be adequate, having regard to the ages, sexes, numbers of pupils and any special requirements that they may have.

Secondary Education

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment he has made of the likely effects of the proposed reform of the secondary education system on the number of jobs in the sector. [88808]

Jim Knight: Decisions about staffing levels in schools are taken by individual governing bodies, based on the delegated funding they receive. Nothing in the Education and Inspections Bill changes this—it will still be for schools to determine their own staffing levels and structures.

Selective Mutism

Sir Peter Soulsby: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) pursuant to his answer of 13 June 2006, Official Report, columns 1101-02W, on selective mutism, what steps his Department has taken to ensure that education experts and schools are aware of the video, DVD and accompanying book on selective mutism; [88605]

(2) what steps his Department, Executive agencies, local authorities and individual schools are required to take to (a) fund and (b) provide advice and assistance in relation to selective mutism. [88732]

Mr. Dhanda: Publicising and disseminating particular resources would be a matter for the originating party, rather than the Department. However, we do operate an inclusion website which includes information on available materials relevant to special educational needs and disability. It is open to organisations to publicise their resources through that.

As mentioned in our previous answer, the Department has not issued any recent guidance specifically on selective mutism, although it is one of a number of communication difficulties addressed in our early support publication “Speech and language difficulties”, published in 2005. This publication includes contact details for the Selective Mutism Information and Research Association (SMIRA).

It would be for individual local authorities, schools and early years settings to determine whether there was a case for developing local materials or training sessions on selective mutism.

Special Educational Needs

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what guidance he has issued to ensure that local authority provision for children with special educational needs is dependent on need rather than local budgetary or resource considerations; and if he will make a statement. [87961]

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Mr. Dhanda: The Special Educational Needs (SEN) Code of Practice, issued by the Secretary of State in 2001 is statutory guidance. It gives guidance to schools and local authorities on their duties under the Education Act 1996 to identify, assess and make provision for children with special educational needs. Most children with SEN are supported from within the resources available to their school. But local authorities have a duty, where necessary, to carry out statutory SEN assessments and make and maintain SEN statements specifying the provision that an individual child's special educational needs call for. Local authorities have to arrange the special educational provision required to meet the child’s needs and make available the necessary funding for that provision.

Local authorities may fund specialist support services, such as SEN specific outreach teams, in order to help schools meet children’s needs. The profile of such central services is a matter for local decision.

Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many special schools for children with (a) special educational needs and (b) behavioural, emotional and social difficulties there were in each local education authority area in each year since 1997. [86012]

Jim Knight [holding answer 17 July 2006]: The available information has been placed in the House Library.

The information given in the table has been taken from two different sources. Information on numbers of maintained and non maintained special schools has been taken from Schools’ Census returns and a time series has been provided.

Sex Education

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what measures his Department takes to ensure that private and boarding schools teach sex education appropriately and sufficiently. [88116]

Mr. Dhanda: All independent schools in England must be registered with my Department. All registered schools have to meet the standards set out in the Education (Independent School Standards) (England) Regulations 2003, as amended, which cover six main areas including the quality of the education provided; the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils; and the welfare, health and safety of pupils. The standards require all independent schools to provide personal, social and health education, which reflects the ethos and aims of the school.

Skills for Life

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many of the participants in the Skills for Life Strategy are (a) male and (b) female. [88244]

Phil Hope: Between 2001 and July 2005, the Skills for Life Strategy has helped 1,275,000 people improve their literacy, language or numeracy skills. Figures from
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2003/04, the last year for which confirmed figures are currently available, show that 45 per cent. of Skills for Life achievements were by males and 55 per cent. were by females. The aim of the Skills for Life Strategy is to help all learners who may be at disadvantage in life and at work through poor skills to improve their literacy, language and numeracy ability so that they are better able to support their families, contribute to community life and perform successfully at work.


Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will undertake (a) an assessment of and (b) public consultation upon the merits of measures to ban the smacking of children by their parents. [87807]

Mr. Dhanda: Section 58 of the Children Act 2004, which was passed by a free vote in the House of Lords, and another free vote in the Commons, removed the defence of reasonable chastisement for offences of Actual Bodily Harm or worse against children. The Government believe that this will ensure the proper protection of children without criminalising loving parents for administering a trivial smack.

During the Commons debate on the Children Bill, the Government committed itself to review the operation of section 58 of the Children Act two years after its commencement. We will be considering this during 2006-07, including consultation with interested parties.

Student Fees

Mr. Boris Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what percentage of students in England paid (a) none, (b) part and (c) all of their fees in 2005/06. [83157]

Bill Rammell: The percentage of students in England in 2004/05 making a nil, partial or full contribution to their tuition fees is given in the table:

Percentage of students

Students making no contribution to fees


Students making a part contribution to fees


Students making a full contribution to fees


Note: 1. Data do not include those students who decide not to apply to the SLC for any student support. 2. Data for 2005/06 will not be available until November 2006. Source: Student Loans Company (SLC).

In 2004/05, students on full-time undergraduate courses and their families were

expected to make a contribution towards the cost of their tuition based on household income. Students from lower income backgrounds were wholly or partially exempt from paying tuition fees.

From 2006/07, no student will need to find money up front to meet tuition fees, as they will be eligible for a tuition fee loan of up to £3,000. In addition, we expect around 30 per cent. of students to receive a maximum maintenance grant of £2,700 and an HE institution
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bursary of at least £300. Overall, we expect around half of all eligible students to receive at least some maintenance grant.

Student Stress

Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment his Department has made of levels of stress experienced by students (a) taking written and oral exams and (b) undertaking coursework and continual assessment. [86714]

Jim Knight: The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA), which is responsible for the regulation of qualifications and examinations in England, takes the issue of the assessment burden on candidates seriously, including stress levels. When qualifications are developed, the QCA looks both at the overall manageability and the burden on students taking the qualifications. In recent years, for example, measures have been taken to reduce the length of some A level examination papers in order to reduce the total exam burden for students. The 14-19 White Paper, published last year, gave QCA a remit to address three concerns about coursework assessment, one of which related to the overall burden on students. QCA has recently submitted its advice to the Secretary of State and we will be responding in due course.

Sure Start

John Cummings: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment he has made of the Sure Start schemes in Easington constituency; and what plans he has for the future of Sure Start in Easington. [87862]

Beverley Hughes: There are four designated Sure Start children’s centres within the Easington constituency with a further four planned by the end of September 2006. The centres will reach a total of 3301 children under the age of five. Three of the children's centres are based on Sure Start Local Programmes (SSLPs) and two are based on mini Sure Start local programmes. Each of the Sure Start local programmes carried out their own local evaluations assessing progress against a range of outcomes as part of their local level monitoring and evaluation. Findings from the local evaluations have been used to inform good practice in Sure Start children's centres. Local authorities play a key role in identifying numbers of children’s centres, their location and the range of services offered. They are also responsible for putting in place effective monitoring and performance management arrangements to assess the quality of the centres.

There is some excellent practice in Easington, with Sure Start Peterlee being awarded the Partners in Excellence Award in December 2004 for its work on developing a model of intervention to measure child development. The programme was also short listed in the Achieving with Partners category in December 2005. The overall impact of Sure Start local programmes nationally is being assessed through the National Evaluation of Sure Start (NESS).

Two additional children’s centres with a planned reach of 989 children under the age of five will be
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established within the Easington constituency, during phase two of the children’s centre development. children’s centres services will then be available to all children under the age of five in Easington.

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what training staff in Sure Start projects are expected to have regarding identifying people with mental health problems and dealing with them appropriately. [88020]

Beverley Hughes: The Sure Start Children’s Centres Practice Guidance (published in November 2005) gives advice to local authorities on the sort of prevention and intervention services children’s centres should provide in order to promote the mental health and well-being of young children and their parents. Local authorities together with key partners such as primary care trusts are responsible for ensuring services are of high quality. This includes identifying and addressing the training needs of staff working in children’s centres.


Mr. Wills: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) how many full-time equivalent qualified teachers were employed in primary schools in Swindon in each year since 1997; [86633]

(2) how many full-time equivalent qualified teachers were employed in secondary schools in Swindon in each year between 1997 and 2006. [86969]

Jim Knight: The following table provides the full-time equivalent number of regular qualified teachers employed in maintained nursery/primary and secondary schools in Swindon local authority in each January from 1997 to 2005 (the latest year for which information is available at local authority level). Information for England from 1997 to 2006 is also given to enable comparison.

It is anticipated that local authority level information for January 2006 will be published in September.

Full-time equivalent qualified teachers employed in maintained nursery/primary and secondary schools in Swindon local authority and England, January 1997 to 2006
Nursery/Primary Secondary
Swindon England Swindon England



















































(1) Swindon local authority was created in the local Government reorganisation of 1.4.97.
(2) Provisional.
Figures are rounded to the nearest 10.
Survey of teachers in service and teacher vacancies, (618g)

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