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Mr. Djanogly: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what steps the Government are taking to ensure that more pupils achieve grade C or above in English and mathematics at GCSE level. 
Jim Knight: We are committed to increasing the number of pupils achieving grade C or above at GCSE level. Over 365,000 pupils are achieving grade C or above in English, and nearly 329,000 are doing so in mathematics. Compared to 1997, around 52,000 more pupils are now achieving five or more A*-C GCSEs including English and mathematics. For the first time, in 2008, local authorities and schools will be required to set targets for the proportion of pupils achieving five A*-C GCSEs, including English and mathematics.
Throughout all key stages we have made efforts to ensure that standards of attainment in English and mathematics continue to rise. We know from experience that children who achieve level 4 (the expected level for their age) or above in English and mathematics at the end of key stage 2 tests are more likely to achieve grade C or above in their English and mathematics GCSEs. The reforms we are pushing through at primary level, particularly the renewed primary framework for literacy and mathematics, will play an important part in helping children achieve more at GCSE.
The secondary national strategy is improving the quality of teaching and learning in the classroom by providing a comprehensive professional development programme for teachers, including training, materials and support from local consultants who are experts in their field. Support is also available to help teachers deliver effective tailored interventions for pupils who have fallen behind, particularly in English and mathematics. This includes additional funding, structured teaching resources for use with individuals and small groups, and training on how to use these resources effectively. We are also piloting a model, Study Plus, of extra support for key stage 4 pupils at risk of missing a grade C.
The 14-19 education and skills White Paper set out our proposals to strengthen and improve GCSEs, with a particular emphasis on English and mathematics. We will continue work to reform mathematics and improve motivation and progression. In response to Professor Adrian Smith's post-14 maths inquiry, we have withdrawn the three-tier mathematics GCSE and replaced it with a two-tier qualification, meaning that all pupils will have the opportunity of achieving a grade C; and have established a national centre for excellence in the teaching of mathematics. We are also making changes to the mathematics curriculum to better meet the needs of diverse employers and individual pupils. As part of our overhaul of literacy and numeracy qualifications, mathematics and English GCSEs will be restructured to place functional skills at their heart. In addition, the review of the key stage 3 national curriculum will provide greater flexibility for teachers to meet pupils' needs and opportunities to concentrate on securing the basics in English and mathematics.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will make it his policy to retain the requirement for fieldwork as part of the course for A level geography; and if he will make a statement. 
Jim Knight: The recently revised A level geography criteria requires students to develop the ability to carry out research, fieldwork and out-of-classroom work. Therefore, fieldwork will remain an important part of geography A level programmes.
Jim Knight: The information requested is not held centrally. It is for schools, governing bodies and local authorities to decide upon the leadership team that is most appropriate for their circumstances. Information for Scotland is a matter for the Scottish Executive.
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what consultation there was with
the Higher Education Funding Council for England on the closure of Bristol universitys summer schools for disabled people. 
Bill Rammell: I have been informed by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) that no consultations have taken place between it and the university on this issue. Since universities are autonomous and independent bodies, decisions about the type of provision to offer students are a matter for institutions themselves.
Justine Greening: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment has been made of the impact of statutory housing overcrowding on the educational attainment of children at GCSE level. 
Jim Knight: A research review The Impact of Overcrowding on Health and Education: A Review of the Evidence and Literature, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, 2004 found some indication that there is a relationship between overcrowding and childrens educational attainment, and between overcrowding and childrens social and emotional development. However, the research evidence on the effects of overcrowding is limited and often confounded by other factors, such as poverty.
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills whether the consultancy plans for
an academy on the Isle of Sheppey followed the Treasury rules for such projects. 
Jim Knight: Public consultation on all academies proposals must meet criteria set by the Department for Education and Skills in accordance with the Cabinet Office Code of Practice on Consultation. The minimum 12 weeks of formal public consultation on the Isle of Sheppey Academy proposal has only recently started and will not conclude until the end of December 2006. Consultation with key stakeholders, including parents and the local community, is a vital and continuing feature of all academy projects. There is also a statutory requirement that we consult the relevant local authority before an academy is established.
Mr. Graham Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) how many mixed year groups there were in schools in (a) the East Riding of Yorkshire local education authority area and (b) in England in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) how many mixed year group classes there were in schools in (a) the East Riding of Yorkshire local education authority area and (b) in England in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement. 
|Maintained primary and secondary schools: number of mixed year group classes and pupils in them( 1,2 ) 2003 to 2006, position in January each year|
|East Riding of Yorkshire local authority area||England|
|Maintained primary||Maintained secondary||Maintained primary||Maintained secondary|
|(1) One teacher classes.|
(2 )Classes as taught during a single selected period on the day of the census in January each year.
Source: Schools Census
It is up to schools to decide for themselves how best to meet their pupils educational needs. Whether classes are organised in age groupings or in mixed age settings, it is important that teaching and learning is delivered at an appropriate level for the child.
The DfES published guidance last month to help teachers formulate the most appropriate grouping strategies for the pupils. It sets out the advantages and disadvantages of different pupil grouping methods to help teachers choose which strategy will suit them best. We will continue, through the National Strategies and our Gifted and Talented programme, to offer practical advice and guidance to schools on classroom practice so that they can make decisions about how to use pupil setting and grouping intelligently as part of their overall approach to tailoring learning to meet the needs of all their pupils.
Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) whether the evaluation of the pilot phonics scheme announced on 26 July 2005 included a comparison of the effectiveness of alternative interventions; 
Jim Knight: The phonics pilot scheme referred to (the early reading development pilot) was designed to test whether phonic work could be taught faster and more systematically to bring about better literacy outcomes for children while still maintaining the benefits of the broader foundation stage curriculum. The scheme, which began before Jim Rose's report was published, was based on existing primary national strategy teaching materials and therefore did not generate information on the effectiveness of alternative interventions.
In line with statutory guidance for the age group involved (four and five-year-olds), children were assessed against the relevant early learning goals within the foundation stage profile. Teachers regularly assessed children's progress in acquiring knowledge of the 44 phonemes (sounds) in the English language and in their ability to use this knowledge to read and spell unfamiliar words. Feedback from the programme suggests the approaches used have led to improvements in the development of phonic knowledge and skills, without compromise to children's wider development. An independent consultant reviewed the work undertaken by schools and early years settings as part of the pilot, looking at areas such as data and the progress made by practitioners and children in following the pilot approaches. This confirmed that there had been a positive impact on children's progress and on practitioners' confidence and expectations of children's attainment.
Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills whether his Department records the religious denominations of (a) teachers and staff and (b) pupils in (i) faith and (ii) non-faith schools. 
Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what guidance he gives to local education authorities on the installation of fire sprinklers in (a) new schools, (b) extensions to schools and (c) existing school premises; and if he will make a statement. 
Jim Knight: Guidance on the installation of fire sprinklers in schools is included in the Department's Managing School Facilities Guide 6, Fire Safety" (see www.teachernet.gov.uk/fire), published in 2000.
We include further information on sprinklers in our new guide Building Bulletin 100 (BB 100), "Designing and Managing Against the Risk of Fire in Schools". This is still in draft form and is being revised following public consultation. One of the messages that came back from that exercise was the need for the Department to issue more detailed guidance on the use of sprinklers in schools. Consequently we commissioned a further study to be carried out.
Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to the answer of 13 September 2006, Official Report, column 2387W, on schoolchildren (Bristol), what the figures were in 1997. 
Jim Knight: We are unable to supply figures relating to 1997. The Department did not collect the individual level information required to produce these figures until 2002. Figures for 2002 have been provided. We are unable to provide residency based figures for children educated in the Independent sector as the Department does not collect individual level information for pupils in the Independent sector.
|Primary( 1)||Secondary( 2)||Total|
|(1) Includes primary and middle deemed primary.|
(2) Includes secondary, middle deemed secondary, City Technology Colleges and Academies.
(3) Includes pupils aged 5 to 15 years, solely registered or main registration of dually registered pupils, excludes boarders.
Mr. Holloway: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what intervention measures are in place to support secondary school pupils identified by education services as being at high risk of becoming socially excluded or engaging in antisocial behaviour when they leave school. 
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