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1 Nov 2006 : Column 443W—continued


Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills in how many secondary schools no pupils took a GCSE in a modern language in the 2005-06 academic year. [97108]

Jim Knight: The Department will be able to answer this question when the 2006 Secondary School Achievement and Attainment Tables are published in January 2007.

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what proportion of children left school with no GCSE qualifications in each year since the introduction of the examination. [97263]

Jim Knight: The information requested is shown in the following table.


1 Nov 2006 : Column 444W
Proportion of pupils not gaining at least one A*-G( 1) at GCSE and equivalent( 2)
Percentage

1988(3)

10.1

1989

7.5

1990

7.3

1991

6.8

1992

8.4

1993

7.0

1994

7.7

1995

8.1

1996

7.8

1997

7.7

1998

6.6

1999

6.0

2000

5.6

2001

5.5

2002

5.4

2003

5.2

2004

4.1

2005

3.6

2006(4)

3.4

(1 )GCSE grade A* was introduced in 1994.
(2 )Percentages from 1997 include GNVQ equivalencies. Percentages from 2004 include GCSEs and equivalents approved for use pre-16
(3 )Figures for 1988 are taken from the School Leavers Survey, and include school leavers of any age from all schools except special schools.
(4 )The 2006 figure is provisional. All other figures are final.
Notes:
1. Figures for 1989 to 1991 are taken from the School Examinations Survey, and are based on 15 year old pupils in all schools except special schools.
2. Figures from 1992 onwards are taken from the School Achievement and Attainment Tables data, and are based on 15-year-old pupils in all schools including special schools.

Graduate Teacher Training Programme

Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many teachers on the Graduate Teacher Training Programme have been placed in fee paying schools; and how many of those schools have received funding towards the cost of the (a) training and (b) trainee’s salary in the past three years. [98186]

Jim Knight [holding answer 30 October 2006]: The number of trainees on the Graduate Teacher Training Programme (GTP) employed by independent schools for the academic years, 2002/03, 2003/04 and 2004/05 is 144, 205 and 178 people respectively. Those who withdrew from the programme prior to the completion date have been excluded from the figures.

Independent schools may receive a small amount of the training grant from their training provider. This is controlled locally and information on the exact amount given to fee paying schools is not held centrally.

The salary of GTP trainees who are employed by independent schools is borne by the school.

Information Sharing

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills whether (a) local authority staff, (b) career advisers and (c) voluntary workers who provide services to local authorities will have access to the information sharing index. [96413]

Beverley Hughes: We are currently consulting on draft regulations that will bring the information sharing index into operation. Among other issues, the regulations will specify the types of practitioners whose role would make it appropriate for them to have access to the index. The consultation specifically seeks views on whether practitioners, other than those specified in the regulations, should be given access to the index. The consultation closes on 14 December 2006.


1 Nov 2006 : Column 445W

The draft regulations propose that from local authorities, local authority index management teams; Connexions advisors; social workers; educational welfare officers; head teachers; deputy head teachers; school administrators; heads of year or teachers with pastoral or child protection responsibilities; teachers of children with special educational needs and special educational needs co-ordinators, or their equivalents, and members of staff employed by voluntary and community sector organisations will be granted access.

The regulations also propose that all practitioners with access will have undergone an enhanced Criminal Records Bureau check, and to have undergone relevant training in the appropriate use of the index.

The index will be an important tool to help improve the communication between the key practitioners needed for the effective delivery of services for children and families and, when necessary, to protect children.

International GCSE

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) if he will include results of the international GCSE in achievement and attainment tables for secondary schools at GCSE and equivalent; [95196]

(2) whether pupils who achieve an international GCSE in English in accordance with the Coventry City Council and the North West Federation of Schools (International General Certificate of Secondary Education) Order 2005 (S.I., 2005, No. 1739) will be included in achievement and attainment tables as if they had passed a GCSE in English. [95199]

Jim Knight: The achievement and attainment tables can only report the results of qualifications which are approved by the Secretary of State for use in the maintained sector. Because the iGCSE is not an approved qualification it cannot be counted in the tables. The iGCSE has not been aligned with the national curriculum. We are, however, about to launch a consultation on the future use of the iGCSE in the maintained sector. That consultation will also consider whether any changes should be made to the tables coverage in future years.

Literacy

Mr. Allen: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what his Department’s policy is on improving reading capabilities in (a) school-age children and (b) adults. [98058]

Jim Knight: The ability to read well underpins all educational achievement and improves children’s life chances. The Department is committed to improving children’s reading capabilities. We provide a range of materials to support teachers, school librarians and others to ensure schools provide both high quality teaching and learning in reading, and promote an environment which encourages children’s enthusiasm for reading and helps them achieve their potential.

As part of our drive to improve attainment for all children the Primary National Strategy has renewed its literacy framework. The framework was made available earlier this month and offers enhanced support to schools and early years settings, drawing on the latest classroom good practice and research.


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The literacy element of the framework draws in particular on the findings of the Rose Review which looked at a wide range of best practice in the teaching of early reading and found that systematic phonic work, set within a rich language curriculum, is the best route to becoming a skilled reader for the majority of children. The Primary National Strategy has worked closely with local authorities to put in place a package of materials, training and consultancy that will support schools in using the new framework.

More widely, our National Reading Campaign promotes the benefits and pleasures of reading to all ages. Key elements include the Reading Connects initiative which supports schools in promoting reading for pleasure to enhance achievement; and Reading Champions which finds and celebrates positive male role models and seeks to change boys’ and men’s attitudes to reading.

The Skills for Life Strategy is committed to improving levels of literacy within the adult population. Programmes are available free-of-charge to adults aged 16 and above who wish to improve their literacy and numeracy skills in workplace and community settings. The Government plan to help 2.25 million adults to achieve literacy, language and numeracy qualifications by 2010. Family Literacy Language and Numeracy programmes are a key element of Skills for Life. They enable parents and their children to improve their literacy, language and numeracy skills together. Courses are offered through schools, children’s centres, colleges and adult learning services. Parents have an essential role to play in education and their involvement and support for their child’s learning is critical. Our Family Reading Campaign will work to ensure all families see reading as an important part of their daily lives and part of the culture of their home. The Family Reading Campaign will be launched at the beginning of next year.

Ofsted

Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much Ofsted has cost to run in each of the last five years. [98503]

Jim Knight: This is a matter for Ofsted. HM Chief Inspector, Christine Gilbert, has written to the hon. Member and a copy of her reply has been placed in the House Library.

Letter from Christine Gilbert, dated 30 October 2006:

£ million

2002-03

201

2003-04

207

2004-05

214

2005-05

221

2006-07

204



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Pensions

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much was spent on the Teachers Pension Scheme in each year since 1980-81; what forecasts he has made of how much will be spent in each year between 2007-08 and 2050-51; and how many members of the scheme there are. [96004]

Mr. Dhanda: The following table provides the available figures for gross expenditure against the Teachers' Pension Scheme (TPS) for financial years 1991-92 to 2005-06. Estimates for future years are included within the total figures for gross spending on unfunded pension schemes that were published in the December 2005 ‘Long-term Public Finance’ report by HM Treasury. The TPS Accounts for 2005-06 cited 590,032 active members, 391,016 deferred members and 488,132 pensioner members.

Expenditure against the TPS (all figures shown on cash basis)

£ billion

1991-92

2.161

1992-93

2.395

1993-94

2.635

1994-95

2.709

1995-96

2.937

1996-97

3,254

1997-98

3.643

1998-99

3.378

1999-00

3.577

2000-01

3.716

2001-02

3.957

2002-03

4.205

2003-04

4.428

2004-05

4.747

2005-06

5.099


Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what the current (a) accrual rate and (b) normal retirement age is for each public sector pension scheme for which his Department is responsible; and if he will make a statement; [96042]

(2) what the (a) present and (b) future retirement age arrangements are for each public sector pension scheme for which his Department has responsibility; and if he will make a statement. [96026]

Mr. Dhanda: Under the provisions of the Teachers' Pension Scheme, existing members have a normal pension age of 60 and accrue pension benefits at a rate of (1)/80th and a lump sum at a rate of (3)/80ths of salary for each year of service. New entrants to the TPS from 1 January 2007 will have a normal pension age of 65 and will accrue pension at a rate of (1)/60th of salary for each year with the option to commute part of their pension benefits in return for a lump sum.

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the current estimate is of the unfunded liability, in present value terms, of each public sector pension scheme for which his Department is responsible; and on what assumptions for (a) discount rate and (b) longevity the estimate is based. [96049]


1 Nov 2006 : Column 448W

Bill Rammell: The total liabilities against the Teachers' Pension Scheme as at 31 March 2006, as published in the scheme accounts, was £143 billion, based on an assumed real discount rate of 2.8 per cent. In preparing their report for the scheme accounts, the Government Actuary assumed that the life expectancy at age 60 of members currently in service would be about 271/2 per cent. years for men and about 301/2 per cent. years for women.

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what recent estimate he has made of the (a) rate and (b) annual cost of employer contributions in each public sector pension scheme for which his Department has responsibility; and if he will make a statement. [96062]

Mr. Dhanda: The current employer contribution rate for the Teachers’ Pension scheme (TPS) is 13.5 per cent. of salary, and the scheme expects to receive £2.79 billion in contributions from employers during the current financial year. Following the agreement with unions and employers on the reform of the TPS and taking account of the outcome of the 2004 valuation of the TPS, from 1st January 2007 the employer contribution rate will increase to 14.1 percent., and the employee rate will increase from 6 percent. to 6.4 percent. The reform of the TPS also includes a cap of 14 percent. on the employer contribution rate from the 2008 scheme valuation onwards.


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