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The latest figures on early education places for three and four-year-olds in England were published in Statistical First Release 32/2006 Provision for children under five years of age in EnglandJanuary 2006 (final) in August, which is available on my Department's website www.dfes.gov.uk/rsgateway/.
Your recent parliamentary question has been passed to me, as Her Majesty's Chief Inspector, for reply.
You asked who is responsible for establishing whether individual inspections by Ofsted meet the required standards.
Ultimately, I have the responsibility for establishing that individual inspections by Ofsted meet the required standards. In practice, responsibility for the quality assurance of inspections and reports is discharged at a number of different levels. The first level of responsibility rests with the lead inspector who should ensure that the inspection is carried out in accordance with Ofsted's code of conduct and the relevant framework and guidance. In the case of maintained and independent schools, our National and Regional Inspection Services Providers are required to ensure that the inspectors they employ conduct inspections that are of the standard required by Ofsted. Her Majesty's Inspectors (HMI) visit a proportion of inspections to check that they are of the required standard.
The lead inspector is responsible for producing an inspection report that is accurate and fair. Each report is read and its quality assessed. In the case of reports on inspections of maintained and independent schools, quality reading is undertaken by the relevant Regional or National Inspection Services Provider, but all reports must then be signed off by HMI on behalf of HMCI before publication. Reports on initial teacher training providers and local authority services are read and checked by HMI. I personally sign off all reports where a school is placed into special measures.
A copy of this reply has been sent to Jim Knight MP, Minister of State for Schools, and will be placed in the Library of both Houses.
Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment he has made of the effects on educational performance of recent pilots of schools giving pupils omega 3 supplements. 
Jim Knight: The Food Standards Agency comments as follows: On 6 July 2006, the Food Standards Agency published the findings of a systematic review of research, which looked at the effect of nutrition and diet on performance and behaviour of children in schools. The review concluded that there was insufficient evidence to reach a firm conclusion on the effect of diet and the education or learning of the general population. The Food Standards Agencys recommendation, therefore, continues to be that we should eat at least two portions of fish a week, including one of oily fish, as part of a healthy balanced diet.
The new nutrition standards implemented from September 2006 will help to encourage children to meet the Food Standards Agencys recommendation, by stipulating regular inclusion of oily fish in school menus.
Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the 10 largest thefts of school property from school premises in terms of financial loss to the school were in the last three years. 
Jim Knight: The Department does not keep records of thefts and most local education authorities fund theft losses from internal budgets. School insurers estimate that the largest theft losses are in the region of £15,000 to £30,000.
Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what individuals, companies or organisations have expressed an interest in setting up a school trust since the Education and Inspections Act 2006 was implemented. 
Jim Knight: The provisions of the Education and Inspections Act 2006 that relate to trust proposals have not yet been commenced. They are due to come into force in early summer 2007 alongside regulations that will implement these provisions.
The following organisations or companies have been publicly named as actively working towards setting up a trust with a school or group of schools as part of the pathfinder programme: City of Bristol College, Co-operative Group, Co-operative College, Dorset Scope, Essex University, Exeter University, Laing O'Rourke, Microsoft, Prospects College, Trinity and All Saints HE College, Unilever, University of West of England, University of Wolverhampton and Westminster University. We will release information about further organisations once they have agreed to be involved with pathfinders (except in cases where release might prejudice discussions with stakeholders in the project).
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what consultation has been undertaken with stakeholders to the Secondary School Admissions Guidelines for September 2008 on (a) siblings and (b) staff members children; and if he will make a statement. 
Jim Knight: Proposals for school admissions from September 2008 are contained in the draft School Admissions Code which was issued for full public consultation for 12 weeks between 8 September and1 December 2006. Prior to this, a skeleton version of the draft Code was shared with the Commons Committee considering the Education and Inspections Bill in April 2006 and was circulated to key stakeholders for comment.
All responses to the consultation, including those on the siblings and children of staff proposals, are currently being analysed and considered. The outcome will be reflected in the final School Admissions Code which will be issued for parliamentary approval in the new year.
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment he has made of
the ability of Sure Start children's centres to engage with black and minority ethnic parents. 
Beverley Hughes: We have learned a great deal from the National Evaluation of Sure Start (NESS)(1) on the engagement of black and minority ethnic groups. However, we do not routinely collect data at a national level on the participation of black and ethnic minority families in local Sure Start children's centres.
Some Sure Start Local Programmes (SSLPs) have evaluated their services in relation to black and minority ethnic groups. In March 2006 NESS published a report which brought together information from these local evaluations. This report is available on the NESS website at the following address:
DfES will be publishing a further NESS report exploring the relationship between ethnicity and delivery, management, participation and receipt of services in SSLPs in spring 2007. A further report from a longitudinal study on the impact of SSLPs on children and families, including black and ethnic minority families, is due to be published early in 2008.
On 30 November 2006 we issued guidance to local authorities on performance management arrangements that will help them evaluate the services that Sure Start children's centres provide and make sure that they are responsive to the most disadvantaged groups. The guidance identifies black and ethnic minority families as one of the priority groups. We also issued revised practice guidance for Sure Start children's centres which includes evidence of effective ways of engaging with those families who are at risk of social exclusion and information on methods that have been found to work with specific groups.
(1) The National Evaluation of Sure Start (NESS) is a study of the effectiveness of Sure Start Local Programmes (SSLPs). SSLPs are early pioneers of the Sure Start children's centres approach. All SSLPs are now mainstreamed into the overarching children's centre programme.
Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what guidance he issues to school science departments on the suitability of teaching materials from the organisation Truth in Science for the delivery of national curriculum science. 
Jim Knight: The science programme of study sets out the legal requirements of the national curriculum. It clearly states that pupils should be taught: how uncertainties in scientific knowledge and scientific ideas change over time; the role of the scientific community in validating these changes; that variation within species can lead to evolutionary changes; and, similarities and differences between species can be measured and classified.
Neither intelligent design nor creationism is a recognised scientific theory and they are not included in the science curriculum. The Truth in Science information pack is not therefore an appropriate resource to support the science curriculum.
Stephen Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what representations his Department has received from Truth in Science Ltd. on the teaching of (a) creationism and (b) intelligent design in schools. 
Jim Knight: The Secretary of State has received correspondence from Truth in Science Ltd. seeking clarification of the Department's view on the suitability of their teaching materials. Officials have responded that schools are under a duty to follow the science programme of study which sets out the legal requirements of the national curriculum. They have explained that the programme of study clearly states pupils should be taught: how uncertainties in scientific knowledge and scientific ideas change over time; the role of the scientific community in validating these changes; that variation within species can lead to evolutionary changes; and, similarities and differences between species can be measured and classified. The letter also states that neither intelligent design nor creationism is a recognised scientific theory and they are not included in the science curriculum. The Truth in Science information pack is therefore not an appropriate resource to support the science curriculum. The letter also mentioned that the Department is working with the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) to ensure that schools are completely clear as to the reasons for this position.
Phil Hope: This is a matter for the Learning and Skills Council as they lead on the delivery of Centres for Vocational Excellence. Mark Haysom, Chief Executive of the Learning and Skills Council has written directly to the hon. Member with the information on evaluation of the cost of Centres for Vocational Excellence and a copy of his reply has been placed in the House Library.
Thank you for your query regarding the total funding of the CoVE programme and the number of learners affected by CoVE since its inception in Sept 2001.
In response, please find attached a spreadsheet containing information answering your queries.
Please note however:
Learners are only counted if any of their programme was indicated as CoVE learning.
Learner numbers are rounded to the nearest 100 learners.
There is a known under-count of CoVE learners in 2002/03.
Learner counts are by yearif a learner was enrolled on a 2 year program, that learner would be counted in each year.
For 2001/02, recording of CoVE learners was not possible.
Learner recording system does not include non LSC funded provision.
Financial projections are accurate as of December 2006.
Changes in status of CoVEs could delay payments across financial years.
Removal/withdrawal of status will reduce the total cost of the programme.
|Academic Year: Number of Learners Indicated as Being on CoVE Provision|
|FE Learners||WBL Learners||Total|
|(1) Not recorded. Notes: 1. Learners are counted only if any of their programme was indicated as CoVE learning. 2. Numbers are rounded to the nearest 100 learners. 3. There is a known under-count of CoVE learners in 2002/03. 4. Learner counts are by yearif a learner was enrolled on a 2-year program, that learner would be counted in each year. 5. For 2001/02, recording of CoVE learners was not possible. 6. Learner recording system does not include non-LSC funded provision. Source: Individualised Learner Records for 2002/03, 2003/04,2004/05 and 2005/06.|
| Notes: 1. Financial projections are accurate as of December 2006. 2. Changes in status of CoVEs could delay payments across financial years. 3. Removal/withdrawal of status will reduce the total cost of the programme.|
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