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Natascha Engel: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the new rules for competitive tendering for new schools on the incentive for local education authorities to consider merging existing schools. 
The amalgamation of schools can be affected in different ways and it is for the local authority to determine the most appropriate process taking into account local circumstances. It would then be for the local authority and others as appropriate to publish statutory proposals, which will be decided locally, for any changes to the provision of maintained schools in the area. Where an amalgamation was to be brought about by the closure of two schools and the establishment of a new school in their place, the local authority would need to hold a competition for a new school.
Local authorities and others may apply for the Secretary of States consent to publish proposals for a new school without a competition in exceptional circumstances. Such applications are considered on their individual merits.
Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many school places were take up by children from EU-8 accession countries in each local education authority in the school year starting in September 2006. 
Jim Knight: The requested information is not held centrally. As part of the Schools census (SC) collected in January each year, schools are required to record ethnicity data to reflect the main categories used in the 2001 national population census. Children from the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia are recorded under the ethnic category Any Other White Background.
Following a consultation exercise in 2002, local authorities (LAs) were given the option of using extended ethnicity categories in their schools if they felt that the main ones did not meet their local management needs. However, the extended ethnicity categories do not include separate codes relating to the eight European Union accession countries. They are all included within the White Eastern European code.
Not all LAs have chosen to use the extended categories. The majority of authorities use a mixture of main and extended codes and as a consequence the Department does not hold complete data for the extended ethnic background categories.
Your recent parliamentary question has been passed to me, as Her Majesty's Chief Inspector, for reply.
You asked what assessment is made by Ofsted, during its regular inspections of state secondary schools, on the provision of sport.
Individual subjects are not inspected during Ofsteds programme of three-yearly school inspections. There is therefore no specific focus on physical education and school sport. It does, however, feature in several aspects of the inspection and the report: what provision the school has made to promote pupils' knowledge and understanding of fitness and health; whether statutory requirements of the National Curriculum are met; opportunities for extra curricular sporting activity and the development and accreditation of leadership skills through sport.
The amount of evidence on physical education and school sport will vary according to the priorities and focus of the inspection. For example, schools with specialist sports college status will have their distinctive aims and characteristics taken into account.
Ofsteds complementary subject survey programme looks in detail at physical education and school sport in a sample of schools across the country. A number of different areas are reported on, including: standards and achievement; teaching and learning; the curriculum; subject leadership and management; and inclusion. The outcomes of these inspections are reported on a three yearly cycle. Additionally, as part of the subject programme, Ofsted continues to inspect the impact of the Physical Education, School Sport and Club Links national strategy.
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.
Jim Knight: Over 99 per cent. of all schools in England have access to the internet and, as at the end of December 2006, (i) 3,394 secondary schools and (ii) 17,344 primary schools have access to broadband. The Department does not hold information on the percentage of schools in deprived areas with access to broadband, or regularly collect such information for rural schools.
Jim Knight: The Department is planning to spend £1.3 million during 2006-07 on regional advisers working within the national strategies to provide specific support to local authorities and targeted schools on their attendance strategies.
In addition, we are also committing approximately £14 million to local authority behaviour and attendance consultants via the secondary national strategy standards fund grant which is targeted at supporting schools to implement effective strategies to improve behaviour and attendance. It is not possible to say precisely how much of this will be spent directly on attendance.
We have measured the effectiveness of our advisers and consultants through the analysis of absence data for 2005-06. This showed that, of the 370 secondary schools targeted for high absence in 2005-06, 52 schools met their absence targets for 2007-08. The 198 secondary schools targeted for persistent truancy reduced by 27 per cent. their number of persistent truants compared to their 2004-05 baseline.
Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many and what proportion of pupils in maintained schools were entered for individual science GCSEs in (a) biology, (b) chemistry and (c) physics in each year since 1997. 
(1) Pupils aged 15 at the start of the academic year (i.e. 31 August).
(2 )Includes community schools, voluntary aided schools, voluntary controlled schools, foundation schools, city technology colleges, academies, community special schools, foundation special schools, hospital schools and pupil referral units.
|GCSE attempts of 15 year old pupils( 1) in maintained schools by subject|
|(1) Pupils aged 15 at the start of the academic year (i.e. 31 August).|
Jim Knight: School place planning is the responsibility of the local authority. It will be for the local authority to publish statutory proposals, which will be decided locally, for any changes to the provision of maintained schools in the area.
Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what guidance he has issued to his special advisers concerning alterations to their duties during the campaign for the deputy leadership of the Labour Party. 
Mr. Dhanda: Special advisers act in accordance with the requirements of the Code of Conduct for Special Advisers. This makes clear that special advisers may assist with a leadership or deputy leadership campaign, but it must be in their own time. In addition, the Cabinet Secretary has issued guidance to Departments on conduct in the run-up to such elections. A copy has been placed in the Library for the reference of Members.
Mr. Waterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what proportion of children with a special educational need were referred to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal in (a) Eastbourne and (b) East Sussex in the last two years. 
The following table gives the number of appeals against East Sussex local authority in the last two school years, and the number of children with special educational needs in the local authoritys primary and secondary schools in the January of the relevant period.
|Special educational needs appeals||Children with special educational needs|
Jim Knight: The Department for Education and Skills does not keep central information about teacher exchanges. These can be arranged through a number of organisations, including Government, non-government, local authorities and schools.
However, as an example, under the DfES Teachers International Professional Development Programme (TIPD), in the year April 2005 to March 2006, teachers from England went on 596 study visits to developing countries.
Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills whether any exemptions or exceptions to teachers' pay and conditions as set out in the school teachers pay and conditions document apply in non-maintained special schools. 
Jim Knight [holding answer 19 January 2006]: Non-maintained special schools are not statutorily covered by the school teachers' pay and conditions document. Non-maintained special schools have discretion to mirror all or parts of the document if they wish. Any contractual arrangements that they enter into with their teachers can be amended by them, subject to due process.
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