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1 Feb 2007 : Column 486W—continued



1 Feb 2007 : Column 487W
Key Stage 3: England—percentage of pupils achieving Level 5 and above at Key Stage 3( 1)
Gypsy/Roma Traveller of Irish Heritage White British Irish

2003

English

33

49

70

75

Mathematics

35

49

72

75

Science

35

45

70

73

2004

English

19

26

72

76

Mathematics

23

24

74

76

Science

17

23

68

70

2005

English

29

23

75

77

Mathematics

27

22

75

74

Science

23

18

71

71

2006

English

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

Mathematics

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

Science

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a = not available. 2006 results for Key Stage 3 are currently not available as these data work to a different time scale to the other Key Stages. Provisional Key Stage 3 attainment by pupil characteristics will be published in our Statistical First Release on 15 February 2007.
(1) Results for 2003 to 2005 are based on revised data.

GCSE and equivalent achievements: England—percentage of pupils achieving 5 or more A*-C grades at GCSE( 1)
Gypsy/Roma Traveller of Irish Heritage White British Irish

2003(2)

23.2

41.6

51.3

60.1

2004(2, 3)

13.5

30.2

52.3

58.3

2005(3, 4)

14.7

22.5

55.0

62.6

2006(3, 4)

9.9

19.0

57.2

60.8

(1) Results for 2003 to 2005 are based on revised data. Results for 2006 are based on provisional data.
(2) Number of pupils aged 15 at the start of the academic year.
(3) Includes GCSE and equivalent achievements.3
(4) Number of pupils on roll at the end of Key Stage 4 in each academic year.

English for Speakers of Other Languages

Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what evidence he took into account when establishing the new English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) for work/job-focused ESOL qualification requirements. [117666]

Phil Hope: The evidence taken into account in this situation came predominantly from the levels of activity in the Further Education (FE) sector as recorded through the Learning and Skills Council’s (LSC’s) Individualised Learner Record (ILR). ESOL provision in England is growing at an unsustainable level and there are waiting lists for courses in most key regions, particularly in London. Although it is not possible to have wholly disaggregated information beyond getting a view of the total levels, it is clear that something needs to be done to ensure that we prioritise provision on those who most need it.

As a result a range of measures have been introduced including new ESOL for Work qualifications. These will be shorter, simpler and more work focused, to better meet the needs of employers and those who need English for the workplace.

Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment he has made of the impact of the decision to de-approve English for speakers of other languages international qualifications. [117667]

Phil Hope: English for speakers of other languages international qualifications are not being de-approved. The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) is working with awarding bodies on the process of accrediting them for a further period.

These qualifications have been developed by awarding bodies, predominantly, to meet the needs of an international commercial market with a more
1 Feb 2007 : Column 488W
academic focus than ESOL Skills for Life or the coming ESOL for Work. It is recognised that international, commercial ESOL training makes a significant contribution to the economy but this is based on learners and organisation paying fees which meet the full costs of the training and the qualifications are geared to this quite specific market. On this basis, they do not presently attract public funding and will not be approved for this purpose in the future.

Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills in what way existing English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) qualifications do not meet the proposed ESOL for Work/job-focused ESOL criteria. [117668]

Phil Hope: There are two categories of ESOL qualifications presently available; ESOL Skills for Life and ESOL International.

ESOL Skills for Life qualifications were designed to meet the needs of those people who are resident, or at least on long term stays in this country. On that basis they are comprehensive in nature, covering the broad range of skills and cultural contexts, and often delivered through quite long courses. They do not best meet the needs of those people wishing to acquire language skills for the specific purpose of getting a job, either in terms of the way they are delivered or their content. If these qualifications provide verification that learners have evenly balanced skills in each of the main skill areas of reading, writing, speaking and listening, the work environment may not require all of these skills to be present at the same levels.

ESOL International qualifications have been developed by Awarding Bodies, predominantly, to meet the needs of an international market with a more academic focus. It is recognised that these make a significant contribution to the economy but this is a fee paying market and the qualifications are geared to this. These qualifications tend to be graded, have the same assumptions about the balance of skills as their Skills for Life cousins and carry quite heavy assessment burdens.

The new ESOL for Work qualifications will better provide for the needs of those people and employers requiring language purely for employment purposes by providing an easy to understand pass/fail qualification with slimmed down assessment processes, but most importantly recognising achievement of a balance of skills at the range of levels necessary for work. For instance, it may be that reading, speaking and listening are required at a higher level than writing.

Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what plans he has to improve provision and quality of English for speakers of other languages teaching. [117669]

Phil Hope: The quality of provision of English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) is critically important to their chances of success and progression. The Quality Improvement Agency (QIA) has a clear remit to improve the quality of all Skills for Life through the Skills for Life Improvement Programme
1 Feb 2007 : Column 489W
and its related projects which are being funded for the 2007/08 period with over £16 million. The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority has also been asked to work with Awarding Bodies to extend the range of qualifications presently on offer to include a new ESOL for Work qualification. The combination of these actions should work to improve quality and extend provision by ensuring that there are qualifications which meet the needs of employers.

The new ESOL for Work qualifications will better provide for the needs of those people and employers requiring language purely for employment purposes by providing an easy to understand pass/fail qualification with slimmed down assessment processes. Most importantly these qualifications will recognise achievement of a balance of skills across the range of levels necessary for work. For instance, it may be that reading, speaking and listening are required at a higher level than writing.

Importantly the opportunity has been taken to strengthen connections between the quality of ESOL teaching and the requirement of ESOL qualifications. These reforms will be implemented from September 2007.


1 Feb 2007 : Column 490W

The breadth of provision and quality are key aims and although significant improvements have been made since the launch of Skills for Life in 2001, the drive for excellence will continue to be supported.

Learning Disabilities

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many schoolchildren in Essex have learning disabilities; and what percentage of such children are taught in mainstream schools. [111829]

Mr. Dhanda: The Department for Education and Skills collects information on children with special educational needs (SEN). A child has SEN if he has a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of children of his age, and/or he has a disability which either prevents or hinders him from making use of educational facilities generally provided for children of his age within his local authority area.

The following table shows numbers of pupils with SEN in the Essex local authority.

Mainstream schools: Number and percentage of pupils with SEN( 1) —January 2006—Essex local authority
Pupils with statements of SEN Pupils with SEN without statment( 2)
Total pupils Number Percentage Number Percentage

Total all schools

212,090

5,039

2.4

28,456

13.4

of which taught in:

Maintained nursery

295

(3)

(3)

30

10.2

Maintained primary(4)

107,092

1,524

1.4

16,004

14.9

Maintained secondary(4)

91,095

1,471

1.6

11,117

12.2

Total mainstream

198,482

2,995

1.5

27,151

13.7

(1) Excludes dually registered pupils.
(2) Schools provide support to children with SEN taking account of the advice in the SEN code of practice which recommends school based support at two levels—“School Action” and “School Action Plus”. Where a child does not make adequate progress with the support provided at “School Action Plus”, the local authority may assess the child and issue a statement of the child’s special educational needs.
(3) Less than 3, or a rate based on less than 3.
(4) Includes middle schools as deemed.
Source:
Schools’ Census

Parliamentary Questions

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many parliamentary questions were tabled to his Department in 2006, broken down by (a) ordinary written and (b) named day; what percentage of ordinary written questions were answered within 10 working days; and what percentage of named day questions were answered by the specific date. [115316]

Mr. Dhanda: The Department received 5,007 questions, out of which 3,826 were ordinary written and 791 were named day.

The Department’s PQ tracking system is, however, unable to break down the other data requested and to do so would incur disproportionate cost. This Department aims to ensure that Members receive a substantive response to their named day question on the named day, and endeavours to answer ordinary written questions within a working week of being tabled. Unfortunately, this is not always possible but this Department makes every effort to achieve these timescales.


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