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Mr. Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will make a statement on funding for local authorities for adoption support, with particular reference to the training and recruitment of specialist staff. 
Mr. Dhanda: The provision of adoption support is one of the key elements of the Adoption and Children Act 2002. The Act placed new duties on local authorities to make available in their area a range of adoption support services to meet the needs of people affected by adoption, including training for adoptive parents, and to appoint an Adoption Support Services Adviser. These duties have been underpinned by a ring-fenced grant to local authorities, of almost £70 million between 2003-04 and 2005-06, which from 2006-07 has been mainstreamed in the local authority Children's Services Grant. The Adoption and Special Guardianship element of this grant, in 2006-07, is £32 million.
Mr. Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what research he (a) has commissioned and (b) plans to commission on the long-term effects of open contact arrangements for adopted children. 
Mr. Dhanda: The Department has commissioned, as part of its Adoption Research Initiative, a study of the management and support of contact arrangements, following placements for adoption, with a particular focus on more complex situations, such as where there are concerns about child protection, domestic violence or a breakdown in the relationship between a child's birth and adoptive families.
This study is being conducted in two phases. The first phase will map the services supporting birth relatives and services supporting contact provided by local authorities, including those provided in
conjunction with voluntary adoption agencies and adoption support agencies. An executive summary is due to be published on the research section of the Department's website at http://www.dfes.gov.uk/research/ on 29 March 2007, and we will ensure that hard copies are placed in the House Library. The second phase, which will evaluate the impact and outcomes of these support services, and examine their costs, is due to be completed in June 2008.
Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the levels of achievement were at Bishops Park College at (a) Key Stage 3 and (b) GCSE in the last year for which figures are available. 
|Bishops Park College|
|Bishops Park College|
|(1) Eligible Key Stage 3 pupils.|
(2) Figures for 2006 will be published in the Key Stage 3 achievement and attainment tables on 1 March 2007.
(3) Pupils at the end of Key Stage 4.
Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment he has made of the analysis published as Report Card 7 on child poverty in perspective by the Unicef Innocenti Research Centre on 14 February in respect of the impact of poverty on educational attainment. 
The Unicef Innocenti Report Card 7 raises some serious issues for the UK. However, it often uses data that is up to seven years old and points to the
result of decades of underinvestment in childrens well-being. The report provides cross-sectional datarather than showing trendsso it does not register the very significant progress this Government have made. In 1997 this Government inherited the highest child poverty rate in Europe. Since then, we have reduced relative child poverty faster than anywhere in Europe and more than halved the absolute child poverty gap.
There is a strong correlation between income poverty, material deprivation and low educational attainment. That is why we want all children to develop to their full potential. Good quality early education benefits disadvantaged children in particular, and its positive effects on cognitive development last until at least age 10. We introduced free early education for all 3 and 4-year-olds, and will extend it further in terms of hours offered per week. Sure Start Childrens Centres will offer children under 5 and their families (initially in the most disadvantaged areas) access to early learning and play alongside other health and parental support. We have also introduced, through the Childcare Act 2006, a new duty on local authorities to improve the outcomes of all under 5s, and close the gaps between those with the poorest outcomes and the rest.
We have made good progress in tackling the additional challenges that schools serving deprived communities often face. Primary schools that draw more than half their pupils from the poorest families have improved by more than double the rate of those where fewer than 1 in 10 pupils are from poor backgrounds. Secondary schools with more than half of pupils from poor backgrounds have improved nearly three times as much as those serving more affluent areas. There has also been a large reduction in the number of failing schools which, historically, have tended to be concentrated in deprived areas. The number of schools in special measures has nearly halved between 1997/98 and 2006.
To help pupils who are still not making the kind of progress we expect and who are not getting the best from their education we are launching a progression pilot which will run for two years in up to 10 local authorities to test new ways to measure, assess, report and stimulate progress for children in Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 3.
Our Academies programme in England is transforming education in disadvantaged areas and offering educational opportunities to children where other intervention and improvement strategies have failed. The improvement in the percentage of pupils getting five good GCSEs including English and Maths in Academies has improved by 6.2 percentage pointssix times better than the national improvement rate of one percentage point. Academies results compare strikingly well with the poor results of their predecessor schools, with a 9.7 percentage point increase in five A*-C grades where English and Maths are included, and a 20.2 percentage point improvement overall.
As well as providing opportunities for social and cultural enrichment to disadvantaged pupils through extended schools, through the Education and Inspections Act 2006 we have introduced measures to give disadvantaged pupils fair access to good schools.
And through our major Every Child Matters reforms to childrens services, schools are increasingly forging strong links with other childrens services. Schools are well placed to spot problems that may be affecting a childs development at an early stage and to engage other agencies as appropriate. Greater use of multi-disciplinary teams, lead professionals and information sharing is helping to identify problems as they arise, provide swift, tailored interventions and remove barriers to school achievement.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much and what proportion of the £3 billion allocated to the foundation stage curriculum has been (a) allocated and (b) spent on (i) Sure Start, (ii) children's centres and (iii) nursery provision. 
Mr. Dhanda: Government invest some £3 billion each year in the delivery of the free entitlement to nursery education for three and four-year-olds. Funding is provided for local authorities through the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) and is intended to cover provision delivered in accordance with the core foundation stage curriculum and the National Day Care Standards by providers in the maintained, private, voluntary and independent sectors.
At the Education and Skills oral question session on 8 February I mentioned that an additional £3 billion each year is allocated to local authorities for children's centres and other aspects of Sure Start, early years and child care delivery. I should clarify that funding of £3 billion for the period 2006 to 2008 has been allocated to local authorities through the General Sure Start Grant (GSSG) and includes funding for Sure Start children's centres, extended schools, inclusion, workforce development, child care affordability and sustainability initiatives, and the implementation of the new duties in the Childcare Act. Local Authorities have the freedom to decide how much is spent on each of these areas within the main revenue and main capital elements of GSSG. An analysis of spend in each area will not be available until later in the year.
The Blueprint research programme was designed taking account of the worldwide evidence base for effective drug education interventions and applying the identified principles of effectiveness to the English school and strategic setting. Programme development has been best summarised in the article published by the original Blueprint Research Manager, Paul Baker. I will ensure a copy of the article is placed in the House Library.
Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to the answer of 20 February 2007, Official Report, column 705W, on language courses, how many schools published in the secondary school achievement and attainment tables are (a) special schools and (b) independent schools. 
|Number of schools published in 2006 secondary (key stage 4) achievement and attainment tables, by institution type|
|Institution type||Number of schools|
(a) 913 were special schools (including community special schools, foundation special schools, independent special schools and non-maintained special schools) and
(b) 1,091 were independent schools (including independent mainstream and independent special schools i.e. independent special schools have been included in both groups).
Mr. Wills: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what proportion of (a) pupils, (b) girls and (c) boys attending schools deemed (i) inadequate, (ii) satisfactory, (iii) good and (iv) outstanding achieved five (A) A*-C grades and (B) A* or A grades in each year since 1997. 
HM inspectors have made judgments about the overall effectiveness of schools only since January 2000. Prior to September 2005 schools were inspected on a six-year cycle and since September 2005 schools have been inspected on a three-year cycle. The framework used to categorise schools changed in September 2005, and judgments across the new framework are not comparable to judgments across the old framework. Most schools have not yet been judged on the new framework.
Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many staff were responsible for musical instrument teaching in secondary schools in each local education authority in London in each of the last five years. 
In 2002 an estimated 6,300 full time teachers were teaching music as a subject in maintained secondary schools in England. This was an increase on the estimated 5,600 teaching the subject in 1996. The source of this information is the Secondary School Curriculum and Staffing Surveys for 2002 and 1996.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many and what proportion of pupils of primary school age in England are in classes in maintained schools of (a) fewer than 20, (b) 20 to 24, (c) 25 to 28, (d) 29 to 30, (e) 31 to 35, (f) 36 to 40 and (g) greater than 40; and if he will make a statement. 
|Maintained primary schools( 1) : Classes taught by one teacher( 2) as at January 2006England|
|Classes taught by one teacher|
|Key Stage 1 classes( 3)||Key Stage 2 classes||Classes in maintained primary schools|
|Classes of size:||Number of pupils||Percentage of pupils||Number of pupils||Percentage of pupils||Number of pupils||Percentage of pupils|
|(1) Includes middle schools as deemed.|
(2) Classes as taught during a single selected period on the day of the census in January.
(3) Includes reception classes.
Pupil numbers have been rounded to the nearest 10.
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