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Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many school buildings in (a) England, (b) Greater London, (c) the London Borough of Havering and (d) Romford contain asbestos; and what steps are being taken (i) to remove the asbestos and (ii) to ensure the safety of students and staff. 
Jim Knight: We do not keep information on which schools contain asbestos. However, the Health and Safety Executive advise that asbestos was commonly used in buildings constructed between 1945 and 1980. It is a requirement that the duty-holder as defined in the Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations keeps records of the location and condition of asbestos in all its buildings. For local authority maintained schools, the local authority as the employer is the duty-holder. The duty-holder is responsible for the safe management of asbestos. Removal is not a requirement and where the location and condition of the asbestos permits, it is often safer to manage the asbestos in-situ. HSE has issued guidance on the safe management and control of asbestos in schools(1).
Jim Knight: There are several ways to define low attainment and underperformance in relation to schools. The House of Commons Education Select Committee report of December 2003 recommended that a distinction should be drawn between low absolute levels of attainment (for example, a performance benchmark such as 25 per cent. five A*-C grades at GCSE) and low performance, which generally involves a value added measure.
Underperformance is particularly difficult to define with clarity. For example, by definition, 25 per cent. of all schools will appear in the bottom quartile of any performance measure, but the cohort of these schools will change year on year, so such schools are not necessarily persistent underperformers. Therefore, no schools have been formally classified as underperforming by DfES.
For the purposes of this question, low attaining primary schools are defined as those at which fewer than 65 per cent. of 11-year-olds achieved the target
level 4 of the national curriculum in both English and mathematics in 2006 and where performance has been below 65 per cent. in both subjects for the previous three years. 65 per cent. is the minimum level set in the Departments floor targets for primary schools.
Low attaining secondary schools for the purpose of this question are defined as those in which less than 25 per cent. of 15-year-olds achieved five A*-C at GCSE or equivalent in 2006. 25 per cent. is the minimum level set in the Departments floor targets for secondary schools.
All low attaining schools are subject to support programmes, particularly those provided by the primary and secondary national strategies. Although we have not classified the schools as underperforming we have funded a programme that identified secondary schools that were likely to benefit from the raising attainment in teaching and learning (RAIL) initiative to tackle underperformance. A total of 764 schools are included in RAIL.
The national strategies are continuing to work with all local authorities in using comparative data to help identify underperforming primary schools and to support them in raising standards of literacy and numeracy through interventions such as the Intensifying Support programme.
|Local authority||Number of secondary schools in which less than 25% of pupils achieved 5 A*-C grades at GCSE or equivalent in 2006||Number of primary schools in which fewer than 65% of 11-year-olds achieved the target level 4 of the national curriculum in both English and mathematics in 2006 and where performance has been below 65% in both subjects for the previous 3 years||Number of secondary schools which have joined the RAIL programme designed to address potential under performance|
|(1) Includes one school with fewer than 10 pupils aged 15|
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