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General Certificate of Secondary Education: Science

Dr. Iddon: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what steps he has taken to evaluate (a) the 21(st) century science GCSEs and (b) other new syllabi. [141486]

Bill Rammell: As part of their remit to develop the 21(st) century GCSE, the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority commissioned an evaluation of the pilot programme; the findings were published in 2005. An independent evaluation was also carried out by the University of Leeds, and published in February 2007.

These evaluations are helping to inform QCA’s wide ranging evaluation of the changes made to the Key Stage 4 curriculum from September 2006, which is currently under way.

Dr. Iddon: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what percentage of (a) maintained, (b) specialist science, (c) grammar and (d) independent schools offer separate science GCSEs in physics, chemistry and biology. [141487]

Jim Knight: The Government collect information on schools that entered pupils for the three separate science GCSE examinations, rather than schools which offered these subjects. This information for pupils taking their exams in 2006 is summarised in the table.

If a school offers the three subjects, but pupils elect not to take them, the school will not be classified as offering the separate sciences.

School type( 1) Total number of schools Schools offering separate science GCSEs, 2006 Percentage of schools offering separate science GCSEs









Science colleges




Other maintained mainstream schools








(1) Schools are only included once in the first category that applies
(2) Only independent schools with more than 20 pupils at the end of KS4 and one or more pupils gaining 5+ A*-G (used as a proxy for offering GCSEs).

Head Lice

Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what estimate he has made of the incidence of head lice amongst school children in England in each of the last five years; [141763]

(2) what guidance her Department provides to primary care trusts on head lice control; and how frequently such guidance is updated. [141751]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: I have been asked to reply.

Information on the incidence of head lice infestation is not collected centrally. Our policy, which is shared by the Department for Education and Skills, is to encourage a whole school approach. This entails encouraging parents to check their children and other family members for head lice as need arises and arranging treatment where necessary, with advice and support from the local primary health care team.

The Department has produced a leaflet containing guidance on the prevention and treatment of head lice.
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The leaflet, which has recently been reprinted, is widely available from locations that include schools and general practitioners surgeries and copies are available in the Library and at:

Head Teachers

Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) how many (a) primary and (b) secondary school head teachers resigned from their posts within 12 months of an Ofsted inspection in each of the last five years.; [140737]

(2) how many (a) primary and (b) secondary school head teachers in England and Wales left their posts prior to retirement age in each of the last five years. [140738]

Jim Knight [holding answer 6 June 2007]: The information is not available in the format requested.

Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what discussions he has had with educational representatives on the reasons for recent trends in applications for headships of primary and secondary schools. [140736]

Jim Knight [holding answer 6 June 2007]: The Department does not collect data about the number of applications for headships. However, according to research undertaken by Howson(1), while there has been a decline in the number of applications for headships in primary schools between 2004-05 and 2005-06, there has been an increase in the number of applications in secondary schools. In addition, the Department’s official statistics show that since 1997, head teacher vacancies have remained low and fairly stable. Provisional figures for 2007 show a fall in the head teacher vacancy rate from 0.8 per cent. in January 2006 to 0.6 per cent. in January 2007. However, we know that some types of schools such as church schools, schools in London and some small schools in rural areas find it harder to recruit senior staff than others and also that more heads are reaching retirement age.

Our focus is therefore on ensuring that we have sufficient numbers of high quality school leaders now and coming through the system for the future. The Secretary of State asked the National College for School Leadership (NCSL) for advice on succession planning and on the back of this announce an additional £10 million to support their work in this area. In preparing the advice, the NCSL have consulted widely with schools, school leaders, local authorities, dioceses, professional associations, and governor bodies. This included nine regional succession planning conferences, attended by over 500 school leaders and an ongoing Succession Planning Advisory Group with senior education representatives which meets regularly. The Department also commissioned PricewaterhouseCoopers to conduct an independent study into school leadership, which reported in January.

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Higher Education: Islam

Mr. Paul Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will estimate the number of (a) faculties, (b) chairs and (c) other facilities in relation to Islamic studies in universities which are funded from abroad. [141338]

Bill Rammell: This information is not collected centrally, but I have recently announced that we will work with the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and the university sector to develop a comprehensive long term project to address the gaps in Islamic studies teaching and research. £1 million has been committed from HEFCE to start this work. By designating Islamic studies as a strategically important subject, we can help ensure that the study of Islamic studies within higher education is up to date and focuses on relevant issues, whatever the source of funding for particular faculties, chairs or other facilities.

Languages: Mandarin

Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) pursuant to his answer of 24 May 2007, Official Report, column 1390W, on Mandarin if he will take steps to encourage schools to offer Mandarin as a subject at all levels; and what steps he is taking to increase the pool of teachers qualified to teach Mandarin; [141444]

(2) what discussions he has had with Ministerial colleagues on the teaching of Mandarin and its potential impact on the preparedness of the UK workforce for dealing with China; [141553]

(3) what steps his Department is taking to promote Mandarin to young people as an academic subject. [141555]

Jim Knight: I refer the hon. Member to my written reply of 14 May. We have now received the Qualification and Curriculum Authority’s advice on the revised Key Stage 3 languages curriculum. We are considering that advice and will be responding shortly. Schools are already free to teach any language they choose at Key Stage 2.

We are working with partners, including the China National Office for Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language (Hanban), on a range of initiatives to promote the teaching of Mandarin at all levels, including high profile events such as the HSBC China Conference, and arranging for secondary school pupils from the UK to attend summer schools in China. The Training and Development Agency for schools is working with initial teacher training providers to develop their ability to offer more places for major world languages such as Mandarin within their PGCE programmes.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has had no recent discussions with Ministerial colleagues about the teaching of Mandarin and its impact for the UK workforce.

Learning and Skills Councils: Reorganisation

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what estimate he has made of the changes to staff numbers and structures which will result from the reorganisation of the learning and skills councils proposed in the Further Education and Training Bill. [139274]

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Bill Rammell [holding answer 4 June 2007]: The Further Education and Training Bill makes provision to streamline the non-executive structure of the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) by removing the requirement to have local learning and skills councils (of which there are 47) and replacing them with new regional committees (to be known as regional councils, of which we intend there to be nine). It also removes the requirement to have an adult and young people's learning committee and reduces the minimum size of the LSC's national council. Overall the number of non-executives will reduce from around 750 to around 150.

The LSC has also been undergoing a restructuring exercise which will result in some 1,100 fewer staff posts across the whole of the organisation. This exercise is expected to be completed later this summer, and is important preparation for the LSC's role in implementing the reforms set out in the Further Education White Paper “Raising Skills, Improving Life Chances”, and for taking forward the skills challenges identified in the Leitch Report.

Local Education Authorities: Worcestershire

Sir Michael Spicer: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills on what basis he has allocated funding to Worcestershire local education authority; and if he will make a statement. [141241]

Jim Knight: The core funding for schools is delivered through the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) which was introduced in 2006-07 following two public consultations in 2005. DSG is calculated using the spend plus methodology set out as follows.

Each local authority's total DSG for 2006-07 and 2007-08 was calculated by multiplying their full-time equivalent pupil numbers (aged three to 15) from the January 2006 and 2007 pupil counts by their DSG per pupil Guaranteed Unit of Funding. The DSG Guaranteed Unit of Funding is unchanged from that set in December 2005 and in:

We have just consulted on the DSG arrangements for 2008 to 2011. We are currently examining the consultation responses and we will announce details of the school funding system for 2008 to 2011 in the summer.

New Arrivals Excellence Programme: Somerset

Mr. Jeremy Browne: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much funding from the New Arrivals Excellence programme has been made available to each local authority area in Somerset since the initiation of the programme. [141230]

Jim Knight: The New Arrivals Excellence Programme was announced in October 2006, with
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resources to be launched in July 2007. The programme does not devolve funding to local authorities but is a central resource, which local authorities, schools, specialist and mainstream teachers can look to for advice, guidance and ‘signposting’ towards the best training opportunities.

The programme will have a clear focus on helping local authorities and schools who have received a large number of new arrivals and where local authorities have little experience of working with those with little or no English. Outreach workers will be available as part of the programme, to provide additional focused support within those local authorities.

Materials available to local authorities will include a DVD of effective practice, a website and on-line forum and a training module. The programme will link securely with the work of the National Strategies, whose primary and secondary programmes are now expanding to include work on new arrivals.

Overseas Students

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills when he expects to publish a revised action plan for the implementation of the International Education Strategy. [139029]

Bill Rammell: Implementation of the International Education Strategy is on-going. An update to the action plan will be made available on the DfES Global Gateway and TeacherNet by the end of June.

Pre-school Education: Finance

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to the answer of 17 May 2007, Official Report, columns 856-8W, on pre-school education: finance, what assessment he has made of whether local authorities are funding nursery providers equitably, fairly and transparently. [140658]

Beverley Hughes: The code of practice on the delivery of nursery education for three and four-year-olds requires local authorities to ensure settings are funded equitably, transparently and fairly, reflecting local need and circumstances. My letter in December 2006 to all local authority chief executives reiterated this point and asked them to reassure themselves that their funding levels support a diverse local child care market and take into account the impact on provider sustainability.

The Schools, Early Years and 14-16 Funding consultation which closed on 1 June set out a number of proposals for changes to the way the early years funding system operates. As part of our consideration of these options and to assess their impact, the Department is developing a more comprehensive evidence base of current practice around the country. We have asked all local authorities to complete a questionnaire, setting out how they allocate and distribute free entitlement funding to maintained schools and to private, voluntary and independent (PVI) providers. We are also working with authorities to produce estimates of the level of funding allocated to early years in each local authority and its distribution between the PVI and maintained sectors in 2005-06 and 2006-07.

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We intend to collate and publish both the questionnaire responses and the levels of funding in each local authority so that authorities can benchmark their approaches to funding the free entitlement.

Pupil Exclusions: Education

Mr. Carswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what discussions he had with Ministers in the (a) Department for Communities and Local Government and (b) Home Office on his Department's decision to require schools to provide full-time education for any pupil excluded for six days or longer; and if he will make a statement; [140751]

(2) what account was taken of the Government's (a) policy on localism and (b) Respect agenda before his Department's decision to require schools to provide full-time education for any pupil excluded for six days or longer; and if he will make a statement; [140758]

(3) what the basis was for his decision to require schools to provide full-time education for pupils excluded for six days or longer from September 2007; [140759]

(4) what assessment his Department has made of the likely impact on (a) numbers of exclusions and (b) school discipline of his decision to require schools to provide full-time education for pupils excluded for six days or longer; and if he will make a statement. [140761]

Jim Knight: The requirement for schools to provide full-time education for pupils excluded for more than six days was set out in the Schools White Paper “Higher Standards, Better Schools for All—More Choice for Parents and Pupils” on 25 October 2005 and enacted in the Education and Inspections Bill in February 2006. This was cleared with Cabinet colleagues including the Deputy Prime Minister, then responsible for local government, and the Home Secretary. Requiring schools and local authorities to provide education for pupils who have been excluded ensures that no child misses out on their education when excluded from school and that they are not left to wander the streets during schools hours, in line with the Respect agenda. This particular requirement is part of a range of powers and duties in the Education and Inspections Act 2006 and is intended to benefit pupils who are excluded rather than impact directly on school behaviour. We will be monitoring the volume and pattern of exclusions from September 2007 but do not expect to see significant changes as a result of the introduction of this requirement, as decisions about whether or not to exclude a pupil should only be taken in response to serious instances of misbehaviour as outlined in the school's behaviour policy. Real progress has been made since 1997 in tackling poor behaviour in schools. Ofsted indicate that pupil behaviour is good in most schools and permanent exclusions are 25 per cent. lower than in 1997.

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