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Many of our customers find it easier to access our services now there is a choice of using the telephone, the internet or face to face. Centralising our benefit claims systems means customers have the option to make benefit enquiries from the privacy of their own homes and their calls will be answered by a pool of benefits experts. Creating a Contact Centre network means that we are better able to cope with peaks in demand.
We recognise that the telephone is not suitable for all customers and for this reason we continue to offer alternative means to contact us and to make benefit claims.
I hope this is helpful.
Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many schools were built or refurbished outside the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme in each year since the start of the BSF programme. 
The number of schools built or refurbished outside this programme is given in the table. The data come from a survey of local authorities to which over 95 per cent. responded. There may be a margin of error, and the data may include some of the quick win projects in early BSF. A summary of the survey information is in the House of Commons Library.
|Financial year||New schools built||Existing schools rebuilt||Existing schools refurbished( 1)|
|(1 )More than 50 per cent. of floor area.|
To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what representations
he has received on the provision of training for child minders; and what guidance he provides to local authorities on the matter. 
Beverley Hughes [holding answer 3 July 2007]: The Department has not received any recent representations on the provision of training for child minders. Guidance to local authorities on the provision of such training is contained within statutory guidance on the Childcare Act 2006, Sure Start Childrens Centres Practice Guidance, General Sure Start Grant allocation letters for 2006-08 and Transformation Fund guidance.
Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what the average class size was in (a) comprehensive, (b) grammar and (c) independent schools in (i) the Ribble Valley and (ii) England in each of the last five years. 
|Maintained secondary schools( 1) : Average class size( 2) 2003-07 position in January each yearRibble Valley parliamentary constituency|
|Ribble Valley parliamentary constituency||England|
|Grammar schools( 3)||Other secondary schools||All maintained secondary schools||Grammar schools( 3)||Other secondary schools||All maintained secondary schools|
|(1) Includes middle schools as deemed.|
(2) One teacher classes as taught during a single selected period on the day of the census.
(3) School type as reported by schools. There is currently one grammar school in Ribble Valley parliamentary constituency.
(4) Provisional data.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families pursuant to the answer of 11 June 2007, Official Report, column 783W, on classroom assistants: mathematics, (1) what assessment his Department has made of the degree to which the scheme is meeting its objectives; 
Jim Knight: The Student Associate Scheme began in the academic year 2003-04, The following table details the budget for each academic year to date. The scheme has proved to be extremely successful with schools, higher education institutions and undergraduates. Its twin aims are to use the undergraduates as role models for school pupils and to encourage bright undergraduates into initial teacher training (ITT) by giving them a taste of life in front of a classroom. The Training and Development Agency for Schools, who administer the scheme, are about to carry out an assessment process which will try to ascertain how successful the scheme has been in terms of its twin aims. Data should be available in October 2007. However, previous limited research suggests that around 40 per cent. of participating undergraduates go on to ITT. In recognition of its success, the Treasury will announce on 5 July 2007 that the scheme will be extended and placements doubled over a three-year period.
|Student Associate Scheme|
Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many employees of the former Department for Education and Skills moved (a) within his Department and (b) out of his Department on its creation. 
(a) A total of 2,890 former Department for Education and Skills staff will be employed in my Department; and
(b) a total of 560 former Department for Education and Skills staff will move to the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills.
Kevin Brennan: The Department was created on 28 June 2007 and does not hold up-to-date information on staff using public transport to commute. We plan to carry out a survey and develop a travel plan for the new Department later this year.
Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what changes are planned to the number of Shakespeare plays that may be offered for study by schools at Key Stage 3 from 2009 onwards; and if he will make a statement. 
Jim Knight: It is the QCAs responsibility to set and maintain standards independently of Government. They have decided to make a choice of two Shakespeare plays, rather than three, available for the KS3 English test from 2009. They have based their decision on the historically low take-up by schools (less than 5 per cent.) of the third option. There will be no reduction in the standard or quality of the assessment of Shakespeare.
Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families for which public service agreement targets his Department is now responsible which were not previously the responsibility of the former Department for Education and Skills. 
Kevin Brennan: In addition to 12 PSA targets from Spending Review 2004 which my Department is directly responsible for, the Department for Children, Schools and Families will lead work across Government to improve outcomes for childrenexact working arrangements and responsibilities will be decided in due course.
Janet Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what guidance has been given to the singing ambassador, Mr. Howard Goodall, on responding to correspondence from hon. Members. 
Jim Knight: There has been huge interest in the national singing campaign and Howard Goodall, the singing ambassador, has received hundreds of messages from schools, organisations and individuals asking how they can become involved or providing details of the work they already do. Mr. Goodall is working as an unpaid and independent champion for singing and, as such, has received no guidance from Government on responding to correspondence,
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families which (a) Steiner, (b) Waldorf and (c) Montessori pre-school institutions are registered in each local authority area; whether each institution has open enrolment; and whether each makes provision for those who rely entirely upon nursery grants to fund a place. 
Beverley Hughes: The information requested is not collected centrally. Local authorities have a statutory duty to ensure sufficient free nursery education places for three and four-year-olds in their area. In discharging this duty, local authorities must have regard to the code of practice which states that they must ensure sufficient places are available for parents who only want to access the free entitlement.
Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what the average reading age was of pupils aged (a) five, (b) six, (c) seven, (d) eight, (e) nine, (f) 10 and (g) 11 in primary schools in each of the last five years. 
The Department does however; collect data on pupils' achievements in reading at the end of key stage 1 teacher assessments and at the end of the key stage 2 national curriculum tests. The target level at key stage 1 is level 2 in reading. At key stage 2 the target level in English is level 4. Key stage 2 pupils are assessed in both reading and writing to arrive at their overall level in the English test. In 2006, 84 per cent. of pupils achieved level 2 or above in reading and 83 per cent. of pupils achieved level 4 or above.
The Government commissioned the independent review of the teaching of early reading, led by Jim Rose, to find ways to raise standards in reading even further. The review recommended that all children should follow a programme of systematic phonics
teaching, This recommendation has been implemented in the revised primary framework for teaching literacy, which was published last year.
To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) how many primary
school pupils were excluded in (a) the Ribble Valley and (b) England in the last five years; 
|Maintained primary and secondary schools( 1) : number and percentage of exclusions 2001-02 to 2005-06: Ribble Valley parliamentary constituency|
|Ribble Valley||England( 2)|
|Number of permanent exclusions||Percentage of school population( 3)||Number of permanent exclusions||Percentage of school population( 3)||Number of permanent exclusions||Percentage of school population( 3)||Number of permanent exclusions||Percentage of school population( 3)|
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