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Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what proportion of secondary school pupils were in classes with over (a) 30 pupils, (b) 25 pupils and (c) 20 pupils in each year from 1990-91 to 2007-08. 
Jim Knight: The available information is contained in the following table. Data on classes of over 25 and 20 pupils are not readily available. The available relevant data have been italicised. Note that these figures do not include academies.
|Maintained secondary schools: classes as taught( 1,2) Position in January each year: 2003 to 2007( 3) , England|
|(1 )One teacher classes as taught during a single selected period in each school on the day of the census in January. (2) Includes middle schools as deemed. (3) Provisional. Source: School Census|
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) what his most recent estimate is of the pupil-teacher ratios in secondary schools in the (a) state and (b) private sector; and if he will make a statement; 
Jim Knight: In January 2007 the pupil-teacher ratio was 21.8 in English local authority maintained primary schools and 16.5 in secondary schools. These figures are the latest available and are provisional. The equivalent figures for 2006 are 22.0 and 16.6 respectively. This information is from the Department of Children, Schools and Families School Census.
Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) pursuant to the answer of 9 July 2007, Official Report, column 1218W, on secondary education: Colchester, if he will list the other issues discussed by senior officials from his Department and officers from Essex county council; 
(2) pursuant to the answer of 9 July 2007, Official Report, column 1218W, on secondary education: Colchester, on which dates senior officials from his Department met officers from Essex county council to discuss secondary school provision in Colchester. 
In addition to secondary provision in Colchester, issues discussed at these meetings included the primary capital programme (for which Essex is a pathfinder), school organisation plans, sixth form provision in relation to academies, the role of national leaders in education, and schools in other areas in Essex that are in special measures or currently causing concern.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many specialist schools there were in each year from 1997 to 2007; what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of specialist schools in raising performance; and if he will make a statement. 
Research evidence on the impact of the specialist school programme (SSP) to date is positive both in terms of the impact on attainment and in terms of the wider reported benefits on school ethos, teaching and learning and pupil motivation. There have been several independent assessments of the programmes, for example:
London School of Economics (2000);
OFSTED evaluations of the progress of Specialist Schools 2001 and 2005;
A Study of the Specialist Schools Programme, Institute of Education, University of Warwick 2004.
The evidence shows that specialist schools outperform non-specialist schools. On overall school improvement and value added measures, specialist schools' results have delivered higher standards for children since their inception.
Specialist schools are the future of secondary education in England. We want every secondary school
that meets the criteria to attain specialist status. We are well on track to meet our target of 95 per cent. of eligible secondary schools to be specialist by 2008. Currently over 2.8 millions students attend specialist schools.
All specialist schools must work with partner schools and the wider community and we are keen to exploit the strengths of our strongest schools to lead system- wide reform. There are over 550 high performing specialist schools which have taken on additional options extending their partnership working with other schools. We have also a very small scale pilot testing exploring specialism in primary schools.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) to which key stage level in the national curriculum each of the qualified teacher status skills tests is roughly equivalent; 
The Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA) holds data on the number of QTS skills tests attempted by teacher trainees who successfully passed the tests, but not on those who have not successfully passed the tests. The available data on numbers of tests attempted are collected on an academic, rather than financial year, basis. The following table shows for each of the academic years 2000/01 to 2005/06 and for each test, the number of teacher trainees who successfully passed that test in that year, the mean number of attempts taken and, therefore, the total number of tests attempted by them. The table also shows for each year and for each test, the number of teacher trainees who either did not attempt the test or who did not pass the test during that period.
|Financial year||Total cost for year (£)|
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