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Building Schools for the Future Programme: Academies

Mr. Purchase: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families if he will make it his policy to agree to fund Building Schools for the Future programmes where the local authority has produced a sound plan for the development of secondary education whether or not an academy is included. [157224]

Jim Knight: It already is our policy to fund Building Schools for the Future projects whether or not an academy is included. However, where a Building Schools for the Future project includes a weak or underperforming school that meets the criteria for consideration as a potential academy project, we strongly urge the authority to consider this option, and where it does not choose to do so, to show that it has equally strong alternative and innovative plans that will achieve the same outcome of raising standards at the school.

Children: Exercise

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what estimate he has made of the number of (a) primary and (b) secondary school age children undertaking two hours physical exercise per week in (i) 1997 and (ii) 2007. [154789]

Jim Knight: The annual PE and School Sport Survey was introduced in 2003/04 and collects data relating to participation in PE and School Sport over the last three years. The percentage of pupils who took part in at least two hours of high quality PE and school sport each week is as follows:

Primary Secondary Total













Prior to 2003/04, no data were collected relating to the amount of time spent on PE and school sport.

Children’s Plan 8 to 13 Working Group

Derek Wyatt: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families who sits on the Children's Plan 8 to 13 working group; and how frequently it meets. [155921]

Jim Knight: The 8 to 13 Expert Group is chaired jointly by Lord Andrew Adonis, Kevin Brennan MP and Sir Alan Steer, Head Teacher Seven Kings High School, Ilford, Essex.

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The following are members of the group:

The group has met once already, and will do so again twice more over the course of the autumn term. There are no plans to extend the group beyond this point.

Danley Middle School

Derek Wyatt: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what discussions his Department has had with Kent County Council on its plans to close Danley Middle School and sell it for development. [156936]

Jim Knight [holding answer 11 October 2007]: There have been no discussions with Kent county council about the closure of Danley Middle School and disposal of the site. Kent county council is considering proposals to reorganise schools in the Isle of Sheppey as part of plans to establish a new academy. The realisation of capital receipts from the sale of the Danley Middle School site was one of Maurice Smith’s key recommendations in his review of the Sheppey Academy proposals, commissioned by Ministers.

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Departments: Accountancy

Mr. Letwin: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what accounts directions were issued by his Department's predecessors in financial years (a) 2005-06 and (b) 2006-07. [156623]

Jim Knight: Under the Government Resource and Accounts Act 2000 the HM Treasury issues accounts directions to the Department and its pension scheme.

For the financial years 2005-06 and 2006-07 the Department issued accounts directions for the form and content of resource and other accounts to the following bodies sponsored by the former Department for Education and Skills:



Departments: Employment Agencies

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how much the Department paid in fees to recruitment agencies for (a) temporary and (b) permanent staff in each year since 1997. [151682]

Jim Knight: The Department for Education and Skills was established in June 2001. The sums paid by the then Department for Education and Skills to recruitment agencies for temporary staff are shown as follows. These figures include the fees paid to the agency and the wages paid for those temporary staff. A breakdown of that information, and information prior to April 2002, could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Financial year (April to March each year) Agency spend (£)











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Sums have also been paid to recruitment consultants for executive search and selection services, mainly in recruiting at senior civil service level. For that information I refer the right hon. Member to the answer given earlier in PQ 140034. A breakdown of the information provided in that answer to distinguish between the costs incurred in recruiting people who were appointed on either indefinite, fixed term, secondment or loan contracts could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Departments: Public Bodies

Mr. Letwin: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families if he will list his Department and its predecessors in (a) executive agencies, (b) executive non-departmental public bodies (NDPBs), (c) advisory NDPBs, (d) tribunal NDPBs, (e) trading funds and (f) public corporations for each financial year since 2005-06. [156646]

Jim Knight: The information requested can be found in the following sources:

These sources list all the bodies requested and indicate whether they are Executive, advisory or tribunal NDPBs, or public corporations. The previous DFES and latterly the DCSF do not have any executive agencies or trading funds.

Education: Gender

Jo Swinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what research his Department has conducted into the gender gap in school achievement; and what steps he is taking to close this gap. [157751]

Jim Knight: In England, girls have out-performed boys since GCSE examinations were introduced in 1988. In 2006 63.4 per cent. of girls and 53.8 per cent. of boys achieved 5+ A*-C grade GCSEs (2007 results will be published later this month). Girls are ahead of boys overall at each phase of education from early years and foundation onwards. The largest gaps are in literacy and the smallest are in mathematics and science subjects. The gaps in England have been broadly stable over two decades, and are in line with those in other OECD countries.

The reasons for girls’ better attainment in literacy and indeed overall are complex, but appear mainly related to biological differences, differences in maturation, and differences in attitudes to learning and reading at different ages. The Department's recently published research paper “Gender and education: the evidence on pupils in England”, of which there is a copy in the Library of the House, sets out the research evidence.

Four points should be noted:

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The Government’s strategy, reflecting this last point, is to continue to improve teaching and learning with a special focus on personalised learning and the progress made by each individual pupil. In addition, the Department is planning a programme of school-level investigations and action research activities on gender issues. This programme will build on existing departmental initiatives focused on boys’ literacy, such as “Boys Into Books” which has enabled every state-funded secondary school in England to select for its library 20 free books targeted at teenage boys. It will also include issues of girls’ under-attainment, and girls’ subject choices. The activities will feed into the forthcoming National Year of Reading which will promote reading both for leisure and school attainment purposes.

Folk Culture: Curriculum

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families if he will bring forward proposals to include the teaching of English folk dance and song in the national curriculum; and if he will make a statement. [157781]

Jim Knight: For children aged 5-11, dance is already a compulsory part of the current physical education
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curriculum, and schools may choose to teach English folk dancing as part of that compulsory requirement. The current National Curriculum Programme for the Study of Music states that the breadth of study should be taught through a range of music from different times and cultures which may include music from the British Isles.

For pupils aged 11-14 there has been some freeing up of the Programmes of Study in the new secondary curriculum, which is being phased in over a three-year period beginning in September 2008. Dance is one of six optional activities within the National Curriculum for Physical Education and schools will be able to teach more dance for their pupils if there is sufficient demand for it. The new Programme of Study for Music at Key Stage 3 says that the study of music should include “a range of classical and popular traditions” and this is expected to include “music from different national and cultural traditions”, which not only includes the western classical tradition but can also include folk music.

Further Education

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families which 200 secondary schools had the lowest post-16 staying-on rate in full-time education at the most recent date for which figures are available. [156635]

Jim Knight: The requested information is shown in the following table.

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