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Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what proportion of children were taught a modern foreign language in (a) year 2, (b) year 6, (c) year 9 and (d) year 11 in maintained schools in England in the last year for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. 
Jim Knight: We have not collected any data on language learning in year 2, as there is no requirement for schools to teach modern foreign language in Key Stage 1. Research published by the National Foundation for Educational Research in June 2007 found that 70 per cent. of primary schools are teaching a foreign language in class time in Key Stage 2. We do not have accurate data that break this down into individual year groups so cannot provide a figure for year 6 pupils.
Languages are compulsory at Key Stage 3 so all pupils in year 9 should be taught a modern foreign language. We do not know the exact proportion of pupils who were taught a language at Key Stage 4. 46 per cent. of all pupils at the end of Key Stage 4 took a GCSE in a modern foreign language in 2007, but a few of these pupils may not have been taught, and some may have been taught but decided not to take the exam.
Jim Knight: I have regular meetings with Mark Haysom, the Chief Executive of the Learning and Skills Council (LSC), as part of the overall accountability and performance framework. These include regular formal review meetings. Our next such meeting is taking place on 5 November, I met Mark Haysom on 23 October when I visited the LSCs head office in Coventry.
Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what estimate he has made of the number of (a) 11 year olds, (b) 13 year olds and (c) 16 year olds in Lancashire who were functionally illiterate in each of the last 10 years. 
Jim Knight: Improving standards of literacy and numeracy at all stages of education has been one of the Governments top priorities. Since 1997 the results achieved by 11-year-olds and 14-year-olds as measured by National Curriculum tests in English have risen dramatically with provisional figures for 2007 showing that 80 per cent. of 11-year-olds in England reached the target level 4 and above (an increase of 17 percentage points over 1997) and 74 per cent. of 14-year-olds reached the target level 5 and above (an increase of 17 percentage points over 1997).
The National Curriculum provides a clear description of the literacy skills that children are able to demonstrate at different levels of attainment. At age 11 (the end of Key Stage 2) the expected level of achievement is level 4. Children achieving level 4 have literacy skills that mean they can access complex forms of language and complex ideas. They can use inference and deduction and can locate and use ideas and information. Their writing in a range of forms is lively and thoughtful. Handwriting style is fluent joined and legible. Full stops, capital letters and question marks are used accurately and pupils can use punctuation within a sentence.
Although level 4 is the target that we expect children to reach by the end of primary school, provisional figures show that 93 per cent. of 11-year-olds achieved at least Level 3 in English in 2007. Children assessed at level 3 can read a range of texts accurately and independently; and their writing is organised, legible and clear. Children who are assessed at level 2 will show confidence in talking and listening and their reading of simple texts will be accurate and show understanding.
(1) Local Government boundary changes mean that comparisons before 1998 are not valid.
The expected level of achievement at age 14 (the end of Key Stage 3) is level 5. Pupils achieving level 5 are able to speak in ways which suit different situations. They show understanding of the different things they are reading and can explain how writers influence readers. They can write in different ways that are interesting to the reader, using different sentence structures, putting writing in paragraphs and using punctuation accurately. In 2007 provisional figures show that 88 per cent. of 14-year-olds achieved at least level 3 in English.
There is no comparable nationally expected level of achievement for 16-year-olds (pupils at the end of Key Stage 4). The Government's target is for 60 per cent. of 16-year-olds to achieve 5 good GGSE grades (A*-C) or equivalent by 2008, Provisional figures for 2007 published on 18 October show that this target has been met. But we are raising the bar and in future the target for the end of Key Stage 4 will be measured against the proportion of pupils achieving 5 grades A*-C or equivalent, including GCSE English and mathematics. The provisional 2007 figure for England achieving this standard was 46.5 per cent.
The provisional figures for 2007 show that 60 per cent. of pupils in England achieved at least Grade C in GCSE English. We do not publish disaggregated figures for GGSE subjects at local authority level.
Graham Stringer: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what estimate he has made of the number of 11-year-olds who were functionally illiterate in each of the last 10 years. 
Jim Knight [holding answer 22 October 2007 ]: We do not have a measure of functional literacy. However; information on the attainment of pupils in Key Stage 2 English tests is shown in the following table. The expected level of achievement at Key Stage 2 is Level 4.
At level 2 children begin to show confidence in talking and listening, and reading of simple texts shows understanding and is accurate.
Children achieving level 3 are able to read a range of texts accurately and independently, tackle unfamiliar words and self correct when their reading doesn't make sense.
At level 3 pupils writing is organised, legible and clear. Punctuation to mark sentencesfull stops, capital letters and question marksis used accurately. Handwriting is joined and legible. Pupils are aware of standard English and when it is used.
A level 4 child has access to more complex forms of language and can access more complex ideas. They can use inference and deduction and can locate and use ideas and information.
At level 4 children's writing in a range of forms is lively and thoughtful. Handwriting style is fluent, joined and legible. Full stops, capital letters and question marks are used accurately and pupils can use punctuation within a sentence.
Graduating to level 5 pupils can confidently read and discuss a range of texts, selecting essential points using inference and deduction where appropriate. Writing conveys meaning clearly in a range of forms using a more formal style where appropriate.
|Percentage of pupils at each level|
|A||T/D||B||N||W( 1)||1( 1)||2||3||4||5||6( 1)||Total||% at Level 4 or above||% at Level 5 or above|
|A = pupils who were absent. T = pupils working at the level of the assessment but unable to access the test. D = pupils disapplied from teacher assessment. B = pupils who were assessed by teacher assessment only. N = pupils who took the tests but failed to register a level. W = pupils who are working towards Level 1 but have not yet achieved the standards needed for Level 1. (1) Levels W and 1 were valid in 1995 and 1996 only. Level 6 was valid from 1995-2002 only. (2) Figures for 2007 are based on provisional data. Figures for all other years are based on final data.|
Note: Data cover all schools entering pupils for KS2 tests.
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