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Telford and Wrekin Council;
West Sussex County Council.
Jim Knight: Academies exemplify the new role of local authorities as commissioners rather than providers of schools. Academies are, in effect, jointly commissioned by the Department and the relevant local authority on a partnership basis. Academies are not maintained by the local authority in the traditional manner, but each academy has at least one local authority representative on its governing body. My Department has no plans to change these arrangements.
Mr. Pope: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families if he will allow local authorities to direct school academies to admit pupils who have a statement of special educational needs. 
Jim Knight: Academies are required by their Funding Agreements to admit pupils who have a statement of special educational needs (SEN) in any case where the statement names(1) the academy. A local authority (LA) must first consult an academy before naming it on a SEN statement, but the academy must consent unless admission of the pupil would be incompatible with the efficient education of other children, and no reasonable steps may be made to secure compatibility. In the case of a dispute between a LA and an academy, either side can ask the Secretary of State to determine whether or not the academy should be named. That determination is final, subject only to the parents right of appeal to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal.
The Secretary of State also has the power, again through Funding Agreements, to direct an academy to admit a named pupil. Academies are independent schools, and we do not believe it would be appropriate for this power to pass to LAs.
(1) Part 4 of a SEN statement can be used to name the school which the LA believes to be best placed to meet the needs identified in earlier parts of the statement.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how much was paid by the Department for Education and Skills to Capita Group plc and its subsidiaries in (a) 2004-05 and (b) 2005-06. 
Sir Paul Beresford: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what arrangements are in place in England for teaching children in school about safe browsing of content on the internet; and if he will make a statement. 
Jim Knight [holding answer 12 November 2007 ]: Becta has worked closely with the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) to ensure that the revised secondary curriculum includes references to the teaching of e-safety. This is reflected in the revised level descriptors for each of the key stages. Becta and the QCA have also developed an Internet Proficiency scheme for Key Stage 2 pupils.
The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) has also developed ThinkUKnow a primary and secondary education programme for schools
which focuses on developing safe and responsible behaviours online. This has been delivered to over one million children.
Becta works closely with local authorities and schools to ensure that there are appropriate measures in place to cover education and training for teachers, leaders and pupils, a safe secure infrastructure, effective policies and monitoring procedures all underpinned by robust standards and frameworks.
In addition, the Prime Minister has asked clinical psychologist Dr. Tanya Byron to conduct an independent review looking at the risks to children from exposure to potentially harmful or inappropriate material on the internet and in video games. The review will consider how all in society, including schools, parents, Government and industry can support children and young people to use the internet safely.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families with reference to his answer of 29 October 2007, Official Report, columns 834-36W, on curriculum, if he will make an estimate of the proportion of children in year 11 in English schools taught each GCSE subject not listed in the table in the answer for each year between 1997 and 2007; and if he will make a statement. 
Jim Knight: A table containing the number of 15-year-olds entered for each of the most popular subjects at GCSE for each year between 1997 and 2006 has been placed in the House of Commons Library. This information for 2007 will be available at a later date. The information for every subject at GCSE can be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families if he will make it his policy to require all teachers to undertake training on teaching children with dyslexia as part of their teaching degree. 
Jim Knight: In order to be awarded qualified teacher status, all trainee teachers must demonstrate that they know how to make effective personalised provision for those they teach including pupils with special educational needs (SEN), and know how to differentiate their teaching accordingly. They are also required to demonstrate knowledge of current legislation and guidance on the safeguarding and promotion of the well-being of children and young people, including SEN and disability legislation and the SEN code of practice. The professional standards further require them to demonstrate understanding of the roles of colleagues with specific responsibility for groups of learners with SEN and other needs, and demonstrate ability to communicate effectively with children, young people, colleagues, parents and carers.
As part of a wider programme to strengthen understanding of SEN and disability issues within initial teacher training, the Training and Development Agency for Schools has been developing and piloting
specialist SEN and disability units for primary undergraduate courses and for newly qualified teachers during their induction. These include specific units on dyslexia. The units have been received well by both staff and students and it is planned to organise a national roll out to all training providers in the coming year. Work is under way to develop similar materials for secondary undergraduate courses and the PGCE.
On 17 October, we launched the Inclusion Development Programme, a programme of confidence-raising professional development for serving teachers and other staff. The opening round focuses on training in relation to children's communication difficulties including dyslexia.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many unqualified teachers marked (a) A-level, (b) GCSE, (c) Key Stage 3 SATs and (d) Key Stage 2 SATs examination papers in each year since 2001. 
Jim Knight: The regulatory authorities for the public exams systems in England, Wales and Northern Ireland issue a joint code of practice which requires awarding bodies to ensure that candidates work is marked by suitably experienced and trained examiners. Data on examiners qualifications are not collected by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA), which is the regulatory authority in England for GCSEs and A-levels.
The National Assessment Agency (NAA), which is responsible for the external marking of national curriculum tests, specifies the criteria for eligibility to be considered for employment as a test marker. Until 2003, these were the possession of a degree or equivalent, and to be a practising teacher. Since 2004, applicants with a degree and who are taking a Post Graduate Certificate of Education course have also been eligible. The NAA does not collect data about the details of test markers qualifications.
Jim Knight: The regulatory authorities issue a code of practice which requires awarding bodies to ensure that candidates' work is marked by suitably experienced and trained examiners. The awarding bodies are responsible for their own selection criteria in recruiting examiners to ensure that they fulfil that remit.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what evidence he has assessed from international surveys of improvements in educational standards in England since 1997; and if he will make a statement. 
Jim Knight: International comparisons studies play an important role in benchmarking against other countries and as pointers to what we might learn from other school systems. They can also provide useful supplementary information about attainment, although they are not necessarily measuring the same content and processes as national tests.
The most recent findings come from the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) which was conducted in 2003. TIMSS found that the performance of 10-year-olds in England had improved significantly from 1995 to 2003 in both science and mathematics. However, the performance of 14-year-olds in England, as reported in TIMSS, had not increased significantly between 1995 and 1999 and 1999 and 2003, for either science or mathematics.
The OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), focusing on the mathematics performance of 15-year-olds, was also carried out in 2003 but concluded that data for the UK could not be considered valid either for international comparisons or for constructing trends in performance because response rates from schools and pupils did not meet its strict participation rate requirements. PISA was conducted again in 2006, this time with a focus on science, and findings from the study will be published on 4 December 2007.
The Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) was first carried out in 2001 and examined the reading performance of 10-year-olds. The average score for England was 553. Findings from the most recent round of PIRLS, conducted in 2006, will be published on 28 November 2007.
Jim Knight [holding answer 14 November 2007 ]: The available information showing the proportions of children claiming free school meals who achieved five or more GCSEs at grades A*-C is given in the following table:
|Proportion of those claiming free school meals achieving 5 GCSE passes at grades A*-C (Percentage)|
National Pupil Database
These figures are compiled from a series of SFRs titled National Curriculum Assessment, GCSE and Equivalent Attainment and Post-16 Attainment by Pupil Characteristics. The latest published information is for 2005/06. Final data and can be found at:
Jim Knight: The GCSE, GCE, GNVQ and AEA Code of Practice requires awarding bodies to ensure that students work is marked by suitably experienced and trained examiners. The awarding bodies determine their own recruitment and selection requirements in light of the requirements of the Code of Practice.
Sammy Wilson: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) what percentage of pupils gained five GCSEs at grades A* to C including English and mathematics in each of the last five years; 
1. Figures from 2006-07 are provisional. Schools will get the opportunity to amend their results as part of the data checking process before the revised figures are published in January 2008.
2. Figures relate to the achievements of pupils who were 15-years-old at the start of the school year, i.e. 31 August.
3. Results from 2004 onwards include equivalencies.
Data taken from the annual GCSE Statistical First Releases (SFRs) available at:
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