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Jim Knight: We are currently working to establish a terms of reference and timescale with the Department for Innovations, Universities and Skills and the Sutton Trust for this particular piece of work. The National Council for Educational Excellence will be discussing the recommendations from each of its mobilisation strands at its spring 2008 meeting and will hope to include outcomes from this work.
James Brokenshire: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families which local authorities have established support schemes as part of the proposed national network of intensive family support schemes; and if he will make a statement. 
Beverley Hughes: The list of areas which have established a family intervention project to provide intensive support to families, has been in the public domain since the launch in April 2007. These areas are as follows.
Kingston Upon Hull
Newcastle upon Tyne
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what assessment he has made of changes in reading standards in primary schools since 1977; and if he will make a statement. 
Jim Knight: In 1996, the National Foundation for Educational Research found that there had been little or no improvement in literacy standards for most of the period since the second world war. Improving standards of literacy at all stages of education has therefore been one of this Governments top priorities. Primary literacy standards as measured by the results of national curriculum tests are now at their highest levels ever. No Government have achieved the sustained improvements in primary results that we have.
Since the introduction of national curriculum tests in 1995, results in English have improved significantly. Today, four out of five 11-year-olds are reaching the target level 4 compared with under half in 1995.
|Proportion of pupils achieving level 4+ in English|
|Level 4+||Level 5|
|(1) Provisional data.|
Results in reading were not reported separately before 1997. Since 1997, we have also seen dramatic improvements in the proportion achieving level 4 and above. In 2007, a third of 11-year-olds achieved the higher level 5 in reading, the standard expected of 14-year-olds.
|Proportion of pupils achieving level 4+ in reading|
|Level 4||Level 5|
|(1) Provisional data.|
Although the results achieved by 11-year-olds in 2007 are the best ever, we know that we can and must achieve more. I believe we are right to be ambitious for the system and for what individual pupils can achievethat is why we have set such stretching national targets for improvements in standards.
We have a strong platform for securing further improvements. From this autumn, every primary school is using the renewed Primary Framework which puts phonics at the heart of the teaching of reading. This is the most significant enhancement to the Primary National Strategy since we first introduced the
literacy hour in 1998. We are also rolling out nationally the Every Child A Reader (ECAR) programme. By 2011, this programme will provide 30,000 six-year-olds who have difficulty reading with intensive one-to-one tuition each year.
We are also developing a new programme of intensive support for writing in primary schoolsEvery Child a Writerto ensure that every teacher uses the best teaching methods, including one-to-one coaching, in areas of writing which primary children find hardest to master.
Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what discussions he has had with his colleagues at the Department for Transport on the effect on schools extra-curricular activities of the way in which the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency interprets new licensing requirements in respect of minibus drivers; and if he will make a statement. 
Jim Knight [holding answer 20 November 2007]: Following extended discussions with the Department for Transport and its agencies at both ministerial and official level, my Department published a policy statement in April 2006, Licensing Incidental Drivers of the School Minibus, which clarifies the existing lawthere is no new requirement. It explains that school staff who are not contracted to drive the minibus are exempt from having to hold a D1 PCV licence and may drive the minibus on their car licence subject to other conditions of exemption being met. Such incidental drivers are commonly trained in conjunction with the Minibus Driver Awareness Scheme (MiDAS), though it is also open for local authorities to arrange for their incidental drivers to take the D1 PCV route as good practice. Our policy also states:
In the medium term, when a school replaces its minibus, it is likely to lose its exemption because newer minibuses tend to weigh more than 3.5 tonnes, and the Government has no plans to change the weight limit on the exemption. Therefore we advise schools to consider investing in D1 PCV training over the next few years, since the law will require it in the longer term, if or when they move to a heavier minibus.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what assessment he has made of the (a) cost and (b) effectiveness of the National Literacy Strategy; and if he will make a statement. 
Jim Knight: From 1998-99 to 2003-04 the Department has allocated £531.2 million to primary schools and local authorities to support the National Literacy Strategy. From 2004-05 to 2007-08 the Department has allocated a further 720.5 million to support the Primary National Strategy (formerly the National Literacy Strategy and the National Numeracy Strategy). We are unable to split the latter figure down to specific literacy funding as the precise allocations between literacy and numeracy are a matter for each local authority taking account of local needs.
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