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3 Dec 2007 : Column 974Wcontinued
Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many schools are making use of biometric identification systems for pupils, broken down by local education authority. 
Jim Knight: We have no information on the number of schools making use of biometric identification systems for pupils. There is no requirement for schools to inform their local authority or the Department when they introduce such systems.
Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what use schools are making of biometric identification systems for pupils. 
Jim Knight: We are aware of schools using biometric identification systems for three sets of administrative functions; to assist in cashless catering for lunches; to help manage lending in the school library; and to record attendance at classes.
Mr. Paul Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families pursuant to the statement by the Prime Minister on 14 November 2007, Official Report, columns 667-72, on national security, which schools will be twinned under the proposals announced; what he expects the costs of this programme to be; how he plans to measure the effectiveness of this programme; and if he will make a statement. 
Jim Knight: All schools have the opportunity to find a partner school through the newly established school linking gateway www.schoolslinkingnetwork.org.uk, supported by the Schools Linking Network.
The DCSF has provided the Schools Linking Network (established with £1 million funding from the Pears Foundation) with £125,000 in this financial year and earmarked £2 million over the next three financial years to provide support to schools and local authorities to develop links between schools.
The programmes impact will be measured through an independent evaluation.
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) how much has been allocated per child in (a) primary and (b) secondary schools in the (i) Romford, (ii) Hornchurch and (iii) Upminster constituencies in each of the last five years; 
(2) what the average Government spending per child in (a) primary and (b) secondary schools is (i) in Romford and (ii) in London; 
Jim Knight: The Department allocates education funding to local authorities so the requested information for Romford, Hornchurch and Upminster constituencies is not available. The per pupil revenue funding figures for years 2003-04 to 2005-06 for Havering local authority are as follows:
1. Price Base: Real terms at 2006-07 prices, based on GDP deflators as at 26 September 2007.
2. Figures reflect relevant sub-blocks of education formula spending (EFS) settlements and include the pensions transfer to EFS.
3. Total funding also includes all revenue grants in DFES departmental expenditure limits relevant to pupils aged 3-19 and exclude education maintenance allowances (EMAs) and grants not allocated at LEA level.
4. The pupil numbers used to convert £ million figures to £ per pupil are those underlying the EFS settlement calculations.
5. Status: Some of the grant allocations have not been finalised. If these do change, the effect on the funding figures is expected to be minimal.
The revenue per pupil figures shown in the table below are taken from the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) which was introduced in April 2006. They are not comparable with those for the years 2003-04 to 2005-06 because the introduction of the DSG in 2006-07 fundamentally changed how local authorities are funded.
The 2003-04 to 2005-06 figures are based on education formula spending (EFS) which formed the education part of the Local Government Finance Settlement, plus various grants. The DSG is based on planned spend. In addition, the DSG has a different coverage to EFS, which comprises a schools block and an LEA block (to cover LEA central functions) whereas DSG only covers the school block. LEA block items are still funded through DCLGs Local Government Finance Settlement but education items cannot be separately identified. Consequently, there is a break in the Departments time series as the two sets of data are not comparable.
As the DSG is a mechanism for distributing funding, a split between primary and secondary schools is not available.
The per pupil revenue funding figures for years 2006-07 to 2007-08 for Havering local authority and the London averages are as follows:
|DSG plus grants|
1. The revenue funding per pupil figures only run to 2005-06 because we cannot provide a consistent time series beyond that year as the introduction of the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) in 2006-07 fundamentally changed how local authorities are funded. The 2003-04 to 2005-06 figures are based on education formula spending (EFS) which formed the education part of the Local Government Finance Settlement, plus various grants. This was an assessment of what local authorities needed to fund education rather than what they spent. In 2006-07 funding for schools changed with the introduction of the DSG which is based largely on an authority's previous spending.
2. In addition, DSG has a different coverage to EFS: EFS comprised a schools block and an LEA block (to cover LEA central functions) whereas DSG only covers the school block. LEA block items are still funded through DCLGs Local Government Finance Settlement but education items cannot be separately identified. This means we have a break in our time series as the two sets of data are not comparable, an alternative time series is currently under development.
3. Price Base: Real terms at 2006-07 prices, based on GDP deflators as at 26 September 2007.
4. Some of the grant allocations have not been finalised. If these do change, the effect on the funding figures is expected to be minimal.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what estimate he has made of the number of schools which will receive no more than the minimum annual funding guarantee in 2008-09; and if he will make a statement. 
Jim Knight: It is not possible to estimate the number of schools receiving only the guaranteed level of funding provided for by the Minimum Funding Guarantee for 2008-09. To do this would require known pupil numbers for the financial year (which are not counted until January 2008), and the individual formulae of each authority along with any changes to those factors proposed for 2008-09.
Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) how many interim executive boards authorised by him have been required to include officers from the local authority; 
(2) whether it is his policy that interim executive boards must include officers from the local authority. 
Jim Knight: Members of an interim executive board (IEB) are chosen and appointed in individual school cases by the appropriate authority, which may be either the local authority (LA) or the Secretary of State. When the Secretary of State considers an LAs application for an IEB to replace a governing body, he will give particular attention to whether the membership of the Board represents the right mix of skills and experience to meet the schools needs. In the majority of cases, the LAs proposals contain one or more officers from that authority, and where this is not proposed the Secretary of State sometimes invites the LA to consider such membership. In other cases, the Secretary of State has invited extra membership from experienced professionals outside the LA, to secure an independent view on the Board.
In the case of the IEB for Alderman Blaxhill School, in the hon. Gentlemans constituency, Essex county council had already proposed an LA officer, but the Secretary of State invited them to nominate a second, though he did not require them to do so.
In summary, there is no prescriptive policy in this area: each case is considered on its merits, based on the needs of the school.
Mr. Jamie Reed: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) in which 20 (a) local education authorities and (b) schools the most incidences of bullying occurred in the latest period for which figures are available; 
(2) how many reported cases of bullying there were in schools in the last year for which records are available; 
(3) what steps his Department is taking to eradicate bullying in schools; 
(4) what assessment his Department has made of the effect of bullying upon educational attainment in schools; 
(5) what assessment he has made of the correlation between incidence of bullying and levels of school performance; 
(6) what steps his Department plans to take to involve trades unions and employers in anti-bullying initiatives. 
Kevin Brennan: The information is as follows:
We are unable to provide definitive figures for numbers of bullying incidents at school as we do not collect these data centrally.
However, tables showing the number of permanent and fixed period exclusions in each local authority area by reason for exclusion have been placed in the Library. This includes a category relating to bullying.
The Government are spending around £1.8 million this year supporting schools to meet their legal obligations to prevent all forms of bullying among pupils. Earlier this year we issued comprehensive new guidance to schools on how to prevent and tackle bullying called Safe to Learn: Embedding anti-bullying work in schools'. It includes practical advice for schools on how to develop robust anti-bullying policies and embed effective practice, and specific advice on tackling cyberbullying and homophobic bullying. This suite of guidance links to the guidance we produced last year for schools on Bullying Around Race Religion and Culture', and we will publish further guidance in the spring on how tackle the bullying of children with special educational needs and disabilities.
In the Education and Inspections Act 2006, we introduced new powers for head teachers and school staff to ensure proper discipline both inside and outside schools. The Act empowers school staff to impose disciplinary penalties for bad behaviour, and to regulate the behaviour of pupils when they are off the school site.
We fund a number of voluntary organisations including: the Anti-Bullying Alliance who provide support and training for local authorities and schools on anti-bullying work; ChildLine in Partnership with Schools (CHIPS) who run peer mentoring schemes on behalf of the Department; and ParentLine Plus who provide advice and support for the parents of children and young people who are being bullied. We are working with the Cyberbullying Taskforce to take forward a comprehensive programme of work to tackle cyberbullying and have launched an online digital campaign targeted at children and young people. We are working with the national strategies' regional advisers to embed effective anti-bullying practice on the ground, and to work with identified schools to support and challenge them in improving their anti-bullying policies and strategies.
In anti-bullying week we announced that we would be providing £3 million over the next two years to run peer mentoring pilots. We have also commissioned Childnet International to produce a resource pack to provide school staff with practical information and advice on how to tackle cyberbullying, and how best to introduce the topic in the classroom.
The Department has not commissioned any research which compares incidents of bullying with levels of school performance or educational attainment. However, we are aware that there is research evidence to suggest bullying impacts on educational attainment and attendance. We have made clear in our published guidance that providing a safe and happy learning environment is integral to achieving the wider objectives of school improvement, raising achievement and attendance, promoting equality and diversity as well as ensuring the welfare of all members of the school community.
The Department consulted with all the major school staff unions in drawing up the Safe to Learn comprehensive anti-bullying guidance for schools, and its constituent elements covering cyberbullying and homophobic bullying. The school staff unions are also represented on the Department's Cyberbullying Taskforce, which brings together representatives of school staff, children's charities and the new technology providers to discuss strategies for addressing and preventing cyberbullying. There are no plans at this stage to involve employers in such discussions.
Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) what estimate he has made of the impact of new minibus driving licence regulations on school budgets; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) what advice his Department has issued to local authorities on the interpretation of new minibus driving licence regulations. 
Jim Knight [holding answer 26 November 2007]: The Department has made no estimate of the impact of these regulations on school budgets.
The Department has issued guidance Licensing of Incidental Drivers of the School Minibus which states that school staff are in general exempt from the D1 PCV requirement since they receive no consideration for such driving. It also states: In the medium term, when a school replaces its minibus, it is likely to lose 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. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many (a) academies, (b) schools in special measures and (c) schools given notice to improve there were in each region in the latest period for which figures are available. 
Jim Knight [holding answer 22 November 2007]: The information is set out in the following tables. Table 1 shows the number of open academies in each Government office region on 1 September 2007. Table 2 shows the number of schools requiring significant improvement (notice to improve) and special measures in each region on 31 August 2007. It is based on the most recent information published by Ofsted in September this year.
|Government office region||Academies at 1 September 2007|
|Ofsted c ategory|
|Government office region||Phase||Significant improvement (notice to improve) at 31 August 2007||Special measures at 31 August 2007|
|(1) PRU = pupil referral units|
(2) Special = special schools
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