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Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families who the highest paid head teacher in a maintained school in England was at the most recent date for which figures are available. 
Jim Knight: Some information on the salary of individual teachers is held by the Department for pensions administration purposes. It is not possible however to verify that any particular salary found in these data is the highest paid to a head teacher and to identify the individual concerned.
Jim Knight: There are currently 16 universities which are sponsoring an Academy or at various stages of developing formal academy proposals. These are listed as follows. The Department is also in early discussions with a number of other universities about developing academy proposals. The number of universities which are sponsoring academies is steadily increasing and a number of others are engaged in this initiative through partnership arrangements.
Birmingham City University (formerly University of Central England UCE)
Liverpool Hope University
London City University
Oxford Brookes University
Queen Mary College
Sheffield Hallam University
University of Bristol
University of Chester
University College London
University of Lincoln
University of Liverpool
University of Manchester
University of Nottingham
University of West of England
Graham Stringer: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what research he has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on international comparisons of literacy at age 11 years. 
Jim Knight: The Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) 2006 was published on 28 November 2007. PIRLS is a comparative study of the reading attainment of 10-year-olds, run by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA). The average age of pupils tested ranged from 9.7 years in Italy to 11.9 in Morocco. The average age of pupils tested in England was 10.3 years (Year 5 equivalent).
The study is conducted in England by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER), under contract to the Department for Children, Schools and Families. NFER published the national report for England on their website www.nfer.ac.uk/pirls on 28 November 2007. Print versions of the report are being prepared and hard copies will be made available in both Houses of Parliament.
On average, pupils in England achieved significantly above the international mean in PIRLS 2006 but the mean score for England has fallen since 2001.
Children in England read for pleasure less often than their peers in other countries. There is a strong link between the amount of reading for pleasure and their achievement in PIRLS tests.
37 per cent. of 10-year-olds in England play computer games for more than three hours a day. This is one of the highest proportions internationally and there is a link between high use of computer games and lower attainment in PIRLS.
75 per cent. have access to desk or quiet space to study at homea much lower number than Western Europe.
Of the five countries testing in English, Singapore scored significantly higher than the others. There was no significant difference between the scores of England and the United States, which both scored significantly higher than New Zealand, Scotland, and Trinidad and Tobago.
In almost all countries, including England, girls achieved significantly higher than boys overall.
I have also recently commissioned a benchmarking study that will compare our curriculum to that of other countries. This independent review will focus on literacy, mathematics and science and cover the seven-11 age range. It will look at curriculum content, learning styles and educational outcomes and will report in 2008.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many official engagements he has rescheduled with less than (a) one days, (b) two days, (c) one weeks and (d) two weeks notice since taking up his appointment; and if he will make a statement. 
Ed Balls [holding answer 10 December 2007]: The information is not held. Conflicting diary pressures mean that it is sometimes necessary to reschedule official engagements at short notice but I endeavour to keep this to a minimum.
The renewed primary literacy strategy, with a stronger emphasis on phonics, and the national roll-out
of Every Child a Reader will help to ensure that we maintain and extend the improvements we have already achieved.
Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many students aged 16 years in 2006-07 who were offered a place in continuing education under the September guarantee took up that place; and how many were still in education after (a) six months and (b) one year. 
DCSF publishes estimates of the number of young people of academic age 16, 17 and 18 who are in education and training at the end of each calendar year. An estimate of the number of young people who were aged 16 on 31 August 2007, and who remained in education and training at the end of 2007, is due to be published in June 2008. This is the first year group to be entitled to an offer of post-16 learning under the September guarantee.
The latest information available on the participation of young people at age 17 relates to the cohort that would have reached the statutory school leaving age in summer 2005, but the figures will be affected by subsequent increases in the size of the cohort. At the end of 2005, 582,000 16-year-olds were in education and training at the end of that year, representing 88.7 per cent. of the cohort. At the end of 2006, there were 538,000 17-year-olds in education and training, representing 81.5 per cent. of the cohort.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families whether the duty on people aged 16 to 18 years to be in education and training under the Education and Skills Bill if enacted will apply to those who are (a) in prison, (b) in the armed forces, (c) parents, (d) in treatment for drug dependency, (e) severely disabled, (f) caring for a relative and (g) preparing to be professional sportsmen or women; and if he will make a statement. 
The intention of the policy to raise the participation age is that all 16 and 17-year-olds resident in England will be required to participate in some form of education or training. Ensuring that all young people have the support they need to overcome barriers
to learning, stay in their chosen route and succeed in it is one of the fundamental building blocks for making this policy a success. This includes having appropriate support for young people with special educational needs; having the right level of financial support in place; and being able to provide advice, help and support with specific problems or when things go wrong. And where there are significant barriers to young peoples engagement, such as homelessness or drug or alcohol problems, support services will focus on overcoming these first and taking steps towards re-engagement in education and training. No young person will enter the enforcement system if they have a reasonable justification for why they are not participating in learning and they are taking the right steps for them towards participation. The armed forces provide opportunities to continue with constructive training and education for all recruits from every level of ability and achievement. The new duty to participate will apply for young people in custody. Education and training for young people in custody is currently provided through a mix of arrangements, including through the LSC and contracted learning providers. Young people preparing to be professional sportsmen and sportswomen will also be subject to the requirement.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many surplus places there have been in secondary schools in each local authority area for each year from 2001-02 to 2007-08. 
Jim Knight: The Department collects information from each local authority on the number of surplus school places through an annual survey. The most recent data available are for 2006. The 2007 surplus places data will be available in January 2008 on:
The number of surplus school places was not collected in 2002 to allow for a change in the method of assessing school capacity. Currently the number of school places is calculated using the net capacity method of assessment which was introduced in 2003. Prior to 2003 the capacity of a school was calculated using the MOE (more open enrolment) method.
|Secondary surplus school places|
Number of places relate to position as at January.
Surplus Places Survey
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