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Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families which secondary schools had less than 30 per cent. of pupils securing five A*-C GCSEs including mathematics and English in the latest reporting period, broken down by local authority; what percentage of pupils in each school (a) were eligible for free school meals and (b) secured five A*-C GCSEs, including mathematics and English; and whether specialist status had been achieved by each. 
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what proportion of students at Key Stage 3 achieved (a) no GCSE passes and (b) fewer than five GCSE passes in each year between 1996 and 2007. 
|Proportions of students achieving (a) no GCSE passes and (b) fewer than five GCSE passesyears: 1996/97 to 2006/07( 1) (provisional)( 2)|
|Percentage who achieved|
|Number of pupils( 3)||No passes at GCSE or equivalent( 4)||Fewer than five A*-G grades at GCSE or equivalent|
|(1) Including attempts and achievement in previous academic years.|
(2) Figures for 2006/07 are provisional, all other figures are final.
(3) Number of pupils on roll aged 15 at the start of the academic year or from 2004/05 end of Key Stage 4 figures are the number of pupils at the end of Key Stage 4 in that academic year.
(4) From 2003/04 this includes attempts in entry level qualifications which do not contribute towards A*-C or A*-G thresholds.
(5) Percentages for all years include GCSEs and GNVQs.
(6) Percentages from 2003/04 include GCSEs and other equivalent qualifications approved for use pre-16.
Secondary School Achievement and Attainment tables
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what proportion of pupils failed in GCSE exams in (a) history, (b) geography, (c) mathematics, (d) French, (e) science, (f) physics, (g) chemistry and (h) physical education in each year from 1997 to 2007. 
Jim Knight: The available information on GCSE exams is shown in the following table. The revised 2007 data will be available in SFR 01/2008 GCSE and equivalent examination results in England 2006-07 (revised) and will be published on the Department's website in January.
|Percentage who did not achieve grades A*-G( 1) 1997 to 2007|
|History||Geography||Maths||French||B iological s cience||Physics||Chemistry||Other s cience||P hysical e ducation|
|(1). Based on 15 year-old pupils (age at start of academic year) with the exception of 2007 which are based on pupils at the end of KS4. (2) Provisional.|
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many requests to open new grammar schools were received from each local authority in each year since 1997; what approval is needed from his Department to open a new grammar school; and if he will make a statement. 
Since September 1999 one new school, in Buckinghamshire, has been designated as a grammar
school. The school opened in September 1999 and was established in substitution for a closing grammar school. Information held on proposals to establish new schools made prior to September 1999 is not reliable and has therefore not been included.
Section 104 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 provides that no new additional grammar schools may be established. There are 164 designated grammar schools, and this number has remained constant since 1999. Section 104 provides that a new school may be designated as a grammar school only if it is established in substitution for a closing grammar school or schools.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what steps the Government have taken to improve standards of foreign language education in schools since 1997. 
Jim Knight [holding answer 18 December 2007]: As the hon. Gentleman will be aware from my answer of 8 November, in 2002 the Government published the National Languages Strategy, with the overarching objective of improving the teaching and learning of languages across all phases of education. The Languages review, chaired by Lord Bearing and Lid King, the National Director of Languages, progressed this process further.
We have taken a number of steps to improve standards of foreign language education. This week we have confirmed in the Children's Plan that the review of the primary curriculum will examine how best to introduce languages as a compulsory subject in primary schools, which will include how standards can be assessed.
Standards in languages at key stage 3 are rising faster than in any other subject. The proportion of pupils achieving level 5 and above rose from 54 per cent. to 58 per cent. between 2006 and 2007, while the figure for those who achieved level 6 or above rose from 22 per
cent. to 25 per cent. This improvement has been supported by the development of Strategic Learning Networks, enabling language teachers to work together and share good practice. The revised key stage 3 curriculum will be more relevant and engaging for young people and should continue this improvement in standards. Specialist language colleges receive additional money for outreach work with local schools, which can be used to improve standards at key stage 4.
The Languages Ladder/Asset Languages Scheme, introduced in 2005, complements existing qualifications and allows learners to progress at their own pace in one or more of the four language skillsspeaking, listening, reading and writing. This allows pupils who may not previously have achieved a languages qualification to have their achievement recognised.
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