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A nationally accredited school improvement partner (SIP) programme has been introduced into every school in phases, the final phase being in April 2008. The programme was made a statutory requirement in the 2006 Education and Inspections Act. The SIP works for, and on behalf of, the local authority (LA) and is the channel for LAs engagement with schools on school improvement. LAs both employ and set salary levels for SIPs. Pay levels are not determined
centrally, because SIPs work under contract to the maintaining authorities of the schools with which they work. In each case it is for the individual authority to negotiate pay levels with their SIPs.
We do not collect this information centrally. However, on average, we expect a SIP to devote five days to a school every year. Generally around three days of this support takes place in school, while preparation and data analysis occurs out of school and accounts for the balance of the time. In addition, every SIP is expected to set aside a total of four additional days a year for professional development and for attending national, regional and local events.
The Department provides information, advice and guidance to local authorities about deploying, managing, developing and supporting the performance of their SIPs through School Improvement Partner programme, Advice and guidance for local authorities (3rd edition, ref: 00633-2007BKT-EN); the guidance is regularly updated and circulated to local authorities. It fully recognises the unique circumstances and contexts in which each local authority operates, and builds on good practice found in LAs during the first two full years of the SIP programme.
Since September 2006 all secondary schools have had a SIP. Primary SIPs have been introduced in phases with the first phase being completed in April 2008. On 26 March 2008, there were 1,670 primary SIPs working in 114 LAs and 1,172 secondary SIPs working in 150 LAs. Decisions on the deployment of SIPs are determined by LAs. Information on the cost of employing SIPs is not collected centrally and is a matter for the LA that employs the SIP.
Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many (a) selective places and (b) applicants for those places there were in each local authority with schools that selected wholly or partially by ability in each of the last three years. 
(a) There are 164 schools designated as grammar schools under section 104 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998. The number of pupils in grammar schools during the last three years is as follows
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families which local authorities have submitted plans to his Department on how they will reduce the number of surplus places in their schools; and if he will make a statement. 
Jim Knight: We have invited authorities to inform the Department of any proposed action to reduce surplus places in their agreed Primary Strategy for Change by 16 June 2008. To date, we have received no responses.
In developing their plans for Building Schools for the Future (BSF), we expect local authorities to think strategically about existing secondary school provision. They should consider factors such as demand for places (including the level of surplus places) and future population changes, as well as standards, diversity, parental preferences, and the condition of existing buildings, to ensure that they are providing the right schools in the right places at the right time. 58 authorities engaged in BSF have submitted proposals, in the form of a Strategy for Change Part 1, or equivalent, for some or all of their secondary schools. These authorities are as follows:
Bristol (also W4)
Greenwich (also W5)
Lewisham (also W3)
Manchester (also W4)
Newcastle upon Tyne
Sheffield (also W4)
Waltham Forest (also W5)
Birmingham (also W4-6)
Haringey (also W4)
Kingston upon Hull
Lambeth (also W5)
Liverpool (also W5)
Newham (also W5)
Nottingham City (also W5)
Tower Hamlets (also W5)
Durham (also W6)
Kent (also W4-6)
Luton (also W6)
Sandwell (also W5)
Barking and Dagenham
Telford and Wrekin
Blackburn with Darwen
Kensington and Chelsea
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many school days have been lost as a result of schools having to close temporarily during term-time in each year since 1997; what information his Department collects on the reasons for such closures; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what information his Department holds on the standard of existing school buildings; and if he will make a statement. 
Jim Knight: Data on the suitability and condition of school buildings were supplied to my Department by local education authorities in 2005-06. Similar data were supplied in 2001 and 2003. Analysis of the 2003 data is included in the publication Schools Asset Management: Data Analysis 2004, available at:
The Department for Transport has provided funding to 36 local authorities outside of London, to Transport for London and to School Sports Partnerships, to enable around 46,000 children to-be trained to the Bikeability standard. We do not hold data on the number of schools who have received training paid for by this funding.
Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many schools were (a) built and (b) fitted with fire suppression systems in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. 
Jim Knight: In 2007, we gathered information from all authorities on the improvements to their school buildings over the previous 10 years. This School Building Investment Data is available in the parliamentary Libraries. We also published Better Buildings Better Design Better Education, A report on capital investment in education which summarises the headline data for the 10 years from 1997 to 2007. The information collected includes the numbers of new schools in the last five years set out in the following table. These figures include nursery, primary, secondary and special schools, and also academies; and both additional new schools and replacement schools.
We do not keep information on the details of new school designs. However it is our expectation that all new and some refurbished schools designed after the introduction of our new policy in February 2007 will have fire sprinklers installed, although this is not a compulsory measure. There may be cases where local authorities or other promoters of schools consider that sprinklers are not needed. If so, they will need to be able to demonstrate that such schools are very low risk and that sprinklers would not represent good value for money.
Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what assessment he has made of the likely effect of the proposal to reduce the size of school governing bodies contained within the recently published Childrens Plan. 
Jim Knight: We believe that smaller, more highly skilled governing bodies, alongside improved governor training will lead to more effective governance in schools. Smaller governing bodies can be consistent with the current stakeholder model of governance. As we indicated in the Childrens Plan, we will be consulting stakeholders on reducing the size of governing bodies. Good governance and leadership at school level is essential if we are to achieve better outcomes for all children and young people.
|Schools placed in Ofsted categories between 1 September 1997 and 31 December 2007|
|Category||Number of schools placed in each category||Number of schools in each category at 31 December 2007||Number of schools no longer in each category|
|(1) The designation of serious weaknesses applied until 31 August 2005. The Ofsted inspection framework was revised from 1 September 2005 and the new category of requiring significant improvement was introduced.|
The table is based on the most recent information published by Ofsted last month.
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