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2 Jun 2008 : Column 553Wcontinued
Jim Knight: Local authorities are under a duty to make sure that every child of compulsory school age has a suitable school place. However, we do not collect data about primary school offers or data about the number of unplaced children.
Mr. Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what discussions his Department has had with London boroughs on the provision of primary school places for September; and if he will make a statement. 
Jim Knight: The Department has had no discussions with London boroughs on the provision of primary school places for September.
Mr. Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) what guidance and assistance his Department provides for local authorities planning for the future provision of primary school places; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) which bodies are responsible for providing statistics, data and advice for local authorities planning the future provision of primary school places; and if he will make a statement; 
(3) when the data sources and analytical frameworks for predicting the future demand for primary school age children by local authorities were last reviewed for their accuracy; and if he will make a statement; 
(4) what factors are taken into account by his Department when forecasting future demand for primary school places; and if he will make a statement. 
Jim Knight: Planning for future provision of school places is the statutory responsibility of local authorities (LAs). It is for each LA to ensure there are sufficient school places to meet the needs of the population and to review the position regularly. The Department has published guidance to help LAs make accurate projections of pupil numbers on a rolling three-year basis for school funding purposes. The guidance is available at:
However, the Department is currently looking at LA forecasting methodologies for future medium and longer term pupil place requirements with a view to developing best practice guidance to help LAs forecast as accurately as possible. Each LA is responsible for researching its own advice, data and statistics for the planning of future provision.
Mr. Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what avenues for appeal are available to parents who are not satisfied with the primary school place offered to their child for September 2008 by their local education authority's co-ordinated admissions system; and if he will make a statement. 
Jim Knight: All parents that are not satisfied with their offer of a school place have the right of appeal to an independent panel, Parents can also appeal for a place at any of their preferred schools for which they did not receive an offer of a place.
Mr. Bone: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how much funding was provided per pupil for schools in (a) Northamptonshire and (b) England in the most recent period for which figures are available. 
Jim Knight: The revenue per pupil funding figure for Northamptonshire local authority for 2007-08 is £4,170. The England average for 2007-08 is £4,530. Figures are in cash terms.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what information his Department holds on the reading age of people in young offender institutions; and if he will make a statement. 
Jim Knight: Data available to the Department on young peoples literacy levels in Young Offender Institutions (YOIs) has improved under the roll out of the Offender Learning and Skills Service.
Data from the Learning and Skills Councils (2006-07) initial literacy assessments on young people (for young people placed by the Youth Justice Board into YOIs) is as follows:
1,367 young people were judged to be at Entry Level 1 or 2 (the reading age expected of five to seven-year-olds)
2,219 young offenders were judged to be at Entry Level 3 (the reading age expected of seven to 11-year-olds)
2,506 young offenders were judged to be at Level 1 Literacy (the reading age expected of 11 to 14-year-olds)
976 young offenders were judged to be at Level 2 Literacy (the reading age expected of 14 to 16-year-olds)
54 young offenders were judged to fall below Entry Level 1
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families which maintained schools asked prospective parents to make a financial contribution as part of the process of school admission in each year from 2005 to 2008; and if he will make a statement. 
The Department does not routinely check the content of schools admission arrangements as they are subject to a local consultation process. In our recent analysis of the published admission arrangements for 2008 in three local authority areas, we found that seven out of 570 schools had included a statement or request regarding financial contributions in their admission arrangements; and six of these schools confirmed this when we wrote to them asking them to verify our findings. This is a small minority, but we are very clear that schools cannot ask for a financial contribution as part of the admission process and wherever this is found to be happening we will not
tolerate it. Even if voluntary, linking a charge to the school admission process suggests that parents who will pay the voluntary charge will be given priority if the school is oversubscribed.
Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what assessment his Department has made of the difference in the costs to local education authorities of registering a new child in (a) primary and (b) secondary schools at (i) the start of the school year and (ii) another time. 
Jim Knight: The Department has not made an assessment.
Mr. Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what (a) rules, (b) best practice guidance and (c) financial incentives and penalties are relevant to the management of surplus school places by local authorities in (i) primary schools and (ii) secondary schools; and if he will make a statement. 
Jim Knight: There is no surplus places rule in place. However, surplus places can represent a poor use of resources, particularly where schools with surplus also have poor standards, The Department and the Audit Commission have jointly developed a toolkit for LAs and schools to help them manage surplus places in primary schools. The toolkit is available on Teachernet at:
The Department provides capital funding under TCP (targeted capital funding) and PCP (primary capital programme) to LAs for primary provision and BSF (Building Schools for the Future) to help LAs remove surplus places as part of the drive to raise standards. There are no financial penalties governing the management of surplus school places by LAs in primary or secondary schools.
Mr. Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) when he last assessed the effect of the 1989 Greenwich judgment on school admissions in London boroughs; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) what guidance his Department provides to local authorities and schools on compliance with the 1989 Greenwich judgment on school admissions; and if he will make a statement; 
(3) whether his Department has undertaken research on the impact of the 1989 Greenwich judgment on school admissions; and if he will make a statement. 
Jim Knight: The Greenwich Judgment (R v . Greenwich London Borough Council, exparte John Ball Primary School (1989) 88 LGR 589  Fam Law 469) established that priority may not be given to children simply because they live in a local authority's administrative area. It was a sensible recognition that parents who live in one local authority area, particularly inner city areas, may be close to schools in a neighbouring authority and may wish to express a preference for those schools.
We provide guidance on setting admission arrangements that comply with this judgment in the School Admissions Code. It states in paragraph 1.16 that each local authority must ensure that their admissions policy does not disadvantage applications to their schools from families resident in other local authorities. The Department does not routinely collect or monitor school admission arrangements centrally, and has not commissioned any research into the effects of the judgment.
Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what steps his Department is taking to ensure that newly built schools are (a) minimising their gas consumption and (b) maximising their reliance on alternative energy systems such as solar panels and photovoltaic cells. 
Jim Knight: The Department requires all new school buildings to reduce carbon emissions from new school buildings by 60 per cent. through a combination of energy efficiency measures and renewable energy systems. This requirement was confirmed in the Children's Plan,
We have developed guidance(1) to help the designers of newly built schools achieve this reduction, and are providing additional funding to all new secondary schools within BSF (Building Schools for the Future), academies and One School Pathfinder programmes for this purpose.
The guidance encourages the use of low carbon energy sources for both heat and electricity, without being prescriptive about design solutions. The guidance is supported by a simple piece of software, to be used at the early stages in the design of new buildings, which allows designers to test the potential carbon savings and likely capital costs for combinations of technologies. Both the guidance and the software tool present biomass, heat pumps and combined heat and power as design options to reduce dependence on fossil fuels (such as natural gas), and allow users to evaluate the effect of a number of renewable sources of energy including solar panels and photovoltaic cells.
Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how much funding will be available during the 2007-08 Session to refurbish schools with (a) low carbon and (b) sustainable energy systems. 
Jim Knight: The Department will be investing £21.9 billion in new and refurbished schools over the period 2008-11. This includes £1.9 billion investment for the primary capital programme and £9.6 billion for Building Schools for the Future.
Within the capital programme we do not earmark funding for specific measures such as low carbon or sustainable energy systems. Funding is delegated to local authorities for investment in local priorities. Local authorities, to whom we delegate the funding, are required to meet the Department's carbon reduction target for new buildings, and comply with Building Regulations and local planning requirements. So significant (but unquantifiable) sums of money will go to these purposes.
Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what steps he has taken to improve the management of sustainable energy systems in schools built in the last two years; and if he will make a statement. 
Jim Knight: The Department has published a volume of case studies of sustainable schools which highlight examples of good and bad practice, including the operation of low energy systems that have been incorporated in their design. A copy of this publication, Design of Sustainable SchoolsCase Studies, has been sent to all local authorities.
The DCSF has also provided specific advice on energy management to all schools, not just those built in the past two years. We have prepared a good practice guide on energy and water management; a bursars guide to sustainable school operation which focuses on energy; and developed top 10 tips to improve energy and water efficiency. Each of these documents refers users to comprehensive sources of further information.
The Department for Communities and Local Government is responsible for Building Regulations which already require that new schools are provided with full details of the installed systems and their methods of operation and maintenance so that they use no more fuel and power than is reasonable. It is the responsibility of the construction team to produce this information.
Ultimately the management of systems within school buildings is the responsibility of their owners and occupiers.
Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how much (a) Building Schools for the Future and (b) other capital expenditure relating to the Isle of Wight has been brought forward to (i) 2008-09 and (ii) 2009-10 from his Departments original plans. 
Jim Knight: To date, no capital expenditure relating to the Isle of Wight has been brought forward to 2008-09 or 2009-10 from our original plans. The Isle of Wight and its schools are receiving capital support of £6.5 million in 2008-09 and £11.6 million in 2009-10. The increase in 2009-10 reflects an allocation of £3 million for the new Primary Capital programme, also £2 million Targeted Capital funding. In addition, the authority has a Building Schools for the Future pathfinder project which is receiving capital support of £32 million.
James Brokenshire: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what steps he is taking to encourage schools to use their powers to screen pupils randomly using metal detectors and conduct searches of pupils suspected of carrying a weapon. 
Schools are generally safe places. To help head teachers keep them safe, we gave schools in May 2007 a new power to search, without consent, any pupil whom they suspect, after random screening or otherwise, to be carrying a weapon. When issuing guidance on this
new power, my Department also brought to schools attention their existing power to screen pupils at random for weapons using screening wands or arches. The guidance set out not only the benefits but also the acknowledged risks of using either power.
It is for head teachers to determine if and when they use these powers, based on their knowledge of their own school. The Department does not collect data on the use of these powers, nor are schools obliged to tell us when they conduct searches or if they find weapons. When a pupil is suspected of carrying a weapon, some schools may rely on the direct and immediate intervention of the local police, and we would not wish to discourage them from taking that approach.
John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what estimate he has made of the number of classrooms in maintained schools which were out of action due to their state of disrepair at the latest date for which figures are available. 
The Department does not hold information on the number of classrooms which were out of action
due to their state of disrepair. The bulk of schools capital is allocated by formula to authorities and schools, so that they can address their local asset management planning priorities, including the improvement of the condition of buildings. Schools decide on the amount of revenue funding to allocate to building repairs and maintenance.
Central Government capital support for investment in schools has increased from under £700 million in 1996-97 to £6.7 billion in 2008-09 and will rise further to £8.2 billion by 2010-11. A survey of local authorities in 2007 indicated that 27,000 classrooms had been built or improved in the 10 years from 1997, in addition to classrooms improved as part of whole-school schemes.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what proportion of pupils (a) with a special educational need, (b) on school action, (c) on school action plus and (d) with a statement of special educational need are entitled to free school meals; and if he will make a statement. 
Jim Knight: The requested information is shown in the table.
|Maintained primary and secondary schools( 1) : Number and percentage of pupils known to be eligible for free school meals by SEN provision( 2) , January 2007 England|
|Maintained primary||Maintained secondary( 3)|
|Total pupils( 2)||Number of pupils known to be eligible for free school meals||Percentage of pupils known to be eligible for free school meals( 4)||Total pupils( 2)||Number of pupils known to be eligible for free school meals||Percentage of pupils known to be eligible for free school meals( 4)|
|(1 )Includes middle schools as deemed. (2) Includes dually registered pupils and boarding pupils. (3) Excludes City Technology Colleges and Academies. (4 )Number of pupils known to be eligible for free school meals expressed as a percentage of number (headcount) of pupils in each SEN provision. (5) Includes pupils with statements, and those identified by schools as having SEN who do not have statements. Note: Totals may not appear to equal the sum of the component parts because numbers have been rounded to the nearest 10.|
Source: School Census.
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