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23 Jun 2008 : Column 66W—continued

Higher Education: Scholarships

John Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many secondary school pupils there were who received scholarships for higher education in (a) Leeds Metropolitan District and (b) Leeds, West constituency in each year since 2000. [209739]

Jim Knight: The information requested is not held centrally by the Department for Children, Schools and Families.

Pupils: Absenteeism

Mr. Evennett: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what percentage of pupils in secondary schools in (a) Bexley and (b) London were classed as (i) persistent and (ii) non-persistent absentees in the most recent period for which figures are available. [212624]

Jim Knight: The Department does not maintain records of ‘truancy’, as authorised absence rates include lateness and unauthorised holidays during term time.

The available information relates to pupil enrolments classed as persistent absentees (pupils who are absent for more than 20 per cent. of possible sessions of attendance) and is given in the table.

State funded secondary schools( 1,2) : Pupil absence 2006-07
Number of enrolments who are classed as persistent absentees( 3) Percentage of enrolments who are classed as persistent absentees( 4)

London Government office region

395,150

6.3

Bexley local authority area

17,268

6.4

(1) Includes middle schools as deemed.
(2) Includes maintained secondary schools, academies and city technology colleges.
(3) Number of enrolments in schools between from start of the school year until 25 May 2007. Includes pupils on the school roll for at least one session who are aged between five and 15. Excludes boarders. Some pupils may be counted more than once (if they moved schools during the school year or are registered in more than one school). Regional figures have been rounded to the nearest 10.
(4) A persistent absentee is defined as missing more than 63 sessions in the year— typically, missing more than 20 per cent of the school year. Pupils can be absent for a range of reasons, including illness and family holiday.
Source:
School Census

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Pupils: Health

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what assessment he has made of the (a) levels of obesity and (b) general health of schoolchildren in England in each of the last three years. [211350]

Dawn Primarolo: I have been asked to reply.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 15 May 2008, Official Report, column 1666W.

School Meals

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families pursuant to the answer of 30 April 2008, Official Report, column 535W, on school meals, whether his Department remains committed to the minimum spend on ingredients announced by his Department in press notice 2005-0044 on 30 March 2005; and if he will make a statement. [212647]

Kevin Brennan: I refer the hon. Member to the reply given previously for question numbers 202636 and 202637 posed in April 2008. The figures included in the press notice referred to by the hon. Member were a suggestion for the amount that might be needed to be spent on ingredients to deliver a tasty and nutritious meal. Subsequent research found that the vast majority of local authorities were already spending this. The latest figures will be announced by the School Food Trust when it publishes the results of its 2008 annual survey in July.

The nutritional standards for school food make sure provision is consistent across maintained primary and secondary schools.

Schools: Bexley

Mr. Evennett: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families if he will visit schools in the London Borough of Bexley to discuss funding. [212620]

Jim Knight: DCSF Ministers receive many invitations to visit schools across the country to discuss their individual circumstances and issues. It is not possible to accept all of these, but Ministers do look carefully at the issues in question and other diary commitments when considering each invitation. I therefore invite the hon. Member to contact my office with details of the proposed visit and the issues he would like to discuss, so that I can properly consider his suggestion.

Schools: Bournemouth

Mr. Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what the average grant per child for (a) primary and (b) secondary schools in Bournemouth is in 2008-09. [212461]

Jim Knight: The dedicated schools grant (DSG) guaranteed unit of funding per pupil for 2008-09 for Bournemouth local authority is £3,820. As the DSG is distributed through a single guaranteed unit of funding per pupil, a primary/secondary split is not available; this figure covers all funded pupils aged three to 15 and
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is in cash terms (rounded to the nearest £10). This figure covers funding through the DSG only and so does not represent the totality of ‘education’ funding; there is also funding from the Learning and Skills Council and other grants that support the schools budget where allocations have not yet been finalised for 2008-09.

Mr. Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what his most recent estimate is of the percentage of places in (a) primary and (b) secondary schools in Bournemouth which are surplus. [212462]

Jim Knight: The Department collects information from each local authority on the number of surplus school places via an annual survey. The most recent data available were collected in January 2007 when Bournemouth had 1,389 spare primary school places, representing 12 per cent. of total primary capacity, and 778 spare secondary school places, representing 8 per cent. of total secondary capacity.

Schools: Buildings

Mrs. Maria Miller: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families whether the quality of school buildings was assessed in Ofsted inspections conducted in the last five years. [211164]

Jim Knight: I refer the hon. Member to my reply given on 11 June 2008, Official Report, column 376W.

Schools: Finance

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families in what circumstances school forums may award per pupil funding increases of below the minimum funding guarantee; and if he will make a statement. [212236]

Jim Knight: A schools forum may approve variations to the minimum funding guarantee proposed by the local authority that together affect no more than 50 per cent. of pupils in the authority's schools. The purpose of this provision is to allow local authorities and their schools forums to handle anomalies that may arise from the operation of the minimum funding guarantee, since the rules set down in the regulations are unable to cover all local circumstances.

Schools: Sports

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many active schools co-ordinators were operating in schools in the most recent period for which figures are available. [212981]

Jim Knight: Active schools co-ordinators exist only in Scotland. Information for Scotland is a matter for the Scottish Executive.

Secondary Education: Nottingham

Mr. Allen: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families if he will make it his policy to set an improvement target for Nottingham North secondary schools within a local area agreement indicator. [212190]


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Jim Knight: Local area agreements are due to be in place across the country by the end of June 2008. Government have not negotiated any secondary school targets in Nottingham's LAA, but may seek to do so at the first LAA annual refresh and review if the authority's plans for addressing the National Challenge floor target are not sufficiently robust, or other performance issues arise. Nottingham can, of course, include locally determined targets in their LAA to address secondary school performance at any time, without the need to consult or inform Government.

Secondary Education: Standards

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many secondary schools (a) have been placed in special measures, (b) have been issued notices to improve and (c) have had at least 30 per cent. of students achieving five good GCSEs including English and mathematics in 2007; and if he will make a statement. [211673]

Jim Knight: In 2007, Ofsted placed 29 secondary schools in special measures. A further 64 were judged to require significant improvement and were given a notice to improve. The following table shows the number of schools placed in an Ofsted category and the number of schools within a category that had at least 30 per cent. of pupils achieving five good GCSEs or equivalent including GCSEs in English and maths:

Schools placed in Ofsted inadequate categories from 1 January to 31 December 2007
Ofsted category Number of secondary schools placed in an Ofsted category during 2007( 1) Number of these schools in which 30 per cent. or more of 15-year-old pupils achieved five A*-C grades at GCSE or equivalent

Special measures

29

10

Significant improvement (Notice to Improve)

64

30

(1) The figures in the table do not include the 12 middle deemed secondary schools that were placed into these categories as they have no pupils at Key Stage 4. Two schools that closed in August 2007 are also not included as their results were not published.

Although some schools placed in an Ofsted category achieve above 30 per cent., a number of these schools may be “coasting”, where reasonable numbers of pupils achieve five or more good GCSEs including English and maths, but progress from Key Stage 2 to Key Stage 4 is unimpressive, or be in danger of falling below the floor target.

These are factors that Ofsted will take into account when assessing school performance. Ofsted are currently consulting on new inspection arrangements which include a proposal that schools that are coasting, have inconsistent performance or are slipping will be identified quickly and inspected more frequently.

In 2007, 2,407 maintained secondary schools had 30 per cent. or more of 15-year-old pupils achieving at least five A*-C grades at GCSE or equivalent including English and maths.


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Special Educational Needs: Dyslexia

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) if he will estimate the number of (a) primary and (b) secondary schools without any teachers with a specialist dyslexia qualification; and if he will make a statement; [211022]

(2) how many teachers in maintained schools have a specialist dyslexia qualification; and if he will make a statement. [211023]

Jim Knight: The information is not collected centrally. However, on 6 May the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families announced we have asked Sir Jim Rose to make recommendations on the identification and teaching of children with dyslexia. We expect to consider his recommendations early next year.

Some information about teachers' qualifications will be gathered by the school workforce census which will start in 2010. The information collected will be limited to ensure we do not place an undue burden on schools. So, although it will not collect information about all training, we expect to be able to provide more data than we currently hold on teacher's qualifications.

The census will be seeking data on relevant qualifications for all teachers. A relevant qualification is any post A-level qualification that the school considers qualifies the teacher or teaching assistant to teach the subjects for which they are timetabled. We expect to see included, as a minimum, teachers' ITT qualifications. For teachers with a PGCE, we are also requesting data on prior degrees. Qualification subject will be coded using the Joint Academic Council principal subjects code set which includes “Training Teachers—Special Needs”.

Specialised Diplomas

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families whether schools and colleges are permitted to conduct selection interviews with pupils before accepting them on to a diploma course; and if he will make a statement. [207504]

Jim Knight: With regard to schools, legislation prohibits the interviewing of children or parents to determine admission to a maintained school (except where an interview is used solely to assess the suitability of an applicant for a boarding place). This includes admission to the school at year 12. However meetings can be held to provide advice on options and entry requirements for particular courses, both for new applicants to the school, and for those transferring within the school from year 11 to year 12.

As independent bodies, colleges are responsible for determining their own mission and managing their own affairs. This includes managing their own assets; being responsible for the employment of their staff; and setting their own policies and admissions criteria.

Our prime concern is that every young person is able to access the programme of learning that is best suited to their abilities and aspirations. Diplomas are an important part of ensuring the right choices are available to young people. The decision over whether a young person takes a diploma will be driven by what the young person wants to do, and what is in the best interests of that
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young person. The introduction of diplomas does not change the existing arrangements for admissions either to schools or colleges. It is a longstanding and common practice for both schools and colleges to have meetings with their students to advise them and help them choose the right courses of study for their needs. This is separate from admissions.

Swimming: Finance

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what guidance he has issued to education authorities on the funding of school swimming pools in the last five years. [212082]

Jim Knight: No guidance specifically on the capital funding of school swimming pools has been issued to local education authorities by this Department in the last five years. There are no barriers to schools or authorities using schools capital funding for capital maintenance of existing pools, or to construct new ones where this is their local priority.

In our non-statutory area guidelines for schools, Building Bulletin 98, “Briefing Framework for Secondary School Projects” (2004), indoor swimming pools fall into the category of supplementary net area which is not included where the Department uses these guidelines as a funding model, for instance for Building Schools for the Future. Our guidance suggests that swimming pools will therefore normally need other sources of funding, such as local authority leisure service, Lottery or Department of Culture Media and Sport funding.

This guidance is repeated in “Inspirational Design for PE and Sports Spaces” (2005). We also counsel that pools should be cost efficient to allow the facility to be managed with sustainable operating costs. These publications are available in the parliamentary Libraries.

Teachers: Crimes of Violence

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many teachers in England were the victims of (a) assault and (b) sexual assault in the course of or in relation to their duties in each of the last three years (i) in total and (ii) broken down by region. [211343]

Jim Knight: The number of incidents of assaults towards staff in schools is not collected centrally. My Department does collect information on the reasons why pupils have been excluded, either for a fixed period or permanently. This includes a category for “physical assault against an adult” although this is not broken down by category of assault.

Local authority and region level tables for the last three years showing the number of permanent and fixed period exclusions by reason have been placed in the Library. For 2005/06 this information is only available for secondary schools due to underlying changes in the data collection. For 2006/07 this coverage will extend to also include primary and special schools.

Exclusions data relating to 2006/07 are expected to be available at the end of June 2008.


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