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2 July 2008 : Column 978W—continued

Class Sizes: Romsey

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what the pupil-teacher ratio in (a) primary and (b) secondary schools was in Romsey constituency in (i) January 1997, (ii) January 1998 and (iii) the most recent year for which figures are available. [214964]

Jim Knight: The following table provides the pupil:teacher ratio in local authority maintained primary and secondary schools in Romsey constituency and England, January 1997, 1998 and 2007 the latest information available.

Pupil:teacher ratios( 1) in local authority maintained primary and secondary schools. Years: January 1997, 1998 and 2007. Coverage: Romsey constituency and England

Primary Secondary






















(1) The within-school PTR is calculated by dividing the total FTE number of pupils on roll in schools by the total FTE number of qualified teachers regularly employed in schools.
School Census

Communication Skills: Young Offenders

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what information his Department holds on the oral communication abilities of people in young offender institutions; and if he will make a statement. [213806]

Beverley Hughes: While the Government have made no formal assessment of oral communication abilities, we are aware of research which estimates that 60 per cent. of young offenders have speech, language and communication needs. Young people admitted to the secure estate are assessed for their health and well-being and educational needs. A new reception health screen for young people has been developed by the Youth Justice Board. The new health screen contains a section looking specifically at disability and impairment, which contains a question designed to identify speech difficulties in young people entering custody. Young people in young offender institutions with special educational needs are supported by special educational needs co-ordinators and by learning support assistants.

Departmental Buildings

Stewart Hosie: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how frequently his Department restates the asset values of its building estate. [213396]

Kevin Brennan: The Department restates the asset values of its building estate every year in its annual accounts.

Departmental Ministerial Policy Advisers

Mr. Maude: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families pursuant to the answer of 27 March 2008, Official Report, column 351W, on ministerial policy advisers, which former special advisers have (a) received approval from and (b) been refused permission by his Department or its predecessor to take up an outside appointment on leaving their post since May 2005. [210918]

Kevin Brennan: Personal information about the applications submitted by special advisers, and other Crown servants, is made public only in accordance with the principles and practices followed in the operation of the Business Appointment Rules. This information, which includes details of the appointments of the most senior staff and statistical data about cases at the more junior levels, is published on the website of the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments:

and in its reports.

Departmental Pay

Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families if he will review salary negotiations for public sector employees in organisations within his Department's responsibility to reflect the rise in the consumer price index to a point above three per cent. [214544]

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Kevin Brennan: The Government's pay policy is guided by the following principles. Public sector pay settlements should be consistent with maintaining the necessary levels of recruitment, retention and staff engagement needed to support service delivery; ensuring that total pay bills represent value for money and are affordable within Departments' overall expenditure plans; and consistent with the achievement of the inflation target. Timing of pay decisions for a particular workforce depends on pay-setting arrangements for that workforce.

Departmental Public Expenditure

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how much his Department and its predecessor spent on (a) new furnishings, (b) art and (c) new vehicles in each of the last three years. [213677]

Kevin Brennan: Spend by the Department for Children, Schools and Families and its predecessor Department, Department for Education and Skills, on new furnishings, art and new vehicles in the last three years is shown in the following table.

Central Government Departments already actively seek to buy all wood and wood products (including furniture) from legal and sustainable sources. From April 2009, departments will be required to procure legal and sustainable timber or timber licensed under the EUs Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) initiative. The Government also fund a Central Point of Expertise on Timber (CPET) which provides free advice and guidance to help all public sector buyers and their suppliers meet the policy.

The breakdown in respect of new furnishings, art and new vehicles is as follows:

Total new furnishings (desk, chairs, carpets, blinds and curtains) (£) Art (£) New vehicles













Departmental Vetting

Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what percentage of successful applicants for jobs in his Department are subjected to a criminal records check; how many (a) successful applicants and (b) criminal records checks there were in each of the last 10 years; how many successful applicants were found to have a criminal record after a criminal records check took place in each of the last 10 years; whether the selection of successful candidates to be subjected to a criminal records check is random or targeted; and if he will make a statement. [213158]

Kevin Brennan: My Department was formed as a result of Machinery of Government changes in June 2007 from its predecessor the Department for Education and Skills.

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All individuals recruited to either Department over the last ten years are subject to a basic criminal records check. As part of the application process individuals complete a self-declaration of their criminal records.

In line with the HMG baseline personnel security standard the Department undertakes a full independent check of unspent criminal records for all successful applicants, who are not in a regulated post.

The numbers, by year, of applicants who have been checked is not held centrally and is only available at disproportionate cost.

In addition to the baseline security checks, the Department has completed Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checks for employees, since 2002 when they became a requirement. All individuals recruited to a regulated post, or to a post where they have access to personal or sensitive data about children or vulnerable adults, have been subject to, or are currently undergoing, targeted enhanced CRB check, as a matter of course.

Since 2002, the Department has completed approximately 650 enhanced CRB checks for its employees. These checks were undertaken for existing staff who moved around within the Department to posts which required CRB checks and also for new appointees to the Department who were recruited into posts which required CRB checks.

Education: Assessments

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families when he expects a decision on the national implementation of the Making Good Progress pilots to be made. [214621]

Jim Knight: The Government have already committed to the delivery of national one to one tuition for 300,000 pupils in English and 300,000 pupils in mathematics by 2010-11, with some funding available in the financial year 2009-10.

School progression targets to improve the proportions of pupils making two levels of progress within a key stage were introduced in pilot schools in this academic year (2008/09), with national progression targets coming on stream for all schools from the academic year 2009/10.

All other elements of the pilot, including the progression premium and single level tests, will be subject to evaluation of the pilot, and in the case of single-level tests, the endorsement of this approach from the Regulator, before any decision is made about whether to implement them on a national basis.

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what assessment he has made of the performance of the Making Good Progress pilots in improving levels of children’s literacy; and if he will make a statement. [214635]

Jim Knight: The Making Good Progress pilot is a two year pilot in over 450 schools running from September 2007 until July 2009. It is being independently evaluated by PricewaterhouseCoopers and a final evaluation report is due in autumn 2009.

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As the pilot is still in its first year, it is still too early to make this kind of assessment. An interim evaluation report on the first year of the pilot will be published in the autumn term.

Further Education

Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many and what proportion of 16 to 18 year olds were in full-time education or training in each year since 1997, broken down by local authority; and if he will make a statement. [215814]

Jim Knight: Estimates of participation in education, training and employment in England for those aged 16-18 are published annually by the Department in a Statistical First Release (SFR) each June (see following link).

The Department publishes local estimates of participation in England alongside the national figures, but these are only available for young people of academic age 16 and 17. The local participation estimates cover those in full-time education, part-time education, and Work Based Learning, but do not identify young people in employer funded training and other education and training apart from those on a part-time education course. The most recent local estimates of education and Work Based Learning for local authorities relate to the end of 2006.

Performing Arts: Greater London

Mr. Evennett: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what representations he has received on increasing funding for performing arts in secondary schools in (a) Bexley and (b) London. [212623]

Jim Knight: No such representations have been made. Allocations for specific subjects are not generally made by Government when calculating schools funding and schools prioritise their spending according to the needs of their pupils. Last November we announced unprecedented funding of £332 million specifically for music to 2011—including £82 million per year direct to local authorities ring-fenced for music education. We are also making £25 million available over three years for Find Your Talent pilots, which will explore how to provide opportunities for all children and young people to take part in cultural activities.

Pupils: Health

Sir Peter Soulsby: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many children of school age have a long-term medical condition in (a) primary and (b) secondary schools. [214564]

Jim Knight: The information requested is not held centrally.

The Department currently collects information on the type of need for children with special educational needs (SEN) at School Action Plus and with a statement
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of SEN—see table 9 of the SEN statistical first release published on 25 June 2008 and available at:

However, a pupil whose medical condition does not give rise to a SEN will not be included in these figures.

The Department is looking at how to collect information on pupils’ disabilities in future but needs to balance the need for additional data with the burden that its collection places on schools. In the meantime, the Department has commissioned research on ‘Disabled Children: Numbers, Characteristics and Local Service Provision’—available at:

which includes a discussion of the available sources of data on disabled children who may not have SEN.

Pupils: Intimidation

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of policies in place in schools to tackle bullying. [215010]

Kevin Brennan: The Department has recently gone out to tender for research into the effectiveness of our anti-bullying strategies. This research will provide the necessary quantative and qualitative data needed to draw robust conclusions about the efficacy of different anti-bullying strategies. The successful bidder will report their findings to the Department in summer 2009 and summer 2010.

We commissioned an evaluation report from Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC) into the work of the Anti-Bullying Alliance, one of the Department's key delivery partners in the field. PWC published their report in February 2007: it concluded that the ABA

and that their programme of work is

It recommended that the Department tendered for distinct elements of anti-bullying work to allow a greater range of providers into the system, maximise outputs and achieve greater value for money, and we have since done so.

We have also carried out evaluations into individual initiatives for preventing and tackling bullying in schools including the Peer Mentoring and Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning (SEAL) programmes: these showed positive evidence of their impact in tackling bullying. Schools using peer mentoring schemes reported substantial falls in aggressive behaviour with up to 85 per cent. of disputes solved in this way resulting in long-lasting agreements (Source: “Don't Suffer in Silence”, 2002).

More generally the Department has built monitoring and evaluation arrangements into all of our contracts with the external bodies who are responsible for taking forward our anti-bullying programmes on the ground. We will monitor the situation closely to ensure each of these organisations achieve key outcomes and provide value for money.

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