Local authorities have powers to claw back excessive uncommitted surpluses defined as 5 per cent. of budget for a secondary school and 8 per cent. of budget for a primary or special school. DCSF will continue to monitor balances and unless there is a substantial reduction in total balances, the Government will consider further action to bring the total down.
It remains important, therefore, that schools and local authorities work to manage the level of revenue balances over the next two years. In formulating any new measure to tackle high balances, the Department will continue to work with its partners including the representatives of head teachers and governors, on the technical issues which concern schools. And we will consult widely with schools and others on a detailed proposition before the measure is implemented.
Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how much and what proportion of the schools budget was not passed from local authorities to schools in the most recent year for which figures are available. 
Jim Knight: Local authorities are required to manage their schools budget in line with the School Finance (England) Regulations 2008. All of the schools budget is spent on pupil provision, but some is retained centrally where this is the best way to manage it: the principal areas are funding for provision of the three and four year old free entitlement in private, voluntary and independent nursery providers; funding for statemented pupils with special education needs; funding for Pupil Referral Units and other education outside school; and a contingency distributed to schools during the year against unforeseen circumstances. Nationally 88.6 per cent. of the total schools budget is to be delegated to schools in 08-09. All centrally retained expenditure is discussed with the local schools forum, and the amount retained centrally may not increase year on year faster than the individual schools budget (that delegated directly to schools) without the schools forum's agreement. Section 151 Officers of each local authority are required to sign a certificate stating that they have used the dedicated schools grant for the purposes for which it is assigned.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how much his Department plans to spend on e-learning credits in each of the next five years; how much his Department spent on e-learning credits in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. 
Jim Knight: In line with our overarching commitment to devolve responsibility to head teachers and governors, ring-fenced funding for e-Learning Credits (eLCs) came to an end in 2007-08. As the amount of ring-fenced funding was reduced over the last two years, the balance of the annual £100 million for eLCs was absorbed into the Devolved Formula Capital funding that schools receive.
Mr. Vara: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families whether his Department has issued guidance on the use of biometric technology relating to school children to (a) schools and (b) parents. 
Jim Knight: Guidance on the use of biometric technology in schools was published on the British Educational Communications and Technology Agency (BECTA) website in July 2007. Responsibility for all matters relating to biometric technology in schools now resides with BECTA.
Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many vacancies there are for school governors in (a) Essex and (b) Colchester constituency for (i) primary, (ii) junior and (iii) secondary schools, broken down by category of governor. 
|Category of Governor
|(b) Colchester constituency
|Category of Governor
Mrs. Riordan: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many proposals for new schools have been through the planning process since the introduction of the new Building Bulletin 100: Design for Fire Safety in Schools; and in how many cases the fitting of sprinkler systems has been required following the application of the cost and benefit analysis contained in the bulletin. 
Sarah McCarthy-Fry: The Department does not hold information on how many new schools have been through the planning process or on how many new school buildings have sprinkler systems. Planning applications and decisions on whether or not to install sprinkler systems are dealt with at a local level. It is our presumption that all new schools will have fire sprinklers installed but we do not intend to require this. There may be a few 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 low risk and that sprinklers would not represent good value for money.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families whether academy or foundation trusts may (a) develop, (b) sublet and (c) grant licences over their land and buildings. 
Jim Knight: The majority of academy buildings are now procured by the local authority (LA) on land owned by the LA. Following completion of the academy buildings and defects liability period, the LA leases the buildings to the Academy Trust for a period of 125 years for a peppercorn rent. The academy has powers, under this standard lease arrangement, to make alterations to the buildings, sublet the property and grant licences over the land. There is a small number of academy buildings which are procured by the LA but built on land owned by a third party (other than the LA). The terms of such lease arrangements are largely as described above but they can vary.
Those academies that were built early in the programme by the Academy Trust were, in some cases, given the freehold of their land, in which case they can develop, sublet or grant licenses over their land and buildings.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families whether (a) pupils, (b) parents and (c) local residents have powers to object to the use or management of land or buildings by an academy or foundation trust. 
Jim Knight: Academies generally occupy their land and buildings through a lease from the local authority (LA). Academy trusts are bound by the terms and conditions of that lease to keep the land and buildings in good repair. Any member of the local community who has concerns about the management of land or buildings occupied by an academy can notify the LA. In addition, an academy trust must gain planning permission for any change in use of land, and the local community, including parents and local residents, can make objections through the usual planning consultation process if they disagree with the proposed use.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what the value is of (a) land and (b) buildings owned by academy trusts and foundations; and how much funding has been contributed by academy and foundation school sponsors to the capital costs of these schools. 
Jim Knight: The Department does not collect information on the value of academies' land holdings and buildings. Information on the net book value of freehold land and buildings for individual academies open by 2006 is currently available in their statutory accounts.
Foundation schools as a category do not have sponsors. If they are also trust schools there is not a sponsorship requirement, and any financial contributions from trust members are on a voluntary basis and neither payment nor use is centrally recorded.
Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what percentage of pupils obtained five good GCSEs including English and mathematics but excluding equivalents in each year since 1997. 
|Number of pupils( 1)
|Five plus A*-C grades inc. English and mathematics GCSEs
|(1) 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.
(2) Percentages from 1996/97 include GCSEs and GNVQs.
1. Including attempts and achievement in previous academic years.
2. Figures for 2006/07 are revised, all other figures are final.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families which National Challenge schools (a) have and (b) have not appointed a National Challenge Adviser; and if he will make a statement. 
Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many schools have been put into special measures (a) once, (b) twice, (c) three times and (d) more than three times in the last 10 years. 
Your recent parliamentary question has been passed to me, as Her Majesty's Chief Inspector, for a response.
Between 1 April 1998 and 1 April 2008,1,694 maintained schools were placed in special measures once and 42 schools were placed in special measures twice.
In addition, prior to September 2005, there was no statutory limit on the length of time a school could stay in special measures. With the introduction of the current inspection framework in September 2005, there is now a statutory limit of two years. Upon reaching this limit and undergoing a re-inspection, five schools had not been removed from special measures. Although these schools are not included in the 42 schools referred to above, they were judged as requiring special measures for a second time.
No school was placed in special measures three times, or more than three times, during this period.
Data for the summer term 2008 have not yet been published and are not included in these figures. These will be included in my Annual Report 2007/08, due to be published in November 2008.