Select Committee on Children, Schools and Families Written Evidence

Supplementary memorandum submitted by Rt Hon Ed Balls MP, Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families

Questions 14 and 15 (David Chaytor):   Autumn Performance Report savings

  The numbers given in the Autumn Performance Report are accurate. In the Report, what we actually say is that of the £2.8 billion of efficiency gains reported by the end of September 2007, over £1 billion is cashable and over £2.6 billion is recyclable. Recyclable gains and cashable gains are not mutually exclusive—indeed if a gain is cashable, it is also recyclable—so they can't be added together to come up with a final sum.

  To clarify; cashable means that the efficiency frees up money that can be reallocated; recyclable means that the efficiency frees up non-cash resource, for example, teacher time that can be reallocated to other tasks within the system.

  We report against both categories to show that while we may not be generating a large proportion of cashable gains, the majority of our gains are freeing up resource that can be moved around the system. We will make this clearer in our next published document.

Questions 19 and 20 (David Chaytor):   Projection of likely number of children in our schools over next 10 years

  The table below shows the projected number of children in maintained schools, City Technology Colleges (CTCs) and Academies in England for the academic years 2007-08 to 2016-17. These projections are subject to change—the next pupil projections, which will be published in the 2008 Departmental Annual Report (DAR), will be based on 2006 ONS population projections which include increased assumptions about fertility rates and migration. There is an increasing degree of uncertainty over time, particularly beyond 2011.


2007-082008-09 2009-102010-11 2011-122012-13 2013-142014-15 2016-17
Total number of pupils in maintained schools, CTCs and Academies 7,3857,3457,322 7,3007,2857,272 7,2677,2727,303


1)  Full-time equivalents aged 0-19 and over, counting each part-time pupil as 0.5. The numbers have been rounded to the nearest one thousand.

2)  Pupil numbers in maintained schools includes those in maintained nursery, maintained primary and maintained secondary, City Technology Colleges (CTCs), Academies, maintained Pupil Referral Units (PRUs) and maintained special schools.

3)  Projections use 2006 School Census Data and mid 2004 based ONS population projections.

4)  The data are consistent with the pre-16 projections published in the 2007 DAR and with the post-16 projections published in the Green Paper Raising Expectations: staying in education and training post-16 (March 2007). The post-16 projections have since been superseded by the Learning and Skills Council's Statement of Priorities (October 2007) which contained planned 16-18 School figures, but only up to 2010-11. The long-term post-16 projections will be revised over the coming months to take into account the outcomes of the Apprenticeship Review and the expected response of young people to the proposed changes to raise the education and training participation age to 18.

5)  These projections are based on 200 Academies by 2011. Projections which will be published in the 2008 DAR will be based on 400 Academies by 2011.

6)  Data includes dually registered pupils.

7)  These projections include those aged over 16 and it should be noted that school is only one of several routes available to post-16 learners. Whilst these figures reflect the Department's projections of where learners will participate, they are subject to the choice that will be made by the young people themselves.

Questions 28-37 (Graham Stuart):   Commitment to eradicate the spending gap between independent and state schools, progress made and progress that will be made in the next three years

  In Budget 2006, Gordon Brown, then Chancellor of the Exchequer, set out the Government's ambition that all pupils should have access to the levels of support and opportunity available to pupils in the independent sector. The Government would aim, over time and adjusting for inflation, to increase levels of maintained school funding to average private sector day school levels in that year, 2005-06.

  Total revenue and capital funding per pupil in the maintained sector in 2005-06 was £4,750 compared with our estimate of £8,000 per pupil in the independent sector. We have so far increased maintained sector funding to £5,550 per pupil this year, which is £5,300 in real terms at 2005-06 prices.

  The Comprehensive Spending Review settlement for education allows the Government to take a significant further step towards achieving its ambition. Total per pupil revenue and capital funding will rise to £6,600 in 2010-11, or £5,750 per pupil in real terms at 2005-06 prices. So between 2005-06 and the end of the CSR period we will have raised maintained sector funding by £1,000 per pupil in real terms, equivalent to closing the gap with the private sector target by 30%.

  Progress over future spending reviews will depend on the Government's fiscal position; demographic change; and progress by schools in continuing to deliver improvements in results and wider support for parents and pupils.

  Budget 2006 also announced a separate commitment to close the gap between the state sector and private sector levels of per pupil capital investment. The schools capital settlement for 2008-11 fully closes this gap by providing for maintained sector capital investment to rise to £1,110 per pupil by 2010-11 which is in line with 2005-06 private sector levels, adjusted for inflation.

Question 50 (Dawn Butler):   The Children's Plan and how it relates to Every Child Matters Outcomes

  The Children's Plan sets out our plans for decade ahead under each of our Departmental Strategic Objectives. Our Departmental Strategic Objectives and Public Service Agreements reflect, and are critical for, the five Every Child Matters Outcomes. We recognise the need to set this out clearly for frontline practitioners, and will be publishing a refreshed outcomes framework soon in light of the 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review and the Children's Plan.

Question 80 (Stephen Williams):   PISA Study Findings


  Actually results for maths and science are not widely different, although England's place in the overall rankings is much higher for science than for maths, with England placed well above the OECD average for science, and around average for mathematics.

  In science, three per cent of England's students achieved PISA level 6, or the highest level of attainment, compared to 2.5% for mathematics.

  Fourteen per cent of England's students achieved the top two levels of attainment (PISA levels 5 and 6). This compares with 11.2% for mathematics.

  PISA 2006 is an in-depth study of a sample of pupils on their science performance and their attitudes to learning science. It is necessarily a much briefer study of mathematical performance. However, it gives a reasonable indication of how England performs at the higher levels.

The Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS 2003)

  England's better performance in science than in mathematics in the PISA study is consistent with the findings of another major study. The TIMSS 2003 study assessed the performance of 14-year-olds (International Grade 8 or England Year 9) in mathematics and science in 47 countries. The ranking of pupils in England for science was 7th out of 47 countries, whilst for mathematics the ranking was 18th out of 47. Proportions of higher performing pupils in TIMSS for mathematics and science were also similar to those of PISA with 15% of pupils reaching the highest level of attainment for science but only 5% for mathematics. Taking the top two levels of attainment together (out of a possible four levels of attainment) England had 63% of pupils reaching these levels in science, well above the international average of 37%. For mathematics, 31% of pupils in England were in the top two levels, around the international average of 30%. The proportions reaching the highest levels in both subjects remained fairly constant between 1995 and 2003 in both science and mathematics.

Raising attainment in mathematics

  The Government has got a strong programme of action to raise attainment in mathematics, including:

    —  We have asked Sir Peter Williams to undertake a review of mathematics teaching in primary schools and early years settings. The interim report will be submitted in March 2008 and a final report in June 2008.

    —  We are developing an "Every Child Counts" programme to offer intensive one-to-one tuition to those young children who struggle with numeracy. This will consist of:

    —  300,000 pupils a year across the school system receiving one-to-one support in mathematics. This will be delivered by expanding the Making Good Progress pilot into a national programme.

    —  A more intensive programme of one-to-one support for six-year-old children who are struggling with early numeracy.

    —  We are funding a network of further mathematics centres with a view to increasing the number of young people taking further mathematics A-level.

    —  We have increased the value of the teacher training bursary and "golden hellos" for mathematics teachers. The bursary rose to £9,000 from September 2006. The "golden hello" for new teachers rose to £5,000 for trainees entering PGCE and equivalent courses in September 2005.

    —  We have established a National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics to develop a continuing professional development framework for mathematics teachers and quality assure mathematics continuing professional development programmes.

    —  There are 262 schools with mathematics and computing as their first specialism.

Question 83 (Dawn Butler):   Plans to conduct further research on the use of ICT in helping children to read

  The Every Child A Reader (ECAR) programme delivers a range of early literacy interventions to support children who are struggling to learn to read. The £144 million investment covers both Every Child a Reader and Every Child Counts which focuses on early maths. National roll out of ECAR over the next three years—to reach 30,000 children a year by 2010-11—follows on from a three year pilot and evaluation.

  The ECAR approach is based on three waves of intervention with those children most in need receiving intensive one to one support (using the proven Reading Recovery programme) whilst other children, with less severe literacy learning difficulties, receiving small group support.

  Research, funded by the Department, has found some positive impacts of using information and communications technology in supporting children to read. This can include, for instance, children reading and re-reading a sentence from a card until they are able to type it into the computer from memory with high levels of accuracy. Where studies have demonstrated positive effects of ICT based interventions, these effects were no greater than would be expected from pupils taught by an experienced teacher without the use of ICT. It is the quality of the teaching that really makes a difference in supporting children to read, and not the use of specific technologies.

  The Committee cited the specific example of the Accelerated Reader programme, which has been trailed in a number of schools that are members of the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust. Accelerated Reader requires pupils to self test by completing a computer-based, multiple-choice quiz after reading a book, providing pupils and their teachers with information about their level of comprehension. The Department is not aware of any evaluation of this, although anecdotally some schools mention they have found it helpful in assessing pupil's level of reading ability.

  Unlike the Every Child a Reader programme, Accelerated Reader does not teach non-readers to read. While it can be useful in helping children who can already read to self assess their level of understanding, we do not believe that it is a viable substitute for intensive literacy interventions. It is, therefore, on this basis that we remain committed to our existing suite of support and intervention and do not have any plans for changing that approach. We do, of course, remain committed to learning from the latest research findings as they emerge.

Question 95 (Chairman):   Teacher Recruitment Pilot Schemes

  The Fast Track teaching programme has been a national programme since its inception in 2000. For example there are currently 144 Fast Track teachers teaching in the Yorkshire and the Humber Government Office Region (GOR).

  Teach First was launched in London in September 2003 and extended to Manchester in September 2006 and the Midlands in September 2007. The Manchester programme will be expanded to a NW region including Liverpool from 2008. Further expansion to Yorkshire and the Humber is planned for 2009.

January 2008

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