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Departmental Bank Services

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families with which banks his Department has or has had contracts for the provision of financial advice, for the financial year 2008-09. [262765]

Sarah McCarthy-Fry: The Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) has not entered into any such contracts and does not obtain financial advice from banks in connection with any of its policies.

DCSF is subject solely to advice from the Treasury in the discharge of its financial responsibilities.

Departmental Ministerial Policy Advisers

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) how many (a) expert advisers, (b) special advisers and (c) consultants were employed by his Department in each year since 2001; and if he will make a statement; [258957]

(2) how many (a) special advisers and (b) expert advisers his Department has employed in each year since 2001; and if he will make a statement. [263969]

Sarah McCarthy-Fry: Since 2003 the Government have published on an annual basis the names and numbers of special advisers in each pay band. For the most recent information I refer the hon. Member to the statement made by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on 22 July 2008, Official Report, columns 99-102WS. Information on the employment of special advisers prior to 2003 was provided at regular intervals and is available in the House Libraries.

In keeping with good procurement practice most external expert advisers and consultancy engagements placed by the Department are based on a requirement for the delivery of outcomes or outputs, and not for the number of experts or consultants employed.

Our management information system reflects this and records the numbers and values of contracts or engagements, rather than individual expert advisers or consultants. We are, therefore, unable to answer the question in the way it has been asked.


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Departmental Postal Services

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many and what percentage of letters sent by his Department were given to (a) the Royal Mail and (b) another postal services provider for delivery in the last 12 months; and if he will make a statement. [259966]

Sarah McCarthy-Fry: In the period February 2008—January 2009 the Department for Children, Schools and Families either directly or through its distribution partner has sent a total of 769,901 letters using Royal Mail postal services. Of these 449,901 (58 per cent.) were sent directly from the Department via Royal Mail and a further 320,000 (42 per cent.) were sent on the Department's behalf also via Royal Mail by Prolog the Department's publications storage and distribution provider.

Faith Schools: Islam

Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families if he will commission research into allegations of physical violence against pupils attending madrasas in the UK. [262890]

Sarah McCarthy-Fry: The Department has no current plans to commission research into allegations of physical violence against pupils attending madrassahs.

Family Intervention Projects

James Brokenshire: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what sanctions or penalties a family may be subject to if it refuses to engage in a Family Intervention Project. [263183]

Beverley Hughes: While a family’s initial involvement in a Family Intervention Project is voluntary, the projects draw on the range of sanctions that a family or family members may already be facing. These include seeking possession of a family’s tenancy, a parenting order, antisocial behaviour order, proceedings to take children into care and juvenile specific orders. Once families have agreed to take part, a contract is drawn up with the family setting out the changes that are expected, support that will be provided and sanctions that may be used if changes are not made. Early evaluation of Family Intervention Projects has shown that they are helping to reduce antisocial behaviour and prevent homelessness.

GCSE

Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many schools did not have more than 30 per cent. of pupils achieving five or more A* to B grades at GCSE, including English and mathematics in 2008. [251118]

Sarah McCarthy-Fry: The information can be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many schools had less than 30 per cent. of pupils achieve (a) five A* to C
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grades at GCSE excluding equivalents and (b) five A* to C grades including English and mathematics at GCSE excluding equivalents in the latest year for which figures are available. [250364]

Jim Knight: The information can be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families which maintained secondary schools did not achieve 30 per cent. or more GCSEs including English and mathematics in 2008 when equivalents were excluded. [259103]

Jim Knight: The information can be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Health Education: Sex

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families whether the review group on sex and relationships education (SRE) consulted parents about what should be taught as part of SRE and at what ages; and if he will make a statement. [263293]

Sarah McCarthy-Fry: The purpose of the review of sex and relationships education (SRE) in schools was not to decide the precise content of schools' SRE programmes. Rather, its purpose was to consider what action is needed to improve SRE delivery.

As a result of the review, we have announced our intention to make PSHE statutory and to develop a statutory programme of study, which sets out—in high-level terms—a common core of knowledge and skills that all young people should be taught. We will, however, retain the flexibility for individual school governing bodies to determine how material should be presented and what teaching resources schools use to support delivery of their SRE programmes.

The Government's response to the SRE review also committed us to develop updated SRE guidance for schools. Both the PSHE programmes of study and new SRE guidance will be subject to a full public consultation.

To inform its decisions, the SRE steering group commissioned a review of the existing evidence on parents' views on SRE. This evidence—along with evidence on Ofsted, teachers’ and young people's views on SRE, as well as a literature review of international evidence—were considered by the steering group when deciding what recommendations to make to Government.

We agree with the SRE review steering group that the provision of SRE should be a partnership between parents and schools. Parents should lead on instilling values in their children, but schools have a clear role in giving young people accurate information and helping them to develop the skills they need to make safe and responsible choices.

Performing Arts

John Mason: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families whether his Department has engaged any (a) actors, (b) musicians and (c) other performers to support its initiatives over the last five years. [264066]


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Sarah McCarthy-Fry: Since its inception, in June 2007, actors, musicians and performers have appeared in some of the Department’s marketing campaigns. The Department has also secured unpaid celebrity support, including actors, musicians and performers for some of our campaigns, most notably the National Year of Reading TV filler. Given the wide range of audiences and the challenging nature of some of our priority advertising and publicity messages the use of big voices, advocates and high profile celebrities (where the selected ‘voice’ has a resonance or a known link to the message or there is a strong argument that the individual or individuals have a high level of influence within a particular audience group) this is one way we would look to deliver and influence to our markets.

Public Opinion

Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how much his Department has spent on (a) opinion polling, (b) focus groups and (c) other forms of market research in each year since its inception; what surveys were commissioned; and what the purpose was of each. [261266]

Sarah McCarthy-Fry: Since its inception in June 2007 the Department has spent £1,845,528 on public surveys such as opinion polling, focus groups and other forms of market research. It is not possible to break this figure down into constituent parts, except at disproportionate cost.

Schools: Admissions

Joan Ryan: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what percentage of children of (a) primary and (b) secondary school entry age in (i) England, (ii) Enfield local education authority area and (iii) Enfield North constituency gained a place at their (A) first and (B) second choice school in each of the last 11 years. [263912]

Sarah McCarthy-Fry: 2008 was the first year that local authorities were required to provide data to the Secretary of State on secondary school offers made on the day that parents are notified of their school places. This year's data were published on 12 March. Data are not collected at a constituency level.

This year, figures for Enfield local authority show that 62.1 per cent. of children resident in the authority who are eligible to transfer to secondary school in September 2009, and who applied for a place, were offered their first choice school. 15.1 per cent. were offered their second choice school. Last year these figures were 62.2 per cent. and 16 per cent. respectively.

The figures for England show that 83.2 per cent. of children who are eligible to transfer to secondary school in September 2009, and who applied for a place, were offered their first choice school. 8.4 per cent. were offered their second choice school. The figures for 2008 were 82 per cent. and 8.7 per cent. respectively.

The day that parents are notified of their secondary school place is the first part of the process of obtaining a preferred school. These figures are likely to change by September as places become available or appeals are successful.


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The Department does not collect data on offers of primary school places.

Social Services: Haringey

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what inspections the Commission for Social Care Inspection has undertaken in relation to Haringey Council’s children’s services since 2001. [263919]

Beverley Hughes: The Commission for Social Care Inspection had functions relating to children’s services from its inception in April 2004 until those functions passed to Ofsted in April 2007. It participated in a joint area review of children’s services by 10 relevant inspectorates in 2006. It inspected the local authority fostering agency in January 2005, November 2005 and January 2007, and reported the inspection undertaken by its predecessor, the social services inspectorate in February 2004; and it inspected the local authority adoption agency in 2005. It also undertook, with Ofsted, an annual performance assessment of Haringey’s children’s services in 2005. The social services inspectorate inspected Haringey children’s services in 2002, and with the Commission for Health Improvement and HMI Constabulary undertook an inter-agency inspection of child protection services in 2003.

Special Educational Needs: Disadvantaged

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many special schools there were in the most deprived decile of lower layer super output areas as determined by the income deprivation affecting children indices in 2008. [262349]

Sarah McCarthy-Fry: The requested information is given in the following table:

Number of special schools( 1) in the most deprived decile of lower layer super output area by income deprivation affecting children indices( 2)
IDACI decile of school location Number of special schools

0-10% most deprived

117

(1) Special schools including foundation special, community special and non-maintained special.
(2) Income deprivation affecting children index 2007.
Source:
School Census 2008

Special Educational Needs: GCSE

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) in which special schools more than 30 per cent. of pupils achieved five A* to C grades at GCSE in 2008; [257662]

(2) in how many maintained special schools more than (a) 10, (b) 20 and (c) 30 per cent. of pupils achieved five A* to C grades at GCSE in each year since 1997. [257659]

Sarah McCarthy-Fry: Every year the Department publishes information on the performance of pupils in examinations as part of the Achievement and Attainment Tables:


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From this webpage, you can select the local authority (LA) or school of interest, by using the search by institution/search by postcode/browse by region or browse by constituency options.

For every school, the percentage of pupils achieving five or more grades A*-C at GCSE is published. This information can be found within the “KS4 results” tab at the top of the LA page.

Special Educational Needs: Pilot Schemes

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families pursuant to the answer of 9 March 2009, Official Report, columns 201-2W, on special educational needs: pilot schemes, (1) what eight projects the Lamb inquiry has commissioned; [263365]

(2) how much funding has been allocated to each pilot; who will assess the effectiveness of each pilot; and when they will report on the matter. [263366]

Sarah McCarthy-Fry: Details of the eight projects that the Lamb inquiry has commissioned can be found at:

We have committed £1 million of funding over 2007-09, for the “No to Failure” pilot project. Dr. Chris Singleton is currently preparing the project’s final evaluation report, which is likely to be published shortly.

Dyslexia Action is receiving funding of £250,000 over 2008-10 to run the “Partnership for Literacy” pilots. The effectiveness of the pilots is being evaluated by the university of Durham’s Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring. Dyslexia Action published a report of the project’s first two years on 2 March. It is expected that they will then publish the final evaluation early in 2010.

We have also allocated £31 million over two years for the Achievements for All pilot projects. We are currently tendering for an organisation to conduct an external independent evaluation.

The British Sign Language pilot project will be receiving £800,000 for up to two years over 2009-11. The details on the evaluation process have yet to be finalised.

The pilot project to improve the supply of curriculum materials for visually impaired and dyslexic pupils is still in contract negotiations. Bidders were required as part of their initial bid to lay out stringent plans for an evaluation process, and we will be making details available as soon as that process is complete.


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