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Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families who will be responsible for ensuring that pupils leaving school in Oxfordshire in 2009 will have a place either at a sixth form college or on an apprenticeship. 
Local authorities are responsible for delivering the September Guarantee. Successful delivery relies on a wide range of partners, including schools, colleges, Connexions services and the Learning and Skills Council.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families when he expects to publish the most recent national statistics on school admission; what the reasons are for the time taken to publish them; and if he will make a statement. 
Ms Diana R. Johnson: The Departments statisticians expect to publish the release towards the end of July. They normally announce specific release dates at least four weeks in advance but in view of the delay to this release they may announce the specific release date two weeks in advance. The announcement will be made on the UK Statistics Authority publication hub release calendar and the Departments Research and Statistics Gateway:
The decision to postpone the release was taken, by statisticians, because further analysis was needed to confirm the validity of the results for the numbers of admissions and appeals. Ministers were not involved in the decision and have not been informed of any of the results or analysis. A message was placed on the Departments Research and Statistics Gateway to inform users of the delay; and the UK Statistics Authority was informed.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what steps his Department (a) has taken and (b) plans to take to reduce levels of anti-Semitism in schools; what recent discussions Ministers and officials in his Department have had on this issue; what recent representations he has received on this issue; and if he will make a statement. 
Ms Diana R. Johnson:
Schools are under legal duties to promote both race equality and community cohesion. Ofsted inspections include checks on whether schools are promoting community cohesion and providing an environment where all pupils feel safe and are able to
learn and achieve. This makes it compulsory for schools to have measures in place to prevent and tackle all forms of discrimination and bullying however, it is motivated and to foster good relations between different groups of pupils.
In March 2006 we published specialist guidance on bullying around race, religion and culture which focused on preventing and tackling racist and religious bullying in schools and included specific material on bullying related to anti-Semitism. We are funding the Anti-Bullying Alliance and the National Strategies to ensure the guidance is effectively embedded in local authorities and schools. We have also published guidance on promoting community cohesion to schools in July 2007 and an online resource pack in May 2008 to help schools with building understanding and appreciation of others from different backgrounds among their pupils, as well as developing a shared vision and promoting good relations.
Furthermore, teaching of the Holocaust is a compulsory part of the history curriculum in secondary schools, and we are working in partnership with key stakeholders to ensure teachers have access to appropriate training and resources to help them deliver effective Holocaust education.
For the future, we intend next year to introduce a new statutory duty on schools to record all incidents of bullying between pupils. We will consult on this in the autumn and also on whether schools should be obliged to report these incidents to their local authority.
Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) if he will bring forward legislative proposals for the (a) monitoring and (b) reporting of expenditure by schools at national level; 
Mr. Coaker: Section 52 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 requires local authorities to prepare a statement containing information relating to their planned expenditure as prescribed before the beginning of each financial year and at the end of each financial year a statement of the expenditure actually incurred in the year in a prescribed form. The prescribed forms are currently set out in the Education (Budget Statements) (England) Regulations 2008 (as amended) and the Education (Outturn Statements) (England) Regulations 2009. The Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Bill currently before Parliament includes provisions to replace Section 52. In addition, the Consistent Financial Reporting (England) Regulations 2003 (as amended) require maintained schools to prepare a financial statement in accordance with approved headings and in compliance with the normal established accounting practices of the local education authority. Copies of these returns are sent to the Department. The financial data are validated and published.
The Consistent Financial Reporting data underpin the Schools Financial Benchmarking website. This site provides users with the tools to compare their schools income and expenditure profile with that of similar schools so that they can make informed decisions on how to manage their resources effectively. They can tailor their spending and re-allocate resources to ensure that education spending reflects local educational policy and priorities and is effective in delivering them. Benchmarking is not used solely to focus on reducing costs, but to also improve the quality and impact of a schools services. Benchmarking is a requirement for meeting the Financial Management Standard in Schools.
Mr. Scott: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) what grants have been allocated under the Targeted Capital Fund in the last three years for which figures are available; and which of these were made under the standards and diversity element of the fund; 
(2) pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 3 March 2009, Official Report, columns 49-50WS, on schools capital funding (2009-10), how much funding his Department has allocated to the Targeted Capital Fund to date; and what the likely distribution of such funding is between the fund's programmes. 
Mr. Coaker: In 2006-07 there was a bidding round under the Targeted Capital Fund (TCF) against published criteria, aimed at raising standards through addressing building need. This resulted in allocations of some £311 million (with payments phased over the life of each project).
As part of the CSR07 process it was decided that much of the available resources available for new TCF projects would be allocated to those authorities who were not yet in the Building Schools for the Future programme. This meant that 76 authorities were allocated £8 million each to invest in their schools to address building needs concerned with the 14-19 agenda and/or special educational needs and disabilities, totalling £608 million.
This was originally phased to be paid as £152 million in 2009-10 and £456 million in 2010-11, although the subsequent fiscal stimulus initiative has now changed this phasing to £303 million in 2009-10 and £305 million in 2010-11.
The other main TCF categories announced through the CSR process were the application based Standards and Diversity programme, through which £131 million has been allocated in 2008-09 (with payments phased over the spending period), and kitchens and dining facilities, through which £150 million has been allocated over the spending period.
Mr. Scott: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) what the objectives of the Standards and Diversity Fund are; and what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the operation of the Fund; 
Mr. Coaker: The Standards and Diversity Targeted Capital Fund supports our aims to improve choice and diversity of school provision as part of our drive to raise standards across all schools. It provides an incentive for local authorities and schools to work together to develop capital investment plans at those schools where the investment coming through the Departments strategic investment programmesBuilding Schools for the Future and the Primary Capital Programmewill not provide the necessary resources required in a timely fashion to help raise standards for pupils.
developing provision at maintained boarding schools, non-maintained special schools and Music and Dance Scheme schools;
removing significant numbers of surplus places;
helping to raise standards through increasing parental choice and diversity of provision in an area through the expansion of successful and popular maintained schools;
encouraging new entrants to the maintained sector (including proposers of new Trust schools and voluntary aided schools and independent schools seeking to enter the sector) and
supporting federations of schools and groups of schools working together under a single trust.
In order to maximise the impact of the capital investment, it is important to allocate funding to projects as early as possible in the spending period. To date, 66 projects totalling £131 million have been approved in this spending period. We continue to review the operation of all our capital programmes and any lessons learned through this process will, of course, be reflected in the design of future programmes.
Of the 66 projects approved to date through the Standards and Diversity Targeted Capital Fund, 18 projects involving 24 faith-based schools have had funding allocated. The other main strands of the Targeted Capital Fund are allocated at local authority level.
supporting the reform of education for 14 to 19-year-olds
enhancing facilities for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities,
strengthening cookery in the curriculum,
enhancing kitchens and dining facilities.
Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families whether he plans to respond to the report of the Audit Commission on improving economy and efficiency in schools; and if he will make a statement. 
There is already a range of tools available to help schools make the most effective use of their resources including financial benchmarking, the strategic planning
guide, the Financial Management Standard in Schools and the offer of a free one-day consultancy visit on improving value for money.
The Education Procurement Centre is working with schools to carry out procurement health checks which help to identify where savings can be made. The e-procurement tool OPEN has been developed to help schools buy products online and compare prices of a range of suppliers.
The report supports our position on surplus school balances. It is sound financial management for schools to retain a small surplus from year to year, but revenue funding is primarily for teacher and support staff pay and to support the education of children in school. It should not be needed for capital improvement projects given that separate capital funding is available.
Schools and authorities must work to reduce high balances over the next two years. If total revenue balances and the excessive balances held by individual schools do not reduce substantially by 2010-11, the Government will consult on further action from 2011-12 to bring the total down.
Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families if he will review the assessment process for the Financial Management Standard in Schools for the purposes of making available comparative data on the financial performance of schools in the same area. 
Mr. Coaker: The Financial Management Standard in Schools (FMSiS) was introduced in May 2004 and is intended to help schools in evaluating the quality of their financial management. An independent evaluation report of FMSiS, published on 21 August 2008, recognised that the standard is helping to provide a consistent approach on resource management across all schools. In line with the recommendations from that evaluation the standard will continue in its current form.
Consistent Financial Reporting provides income and expenditure data across a wide range of categories on a consistent basis for all local authority maintained schools in England. It is used within the Department and by external researchers for modelling the impact of new policies.
The data underpin the Schools Financial Benchmarking website. This site provides users with the tools to compare their schools income and expenditure profile with that of similar schools so that they can make informed decisions on how to manage their resources effectively. They can tailor their spending and re-allocate resources to ensure that education spending reflects local educational policy and priorities and is effective in delivering them. Benchmarking is not used solely to focus on reducing costs, but to also improve the quality and impact of a schools services.
To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families pursuant to the statement of 30 June 2009, Official Report, columns 165-80, on 21(st)-century schools, what additional training he proposes for chairs of school governing
bodies; from what budget the cost of such training will be drawn; and what estimate he has made of the cost to his Department of (a) funding and (b) monitoring the outcomes of such training. 
Mr. Coaker: The Department produced the Taking The Chair programme for chairs of maintained school governing bodies in England in 2004. Although chairs were recommended to undertake this training, at the present time it is not mandatory. We will be improving this training so it will focus on providing effective support and challenge to the head teacher and school leadership team and holding them to account. As with all governor training, the costs will be met from schools' delegated budgets. As yet, no estimate has been made of the cost of developing the training or of monitoring its outcomes.
Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what guidance his Department has issued to local authorities on taking account of the level of financial experience of applicants for school governor posts; and what information his Department holds on local authority provision of training in financial management for school governors. 
The Financial Management Standard in Schools (FMSiS) was introduced in May 2004 and was intended to help schools in evaluating the quality of their financial management and to aid in training staff to become better financial managers. As part of the FMSiS accreditation process, LA assessors must evaluate governors financial management competencies to establish training needs.
We do not collect data on the provision of local authority training in financial management, however the Department has contributed by making training funds in the region of £200,000 available to all LAs each year since FMSiS was implemented. These funds are specifically used to train school staff and governors in the successful implementation of the standard.
Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families if he will make an assessment of the merits of encouraging schools which are in the same area to use joint procurement processes for contracts for provision of support staff and facilities. 
Improved value for money;
More reliable quality of supply; and
Better quality of service.
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