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In 2011-12 and 2012-13, the schools budget will rise by 0.7 per cent. a year in real terms; that means all the money, including for one-to-one tuition, that goes directly
to schools. The combination of that and efficiency savings mean that we can meet the guarantees we set out in this Bill.
Michael Gove: Does that include money for the training and development of new teachers? Does it also include money for the training of head teachers, and does it specifically include capital funding for new schools?
Ed Balls: The hon. Gentleman knows that it does not include capital funding for schools, because the PBR set out a settlement of the current budget, and the current budget does not, by definition, include capital. He will also know, however, that the Chancellor announced that we will go forward with a further wave-wave 7 -of Building Schools for the Future bids in the spring; the hon. Gentleman's party is committed to a £4.5 billion cut, but we are committed to continuing with the BSF programme. I also just said that all the budgets that go directly to schools have been guaranteed a 0.7 per cent. rise. That includes one-to-one tuition, but, at this stage, it does not include money going to non-departmental public bodies. This was all set out at the time of the PBR, so the hon. Gentleman has had the chance to ask me questions about it in the past-
I am raising the schools budget in 2011-12 and 2012-13, with the agreement of the Chancellor. The hon. Gentleman proposes to cut the schools budget in 2010-11, however; the reason is that the shadow Chancellor has told him he has got to do so. Despite regular attempts in the House to wriggle out of this, the fact is that, unlike the Conservatives' health budget, under the hon. Gentleman's watch the education budget is set to be cut.
Michael Gove: Can the Secretary of State confirm that spending on initial teacher training in schools will increase, and spending on- [Interruption.] No, it is the Secretary of State who is wriggling. Can he also confirm that spending on head teacher training will increase-spending, for example, on ensuring that heads who become national leaders of education can do their job-or will that be cut?
Ed Balls: I have just answered those questions. The problem with the hon. Gentleman is that, like the Leader of the Opposition, he writes his speeches and questions in advance, which means he never listens to the answers. What I said was that all the money that goes directly to schools is rising in real terms. The money that is going to agencies has not at this point been settled. So the money that is going to the TDA has not been settled-that is absolutely clear-but the money going to schools will rise this year, next year and the year after if this Government are re-elected, whereas it will be cut from next April if the hon. Gentleman's party is elected.
Mr. Allen: On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Many Back Benchers wish to speak in this debate. Given that Front Benchers will get a lot of time to make their points-even if they wish to make the same point five times-is it possible to take time off Front Benchers' speeches if they constantly interrupt at the expense of Back-Bench time?
Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Michael Lord): I am sure the hon. Gentleman realises that I am not in a position to rule on that matter at this point in time, but I hope that contributors from both Front Benches will confine their remarks to the Bill before the House, and also be very aware that a lot of Back Benchers wish to speak and they should be given every opportunity to do so.
Ed Balls: The fact is that a world-class education system depends on guaranteeing excellence for all, not just for some. What we have set out in this Bill are new pupil guarantees. We have set out clear entitlements to a broad and balanced curriculum for every pupil and to a place in education or training for all 16 and 17-year-olds who want one, and a route to high quality qualifications irrespective of whether someone's strengths are practical, academic or both, with standards guaranteed by our new, independent standards regulator, Ofqual.
Liz Blackman (Erewash) (Lab): Can my right hon. Friend assure me that data will be collected on all children on the autistic spectrum by every local authority so that service delivery and strategic planning become much more effective?
Ed Balls: I can give my hon. Friend that assurance. As she knows, the schools census collects data on children with statements and on school action plus and they show that as of January 2009 there were 51,200 pupils on the autistic spectrum. In addition, the Special Educational Needs (Information) Act 2008, which came into effect in January, is giving us more information about the characteristics of those pupils, their attainment and the progress that they make. We first published those statistics in October, they include children on the autistic spectrum and we will continue to ensure that we prioritise those children, as we showed in the Lamb review. I should say to my hon. Friend that the leadership that she has shown on these matters has been hugely important in raising opportunity and standards for children in our country who have a special educational need.
The fact is that 100,000 more children are now leaving primary school secure in English and 100,000 more are secure in maths compared with 1997. However, a world-class education system demands that no child's progress is allowed to stall or be held back. We know that many children, at certain points of their school life, benefit from short bursts of tailored, individual support alongside effective class teaching. Personal tuition must not just be the preserve of those who can afford it, so our pupil guarantee will entitle to catch-up support any child who falls behind in reading or writing or maths during primary school-in key stage 1 or in key stage 2-and any young person who starts secondary school behind expectations, with all looked-after children also automatically receiving one-to-one tuition so that they develop the basic skills they need. These guarantees of
one-to-one catch-up support can be delivered only by the rising real-terms budgets for the schools system set out in the pre-Budget report.
Mr. Purchase: This is at the heart of the Bill; the most important reform that the Secretary of State is introducing is the possibility of one-to-one tuition, catch-up support and so on. What guarantees can he give us that middle-class parents will not "snaffle"-I use that term for want of a better word-all those resources because they have the loudest voices and the best understanding and will demand that tuition for their children, perhaps at the expense of children who have less articulate parents and who probably need that tuition even more?
Ed Balls: The guarantees are in the Bill; we will set out in law for the very first time such guarantees to pupils and to parents. Any child who is not making progress at key stage 1 will be entitled to extra support, and the school will have to write a letter to the parent setting out what it will do. Any child who is not making progress in key stage 2 will be guaranteed one-to-one tuition, and we will be offering 300,000 places for maths and for literacy from next April to deliver that one-to-one guarantee. Thirdly, any child who does the key stage 2 tests at the age of 11 and does not get to level 4 will automatically receive one-to-one tuition in year 7-in the first year of secondary school-and do a test at the end of that year. The results will not be made public, but they will be reported to parents, so that they know whether their child is catching up. Thus, this does not depend upon the parent asking for the support; the support is guaranteed to the child on the basis of the teacher's assessment. This is what has been available for children in private schools for many years. For the first time, because of our investment and our reform, we will guarantee the same individual attention and catch-up support to parents-of whatever class and of whatever income-in our state school system. The only test is whether a child has fallen behind and needs extra help-if they have, they will get it.
Mr. David Laws (Yeovil) (LD): The Secretary of State has just said that these are guarantees that can be relied upon and he also promised one-to-one tuition. Does he agree that what is being promised is not one-to-one tuition, because it is to be provided either one to one or in small groups?
Ed Balls: It partly depends on the judgment of the teachers. I would have thought that the hon. Gentleman would be willing to join me in wanting to back the professional judgment of teachers and head teachers. At key stage 2, for years 3, 4, 5 and 6, a child who is not making progress is guaranteed one-to-one tuition. At key stage 1, they are guaranteed extra support, which could mean one-to-one tuition, small-group tuition or moving at a different pace through key stage 1 - [ Interruption. ] If the hon. Gentleman will let me make the point rather than shouting at me, I shall try to answer him.
At key stage 1, there will be one-to-one or small group tuition, or what the teacher decides, and in year 7, too, there will be one-to-one or small group tuition depending on what is needed. The test is whether the support means that the child makes progress and the cost is that it has to be paid for in order to be delivered.
If we are willing to put the investment in, we can see all children make progress. If we are not willing to make the investment-we heard earlier that the Opposition will cut spending in 2010-11-some children will still make progress, but not all children will. That is the difference.
We will also be legislating in our Bill to introduce a new school report card that will specifically report on provision for pupils with special educational needs alongside attainment, satisfaction and discipline. We will extend the inspection remit of Ofsted to include provision for pupils with special educational needs and we will provide parents of children with special educational needs with a new right to appeal if their child's statement is not amended at annual review. Of those children who do not get to level 4 now-100,000 fewer than in 1997-two thirds have a special educational need, which is twice the level of the whole population. In my view, putting the needs of children with special needs at the centre of our education system is not peripheral but the only way to keep raising standards in our schools.
Rob Marris (Wolverhampton, South-West) (Lab): Echoing the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, North-East (Mr. Purchase), there is a problem in many areas of the country, including Wolverhampton, as children with special educational needs wait months to get statemented. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State is absolutely right to talk about such needs being central and about the inspection and so on, which will consider what is happening to those children who have been statemented. However, what is he doing to try to speed up the statementing process to begin with?
Ed Balls: Just before Christmas, Brian Lamb's review considered the detail of all those issues. To strengthen the inspection is very important, as is giving parents the right to appeal, but the fact is that there is great variability around the country. In some parts of the country, things are done in a speedy and timely way, but the needs of children and their parents are not always being put first. We need to shine the spotlight of scrutiny on to children with special educational needs and to ensure that they get the extra support that they need. We will train 4,000 more dyslexia-trained teachers in the coming year to ensure that the needs of a child with dyslexia are spotted early and that they get the extra help so that they can make progress. Those 4,000 extra dyslexia-trained teachers cannot be trained if the budget is to be cut in 2010-11, which is what the Opposition propose.
Mr. Robert Goodwill (Scarborough and Whitby) (Con): The Secretary of State is aware of the battle that many parents have to go through to get their children statemented-a battle that middle-class articulate parents often succeed in. Does he agree that one of the biggest problems is that when people move around the country they have to commence that battle again? That is particularly a problem for those in the armed services who will be moved from Catterick to Cheltenham to Colchester to wherever else, which means that they are perpetually engaged in this fight.
That is an important point. Children who move around the country are always potentially more vulnerable and that is why I think that the ContactPoint
database will be very helpful in ensuring that those children do not fall through the cracks. For children in armed forces families who move a great deal, this is a particular issue. We have now opened the new Wellington academy in Wellington, which I hope will become a centre of excellence not just in that part of the south-west but across the country for meeting the needs of the children of armed forces personnel families-especially, in that case, non-commissioned officers' families and forces families. I hope that that will be one issue in which the academy will become expert. The hon. Gentleman's point is well taken and was highlighted by the Lamb review.
Mr. Jim Cunningham (Coventry, South) (Lab): Will my right hon. Friend come on to an issue on which many hon. Members have been lobbying? I am sure that he is well aware of the issues to do with education at home and allegations have been made that the Select Committee's report has not been taken seriously. Will he deal with those issues?
Ed Balls: I will deal with those issues in a moment. Before I do, let me address the issue of guarantees, which are clear and are laid out for pupils and parents. In the vast majority of cases, the guarantees, which we have published details about today, are a summary of provisions under the existing legislation. In a small number of cases-in relation to one-to-one tuition, a choice of sciences, strength in home-school agreements and the entitlement to online reporting to parents-the guarantees are new and are being set out in legislation. We would expect the vast majority of head teachers and teachers to be delivering the guarantees already. If issues arise, in the vast majority of cases they will be sorted out by schools, but in a small minority of cases, as a last resort, there will be a right of redress through the local government ombudsman. There will also be a right of redress for pupils in academies through the Young People's Learning Agency.
Mr. Sheerman: Before the Secretary of State moves on from special educational needs, may I congratulate him on that part of the Bill? He will remember that the Select Committee's report on SEN led to the Lamb report, and we are pleased with all that is happening in that regard. Does he remember that it was the patchwork nature of delivery on SEN that was at the heart of the problem and the injustice that parents felt?
My hon. Friend makes a good point. The Select Committee's reports of the past two, three or four years on these matters have been very important. He will know that, as part of the Lamb work, we are considering whether arm's length statementing from local authorities will be a good idea. However, I must say that the Lamb review was more concerned about information flows to parents and the quality of advice than about independence, and we are now testing out that issue. I think that there is a broader point to make: children with SEN have tended to be on the periphery,
and it has tended to be the parents who shouted the loudest who have received support. Many parents have felt deeply frustrated that they could not get support without banging on the door and making a great fuss. That is fundamentally unfair, because it is not right that those who shout the loudest should get the support, or that one should have to shout loud to get support. If the Lamb review is properly implemented and properly resourced, it could make a massive difference to children with SEN. I hope that the Select Committee will pay close attention to how we implement it, because its impetus to progress has been very important in this matter.
Mrs. Ann Cryer (Keighley) (Lab): Will my right hon. Friend consider accepting a new clause in the Bill to limit the defence of reasonable punishment, as it exists in section 58 of the Children Act 2004, to those with parental responsibility? It should not extend to teachers in madrassahs or in other religious schools. I mention that at this point because the children who are being ill-treated in such schools are often those with special needs.
Ed Balls: I hear my hon. Friend's point, and I know that she has expertise in this matter. We have dealt with some particular cases in the past year or two. The important point to make is that there is not one rule for a child in a madrassah and another for a child in a school or in any other circumstance. The use of physical punishment against any child is wrong; it is outside the law and is not fair to children. I do not think that we should tolerate any use of physical punishment in any school or learning setting in which trusted adults are supposed to be looking after children, not abusing them.
On home education, I know that this issue will be debated in detail in Committee. The vast majority of home educating parents provide a good education for their children, and I am fully committed to the principle that parents who choose to home educate should be able to do so. It is parents, rather than the state, who are in charge of taking the ultimate decision on how their children are educated. We think that about 70,000 children are being home educated-often for a variety of reasons and often to a very high standard by committed parents. Our responsibility is to ensure that not just a large majority, but all of the children who are being home educated are safe and are learning properly. It was because of concerns that had been raised that I asked Mr. Graham Badman to do his review, which reported in the summer. Following consultation, the Bill makes some changes to his recommendations, but accepts the general core principles of his review. The first is that, as a matter of principle, parents should be allowed to home educate. The second is that they need more support, financial and otherwise, to be able to do so. That may mean catch-up, one-to-one tuition for children who need it, or support regarding the cost of exam fees.
It is important that we make sure that we know that all children are safe and are being properly educated. That is why the Bill introduces a new registration scheme for home educators, with a duty on local authorities to identify all home-educated children and to ensure that they are receiving a suitable education. That is vital to make sure that all home-educated children are safe and are making progress. It is wrong to see that as an attack
on home education, and those people who try to represent it as an attack on home education in principle are wrong. On that basis, I have to say that I agree with the vast majority of the recommendations and sentiments set out in the Children, Schools and Families Committee report on home education.
Mr. Graham Stuart (Beverley and Holderness) (Con): Should not help be offered, not forced on families? If the Secretary of State is so enthusiastic about the Select Committee's report, why not adopt a voluntary scheme? Why not increase support for families, without alienating and antagonising the entire home education community, among whom he will find precious few people who support the draconian proposals in the Bill?
Ed Balls: I do think that we should offer support, rather than impose it. In our response to the Badman report, we will offer extensive support to home-educating parents, which they can choose to take up.
"In our view it is unacceptable that local authorities do not know accurately how many children of school age in their area are in school, are being home educated or are otherwise not in school."
I completely agree with that, but it is not possible for local authorities to know that information unless they know where all the children are and whether they are being home educated. I also agree with the Select Committee when it says:
"We believe that registration would encourage local authorities and home educators to recognise that it is to their mutual advantage to have a clear record of children who are being...educated."
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