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Pupil Premium

14. Mr Rob Wilson (Reading East) (Con): What plans he has for the operation of the pupil premium. [000814]

The Minister of State, Department for Education (Sarah Teather): The introduction of a pupil premium will target extra funding specifically at deprived pupils to enable them to receive the support that they need to reach their potential. By targeting the funding via a pupil premium, extra funds to support disadvantaged children will be clearly identifiable. We will publish our proposals, with details on how we plan to distribute the pupil premium, in due course.

Mr Wilson: I thank the hon. Lady for that answer and wish her well in her new role. My constituency, Reading East, like those of many hon. Members, has deep pockets of deprivation. Will she therefore confirm today that all disadvantaged children will receive a fair share of funding from the pupil premium, wherever they happen to go to school?

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Sarah Teather: I thank the hon. Gentleman for his question. I am aware that he has taken an interest in the pupil premium over a long period. It is an issue that I championed from the Opposition Benches, so I feel passionately about this policy and the opportunity to change young people's lives. It seems a sad indictment of the society in which we live that parental income remains the best predictor of educational attainment. The hon. Gentleman's point about pockets of deprivation is precisely the reason why the pupil premium represents an opportunity to change young people's lives. At the moment, the system for distributing deprivation funding often does not get to the front line, particularly where pockets of deprivation are surrounded by an otherwise relatively wealthy area.

Ed Balls (Morley and Outwood) (Lab/Co-op): The hon. Lady and her Liberal Democrat colleagues are clear that the pupil premium must mean rising education spending for the next three years. I confirm to the Secretary of State and the House that the old Chief Secretary and the new Chief Secretary made a commitment to me, Lord Mandelson and Lord Adonis in the coalition talks that there would be additional money, on top of rising spending this year, next year and the year after-a commitment that the Secretary of State could not make today. Does the hon. Lady agree-I will not quote her this time; I will quote the Deputy Prime Minister-that

Are the Liberal Democrats being short-changed by their Conservative colleagues?

Sarah Teather: The Prime Minister made it clear from the Dispatch Box last week that the pupil premium would involve substantial extra money from outside the education budget. Perhaps I should remind the right hon. Gentleman that one of the sticking points during the coalition talks with the Labour party was that it would not agree to the pupil premium.

Claire Perry (Devizes) (Con): Could the Secretary of State please confirm that the pupil premium will still include an upward adjustment for the children of military families-a matter of utmost importance for thousands of schoolchildren in my constituency, Devizes?

Sarah Teather: I thank the hon. Lady for her question. She makes a very good point, which we are considering at the moment. We will announce further details of our policy on the pupil premium in due course.

Building Schools for the Future

15. Heidi Alexander (Lewisham East) (Lab): What recent discussions he has had with local authorities on the Building Schools for the Future programme. [000815]

The Secretary of State for Education (Michael Gove): As I mentioned earlier, we are currently reviewing the methods by which capital has been allocated.

Heidi Alexander: I thank the Secretary of State for his answers on the BSF programme, but I am afraid that I am still not clear on the detail. As a former director of
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Lewisham's local education partnership, I should be grateful to him if he confirmed whether the funding commitments that underpin the strategic partnering agreements between local authorities and their private sector partners will be honoured. Lewisham council would be grateful for any reassurance that he could provide.

Michael Gove: I congratulate the hon. Lady on her election, and she is fortunate to have many excellent schools in her constituency, including Haberdashers' Aske's Hatcham, which I have had the great pleasure of visiting. Lewisham was one of the first local authorities to enter Building Schools for the Future. A number of schools have been built already under BSF, and because Lewisham is so far advanced, I cannot conceive of any changes to the BSF programme that would be likely to impact on the many projects that she will have shepherded towards a close.

Children's and Youth Services

16. Julie Hilling (Bolton West) (Lab): Which grants to local authorities for children's services and youth services will continue to be ring-fenced. [000816]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education (Tim Loughton): The Department for Communities and Local Government will be writing to local authorities with their revised grant allocations and details of the removal of ring-fences very shortly, including those affecting grants from the Department for Education.

The removal of those ring-fences will give local authorities greater flexibility to reshape their budgets and find the necessary savings that we expect them to make, while maintaining the quality of services to children and young people, which remain a priority of this Department.

Julie Hilling: Does the Minister agree that involving young people in determining youth service projects and the detail of spending on those projects is a good thing? Will he confirm that local authorities are to receive their full funding for this year's youth opportunity fund and youth capital fund?

Tim Loughton: On the first point, I absolutely agree with the hon. Lady that young people's involvement in, engagement with and ownership of youth services is vital, which is why, whenever I visit youth projects, I make a point of speaking to young people and asking them how they are involved in the project, and of promoting such things as youth mayors. In a neighbouring constituency to hers, the Bolton lads and girls club-a most fantastic facility that I have visited twice, and which the Prime Minister has visited as well-serves her constituents and does a fantastic job of engaging young people. I fully support that. It is just the sort of youth facility that we want to see more of.

School Discipline

17. Mr John Baron (Basildon and Billericay) (Con): What steps he is taking to improve standards of discipline in schools; and if he will make a statement. [000817]

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The Minister of State, Department for Education (Mr Nick Gibb): We will improve standards of discipline in schools by giving heads and teachers the powers they need to deal with violent incidents and remove disruptive pupils or items from the classroom. We will introduce no-notice detentions so that poor behaviour can be dealt with immediately, give teachers wider powers of search and clarify their powers to use force. We will stop heads being overruled on exclusions and will reinforce schools' powers to maintain good standards of behaviour through stronger home-school behaviour contracts.

Mr Baron: I thank my hon. Friend for that answer. About 70% of all allegations of physical assault and sexual assault are never proven, yet the figures released clearly show that, despite those accused being exonerated, the records are kept on file and they come up on Criminal Records Bureau checks. What are the Government going to do about that?

Mr Gibb: My hon. Friend raises a good point. False accusations against teachers can have a devastating effect on the careers of those teachers. We intend to introduce anonymity for such teachers and will announce more details of that in due course.

Topical Questions

T1.[000826] Elizabeth Truss (South West Norfolk) (Con): If he will make a statement on his departmental responsibilities.

The Secretary of State for Education (Michael Gove): I thank my hon. Friend for her question. I have today placed a letter in the House of Commons Library detailing how the £670 million of spending reductions in my Department will be implemented. There will be reductions of £359 million in a variety of programmes, including the ending of "Who Do We Think We Are?" week, which started under my predecessor. Given his article in The Observer yesterday, in which he sought to win his party's leadership by outflanking the leader of the Conservative party on both immigration and Euroscepticism-something not done since Enoch Powell was a Member of the House-I hope that those cuts will be of interest to the House.

I am also today lifting restrictions that have stopped state schools offering the international general certificate of secondary education qualification in key subjects. That means that, from September, state-funded schools will be free to teach a wide range of those respected and valued qualifications, putting them, at last, on a level playing field with independent schools.

Mr Speaker: I am sorry to tell the Secretary of State that his answer was too long, but I know that he will not repeat it at Question Time next month.

Elizabeth Truss: I congratulate the Secretary of State on starting his spending cuts with abolishing the Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency, which I believe is partly responsible for undermining academic standards in science and maths A-levels and GCSEs. What does he plan to put in its place to ensure that pupils are properly prepared for university and for work?

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Michael Gove: I know how committed my hon. Friend is to raising standards in schools. The right hon. Member for Morley and Outwood (Ed Balls) will be aware that Ofqual recently pointed out that some of the changes to the science curriculum had downgraded the importance of rigour, and the right hon. Gentleman and my hon. Friend will be aware that the Royal Society of Chemistry said that recent changes to the science curriculum had been a catastrophe. We will make sure that the finest minds in the country of all parties are invited to join us in reshaping the curriculum.

T4. [000829] Luciana Berger (Liverpool, Wavertree) (Lab/Co-op): The ContactPoint database that was championed by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children and Barnardo's is to be scrapped. What assessment has been made of the impact that the removal will have on safeguarding children?

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education (Tim Loughton): I congratulate the hon. Lady on her election. Very soon she will hear further details of the demise of ContactPoint, which was not championed by a great many professionals at the front end, who knew that the bureaucracy added to safeguarding over recent years has contributed to some of the dangers to our children, so we would like to replace it with a much better system. She will hear more details shortly.

T2. [000827] Tom Brake (Carshalton and Wallington) (LD): Does the Secretary of State agree that whether or not Building Schools for the Future continues in its present form, schools such as Carshalton Girls, Carshalton Boys and Wandle Valley will still need substantial investment-about £70 million-to help them improve buildings and deal with demographic pressures?

Michael Gove: I am grateful to my hon. Friend. I know that in parts of south London, including those that he represents, demographic pressures are a real concern. One of the reasons that we are reviewing the allocation of school capital is to ensure that every pupil who needs it gets a school place. That was not true under the previous Government.

T8. [000833] Lisa Nandy (Wigan) (Lab): I am sure the Secretary of State will know of the considerable success that we have had in my constituency, Wigan, in creating apprenticeships, jobs and university places for young people. Can he tell us what measures he will introduce to help young people who are not in education, employment or training?

Michael Gove: We will increase the number of apprenticeships. I am pleased to see that the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, my hon. Friend the Member for South Holland and The Deepings (Mr Hayes), who has responsibility for apprenticeships, is in his place. We will increase the number of apprenticeships by reallocating funding that is currently going on the Train to Gain programme, and we are increasing spending for further education colleges, which-given what happened to the Learning and Skills Council under the previous Government, when building projects were cancelled halfway through and young people who deserved to be in education and training were denied training places-will at last ensure that we give young people the chance that they deserve.

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T3. [000828] Amber Rudd (Hastings and Rye) (Con): I have received a number of inquiries, as I am sure other Members have, from teachers who would like to get involved in starting up free schools but are concerned about confidentiality issues. Can my right hon. Friend advise where they should go to find out more about how to go about setting up free schools without revealing too much about their personal details?

Michael Gove: I am grateful to my hon. Friend for asking that question. She will be aware, as I am sure are Members on the Opposition Benches, that some of the finest schools in the world, such as the Knowledge Is Power Program schools in America, were set up by teachers, and those teachers would not have been able to set up schools anything like as good under the regime that prevailed under the previous Government. I recommend that anyone my hon. Friend knows who wants to get involved in improving state education contact the New Schools Network, a not-for-profit charity organisation dedicated to improving state schools.

T9. [000834] Grahame M. Morris (Easington) (Lab): What provisions will the Secretary of State make in the Academies Bill to safeguard the interests of parents of children with special educational needs or hard to place and other children with specific and complex needs, such as the children currently supported by EDPIP, the East Durham positive inclusion partnership in Easington in my constituency?

Michael Gove: The interests of all children with special educational needs, particularly those who have the most acute disabilities, are at the heart of my thoughts and those of my ministerial colleagues. That is why we are reviewing the whole provision of special needs education, so that we can ensure that whether children are in academies, voluntary aided schools or other local authority schools, they have the highest possible level of support and nurture so that they can achieve everything possible.

T5. [000830] Neil Carmichael (Stroud) (Con): The Secretary of State will know that there are some excellent schools in Stroud. He has visited one of them, Amberley school. What provision, guidance or support will there be for schools that want to become academies which are not so good and are struggling, but see a future for themselves as academies?

Michael Gove: My hon. Friend has been a fantastic champion of both schools and further education. We will make sure that schools that are in real difficulty are teamed with an education sponsor with a track record of excellence in order to improve circumstances. We will ensure that schools that aspire to become academies but are not yet in a strong enough position are teamed with people who can help them achieve their ambitions for all their children.

T10. [000835] Alex Cunningham (Stockton North) (Lab): The safeguarding of our children and young people, which is of paramount importance, has received an unprecedented profile in recent times-but for the wrong reasons. What are the Secretary of State's plans for supporting local authorities and social workers in that crucial work, and for ensuring that all our children and young people are protected?

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Tim Loughton: I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for raising that very important subject, on which in opposition we did a lot of work. Despite all the well-intentioned reforms and the dedication of front-line professionals, the safeguarding of children in this country is still not working properly. That is why I should like to inform the House that, as we first announced in opposition in February, we have decided to commission Professor Eileen Munro of the London School of Economics to carry out an independent review leading to recommendations that support good-quality, child-focused front-line safeguarding practice in children's social care; and we will strip away the bureaucracy that has grown up too much around safeguarding in recent years.

T6. [000831] Mr Graham Stuart (Beverley and Holderness) (Con): The Children, Schools and Families Committee report on the national curriculum called for a five-year cycle of review and reform of the curriculum. Will the Secretary of State put in place such a cycle and ensure that the early years foundation stage, the national curriculum and the arrangements for 14 to 19-year-olds are viewed as a continuum? Will he also tell us whether he plans to implement the Rose review in the meantime?

The Minister of State, Department for Education (Mr Nick Gibb): I am grateful to my hon. Friend for that question. Teachers do not welcome perpetual revolution in the curriculum; schools need some stability, and we will shortly make some announcements about the review of the curriculum. Thereafter, it will not be our intention to have five-yearly-cycle reviews.

Regarding the Rose review and the decision by the previous Government to implement a new primary curriculum from September 2011, as both parties in the coalition made clear in opposition, we do not intend to proceed with the proposed new curriculum. We believe that the Rose review's proposed approach was too prescriptive in terms of how schools should teach and diluted the focus of what they should teach-

Mr Speaker: Order. I am sorry but the answer is simply too long.

Mr Barry Sheerman (Huddersfield) (Lab/Co-op): Does the Secretary of State agree that the CPD-continuing professional development-of teachers is absolutely essential, particularly in science and maths? Is he aware that the fine centre at the university of York, where teachers can go for CPD, and the nine other centres are being starved of visiting teachers because of the interpretation of the "Rarely Cover" work force agreement? The unions interpret it so strictly that we will not be able to maintain those centres.

Michael Gove: As ever, the former Select Committee Chairman makes a brilliant point. He is quite right: John Holman's work in York is outstanding and we should do everything that we can to support it. I note the split between the enlightened voice of Opposition Back Benchers, challenging what the unions say, and the position of Opposition Front Benchers, who will do everything possible to ingratiate themselves with organisations such as Unite, including indulging in anti-immigration rhetoric.

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