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Mr. Denham: 78 people currently work in the Children and Young People's Unit. That total includes full and part-time staff, people working on short-term secondments to the unit and people working jointly to the Children and Young People's Unit and the Sure Start Unit. 65 people work in the Children and Young People's Unit in London and 13 work in the Government offices in the regions.
Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills when she expects to reply to the hon. Member for Colchester's letter to her of 26 November 2001 concerning St. George's Infant School, Colchester. 
Mr. Timms: There were eight vacancies for full-time teachers in maintained nursery, primary, secondary and special schools in Worcestershire in January 2001. The annual census for 2002 will be carried out on 17 January, though it will be some time before all the information obtained is ready for publication.
Mr. Heath: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) how many teachers in Somerset local education authority have passed the threshold for performance-related pay in round 1 of assessment; 
Mr. Timms: About 200,000 teachers in English local authoritiesincluding nearly 2,000 in Somersetapplied for the threshold assessment in the first (2000) round. The proportion of teachers in Somerset assessed as meeting the standards, at about 97 per cent., is in line with the national average.
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teachers and (c) leadership group members who will be awarded additional points on the upper pay scale in 200203 in (i) England and Wales and (ii) Somerset local education authority. 
Mr. Timms: The number of performance points awarded to teachers and members of the leadership group will be determined by the governing bodies of individual schools. My Department will be making a special grant worth £250 million over the next two financial years available for performance points. But the purpose of this grant will be to encourage schools to award such points, not to fund a particular number of awards. Funding for teachers' pay in Wales is a matter for the National Assembly for Wales.
Mr. Heath: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many assistant heads there were in (a) England and Wales and (b) Somerset local education authority in (i) 200001 and (ii) 200102. 
Mr. Timms: In January 2001 local authorities reported 6,960 full-time assistant heads in the maintained schools sector in England, and 20 in Somerset. More assistant heads may have been appointed after the survey date.
Mr. Randall: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many teachers within the Hillingdon local education authority were assaulted by (a) pupils and (b) parents in each of the last four years. 
Mr. Randall: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many schools within the Hillingdon local education authority had 30 or more pupils in a class in (a) September 2001 and (b) January 2002. 
Mr. Timms: The September class size count in 2001 showed there were 23 schools within the Hillingdon local education authority that had 30 pupils in infant classes with one teacher and one school that had 31 or more pupils in infant classes with one teacher. This data collection only gathers information on infant classes.
For January 2001 there were 48 primary schools within the Hillingdon local education authority that had 30 pupils in a class and 35 primary schools that had 31 or more pupils in a class. The corresponding figures for secondary schools are 14 schools with 30 pupils in a class and 10 schools with 31 or more pupils in a class.
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John Healey: The number of pupils in maintained primary schools in classes of over 35 taught by one teacher as at January 2001 was 93,950 (2.3 per cent.) of all pupils. This compares with 165,672 pupils (4.1 per cent.) in 1998. Average class sizes have fallen from 27.7 in 1998 to 26.7 by January 2001.
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Cabinet Office already commissions and publishes an independent annual report "Analysis of Sickness Absence in the Civil Service". This report includes details of the causes of absenteeism. The report for the year 2000 will be published shortly.
Mr. Timms: Our White Paper, "SchoolsAchieving Success" made clear that local education authorities are key partners in delivering our aims to transform secondary education and raise standards throughout the schools system.
LEAs have a central role to play in providing local leadership and strategic planning, and in the critically important tasks of supporting school improvement, challenging under-achievement and tackling school failure. In addition, it is important that they secure
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Mr. Timms: Local education authorities (LEAs) have a duty to ensure that there are sufficient school places for their area. The Government believe that decisions concerning the supply of school places are best taken locally by the main partners in the provision of education who have knowledge of local needs. Each year LEAs must publish a school organisation plan setting out how they plan to deal with any surplus or deficit of places over a five year rolling period.
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