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Children and Young Persons Unit

Mr. Prisk: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many people work in the Children and Young Persons Unit in her Department. [25969]

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.

Mr. Prisk: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the budget is for the Children and Young Persons Unit in her Department. [25970]

Mr. Denham: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave my hon. Friend the Member for St. Helens, South (Mr. Woodward) on 4 December 2001, Official Report, column 254W.

Correspondence

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. [25963]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Skills replied to the hon. Member's letter of 26 November 2001 on 11 January 2002.

Teacher Vacancies (Worcestershire)

Mr. Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many teacher vacancies there are in local education authority schools in Worcestershire. [26405]

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.

Teachers' Pay

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; [26570]

Mr. Timms: About 200,000 teachers in English local authorities—including nearly 2,000 in Somerset—applied 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.

Mr. Heath: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what her estimate is of the number of high performing (a) classroom teachers, (b) advanced skills

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teachers and (c) leadership group members who will be awarded additional points on the upper pay scale in 2002–03 in (i) England and Wales and (ii) Somerset local education authority. [26572]

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.

Assistant Heads

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) 2000–01 and (ii) 2001–02. [26575]

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.

The information was not collected before January 2001 and is not yet available for January 2002.

Information for Wales is the responsibility of the National Assembly for Wales.

Teacher Assaults (Hillingdon)

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. [26857]

Mr. Timms: The Department does not hold this data. We have also been informed that Hillingdon local education authority does not hold this information centrally.

Class Sizes

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. [26925]

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.

Data on class sizes for all age groups will be collected by the Annual Schools' Census on 17 January 2002, and will be available in the spring.

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Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many primary school children in England and Wales are being taught in classes of over 35. [23412]

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.

As a result of our infant class size pledge, only 8,000 infant pupils (0.5 per cent.) were in classes of 31 or more in September 2001 compared with 485,000 (22 per cent.) in January 1998.

For information on class sizes for schools in Wales, I refer the hon. Member to the National Assembly for Wales.

Departmental Sickness Absence

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will commission and publish an independent report on the reasons for the level of sickness absence in her Department. [26975]

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.

The DfES is committed to reducing sickness absence in line with the targets agreed across Whitehall.

Education Maintenance Allowance

Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills when the education maintenance allowance evaluation will be published. [26930]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: We published the first evaluation report in March 2001. This looked at the positive effect of EMAs on levels of participation in post-16 education in the first year of the scheme.

We expect to publish reports on the second year of the scheme in the near future, including studies of the effect of EMA on drop out rates and further analysis of the effect on participation.

Secondary Education

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will make a statement on the role of local government in delivering better quality secondary education. [25927]

Mr. Timms: Our White Paper, "Schools—Achieving 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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cost-effective services for schools that allow them to concentrate on delivering improved standards and that they are free to innovate.

Secondary School Places

Mr. Prosser: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what assessment she has made of the adequacy of secondary school places in Kent; [27170]

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.

Where an LEA can demonstrate overall growth in the need for school places, it may apply to my Department for capital funding.


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