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29 Jan 2004 : Column 517Wcontinued
The Solicitor-General: The key criterion the SFO uses when deciding whether to accept a case is that the suspected fraud appears to be so serious or complex that its investigation should be carried out by those responsible for its prosecution. The following factors are taken into account:
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The SFO does not have separate criteria that apply to allegations of bribery of a foreign public official. Allegations of this nature would have to meet the above criteria for the SFO to commence an investigation.
Mr. Simon Thomas: To ask the Solicitor-General how many referrals there have been since 1997 to the Serious Fraud Office where bribery of a foreign public official has been an ancillary offence to another offence; and in how many instances since 1997 the SFO has investigated or prosecuted a company or individual for an offence to which bribery of a foreign public official was ancillary, or in which bribery of a foreign public official may have played a part. 
The Solicitor-General: The SFO have identified five referrals since 1997 where bribery of a foreign public official may have been an ancillary allegation of the wider matter referred. One case is currently under investigation for other offences. The other cases have not resulted in prosecution for any offences.
The SFO does not routinely record all potential offences that may exist within a referred matter. As such there may have been other referrals that included an element of bribery of foreign officials that was not recorded.
Mr. Simon Thomas: To ask the Solicitor-General whether investigation and prosecution under Part 12 of the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 are included in enforcement priorities of the Serious Fraud Office. 
The Solicitor-General: Part 12 of the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act crates new offences. The SFO investigates and prosecutes offences of serious and complex fraud. In selecting cases, it gives priority to those that meet its published criteria agreed by Ministers. The SFO does not prioritise by reference to specific offences.
Once a case meeting the published acceptance criteria has been accepted for investigation, the SFO must consider which offence/offences are the most appropriate to prosecute. The offences falling under Part 12 of the Anti- terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 can now be considered.
Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will state the average class size of (a) primary and (b) secondary schools in (i) Chorley and (ii) Lancashire in each year since 2000. 
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|Classes taught by one teacher|
|Position in January||Chorley parliamentary constituency||Lancashire local education authority|
|each year: 2000 to2003||Primary||Secondary||Primary||Secondary|
(14) Includes middle schools as deemed.
(15) Classes as taught during one selected period in each school on the day of the Census in January.
The Annual Schools' Census.
Linda Gilroy: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will set out, with statistical information relating as directly as possible to the (a) Plymouth, Sutton constituency, (b) Plymouth, Devonport constituency and (c) South-West Devon constituency, the effects on (i) Plymouth Travel to Work area and (ii) Plymouth Unitary Authority area of his Department's policies and actions in (A) 2001, (B) 2002 and (C) 2003. 
Mr. Miliband: Outlined as follows is background on a range of the Department's policies and actions, and their impact on Plymouth and Devon local education authorities. Where analysis has allowed, constituencies requested and the Plymouth Travel to Work Area are detailed.
The Specialist Schools Programme is contributing to the creation of a specialist system in which every secondary school has its own special ethos and works with others to spread best practice and raise standards. The programme helps schools, in partnership with private sector sponsors and supported by additional Government funding, to achieve their targets to raise standards. It promotes school improvement by providing opportunities for schools to work to their strengths, enabling them to deliver effective teaching and learning in their area of expertise, as well as across the curriculum, and to drive innovation.
Any maintained secondary school in England may apply to be designated as specialist in one of 10 areas: arts, business and enterprise, engineering, humanities, language, mathematics and computing, music, science, sports and technology. Schools can also combine any two specialisms.
There are currently 1,444 specialist schools operating in eight of the 10 specialisms (this represents 46 per cent. of all secondary schools). We expect the first music and humanities colleges to begin operating in September 2004. Over 1.5 million pupils now attend specialist schoolshalf of all pupils attending secondary schools are attending specialist schools.
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Specialist schools raise £50,000 from private sector sponsorship (less in the case of schools with less than 500 pupils attending) and prepare four-year development plans for improvements in teaching and learning and involving other local schools and the wider community. Designated schools receive a £100,000 capital grant and £126 per pupil per annum for four years. Schools making good progress in meeting their targets can apply for extension funding for another four years.
The leading edge partnership programme is specific to secondary schools and builds on the success of the beacon schools initiative to encourage an accelerated pace of change and improvement. We need our very best schools and departments to play a leading role in this; to encourage excellence, to develop curriculum expertise and to work with other schools to raise standards through improved teaching and learning. Leading secondary schools will work with other secondary school partners to find solutions to the most critical learning challenges and those most likely to have the greatest impact on closing the attainment gap. We are committed to establishing a network of 300 partnerships by 2006.
In primary, the leading practice programme, described in the recent primary strategy document "Excellence and Enjoyment", a strategy for primary schools, will build on successful practice developed through the beacon programme. We intend to develop a leading practice programme with common national criteria and branding. It will focus on identifying outstanding work in particular areas, within schools that are performing well across the board. The LEA will have a role in working with leading practice schools to ensure they contribute to local networking arrangements so that excellent practice is spread widely.
Excellence Clusters are designed to bring the benefits of Excellence in Cities (EiC) to smaller pockets of deprivation. Some 197 secondary schools and over 440 primary schools are involved in Excellence Clusters. Like EiC, the clusters focus on some of the most deprived areas of the country, using a structured programme designed to raise standards.
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Under our transformation strategy for Education Action Zones (EAZs) established under the Standards and Framework Act 1998 41 of the 73 EAZs will transform to Excellence Clusters. This process will be completed by the end of April 2005.
The Leadership Incentive Grant is intended to accelerate the improvement in standards and to strengthen leadership at all levels in schools. The grant also enables schools to work together to share expertise, resources and effective practice to strengthen teaching and learning.
In 2003, primary schools in every LEA were invited to take part in the Leadership Programme, funded by the Primary National Strategy and developed in partnership with the National College for School Leadership (NCSL). (The National Primary Strategy is a holistic whole-school improvement strategy, building on and incorporating the Literacy and Numeracy Strategies.)
The programme seeks to support schools in improving the leadership of the teaching and learning of English and mathematics, helping to ensure that the rate of progress of children within the school community continues to improve as more reach the standards expected.
Sure Start programmes work with parents-to-be, parents and children to promote the physical, intellectual and social development of young childrenparticularly those who are disadvantagedso that they can flourish at home, when they get to school and during later life. The programme aims to help strengthen families and reduce child poverty by enabling parents to maximise their opportunities to work, learn and study, confident their children are being cared for in a safe and stimulating environment; and contribute to building and sustaining strong local communities through high quality and innovatively delivered family services, which respond to the needs of the communities they serve.
Connexions is the Government's front line support service for all young people in England aged 1319. Connexions will play an integral role in the delivery of the agenda for reform on services for children and young people proposed in the Green Paper "Every child matters".
Through multi-agency working, Connexions provides integrated advice guidance and access to personal development opportunities to help remove barriers to learning and progression and ensure young people make a smooth transition to adulthood and working life. Personal advisers play a lead professional role. They provide advice on careers and lifestyle issues as well as barriers such as homelessness and drugs. They refer young people to specialist support where needed.
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Connexions' overarching objective is to reduce the number of 16 to 18-year-olds who are not in education, employment or training (MEET). Connexions Partnerships have a target of reducing local MEET numbers by 10 per cent. by November 2004.
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|Percentage of pupils at level 2and above:||Percentage of pupils at level 2and above:||Percentage of pupils at level 2and above:|
|Area||English reading||English writing||Maths||English reading||English writing||Maths||English reading||English writing||Maths|
|Plymouth Unitary Authority||81||83||89||82||83||89||82||80||89|
|Percentage of pupils at level 4and above:||Percentage of pupils at level 4and above:||Percentage of pupils at level 4and above:|
|Plymouth Unitary Authority||72||71||86||71||72||84||72||71||85|
|Percentage of pupils at level 5and above:||Percentage of pupils at level 5and above:||Percentage of pupils at level 5and above:|
|Plymouth Unitary Authority||64||67||68||63||67||68||69||70||69|
|Area||Percentage gaining five plus GCSEs at A*-C||Percentage gaining one plus GCSEs at A*-G||Percentage gaining five plus GCSEs at A*-G||Percentage gaining five plus GCSEs at A*-C||Percentage gaining one plus GCSEs at A*-G||Percentage gaining five plus GCSEs at A*-G|
|Plymouth Unitary Authority||50.3||95.5||90.3||51.4||95.3||90.0|
|Area||Percentage gaining five plus GCSEs at A*-C||Percentage gaining one plus GCSEs at A*-G||Percentage gaining five plus GCSEs at A*-G|
|Plymouth Unitary Authority||53.0||95.5||89.9|
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