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Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families whether it is his policy that the main sponsor of an academy can be a local authority; and if he will make a statement. 
Jim Knight: Academies are independent schools, which means that a local authority cannot be the main sponsor. Local authorities are increasingly becoming engaged in the strategic planning and co-sponsorship of academies in their localities within their wider school rebuilding and transformational strategies, and a number of local authorities are co-sponsors of academies in their area. The Government welcome this engagement.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what changes there have been to his Departments projections for the number of academies to be opened by the end of each of the next five financial years since inception of the programme; and what the reasons were for those changes. 
Jim Knight: The academies programme was introduced as part of the then Secretary of State (Mr. Blunketts) March 2000 speech on transforming secondary education. The programme has always targeted areas with inadequate existing secondary schools, with some academies replacing under-performing schools and others meeting the demand for new school places.
The Departments Five Year Strategy for Children and Learners, published in July 2004 included a target for 200 academies open or in the pipeline by 2010 with 60 in London. With an increasing body of evidence that academies are working and transforming the life chances of some of the most disadvantaged communities, in November 2006 the Government announced a scaling up of the academies programme, with an overall target to establish 400 academies.
The projected number of academies that are due to open at the beginning of any academic year is likely to change several times over the course of the preceding year as a result of project specific factors including land and site issues. A response detailing each change to projections and the reason for those changes could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what criteria determine whether a school can apply to be an academy; whether he plans to alter these criteria; and if he will make a statement. 
Jim Knight: The academies programme targets areas of inadequate educational attainment and opportunity. Some academies are brand new schools which need the extra school places, others are successful fee paying schools that wish to serve their whole local community and broaden their intakeproviding high quality places where they are needed. However, most academies replace weak or underperforming schools. As a general rule, the Government are prepared to consider any secondary school where in 2006 fewer than 30 per cent. of pupils gained five or more GCSEs at A*-C including English and maths as a potential academy project. In addition, local authorities would always consider an academy as an option for dealing with a school in special measures, or subject to an improvement notice, whatever it's results. They should also be considered where there is a need for additional secondary places. This policy is set out in the 2007 prospectus for academies, 400 Academies; prospectus for sponsors and local authorities.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what estimate he has made of the likely number of academies in England in each year until 2020; and if he will make a statement. 
Jim Knight: The Government are committed to opening 400 academies. Details of the number of academies opened and planned to open between 2002 (when the first academy opened) and 2010 are included in the following table.
83 academies have opened to date and we estimate that around 50 will open in each year from 2008 to 2010. The projected number of academies that are due to open at the beginning of any academic year is likely to change several times over the course of the preceding year as a result of project specific factors including land and site issues.
|Opening in period||Cumulative total|
To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what mechanism is available to (a) local authorities and (b) the Government to
ensure that academy schools take appropriate numbers of (i) special educational needs students and (ii) students entitled to free school meals. 
Jim Knight: Academies are fully inclusive schools and they are established in partnership with local authorities. Their funding agreements set out that they are required to comply with admissions law and the statutory School Admissions Code. They are also part of their local school admissions fora. They must have regard to the SEN code of practice and statutory guidance on inclusion.
The National Foundation for Educational Research and the Local Government Association published a report in summer 2006 entitled "Admissions: Who Goes Where". The report found that academies on average admit more pupils with SEN (both with and without statements) than other schools in England. Academies also, on average, admit more SEN pupils (both with and without statements) than their predecessor schools. The report also found that academies admit higher proportions of pupils eligible for FSM than the proportion living in the local postcode districts.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what proportion of pupil entrants are admitted on the basis of aptitude in each academy school; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what proportion of curriculum time is allocated to (a) English, (b) mathematics and ICT academies; and if he will make a statement. 
Jim Knight: All Academies are required to teach English, maths, science and ICT and Academies with funding agreements signed after July 2007 must follow the National Curriculum programmes of study in these subjects. The Department does not monitor the proportion of curriculum time allocated to individual subject areas.
To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what his policy is on the establishment of academies providing sixth forms
in areas which already cater for students in the age group 16 to 18 years which have a sixth form college, a further education institute and schools with sixth forms. 
Academies are proving successful in encouraging more pupils to stay on in education or training post-16. Within the local arrangements for delivering 14-19 specialised vocational diplomas, it is the norm for Academies to be post-16 providers in their own right. Where an academy proposal does not include sixth form provision, the Government would need to be assured that arrangements for post-16 provision for pupils leaving the academy are as good, in terms of accessibility and quality, as those which could be provided by the academy itself.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many and which academies have reached recognition agreements with (a) teaching unions and (b) unions representing other members of staff. 
Beverley Hughes: Information taken from the 2006 Childcare and Early Years Providers' Survey shows that 33 per cent. of childminders hold a Level 3 qualification. The Department is committed to ensuring a greater proportion of the early years and childcare workforce is qualified to level 3 and to encouraging continuous professional development at all levels. Over the period 2006-08, we funded workforce development primarily through the General Sure Start Grant and the Transformation Fund. From April 2008 to March 2011, development of the early years and childcare workforce, including registered childminders, will be funded through the new Sure Start, Early Years and Childcare Grant.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families at what level he intends to fix the registration fee for registered childminders on the compulsory early years register; what account will be taken of affordability in setting that level; and if he will make a statement. 
Beverley Hughes: Our proposals for the levels of fees for the early years register and the compulsory part of the Ofsted Childcare Register from September 2008 will be published for consultation shortly. The proposed fee levels and support arrangements for providers will take into account provider income information from the 2006 Childcare and Early Years Providers' survey.
Beverley Hughes: The Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families' Department holds the same responsibility to children seeking asylum in this country as they hold to UK citizen children. The Government are committed to enabling all children including those seeking asylum to reach their full potential. This includes the Under-Secretary of State maintaining a strong lead in securing integrated children's services and educational excellence for all.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families in what areas it is proposed that his Department will achieve annual net cash savings of £4.5 billion by 2010-11, as set out in the Comprehensive Spending Review. 
Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what the cost has been of re-branding his Department following the change in name from the Department for Education and Skills. 
Kevin Brennan: There were no costs for re-branding. Costs for producing branded material in relation to the creation of DCSF were £14,215 for the design, production and installation of signage, together with £900 for the recycling costs of previous stationery stock.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what his latest estimate is of the proportion of school time spent preparing for key stage 2 tests by children in year 6; and if he will make a statement. 
Jim Knight: The National Assessment Agency, which is responsible for administering the tests, advises schools to prepare their pupils for the tests by providing them with opportunities to familiarise themselves with the layout and design of past test papers, encouraging them to work independently and to be aware that there may be questions in the tests that they will not be able to answer. Head teachers have responsibility for deciding how much preparation pupils should have, but neither the Department nor NAA recommend intensive preparation for the tests.
Information about time spent on test preparation is not collected centrally. However, as part of a research exercise, the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) gathered information about test preparations in school year 2006-07 from 376 primary, infant and junior, schools. Those schools reported on the time spent in year six on direct preparation for key stage 2 tests as follows:
|Time spent on test preparation|
|Percentage of schools|
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