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Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average waiting times for (a) elective in-patient admissions and (b) first out-patient appointments were in each specialty at West Herts NHS Hospital Trust in each year since 1996-97. 
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) which Minister is leading his Department's review of the academies programme; on what date the review was commissioned; which officials in his Department are carrying out the review; what the involvement in the review is of the No. 10 Downing Street Policy Unit; and if he will make a statement; 
Jim Knight: The review of the academies programme was agreed on 12 September 2007 at a routine meeting between the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) and the Prime Minister's Delivery Unit (PMDU) chaired by the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State asked PMDU officials to work with Treasury and DCSF officials in the Academies Group of the Department on the review, which will be completed before the end of the year.
The seminar on 1 November was attended by a number of officials and a range of stakeholders in the academies programme. The Department considers release of the names and organisations of those taking part in the seminar would have an inhibiting effect on the free and frank discussions required in policy reviews and would disrupt our ability to meet our wider objectives.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what start-up revenue funding each academy school was allocated in its first 12 months of operation; and if he will make a statement. 
Jim Knight: Under their funding agreements, academies are entitled to two types of start-up grant. Both are payable in the first year of operation, but may continue at a lower rate in subsequent years depending on the speed at which the academy concerned builds up towards its full capacity.
The first type of start-up grant is for books, materials, software and educational equipment. It is calculated on a formulaic basis for all academies and the amount payable depends mainly on pupil numbers, although the rates used vary slightly according to whether there is a predecessor school, and whether the academy has a sixth form. The first academic year's allocation is paid in three monthly instalments, from September to November. Subsequent years grants, if payable at all, are always at a significantly lower level.
The second type of grant has two elements. One is intended to compensate for the diseconomies of scale incurred on senior and middle management costs while an academy is still significantly below capacity. It is payable until the academy is 90 per cent. full. Up to the academic year 2007/08 it has been paid following assessment of bids, but from 2008/09 will be paid on a formulaic basis derived from the size of the academy. The other element is normally payable only in the first year and relates to transitional costs such as senior staff training and other costs arising from conversion. Academies bid for most of these although, again, for certain items a formulaic approach will be used from 2008/09.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many academies sponsored by the local authority (a) exist and (b) are planned in Manchester; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many permanent exclusions were made by each academy in the 2006-07 school year; how many such exclusions were made in the last full year of each academys predecessor school; and if he will make a statement. 
Permanent exclusions reported by an academy in its first year refer only to those exclusions from the academy. Exclusions from the predecessor school are not included, even if these exclusions occurred during the reporting period in which the academy was established. Such exclusions would be attributed to the predecessor school.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families which academy schools have extended the length of the school day since their establishment; what the new hours are in each case; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families whether he has carried out an assessment of the effects of abolishing key stage tests in Wales; and if he will make a statement. 
Jim Knight: No. The assessment of pupils in Welsh schools is a matter for the Welsh Assembly. Tests for pupils in key stages 2 and 3 have, and will continue to have, an important place in our strategy for further raising standards in schools across England.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families whether an objective of the Building Schools for the future programme is to amalgamate existing schools into new larger schools; and if he will make a statement. 
Jim Knight: It is not an objective of Building Schools for the Future to consolidate existing schools into new larger schools. Matters of school organisation including the size of schools are decided locally. There are clear statutory procedures for proposals to open, close or alter schools, which include local consultation. Building Schools for the Future provides an excellent opportunity for authorities to consider how best to deliver education in their area, including how to raise standards and to provide greater choice and diversity of provision.
Beverley Hughes: To ensure that the target of halving child poverty is met the Government have recently published a Delivery Agreement (DA), underpinning the Child Poverty Public Service Agreement (PSA), which sets out all of the key policy activities to deliver the 2010 target. The Government have also published other key PSA DAs aimed at improving outcomes for children and young people and tackling the effects of povertythrough narrowing the gap in educational achievement, raising educational attainment, improving children's health and well-being, increasing the number of young people on the path to success, and improving the safeguarding of children. The achievement of these public service agreements will all contribute towards meeting the 2020 target of eradicating child poverty.
The Government are currently putting in place governance arrangements at both Ministerial Cabinet
Committee level and official levels to meet the 2010 and 2020 child poverty targets.
In addition, as part of the Machinery of Government changes (June), the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) has also recently established a new Child Poverty Unit, announced on 29 October by Peter Main, which has brought together policy and analytical officials from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DSCF) to co-ordinate and develop child poverty policy.
Jim Knight: In January 2007, the latest information available, the within school ratio of pupils to teachers (PTR) for primary and secondary schools in Easington constituency were 22.4 and 16.7 respectively. The equivalent figures for England were 21.8 and 16.5.
The information provided is from the DCSF School Census. The within school PTR is calculated by dividing the total FTE number of pupils on roll in schools by the total full-time equivalent number of teachers regularly employed in schools.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what guidance his Department has issued to schools on the roles and responsibilities of (a) teaching assistants and (b) technicians working in schools. 
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what proportion of teaching assistants working in schools have a (a) level one, (b) level two and (c) level three qualification as their highest qualification. 
Jim Knight: The information requested is not available in the form requested but the Deployment and Impact of Support Staff in Schools Survey, a DCSF survey which took place in 2006, did collect some information on the qualifications of support staff. This information is given in the following table.
|Levels of qualification for support staff( 1) in service in England, 2006|
|Support staff category|
|Teaching assistant equivalent( 2)||Pupil welfare||Technician||Other pupil support||Facilities||Administration||Site|
|(1) Respondents to the survey were asked to select all qualifications held and therefore may have selected more than one category of qualification.|
(2) Teaching assistant equivalent support staff includes Higher Level TAs, LAs (SEN pupils), Nursery Nurses, Therapists and TAs in primary, secondary or special schools.
DCSF sample survey
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