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Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many schools have been closed after either being placed in special measures or given notice to improve since 1997. 
Jim Knight: Since 1997, 264 schools have been closed after being placed in special measures; and 14 schools have closed after being judged in need of significant improvement (also known as notice to improve) since that category was introduced in 2005.
Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how much has been allocated to the fitting of fire suppression systems in schools in each of the last five years. 
Jim Knight: The Department does not hold information centrally on the amount allocated by local authorities and schools on fire suppression systems in schools in each of the last five years. Allocations are prioritised locally in accordance with asset management plans.
Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) whether local authorities will be expected to show evidence that his Department's guidance document Designing and Managing Against the Risk of Fire in Schools (BB100) has been complied with and the conclusions of the accompanying risk assessment followed in any application for funding under the Building Schools for the Future and Primary Capital programmes; 
(2) whether funding for new school buildings and major refurbishments under the Building Schools for the Future and Primary Capital programmes is contingent on compliance by local authorities with his Departments guidance document Designing and Managing Against the Risk of Fire in Schools (BB100) and the accompanying risk assessment tool; and if he will make a statement. 
It is our expectation that all new and some refurbished schools will have fire sprinklers installed, however this is not a compulsory measure. There may be cases where local authorities or other promoters of schools consider that sprinklers are not needed. If so, in case of challenge they will need to be able to demonstrate that such schools are very low risk and that sprinklers would not represent good value for money.
Compliance with the Building Regulations for Fire is covered by Building Bulletin 100 and all designs must meet the life-safety requirements set out there. These life-safety requirements are enforced by Building Control Bodies. Sprinkler systems classed as life-safety systems and any trade-off of the fire requirements for life-safety that are allowed by BB100, for buildings fitted with sprinkler systems, will need to be checked in detail by the Building Control Body.
Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what assessment he has made of the key findings of Research Brief DCSF-RB020 of January 2008 on Secondary School Admissions in respect of admissions policies and segregated intakes. 
Jim Knight: We are considering the key findings and recommendations of this research as part of our wider review of the admissions system, which we announced in the Children's Plan in December 2007. We will consult on proposals coming out of this review this summer.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families when he expects to publish the Secondary School Curriculum and Staffing survey figures for 2007; and if he will make a statement. 
The survey was carried out by the National Foundation for Education Research (NFER) on behalf of the Department. It is a sample survey where the data requires detailed analysis to ensure that the results are as representative of the population as possible and provide reliable comparisons to the previous survey in 2002. This work is ongoing and has taken longer than anticipated, resulting in a delay to the publication of the final report.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what (a) diplomas, (b) GCSEs and (c) A-levels, by subject, each maintained secondary school and college will be obliged to offer to all students by (i) 2010, (ii) 2013 and (iii) 2015. 
Jim Knight: The new secondary curriculum and the 14 to 19 diplomas share the same core aims and care has been taken to ensure that approaches to teaching and learning are directly aligned. In both cases, there is an emphasis on learner choice and on locally-designed curricula that will meet the needs of students and their community. The GCSE criteria have also been revised recently to be consistent with the secondary curriculum.
By 2011, a full suite of 17 diplomas at all three levels will be available. From 2013 there will be a national entitlement to the first 14 diplomas which will place a duty on local authorities and the LSC to ensure young people have access to a diploma. We are considering how the entitlement should be extended to the three new diplomas announced in October 2007.
We do not expect any single institution to offer all diplomas. Rather, diplomas will be taught by consortiums of schools, colleges, and work-based learning providers, working in partnership with the local authority and employers. Schools and colleges are free to offer the GCSEs and A-levels they think are appropriate for their students, but at key stage 4 must offer the national curriculum programmes of study for English, mathematics; ICT, physical education and citizenship. They must also offer pupils a course of study in science that covers the programme of study and leads to at least two science GCSEs.
They must also teach religious education; sex education; careers education; and work-related learning and they must ensure that all pupils are able to follow a course of study within each of four entitlement areas: the arts, design and technology, humanities and modern foreign languages. There are no plans to change this position, but we have committed to reviewing the future of GCSEs and A-levels in 2013 in the light of experience of diplomas.
As part of the Chancellor of the Exchequers Budget for 2008, the Government have committed a new £200 million package, over the next three years, for the National Challenge to raise standards in secondary schoolswith a particular focus on those schools whose pupils are low attaining at GCSE. The National Challenge programme will empower more of the best head teachers to help turn around schools which are unable to raise low attainment; create new trusts and federations based on successful schools; and, in areas of greatest need, drive forward a faster expansion of the academies programme.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) how many and what proportion of (a) academies, (b) independent schools and (c) trust schools have not joined a consortium with other schools and colleges to provide diplomas; 
Applications for the first consortia were received in December 2006 when there were only 46 open academies. In March 2007, 18 academies were in consortia approved for the delivery of the first
diplomas from September 2008. This equates to 39 per cent. of academies open at that time. There are currently 83 academies open. 60 academies are in consortia that have submitted applications for delivery of the second wave of diplomas from September 200914 of which are already in consortia for the first wave of diplomas. This means that a total of 64 academies are in consortia that have been approved or are currently under consideration. In addition, one city technology college that is converting to academy status is in a proposed consortium for diplomas to be delivered from 2009. Successful consortia for the delivery of diplomas will be announced in the near future.
Of the 37 schools which had acquired trust school status under the Education and Inspections Act 2006 as at 29 February 2008, 22 cater for pupils aged 14 and above. Of these 22 schools, 12 are in consortia approved through the Gateway process to deliver the first diplomas in September 2008. This equates to 54 per cent. of this group. A further seven of the 22 schools are in consortia which have applied to deliver the second line of diplomas from September 2009 and are awaiting decisions.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families whether schools and colleges will be permitted not to offer certain diplomas if low take-up makes them unviable; and if he will make a statement. 
Jim Knight: We do not expect any single institution to offer all Diplomas. Rather, Diplomas will be taught by consortia of schools, colleges, and work-based learning providers, working in partnership with the local authority, employers, and higher education institutions. Individual institutions are under no obligation to offer a particular Diploma.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what his latest estimate is of likely diploma take-up in each year between 2008 and 2020; and if he will make a statement. 
Jim Knight: Schools and colleges are asked to provide estimates of Diploma take-up as part of the Diploma Gateway Process. Based on initial consortia estimates submitted to the first Diploma Gateway in November 2006, up to around 39,000 places were approved for delivery in September 2008. Young people are currently making their choices for this September. The results of the second Diploma Gateway process are due to be published on 19 March 2008, which will provide us with consortia predictions for 2009.
In the longer term, our initial modelling suggests that around one in four 14 to 19-year-old learners will be undertaking one of the first 14 Diplomas from September 2013. This is not a target, but a working model to help with planning towards the introduction of the national entitlement. The modelling does not yet go beyond 2013.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many diplomas will be offered from (a) 2010, (b) 2013 and (c) 2015; what (i) levels and (ii) subjects will be available; and if he will make a statement. 
Jim Knight: We are making good progress on diploma design and delivery to prepare schools and colleges to teach these new qualifications from September 2008. Diplomas offer a clear suite of national qualifications covering a wide range of disciplines and sectors of the economy. They will be available at three levels (foundation, higher and advanced) to offer all young people the right choice.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what effect he expects the introduction of the diploma to have on the proportion of students obtaining five A*-C GCSEs or their equivalent; and if he will make a statement. 
Jim Knight: The introduction of diplomas will help to engage more young people in learning, transform standards in the basics and in the wider skills for employability, and enable young people to be taking qualifications that have a real standing with employers and support their progression into further and higher education to gain higher level skills. Our ambition is that the diplomas, along with our other 14 to 19 reforms, will enable more young people to achieve year on year and secure qualifications that will enable them to progress and lead rewarding lives. As diplomas increasingly become available over the next few years, more young people will choose to study them and students who achieve the higher diploma (level 2) will count against the five A*-C GCSE indicator in the School and College Achievement and Attainment Tables.
Jim Knight: The QCA has calculated performance points for diplomas so that they can be given an equivalence in the School and College Achievement and Attainment tables. The Foundation Diploma is equivalent to five GCSEs at level 1 (grades D-G); the Higher Diploma is equivalent to seven GCSEs at level 2 (grades A*-C); the Progression Diploma is equivalent to 2.5 A-levels (and attracts 300 UCAS points); and the Advanced Diploma is equivalent to 3.5 A-levels (and attracts 420 UCAS points).
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how much guided learning time will be required to teach (a) a diploma to Level 2 and (b) seven GCSEs; and if he will make a statement. 
Jim Knight: The higher diploma (level 2) will require 800 guided learning hours and can be delivered in one or two years if taken on its own or in two years if taken at the same time as the key stage 4 national curriculum programme of study. GCSEs are placed in size bands, which are ranges of guided learning hours. A range of between 595 and 684 guided learning hours will be necessary to teach seven GCSEs.
The figure for the higher diploma includes 140 guided learning hours for personal learning and thinking skills and functional skills. At key stage 4, this element will be delivered in any case across the curriculum, meaning that in the context of this key stage the higher diploma teaching requirement is within the range for seven GCSEs. The larger figure reflects the fact that the higher diploma will also be taught in other contexts.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what assessment he has made of the ability of schools and colleges to deliver 17 diplomas at three levels alongside GCSEs and A-levels; and if he will make a statement. 
Jim Knight: We do not expect any single institution to offer all diplomas. Rather, diplomas will be taught by consortia of schools, colleges, and work-based learning providers, working in partnership with the local authority and employers. Schools and colleges will be able to play to their strengths in offering the qualifications, including diplomas, GCSEs, and A-levels, at which they excel. In addition, we have established an extensive package of support for those areas involved in the delivery of diplomas.
Diplomas have been designed by employers in collaboration with representatives from universities, schools and colleges to be attractive and engaging for learners. Through this extensive consultation, we have ensured that the diploma has a clear structure which comprises three key elementsprincipal learning, generic learning and additional and specialist learning. Principal learning will give students a strong grounding in the skills and knowledge relevant to the sector or subject of their choice. Generic learning will ensure young people develop the basic literacy, numeracy and ICT skills, and skills such as the ability to communicate clearly and to work well in teams which employers want and provide better research, independent study and critical thinking skills that the universities have told us they want. The only variable aspect of the diploma will be additional and specialist learning, which allows students to personalise their programme of study, adding breadth or depth from a range of different qualifications, including A-Levels and GCSEs. As with all major reforms, we
recognise it will take time to become familiar with the new diploma offer and that is why we are introducing them in a phased and planned build up, working closely with local consortiums to ensure that schools and colleges are well prepared to teach the diplomas.
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