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Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many maintained schools (a) closed, (b) merged with another school and (c) closed and reopened as an independent school on the same site in each of the last 10 years. 
Jim Knight: The following table sets out the numbers of maintained mainstream schools which have (a) closed or (b) merged each year under local decision making arrangements, which were introduced in September 1999. Information about decisions made under the arrangements that operated prior to September 1999 is not reliable and has therefore been excluded:
|Reason for closure||2000||2001||2002||2003||2004||2005||2006||2007||2008||Total|
The table includes the reasons for closure. The numbers shown in the column headed Cease to maintain indicate closures where the schools have not been replaced by new schools. In all other cases a replacement maintained mainstream school will have been established (sometimes on the site of a closing school), or an amalgamating school altered, to accommodate displaced pupils.
Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what guidance has been issued by his Department to (a) schools and (b) Ofsted on training of school staff to deal with emergencies relating to children with diabetes. 
Jim Knight: The Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) distributed to schools includes an amount for additional educational needs including deprivation and for pockets of deprivation in generally less deprived authorities.
In addition to the DSG there are additional sums that are provided to schools that have deprivation as part of the distribution methodology; these are the school standards grant (personalisation) (SSG(P)), post leadership incentive grant (Post-LIG), school lunch grant and extended schools grant.
The additional grants have conditions placed upon them requiring targeting in specific ways to reach deprived pupils. Within the DSG it is for each local authority to target funding to deprived pupils in schools to support their additional needs and improve their life chances. The Department for Children Schools and Families is working with local authorities to increase the proportion of the deprivation funding they receive through the DSG that is targeted to those pupils most in need.
Funding should be targeted based on pup characteristics rather than schools, and it is therefore not possible to say how much is given to schools in deprived areas as this should change annually with each budget round to meet the needs of the pupils in schools at that time - in whichever school those pupils are educated.
Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what estimate his Department has made of the amount spent by maintained schools in England on ornamental plants and seeds in the most recent year for which figures are available. 
Hugh Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how much capital funding for rebuilding and refurbishing (a) primary and (b) secondary schools the City of York Council has received (i) in the last year for which figures are available and (ii) in each year since 1979. 
Jim Knight: Most capital funding allocated to local authorities and schools is prioritised locally. Accordingly, no split is held centrally on what proportion is allocated on (a) primary and (b) secondary schools. The Department's database includes capital allocations since 1996-97, set out in the following table.
|(1) This includes £22.2 million of Targeted Capital Funding.|
(2 )This includes £28.0 for a one school pathfinder scheme.
Jim Knight: Data on the attainment of pupils in English, mathematics and science at ages 11 and 14 and GCSE and equivalent qualifications are published by Government office region, local authority, district, parliamentary constituency and ward level and can be found at:
There are a number of National Challenge schools (where the proportion of pupils achieving five A*-C grades at GCSE including English and mathematics is below 30 per cent.) that are located in or near seaside towns. We are supporting the LAs concerned to develop plans to ensure these schools can improve and achieve above this level by 2011.
Although the Fresh Start initiative, which began in 1999, was generally successful in raising attainment, it has now been superseded by programmes such as Academies, the National Challenge, and City Challenge all of which aim to generate sustained secondary transformation. Primary Schools are still eligible for Fresh Start.
Jim Knight: The Governments school standards and school improvement strategies aim to raise standards in all schools, and thanks to a range of measures including increased investment, excellent leadership and teaching; renewed primary and secondary teaching frameworks; better use of pupil data; and the targets schools and local authorities have set for their pupils, school standards have risen substantially since 1997. These have also helped to narrow attainment gaps for disadvantaged pupils, whether or not in deprived areas.
The school funding system allows for a significant additional premium per disadvantaged pupil. Local authorities and schools with high proportions of
disadvantaged children therefore receive additional funds to help them improve standards. In addition, the Government support the City Challenge programme which aims to break the link between deprivation and educational under-achievement in London, Greater Manchester and the Black Country.
Supported by £160 million up to 2011, City Challenge aims to bring about a sharp improvement in under performing schoolsparticularly focusing on English and maths; an increase in the number of outstanding schools; and a narrowing of the attainment gap between disadvantaged children and their peers. City Challenge is an expansion of the successful London Challenge programme, which Ofsted reported had a dramatic impact on London schools: reducing the number of secondary schools in special measures, maintaining GCSE results ahead of the national average and narrowing the attainment gap between disadvantaged children and their peers more quickly than nationally.
The National Challenge programme shares the City Challenge objective to break the link between disadvantage and low attainment. The National Challenge seeks to ensure there are no schools where fewer than 30 per cent. of pupils achieve five good GCSEs including English and mathematics by 2011. Over the next three years, we are investing £400 million in the National Challenge, which builds on the successful London Challenge approach in providing bespoke support for schools facing some of the most significant challenges across the country. As in City Challenge areas, National Challenge schools serve areas where pupils are more likely than average to come from deprived backgroundsas shown by eligibility for free school meals. None the less, since there are many schools in similarly adverse socio-economic conditions where more than 30 per cent. of students gain five good GCSEs including English and mathematics, deprivation should not be seen as an excuse for low achievement.
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