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GCSE: Disadvantaged

Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many and what percentage of pupils eligible for free school meals did not gain one or more C grades or above at GCSE in 2008. [251297]

Sarah McCarthy-Fry [holding answer 26 January 2009]: In 2008, 29,886 (40.0 per cent.) of pupils eligible for free school meals in maintained schools did not achieve one or more grades A*-C at GCSE.

National Curriculum Tests

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how much his Department has spent on the Key Stage 2 single level tests in the last 12 months; and if he will make a statement. [259487]

Jim Knight: The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) develops and delivers the single level test (SLT) strand of the Making Good Progress pilot. QCA advises that the total amount spent on SLTs for both key stage 2 and key stage 3 in the period 1 February 2008 to 31 January 2009 was £6,986,404. This includes spending on development work associated with the June 2009 test round. It is not possible to extract the specific costs associated with key stage 2.

Nurseries: Vacancies

Mrs. Maria Miller: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families pursuant to the answer of 3 February 2009, Official Report, columns 1067-8W, on nurseries: vacancies, if he will estimate the number of full-time vacancies there were in local authority maintained nurseries in 2008. [260616]

Beverley Hughes: The Childcare and Early Years Providers Survey collects information on the number of childcare places in maintained nursery schools in England. Information regarding the number of full-time vacancies in maintained nurseries in 2008 is not yet available. The Childcare and Early Years Providers Survey 2008 will be published later this year.

Ofsted: Finance

Mrs. Maria Miller: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how much funding his Department has provided to Ofsted in each year since 1997; and how much of this has been spent on (a) inspections and (b) inspections of early years settings in each year. [250969]

Jim Knight: Ofsted is a non-ministerial Government Department and its funding is provided by the Treasury through a separate estimates process. HM Chief Inspector, Christine Gilbert, has therefore written to the hon. Member on this matter and a copy of her reply has been placed in the Libraries.

Letter from Christine Gilbert, dated 10 February 2008:

Table A: 0fsted’s total funding and expenditure in each year since 1997
£ million
Financial year Total funding Total gross expenditure Total programme cost of inspection and regulation activity Total programme cost of Early Years Inspection and regulation activity

1997-98

151.3

151.0

118.2

0

1998-99

133.4

112.1

79.8

0

1999-2000

96.5

87.2

53.6

0

2000-01

103.9

104.4

90.5

0

2001-02

155.6

155.0

130.5

40.8

2002-03

200.2

200.2

170.5

68.2

2003-04

211.6

211.1

181.3

68.4

2004-05

217.5

215.3

190.8

(1)82.3

2005-06

225.3

223.0

199.2

79.0

2006-07

208.4

185.7

157.7

(2)52.2

2007-08

236.3

228.1

206.6

(3)53.5

Notes
1. In the financial year 2005-06, Ofsted used an improved method for calculating total costs of inspection and regulation. The 2004-05 figures above are the recalculated figures based on this new method.
2. Between the financial years 2004-05 and 2006-07 Ofsted established a new regional structure, rationalising the support for inspections within three regional offices. These changes led to substantial reduction in the cost of inspection and regulation activity.
3. Since April 2007, Ofsted has had responsibility for the inspection and regulation of care for children and young people, and the inspection of education and training for learners of all ages. Consequently, total funding and gross costs increased sharply.

Parents: Advisory Services

Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what legal requirements local authorities have to inform parents about choice in childcare and schools. [259085]

Jim Knight: Local authorities have a duty to ensure fair access to educational opportunity and to provide information to the public on childcare and related services.

Local authorities are required to consult on their school admission arrangements in accordance with the school admissions statutory framework once every three years, unless changes in the criteria are proposed. Each year, they publish information in a prospectus about each of the maintained schools, including academies, in their relevant area to ensure parents have access to information when applying for a school place.

The Childcare Act 2006 extended local authorities' existing duty to provide information to the public on childcare and related services.

Primary Education

Mrs. Maria Miller: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families whether he plans to change the age at which children start their reception year. [260631]

Beverley Hughes: The remit for the Independent Review of the Primary Curriculum, asks Sir Jim Rose to consider whether it be appropriate to allow more choice and flexibility in start dates for children entering school who are summer born.

Sir Jim Rose’s interim report has recommended that entry into reception class in the September immediately following a child’s fourth birthday should become the norm and the Review is exploring how this might be achieved without unduly restricting parental choice. The final report and recommendations will be published this spring. Ministers will consider the recommendations of the Review in due course and have not yet made any decisions.

Pupils: Food

Mrs. Hodgson: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many children of (a) primary and (b) secondary school age in each local authority area have been referred for food intolerance testing in the last 12 months. [250708]

Sarah McCarthy-Fry: This information is not collected by the Department.

Schools: Closures

Nick Herbert: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many secondary schools in (a) rural and (b) urban areas closed in each of the last 10 years. [256451]

Jim Knight: The following table sets out the numbers of maintained secondary schools in (a) rural and (b) urban areas that have closed in each year since 2000. We do not have reliable information about decisions made prior to 2000.

2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 Total

Rural

1

1

2

Urban

3

6

11

11

22

12

6

8

7

86

Figures include middle deemed secondary schools

The table shows closures where the schools ceased to be maintained and were not replaced. There are other circumstances involving school closure which have been excluded from the table because replacement provision
4 Mar 2009 : Column 1685W
was established, for example in the case of a change to a school's religious character or an amalgamation of an infant and junior school to form a primary school.

Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many rural schools have closed in each year since 1996. [259101]

Jim Knight: The following table sets out the numbers of maintained rural schools that have closed in each year since 2000. We do not have reliable information about decisions made prior to 2000.

Primary Secondary( 1)

2000

2

2001

1

2002

5

2003

6

1

2004

11

2005

10

2006

10

2007

14

2008

14

1

Total

73

2

(1) Including middle deemed secondary.

The table shows closures where the schools ceased to be maintained and were not replaced. There are other circumstances involving school closure which have been excluded from the table because replacement provision was established, for example in the case of a change to a school’s religious character or an amalgamation of an infant and junior school to form a primary school.

Schools: Construction

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families when he expects building work under the primary strategy for change programme to commence; and if he will make a statement. [259486]

Jim Knight: The 23 pathfinder authorities have already started work on their exemplar projects. We expect most to be completed by the end of this year. The programme is being rolled out nationally from April 2009. Early indications are encouraging. My statement of 12 November 2008, Official Report, column 56WS, confirmed that 133 strategies for change have already been either fully approved or approved with modification, enabling the Department to confirm 2009-10 funding for around 90 per cent. of eligible authorities. Local authorities collectively have reported that they are planning to start projects at more than 1,500 schools over the three year period 2008-11.


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