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Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what his most recent estimate is of the number of primary school places required for the academic years (a) 2009-10, (b) 2010-11 and (c) 2011-12. 
Sarah McCarthy-Fry: Local authorities are responsible for planning the creation of new school places and are under a duty to ensure sufficient school places are available to meet local needs. The Department allocates basic need funding to enable local authorities to provide the additional places needed in response to a growth in pupil numbers. For funding the additional school places the Department relies on authorities' own estimates of future primary and secondary pupil numbers, which they provide to the Department annually through the Surplus Places Survey. At January 2008 there were 3.823 million pupils in primary schools in England and local authorities estimated the primary school population would increase by around 2.5 per cent. over the following four academic years as follows:
|LA estimated number of primary pupils (million)||Annual increase ( percentage )|
Surplus Places Survey 2008
Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many schools in each local authority will require temporary accommodation to be constructed in order to provide additional state sector primary school places in the academic year (a) 2009-10, (b) 2010-11 and (c) 2011-12. 
Local authorities are responsible for planning the creation of new school places and are under a duty to ensure sufficient school places are available to meet
local needs. Through good asset management processes, they are encouraged to plan for future accommodation requirements.
Temporary accommodation is appropriate where there is too little time to construct permanent accommodation, or where the need is likely to be short term. In such circumstances, modern, high-quality temporary buildings provide a good environment for teaching and learning. Where they are new or relocated, they are required to meet building environmental standards similar to those which apply to permanent buildings.
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what steps his Department is taking to tackle childhood obesity; what proportion of school-age children he estimates are (a) overweight and (b) obese; and if he will make a statement. 
Sarah McCarthy-Fry: In the year since the £372 million Healthy Weight, Healthy Lives: a Cross Government Strategy for England was published there has been substantial progress. The Healthy Weight, Healthy Lives: One Year On annual report was published last month, which sets out in detail our progress to date and also the areas we need to focus on over the next year. A copy of the report is available on the DCSF and Department of Health websites.
The two main sources of data on childhood obesity are the Health Survey for England (HSE) and National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP). In 2008, the HSE data showed that the estimated prevalence of overweight among 2 to 15-year-olds was 14.0 per cent. and the prevalence of obesity was 16.5 per cent. The 2007/8 NCMP results showed that in reception year 13.0 per cent. of children were overweight and 9.6 per cent. were obese and that in Year 6 14.3 per cent. of children were overweight and 18.3 per cent. were obese.
Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what guidance his Department has issued on the education of highly obese children in each of the last three years. 
Sarah McCarthy-Fry: The Government's strategy for addressing overweight and obesity is set out in Healthy Weight, Healthy Lives: A Cross-Government Strategy for England and in the recent progress report Healthy Weight, Healthy Lives: One Year On. The latter report sets out how we can continue our drive to combat obesity by helping people to make healthier choices, creating an environment that promotes healthy weight, providing quality services that identify, advise, refer and treat those at risk, and strengthening the delivery system. The initial focus of the strategy is on children.
The most recent data from the National Child Measurement Programme for 2007/08 and from the Health Survey for England for 2007 suggests that the trend in obesity prevalence may have begun to flatten out over the last two to three years. The Cross-Government Obesity Unit provides primary care trusts and schools with annual guidance on the National Child Measurement Programme which includes information on sending the results from the programme back to parents.
There is no evidence that there are large numbers of children who need special arrangements for their education on the grounds that they are obese, and the Department has not issued guidance on the specific topic of education of obese children. If school nurses or other health professionals are concerned about a child's health because of his or her apparent weight status they should take action according to standard local care pathways. However, children with health problems related to obesity may need support at school in managing these conditions, and for these pupils schools should have policies in place on the management of pupils' medicines and on supporting pupils with medical needs. The Department for Children, Schools and Families and Department of Health have published joint guidance, Managing Medicines in Schools and Early Years Settings, to help schools and their employers develop such policies.
There may be a small number of children whose weight gives rise to mobility problems and who might also meet the Disability Discrimination Act 2005 definition of a disabled person. Guidance has been issued to schools and local authorities on their responsibilities under the Act: this and can be found at
Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what the average (a) class size, (b) number and percentage of pupils with special educational needs, (c) free school meal entitlement percentage, (d) suspension rate, (e) exclusion rate, (f) expenditure per pupil, (g) truancy rate and (h) punctuality rate was in (i) schools in England and (ii) each national challenge school in each seaside town in the latest period for which information is available. 
Sarah McCarthy-Fry [holding answer 23 February 2009]: To provide all of the requested information for England and each national challenge school in each seaside town would incur disproportionate cost.
The latest available published information on average class sizes, which includes information for local authorities, is published as SFR 09/2008 Pupil Characteristics and Class Sizes in Maintained Schools in England: January 2008 which can be accessed at:
The latest available published information on pupils with special educational needs, which includes information for local authorities, is published as SFR 15/2008 Special Educational Needs in England: January 2008 which can be accessed at:
The latest available published information on the number and percentage of pupils eligible for free school meals, which includes information for local authorities, is published as SFR 09/2008 Pupil Characteristics and
Class Sizes in Maintained Schools in England: January 2008 which can be accessed at:
The latest available published information about permanent and fixed period exclusions, which includes information for local authorities, is published as SFR 14/2008 Permanent and Fixed Period Exclusions from Schools in England 2006/07 which can be accessed at:
Information is collected on unauthorised absence. Unauthorised absence is absence without leave from a teacher or other authorised representative of the school. This includes all unexplained or unjustified absences, such as lateness, holidays during term time not authorised by the school, absence where reason is not yet established and truancy. Information collected by the Department on absence is a more comprehensive measure of childrens missed schooling.
The absence SFR provides information on absence, which includes authorised and unauthorised absence, and highlights the numbers of pupils who are persistent absentees missing 20 per cent. or more of their schooling, whether with permission or not.
The latest available published information on absence, which includes information for local authorities, is published as SFR 03/2009 Pupil Absence in Schools in England, including Pupil Characteristics: 2007/08 at:
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families if he will make it his policy to retain for community sport and leisure use school playing fields which are surplus to requirements. 
Sarah McCarthy-Fry: When we consulted on the effects of the disposal of school playing fields, local authorities and schools expressed concerns about the financial implications of maintaining school playing fields that were genuinely surplus to requirements. The Department does, however, encourage schools and local authorities to consider arrangements whereby such playing fields could be maintained by other local organisations and managed to benefit their local communities. When considering any application to dispose of school playing fields, the views of any authorised community users of the land are fully taken into account.
Kelvin Hopkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of the amount of time provided by schools for staff training in new technologies and initiatives. 
Jim Knight: Decisions about the appropriate amount of time allocated for training individual members of school staff, including training in new technologies and initiatives, are made at school level. For teachers these decisions will be taken in the context of the revised performance management arrangements we introduced in September 2007. In many schools similar arrangements have been introduced for all school staff.
The Department works to support the professional development of school staff and recently, for example, made provision during the 2007/08 academic year for schools to reduce their school sessions from 190 to 189 days to provide additional opportunities for staff training on the secondary curriculum changes. On 30 April, we announced that similar provision would be made for primary schools in 2010 to provide training to staff in advance of a new primary curriculum being introduced from 2011. A comprehensive package of guidance and support for schools to aid introduction of a new primary curriculum will be available from January 2010.
In addition, the Department is working with the QCA and BECTA to consider what additional support teachers will need to meet the raised expectations of childrens ICT capabilities, and the use of technology to enrich learning across the curriculum, as set out in the final report of Jim Roses review of the primary curriculum.
Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many pupils who were (a) eligible and (b) ineligible for free school meals took GCSEs in (i) science, (ii) science and additional science and (iii) separate science subjects in 2008. 
Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many pupils who were eligible for free school meals had statements of special educational needs in each local authority area in each year since 1997. 
Mr. Graham Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what steps he is taking to increase the number of school-based teacher training mentors; and if he will make a statement. 
Jim Knight: Between 2001 and 2009 the Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA) has supported a significant number of initiatives to increase both the number and quality of school based mentors in initial teacher training (ITT) and in continuing professional development. Since 2001 the number of trainee teachers has risen from 27,000 to over 36,000 this year. In order to ensure that all trainees have a well trained mentor in their placement schools the TDA has invested in significant programmes:
2002 to 2006the National Partnership Project (over £20 million over the lifetime of the project)a wide-ranging programme of support for mentor training, including sharing of best practice; direct funding for higher education institution mentor training with schools and support for the building of regional sharing of mentors and training between ITT providers.
2006 to 2009Partnership development schools (over £6 million)worked with over 600 schools on national priority areas focusing on mentoring on a local level.
From 2009Beyond Partnershipthe TDA is opening out a consultation process with the ITT sector to explore best use of the investment made and how further support can be developed and delivered.
Evidence of Ofsted inspections and feedback from ITT providers, schools and regional field-forces indicates that this investment has had a significant impact ensuring that all trainees receive high quality training during their school experience, including the support of a well-trained mentor.
In response to the recommendations made in Lord Sainsburys report The Race to the Top, the TDA has put into place an Early Career Mentoring project for science and mathematics teachers. This project is a two-year evaluative pilot, being delivered by the Learning and Skills Network that will provide face-to-face, telephone and e-mentoring for 600 (rising to 800 in the second year) science and mathematics trainee teachers, newly qualified teachers and teachers in their second year of teaching. The programme will start in September 2009.
The Professional Standards for Teachers also make clear that being a coach and mentor are key aspects of teacher professional development, and this is referenced more strongly as the individual progresses up the career ladder. The Government are committed to the introduction of the Masters in Teaching and Learning programme from 2009/10, an initiative that will establish teaching as a masters-level profession. A key element of that will include the identification and training of in-school coaches.
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