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Secondary Schools (Curriculum And Staffing Survey)

Volume 402: debated on Friday 4 April 2003

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In November 2002, my Department conducted a Secondary Schools Curriculum and Staffing Survey. The last was held in November 1996. This survey is a periodic voluntary sample survey of maintained secondary schools in England intended to provide data on the breadth of curriculum offered by schools to different year groups, and the post A-level qualifications held by teachers at these schools and how these relate to the subjects that they teach. Provisional results from this survey have been scheduled for publication as national statistics on 16 April 2003, with final results due to be published in September.Over 800 schools were invited to take part in the Survey and, to date, 174 positive responses have been received. Professional advice from officials of the Government Statistical Service is that, while this response provides sufficient data to allow representative results on curriculum coverage to be obtained, there are insufficient data to allow representative results on teachers' qualifications to be obtained at this point. This advice has been given to me in accordance with the national statistics code of practice, which also means that no results from any part of the survey have yet been disclosed to Ministers or policy officials of my Department.Despite the survey form being designed to impose minimum burdens on participating schools, the response rate has been lower than anticipated. This is due to the voluntary nature of the survey. Government statisticians have made intensive efforts to support and encourage respondents and these efforts are meeting with some success. The Department will continue to make these efforts and to take all possible action to increase positive responses from schools in order to yield sufficient data on teachers' qualifications.In view of these facts, I am advised that provisional results on curriculum coverage only will be included in the publication scheduled for 16 April 2003. It is now my Department's intention to include results on teachers' qualifications in the release of final data scheduled for September 2003, when sufficient data have been secured.