To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what effect he estimates specialist schools have had on the increase in secondary school students receiving five GCSE passes or more over the last five years. 
Research carried out by Professor David Jesson (University of York) shows that the performance of each cohort of specialist schools and City Technology Colleges (from 1994–2001) has improved more than non-specialist schools at the time, with the exception of the 1996 and 1997 cohorts, as in the following table. This research excluded grammar schools, which, however, form a very similar percentage of both specialist schools and non-specialist schools.
[holding answer 4 April 2003]: The Standards Fund is a programme of Government grants to local education authorities to support a range of national education priorities, such as the national literacy and numeracy strategies, support for Specialist Schools, measures to raise the level of achievement of pupils from ethnic minorities, the Excellence in Cities initiative and capital projects. The grant is paid to local education authorities and most is then devolved to schools. Funding is distributed according to the requirements of each grant and there is no maximum entitlement. A local education authority will not necessarily receive an allocation for every Standards Fund priority. For example, not all authorities are part of the Excellence in Cities initiative, which is designed to raise performance through a targeted programme addressing the educational problems of our major cities.The following table gives the total grant allocated to the London education authorities for the 2002–03 Standards Fund programme, showing the split between recurrent and capital grant.
2002–03 standards fund grant allocated to London education authorities
Local education authority
|Corporation of London||232,638||140,495||373,132|
|Hammersmith and Fulham||9,697,678||2,866,870||12,564,548|
|Kensington and Chelsea||6,797,691||1,670,060||8,467,751|
|Kingston Upon Thames||4,375,605||5,614,948||9,990,553|
|Richmond Upon Thames||3,688,102||2,872,799||6,560,901|
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what plans he has to review the proposed changes to the Standards Fund for 2004–05 in the light of this year's experience. 
[holding answer 4 April 2003]: The Government have announced that over the spending review period the proportion of funding provided to local education authorities and schools through ring-fenced grants will be reduced. The particular arrangements for Standards Fund are reviewed annually in the light of experience.