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Secondary School Pupil Attainment

Volume 406: debated on Wednesday 11 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what evidence he has collated on the impact of (a) increased funding, (b) school management reviews and (c) the creation of a subject specialism on levels of pupil attainment in secondary schools. [117179]

The Department's own figures show that there has been an increase of £10.5 billion in school funding since 1997. This equates to an increase in funding per pupil of £920 in cash terms over the period, and has enabled schools to increase the number of teachers that they employ by 20,000 and the number of support staff by 80,000. Coupled with improvements to school buildings and the rolling out of initiatives such as specialist schools these additional resources have been correlated with a substantial improvement in pupil achievement. In particular, since 1997 there has been a 5 percentage point increase in the proportion of secondary pupils achieving five or more A*-C GCSEs. Primary school pupils have also benefited with 10 and 14 percentage point improvements in the proportion achieving the expected level in English and Maths at KS2.Reviews of school management are primarily the responsibility of local education authorities, although an independent view of the competence of management and leadership in each school is an integral part of every Ofsted inspection. The annual report of Her Majesty's Chief Inspector (February 2003) indicates that leadership and management of secondary head teachers and key staff continue to improve, and are now good or better in over eight out 10 schools. We continue to press hard to identify areas where improvement is still needed, using targeted policies and funding to do so.Building on the new Ofsted framework for inspection, groups of schools in receipt of Leadership Incentive Grant funding have, for example, been required to undertake rigorous self and peer review to identify strengths and weaknesses in key areas contributing to leadership and attainment. These Leadership Collaborates have used this knowledge to agree shared priorities for action in their Collaborative Plans. Where there are weaknesses, funding through the Grant can be used to restructure leadership teams and provide additional support for actions designed to raise attainment and strengthen teaching and learning across the Collaborative. We will be monitoring the impact on pupil attainment over the lifetime of the Grant.

(c) In 2002, mainstream non-selective specialist schools averaged 54.1 per cent. 5 + A* to C grades at GCSE compared to 46.7 per cent. for all other mainstream non-selective secondary schools. On average there was a 4.5 percentage points difference between the value added outcomes of these specialist schools in terms of KS2 to GCSE 5 + A* to C when compared with non-specialist schools. Ofsted's 2001 report on specialist schools ("An evaluation of progress") said that specialist status had been

"a catalyst for innovation and helped to sustain or accelerate the momentum of school improvement".

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will assess the impact of heterogenous pupil grouping on levels of discipline in the classroom. [117180]

It is for schools to develop and determine for themselves the best form of pupil grouping to meet the needs of all their pupils. From September, all secondary schools in England will benefit from a package of training and audit materials, which will help schools to improve their effectiveness in promoting positive behaviour and attendance.