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Secondary Schools

Volume 458: debated on Monday 26 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many and what proportion of mainstream maintained secondary schools set lessons in (a) mathematics, (b) English and (c) science. (129640)

[holding answer 23 March 2007]: We have figures for the number of lessons as opposed to the number of schools. In its 2002/03 school inspection cycle, Ofsted noted that of all the lessons which inspectors observed:

5,567 of mathematics lessons were set (86 per cent.)

3,681 English lessons were set (51 per cent.)

4,456 science lessons were set (70 per cent.)

We want schools to provide a tailored education for every child and believe that the effective use of pupil grouping plays an important part in supporting this aim. We have been encouraging schools to use setting and other forms of pupil grouping since 1997. However, it will continue to be for schools to decide how and when to group and set pupils. That is the only practical approach.