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GCSE Results

Volume 630: debated on Monday 6 November 2017

14. What assessment she has made of the effect of the free school and academy programmes on recent GCSE results. (901611)

The free school and academy programmes are helping pupils from all backgrounds to achieve their potential. Pupils in converter academies are achieving top GCSE results and, together with pupils in free schools, are making on average more progress than pupils in other types of schools. Secondary sponsored academies have also improved, often from difficult circumstances, with more pupils achieving good GCSEs in English and maths this year.

I thank the Minister for his response. Crowborough’s Beacon Academy, which is in my constituency, has been named as the best school in East Sussex. It is in the top 3% in the country, with 77% of its pupils achieving five or more passes at GCSE. The headteacher, Anna Robinson, has taken this academy to the top of the league tables. Will the Minister join me in congratulating her and the schools’ students on a great job? Is this not another example of the Government’s education policies enabling our children to reach their full potential?

I am delighted to join my hon. Friend in congratulating Beacon Academy on its GCSE results this year. The provisional 2017 figures show that 56% of its students are entered for the increasingly important EBacc combination of core academic GCSEs. The pupils’ progress puts it in the top 12% of schools nationally on that measure.

I have been independently advised, and I can confirm, that today both questions and answers are notably long.

The Minister mentioned children of all backgrounds. What is the funding allocation for the coming academic year for counselling services and help for transgender children, which the charity Stonewall describes as being in a seriously bad state?

The Government Equalities Office has allocated £3 million for a programme to tackle HBT—homophobic, biphobic and transphobic—bullying. That programme is already in 1,200 schools up and down the country, and it is very successful.

22. As the Government rightly continue to push local authorities to make provision for more housing, the need for additional places at free schools and academies will increase. In my constituency, that makes the case for a new school to serve Radlett, Bushey and Borehamwood all the more pressing. What steps are the Government taking so that there is co-ordination between local authorities and the Department for Education when planning for new school places? (901619)

One of the first things we did when we came into office in 2010 was to double the amount of capital for basic need funding compared with what Labour had spent. Basic need funding for school places is based on a local authority’s own data, and we fund every place that councils say they need to create. Local authority forecasts include key drivers of increased pupil numbers, such as rising birth rates and housing developments. Hertfordshire has already received £197 million for new places between 2011 and 2017, and it is allocated a further £57 million for the next three years.