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Lembit Öpik: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what steps his Department is taking to promote the teaching of science in primary schools; and if he will make a statement. 
Ms Diana R. Johnson: The Government have accepted Sir Jim Roses proposals for a new primary curriculum to come into effect from 2011 which will give schools more flexibility to meet pupils individual needs and build on prior learning. From January 2010, a support package will be available to help schools and teachers implement the new primary curriculum. The support package is currently being developed in consultation with schools and teachers and will include promoting the effective teaching of science.
It will also be accompanied by the new Assessing Pupils Progress (APP) materials for primary science which will enable teachers to make judgments about their pupils attainment against national curriculum levels and inform individual learning to promote improved teaching of science in primary schools and complement the approach taken at secondary schools.
The national network of Science Learning Centres provides high quality CPD in science for primary and secondary science teachers, teaching assistants and
technicians. Primary teachers are also eligible for bursaries to cover the cost of attending professional development courses at the National Science Learning Centre in York.
The Department has awarded a contract to the Association for Science Education (ASE) to run a support programme to improve the use of practical work in science across primary and secondary schools. The programme builds on the work undertaken by SCORE (Science Community Representing Education) on best practice in this area and aims to provide teachers with innovative, effective advice, guidance, and support regarding the use of practical work in science.
Anne Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families pursuant to the Statement of 30 June 2009, Official Report, columns 165-80, on 21st century schools, what criteria he plans to use to identify children who are behind at the end of their primary school education who are to be offered additional tuition at the start of their secondary education; what arrangements will be made for allocating funding to meet expenditure on such tuition; and whether the tuition offered will be in hours outside those provided for the teaching of the secondary school curriculum. 
Ms Diana R. Johnson: Every pupil who leaves primary school at the end of the summer term 2010 without reaching the expected National Curriculum level 4 in either English or mathematics will be guaranteed extra support when they start secondary school through one-to-one or small group catch-up tuition in year 7. Local authorities will be responsible for allocating funding to their secondary schools to support any year 7 pupils who need one-to-one tuition. If pupils are identified for small group tuition or other catch-up support, money has already been included within school budgets up to 2011 to support personalised learning.
It is up to schools to decide when and how to offer the catch-up tuition. The new secondary curriculum which we began implementing from September last year gives schools more scope to provide catch-up support during the school day if they judge this the most appropriate option for their pupils.
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps his Department is taking to discourage the (a) closure and (b) development for other uses of local authority allotments. 
Ms Rosie Winterton:
Local authorities are already required under section 8 of the Allotments Act 1925 to obtain consent from the Secretary of State to dispose of statutory allotments. Section 8 applications are considered against criteria set out by the Secretary of State, which require local authorities to ensure that adequate provision is made for displaced allotment holders, that the availability
of allotment sites has been actively publicised, and that they have taken into account the number of people on the allotment waiting list as well as latent demand.
Given the ever increasing demand for allotments, my Department has recently written to the Government office responsible for determining applications for consent for disposal of statutory allotments in England on behalf of the Secretary of State, to stress the need to demand and scrutinise evidence from local authorities to support their applications for allotment disposals.
Your Parliamentary question on what plans the Audit Commission has for the rebranding of its comprehensive area assessment programme has been passed to me for reply.
The Audit Commission, Care Quality Commission, HMIs Prisons, Probation and Constabulary, and Ofsted, set out in our published Framework document our aim to develop a user-friendly reporting system for comprehensive area assessments.
The Framework states that: CAA is an important part of assessing and reporting on how well public money is spent, and making sure that local public bodies are accountable to the public for their service quality and impact.
We are currently developing a user-friendly format for the reporting of the assessment results. We will be branding our dedicated CAA website oneplace.
The public launch of the oneplace website, delivered through Directgov, will be in early December. We began to communicate oneplace through our presence at the recent Local Government Association (LGA) conference in Harrogate.
If you would like a more detailed briefing on our work in this area and the oneplace website, please let me know.
A copy of this letter will be placed in Hansard.
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to paragraph 20, chapter one of the Draft Legislative Programme 2009, Cm 7654, what definition his Department uses of city-regional government. 
Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 30 June 2009, Official Report, columns 7-10WS, on housing, on what date he plans to publish his Departments consultation document on the reform of the council housing finance system; and when he expects the consultation exercise to be completed. 
Mr. Ian Austin: My right hon. Friend the Minister for Housing intends to publish the consultation document before the summer recess. The consultation period will be for a minimum of 12 weeks in accordance with the Governments Code of Practice on Consultation.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when the report of the review of council housing finance which began in December 2007 will be published; and what the timetable is for the consultation on council housing finance he plans to launch before the summer recess. 
Mr. Ian Austin: We will publish a research report alongside the consultation. The consultation period will be for a minimum of 12 weeks in accordance with the Governments Code of Practice on Consultation.
Mr. Ian Austin: No. The consultation document we will publish shortly on our proposal to devolve council housing finance will include further information on how we might deal with current and future housing transfer proposals.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what protections will be provided to local authority tenants on (a) security of tenure, (b) rent levels and (c) improvements to reach the Decent Homes standard under his proposals for the self-financing of council housing. 
Mr. Ian Austin: The proposals for self-financing would have no impact on the statutory security of tenure enjoyed by council tenants. Nor do they include any proposed changes to the Governments social rent policy. Self-financing would need to deliver the resources required to maintain the Decent Homes standard; any backlog of Decent Homes work at the time of a self-financing settlement would have to be addressed through Communities and Local Government capital programmes, as currently.
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate he has made of the average annual change in council tax revenue collected by local authorities exercising their powers to reduce council tax discounts on (a) second and (b) empty homes in the last three years. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: Details of the average annual change in council tax revenue to be collected by those local authorities that have exercised their powers to reduce council tax discounts on (a) second and ( b) empty homes in the last three years are shown in the table.
|Second homes||Empty homes|
Ms Rosie Winterton: The Department does not provide guidance to local authorities in relation to overpayments of council tax. The administration of council tax is for local authorities, not central Government.
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether the Valuation Tribunal Service makes an estimate of the number of homes which are (a) over-valued for council tax purposes and (b) in too high a council tax band. 
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will make it his policy to collate and publish figures for allowances paid to councillors by each local authority. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: Local authorities are required to publish the recommendations of their independent remuneration committee for the level of councillors allowances, the level of allowances for councillors determined by the authority and the actual amount of allowances claimed by councillors.
Mr. Stewart Jackson:
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what guidance his Department has issued on levels of (a)
employee and (b) employer pension contributions in relation to councillors who are members of the Local Government Pension Scheme. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: The contribution rate paid by councillors who are members of the Local Government Pension Scheme is set out in the Local Government Pension Scheme Regulations 1997. The contribution rate for their authority is set by the actuary appointed to carry out the triennial valuation of the relevant scheme pension fund.
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment he has made of the likely effects of implementation of the proposals in the draft legislative programme 2009 on his Department's budget for the next two years. 
John Healey: Communities and Local Government continually assesses the impact of new legislation on both departmental and local government finances for current and future years. Forthcoming legislation for 2009-10 was included in a draft programme published in Building Britain's Future (29 June 2009) and CLG is working with lead Departments to identify costs for inclusion in individual impact assessments for each new Bill.
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which local authorities have included reference to the use of wheelie bins in their annual efficiency reports to his Department. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: Annual efficiency statements were submitted by councils for the financial years 2004-05 to 2007-08 inclusive. During that period, the following councils referred to wheelie bins in their statements:
Ashfield District Council
Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council
Bassetlaw District Council
Bedfordshire County Council
Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council
Brighton and Hove City Council
Broxtowe Borough Council
Carlisle City Council
London Borough of Croydon
Daventry District Council
Mansfield District Council
Mole Valley District Council
North Lincolnshire Council
Purbeck District Council
Reading Borough Council
Salisbury District Council
South Cambridgeshire District Council
South Kesteven District Council
Southampton City Council
Thanet District Council
London Borough of Waltham Forest
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