Children: Poverty

Education and Skills written question – answered on 5th March 2007.

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Photo of Dai Davies Dai Davies Independent, Blaenau Gwent

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment he has made of the analysis published as Report Card 7 on child poverty in perspective by the Unicef Innocenti Research Centre on 14 February in respect of the impact of poverty on educational attainment.

Photo of Parmjit Dhanda Parmjit Dhanda Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Education and Skills

The Unicef Innocenti Report Card 7 raises some serious issues for the UK. However, it often uses data that is up to seven years old and points to the result of decades of underinvestment in children's well-being. The report provides cross-sectional data—rather than showing trends—so it does not register the very significant progress this Government have made. In 1997 this Government inherited the highest child poverty rate in Europe. Since then, we have reduced relative child poverty faster than anywhere in Europe and more than halved the absolute child poverty gap.

There is a strong correlation between income poverty, material deprivation and low educational attainment. That is why we want all children to develop to their full potential. Good quality early education benefits disadvantaged children in particular, and its positive effects on cognitive development last until at least age 10. We introduced free early education for all 3 and 4-year-olds, and will extend it further in terms of hours offered per week. Sure Start Children's Centres will offer children under 5 and their families (initially in the most disadvantaged areas) access to early learning and play alongside other health and parental support. We have also introduced, through the Childcare Act 2006, a new duty on local authorities to improve the outcomes of all under 5s, and close the gaps between those with the poorest outcomes and the rest.

We have made good progress in tackling the additional challenges that schools serving deprived communities often face. Primary schools that draw more than half their pupils from the poorest families have improved by more than double the rate of those where fewer than 1 in 10 pupils are from poor backgrounds. Secondary schools with more than half of pupils from poor backgrounds have improved nearly three times as much as those serving more affluent areas. There has also been a large reduction in the number of failing schools which, historically, have tended to be concentrated in deprived areas. The number of schools in special measures has nearly halved between 1997/98 and 2006.

To help pupils who are still not making the kind of progress we expect and who are not getting the best from their education we are launching a progression pilot which will run for two years in up to 10 local authorities to test new ways to measure, assess, report and stimulate progress for children in Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 3.

Our Academies programme in England is transforming education in disadvantaged areas and offering educational opportunities to children where other intervention and improvement strategies have failed. The improvement in the percentage of pupils getting five good GCSEs including English and Maths in Academies has improved by 6.2 percentage points—six times better than the national improvement rate of one percentage point. Academies' results compare strikingly well with the poor results of their predecessor schools, with a 9.7 percentage point increase in five A*-C grades where English and Maths are included, and a 20.2 percentage point improvement overall.

As well as providing opportunities for social and cultural enrichment to disadvantaged pupils through extended schools, through the Education and Inspections Act 2006 we have introduced measures to give disadvantaged pupils fair access to good schools. And through our major Every Child Matters reforms to children's services, schools are increasingly forging strong links with other children's services. Schools are well placed to spot problems that may be affecting a child's development at an early stage and to engage other agencies as appropriate. Greater use of multi-disciplinary teams, lead professionals and information sharing is helping to identify problems as they arise, provide swift, tailored interventions and remove barriers to school achievement.

Does this answer the above question?

Yes5 people think so

No2 people think not

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anthony lynch
Posted on 6 Mar 2007 4:49 pm (Report this annotation)

Wheres Ken

Robert Nicholson
Posted on 6 Mar 2007 5:51 pm (Report this annotation)

Lots of big words!!

Ken Brookman
Posted on 6 Mar 2007 9:05 pm (Report this annotation)

Hi guys. I heard that Mr Davies had been spotted in town so I went to find him. No success sorry. Still this answer to his questions was pretty good really even with all those big words.
I am suprised though as education is the responsibility of the Welsh Assembly and nuclear dai doesn't rate education usually. His boss Mrs Law will be furious with him again.
Seriously though this is an excellent answer and shows that the Labour Government are taking education seriously, Nuclear dai thinks that anybody with an "ology" is not worthy or of any real value according to one of his speeches . It's nice to see my English cousins are getting a good educations system from the government and that my MP is concerned about his colleagues in England also.

It should take Mr davies some time to read and digest the information provided here so I suppose that should be the lot on this subject for a while.

anthony lynch
Posted on 7 Mar 2007 10:19 am (Report this annotation)

i think dai has a ghost question writer

Ken Brookman
Posted on 7 Mar 2007 5:42 pm (Report this annotation)

Most of the people I know think that he himself is a ghost. He can claim a massive £87,276.00 for staffing allowance. (Last years figures I think) so he has enough money to employ somebody with atleast half a brain. I note that you only joined the site this month Anthony so you will see some unusual things coming from the office of the gent from Blaenau Gwent I think. If you are a supporter I suggest you check out some of his previous works.He has some really brilliant questions like the one on bringing back airships for transporting people and goods around the Uk.

anthony lynch
Posted on 8 Mar 2007 10:51 am (Report this annotation)

Im not affiliated to any political party or individiuals Ken. I can also remember that Dai said he would be giving the local community £20,000 when he got into parliament
I've been writing a few letteres myself recently to Dai and officers of the local council, councillors the chief of police, AM, MP and the local paper which dosen't like my letters and won't print them
Dais replies are trying hard to distance himself from the issue that im trying to bring into the public domain
It involves the bigoted tenants meeting trying to stop people moving onto the local newtown estate and the local councillors involvement in it.
The question in my letters was, how confidential information on tenants became common knowledge and discussed in a public meeting. Every one I wrote to seems to wish the issue would go away Ken, our AM replied that she would keep it in mind.
Did you hear of this Ken it was front page news in the local paper a picture of the word PAEDOPHILE which was painted 4 foot high on the wall of the new tenants house before they had moved in, Who footed the cost to have it removed.
Comments please

anthony lynch
Posted on 8 Mar 2007 10:57 am (Report this annotation)

More importantly who started the PAEDOPHILE rumour. I and three of my niegbours know, the children who had been asked by the local councillor to deliver the slips of paper advertising the special tenants meeting that had been called told us that they had been told Paedophiles were moving onto the estate.
More comments please

anthony lynch
Posted on 8 Mar 2007 10:58 am (Report this annotation)

Thers child protection issues at large here you know

Ken Brookman
Posted on 8 Mar 2007 11:52 am (Report this annotation)

I do know about that incident Anthony. Very disturbing with the usual mob violence and brainless idiots again. I also get the same problem with many of my letters to the local Rag. particularly if they are challenging nuclear dai. Members of his clan are frequent visitors to the office of the paper so seem to poissibly have some influence I suppose? As far as our AM is concerned, I don't know if she has even been to Ebbw Vale since she was elected really. Never seen her myself? She seems to like leaving work in Cardiff very early I've been told by people working there.. Very much like our MP who doesn't like to travel to London very often either.
The biggest joke about nuclear dai is that he has now formed a political party after all the rubbish he reported about them during his election. Massive U turn and huge hypocrite I suggest.

anthony lynch
Posted on 9 Mar 2007 12:22 pm (Report this annotation)

aye mob violence seemingly whipped up by our brainless local politicians who seem to do such things with impunity, because they are re-elected every few years unapposed.
Councillors AMs MPs all there for thier own benefit and thats all political persuasions.
the whole system is morally bankrupt.
whats your view on the missing UK government match funding for european schemes like Objective 1 Ken, its costing wales dear look at the state of our NHS education.etc etc.
My partner is a nursery nurse. Now its been decided to phase out, not the job but the name, calling them classroom assistants. my partner trained two years for her NNEB, plus another year for her advanced deploma.
teaching assistants need only 10 weeks training.
Nursery nurses work 32.5 hrs a week full time, teaching assistants hrs are 37 hrs aweek full time but they only work 32.5 so are classed only 75% this is what they want current nursery nurses to accept as achange to thier contracts, effectively taking a pay cut but doing the same job this will also affect thier pensions. Nursery nurses are far more trained in child development and pyscology than teachers and would be sorely missed in schools
this is the truth about all the extra funds supposedly put into education.
the new teachers contracts amount to the same thing

anthony lynch
Posted on 9 Mar 2007 12:28 pm (Report this annotation)

Yes Dai is a bit of a dinosuar himself isnt he.
Harking back to time of a huge manufacturing base in this country, as do most of our local councillors. they bleat what they think people want to hear but don't seem to realise that the political make of our area is changing and will change considereably more come the new train service and the influx of new heads into the area.
perhaps Dai could ask why this and other governments have failed to sign fully the european social charter which could help stem the heamorage of jobs to developing countries.