HC Deb 04 November 2003 vol 412 cc584-5W
Mr. Paul Marsden

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills, (1) if he will make a statement on the range of disabilities of children at Condover Hall School; [135321]

(2) what estimate he has made of the average funding per pupil at Condover Hall School in the last year for which figures are available;. [135322]

(3) if he will publish the correspondence between his Department and the Royal National Institute for the Blind on the closure of Condover Hall School. [135287]

Mr. Charles Clarke

[holding answer 30 October]We understand that Condover Hall School makes provision for pupils who are visually impaired with multiple and complex needs. Some children are non-ambulant. The School also makes specialist provision for deaf-blind pupils.

As a non-maintained special school, local education authorities placing children at Condover Hall negotiate with the school about the fees to be paid for each child. Fee levels vary depending on the complexity of the child's needs and the type of placement, for example, day placement, weekly boarding, 38 week or in some cases 52 week boarding. Average funding per pupil varies between around £30,000 p.a. and £100,000 p.a. depending on the type of placement. In the current financial year Condover Hall received around £70,000 in grants from the Department for Education and Skills (DfES), designed to raise standards.

My Department was formally notified by the RNIB about the proposed closure of Condover Hall in a letter dated 24 July this year. As my hon. Friend the Minister for School Standards said in his reply to the hon. Gentleman's earlier questions about Condover Hall School, officials at the DfES have asked the RNIB to clarify its plans for the closure of Condover Hall, and in particular to explain how the RNIB intends to ensure that appropriate and realistic plans for the placement of children currently attending the school are in place. They are currently awaiting a response. Copies of the relevant correspondence have been forwarded to the hon. Member.