§ Helen Jones
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what steps he is taking to improve educational attainment in the early years of secondary school; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Miliband
[holding answer 12 February 2004]: The Government are committed to improving the attainment of all 11 to 14-year-olds through the Key Stage 3 National Strategy which is central to our wider plans for transforming secondary education. The strategy aims to improve the quality of teaching and learning in the classroom by investing in teachers' professional development.
The strategy is starting to make a significant impact on standards after only one full year of implementation. The 2003 Key Stage 3 test results stand as the best ever on record with improvements in every subject and at every level. OFSTED have also endorsed the positive impact of the strategy and that it has been welcomed by teachers. Our priority is to build on the gains so far by further embedding the strategy, tackling under performance and supporting teachers in tailoring teaching and learning to better meet the needs of pupils and so personalise their learning experience.