Department for Education

All 10 Written Questions max 10 shown

Date Title Questioner
8 Oct 2019, 4:09 p.m. Schools: Governing Bodies Vicky Foxcroft

Question to the Department for Education

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to encourage more young people to become school governors.

Answer (Michelle Donelan)

Inspiring Governance is a service run by the charity, Education and Employers, that supports recruitment in school governance by matching those who wish to be governors to school vacancies. The department requires Education and Employers to meet targets to increase diversity on school governing boards. They are on track to register over 16% of people from Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds this financial year. As at the 2011 census, 15% of the England population identified as being from a BAME background.

‘Everyone on Board’ is a campaign run jointly between Inspiring Governance and the National Governance Association and is not a government programme. The objective of this campaign is to increase the number of BAME and young people involved in governance.

Inspiring Governance report that over 19% of people registering and being placed into governance roles are from a BAME background, and people aged under 35 make up over 37% of registrations and over 46% of appointments.

8 Oct 2019, 4:09 p.m. Schools: Governing Bodies Vicky Foxcroft

Question to the Department for Education

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the (a) Inspiring Governance and (b) Everyone on board programmes in increasing diversity on school governing boards.

Answer (Michelle Donelan)

Inspiring Governance is a service run by the charity, Education and Employers, that supports recruitment in school governance by matching those who wish to be governors to school vacancies. The department requires Education and Employers to meet targets to increase diversity on school governing boards. They are on track to register over 16% of people from Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds this financial year. As at the 2011 census, 15% of the England population identified as being from a BAME background.

‘Everyone on Board’ is a campaign run jointly between Inspiring Governance and the National Governance Association and is not a government programme. The objective of this campaign is to increase the number of BAME and young people involved in governance.

Inspiring Governance report that over 19% of people registering and being placed into governance roles are from a BAME background, and people aged under 35 make up over 37% of registrations and over 46% of appointments.

8 Oct 2019, 2:33 p.m. Schools: Finance Mr Jonathan Lord

Question to the Department for Education

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to equalise the level of schools funding for local authorities.

Answer (Nick Gibb)

In August, the Department announced a school funding settlement, providing for an increase of over £14 billion for primary and secondary schools, in total, over the next three years. The £14 billion means the Department can ‘level up’ school funding by raising the minimum per pupil funding for secondary schools to £5,000 next year, and the minimum per pupil funding for primary schools to £3,750 in 2020-21 and £4,000 in 2021-22.

Average school funding is increasing by 5% next year – a significant increase - and the Department is allocating the biggest increases for the lowest-funded schools. In addition, every school in England can see an increase in per pupil funding at least in line with inflation, with most schools attracting real terms increases.

This settlement comprises cash increases of £2.6 billion for 2020-21, £4.8 billion for 2021-22 and £7.1 billion for 2022-23 compared with 2019-20. As part of this, the high needs budget will rise by over £700 million in 2020-21 compared to this year, which is equivalent to an increase of over 11%.

In delivering this settlement, this Government is giving all young people the best opportunities to succeed - regardless of where they grow up or go to school.

8 Oct 2019, 2:25 p.m. Teachers: Recruitment Mr Jonathan Lord

Question to the Department for Education

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to improve rates of teacher (a) recruitment and (b) retention.

Answer (Nick Gibb)

In January the Department launched the Government’s first ever integrated strategy to recruit and retain more teachers in schools, developed alongside teachers, education unions and leading professional bodies.

This landmark strategy includes the biggest teaching reform in a generation, the Early Career Framework (ECF), providing the solid foundations for a successful career in teaching, backed by at least £130 million a year in extra funding when fully rolled out. As part of the ECF’s package of support, the Department has committed to funding and guaranteeing 5% off-timetable in the second year of teaching for all early career teachers; early career teachers will continue to have a 10% timetable reduction in their first year of induction. The Department will also fully fund mentor training and fund time for mentors to support early career teachers.

The Department recognises it needs to take significant action on starting salaries and early career pay over the medium-term to address our pressing recruitment and retention challenges. This is why the Department has set out plans to significantly raise starting pay to £30,000 by September 2022.

The Department has also put in place a range of measures, including bursaries worth up to £26,000 for priority subjects, to encourage graduates to teach key subjects such as languages and physics.

The Department is also offering retention incentives in priority subjects to ensure we are keeping those teachers in the classroom. These include early-career payments for new chemistry, languages, maths and physics teachers and a student loan reimbursement scheme for languages, science and computing teachers.

8 Oct 2019, 2:23 p.m. Crimes of Violence: Education Andrea Jenkyns

Question to the Department for Education

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of educating children about violent crime in order to reduce levels of violent crime among young people.

Answer (Nick Gibb)

The Department know that education is a strong protective factor against children’s and young people’s risk of involvement in serious violence. It is important that schools enable children to achieve, to belong and to be equipped with the skills they need to be safe and to succeed in life.

The Department is making relationships and health education compulsory in all primary and secondary schools, and relationships and sex education compulsory in all secondary schools from September 2020. The aim is to put in place the building blocks needed for positive and safe relationships of all kinds, including how to properly handle conflict and to recognise coercive relationships.

Key decisions on which subjects to include in the new curriculum were informed by a stakeholder engagement process, where the Department was contacted by over 63,000 individuals and organisations and a consultation which received over 11,000 responses. Pupils will be taught about building healthy relationships and about their mental health and wellbeing. This will enable them to make informed decisions and seek support if issues arise.

Schools will have the freedom to ensure the curriculum meets the needs of their pupils. This flexibility will allow schools to respond to local public health and community issues such as serious violence. Schools can build on the core content and discuss topics, such as healthy and unhealthy relationships, in relation to gang and criminal activity.

The Department also intends to publish the new school and college security guidance shortly. The guidance makes it clear that the curriculum offers opportunities to help schools and colleges inform young people about the dangers they may face, both in and around school and beyond, and provide pupils and students with the means to help keep themselves safe.

8 Oct 2019, 2:04 p.m. Climate Change: Curriculum Alison McGovern

Question to the Department for Education

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he has taken to ensure the national curriculum includes (a) up to date scientific understanding of climate change and (b) the role of human behaviour in affecting the global climate.

Answer (Nick Gibb)

It is important that young people are taught about climate change and the impact of human actions on the environment. Topics related to this are included in both the science and geography curricula and qualifications. These were developed with subject experts and reflect the latest scientific and academic understanding so that children fully appreciate the causes of climate change and what needs to be done to tackle it.

For example, in primary school science, pupils are taught about how weather changes across the four seasons and how human actions affect environments. In secondary school science, pupils are taught about the production of carbon dioxide by human activity and the effect this has on the climate. This is expanded on in GCSE science where pupils consider the evidence for additional anthropogenic causes of climate change. As part of GCSE geography, pupils look at the causes, consequences of, and responses to, extreme weather conditions and natural weather hazards. This includes understanding the interactions between people and environments.

8 Oct 2019, 2:01 p.m. Schools: Governing Bodies Vicky Foxcroft

Question to the Department for Education

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what data his Department holds on the (a) ethnicity, (b) class and (c) gender of school governors.

Answer (Michelle Donelan)

The department does not hold data on the ethnicity, class and gender of school governors and academy trustees.

8 Oct 2019, 1:36 p.m. Free School Meals: Surrey Mr Jonathan Lord

Question to the Department for Education

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many and what proportion of children were eligible for free school meals in (a) Woking and (b) Surrey in the past year.

Answer (Michelle Donelan)

The number and proportion of children in schools in Woking constituency and Surrey local authority who were eligible for and claiming free school meals (FSM) is given in the table below.

Number of pupils eligible and claiming FSM

Percentage of pupils eligible and claiming FSM

Surrey

13,281

8%

Woking constituency

1,285

9%

Source: School census, as at January 2019

Figures include pupils in state-funded nursery, primary, secondary and special schools and pupil referral units (including free schools and academy alternative provision).

This data is published at national, regional, local authority and school level in annual ‘Schools, pupils and their characteristics’ statistical release. The 2019 publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/schools-pupils-and-their-characteristics-january-2019.

8 Oct 2019, 12:27 p.m. Wigan University Technical College: Finance Lisa Nandy

Question to the Department for Education

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what payments were made to his Department by Wigan University Technical College as a result of the overestimation of student numbers.

Answer (Michelle Donelan)

As part of the established pupil number adjustment process where an academy trust’s funding agreement allows for the basis of funding to be initially calculated using estimated pupil numbers, the funding is subsequently aligned with the actual pupil numbers returned in the school census through these adjustments and recoveries or additional payments are applied as appropriate.

For Wigan University Technical College, £609,038 of advanced funding remains outstanding.

7 Oct 2019, 6:36 p.m. Business: Education Mr Jonathan Lord

Question to the Department for Education

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to increase entrepreneurship and business education in schools.

Answer (Nick Gibb)

There are a number of opportunities for pupils to develop entrepreneurial skills. The new Business GCSE, which was first taught from 2017, is intended to enable students to develop as commercially minded and enterprising individuals. In 2014, for the first time, financial literacy was made statutory within the national curriculum as it is now taught as part of the citizenship curriculum for 11 to 16 year olds. Schools are free to cover enterprise and entrepreneurship teaching within their personal, social, health and economic education.

Personal characteristics like resilience, problem-solving and good character are crucial for setting up a business. Good schools will offer a wide range of opportunities for their pupils to develop these characteristics through activities such as debating, sport and volunteering, or through programmes such as the National Citizen Service or the Cadets.

Published in December 2017, the Government’s careers strategy aims to give young people from all backgrounds the opportunity to learn from employers about work and the skills that are valued in the workplace. The strategy introduces a new expectation that every school should offer every young person at least seven encounters with employers, including those who are self-employed, during their education as part of a high-quality careers programme.

The Careers & Enterprise Company’s network of Enterprise Advisers will support the delivery of this ambition. Enterprise Advisers are senior business volunteers who help schools and colleges to work with local businesses. At the end of June 2019, over 2,200 schools and colleges had been matched with an Enterprise Adviser. The Department will give all schools and colleges access to an Enterprise Adviser by the end of 2020.