Department for Education

All 10 Written Questions max 10 shown

Date Title Questioner
28 Oct 2019, 2:48 p.m. School Exclusions Review Sarah Jones

Question to the Department for Education

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many departmental staff are working on implementing the recommendations of the Timpson review of school exclusions; and which directorate is responsible for that work.

Answer (Nick Gibb)

The Behaviour, Attendance, Exclusion and Alternative Provision Division of the Department for Education is the lead division taking forward the Government's programme of action on behaviour, exclusions and alternative provision.

As of September 2019, this division had 32 members of staff, and sits in the Strategy, Social Mobility & Disadvantage directorate.

The recommendations of the Timpson review of school exclusion are wide-ranging, and it is not possible to record how much time individual staff will spend working on them, as this work will be carried out in addition to other duties. Staff from across the Department will also contribute to the work on an ad hoc basis.

28 Oct 2019, 2:35 p.m. Special Educational Needs: Employment and Training Mr Jim Cunningham

Question to the Department for Education

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to increase the (a) quantity and (b) quality of employment and training opportunities for SEND students over the age of 16.

Answer (Michelle Donelan)

The Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Code of Practice explicitly states that all children and young people with SEND, whether or not they have an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan, should be prepared for adulthood, including employment. We know that with the right preparation and support, the overwhelming majority of young people with SEND are capable of sustained paid employment. All professionals working with them should share that presumption and should provide the career advice and support that help young people to develop the skills and experience, and achieve the qualifications, that they need to succeed in their careers.

Work-based learning is available through personalised study programmes for all young people aged 16 to 19, or up to age 25 if the young person has an EHC plan. This includes:

  • Supported Internships – these are structured study programmes, based primarily at an employer. They equip young people who have an EHC plan with the skills they need for work, through learning in the workplace. In December 2017, the department provided an additional £9.7 million to local authorities to train job coaches and establish supported internship forums, bringing together local partners to develop and deliver supported internships in their area.

  • Traineeships - these support young people aged 16-24 (25 with an EHC plan) by providing quality training for young people who need to develop their skills and experience to access apprenticeships and other sustainable employment. The department is currently considering how the programme can provide a more effective pathway into apprenticeships. We are also considering greater flexibility and employer involvement in the design, whilst retaining what currently works.

  • We have also taken steps to ensure apprenticeships are accessible to those with an EHC plan or legacy statement. This includes adjusting the minimum English and maths requirements to Entry Level 3 Functional Skills if they struggle to achieve the regular English and maths minimum requirements but can otherwise meet the occupational standards of the apprenticeship.

  • We have also funded Mencap, to help colleges arrange work experience placements for learners with SEND.

However, we know there is more to do and that is why in September, my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education announced a cross-government review of provision for children and young people with SEND, to ensure that they are supported to thrive and prepare for adulthood, including employment.

28 Oct 2019, 2:25 p.m. Social Services: Autism Mr Laurence Robertson

Question to the Department for Education

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will develop a model of what good social care looks like for children and young people on the autism spectrum.

Answer (Michelle Donelan)

The department is committed to promoting effective special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) support within schools and colleges, and good social care provision for all, including autistic children and young people. The department has issued guidance that encompasses all forms of SEND.

The SEND Code of Practice (2014) places a duty on schools and colleges to use their best endeavours to support all pupils with SEND, including those with autism. Support should be focused on the needs of individual children and young people, which can vary enormously even for those who have the same condition and where they may have more than one condition. This means that the educational interventions that may be effective for one child will not necessarily work for another with the same diagnosis. This need for a flexible and child-centred approach is why, as a department, we do not prescribe specific guidance on supporting particular conditions.

In order to support schools and colleges to put in place good practice for supporting autistic children and young people according to their individual needs, the department have, since 2011, funded the Autism Education Trust to deliver autism training to over 239,000 education staff, to provide resources for practitioners and education settings, and to develop communities of practice to facilitate mutual support and shared learning in good support for autism.

In terms of ensuring good social care practice, all children and young people, including those with autism, should have access to the support they need to keep them safe, ensure their wellbeing and overcome challenges to achieving their potential, as informed by the Children Act (1989), Children and Families Act (2014) and Care Act (2014). Working Together to Safeguard Children (2018) sets out how local authorities should provide effective, evidence-based services to protect and promote the welfare of children, including children with autism.

There are several developments currently underway, which will be of benefit to autistic children and young people (and their families). The department is working closely with the Department for Health and Social Care to produce an all ages Autism Strategy which will outline how education, health and social care systems will work to improve support for, and reduce inequalities experienced by autistic people. Alongside the Autism Strategy, a major review of the SEND system, announced in September 2019 and due to report in spring 2020, is aimed at improving support for children with SEND, including those with autism.

We recently announced a £780 million increase to local authorities’ high needs funding, boosting the budget by 12% and bringing the total spent on supporting those with the most complex needs to over £7 billion for 2020-21.

28 Oct 2019, 2:25 p.m. Special Educational Needs: Autism Mr Laurence Robertson

Question to the Department for Education

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will provide guidance to schools and colleges on good SEN support for children and young people who are on the autism spectrum.

Answer (Michelle Donelan)

The department is committed to promoting effective special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) support within schools and colleges, and good social care provision for all, including autistic children and young people. The department has issued guidance that encompasses all forms of SEND.

The SEND Code of Practice (2014) places a duty on schools and colleges to use their best endeavours to support all pupils with SEND, including those with autism. Support should be focused on the needs of individual children and young people, which can vary enormously even for those who have the same condition and where they may have more than one condition. This means that the educational interventions that may be effective for one child will not necessarily work for another with the same diagnosis. This need for a flexible and child-centred approach is why, as a department, we do not prescribe specific guidance on supporting particular conditions.

In order to support schools and colleges to put in place good practice for supporting autistic children and young people according to their individual needs, the department have, since 2011, funded the Autism Education Trust to deliver autism training to over 239,000 education staff, to provide resources for practitioners and education settings, and to develop communities of practice to facilitate mutual support and shared learning in good support for autism.

In terms of ensuring good social care practice, all children and young people, including those with autism, should have access to the support they need to keep them safe, ensure their wellbeing and overcome challenges to achieving their potential, as informed by the Children Act (1989), Children and Families Act (2014) and Care Act (2014). Working Together to Safeguard Children (2018) sets out how local authorities should provide effective, evidence-based services to protect and promote the welfare of children, including children with autism.

There are several developments currently underway, which will be of benefit to autistic children and young people (and their families). The department is working closely with the Department for Health and Social Care to produce an all ages Autism Strategy which will outline how education, health and social care systems will work to improve support for, and reduce inequalities experienced by autistic people. Alongside the Autism Strategy, a major review of the SEND system, announced in September 2019 and due to report in spring 2020, is aimed at improving support for children with SEND, including those with autism.

We recently announced a £780 million increase to local authorities’ high needs funding, boosting the budget by 12% and bringing the total spent on supporting those with the most complex needs to over £7 billion for 2020-21.

28 Oct 2019, 1:57 p.m. Universities: Racial Discrimination Mr Jim Cunningham

Question to the Department for Education

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that universities investigate all complaints made by students and staff about racism at universities.

Answer (Chris Skidmore)

Racial harassment is unacceptable and we cannot tolerate staff and students being victims of it at our world-leading universities. There is no place in our society - including within higher education (HE) – for hatred or any form of harassment, discrimination or racism. Universities have clear responsibilities in this regard.

HE providers in England are independent and autonomous. They are responsible for addressing student complaints and for meeting their responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010. The government expects providers to discharge their responsibilities fully and have robust policies and procedures in place to handle student complaints, comply with the law and to investigate and swiftly address incidents reported to them.

Where a student complaint cannot be resolved through the institution’s complaint processes, the student can ask for their complaint to be reviewed by the Office for the Independent Adjudicator (OIA) for HE in England. As a result of the government‘s recent HE reforms, all HE providers on the HE Regulator’s register, the Office for Students (OfS), are required to join the OIA.

The government will continue to work closely with partners, including Universities UK and the OfS, to drive progress on matters of racial harassment in HE.

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.