Written Question
Equal Pay
4 Aug 2020, 12:04 p.m.

Questioner: Lord Taylor of Warwick

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made, if any, of the research from University College London, published on 20 July, which suggests that teenage boys have more ambitious aims regarding higher education which contributes towards the gender pay gap.

Answer (Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay)

The government is committed to transforming the lives of children and young people so that they can go as far as their hard work and talent will take them, regardless of their background or where they live. Nowhere is this more important than in how our young people are educated and prepared for a successful future. This is why the government has set out an ambitious agenda and made record investments in opportunities for all young people in this country.

The government wants to ensure that all post-16 students can make an informed choice between high-quality options that support progression, whatever their attainment or aspirations. This includes access to higher education so that university places are available to those who are qualified by ability and attainment to pursue them and who wish to do so, alongside other high-quality options such as further education and apprenticeships. Through the Careers Strategy, we have laid out foundations which aim to develop children’s ambitions. Careers guidance is vital in helping to develop talent and opportunities so that people have the skills that we need and that employers require.

In 2017, we introduced regulations requiring large employers to publish the differences in average salaries and bonuses for men and women. The national gender pay gap is at a record low of 17.3% - down from 17.8% in 2018. The full-time gender gap is at a near record low of 8.9%.

We continue to encourage employers to take action to provide equal opportunities for men and women in the workplace but also recognise that employers are facing unprecedented uncertainty and pressure due to the COVID-19 outbreak.


Written Question
Students: Loans
4 Aug 2020, 11:30 a.m.

Questioner: Lord Greaves

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether having (1) settled status, or (2) pre-settled status, is a sufficient qualification for an application for a student loan; and if not, why not.

Answer (Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay)

We have agreed with the European Union (EU) that current EU principles of equal treatment will continue to apply for those people covered by the citizens’ rights provisions in the Withdrawal Agreement. This means that EU nationals resident in the UK before the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020 will be eligible for support on a similar basis to domestic students.

EU nationals with settled status or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme must meet the relevant residency requirements when they start their course in order to access home fee status and student financial support.

Other European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss nationals benefiting from citizens’ rights under the EEA European Free Trade Association Separation Agreement or Swiss Citizens’ Rights Agreement respectively, and meeting the relevant residency requirements, will continue to have access to student finance on the same basis as now.


Written Question
Overseas Students: Coronavirus
4 Aug 2020, 11:29 a.m.

Questioner: Lord Allen of Kensington

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of COVID-19 on the number of international students wishing to study at UK universities; and what steps they will take to counter the effects of a long-term reduction in international student numbers.

Answer (Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay)

The government recognises that the COVID-19 outbreak will have an unparalleled impact on all elements of the global and UK economy. The higher education sector, including student recruitment, is no exception. We have been working closely with the sector to monitor possible impacts of COVID-19 on international student numbers, including restrictions on travel.

We have been clear that our world-leading universities, which thrive on being global institutions, will always be open to international students. Engaging closely with other government departments and the higher education sector, the Department for Education is working to reassure current and prospective international students that UK higher education is ‘open for business’ and remains world-class, and that the UK is a safe and welcoming place to study. This engagement includes continued work with Study UK (the government’s international student recruitment campaign, led by the British Council), support for the sector-led #WeAreTogether campaign, and a package of communications targeted directly at international students, making clear our world-leading offer.

My hon. Friend, the Minister of State for Universities, wrote an open letter to current international students in April, setting out flexibilities that HM Government and higher education providers were introducing to ensure that international students could continue or resume their studies. With her counterparts in Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales, she also wrote on 22 June to prospective international students to outline the support and guidance available to those considering studying in the UK from this autumn. This letter reiterates a number of flexibilities that the government has already announced for international students. These include allowing for the switching of visa categories within the UK, confirmation that distance/blended learning will be permitted for the 2020/21 academic year (provided that international students’ sponsors intend to move to face-to-face learning as soon as circumstances allow) and steps further to promote the new graduate route, which will be introduced from summer 2021.

The graduate route will be simple and light-touch: it will permit graduates at undergraduate or Masters level to remain in the UK for 2 years and PhD graduates to remain in the UK for 3 years after they have finished their studies in order to work or look for work at any skill level. This represents a significant increase in the generosity of our offer to international students and will help ensure the UK higher education sector remains competitive internationally. On 16 June, the government also confirmed that international students present in the UK before 6 April 2021 will be eligible for the graduate route if they meet the other requirements of the route when it is introduced.

My hon. Friend, the Minister of State for Universities, also announced that Sir Steve Smith would act as the UK’s new International Education Champion. He will assist with opening up export growth opportunities for the whole UK education sector, which will include attracting international students to UK universities. In addition, our review of the International Education Strategy this autumn will respond to the challenges posed by COVID-19 across all education settings.


Written Question
Hearing Impairment: Coronavirus
4 Aug 2020, 10:35 a.m.

Questioner: Lord Storey

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what support they have given to deaf children and young people during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Answer (Baroness Berridge)

During the COVID-19 outbreak, the department published guidance on online education resources for home learning, including support for those with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), which are available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-online-education-resources.

To support the hard work of schools in delivering remote education, in April, the Oak National Academy was launched. 40 teachers from leading schools across England formed this brand-new enterprise which provides 180 video lessons each week, across a broad range of subjects from maths to art to languages, for every year group from Reception through to year 10. Oak also launched a specialist curriculum for children and young people with SEND on 4 May, available here:
https://classroom.thenational.academy/specialist#subjects.

The government has announced £1 billion of funding to support children and young people to catch up on missed schooling. This is made up of £650 million to be shared across all state-funded mainstream schools, special schools, and alternative provision over the 2020-21 academic year, and a National Tutoring Programme, worth £350 million to provide additional, targeted support for disadvantaged children and young people.

The universal £650 million catch-up premium funding recognises that all pupils, irrespective of their background or location, have lost time in education. Whilst school leaders will decide how it is used, the intention is that this money will be spent on the most effective interventions.

On Monday 20 July, we announced more details about how the funding will be distributed to schools. This confirmed that a primary school of 200 pupils will receive £16,000 while a secondary school of 1,000 pupils will receive £80,000. Special schools, alternative provision and hospital schools will be funded at 3 times the rate of mainstream schools for the 2020-21 academic year.

All schools should use their catch-up premium funding as a single total from which to prioritise support for all pupils, including children with SEND or children who have education, health and care plans, according to their need.

This year, we are also providing £780 million of additional high needs funding across England for children with the most complex SEND. We are providing a further £730 million in 2021-22, which will bring the total high needs budget to over £8 billion. This is in addition to the catch-up premium funding.


Written Question
Children and Young People: Coronavirus
4 Aug 2020, 10:35 a.m.

Questioner: Lord Storey

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans are in place to ensure that deaf children and young people can catch-up on missed schooling during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Answer (Baroness Berridge)

During the COVID-19 outbreak, the department published guidance on online education resources for home learning, including support for those with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), which are available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-online-education-resources.

To support the hard work of schools in delivering remote education, in April, the Oak National Academy was launched. 40 teachers from leading schools across England formed this brand-new enterprise which provides 180 video lessons each week, across a broad range of subjects from maths to art to languages, for every year group from Reception through to year 10. Oak also launched a specialist curriculum for children and young people with SEND on 4 May, available here:
https://classroom.thenational.academy/specialist#subjects.

The government has announced £1 billion of funding to support children and young people to catch up on missed schooling. This is made up of £650 million to be shared across all state-funded mainstream schools, special schools, and alternative provision over the 2020-21 academic year, and a National Tutoring Programme, worth £350 million to provide additional, targeted support for disadvantaged children and young people.

The universal £650 million catch-up premium funding recognises that all pupils, irrespective of their background or location, have lost time in education. Whilst school leaders will decide how it is used, the intention is that this money will be spent on the most effective interventions.

On Monday 20 July, we announced more details about how the funding will be distributed to schools. This confirmed that a primary school of 200 pupils will receive £16,000 while a secondary school of 1,000 pupils will receive £80,000. Special schools, alternative provision and hospital schools will be funded at 3 times the rate of mainstream schools for the 2020-21 academic year.

All schools should use their catch-up premium funding as a single total from which to prioritise support for all pupils, including children with SEND or children who have education, health and care plans, according to their need.

This year, we are also providing £780 million of additional high needs funding across England for children with the most complex SEND. We are providing a further £730 million in 2021-22, which will bring the total high needs budget to over £8 billion. This is in addition to the catch-up premium funding.


Written Question
Computers and Education: Coronavirus
3 Aug 2020, 4:08 p.m.

Questioner: Lord Watson of Invergowrie

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many laptops each (1) local authority, and (2) multi-academy trust has received since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic; and how many vulnerable pupils are educated by each (a) local authority, and (b) multi-academy trust, in England.

Answer (Baroness Berridge)

The government has provided laptops and tablets to disadvantaged children who would otherwise not have access and are preparing for examinations in year 10, receiving support from a social worker or are a care leaver. Where care leavers, children with a social worker at secondary school and children in year 10 do not have internet connections, the government has provided 4G wireless routers.

The department has delivered laptops, tablets and 4G wireless routers to local authorities and academy trusts based on the department’s estimates of the number of eligible children that do not have access to a device. Local authorities and academy trusts are best placed to identify children and young people who need devices and prioritise their needs.

The department has published data on devices delivered through the programme here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/laptops-tablets-and-4g-wireless-routers-progress-data. The department will be publishing a breakdown of data on devices delivered to each local authority and academy trust in future.

The closest matching available data on pupil attendance, including the attendance of vulnerable children, in educational establishments in England since 23 March was published on Tuesday 21 July at the following link and covers data up to Friday 17 July:

https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

The data is collected from individual education establishments and the published figures include estimates for non-response. Equivalent estimates have not been made at lower level geographies.

While the department is committed to welcoming all children back to school from September we recognise that there will be an ongoing role for remote education in the event a school is required to close temporarily. Schools are being asked to make preparations for this eventuality. We are reviewing the need to provide further support where this occurs.


Written Question
Remote Education: Finance
3 Aug 2020, 2:49 p.m.

Questioner: Lord Aberdare

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what funding they will make available to education establishments to invest in virtual learning environments.

Answer (Baroness Berridge)

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the department is investing £14.3 million to fund expert technical support for schools to get set up on an accredited digital education environment. Using this funding, schools and multi academy trusts can apply to get set up on one of two free-to-use digital education environments: Google’s G Suite for Education or Microsoft’s Office 365 Education.

Further information is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/get-help-with-technology-for-remote-education-during-coronavirus-covid-19#get-help-using-online-education-platforms.


Written Question
Teachers: Mental Health
3 Aug 2020, 2:47 p.m.

Questioner: Lord Storey

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the announcement on 7 June of a pilot project with the Education Support Partnership to provide online peer support and telephone supervision to school leaders, how many people have accessed support through that scheme.

Answer (Baroness Berridge)

Following the government’s announcement in June of a pilot project with the Education Support Partnership to provide online peer support and telephone supervision to 250 school leaders managing the pressures caused by COVID-19, a total of 132 school leaders are accessing support through the programme so far. As of 28 July, 39 school leaders are accessing peer support and 93 have been registered to receive one to one telephone supervision.


Written Question
Children: Social Services
3 Aug 2020, 2:06 p.m.

Questioner: Baroness Eaton

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the statement by the Secretary of State for Education on 12 February (HCWS110), what plans they have to engage with the children’s social care sector to develop the terms of reference for their review of the care system; and when those terms of reference will be published.

Answer (Baroness Berridge)

The Care Review is a fundamental part of the government’s manifesto, and will be launched as soon as possible. The review will be bold, broad, and independently led, taking a fundamental look across children’s social care, with the aim of better supporting, protecting and improving the outcomes of vulnerable children and young people. We will engage with the children’s social care sector and ensure the review reflects the experiences of those who have needed a social worker and been in care, putting children, young people, and their families at its centre.


Written Question
Apprentices: Taxation
3 Aug 2020, 1:05 p.m.

Questioner: Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 8 July 2020 to Question 64954 on Nurses: Coronavirus, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of extending the deadline of the apprenticeship levy so that NHS trusts do not lose unused funds as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

Answer (Gillian Keegan)

We currently have no plans to extend the expiry period for employers’ levy funds. From the point at which funds enter an employer’s account, they already have 24 months in which to spend the funds, and these funds only begin to expire on a rolling, month-by-month basis 24 months after they enter an employer’s account. Levy-paying employers can transfer up to 25% of their annual funds to help support apprenticeship starts in their supply chain or to meet local skills needs. We remain committed to improving the operation of the apprenticeship levy, and while we recognise the current challenges facing employers, we currently consider that this period is sufficient to give employers time to develop their apprenticeship programmes and encourage them to create new apprenticeship opportunities.

Employers’ levy funds are not the same as the department's ring-fenced apprenticeship budget. Any unspent funds are not lost but are used to support apprenticeships in smaller employers.

To help employers, including NHS trusts, offer new apprenticeships, they will be able to claim £1,500 for every apprentice they hire as a new employee from 1 August 2020 until 31 January 2021- rising to £2,000 if they hire a new apprentice under the age of 25. In addition, we have increased the number of reservations that small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) can now make through the apprenticeship service, from 3 to 10, enabling them to recruit more apprentices. Details can be found here https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/a-plan-for-jobs-2020.

The new payment means it’s a great time for employers to offer new apprenticeship opportunities and take advantage of existing flexibilities to train their apprentices in a way that suits their needs.


Written Question
Schools: Coronavirus
3 Aug 2020, 11:51 a.m.

Questioner: Ian Lavery

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what additional support he plans to provide to schools to ensure that children receive additional emotional and mental wellbeing support on returning to school during the covid-19 outbreak.

Answer (Vicky Ford)

We know that, across society, the COVID-19 outbreak has had an impact on wellbeing and mental health, but it has had a particular impact on children and young people. That is why, as a government, we have made children’s wellbeing and mental health a central part of our response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Getting children and young people back into education, with settings devoting time to supporting wellbeing, will play a fundamental part in supporting children and young people’s mental health. The return to school will allow social interaction with peers, carers and teachers, which benefits wellbeing. The department has now published detailed plans for all children and young people to return to full-time education from September. The guidance for schools is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

We have been working hard to ensure that all pupils and learners will return to a full high-quality education programme in September. Our £1 billion Covid catch-up package, with £650 million shared across schools over the 2020-21 academic year, will support education settings to put the right catch-up and pastoral support in place. More information is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/billion-pound-covid-catch-up-plan-to-tackle-impact-of-lost-teaching-time.

As pupils return to school, staff need to be equipped to understand that some children and young people may be experiencing feelings in such as anxiety, stress or low mood as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, and that these are normal responses to an abnormal situation. Our Mental Health and Behaviour in Schools Advice includes information about what to look for in terms of underlying mental health issues, linked to the graduated response and the support that might be suitable. More information is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/mental-health-and-behaviour-in-schools--2.

The department has also published detailed plans for all children and young people to return to full-time education from September. The guidance highlights the particular need to focus on pastoral support and mental wellbeing as a central part of what schools provide, in order to re-engage them and rebuild social interaction with their friends and teachers. This will involve curriculum provision as well as extra-curricular and pastoral support, and our recently published relationships, sex and health education training module will support teachers with preparation to deliver content on mental health and wellbeing. More information is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/teaching-about-mental-wellbeing.

We also remain committed to our joint green paper delivery programme with the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England, including introducing new mental health support teams and testing approaches to deliver four week waiting times for access to NHS support.

Access to mental health support is more important than ever during the COVID-19 outbreak. NHS services remain open. Leading mental health charities are being supported to deliver additional services through the £5 million Coronavirus Mental Health Response Fund. During Mental Health Awareness Week, the government also announced that a further £4.2 million will be awarded to mental health charities, including the Samaritans, Young Minds, and Bipolar UK.

The department in collaboration with Public Health England and NHS England, delivered two webinars in July to provide further mental health support. The first webinar was for schools and colleges to support teachers in promoting and supporting the mental wellbeing of children and young people during the COVID-19 outbreak. The second event was for stakeholders across the local system to support strengthening of local partnerships to further support children and young people’s mental health as they return to school. We had around 10,000 sign up to the first webinar and around 1,300 to the second, and they are now available online for wider use.

All NHS mental health trusts have been asked to ensure that there are 24/7 open access telephone lines to support people of all ages. Public Health England and Health Education England have also developed advice and guidance for parents and professionals on supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing, which is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-supporting-children-and-young-peoples-mental-health-and-wellbeing.


Written Question
Apprentices: Taxation
3 Aug 2020, 10:59 a.m.

Questioner: Dan Jarvis

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of extending the deadline for employers to claim apprenticeship levy funds by two years.

Answer (Gillian Keegan)

We currently have no plans to extend the expiry period for employers’ levy funds. From the point at which funds enter an employer’s account, they already have 24 months in which to spend the funds, and these funds only begin to expire on a rolling, month-by-month basis 24 months after they enter an employer’s account. Levy-paying employers can transfer up to 25% of their annual funds to help support apprenticeship starts in their supply chain or to meet local skills needs. We remain committed to improving the operation of the apprenticeship levy, and while we recognise the current challenges facing employers, we currently consider that this period is sufficient to give employers time to develop their apprenticeship programmes and encourage them to create new apprenticeship opportunities

To help employers offer new apprenticeships, they will be able to claim £1,500 for every apprentice they hire as a new employee from 1 August 2020 until 31 January 2021- rising to £2,000 if they hire a new apprentice under the age of 25. In addition, we have increased the number of reservations that small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) can now make through the apprenticeship service, from 3 to 10, enabling them to recruit more apprentices. Details can be found here https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/a-plan-for-jobs-2020.

The new payment means it is a great time for employers to offer new apprenticeship opportunities and take advantage of existing flexibilities to train their apprentices in a way that suits their needs.


Written Question
Apprentices: Taxation
31 Jul 2020, 3:51 p.m.

Questioner: Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the of unspent levy funds.

Answer (Gillian Keegan)

The government is committed to improving the working of the apprenticeship system and the apprenticeship levy. Ministers and officials meet regularly with HM Treasury to discuss all matters relating to apprenticeships, including how to best support employers to develop apprenticeship programmes and spend their available funds. We also continue to work closely with businesses and to listen to their views about the operation of the levy and the apprenticeships program more broadly, taking into account the impact of COVID-19.

We recognise that employers, at the moment, face increased challenges with hiring new apprentices. To encourage employers of all sizes to take on apprentices, and to support large employers to spend their levy funds, we will introduce a new payment of £2,000 to employers in England for each new apprentice they hire aged under 25, and a £1,500 payment for each new apprentice they hire aged 25 and over, from 1 August 2020 to 31 January 2021. We will also ensure that there is sufficient funding to support small businesses wanting to take on an apprentice this year.

Employers’ levy funds are not the same as the department’s ring-fenced apprenticeship budget, which is set to fund apprenticeships in England only. This budget is used to fund training for new apprenticeship starts in levy and non-levy paying employers and to cover the ongoing costs of apprentices already in training. It is also used to cover the cost of end-point assessment and any additional payments made to employers and providers. We do not anticipate that all employers who pay the levy will need or want to use all the funds in their accounts, however they are able to. This means that levy payers’ unspent funds are not lost but are used to support apprenticeships in smaller employers and additional payments. We have also increased the number of reservations that SMEs can now make through the apprenticeship service, from 3 to 10, enabling them to recruit more apprentices.


Written Question
Apprentices
31 Jul 2020, 1:07 p.m.

Questioner: Lord Roberts of Llandudno

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to increase the provision of apprenticeships.

Answer (Baroness Berridge)

As part of the government’s Plan for Jobs, apprenticeships will be more important than ever in helping businesses to recruit the right people and develop the skills they need to recover post COVID-19. Apprenticeships also present excellent opportunities to young people seeking to start and build careers.

We recognise that employers, at the moment, face increased challenges with hiring new apprentices and so we will introduce a new payment of £2,000 to employers in England for each new apprentice they hire aged under 25, and a £1,500 payment for each new apprentice they hire aged 25 and over, from 1 August 2020 to 31 January 2021. We will also ensure that there is sufficient funding to support small businesses wanting to take on an apprentice this year. In addition, we have increased the number of reservations that small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) can now make through the apprenticeship service, from 3 to 10, enabling them to recruit more apprentices.

Details can be found at the link below: https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/a-plan-for-jobs-2020.

We continue to listen to the views of businesses and are working closely with employers to help them make the most of our apprenticeship reforms and funding support offer.


Written Question
Apprentices: Disadvantaged
30 Jul 2020, 5:06 p.m.

Questioner: Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the finding of the Social Mobility Commission’s Report on Apprenticeships and Social Mobility, published 24 June 2020, that disadvantage gaps exist at every stage of the apprenticeship journey; and what steps he is taking to reduce those gaps.

Answer (Gillian Keegan)

As the Social Mobility Commission found, apprenticeships help boost employment and reduce the gap in earnings between people from disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged backgrounds. I met recently with the Social Mobility Commission to discuss the report, the importance of quality in the apprenticeship system, and our commitment to working closely with the Commission in future.

We are committed to levelling up opportunity across the country, and think apprenticeships will be key to the recovery, especially in providing high-quality employment opportunities for young people. We recognise that employers, at the moment, face increased challenges with hiring new apprentices and so we will introduce a new payment of £2,000 to employers in England for each new apprentice they hire aged under 25, and a £1,500 payment for each new apprentice they hire aged 25 and over, from 1 August 2020 to 31 January 2021. Employers can choose how best to spend this payment to support their apprentices; this could include supporting with uniform and travel costs. The new payment is on top of the additional payments we make to cover costs associated with apprentices who may need extra support, including those with learning difficulties and/or disabilities. We are also investing £111 million to triple the number of traineeships to support those further from the labour market into employment and training. Details can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/hm-treasury.

We have worked with some of the country’s most influential employers through our Apprenticeship Diversity Champions Network to promote best practice at each stage of the apprenticeship journey – from outreach and recruitment, to supporting apprentices from diverse backgrounds achieve their apprenticeship and progress. Our Apprenticeships Support and Knowledge programme supports schools across England to provide disadvantaged students with information on apprenticeships.

We continue to listen to employers, providers and apprentices, to see how we can build on our reforms so that they continue to support people from all backgrounds and the economy more broadly.


Written Question
Apprentices: Finance
30 Jul 2020, 4:54 p.m.

Questioner: Karin Smyth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the number of new apprenticeships that will be taken up by (a) SMEs and (b) large employers benefiting from the £2,000 incentive announced in the summer economic update on 8 July 2020.

Answer (Gillian Keegan)

As part of the government’s Plan for Jobs, apprenticeships will be more important than ever in helping businesses to recruit the right people and develop the skills they need to recover post COVID-19. Apprenticeships also present excellent opportunities to young people seeking to start and build careers.

The number of new apprenticeships that will be taken up by employers benefiting from the incentive payments announced in the summer economic update on 8 July 2020 will depend on a wide range of factors that will impact on the recruitment decisions of those employers in difficult economic circumstances.

The new incentive payments are there to encourage employers to take on new apprenticeship recruits. They are designed to help as many employers as possible in responding to the pressures of the first six months of the economic recovery, in enabling flexibility to create the apprenticeship opportunities which will benefit their business.


Written Question
Education: Registration
30 Jul 2020, 4:12 p.m.

Questioner: Lord Watson of Invergowrie

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether all unregistered education settings are required to register with Ofsted.

Answer (Baroness Berridge)

Any education setting which provides full-time provision to 5 or more pupils of compulsory school age (or one or more pupils of compulsory school age who is also looked after or has an education, health and care plan) is required to register with the department. The registration process involves a pre-registration inspection by Ofsted to confirm that the setting is likely to meet the independent school standards on opening.

The department is considering changes to the registration requirement for schools. The consultation on ‘Regulating independent educational institutions’, which was published on 14 February 2020 and suspended on the 7 May due to the COVID-19 outbreak, set out proposals to extend the registration requirement to full-time institutions that are not currently required to register. We intend to restart this consultation in the autumn, when appropriate. Once the consultation is completed, we will consider our next steps on the proposals.


Written Question
Oak National Academy: Finance
30 Jul 2020, 1:39 p.m.

Questioner: Lord Watson of Invergowrie

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government how much funding has been allocated to the Oak National Academy in the 2020–21 financial year; and whether there will be an independent assessment of the educational value and value for money of the contract awarded to Oak National Academy.

Answer (Baroness Berridge)

The department made £500,000 in grant funding available to the Oak National Academy to underwrite additional start-up costs associated with their operation over the course of this summer term. A further £4.34 million grant funding has been made available to the Oak National Academy for the 2020-21 academic year, split over the 2020/21 and 2021/22 financial years.

The payment profile across the two financial years remains subject to confirmation. A requirement of this funding is that the Oak National Academy records and makes available the vast majority of their lessons for each subject by September, to give schools maximum flexibility to align the lessons and topics with their own curriculum planning. The funding provided to the Oak National Academy is to enable teachers to supplement their remote education contingency plans.

The department is currently considering approaches to evaluating the Oak National Academy’s effectiveness.


Written Question
Arts: GCSE
30 Jul 2020, 1:33 p.m.

Questioner: Lord Baker of Dorking

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many GCSE entrants there were in (1) art, (2) music, (3) dance, and (4) drama, in (a) the 2010, and (b) the 2020, academic years.

Answer (Baroness Berridge)

This information is not yet available for 2019/20. It will become available once we release our provisional publication between December and January 2021 at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/announcements/entries-for-gcse-november-2020-exam-series.

The number of pupils in all schools in England at the end of key stage 4 who entered music, art, drama or dance at GCSE level (including equivalents) is published each year (including 2010 onwards) in the ‘subject time series data’ table at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/key-stage-4-performance-2019-revised.


Written Question
Schools: Coronavirus
29 Jul 2020, 5:25 p.m.

Questioner: Lord Storey

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the announcement on 7 June of grants worth more than £750,000 to help schools and colleges respond to the impact of COVID-19 on mental health and wellbeing, how many schools have received funding; and how much of that funding each such school has received.

Answer (Baroness Berridge)

Access to mental health support is more important than ever during the COVID-19 outbreak. We have been working closely with partners to provide resources and update guidance to support and promote children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing during the COVID-19 outbreak.

As part of a package of support for schools on 7 June, we announced more than £750,000 funding would be available to three anti-bullying organisations. These include the Diana Award, the Anti-Bullying Alliance and the Anne Frank Trust. This is to help hundreds of schools and colleges build relationships between pupils, boost their resilience, and continue to tackle bullying both in person and online. More details are available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/extra-mental-health-support-for-pupils-and-teachers.

We have since made progress on the other support to schools. The department in collaboration with Public Health England and NHS England, delivered two webinars in July to provide further mental health support. The first webinar was for schools and colleges to support teachers in promoting and supporting the mental wellbeing of children and young people during the COVID-19 outbreak. The second event was for stakeholders across the local system to support strengthening of local partnerships to further support children and young people’s mental health as they return to school. We had around 10,000 sign up to the first webinar and around 1,300 to the second, and they are now available online for wider use.

There have been over 19,000 unique downloads of the relationships, sex and health education training module on teaching about mental wellbeing since it was published on 8 June. The guidance for schools is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/schools-and-colleges-to-reopen-in-full-in-september.

To support the return to school, the government has also announced an additional £650 million ‘catch-up’ premium, as part of our wider £1 billion COVID catch-up package, to be shared across all state-funded schools over the 2020-21 academic year. The Education Endowment Foundation have published a COVID-19 support guide to support schools to direct this funding, which includes further information about interventions to support pupils’ mental health and wellbeing. Details can be found here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/billion-pound-covid-catch-up-plan-to-tackle-impact-of-lost-teaching-time.


Written Question
Educational Visits
29 Jul 2020, 5:24 p.m.

Questioner: Lord Wigley

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to allow schools in England to resume overnight trips for their pupils to any location in the UK provided that such schools (1) carry out risk assessments, and (2) follow appropriate safeguarding guidelines.

Answer (Baroness Berridge)

The Department for Education continues to advise against both overnight and non-overnight domestic (UK) and overseas educational visits (trips). This advice is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-travel-advice-for-educational-settings/coronavirus-travel-guidance-for-educational-settings.

In the autumn term, schools can resume non-overnight domestic educational visits. Guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

All such visits should be compliant with COVID-19 guidelines and subject to a thorough and ongoing assessment of the risks to ensure that they can be undertaken safely. Schools should consult the health and safety guidance on educational visits when considering any visit, available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/health-and-safety-on-educational-visits/health-and-safety-on-educational-visits.

Schools should not resume overnight visits for the time-being. This is consistent with the latest government guidance on meeting people from outside your household, which advises that you should not stay overnight away from your home with members of more than 2 households: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/meeting-people-from-outside-your-household-from-4-july.

The above guidance will remain under review and will be updated in line with guidance from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Department for Transport and Public Health England.


Written Question
Educational Institutions: Coronavirus
29 Jul 2020, 5:23 p.m.

Questioner: Lord Watson of Invergowrie

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what arrangements are in place to ensure that the £650 million additional catch-up resources for schools and other educational settings will be allocated to the most deprived neighbourhoods.

Answer (Baroness Berridge)

We recognise that all children and young people have had their education disrupted as a result of COVID-19. It is our ambition to ensure that all pupils have the chance to make up for this lost education.

That is why we are introducing a universal ‘catch-up premium’ worth a total of £650 million. Our expectation is that this funding will be spent on supporting pupils to catch up after a period of disruption to their education.

Departmental guidance issued on 20 July sets out that all schools should use the total catch-up premium funding available to them as a single total from which to prioritise support for particular pupils according to their need. Additional weighting has been applied to specialist settings – special schools, alternative provision, and hospital schools - recognising the significantly higher per-pupil costs they face.

Alongside this universal offer, we have also announced a new £350 million National Tutoring Programme for disadvantaged pupils. This will increase access to high-quality tuition for disadvantaged and vulnerable children and young people, helping to accelerate their academic progress and tackling the attainment gap between them and their peers.

The departmental guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-catch-up-premium.


Written Question
Eleven Plus: Coronavirus
29 Jul 2020, 5:22 p.m.

Questioner: Lord Watson of Invergowrie

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Berridge on 21 May (HL4175), what guidance is in place for secondary schools to permit visits for assessment tests in September and October 2020 of prospective pupils whose parents are applying for secondary transfer in September 2021.

Answer (Baroness Berridge)

We have published non-statutory guidance on assessment processes for selective school admissions for the 2021-22 academic year. The guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-assessment-processes-for-selective-school-admissions.


Written Question
Children: Coronavirus
29 Jul 2020, 4:52 p.m.

Questioner: Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to ensure that children, in particular those from low-income families, are not negatively affected by missed schooling during the COVID-19 pandemic and can catch-up on lessons.

Answer (Baroness Berridge)

Education recovery lies at the heart of our national mission as we emerge from the disruption caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. On 19 June we announced a £1 billion COVID-19 catch-up package to directly tackle the impact of lost teaching time.

£650 million will be shared across state primary, secondary and special schools over the 2020/21 academic year. This one-off grant to support pupils recognises that all young people have lost time in education as a result of the outbreak, regardless of their income or background.  School leaders will have discretion over how to use the funding, but we expect it to focus on the most effective approaches. The Education Endowment Foundation has published guidance to help schools make good decisions about how to use the money effectively.

Separately, a National Tutoring Programme worth £350 million will increase access to high-quality tuition for children and young people from deprived backgrounds. This will help to accelerate their academic progress and tackle the attainment gap between them and their peers.  We published guidance on both parts of the package on 20 July, which is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-catch-up-premium.

This £1 billion package is on top of the £14.4 billion core funding increase over three years announced last year, and the £2.4 billion pupil premium funding which schools continue to receive to support their disadvantaged pupils.


Written Question
Academies: Curriculum
29 Jul 2020, 4:48 p.m.

Questioner: Lord Watson of Invergowrie

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether academies are obliged to teach all national curriculum subjects at Key Stage 2; and what action will be taken if an academy does not teach modern foreign languages at Key Stage 2.

Answer (Baroness Berridge)

Both academies and maintained schools are under a duty to teach a balanced and broadly based curriculum which promotes the spiritual, moral, social, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils at the school; and prepare pupils at the school for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life.

Unlike maintained schools, academies are not required to follow the national curriculum. Therefore, they are not under a statutory duty to teach modern foreign languages at key stage 2 although a primary academy may choose to do so as part of their key stage 2 curriculum.