Department for Education

The Department for Education is responsible for children’s services and education, including early years, schools, higher and further education policy, apprenticeships and wider skills in England.



Secretary of State

 Portrait

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education

Shadow Ministers / Spokeperson
Scottish National Party
Carol Monaghan (SNP - Glasgow North West)
Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Education)

Labour
Lord Watson of Invergowrie (LAB - Life peer)
Shadow Spokesperson (Education)

Liberal Democrat
Daisy Cooper (LDEM - St Albans)
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Education)

Democratic Unionist Party
Paul Girvan (DUP - South Antrim)
Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Education)

Labour
Kate Green (LAB - Stretford and Urmston)
Shadow Secretary of State for Education
Baroness Sherlock (LAB - Life peer)
Shadow Spokesperson (Education)

Plaid Cymru
Ben Lake (PC - Ceredigion)
Shadow PC Spokesperson (Education)

Liberal Democrat
Lord Storey (LDEM - Life peer)
Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Education)
Junior Shadow Ministers / Deputy Spokesperson
Labour
Toby Perkins (LAB - Chesterfield)
Shadow Minister (Education)
Tulip Siddiq (LAB - Hampstead and Kilburn)
Shadow Minister (Education)
Peter Kyle (LAB - Hove)
Shadow Minister (Education) (Schools)
Matt Western (LAB - Warwick and Leamington)
Shadow Minister (Education)
Ministers of State
Michelle Donelan (CON - Chippenham)
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
Robin Walker (CON - Worcester)
Minister of State (Education)
Parliamentary Under-Secretaries of State
Alex Burghart (CON - Brentwood and Ongar)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
Will Quince (CON - Colchester)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
Baroness Barran (CON - Life peer)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
Scheduled Event
Tuesday 19th October 2021
09:30
Education Committee - Oral evidence - Select & Joint Committees
19 Oct 2021, 9:30 a.m.
Children's Homes
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Scheduled Event
Tuesday 19th October 2021
Department for Education
Legislation - Main Chamber
Telecommunications (Security) Bill – report stage
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Scheduled Event
Tuesday 26th October 2021
Department for Education
Legislation - Main Chamber
Telecommunications (Security) Bill – third reading
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Scheduled Event
Monday 1st November 2021
14:30
Department for Education
Oral questions - Main Chamber
1 Nov 2021, 2:30 p.m.
Education (including Topical Questions)
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Debates
Tuesday 12th October 2021
Select Committee Docs
Thursday 30th September 2021
00:00
Select Committee Inquiry
Monday 15th March 2021
Children's Homes

The inquiry will focus on children’s homes.

It will examine a number of areas including educational outcomes and destinations, the …

Written Answers
Friday 8th October 2021
Mathematics: Education
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Programme for International Student Assessment global ranking in Mathematics from 2019 showing …
Secondary Legislation
Friday 8th October 2021
Non-maintained Special Schools (England) and Independent School Standards (Amendment) Regulations 2021
These Regulations make amendments to the Non-Maintained Special Schools (England) Regulations 2015 (“the 2015 Regulations”) and to the Independent School …
Bills
Thursday 27th October 2016
Technical and Further Education Act 2017
A Bill to make provision about technical and further education.
Dept. Publications
Thursday 14th October 2021
10:00

Department for Education Commons Appearances

Oral Answers to Questions is a regularly scheduled appearance where the Secretary of State and junior minister will answer at the Dispatch Box questions from backbench MPs

Other Commons Chamber appearances can be:
  • Urgent Questions where the Speaker has selected a question to which a Minister must reply that day
  • Adjornment Debates a 30 minute debate attended by a Minister that concludes the day in Parliament.
  • Oral Statements informing the Commons of a significant development, where backbench MP's can then question the Minister making the statement.

Westminster Hall debates are performed in response to backbench MPs or e-petitions asking for a Minister to address a detailed issue

Written Statements are made when a current event is not sufficiently significant to require an Oral Statement, but the House is required to be informed.

Most Recent Commons Appearances by Category
Sep. 06
Oral Questions
Sep. 09
Written Statements
Sep. 16
Westminster Hall
May. 18
Adjournment Debate
View All Department for Education Commons Contibutions

Bills currently before Parliament

Department for Education does not have Bills currently before Parliament


Acts of Parliament created in the 2019 Parliament

Department for Education has not passed any Acts during the 2019 Parliament

Department for Education - Secondary Legislation

These Regulations make amendments to the Non-Maintained Special Schools (England) Regulations 2015 (“the 2015 Regulations”) and to the Independent School Standards, as set out in the Schedule to the Education (Independent School Standards) Regulations 2014 (“the 2014 Regulations”).
This Order makes provision for the determination of the remuneration of school teachers (within the meaning of section 122 of the Education Act 2002) in England and other conditions of employment of school teachers which relate to their professional duties and working time.
View All Department for Education Secondary Legislation

Petitions

e-Petitions are administered by Parliament and allow members of the public to express support for a particular issue.

If an e-petition reaches 10,000 signatures the Government will issue a written response.

If an e-petition reaches 100,000 signatures the petition becomes eligible for a Parliamentary debate (usually Monday 4.30pm in Westminster Hall).

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Petitions with most signatures
Petition Debates Contributed

Government should support vulnerable children & #endchildfoodpoverty by implementing 3 recommendations from the National Food Strategy to expand access to Free School Meals, provide meals & activities during holidays to stop holiday hunger & increase the value of and expand the Healthy Start scheme

All students should be reimbursed of this years tuition fees as universities are now online only due to COVID-19, with only powerpoints online for learning materials which is not worthy of up to £9,250. Furthermore, all assessments are being reconsidered to ‘make do’ and build up credits.

The quality of online lectures is not equal to face-to-face lectures. Students should not have to pay full tuition fees for online lectures, without experiencing university life. The Government should require UK universities to partially refund tuition fees while online teaching is implemented.

View All Department for Education Petitions

Departmental Select Committee

Education Committee

Commons Select Committees are a formally established cross-party group of backbench MPs tasked with holding a Government department to account.

At any time there will be number of ongoing investigations into the work of the Department, or issues which fall within the oversight of the Department. Witnesses can be summoned from within the Government and outside to assist in these inquiries.

Select Committee findings are reported to the Commons, printed, and published on the Parliament website. The government then usually has 60 days to reply to the committee's recommendations.


11 Members of the Education Committee
Robert Halfon Portrait
Robert Halfon (Conservative - Harlow)
Education Committee Chair since 27th January 2020
Christian Wakeford Portrait
Christian Wakeford (Conservative - Bury South)
Education Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
David Simmonds Portrait
David Simmonds (Conservative - Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner)
Education Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
Ian Mearns Portrait
Ian Mearns (Labour - Gateshead)
Education Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
David Johnston Portrait
David Johnston (Conservative - Wantage)
Education Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
Caroline Johnson Portrait
Caroline Johnson (Conservative - Sleaford and North Hykeham)
Education Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
Tom Hunt Portrait
Tom Hunt (Conservative - Ipswich)
Education Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
Apsana Begum Portrait
Apsana Begum (Labour - Poplar and Limehouse)
Education Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
Kim Johnson Portrait
Kim Johnson (Labour - Liverpool, Riverside)
Education Committee Member since 11th May 2020
Kate Osborne Portrait
Kate Osborne (Labour - Jarrow)
Education Committee Member since 13th July 2021
Nicola Richards Portrait
Nicola Richards (Conservative - West Bromwich East)
Education Committee Member since 7th September 2021
Education Committee: Upcoming Events
Education Committee - Oral evidence
Children's Homes
19 Oct 2021, 9:30 a.m.
At 10.00am: Oral evidence
Victoria Langer - Interim Chief Executive at Become
Patrick Ward - Chair at National Association of Virtual School Headteachers (NAVSH), and Headteacher at Lewisham Virtual School
Mark Russell - Chief Executive at The Children’s Society
Hannah McCowen - Manager at National Care Leavers Benchmarking Forum, and Catch 22

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50 most recent Written Questions

(View all written questions)
Written Questions can be tabled by MPs and Lords to request specific information information on the work, policy and activities of a Government Department

8th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Programme for International Student Assessment global ranking in Mathematics from 2019 showing British teenagers in 18th place, what plans, if any, they have to support students to reach the top ten

The department has not set specific targets for mathematics rankings in international comparison studies. However, we are taking action to help our pupils excel in mathematics on the international stage.

For example, our previous reform of the mathematics curriculum and GCSE examinations in England sought to match the standards set by high performing East Asian jurisdictions. Building on this work, our network of 40 school-led Maths Hubs across England is also helping local schools improve the quality of their mathematics teaching. This includes the delivery of the £100 million Teaching for Mastery programme, which is bringing teaching practice from those same high performing jurisdictions to 11,000 primary and secondary schools across England by 2023.

In July the department announced a new multi-million pound scheme to support mathematics catch-up and boost numeracy skills for pupils starting primary and secondary school. This offer will be led by the National Centre for Excellence in the teaching of mathematics in partnership with Maths Hubs. The scheme will provide teacher training and materials to thousands of schools across England this academic year based on Teaching for Mastery approaches.

The UK performed significantly above the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development average in mathematics in the latest Programme for International Student Assessment tests in 2018, the results of which were reported in 2019, with a significant improvement in average score compared to 2015. England’s average mathematics score also significantly improved, accompanied by a decrease in the number of countries that scored significantly above England from 19 in 2015 to 12 in 2018.

Across the UK, Wales’s average mathematics score improved between 2012 and 2018. Average mathematics performance in Scotland remained stable between 2015 and 2018, but decreased compared to 2006, and has remained stable in Northern Ireland since 2006. Education policy is devolved, and the devolved administrations are responsible for standards in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
16th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they had prior to the announcement of the Skills Accelerator: Local Skills Improvement Plan Trailblazers and Strategic Development Fund pilot areas with (1) the mayor of Teeside, (2) the mayors from other trailblazer areas, and (3) council leaders from trailblazer areas.

The Skills Accelerator programme was launched on 20 April 2021 with a prospectus inviting expressions of interest from employer representative bodies to lead a Local Skills Improvement Plan Trailblazer. The successful Local Skills Improvement Plan Trailblazers were subsequently announced on 15 July 2021.

During this time period, there were no discussions regarding the Skills Accelerator programme or Local Skills Improvement Plans between the former Secretary of State for Education, my right hon. Friend for South Staffordshire; the former Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills, my hon. Friend for Chichester; Special Advisors; or officials with mayors or council leaders in any of the areas which were subsequently announced as Trailblazers. Over the same time period, the former Secretary of State for Education met the Mayor of Tees Valley on 20 May 2021. This was a political meeting in his capacity as a Member of Parliament for South Staffordshire, not on departmental business.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to promote lifelong learning.

The government is investing £2.5 billion in the National Skills Fund in England.

Since 1 April 2021, the government is supporting adults who do not hold A level equivalent or higher qualifications to access over 400 funded level 3 courses, with Free Courses for Jobs. This offer is a long-term commitment, backed by £95 million from the National Skills Fund in year one.

Complementing this support for adults, Skills Bootcamps offer free, flexible courses of up to 16 weeks to give people the opportunity to build up sector specific skills and fast-track to an interview with a local employer. The department is expanding the Skills Bootcamp programme across the country during 2021/22 financial year, with £43 million from the National Skills Fund. There will be digital Skills Bootcamps available in each English region and a wide coverage of technical Skills Bootcamps. We are also delivering Skills Bootcamps in retrofit construction skills to support the green industrial revolution.

From 2025, the department will introduce a Lifelong Loan Entitlement equivalent to 4 years of post-18 education. People will be supported to study throughout their life, with the opportunity to train, retrain and upskill as needed in response to changing skills needs and employment patterns. It will help transform post-18 study, delivering greater parity between further and higher education.

The department is continuing to invest in education and skills training for adults through the Adult Education Budget (AEB), investing £1.34 billion in the 2021/22 financial year. The AEB fully funds or co-funds skills provision for eligible adults aged 19 and above from pre-entry to level 3, to support adults to gain the skills required for work, apprenticeships or further learning.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
21st Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education,what steps he is taking to ensure that students can continue to study BTEC qualifications in the future.

Employers are facing a skills shortage that we must act to address. It is vital in a fast moving and high-tech economy that we close the gap between what people study and the needs of employers. This is why we are introducing over 20 T Levels and are strengthening the routes to progress into skilled employment or further study with high quality qualifications that are fit for the future. T Levels are challenging qualifications developed with 250 leading employers. They include a meaningful nine-week industry placement and will equip more young people with the skills, knowledge and experience necessary to access skilled employment or further training.

We set out the qualifications we intend to fund alongside A levels and T Levels at level 3 in July 2021. We are clear that any qualifications that are funded to be taken alongside or instead of A levels or T Levels must be high quality and lead to good outcomes. We will fund level 3 BTECs and/or other Applied General or similar qualifications where there is a clear need for skills and knowledge that T Levels and A levels cannot provide. These must meet new quality criteria to be approved for funding.

We have been clear that we expect the changes to be generally positive as students will have access to higher quality qualifications in the future, including new T Levels. This will put students in a stronger position to progress onto further study or skilled employment.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
21st Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the effect on students of removing funding for certain BTEC qualifications.

Employers are facing a skills shortage that we must act to address. It is vital in a fast moving and high-tech economy that we close the gap between what people study and the needs of employers. This is why we are introducing over 20 T Levels and are strengthening the routes to progress into skilled employment or further study with high quality qualifications that are fit for the future. T Levels are challenging qualifications developed with 250 leading employers. They include a meaningful nine-week industry placement and will equip more young people with the skills, knowledge and experience necessary to access skilled employment or further training.

We set out the qualifications we intend to fund alongside A levels and T Levels at level 3 in July 2021. We are clear that any qualifications that are funded to be taken alongside or instead of A levels or T Levels must be high quality and lead to good outcomes. We will fund level 3 BTECs and/or other Applied General or similar qualifications where there is a clear need for skills and knowledge that T Levels and A levels cannot provide. These must meet new quality criteria to be approved for funding.

We have been clear that we expect the changes to be generally positive as students will have access to higher quality qualifications in the future, including new T Levels. This will put students in a stronger position to progress onto further study or skilled employment.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
21st Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on funding for early years services.

We are making our usual preparations for the imminent Spending Review, which will set departmental budgets for all financial years from 2022-23 to 2024-25.

Ministers and officials from the department will continue to have discussions with HM Treasury as the Spending Review progresses.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
21st Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the findings of the survey of 20,000 parents by Mumsnet with 13 other groups, published in September 2021, what recent assessment he has made of the impact of the cost of childcare on (a) household bills and (b) the career choices of parents.

The department welcomes the contribution that Mumsnet and their partner organisations have made around this topic. However, it is important to note that this survey is unweighted, and the sample size represents a small proportion of all parents with a child or children in the early years.

Ipsos MORI conducted wave 9 of our parent poll, ‘Childcare use, perceived impact on child development, information on working from home, and awareness and use of free entitlements for families of 0-4 year-olds during COVID-19’ in July 2021, with a smaller but representative sample of 1,000 parents of children aged 0-4 in England. This is available at: https://www.ipsos.com/ipsos-mori/en-uk/childcare-use-perceived-impact-child-development-information-working-home-and-awareness-and-use.

The data has been weighted to match the population profile of parents of children aged 0-4 in England by region, social grade, and the age of the selected child.

The Parent Poll asked different questions to the Mumsnet survey but key points from the findings include:

  • The affordability of weekly childcare costs is unchanged for just over half of parents compared to before the COVID-19 outbreak, and for 3 in 10 parents their weekly childcare costs are now easier to meet.
  • The majority of parents (91%) who used formal childcare before the COVID-19 outbreak, and are currently using it, say that their child is spending about the same number of hours or more in formal childcare as they did before.
  • More than half (56%) of parents report that their child is currently using formal childcare, this increases to 94% when looking at just those children who were receiving formal childcare before the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Only 6% of parents whose child was not receiving formal childcare said they would like to use formal childcare but have not been able to find a suitable provider. This is only approximately 2% of all parents.
  • Nearly two thirds of parents of 0-4 year olds currently using childcare (64%) agree that the hours their child(ren) can access formal or informal childcare/school fits with the working hours of the adults in the household.
Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
21st Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the role of early years services is in the Government's Levelling Up agenda.

Levelling up is at the heart of the agenda to build back better after the COVID-19 outbreak and to deliver for every part of the UK. The department takes a dual approach to disadvantage: tackling outcome inequalities nationally while tilting efforts to, and working specifically in, places of greatest need.

In education, ability is evenly spread but opportunity is not. We know that differences in outcomes start early. To really tackle our levelling up challenge, we must look at our support for children and young people at every level, from support for families and childcare, through to university, and to develop skills throughout life.

We are already making progress. On 2 June 2021 we announced an additional £1.4 billion education recovery package, which includes a £153 million investment in evidence-based professional development for early years practitioners, including through new programmes focusing on key areas such as speech and language development.

This is in addition to the £27 million which we are already investing to support children’s early language development in light of the COVID-19 outbreak:

  • £17 million is to deliver the Nuffield Early Language Intervention (NELI) in schools that would particularly benefit. Two thirds of primary schools have already signed up for the programme.
  • £10 million will support language development for pre-reception children in the next academic year.

What happens outside of schools and settings is also important. The government is investing over £34 million to champion family hubs. This approach will help to support children of all ages and their families across a broad range of needs in their localities. This investment includes establishing a new national centre for family hubs, run by the Anna Freud Centre for Children and Families; a new transformation fund to open family hubs in around 10 local authorities; an evaluation innovation fund; and work with local authorities to develop data and digital products that will support the practical implementation of family hubs.

The government will publish a landmark Levelling Up White Paper later this year, setting out bold new policy interventions to improve livelihoods and opportunity in all parts of the UK.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many Educational, Health Care Plans have been sought in (a) 2019, (b) 2020 and (c) 2021 in (i) Bexley Borough, (ii) Greater London and (iii) England.

The initial requests for Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans relating to 2019 and 2020 are published at the following link: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/data-tables/permalink/1ff67fe5-249c-4a8e-b2a1-a172c1ae0b23.

The department does not yet hold information on the number of initial requests for EHC plans in 2021, but this will be published in May 2022 at the following link: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/education-health-and-care-plans.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that Black history is a mandatory part of the curriculum in all schools, including those which are not required to teach the National Curriculum.

The department is committed to an inclusive education system which recognises and embraces diversity. We support all pupils and students in tackling racism and to have the knowledge and tools to do so.

The government believes that all children and young people should acquire a firm grasp of history, including how different events and periods relate to each other. That is why it is compulsory for maintained schools from key stages 1 to 3, and why academies are expected to teach a curriculum which is as broad and ambitious as the national curriculum. This expectation is set out in the Ofsted school inspection handbook, as part of their education inspection framework introduced in September 2019.

The national curriculum is a framework setting out the content of what the department expects schools to cover in each subject. The curriculum does not set out how curriculum subjects, or topics within the subjects, should be taught. The department believes teachers should be able to use their own knowledge and expertise to determine how they teach their pupils, and to make choices about what they teach.

As part of a broad and balanced curriculum, pupils should be taught about different societies, and how different groups have contributed to the development of Britain, and this can include the voices and experience of Black people. The flexibility within the history curriculum means that there is the opportunity for teachers to teach about Black history across the spectrum of themes and eras set out in the curriculum. For example, at key stage 1, schools can teach about the lives of key Black historical figures such as Mary Seacole, Rosa Parks, or others. At key stage 3, schools can cover the development and end of the British Empire and Britain’s transatlantic slave trade, its effects and eventual abolition. The teaching of Black history need not be limited to these examples. There is scope to include Black history and experience in other national curriculum subjects such as English and citizenship, and in the non-statutory subject personal, social, health and economics (PSHE) education.

It is positive that teachers and schools are responding directly to the renewed attention on history teaching to ensure knowledge-based subject teaching. More history teachers reflected commitments in the most recent survey of history teachers by the Historical Association to develop more content in their teaching on Black and diverse histories. This change will provide pupils with more breadth and depth in their understanding of history.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans his Department has to encourage more businesses to offer T Level placements.

We have provided an extensive programme of employer and provider support to help with the delivery of high-quality industry placements. We have invested £165 million over the past 3 years to help providers build their capacity and relationships with employers and we have published practical industry placement delivery guidance for both providers and employers. We are engaging directly with employers through the National Apprenticeship Service to provide a strong pipeline of employers ready to offer placements and there is a comprehensive package of support available for employers offering online guidance, webinars and direct hands-on support to help them prepare for industry placements. We have established a T Level employer ambassador network to engage with others in their industries on T Levels and placements, and we are further developing our communications materials to continue to raise the profile of T Levels to an employer audience. We have also recently put in place a short-term incentive fund, offering employers £1,000 per industry placement, to encourage employer engagement in the post COVID-19 outbreak period.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many students studying T Levels in Bury South constituency (a) there were in the 2020-21 academic year and (b) there are in the 2021-22 academic year.

We are introducing T Levels in a phased implementation - 43 providers started teaching these pioneering qualifications last September to around 1,300 students. In this first wave of rollout, no providers based specifically in Bury offered T Levels.

From this September, provider numbers have grown to just over 100, which includes Bury College. In the wider area providers include Hopwood Hall, Bolton College and Oldham College. Providers are still enrolling students at this point and data on student numbers nationally will be available later in the autumn, with provider level data available next year.

Keeping provider numbers small in these initial stages of rollout has meant we can work closely with them to ensure a high-quality start. Feedback from students and providers involved in the first year of teaching has been positive.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans his Department has to encourage more colleges and schools to provide T Levels.

We are introducing T Levels in a phased implementation with the number of providers increasing year on year. Just over 100 providers are now teaching T Levels and from next September this number will rise to around 200. For this initial rollout we selected high performing providers to ensure high-quality from the start. Providers are now registering their interest to deliver T Levels from 2023 at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/how-to-register-to-deliver-t-levels-in-2023-to-2024-academic-year, and we have seen a positive response to this.

We continue to work closely with sector representatives, such as the Association of Colleges and Association of School and College Leaders, as well as academy trusts and local/combined authorities to raise awareness and encourage providers to register for 2023 delivery.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the impact of T Levels on social mobility in Bury South constituency.

The provision of high-quality technical education is key to improving social mobility, and we want as many young people as possible to benefit from T Levels. The introduction of T Levels will help raise the standard of technical education, so that it is seen as equal in esteem to our world class academic route. The industry placement element of T Levels helps to build students’ employability skills, developing their confidence in the workplace and giving young people from all backgrounds a head start in accessing skilled work. T Levels carry UCAS points in line with three A levels so will also allow progression to higher education. We have also developed a T Level Transition Programme, which is aimed at students who have potential to complete a T Level but need extra support.

The first T Level providers are situated across the country and we have ensured they are represented in opportunity areas. From this academic year, Bury College and other providers in the wider Bury area began offering T Levels, boosting access to high quality technical education for young people in the area.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans his Department has to encourage more young people to study T Levels.

We want as many young people as possible to benefit from T Levels. The T Level communications campaign launched in October 2019, aimed at potential students and parents of 14-16 year olds. We are working with the Careers and Enterprise Company to ensure that careers staff can articulate their benefits to students and have included T Levels in the Apprenticeships Support and Knowledge programme, which offers free support and resources to schools to upskill their staff.

We continue to support T Level providers with their recruitment, and going forward T Levels will be part of a new ‘Young People’s Futures’ campaign. This will support 14-19 year olds to understand the range of education, training and work options open to them, including T Levels. T Levels also feature in our Employer Support campaign, helping to increase awareness nationally.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether the Government is working with representatives of local Violence Against Women and Girls sector organisations to implement relationship and sex education.

The department has not engaged specifically with any local representatives of sector organisations focused on violence against women and girls in relation to the implementation of the new Relationships, Sex and Health Education (RSHE) curriculum, which came into force in September 2020. The department commissioned Ofsted to undertake a review of sexual abuse in schools and colleges and they published their report in June 2021. The government accepted the findings in full. The department is developing a new support package for teachers, and we plan to engage with a range of stakeholders, including organisations with expertise in sexual abuse and violence against women and girls to inform that.

We will publish non-statutory RSHE guidance covering specific topics mentioned by the Ofsted review and in response to the Violence against Women and Girls strategy.

To support teachers further, we also plan to host a national webinar on specific topics in RSHE for teachers and other interested professionals using subject sector experts from the field and run smaller RSHE regional events to support teachers to network and share best practice.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department has taken to tackle educational inequalities for disadvantaged white boys, following the report of the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparity published in April 2021 and the Education Select Committee Report entitled The forgotten: how White working-class pupils have been let down, and how to change it, published in June 2021.

The Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities was launched to conduct a detailed, data-led examination of inequality across the entire population, and to set out a positive agenda for change. We thank Dr Tony Sewell and each of the commissioners for generously giving their time to lead this important piece of work. It is now right that the government considers their recommendations in detail and assesses the implications for future government policy. The government remains fully committed to building a fairer Britain and taking the action needed to address disparities wherever they exist.

We also thank the Education Select Committee for its report and have been considering its findings and recommendations carefully. We will publish the government’s response to the report in due course.

The government is committed to levelling up across the UK and is funding particularly disadvantaged areas through the National Funding Formula, Pupil Premium and our Schools Capital programmes.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will bring forward legislative proposals on the teaching of organ donation in post-primary education settings.

The national curriculum includes content that can be used by teachers as an opportunity to inform pupils about organ donation. For example, pupils are taught about this as part of the Key Stage 4 science curriculum. The national curriculum is compulsory in state-maintained schools and is often used as a benchmark by academies and free schools.

Since September 2020, it has been compulsory for schools to teach relationships education to primary school-aged pupils, relationships and sex education to secondary school-aged pupils and health education to all pupils in state-maintained schools. The statutory guidance on relationships, sex and health education sets out that by the end of secondary school, pupils should know about the science relating to blood, organ and stem cell donation.

The department has published teacher training modules, including online modules for primary and secondary teachers containing key knowledge and facts to help teachers understand what they must teach in relation to the new requirements. This can be done flexibly and can include teaching about organ donation.

As with other aspects of the curriculum, schools continue to have flexibility over how they deliver important topics and use their autonomy and local community knowledge to do this.

Health education in schools in Northern Ireland are matters for the Department of Education for Northern Ireland.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure timely approval of tutoring organisations for the National Tutoring Programme in the context of 16 of those organisations having not yet been approved.

Our delivery partner, Randstad, has approved 38 Tuition Partners to provide high-quality, subsidised tuition to schools in the current academic year: https://nationaltutoring.org.uk/tuition-partners/approved-tuition-partners/. These organisations were recruited via an open competition to meet the necessary quality standards.

The programme ensures that additional support has been allocated to regions with the largest numbers of disadvantaged pupils and in regions where access to tutoring has historically been lower. This will cover all the locations across the UK geographically.

Schools can access high-quality tutoring from an approved list of tutoring providers known as tuition partners. Each tuition partner has been robustly assessed and has passed a set of quality, safeguarding and evaluation standards. Tuition partners offer a range of subjects and provide targeted support for pupils in small group or one-to-one sessions. This offers additional tutoring capacity to schools, especially where this is scarce. It is a flexible service for schools and its selection of providers can tailor their expertise to support pupil needs.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
13th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent estimate his Department has made of the number of children who are being home-schooled in England.

The department does not collect data on children who are home educated. We are aware of the rising number of home-educated children.

The department supports the right of parents to educate their children at home. Most do so with the best education of their child at the centre of their decision. The rising numbers of home educated children cannot be overlooked. For some parents, the child’s education is not the primary reason behind the decision to home educate, which can mean that some children are not being provided with a suitable education.

The government remains committed to a form of registration system for children not in school. Further details on this will be in the government response to the ‘Children Not in School’ consultation, which the department will publish in coming months.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that children not in mainstream education receive relationship and sex education.

Relationships education is compulsory for all primary school pupils, relationships and sex education is compulsory for all secondary school pupils, and health education is compulsory for pupils in all state-funded schools. This includes pupils in special schools and pupil referral units. In teaching the new curriculum, schools must have regard to the statutory guidance.

To support all teachers to deliver the curriculum, the department has developed a package of support which can be accessed via this link: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/teaching-about-relationships-sex-and-health. To further support teachers of pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), we have delivered a national webinar as well as regional training events for primary and secondary schools:

https://www.pshe-association.org.uk/content/send-hub;

https://nasen.org.uk/resources/supporting-effective-delivery-new-statutory-rshe-curriculum-pupils-send-primary-focused;

https://nasen.org.uk/resources/supporting-effective-delivery-new-statutory-rshe-curriculum-pupils-send-secondary-focused.

We have also developed a teacher training module specifically about teaching relationships, sex and health education (RSHE) to pupils with SEND: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/teaching-about-relationships-sex-and-health#pupils-with-send.

As with other aspects of the curriculum, schools have flexibility over how they deliver RSHE, so they can develop an integrated approach that is sensitive to the needs and background of their pupils.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
9th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether consideration of summer term born children was a factor used in the GCSE and A Level teacher-assessed examinations.

This year, pupils and students were awarded grades determined by their teachers. Teacher assessed grades allowed results to be based on the knowledge students acquired as a result of what they had been taught, recognising the variability in teaching that some young people experienced.

As is the case in years in which exams have gone ahead, students’ grades this year were not adjusted to take account of their birthday.

Awarding organisations provided assessment materials, guidance, and training to support centres to make fair, consistent, and evidence-based decisions which are without bias. Ofqual also published information for centres about making objective judgements this year, available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/information-for-centres-about-making-objective-judgements. Centres set out how they would ensure objectivity in their centre policies, which were then reviewed by exam boards. Schools, colleges, and exam boards also undertook internal and external checks to help maximise fairness for students, no matter their background.

Where students required reasonable adjustments and access arrangements, these should also have been in place when evidence was generated. Where they were not, centres should have taken that into account when coming to their judgement.

Teachers, schools and colleges did an excellent job in using their collective experience to assess students in 2021. These grades reflect students’ hard work in a hugely challenging year.

Whatever month of the year a child is born, schools are dedicated to providing for the needs of each child to help prepare them for a successful education. Teachers understand that children have different starting points when beginning school and are trained to adapt their teaching to suit an individual child’s strengths and needs and provide extra support where necessary. Despite this, no child is required to start school until they reach compulsory school age, which for a summer born child is a full academic year after they could first have been admitted to school.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the impact of child hunger on levels of lost learning.

We recognise that extended school and college restrictions have had a substantial impact on children and young people’s education and we are committed to helping pupils catch up as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The department commissioned Renaissance Learning to provide a baseline assessment of lost learning for pupils in schools in England and monitor progress over the course of the 2020/21 academic year. The latest interim findings from this research were published on 4 June: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/pupils-progress-in-the-2020-to-2021-academic-year-interim-report.

Since June 2020, we have announced more than £3 billion to support education recovery, including over £950 million flexible funding to schools and £1.5 billion for a national tutoring revolution. This will have a material impact in closing gaps that have emerged.

Recovery programmes have been designed to allow early years, school, and college leaders the flexibility to support those pupils most in need. This includes the most disadvantaged and will expand our reforms in two areas where the evidence is clear that our investment will have a significant impact for disadvantaged children - high quality tutoring and great teaching.

We have provided around £450 million worth of food vouchers to families whilst schools were largely closed. Now schools are open again, school food provision has returned to typical delivery arrangements, with meals being provided free of charge to eligible pupils at school. If pupils who are eligible for benefits-related free school meals are required to stay at home due to COVID-19, schools should continue to work with their school catering team or food provider to offer a good quality lunch parcel.

Throughout 2021 we are investing up to £220 million in our holiday activities and food programme. Taking place in schools and community venues across the country, delivery began at Easter, has run across the summer and will run in the Christmas holidays. It supports disadvantaged pupils and their families with enriching activities, providing them with healthy food, helping them to learn new things and supporting socialisation and well-being. We are also further investing with £24 million in the National Breakfast Club programme, providing breakfast clubs in schools in disadvantaged areas.

Beyond this, the Department for Work and Pension has provided £429 million through the Covid Local Support Grant. This is being run by local authorities in England to support the hardest hit families and individuals with food and essential utility costs.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 6 September 2021 to Question 41094 on Children in Care, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of conducting research into the long-term outcomes for children placed across borders.

The department has not made an assessment in this area. Where possible, local authorities should provide accommodation that is within their local area as moving a child away from their home area is not a decision to be taken lightly. There are clear statutory requirements in place to safeguard young people, and it is the responsibility of the placing local authority and Directors of Children’s Services who must approve all distant placements.

Statistically, the department collects data on placement type, reason for placement change and three separate pieces of information in relation to the locality of placements. The location data includes:

  • information about the distance the child is placed away from their home postcode
  • whether the placement is located inside or outside their responsible local authority
  • the country of the placement (England, UK or otherwise).

Figures on placements, distance from the home placement and the location of the placement, inside or outside the council boundary, were published in the underlying data ‘National - children looked after at 31 March by placement type, distance of placement and locality of placement’ of the statistical release ‘Children looked after in England including adoption: 2019 to 2020’ at: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/children-looked-after-in-england-including-adoptions/2020.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to improve accessibility to early years services.

High quality, accessible childcare is important in ensuring that every child has the best possible start in life. As of 31 March 2021, 96% of providers on the Ofsted Early Years Register were judged Good or Outstanding, a substantial increase from 74% in 2012. Ofsted are responsible for monitoring the quality of provision.

The department continues to monitor the sufficiency of childcare through regular attendance data collection and monitoring the open or closed status of providers. We also discuss sufficiency of provision in regular conversations with local authorities. Local authorities are not currently reporting any significant sufficiency or supply issues and we have not seen a significant number of parents unable to secure a childcare place, either this term or since early years settings re-opened fully on 1 June 2020. The department provides support to local authorities with low take up of the entitlements.

All 3 and 4 year olds are entitled to 15 hours free childcare each week, providing children with high-quality early education. Take-up of this entitlement is high, with 90% of 3 and 4 year olds registered for a 15 hours per week free early education place in January 2021. Eligible working parents of 3 and 4 year olds are entitled to an additional 15 hours to help them with the additional costs associated with childcare. Households on a low income of under £15,400 (or £16,190 if receiving child tax credits) can qualify for 15 hours free childcare for 2 year olds.

In addition to free early education entitlements, the government offers Tax-Free Childcare for children from 0 to 11 years old, or up to 16 if disabled. For every £8 parents pay into their Tax-Free Childcare account, the government will pay £2, up to a maximum of £2,000 per child per year. For disabled children, the maximum is £4,000 per year. In total, 308,000 families used Tax-Free Childcare for 364,000 children in June 2021.

Working parents on a low income may also be eligible for help with up to 85% of their childcare costs (for children under 16) through Universal Credit Childcare. This is subject to a monthly limit of £646 for one child or £1108 for two or more children, payable in arrears.

As part of the COVID-19 education recovery strategy we are investing £180 million for training for early years staff to support the very youngest children’s learning and development. This includes Nuffield Early Language Intervention, improving the language skills of reception age children who need it most during COVID-19. Two thirds of eligible primary schools have signed up and we estimate 90,000 reception age children will get extra support with their speech and language development. Further detail on the additional training will be made available in due course.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the impact of the covid-19 outbreak on the accessibility of early years services in the North West region.

High quality, accessible childcare is important in ensuring that every child has the best possible start in life. As of 31 March 2021, 96% of providers on the Ofsted Early Years Register were judged Good or Outstanding, a substantial increase from 74% in 2012. Ofsted are responsible for monitoring the quality of provision.

The department continues to monitor the sufficiency of childcare through regular attendance data collection and monitoring the open or closed status of providers. We also discuss sufficiency of provision in regular conversations with local authorities. Local authorities are not currently reporting any significant sufficiency or supply issues and we have not seen a significant number of parents unable to secure a childcare place, either this term or since early years settings re-opened fully on 1 June 2020. The department provides support to local authorities with low take up of the entitlements.

All 3 and 4 year olds are entitled to 15 hours free childcare each week, providing children with high-quality early education. Take-up of this entitlement is high, with 90% of 3 and 4 year olds registered for a 15 hours per week free early education place in January 2021. Eligible working parents of 3 and 4 year olds are entitled to an additional 15 hours to help them with the additional costs associated with childcare. Households on a low income of under £15,400 (or £16,190 if receiving child tax credits) can qualify for 15 hours free childcare for 2 year olds.

In addition to free early education entitlements, the government offers Tax-Free Childcare for children from 0 to 11 years old, or up to 16 if disabled. For every £8 parents pay into their Tax-Free Childcare account, the government will pay £2, up to a maximum of £2,000 per child per year. For disabled children, the maximum is £4,000 per year. In total, 308,000 families used Tax-Free Childcare for 364,000 children in June 2021.

Working parents on a low income may also be eligible for help with up to 85% of their childcare costs (for children under 16) through Universal Credit Childcare. This is subject to a monthly limit of £646 for one child or £1108 for two or more children, payable in arrears.

As part of the COVID-19 education recovery strategy we are investing £180 million for training for early years staff to support the very youngest children’s learning and development. This includes Nuffield Early Language Intervention, improving the language skills of reception age children who need it most during COVID-19. Two thirds of eligible primary schools have signed up and we estimate 90,000 reception age children will get extra support with their speech and language development. Further detail on the additional training will be made available in due course.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the consistency of early years services for children up to five years old across the UK.

High quality, accessible childcare is important in ensuring that every child has the best possible start in life. As of 31 March 2021, 96% of providers on the Ofsted Early Years Register were judged Good or Outstanding, a substantial increase from 74% in 2012. Ofsted are responsible for monitoring the quality of provision.

The department continues to monitor the sufficiency of childcare through regular attendance data collection and monitoring the open or closed status of providers. We also discuss sufficiency of provision in regular conversations with local authorities. Local authorities are not currently reporting any significant sufficiency or supply issues and we have not seen a significant number of parents unable to secure a childcare place, either this term or since early years settings re-opened fully on 1 June 2020. The department provides support to local authorities with low take up of the entitlements.

All 3 and 4 year olds are entitled to 15 hours free childcare each week, providing children with high-quality early education. Take-up of this entitlement is high, with 90% of 3 and 4 year olds registered for a 15 hours per week free early education place in January 2021. Eligible working parents of 3 and 4 year olds are entitled to an additional 15 hours to help them with the additional costs associated with childcare. Households on a low income of under £15,400 (or £16,190 if receiving child tax credits) can qualify for 15 hours free childcare for 2 year olds.

In addition to free early education entitlements, the government offers Tax-Free Childcare for children from 0 to 11 years old, or up to 16 if disabled. For every £8 parents pay into their Tax-Free Childcare account, the government will pay £2, up to a maximum of £2,000 per child per year. For disabled children, the maximum is £4,000 per year. In total, 308,000 families used Tax-Free Childcare for 364,000 children in June 2021.

Working parents on a low income may also be eligible for help with up to 85% of their childcare costs (for children under 16) through Universal Credit Childcare. This is subject to a monthly limit of £646 for one child or £1108 for two or more children, payable in arrears.

As part of the COVID-19 education recovery strategy we are investing £180 million for training for early years staff to support the very youngest children’s learning and development. This includes Nuffield Early Language Intervention, improving the language skills of reception age children who need it most during COVID-19. Two thirds of eligible primary schools have signed up and we estimate 90,000 reception age children will get extra support with their speech and language development. Further detail on the additional training will be made available in due course.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans his Department has to promote and improve access to early years services.

High quality, accessible childcare is important in ensuring that every child has the best possible start in life. As of 31 March 2021, 96% of providers on the Ofsted Early Years Register were judged Good or Outstanding, a substantial increase from 74% in 2012. Ofsted are responsible for monitoring the quality of provision.

The department continues to monitor the sufficiency of childcare through regular attendance data collection and monitoring the open or closed status of providers. We also discuss sufficiency of provision in regular conversations with local authorities. Local authorities are not currently reporting any significant sufficiency or supply issues and we have not seen a significant number of parents unable to secure a childcare place, either this term or since early years settings re-opened fully on 1 June 2020. The department provides support to local authorities with low take up of the entitlements.

All 3 and 4 year olds are entitled to 15 hours free childcare each week, providing children with high-quality early education. Take-up of this entitlement is high, with 90% of 3 and 4 year olds registered for a 15 hours per week free early education place in January 2021. Eligible working parents of 3 and 4 year olds are entitled to an additional 15 hours to help them with the additional costs associated with childcare. Households on a low income of under £15,400 (or £16,190 if receiving child tax credits) can qualify for 15 hours free childcare for 2 year olds.

In addition to free early education entitlements, the government offers Tax-Free Childcare for children from 0 to 11 years old, or up to 16 if disabled. For every £8 parents pay into their Tax-Free Childcare account, the government will pay £2, up to a maximum of £2,000 per child per year. For disabled children, the maximum is £4,000 per year. In total, 308,000 families used Tax-Free Childcare for 364,000 children in June 2021.

Working parents on a low income may also be eligible for help with up to 85% of their childcare costs (for children under 16) through Universal Credit Childcare. This is subject to a monthly limit of £646 for one child or £1108 for two or more children, payable in arrears.

As part of the COVID-19 education recovery strategy we are investing £180 million for training for early years staff to support the very youngest children’s learning and development. This includes Nuffield Early Language Intervention, improving the language skills of reception age children who need it most during COVID-19. Two thirds of eligible primary schools have signed up and we estimate 90,000 reception age children will get extra support with their speech and language development. Further detail on the additional training will be made available in due course.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
13th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on recording absence from school as authorised in the event that eligible children are required to isolate following a covid-19 vaccination.

Children aged 12 to 15 in England will now be offered one dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, following advice from the four UK Chief Medical Officers. Vaccinating children should help to reduce the need for pupils to have time off school and reduce the risk of spread of COVID-19 within schools.

When a child is not well enough to not attend their school or college, as usual this may be recorded as authorised absence due to illness.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether it is possible for a school to be graded by Ofsted as outstanding or good if there are concerns that special educational needs provision is not being provided at an equivalent level.

This is a matter for Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector, Amanda Spielman. I have asked her to write to you directly and a copy of her reply will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to institute financial skills education into the national curriculum; and whether he plans for that to include education about cooperatives and mutuals.

Education on financial matters helps to ensure that young people are prepared to manage their money well, make sound financial decisions and know where to seek further information when needed.

Financial education forms part of the citizenship national curriculum which can be taught at all key stages and is compulsory at key stages 3 and 4: https://www.gov.uk/national-curriculum. Financial education ensures that pupils are taught the functions and uses of money, the importance of personal budgeting, money management and managing financial risk. At secondary school, pupils are taught about income and expenditure, credit and debt, insurance, savings and pensions, financial products and services, and how public money is raised and spent. Schools have the freedom to ensure the curriculum meets the needs of their pupils and they may choose to teach about cooperatives and mutuals if they wish.

The department has introduced a rigorous mathematics curriculum, which provides young people with the knowledge and financial skills to make important financial decisions. In the primary mathematics curriculum, there is a strong emphasis on the essential arithmetic knowledge that pupils should be taught. This knowledge is vital, as a strong grasp of numeracy and numbers will underpin pupils’ ability to manage budgets and money, including, for example, using percentages. There is also some specific content about financial education, such as calculations with money. The secondary mathematics curriculum develops pupils’ understanding and skills in relation to more complex personal finance issues such as calculating loan repayments, interest rates and compound interest.

The department works closely with the Money and Pensions Service and other stakeholders, such as Her Majesty’s Treasury, to consider what can be discovered from other sector initiatives and whether there is scope to provide further support for the teaching of financial education in schools.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that pupils in Bolton South East constituency have access to a secular or community-ethos school.

The government is committed to offering parents and children a diverse education system consisting of a wide variety of schools and this includes faith schools. Within Bolton South East, 24 of the 47 primary and secondary schools are not designated as faith schools.

The vast majority of parents are offered a place at a school of their choice. For the Bolton local authority, in 2021, 97.6% of parents received an offer from one of their top three choices of primary school, while 94.4 % received an offer from one of their top three choices of secondary school.

Faith schools have played an important role in our education system for many years and are popular with parents. They have a strong track record of delivering excellent education and achieving high standards and, on average, perform better than non-faith schools. These schools, like all other schools, play a vital role in promoting integration and supporting pupils to understand different faiths and communities.

Although faith schools have greater freedom to maintain their religious ethos, they remain subject to the same obligations as other state funded schools to promote community cohesion and integration, and to teach a broad and balanced curriculum.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
9th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of research into young people's views on COVID-19 conducted by the Co-op, The Ghosted Generation, published 9 on September, which found that (1) two-thirds said job competition had increased during the pandemic, and (2) almost one third felt less likely to continue with futher education due to it; and what steps they intend to take to reverse this trend.

At the end of 2020, 57.2% of 16 to 24 year olds were in education and training, the highest proportion on record. Whilst 11.5% of this age group were not in education, employment, or training (NEET), at the end of 2020, it is one of the lowest rates on record, the lowest being 11% at the end of 2017.

Ministers at the Department for Education are aware of, and addressing, the issues highlighted by the Co-op report. The Department for Education and the Department for Work and Pensions are working jointly to monitor NEET rates, considering ways to support young people to continue developing the skills they will need for the future.

Local authorities have a statutory duty to identify and support young people who are NEET. All 16 and 17 year olds are entitled to an offer of a suitable place in education or training under the September Guarantee, regardless of qualifications gained.

A range of provision is available for young people aged 16 to 24 to equip them with the skills and experience they need to progress. This includes traineeships that prepare young people for apprenticeships and work through a combination of sector-focused skills development and work experience, and supported internships offering tailored support for young people with special educational needs and disabilities.

The Apprenticeship Support and Knowledge for Schools and Colleges programme provides targeted local and regional support on NEET prevention, to raise aspirations of young people in areas of disadvantage and support their post-education progression. It also offers support for local authorities to help them support young people during this time. This includes support activities for staff, teachers, and careers advisors to engage young people, and training workshops to develop knowledge.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
9th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to respond to the recommendation of the Co-op report The Ghosted Generation, published on 9 September, to appoint a Youth Minister.

At the end of 2020, 57.2% of 16 to 24 year olds were in education and training, the highest proportion on record. Whilst 11.5% of this age group were not in education, employment, or training (NEET), at the end of 2020, it is one of the lowest rates on record, the lowest being 11% at the end of 2017.

Ministers at the Department for Education are aware of, and addressing, the issues highlighted by the Co-op report. The Department for Education and the Department for Work and Pensions are working jointly to monitor NEET rates, considering ways to support young people to continue developing the skills they will need for the future.

Local authorities have a statutory duty to identify and support young people who are NEET. All 16 and 17 year olds are entitled to an offer of a suitable place in education or training under the September Guarantee, regardless of qualifications gained.

A range of provision is available for young people aged 16 to 24 to equip them with the skills and experience they need to progress. This includes traineeships that prepare young people for apprenticeships and work through a combination of sector-focused skills development and work experience, and supported internships offering tailored support for young people with special educational needs and disabilities.

The Apprenticeship Support and Knowledge for Schools and Colleges programme provides targeted local and regional support on NEET prevention, to raise aspirations of young people in areas of disadvantage and support their post-education progression. It also offers support for local authorities to help them support young people during this time. This includes support activities for staff, teachers, and careers advisors to engage young people, and training workshops to develop knowledge.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what was their response to the letter from Amanda Spielman, Her Majesty's Chief Inspector, about Ofsted's monitoring of inspectorates for independent schools, sent to the Secretary of State for Education on 6 November 2018.

In her letter of 6 November 2018, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector (HMCI) recommended a review of the monitoring arrangements in place at the time and that new ones should be put in their place. Such a review was carried out by departmental officials, working alongside officials in Ofsted and at the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI). Following this review, new directions were issued to HMCI on 4 November 2019.

The new arrangements outlined above were aimed at giving greater flexibility to Ofsted and ISI to develop a joint programme of work to exchange and develop their mutual knowledge and understanding of inspecting independent schools.

It is worth noting that the School Inspection Service, which previously undertook inspections of some independent schools, has now closed and that there is now only one independent inspectorate, ISI. As such, and given the new directions issued on 4 November 2019, HMCI should no longer have regard to the matters in the February 2015 directions, which were the subject of the 6 November 2018 letter.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
14th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to provide teaching and mentoring in English language and culture to recently arrived Afghan refugees; and how they plan to deliver this.

We know that language skills are crucial to help people integrate into life in England, as well as to break down barriers to work and career progression. This is why we want to support all new arrivals to England to secure the English language skills they need.

All Afghans being resettled through both the Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy and the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme will be granted ‘indefinite leave to remain’ and therefore are eligible from arrival for funding through the Adult Education Budget, including English language courses. They will also receive a package of integration support to help them acclimatise, learn English and find work, which will enable rapid self-sufficiency and social integration. We will be working with the private, voluntary and community sectors to harness a whole of society effort to address this challenge.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many children are in unregistered residential accommodation.

Any setting that is providing care and accommodation must register with Ofsted as a children’s home. If a setting is providing care and accommodation but is operating without Ofsted registration, they are operating illegally as an ‘unregistered’ children’s home. We do not collect national data on how many children in England are in unregistered settings offering care and accommodation.

Ofsted investigates notifications about potential unregistered children’s homes and in 2019/20 they undertook 250 investigations[1]. Of these, around a quarter should have been registered with Ofsted. Local authorities have a duty to ensure sufficient appropriate provision for the children they look after and that every looked-after child is placed in an appropriate care setting that meets their needs.

[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/ofsted-annual-report-201920-education-childrens-services-and-skills/the-annual-report-of-her-majestys-chief-inspector-of-education-childrens-services-and-skills-201920.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they expect to complete their review of special educational needs.

The special educational needs and disability (SEND) review was set up to improve the outcomes for children and young people with SEND, with a focus on targeting and distributing resources in a way that best ensures children’s needs are met quickly and effectively.

The department is working with a range of partners including children and young people with SEND, the Children’s Commissioner, parents and carers, system leaders, SEND sector organisations, representatives from educational establishments and many others.

Proposals are being developed and we will consult publicly on them. We are not yet in a position to provide a firm date for publication of proposals but are looking to do so as soon as possible.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the (1) affordability, and (2) availability, of childcare.

The government is committed to supporting families with the cost of childcare, which is why the government has made an unprecedented investment in childcare over the past decade.

We have spent over £3.5 billion in each of the past three years on our early education entitlements and the government continues to support families with their childcare costs. The universal 15 hours entitlement, available for every three and four year old, can save parents up to £2,500 per year, and eligible working parents can apply for an additional 15 hours free childcare which can save them up to £5,000 if they use the full 30 hours. 30 hours free childcare was introduced in England in September 2017 and is an entitlement for working parents of three and four year olds, benefitting nearly 330,000 in January 2021.

In addition to the free early education entitlements, the government offers Tax-Free Childcare for children from 0-11 years old, or up to 16 if disabled. This scheme means that for every £8 parents pay their provider via an online account, the government will pay £2 – up to a maximum contribution of £2,000 per child each year, or £4,000 if disabled. 308,000 families used Tax-Free Childcare for 364,000 children in June 2021.

Parents may also benefit from Universal Credit. Working parents on a low income can get up to 85% of their childcare costs for children under 16 reimbursed through Universal Credit Childcare. This is subject to a monthly limit of £646 for one child or £1,108 for two or more children, payable in arrears.

Last November, my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced a £44 million investment for 2021 to 2022, for local authorities to increase hourly rates paid to childcare providers for the government’s free childcare entitlement offers.

With regard to the availability of childcare, national data published by Ofsted shows that there were 72,000 childcare providers registered with them on 31 March 2021, a dip of 4%, or 3,300, since 31 August 2020. The data also shows that of that number, 2,800 were childminders or home child carers and not nurseries. Further information is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/childcare-providers-and-inspections-as-at-31-march-2021.

That data also shows that numbers of ‘childcare settings on non-domestic premises’, which is the Ofsted description of nurseries which are not based in schools, have remained fairly stable over time, with a drop of just 1% since 31 August 2015 and a decrease of 2%, or 400, between 31 August 2020 and 31 March 2021.

Ofsted data currently shows that the number of places available to parents seeking childcare has remained broadly stable since August 2015. Additionally, the majority of eligible children aged two, three and four, have continued to access free childcare, despite the challenges faced throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. In a recent survey by Ipsos MORI in July 2021, only 6% of parents whose child was not receiving formal childcare said they would like to use formal childcare but have not been able to find a suitable provider. This is only approximately 2% of all parents.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what support his Department provides for the children of parents and guardians who enter the prison system.

Statutory guidance on 'Working together to safeguard children' is clear that anyone who has concerns about a child’s welfare should make a referral to local authority children’s social care. Further information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/working-together-to-safeguard-children--2.

The local authority and its social workers have specific roles and responsibilities to lead statutory assessments. Every assessment should reflect children’s needs within their family and community context, including taking account of a parent being in prison. These children’s circumstances vary considerably and therefore local agencies are best placed to determine what support is needed – whether early help, statutory social care services, or support for other needs such as mental health.

We recognise the impact that a parent going to prison can have on a child’s learning, behaviour, mental health and wellbeing. Support should be based on the needs of individual children, not solely the characteristic of having a parent in prison and, as such, our approach is focussed on equipping schools to respond to these needs.

Statutory guidance for schools, 'Keeping children safe in education', is clear that staff should consider the additional needs of children with a family member in prison or who are affected by parental offending. The guidance highlights the risk of poor outcomes including poverty, stigma, isolation and poor mental health, and can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/keeping-children-safe-in-education--2. It signposts staff to the National information centre on children of offenders website, which provides specialist advice and resources to support professionals working with offenders’ children and their families, to help mitigate negative consequences for those children. This can be accessed here: https://www.nicco.org.uk/.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what support his Department provides to pupils who have a parent or guardian serving a custodial sentence.

Statutory guidance on 'Working together to safeguard children' is clear that anyone who has concerns about a child’s welfare should make a referral to local authority children’s social care. Further information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/working-together-to-safeguard-children--2.

The local authority and its social workers have specific roles and responsibilities to lead statutory assessments. Every assessment should reflect children’s needs within their family and community context, including taking account of a parent being in prison. These children’s circumstances vary considerably and therefore local agencies are best placed to determine what support is needed – whether early help, statutory social care services, or support for other needs such as mental health.

We recognise the impact that a parent going to prison can have on a child’s learning, behaviour, mental health and wellbeing. Support should be based on the needs of individual children, not solely the characteristic of having a parent in prison and, as such, our approach is focussed on equipping schools to respond to these needs.

Statutory guidance for schools, 'Keeping children safe in education', is clear that staff should consider the additional needs of children with a family member in prison or who are affected by parental offending. The guidance highlights the risk of poor outcomes including poverty, stigma, isolation and poor mental health, and can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/keeping-children-safe-in-education--2. It signposts staff to the National information centre on children of offenders website, which provides specialist advice and resources to support professionals working with offenders’ children and their families, to help mitigate negative consequences for those children. This can be accessed here: https://www.nicco.org.uk/.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 26 July 2021 to Question 35600 on Special Educational Needs, what funding and support is being provided to local authorities unable to meet their statutory duties in respect of Education, Health, Care plans.

The department funds a range of support to help local authorities meet their statutory duties including the opportunity to work with expert special education needs and disability (SEND) advisers, and/or the provision of specialist support from our delivery partners or facilitate peer to peer support. Depending on the underlying issues that a local authority faces, we may also draw in support from NHS England advisers. Additionally, we also fund and provide sector led, peer to peer, or regional support to address issues common in specific areas or regions.

This year councils have access to £51.2 billion to deliver their core services, including children's services. The government has also provided an additional £6 billion of funding directly to councils to support them with the immediate and longer-term impacts of COVID-19 spending pressures, including children's services.

Furthermore, high needs funding will increase by £780 million, or 9.6%, in financial year 2022-23, following an increase of more than £1.5 billion over the previous two years. This will bring the total high needs budget to £8.9 billion, an increase of over a third since financial year 2019-20.

We will continue to work with other government departments, including the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, to ensure the upcoming spending review reflects the needs of children’s services.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, for what reasons schools continue to be required to complete the daily Educational Setting Status form; and for what purpose these data collected are used..

Information gathered through the educational setting status form is used by the department to monitor attendance in schools, and across government to model the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak. This allows the department to provide support in developing policies to help schools manage, and ensure our ability to target educational recovery support.

The department is grateful to schools for providing this information. Following the removal of the advice to teach pupils in bubbles, the department has announced that from the beginning of October 2021 schools will only be asked to complete the educational setting status form once a week. This will be kept under review and, should the national situation require, daily reporting may be reinstated.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to (a) promote digital education in secondary schools and (b) embed digital skills across all subject areas within formal education.

The department is committed to increasing the digital expertise of young people.

The computing curriculum provides important foundational knowledge such as algorithms, programming, e-safety, digital literacy and computational thinking that will enable them to pursue further study or a wide range of digital careers in cyber security, artificial intelligence (AI), data science, robotics and software engineering. The majority of this is taught from year 8 and 9 onwards and forms part of the GCSE subject content.

The department has invested £84 million to improve the quality of computing teaching, creating a National Centre for Computing Education (NCCE). The NCCE has created 500 hours of free, high quality teacher resources, which include cyber security, digital literacy, and data science at key stage 3. The resources include a unit of learning on AI which is taught to year 8 pupils. In addition, the Isaac Computer Science online platform has been set up to support teachers and pupils through AS and A level. As of the end of August 2021, more than 34,600 teachers have engaged with the NCCE programme.

The department also supports the government’s popular extra-curricular CyberFirst programme, aimed at 11–17 year olds, which stimulates interest in cybersecurity through hackathons, girls’ competitions and residential courses. We also continue to work closely with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on promoting digital careers in school.

We also recognise the importance of ensuring schools and teachers can make the best use of digital technology. The department has helped more than 6500 schools get set up on a digital platform, ensuring they have access to both training materials and Classroom Practitioner certification schemes available via Microsoft and Google as well as peer to peer support from the EdTech Demonstrators programme.

We are investing £500 million in the implementation of the new T Levels. There are three T Levels under the digital route. The first qualification is available now and the remaining two qualifications will be delivered from September 2021 onwards. All three contain core elements of computer science. Additionally, all T Level programmes will require students to develop core English, maths and digital competencies as part of the qualification thus giving employers the confidence graduates have the level of digital proficiency necessary for employment.

In September 2020, the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education launched the new higher technical qualification approvals process, which will focus exclusively in its first year on supporting the delivery of newly approved, high-quality digital qualifications (to be introduced from September 2022).

We are also taking forward an ambitious programme of further education reform through the further education white paper. These reforms will raise the quality and capacity of training in further education and will be designed with employers to make sure that courses meet their skills needs. It is clear that digital skills will be a major area of focus.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that schools receiving pupil premium are not adversely affected by the administrative change of calculations based on Free School Meals eligibility in October rather than January.

Schools receive additional funding through the pupil premium to help them support their disadvantaged pupils. For mainstream and special schools, the department has based pupil premium funding for the 2021/22 financial year on the October 2020 census data, instead of using the January census. Alongside the annual pupil premium publication, we have also published the financial impact of moving to using the October census: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/pupil-premium-effective-use-and-accountability.

Overall, total pupil premium funding is increasing to more than £2.5 billion in the 2021/22 financial year, up by £60 million from 2020/21. This reflects an increase in funding in approximately two thirds of schools, as more children have become eligible for free school meals.

Head teachers have the flexibility to prioritise support for specific groups of pupils according to their needs. To ensure schools have the best tools to make a difference for all their pupils, the department founded the Education Endowment Foundation in 2011 to research and promote the most effective ways of accelerating pupil progress. This includes guidance for head teachers recommending how best to use the £2.5 billion pupil premium. All schools should have regard to this high-quality advice when deciding how to tackle the attainment gap.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of introducing a fund for parents and guardians of home-schooled children to receive remuneration for the costs of (a) GCSE and (b) A level examination fees.

The department recognises the choice of parents and guardians to home educate their children. For most children, particularly the most vulnerable, we are clear that school is the best place for their education. Our guidance on elective home education highlights that parents/carers who home educate will need to assume full financial responsibility for their child’s education. This includes paying for the cost of entering their child for examinations. Some local authorities may provide financial or other assistance to home-educating families for public examinations, but this is discretionary.

In 2021, in light of the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, GCSE grades were determined by teachers (Teacher Assessed Grades). To support centres with the additional requirements of assessing private candidates in 2021, the department provided an exceptional grant to centres of £200 per private candidate entry. This funding aimed to avoid these additional costs being passed on to private candidates, so that they could access qualifications at a similar cost to a normal exam year.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when his Department plans to confirm (a) how many schools will be supported by the new National School Breakfast Programme and (b) which schools in Liverpool Riverside constituency will be supported by that programme.

The government is committed to continuing support for school breakfast clubs and we are investing up to £24 million to continue our national programme for the next 2 years. This funding will support around 2,500 schools in disadvantaged areas meaning that thousands of children from low income families will be offered free nutritious breakfasts to better support their attainment, wellbeing and readiness to learn. The focus of the programme is to target the most disadvantaged areas of the country, including the Department for Education’s Opportunity Areas.

The enrolment process for schools joining the programme is currently ongoing, and we have seen a strong interest so far from eligible schools since we invited the expressions of interest. Schools are currently still able to apply to join the programme. As we are still registering schools for the programme, it is too early to publish a list of participating schools. However, we will of course consider the best opportunities to share information on the programme as it progresses.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will conduct a review of the Apprenticeship Levy focused on what further potential flexibility for businesses can be introduced into the scheme.

In response to employer feedback, we are continuing to improve apprenticeships, making them more flexible for employers and making it easier for employers to make greater use of their levy funds.

The department is making it easier for large employers to transfer levy funds to support new starts in small businesses, or in a certain sector or region. On 13 September 2021, we launched a new online service to allow levy paying employers to advertise funding pledges, enabling a much wider range of businesses to browse and apply for available funds.

In addition, the department is making apprenticeships more flexible so that they better meet the needs of employers in all sectors. We are encouraging greater use of innovative apprenticeship training models, such as the front-loading of off-the-job training so apprentices can be productive from day one in the workplace. We are also developing accelerated apprenticeships so that apprentices with substantial prior learning from other skills programmes, such as traineeships and T Levels, can complete an apprenticeship more quickly.

In August, the department launched a new £7 million flexi-job apprenticeship fund to support greater use of apprenticeships in sectors, such as creative and construction, where flexible working practices are commonplace. Flexi-job apprenticeships will enable apprentices to move between different host employers in a sector or region as they complete the training requirements for their apprenticeship.

The department currently has no plans to review the apprenticeship levy and what funds can be spent on.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, which companies have supplied Union Jack flags to his Department since 2019.

Two Union Jack flags have been purchased by the department this year, through our facilities management provider OCS Group UK. The two flags were purchased from the company House of Flags, whose factory is located in Kimbolton, Huntingdon.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)