Written Question
Outdoor Recreation: Coronavirus
26 Oct 2020, 5:07 p.m.

Questioner: Daisy Cooper

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the feasibility of safely reopening outdoor activity centres during the covid-19 outbreak.

Answer (Nick Gibb)

The Department’s educational visits advice is in line with guidance from Public Health England, the Cabinet Office and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and will be reviewed again in November 2020. It can be viewed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

The Department continues to work with representatives of the tour industry, devolved administrations, trade unions and other government departments as it works towards the November review.


Written Question
Teachers: Overtime
26 Oct 2020, 5:04 p.m.

Questioner: Colleen Fletcher

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the number of (a) paid and (b) unpaid overtime hours worked by (i) primary and (ii) secondary school teachers in each year since 2010.

Answer (Nick Gibb)

The information requested is not held centrally. Teachers are not paid overtime as part of the national framework of terms and conditions.

The School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document (STPCD) sets out the terms and conditions, including working hours, of teachers employed in maintained schools in England. The STPCD requires teachers to be available for work on 195 days each year, of which 190 are teaching days (the other 5 being inset days). Teachers are also required to be available for 1265 hours each year to be allocated reasonably across these days. The 1265 hours make up the directed hours, which are available for headteachers to direct the work of teachers. In addition to the directed time, teachers must also work "such reasonable additional hours as may be necessary to enable the effective discharge of the teacher’s professional duties."

Non-maintained schools, including academies and free schools, are responsible for determining the pay and conditions of their staff themselves. Such schools are not obliged to follow the statutory arrangements set out in the STPCD, although they may still choose to do so if they wish.

The Department collects robust information about teachers’ working hours through regular surveys, including time spent on teaching and non-teaching activities.


Written Question
Students: Finance
26 Oct 2020, 3:56 p.m.

Questioner: Mr Richard Holden

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, for how long the age at which students have been able to obtain public funding for their first Level 3 qualification has been capped at 23.

Answer (Gillian Keegan)

Grant funding for learners aged 24 and over studying a first full level 3 qualification was replaced with support through Advanced Learner Loans and the loans Bursary Fund in 2013/14.

My right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, recently announced a targeted expansion of the level 3 entitlement, through the National Skills Fund. We are now extending the offer eligibility for a first full level 3 so that adults who are above the age of 23 can also benefit from courses that have the best possible returns for individuals, employers, and the nation.


Written Question
Further Education: Extracurricular Activities
26 Oct 2020, 3:44 p.m.

Questioner: Afzal Khan

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to increase funding for extra-curricular activities in sixth form institutions and colleges.

Answer (Gillian Keegan)

Since the academic year 2013-14, school sixth forms, colleges, and other 16-19 education providers have been funded for 600 planned hours per year per full-time student. In addition to time spent pursuing qualifications, these provide time for non-qualification activity which will be helpful for young people such as: work experience and work related activity such as preparing CVs and practicing interview skills and techniques; informal certificates such as citizenship awards or Duke of Edinburgh’s Award; university visits arranged by the institution; volunteering activities and community activities; and any activities that offer enrichment to the student such as personal and social development.

We have no plans to offer additional funding specifically for extra-curricular activities. However, in 2019 the government announced increased 16-19 funding of £400 million for the financial year 2020-21 – the biggest injection of new money into 16-19 education in a single year since 2010 - with funding increasing faster for 16-19 than in 5-16 schooling. The 16-19 base rate has increased by 4.7% for the academic year 2020-21 to £4,188.

Full details of fundable activity can be found in the study programme guidance, available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/16-to-19-funding-planned-hours-in-study-programmes.

We are continuing to look at the needs of 16-19 education as part of the current spending review.


Written Question
Sixth Form Colleges: Finance
26 Oct 2020, 3:40 p.m.

Questioner: Afzal Khan

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to increase the rate for funding for sixth form educational institutions.

Answer (Gillian Keegan)

The government’s Spending Round in August 2019 identified the need to increase funding for 16 to 19 year olds’ education to ensure that they fulfil their potential and develop the skills the country needs. That is why we invested an extra £400 million in 16 to 19 education in the financial year 2020-21. We have increased the base rate of funding by 4.7%, from £4,000 to £4,188 for the academic year 2020-21. Over and above the base rate rise, this extra spending also includes new resources for high value and high cost courses, and funding to support those on level 3 programmes to continue to study English and maths where needed. This is the biggest injection of new money into 16 to 19 education in a single year since 2010 - with funding increasing faster for 16 to 19 than in 5 to 16 schooling.

The government’s commitment to 16 to 19 funding has contributed to the current record high proportion of 16 and 17 year olds who are participating in education or apprenticeships since consistent records began.​

We are continuing to look at the needs of 16 to 19 education as part of the current spending review.


Written Question
Schools: Coronavirus
23 Oct 2020, 12:57 p.m.

Questioner: Matt Western

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of test and trace systems to support schools to remain open to all pupils during the covid-19 outbreak.

Answer (Nick Gibb)

We are continuing to improve the testing system, including by ensuring teaching staff can get priority access when they have symptoms. The Government is scaling up testing capacity even further to 500,000 tests a day by the end of October.

In order to protect schools, it is important head teachers continue to have access to timely support and advice. There is a new dedicated advice line to help schools to implement the most appropriate public health measures once a case is confirmed. A team of advisers will inform schools what action is needed in response to a positive case based on the latest public health advice, and work through a risk assessment.

It is vital that children and school staff only get a test if they develop COVID-19 symptoms, with the exception of those who have specifically been asked to do so by a clinician. The NHS Test and Trace system must stay focused on testing those with true symptoms of the virus.


Written Question
Remote Education: Harrow West
23 Oct 2020, 12:51 p.m.

Questioner: Gareth Thomas

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much funding each secondary school Harrow West constituency has (a) applied for and (b) received as part of the fund to support remote education; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Nick Gibb)

It is vital that students have access to high quality and consistent remote education. The Department believes that through the hard work of teachers and staff, pupils will continue to receive the education they deserve, whatever the circumstances.

The Department is providing additional funding to schools, on top of existing budgets, to cover unavoidable costs incurred between March to July due to the COVID-19 outbreak that could not be met from their budgets.

Schools have been eligible to claim for: increased premises related costs associated with keeping schools open over the Easter and summer half term holidays; support for free school meals for eligible children who were not in school, where schools were not using the national voucher scheme; and additional cleaning costs required due to confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases, over and above the cost of existing cleaning arrangements.

To support remote education, the Government has invested over £160 million to provide schools with laptops, tablets and connectivity, peer-to-peer support and digital learning platforms. This includes providing over 220,000 laptops and tablets and over 50,000 4G wireless routers during the summer term for disadvantaged children in Year 10, children receiving support from a social worker and care leavers.

Local authorities and academy trusts were allocated a number of devices based on the number of pupils eligible for free school meals. A breakdown of the number of devices delivered to each local authority and academy trust can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/laptops-tablets-and-4g-wireless-routers-progress-data.

The Department is now supplementing this support by making an additional 250,000 laptops and tablets available to schools in the event that face-to-face schooling is disrupted as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. This Department is also working with the major telecommunications companies to improve internet connectivity for disadvantaged and vulnerable families who rely on a mobile internet connection.

The Government is funding expert technical support to help schools set up secure user accounts for Google and Microsoft’s education platforms. We are also investing £1.5 million of additional funding to expand the EdTech Demonstrator programme, which provides peer-to-peer support for schools and colleges.

New resources for staff, including a good practice guide and school-led webinars, will also be made available. This builds on the universal package already in place through the Oak National Academy, which provides video lessons across a broad range of subjects for every year group from Reception to Year 11. Children will have the flexibility to access free remote education in addition to their own school’s offer this year.


Written Question
Remote Education: Harrow West
23 Oct 2020, 12:51 p.m.

Questioner: Gareth Thomas

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much funding each primary school in Harrow West constituency has (a) applied for and (b) received as part of the fund to support remote education; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Nick Gibb)

It is vital that students have access to high quality and consistent remote education. The Department believes that through the hard work of teachers and staff, pupils will continue to receive the education they deserve, whatever the circumstances.

The Department is providing additional funding to schools, on top of existing budgets, to cover unavoidable costs incurred between March to July due to the COVID-19 outbreak that could not be met from their budgets.

Schools have been eligible to claim for: increased premises related costs associated with keeping schools open over the Easter and summer half term holidays; support for free school meals for eligible children who were not in school, where schools were not using the national voucher scheme; and additional cleaning costs required due to confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases, over and above the cost of existing cleaning arrangements.

To support remote education, the Government has invested over £160 million to provide schools with laptops, tablets and connectivity, peer-to-peer support and digital learning platforms. This includes providing over 220,000 laptops and tablets and over 50,000 4G wireless routers during the summer term for disadvantaged children in Year 10, children receiving support from a social worker and care leavers.

Local authorities and academy trusts were allocated a number of devices based on the number of pupils eligible for free school meals. A breakdown of the number of devices delivered to each local authority and academy trust can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/laptops-tablets-and-4g-wireless-routers-progress-data.

The Department is now supplementing this support by making an additional 250,000 laptops and tablets available to schools in the event that face-to-face schooling is disrupted as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. This Department is also working with the major telecommunications companies to improve internet connectivity for disadvantaged and vulnerable families who rely on a mobile internet connection.

The Government is funding expert technical support to help schools set up secure user accounts for Google and Microsoft’s education platforms. We are also investing £1.5 million of additional funding to expand the EdTech Demonstrator programme, which provides peer-to-peer support for schools and colleges.

New resources for staff, including a good practice guide and school-led webinars, will also be made available. This builds on the universal package already in place through the Oak National Academy, which provides video lessons across a broad range of subjects for every year group from Reception to Year 11. Children will have the flexibility to access free remote education in addition to their own school’s offer this year.


Written Question
Coronavirus Catch-up Premium: Harrow West
23 Oct 2020, 12:40 p.m.

Questioner: Gareth Thomas

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much funding each primary school in Harrow West constituency has (a) applied for and (b) received as part of the universal catch-up premium; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Nick Gibb)

The attached table shows the claims submitted and payments made for COVID-19 related funding to date for Hatch End High School and primary and secondary schools in Harrow West constituency. The funding shown is from the COVID-19 exceptional costs schools fund and the COVID-19 catch-up premium.

The exceptional costs schools fund first claims window closed on 21 July for costs incurred between March to July 2020 due to the COVID-19 outbreak that could not be met from their budgets. The payment values in the table relate to those costs claimed within the published scope of the fund (additional cleaning costs arising from confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19, additional premises costs related to opening during the Easter and summer half term holidays and free school meals costs incurred outside of the national voucher scheme). Where the claimed figure is higher than the payment, a claim will have been made which includes costs outside of the published scope of the fund. These claims are in the process of being assessed and we will inform schools of the outcome of this part of their claim later in the autumn term.

The COVID-19 catch-up premium does not operate on an application or claim basis but is a formulaic grant automatically paid to all eligible schools. The values represented in the attached table are the initial payments based on a proportion of an interim allocation calculated using the published rates and school census data from October 2019. The final allocations will be re-calculated once the October 2020 school census data is available and a further payment made in early 2021. The remaining allocation will be paid in a final instalment later in 2021.

There is no data in the attached table relating to the National Tutoring Programme (NTP). The NTP is not yet live and so we do not have any information about participants. We expect our first group of tutors to be working with schools from November, with provision ramping up into the spring term. The Department will announce a list of approved Tuition Partners in November. Schools will be able to approach these partners to access subsidised tuition. At the same time, will also be appointing our first wave of academic mentors, matching suitable candidates to schools that have expressed an interest in working with a mentor.


Written Question
Schools: Harrow
23 Oct 2020, 12:40 p.m.

Questioner: Gareth Thomas

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much covid-19-related financial support Pinner Park School in Harrow has (a) applied for and (b) received from his Department; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Nick Gibb)

The attached table shows the claims submitted and payments made for COVID-19 related funding to date for Hatch End High School and primary and secondary schools in Harrow West constituency. The funding shown is from the COVID-19 exceptional costs schools fund and the COVID-19 catch-up premium.

The exceptional costs schools fund first claims window closed on 21 July for costs incurred between March to July 2020 due to the COVID-19 outbreak that could not be met from their budgets. The payment values in the table relate to those costs claimed within the published scope of the fund (additional cleaning costs arising from confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19, additional premises costs related to opening during the Easter and summer half term holidays and free school meals costs incurred outside of the national voucher scheme). Where the claimed figure is higher than the payment, a claim will have been made which includes costs outside of the published scope of the fund. These claims are in the process of being assessed and we will inform schools of the outcome of this part of their claim later in the autumn term.

The COVID-19 catch-up premium does not operate on an application or claim basis but is a formulaic grant automatically paid to all eligible schools. The values represented in the attached table are the initial payments based on a proportion of an interim allocation calculated using the published rates and school census data from October 2019. The final allocations will be re-calculated once the October 2020 school census data is available and a further payment made in early 2021. The remaining allocation will be paid in a final instalment later in 2021.

There is no data in the attached table relating to the National Tutoring Programme (NTP). The NTP is not yet live and so we do not have any information about participants. We expect our first group of tutors to be working with schools from November, with provision ramping up into the spring term. The Department will announce a list of approved Tuition Partners in November. Schools will be able to approach these partners to access subsidised tuition. At the same time, will also be appointing our first wave of academic mentors, matching suitable candidates to schools that have expressed an interest in working with a mentor.


Written Question
Hatch End High School: Coronavirus
23 Oct 2020, 12:40 p.m.

Questioner: Gareth Thomas

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much covid-19-related financial support Hatch End High School in Harrow has (a) applied for and (b) received from his Department; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Nick Gibb)

The attached table shows the claims submitted and payments made for COVID-19 related funding to date for Hatch End High School and primary and secondary schools in Harrow West constituency. The funding shown is from the COVID-19 exceptional costs schools fund and the COVID-19 catch-up premium.

The exceptional costs schools fund first claims window closed on 21 July for costs incurred between March to July 2020 due to the COVID-19 outbreak that could not be met from their budgets. The payment values in the table relate to those costs claimed within the published scope of the fund (additional cleaning costs arising from confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19, additional premises costs related to opening during the Easter and summer half term holidays and free school meals costs incurred outside of the national voucher scheme). Where the claimed figure is higher than the payment, a claim will have been made which includes costs outside of the published scope of the fund. These claims are in the process of being assessed and we will inform schools of the outcome of this part of their claim later in the autumn term.

The COVID-19 catch-up premium does not operate on an application or claim basis but is a formulaic grant automatically paid to all eligible schools. The values represented in the attached table are the initial payments based on a proportion of an interim allocation calculated using the published rates and school census data from October 2019. The final allocations will be re-calculated once the October 2020 school census data is available and a further payment made in early 2021. The remaining allocation will be paid in a final instalment later in 2021.

There is no data in the attached table relating to the National Tutoring Programme (NTP). The NTP is not yet live and so we do not have any information about participants. We expect our first group of tutors to be working with schools from November, with provision ramping up into the spring term. The Department will announce a list of approved Tuition Partners in November. Schools will be able to approach these partners to access subsidised tuition. At the same time, will also be appointing our first wave of academic mentors, matching suitable candidates to schools that have expressed an interest in working with a mentor.


Written Question
Coronavirus Catch-up Premium: Harrow West
23 Oct 2020, 12:40 p.m.

Questioner: Gareth Thomas

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much funding each secondary school in Harrow West constituency has (a) applied for and (b) received as part of the universal catch-up premium for schools; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Nick Gibb)

The attached table shows the claims submitted and payments made for COVID-19 related funding to date for Hatch End High School and primary and secondary schools in Harrow West constituency. The funding shown is from the COVID-19 exceptional costs schools fund and the COVID-19 catch-up premium.

The exceptional costs schools fund first claims window closed on 21 July for costs incurred between March to July 2020 due to the COVID-19 outbreak that could not be met from their budgets. The payment values in the table relate to those costs claimed within the published scope of the fund (additional cleaning costs arising from confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19, additional premises costs related to opening during the Easter and summer half term holidays and free school meals costs incurred outside of the national voucher scheme). Where the claimed figure is higher than the payment, a claim will have been made which includes costs outside of the published scope of the fund. These claims are in the process of being assessed and we will inform schools of the outcome of this part of their claim later in the autumn term.

The COVID-19 catch-up premium does not operate on an application or claim basis but is a formulaic grant automatically paid to all eligible schools. The values represented in the attached table are the initial payments based on a proportion of an interim allocation calculated using the published rates and school census data from October 2019. The final allocations will be re-calculated once the October 2020 school census data is available and a further payment made in early 2021. The remaining allocation will be paid in a final instalment later in 2021.

There is no data in the attached table relating to the National Tutoring Programme (NTP). The NTP is not yet live and so we do not have any information about participants. We expect our first group of tutors to be working with schools from November, with provision ramping up into the spring term. The Department will announce a list of approved Tuition Partners in November. Schools will be able to approach these partners to access subsidised tuition. At the same time, will also be appointing our first wave of academic mentors, matching suitable candidates to schools that have expressed an interest in working with a mentor.


Written Question
Secondary Education: Harrow West
23 Oct 2020, 12:40 p.m.

Questioner: Gareth Thomas

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much funding each secondary school in Harrow West constituency has (a) applied for and (b) received as part of the additional funding to schools to cover unavoidable costs incurred between March and July due to the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Nick Gibb)

The attached table shows the claims submitted and payments made for COVID-19 related funding to date for Hatch End High School and primary and secondary schools in Harrow West constituency. The funding shown is from the COVID-19 exceptional costs schools fund and the COVID-19 catch-up premium.

The exceptional costs schools fund first claims window closed on 21 July for costs incurred between March to July 2020 due to the COVID-19 outbreak that could not be met from their budgets. The payment values in the table relate to those costs claimed within the published scope of the fund (additional cleaning costs arising from confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19, additional premises costs related to opening during the Easter and summer half term holidays and free school meals costs incurred outside of the national voucher scheme). Where the claimed figure is higher than the payment, a claim will have been made which includes costs outside of the published scope of the fund. These claims are in the process of being assessed and we will inform schools of the outcome of this part of their claim later in the autumn term.

The COVID-19 catch-up premium does not operate on an application or claim basis but is a formulaic grant automatically paid to all eligible schools. The values represented in the attached table are the initial payments based on a proportion of an interim allocation calculated using the published rates and school census data from October 2019. The final allocations will be re-calculated once the October 2020 school census data is available and a further payment made in early 2021. The remaining allocation will be paid in a final instalment later in 2021.

There is no data in the attached table relating to the National Tutoring Programme (NTP). The NTP is not yet live and so we do not have any information about participants. We expect our first group of tutors to be working with schools from November, with provision ramping up into the spring term. The Department will announce a list of approved Tuition Partners in November. Schools will be able to approach these partners to access subsidised tuition. At the same time, will also be appointing our first wave of academic mentors, matching suitable candidates to schools that have expressed an interest in working with a mentor.


Written Question
National Tutoring Programme: Harrow West
23 Oct 2020, 12:40 p.m.

Questioner: Gareth Thomas

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much funding each primary school in Harrow West constituency has (a) applied for and (b) received as part of the National Tutoring Programme; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Nick Gibb)

The attached table shows the claims submitted and payments made for COVID-19 related funding to date for Hatch End High School and primary and secondary schools in Harrow West constituency. The funding shown is from the COVID-19 exceptional costs schools fund and the COVID-19 catch-up premium.

The exceptional costs schools fund first claims window closed on 21 July for costs incurred between March to July 2020 due to the COVID-19 outbreak that could not be met from their budgets. The payment values in the table relate to those costs claimed within the published scope of the fund (additional cleaning costs arising from confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19, additional premises costs related to opening during the Easter and summer half term holidays and free school meals costs incurred outside of the national voucher scheme). Where the claimed figure is higher than the payment, a claim will have been made which includes costs outside of the published scope of the fund. These claims are in the process of being assessed and we will inform schools of the outcome of this part of their claim later in the autumn term.

The COVID-19 catch-up premium does not operate on an application or claim basis but is a formulaic grant automatically paid to all eligible schools. The values represented in the attached table are the initial payments based on a proportion of an interim allocation calculated using the published rates and school census data from October 2019. The final allocations will be re-calculated once the October 2020 school census data is available and a further payment made in early 2021. The remaining allocation will be paid in a final instalment later in 2021.

There is no data in the attached table relating to the National Tutoring Programme (NTP). The NTP is not yet live and so we do not have any information about participants. We expect our first group of tutors to be working with schools from November, with provision ramping up into the spring term. The Department will announce a list of approved Tuition Partners in November. Schools will be able to approach these partners to access subsidised tuition. At the same time, will also be appointing our first wave of academic mentors, matching suitable candidates to schools that have expressed an interest in working with a mentor.


Written Question
National Tutoring Programme: Harrow West
23 Oct 2020, 12:40 p.m.

Questioner: Gareth Thomas

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much funding each secondary school in Harrow West constituency has (a) applied for and (b) received as part of the National Tutoring Programme; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Nick Gibb)

The attached table shows the claims submitted and payments made for COVID-19 related funding to date for Hatch End High School and primary and secondary schools in Harrow West constituency. The funding shown is from the COVID-19 exceptional costs schools fund and the COVID-19 catch-up premium.

The exceptional costs schools fund first claims window closed on 21 July for costs incurred between March to July 2020 due to the COVID-19 outbreak that could not be met from their budgets. The payment values in the table relate to those costs claimed within the published scope of the fund (additional cleaning costs arising from confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19, additional premises costs related to opening during the Easter and summer half term holidays and free school meals costs incurred outside of the national voucher scheme). Where the claimed figure is higher than the payment, a claim will have been made which includes costs outside of the published scope of the fund. These claims are in the process of being assessed and we will inform schools of the outcome of this part of their claim later in the autumn term.

The COVID-19 catch-up premium does not operate on an application or claim basis but is a formulaic grant automatically paid to all eligible schools. The values represented in the attached table are the initial payments based on a proportion of an interim allocation calculated using the published rates and school census data from October 2019. The final allocations will be re-calculated once the October 2020 school census data is available and a further payment made in early 2021. The remaining allocation will be paid in a final instalment later in 2021.

There is no data in the attached table relating to the National Tutoring Programme (NTP). The NTP is not yet live and so we do not have any information about participants. We expect our first group of tutors to be working with schools from November, with provision ramping up into the spring term. The Department will announce a list of approved Tuition Partners in November. Schools will be able to approach these partners to access subsidised tuition. At the same time, will also be appointing our first wave of academic mentors, matching suitable candidates to schools that have expressed an interest in working with a mentor.


Written Question
Primary Education: Harrow West
23 Oct 2020, 12:40 p.m.

Questioner: Gareth Thomas

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much funding each primary school in Harrow West constituency has (a) applied for and (b) received as part of the additional funding for unavoidable costs incurred between March and July due to the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Nick Gibb)

The attached table shows the claims submitted and payments made for COVID-19 related funding to date for Hatch End High School and primary and secondary schools in Harrow West constituency. The funding shown is from the COVID-19 exceptional costs schools fund and the COVID-19 catch-up premium.

The exceptional costs schools fund first claims window closed on 21 July for costs incurred between March to July 2020 due to the COVID-19 outbreak that could not be met from their budgets. The payment values in the table relate to those costs claimed within the published scope of the fund (additional cleaning costs arising from confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19, additional premises costs related to opening during the Easter and summer half term holidays and free school meals costs incurred outside of the national voucher scheme). Where the claimed figure is higher than the payment, a claim will have been made which includes costs outside of the published scope of the fund. These claims are in the process of being assessed and we will inform schools of the outcome of this part of their claim later in the autumn term.

The COVID-19 catch-up premium does not operate on an application or claim basis but is a formulaic grant automatically paid to all eligible schools. The values represented in the attached table are the initial payments based on a proportion of an interim allocation calculated using the published rates and school census data from October 2019. The final allocations will be re-calculated once the October 2020 school census data is available and a further payment made in early 2021. The remaining allocation will be paid in a final instalment later in 2021.

There is no data in the attached table relating to the National Tutoring Programme (NTP). The NTP is not yet live and so we do not have any information about participants. We expect our first group of tutors to be working with schools from November, with provision ramping up into the spring term. The Department will announce a list of approved Tuition Partners in November. Schools will be able to approach these partners to access subsidised tuition. At the same time, will also be appointing our first wave of academic mentors, matching suitable candidates to schools that have expressed an interest in working with a mentor.


Written Question
Students: Mental Health Services
23 Oct 2020, 10:29 a.m.

Questioner: Afzal Khan

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of funding for (a) student support services and (b) mental health support.

Answer (Michelle Donelan)

Protecting the mental health of students continues to be a priority for this government and I have convened representatives from the higher education and health sectors to specifically address the current and pressing issues that students are facing during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Department of Health and Social Care has overall policy responsibility for young people’s mental health. We continue to work closely with them to take steps to develop mental health and wellbeing support.

The government is committed, through the NHS Long Term Plan, to investing at least £2.3 billion of extra funding a year into mental health services by 2023-24. This will see an additional 345,000 children and young people, and adults, able to access support through NHS-funded services.

We have invested £8 million in the Wellbeing for Education Return programme, providing schools and colleges with the knowledge and practical skills to help improve how to respond to the emotional impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. Further information is available here:
www.gov.uk/government/publications/wellbeing-for-education-return-grant-s31-grant-determination-letter.

In further education, £5.4 million of competitive grant funding has been provided through the College Collaboration Fund, with five of the projects funded to support student and staff mental health and wellbeing through online programmes and remote support.

It is for higher education providers as autonomous bodies to identify and address the needs of their student body, and many providers have boosted their existing welfare and counselling services to ensure students are able to access the support they need. Student Space, funded with up to £3 million from the Office for Students, provides dedicated support services (by phone and by text) for students and a collaborative online platform to help students access vital mental health and wellbeing resources. The platform bridges gaps in support for students arising from the COVID-19 outbreak and is designed to work alongside existing services.

We have asked that providers prioritise the mental health and wellbeing of students, enabling them to use funding, worth up to £23 million per month from April to July this year, and £256 million for the 2020-21 academic year starting from August, to go towards student hardship funds and mental health support.

Over £9 million has been provided by the government to leading mental health charities to help them expand and reach those most in need. Students struggling with their mental health can also access support via online resources from the NHS and Public Health England, and the mental health charity Mind.


Written Question
Languages: Secondary Education
22 Oct 2020, 4:57 p.m.

Questioner: Jim Shannon

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to encourage secondary pupils to study a foreign language.

Answer (Nick Gibb)

In England, languages are included in the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) at Key Stage 4. Since September 2019, Ofsted’s new inspection framework has placed a renewed focus on all pupils benefiting from a broad, balanced, and ambitious curriculum. Since the introduction of the EBacc performance measure in 2010, the proportion of GCSE entries from pupils in state-funded schools in a modern foreign language (MFL) has increased from 40% in 2010 to 47% in 2019.

The Department’s £2.41 million MFL Pedagogy Pilot, run by the National Centre of Excellence in Languages Pedagogy, commenced in December 2018 with a mission to improve language curriculum design and pedagogy. The Centre has developed an open database which includes schemes of work and resources. It also runs a pilot network of 18 specialist teachers in nine lead schools, each working with four local hub schools, as well as with a wider network of a further 90 schools. The aim of this collaborative network of MFL teachers and schools is to raise standards of language teaching through the sharing of resources and good practice. In May 2020, the programme was extended to December 2021, receiving an additional £1.45 million funding.


Written Question
Pupils: Coronavirus
22 Oct 2020, 4:55 p.m.

Questioner: Bell Ribeiro-Addy

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of suspending the School Attendance Order for parents who do not want their child to return to school during the covid-19 outbreak, particularly in cases where the child or a member of that child’s household is considered to be clinically extremely vulnerable.

Answer (Nick Gibb)

Pupils in all year groups and from all types of school should now have returned to school full-time, as this is the best place for them to be for their education, development and wellbeing.

Parents have a duty to ensure that any of their children who are of compulsory school age receive a full-time education, either through regular attendance at school or through alternative arrangements, such as home schooling. A local authority will only serve a school attendance order if parents fail to satisfy the local authority that their child is receiving this.

Guidance on protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable is clear that all pupils should continue to attend school at all local COVID alert levels, unless they are one of the very small number of pupils under paediatric or other specialist care and have been advised by their GP or clinician not to attend school. The guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19.

Schools have their own measures in place to limit the risk of transmission. If parents of pupils with significant risk factors are concerned, we have recommended that schools discuss their concerns and provide reassurance of the measures they are putting in place to reduce the risk in school.


Written Question
GCE A-level: Coronavirus
22 Oct 2020, 4:47 p.m.

Questioner: Siobhain McDonagh

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department has undertaken an equality impact assessment on the effect of delaying A levels examinations by three weeks in the 2020-21 academic year due to the covid-19 outbreak on (a) disabled candidates and (b) candidates with special educational needs.

Answer (Nick Gibb)

The Department has considered the impact on students with particular protected characteristics, including those with special educational needs and disabilities, of a delay to the GCSE, AS and A level exam series in the summer. The additional teaching time released next year will benefit all students. There may be a particularly positive impact on those who are likely to be most affected by the disruption to education caused by COVID-19 (disadvantaged students, amongst whom students with special educational needs and disabilities are over-represented). As part of its consultation on changes to GCSE, AS and A level exams and assessments in 2021, Ofqual carried out an equalities impact assessment and did not identify specific negative impacts relating to a delay to exams next year.

Ofqual consulted on its proposed measures for academic year 2020/21 assessments of vocational and technical qualifications (VTQs) – which includes BTECs. These measures could include awarding organisations delivering VTQs considering the timing of assessments. As part of its consultation, Ofqual conducted an Equalities Impact Assessment on the impact of its proposals on students and did not identify specific negative impacts relating to timing of assessments.

Decisions about the timing of qualifications, other than GCSE, AS and A levels, are for individual awarding organisations – in the case of BTECs, Pearson is the awarding organisation. Pearson is currently consulting with its customers on the timetable for its BTEC examinations and will publish the timetable in due course.

Awarding organisations must also comply with the Equality Act 2010, and so are subject to their duties under the legislation when deciding on adaptations to their qualifications.


Written Question
GCSE: Coronavirus
22 Oct 2020, 4:47 p.m.

Questioner: Siobhain McDonagh

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what equality impact assessment his Department has undertaken on the effect of delaying GCSE examinations by three weeks in the 2020-21 academic year due to the covid-19 outbreak on (a) disabled candidates and (b) candidates with special educational needs.

Answer (Nick Gibb)

The Department has considered the impact on students with particular protected characteristics, including those with special educational needs and disabilities, of a delay to the GCSE, AS and A level exam series in the summer. The additional teaching time released next year will benefit all students. There may be a particularly positive impact on those who are likely to be most affected by the disruption to education caused by COVID-19 (disadvantaged students, amongst whom students with special educational needs and disabilities are over-represented). As part of its consultation on changes to GCSE, AS and A level exams and assessments in 2021, Ofqual carried out an equalities impact assessment and did not identify specific negative impacts relating to a delay to exams next year.

Ofqual consulted on its proposed measures for academic year 2020/21 assessments of vocational and technical qualifications (VTQs) – which includes BTECs. These measures could include awarding organisations delivering VTQs considering the timing of assessments. As part of its consultation, Ofqual conducted an Equalities Impact Assessment on the impact of its proposals on students and did not identify specific negative impacts relating to timing of assessments.

Decisions about the timing of qualifications, other than GCSE, AS and A levels, are for individual awarding organisations – in the case of BTECs, Pearson is the awarding organisation. Pearson is currently consulting with its customers on the timetable for its BTEC examinations and will publish the timetable in due course.

Awarding organisations must also comply with the Equality Act 2010, and so are subject to their duties under the legislation when deciding on adaptations to their qualifications.


Written Question
Vocational Education: Coronavirus
22 Oct 2020, 4:47 p.m.

Questioner: Siobhain McDonagh

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department has undertaken an equality impact assessment on the effect of delaying Btec examinations by three weeks in the 2020-21 academic year due to the covid-19 outbreak on (a) disabled candidates and (b) candidates with special educational needs.

Answer (Nick Gibb)

The Department has considered the impact on students with particular protected characteristics, including those with special educational needs and disabilities, of a delay to the GCSE, AS and A level exam series in the summer. The additional teaching time released next year will benefit all students. There may be a particularly positive impact on those who are likely to be most affected by the disruption to education caused by COVID-19 (disadvantaged students, amongst whom students with special educational needs and disabilities are over-represented). As part of its consultation on changes to GCSE, AS and A level exams and assessments in 2021, Ofqual carried out an equalities impact assessment and did not identify specific negative impacts relating to a delay to exams next year.

Ofqual consulted on its proposed measures for academic year 2020/21 assessments of vocational and technical qualifications (VTQs) – which includes BTECs. These measures could include awarding organisations delivering VTQs considering the timing of assessments. As part of its consultation, Ofqual conducted an Equalities Impact Assessment on the impact of its proposals on students and did not identify specific negative impacts relating to timing of assessments.

Decisions about the timing of qualifications, other than GCSE, AS and A levels, are for individual awarding organisations – in the case of BTECs, Pearson is the awarding organisation. Pearson is currently consulting with its customers on the timetable for its BTEC examinations and will publish the timetable in due course.

Awarding organisations must also comply with the Equality Act 2010, and so are subject to their duties under the legislation when deciding on adaptations to their qualifications.


Written Question
Free School Meals: Voucher Schemes
22 Oct 2020, 3:39 p.m.

Questioner: Ruth Cadbury

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans his Department has to extend the free school meal voucher program into 2021.

Answer (Vicky Ford)

The free school meal (FSM) provision has supported children to access a healthy, nutritious meal to help them learn, concentrate and achieve, while they are at school, for more than a century. This provision is ingrained in the fabric of everyday school life. Now that our schools are fully open, this support has returned as normal. Provision for FSM is ordinarily term time only and there is no requirement for schools to continue this provision during school holidays. Therefore the National Voucher scheme has closed.

School leaders have worked incredibly hard during the COVID-19 outbreak and it is not reasonable to also ask them to provide food when they are closed for the holidays. However, we recognise the current challenges, and that is why we have significantly strengthened the welfare safety net. The government has injected more than £9 billion into the welfare system, including an increase to Universal Credit of up to £1,040 (£20 a week) for this financial year, and putting an average of £600 into people’s pockets through increases to the Local Housing Allowance. These are in addition to income protection schemes, mortgage holidays and additional support for renters.

These welfare measures sit alongside our extensive support package, including income protection schemes which have so far protected 12 million jobs and people, at a cost of almost £53 billion. Further to this, we provided an extra £63 million for local authorities to provide discretionary financial help to those in need.


Written Question
Free School Meals: Voucher Schemes
22 Oct 2020, 3:39 p.m.

Questioner: Ruth Cadbury

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans his Department has to extend free school meal vouchers in England to include the October 2020 half term.

Answer (Vicky Ford)

The free school meal (FSM) provision has supported children to access a healthy, nutritious meal to help them learn, concentrate and achieve, while they are at school, for more than a century. This provision is ingrained in the fabric of everyday school life. Now that our schools are fully open, this support has returned as normal. Provision for FSM is ordinarily term time only and there is no requirement for schools to continue this provision during school holidays. Therefore the National Voucher scheme has closed.

School leaders have worked incredibly hard during the COVID-19 outbreak and it is not reasonable to also ask them to provide food when they are closed for the holidays. However, we recognise the current challenges, and that is why we have significantly strengthened the welfare safety net. The government has injected more than £9 billion into the welfare system, including an increase to Universal Credit of up to £1,040 (£20 a week) for this financial year, and putting an average of £600 into people’s pockets through increases to the Local Housing Allowance. These are in addition to income protection schemes, mortgage holidays and additional support for renters.

These welfare measures sit alongside our extensive support package, including income protection schemes which have so far protected 12 million jobs and people, at a cost of almost £53 billion. Further to this, we provided an extra £63 million for local authorities to provide discretionary financial help to those in need.


Written Question
Students: Coronavirus
22 Oct 2020, 1:26 p.m.

Questioner: Dame Cheryl Gillan

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what training is being made available to university students to help them to access their online tuition at university.

Answer (Michelle Donelan)

English higher education (HE) providers are autonomous institutions, which means that they have the freedom to determine the way their courses are taught, supervised, and assessed. However, providers that are registered with the Office for Students (OfS) must ensure that all students, from admission through to completion, have the support that they need to succeed in and benefit from HE. The OfS has the powers to act if there are concerns.

As I set out in a letter to MPs on 9 October, the government’s expectation is that quality and academic standards must be maintained. The OfS has made it clear that all HE providers must continue to comply with registration conditions relating to quality and standards, which set out requirements to ensure that courses are high quality, that students are supported and achieve good outcomes and that standards are protected. The OfS have also set out that providers must continue to provide sufficient and appropriate facilities, learning resources and student support services to deliver a high-quality academic experience. Providers must continue to comply with their legal obligations under the Equality Act (2010), ensuring that education and learning is accessible to all students. When making changes to the delivery of their courses, providers need to consider how they support all students, particularly the most vulnerable, to achieve successful academic and professional outcomes. We recognise that the move to increased online provision may result in the support needs of some students with disabilities changing, in which case suitable alternative arrangements should be made for them.

The OfS has published information and guidance for providers and students. The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education has also published a series of guides to support providers to secure academic standards and to support student achievement during the COVID-19 outbreak. The guidance is available here: https://www.qaa.ac.uk/news-events/support-and-guidance-covid-19.

The OfS are taking very seriously the potential impacts on teaching and learning, ensuring they have a clear picture of what students are receiving. They published a statement on 9 October about how they are monitoring the quality of online provision.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, has also commissioned Sir Michael Barber, the Chair of the OfS, to lead a review to consider how to enhance the quality of digital teaching and learning and the opportunities that digital education presents for universities in the medium and long term. The review is expected to report in spring 2021 and will also explore how HE providers can ensure that all students have access to a high-quality digital teaching and learning experience.