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Written Question
Students: Coronavirus
29 Apr 2021

Questioner: Caroline Lucas (GRN - Brighton, Pavilion)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on the prioritisation for covid-19 vaccination of university students ahead of the 2021-22 academic year; and if he will make a statement.

Answered by Michelle Donelan

The department regularly reviews advice from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies and Public Health England to ensure that our policies are guided by the most up-to-date scientific evidence.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) are the independent experts who advise the government on which vaccines the UK should use. The JCVI also provide advice on who should be offered the vaccines.

The JCVI have advised that the second phase of vaccine prioritisation should continue to be based on age. They advise that an age-based approach remains the most effective way of reducing death and hospitalisation from COVID-19 and of ensuring that more people are protected quickly.

Everyone in the top 9 priority cohorts (those aged 50 and over, those who are clinically extremely vulnerable and frontline health and social care workers) has now been offered a first dose of the vaccine. Our target remains to offer a vaccine to all adults aged 18 and over by 31 July.


Written Question
Overseas Students: Coronavirus
29 Apr 2021

Questioner: Bob Blackman (CON - Harrow East)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans his Department has to support international students enrolling onto higher education courses in the UK at the start of the 2021-22 academic year within the covid-international travel framework.

Answered by Michelle Donelan

International students are vital and valued members of our higher education (HE) community. The government has worked closely with the HE sector throughout this year to ensure existing rules and processes have been as flexible as possible, so that international students have been able to study in the UK as planned.

The department speaks regularly with its counterparts across the government, including the Department of Health and Social Care, Public Health England, the Department for Transport and Cabinet Office, among others, about how various COVID-19 policies may affect students.

The UK was one of the first countries to introduce important visa concessions for international students at the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, and we will do our utmost to ensure this flexibility remains for as long as needed. We will continue to work with our counterparts across the government to ensure that the UK remains as accessible and welcoming as possible next academic year.


Written Question
Pre-school Education: Fees and Charges
29 Apr 2021

Questioner: Robert Halfon (CON - Harlow)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that private early years providers do not charge top-up fees to parents entitled to free childcare under the Free Early Education Entitlement.

Answered by Vicky Ford

Government funding is intended to deliver 15 or 30 hours a week of free, high quality, flexible childcare for eligible two, three and four year olds across 38 weeks of the year. It is not intended to cover the costs of meals, additional hours or additional services, and providers may charge parents for these.

Our statutory guidance is clear that local authorities should work with providers to ensure all parents have fair access to a free place, which must be delivered completely free of charge. Providers should not charge parents “top-up” fees (any difference between a provider’s normal charge to parents and the funding they receive from the local authority to deliver free places) or require parents to pay a registration fee as a condition of taking up their child’s free place.


Written Question
Communication Skills: Remote Education
29 Apr 2021

Questioner: Mark Hendrick (LAB - Preston)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of home schooling and social distancing during the covid-19 outbreak on children's language skills.

Answered by Nick Gibb

It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before Prorogation.


Written Question
Pupils: Registration
29 Apr 2021

Questioner: Robert Halfon (CON - Harlow)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many and what proportion of primary and secondary school pupils anticipated to re-enrol on the school register in September 2020 re-enrolled on the school register in September 2020.

Answered by Nick Gibb

It has not proved possible to respond to the right hon. Member in the time available before Prorogation.


Written Question
Assessments
29 Apr 2021

Questioner: Munira Wilson (LDEM - Twickenham)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when he plans to announce arrangements for (a) SATS, (b) GCSE, (c) A-level and (d) BTEC examinations in the 2021-22 academic year.

Answered by Nick Gibb

It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before Prorogation.


Written Question
Education: Finance
29 Apr 2021

Questioner: Lord Taylor of Warwick (Non-affiliated - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by the Education Policy Institute Analysis paper: preliminary research findings on education recovery, published on 20 April; and what steps they are taking to ensure that educational recovery funding includes early years settings.

Answered by Baroness Berridge

Due to shortage of time, it has not been possible to answer this question before the end of the Session. The Minister will write to the Member in due course.


Written Question
Schools: Coronavirus
29 Apr 2021

Questioner: Olivia Blake (LAB - Sheffield, Hallam)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with Public Health England on determining the appropriate size of a bubble in schools during the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will publish the scientific guidance he received ahead of making that decision.

Answered by Nick Gibb

It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before Prorogation.


Written Question
Teachers: Training
29 Apr 2021

Questioner: Lord Taylor of Warwick (Non-affiliated - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to increase the (1) quality, and (2) quantity, of continuing professional development training for teachers.

Answered by Baroness Berridge

Due to shortage of time, it has not been possible to answer this question before the end of the Session. The Minister will write to the Member in due course.


Written Question
Pioneer Academy: Finance
29 Apr 2021

Questioner: Lloyd Russell-Moyle (LAB - Brighton, Kemptown)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what financial assistance his Department has provided to the Pioneer Academy following that academy's agreement to sponsor Moulsecoomb Primary School.

Answered by Nick Gibb

It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before Prorogation.


Written Question
Pioneer Academy: Timothy Rowe
29 Apr 2021

Questioner: Lloyd Russell-Moyle (LAB - Brighton, Kemptown)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department has received any correspondence on the appointment of Timothy Rowe as regional director of the Pioneer Academy.

Answered by Nick Gibb

It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before Prorogation.


Written Question
Pioneer Academy: Finance
29 Apr 2021

Questioner: Lloyd Russell-Moyle (LAB - Brighton, Kemptown)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much total funding his Department awarded to the Pioneer Academy.

Answered by Nick Gibb

It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before Prorogation.




Written Question
School Exclusions Review
29 Apr 2021

Questioner: Preet Kaur Gill (LAB - Birmingham, Edgbaston)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what progress he has made in implementing the recommendations of the Timpson Review on school exclusions.

Answered by Nick Gibb

It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before Prorogation.


Written Question
Private Education: Assessments
29 Apr 2021

Questioner: Lord Watson of Invergowrie (LAB - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what equalities impact assessment they undertook before making the decision to charge private candidates a fee to be assessed by an exam centre in summer 2021.

Answered by Baroness Berridge

Given the ongoing disruption to education caused by the COVID-19 outbreak we announced in January that GCSE, AS and A level exams would not go ahead as planned this summer. The department and Ofqual launched joint consultations on 15 January on how to award grades for both general qualifications and vocational and technical qualifications in 2021 so they are robust and fair.

We have sought to identify how these alternative arrangements could have a positive or negative impact on students because of their protected characteristics and how any negative impacts could be removed or mitigated. We have undertaken this analysis in line with the public sector equality duty in section 149 of the Equality Act 2010 and in line with the published equalities impact statement following the consultation on alternative arrangements for awarding qualifications.

Exam boards and Ofqual have built considerable flexibility into the way that centres can gather evidence to determine their students’ grades. This should provide all students with opportunities to generate evidence of their performance and for evidence that already exists to be used where appropriate. Accordingly, the Joint Council for Qualifications have issued guidance for centres about assessing candidates this year, including specific guidance for private candidates, taking into account their different circumstances.

Private candidates can work with a centre to be assessed on a range of evidence, which could include evidence from an established educational provider and the board provided assessment materials. These candidates should have the same opportunity as other students to be assessed on what they were taught, and centres can conduct assessments remotely if needed.

As with every year, private candidates are expected to contribute to the cost of their exams. This usually includes the entry fee paid to the exam board and an administration fee paid to the centre. Centres working with new private candidates could experience additional workload, for example needing to work with other providers, setting new assessments, working with a different selection of evidence, and understanding the candidate’s situation. To support centres with these additional requirements this year, the Department for Education is providing a grant to centres of £200 per private candidate entry.

The grant aims to avoid the cost of this additional and particular work being passed onto candidates, so that candidates can access a centre at a similar cost to a normal exam year.

Exam centres claiming the grant are expected to charge candidates the same fee as a normal year, and not more than the maximum fees described in the guidance. We expect the grant to have a beneficial impact on access to centres for all private candidates, including those who share particular protected characteristics.


Written Question
Care Leavers: Social Services
29 Apr 2021

Questioner: Lord Watson of Invergowrie (LAB - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the forthcoming consultation on national standards for unregulated provision for children in care and care leavers, as announced in the Government’s consultation response Reforms to unregulated provision for children in care and care leavers, published on 19 February, will include a question on whether these standards should apply to care leavers aged 18 and over as well as those aged 16–17.

Answered by Baroness Berridge

The upcoming consultation focusses on national standards and Ofsted regulation for independent and semi-independent provision that accommodates looked after children and care leavers aged 16 and 17. These proposals do not apply to care leavers aged over 18.

Local authorities are responsible for accommodating care leavers aged 16 or 17. Where local authorities accommodate care leavers in unregulated settings, the new national standards that we are consulting on will apply. When care leavers reach age 18 and become adults, local authorities do not have a duty to accommodate them. However, local authorities do have continuing duties to help care leavers to make a successful transition from care to independence. These duties include providing care leavers with a Personal Adviser, whose role includes helping them to secure suitable accommodation.

Care leavers aged 18 to 25 live in a range of settings, with varying levels of support depending on their needs. Where a young person is in foster care immediately before their 18th birthday, local authorities have a duty to support them to Stay Put with their former foster carer to age 21 – around half of eligible young people choose to Stay Put. This includes providing financial support to meet all reasonable costs of supporting the young person. The department has announced funding of over £33 million in the financial year 2021/22 to support implementation, an increase of approximately £10 million on the financial year 2019/20.

We are also piloting Staying Close, which provides an enhanced support package for young people leaving residential care. We are committed to the national roll-out of Staying Close in the future. The department also provides funding to local authorities to support care leavers at risk of rough sleeping. Care leavers who become homeless have a priority need in homelessness legislation to age 21.

Many care leavers aged over 18 live independently, either in social housing or the private rented sector. Some care leavers aged over 18 live in supported accommodation. The government has published a national statement of expectations for all providers of supported accommodation that sets out what constitutes good quality provision. A copy of this statement is available at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/supported-housing-national-statement-of-expectations/supported-housing-national-statement-of-expectations.