Education: Recovery Package and Catch-up Programme

Lord Hastings of Scarisbrick Excerpts
Monday 21st June 2021

(2 years, 11 months ago)

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Baroness Berridge Portrait Baroness Berridge (Con)
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My Lords, the diversity champions network is aimed specifically at making sure that black and minority-ethnic young people are aware of apprenticeship opportunities. The Government accepted the recommendations of the Timpson review in relation to exclusions and we are looking to enact them. On the temporary exclusion rate, there is some good news in that the rate for black Caribbean students has slightly decreased.

Lord Hastings of Scarisbrick Portrait Lord Hastings of Scarisbrick (CB)
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Given that the Government seem to have rejected much of the Sewell racism report, including the one positive recommendation of extending substantially the school day—barring a paltry, 30-minute possible extension—to allow exactly the catch-up of hours that children need to advance their education, how else can the Government require that the school estate, which is a public asset, be put to maximum effect over the summer months and into the autumn? How can they ensure that the publicly funded asset of teacher knowledge is best deployed to advance children’s learning to catch up more effectively?

Baroness Berridge Portrait Baroness Berridge (Con)
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My Lords, there will be a short consultation on the element of the recovery package relating to extending the school day because that has an impact on the teaching workforce. In relation to those eligible for free school meals, it is white working-class children who have the lowest Progress 8 measure for their achievement, but many holiday activity and food programme initiatives take place on school premises and specific guidance is given to schools about they can best use their school estate.

Covid-19: Pupil Referral Units

Lord Hastings of Scarisbrick Excerpts
Thursday 22nd April 2021

(3 years ago)

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Baroness Berridge Portrait Baroness Berridge (Con)
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My Lords, there is a very high level of those with not only EHCP but SEND generally. Around 80% end up in some form of alternative provision. The AP settings are part of the SEND review so that they can be considered together. We recognise that this is often not the most appropriate place for young people to end up, and we will look at how to change the dynamic that is operating.

Lord Hastings of Scarisbrick Portrait Lord Hastings of Scarisbrick (CB)
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My Lords, given the proven likelihood that PRUs can be highways to hopelessness, driving vulnerable young people towards long-term criminality, what is the Government’s assessment of why PRUs tend not to lead to successful educational and social outcomes? Also, given the opportunities of the Oasis Restore secure school, funded by the Ministry of Justice and opening in Medway next year, how involved will the Department for Education be in defining and inspecting the curriculum, as well as underpinning the well-being of all those educated in this new, remarkable school?

Baroness Berridge Portrait Baroness Berridge (Con)
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My Lords, our aspirations are the same for all young people, regardless of where they are being educated, but it is true that some young people who end up in alternative provision are, for instance, of secondary school age but with only a primary school reading age. Therefore, the classic traditional measures of educational performance must be looked at in terms of the progress which that young person can make. Many of the AP settings are acutely aware of the safeguarding of their students. Many work closely with the 18 violence reduction units to safeguard their pupils, and I will write to the noble Lord about the first secure school, which is within the Ministry of Justice’s provision.

Schools: Online Learning

Lord Hastings of Scarisbrick Excerpts
Tuesday 23rd February 2021

(3 years, 2 months ago)

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Baroness Berridge Portrait Baroness Berridge (Con) [V]
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My Lords, the devices that we have distributed remain the property of local authorities, schools or multi-academy trusts, and we expect them to use those devices flexibly going forward. For instance, if they are running summer schools for some year groups, they can call devices back in from certain pupils and redistribute them. We expect, in the medium-term and long-term, to make sure that the best of our teaching is available to most pupils in this country by using remote education.

Lord Hastings of Scarisbrick Portrait Lord Hastings of Scarisbrick (CB)
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My Lords, I declare my interest as a governor of the Vodafone-supported M-PESA Academy in Nairobi, Kenya, where every one of our 820 children from the poorest communities in the country have a fully functioning Apple iPad and 4G, both at their home or village community, area or school to support their learning. Given the huge and ongoing task of catch-up that will be required and the skills development after schools go back here in the United Kingdom, have the Government engaged with the tech, mobile and computer hardware companies, all of which have made massive profits during the pandemic because of homeworking, with the duty to give them a public citizenship role in gifting equipment and wi-fi to the families and children most in need? If not, why not?

Education: The Holocaust

Lord Hastings of Scarisbrick Excerpts
Wednesday 27th January 2021

(3 years, 3 months ago)

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Baroness Berridge Portrait Baroness Berridge (Con)
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My Lords, I welcome the extension of that education to the countries that my noble friend outlined. I will write to the CPD element of the University College London project that we also fund to make sure it is aware of it so that teaching staff can also be made aware of these resources that will help them teach that curriculum well.

Lord Hastings of Scarisbrick Portrait Lord Hastings of Scarisbrick (CB)
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My Lords, yesterday President Biden abolished Trump’s 1776 Commission, which sought to deny the ugly truths about America’s slavery history and its treatment of indigenous Americans. We cannot eradicate intolerance and racism unless we face our own true full history, so is it not now time that Her Majesty’s Government boldly set up a history curriculum commission to incorporate the truths and the facts, ugly or not, about our own slavery history, to honour the six million killed in the Holocaust and the millions killed and affected by institutional racist abuse, and teach the full truth of European history?

Baroness Berridge Portrait Baroness Berridge (Con)
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My Lords, within the history, English and citizenship curriculums there is flexibility for schools to teach the matters outlined. They are inspected against producing a broad and balanced curriculum. As I am sure the noble Lord will be aware, characters such as Mary Seacole have had increasing prominence in the curriculum for key stages 1 and 2. The key stage 2 and 3 curriculums outline studying, for instance, a non-European society as a contrast, and it was encouraging to note that a Historical Association survey of teachers stated that there is increasing prominence of black British history.

Covid-19: Social Mobility

Lord Hastings of Scarisbrick Excerpts
Monday 7th December 2020

(3 years, 5 months ago)

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Baroness Berridge Portrait Baroness Berridge (Con)
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I am grateful to the noble Lord. I am sure he is aware that, through the Culture Recovery Fund, we have given £1.57 billion to support that sector. I hope he is aware of the educational aspects of cultural diversity that sit within the Department for Education, such as the music and dance scheme. I have yet to read of a scheme like that that is not pivoted towards disadvantaged children and children who have free school meals, or towards improving the diversity of those who access culture.

Lord Hastings of Scarisbrick Portrait Lord Hastings of Scarisbrick (CB)
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My Lords, we all know that social mobility relies not just on education but on work opportunities beyond education. What work will the Government undertake to bring together companies that have profited substantially during the pandemic—those that distribute to households, supermarkets, and pharmaceutical and alcohol companies—to make up the deficit of hundreds of thousands of internships and apprenticeships that have been cancelled by companies that have lost profit and business during the pandemic? Will the Government commit to the #10000BlackInterns programme launched by two City businessmen, three weeks ago?

Baroness Berridge Portrait Baroness Berridge (Con)
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My Lords, it is encouraging to see, even without being asked by the Government, the flurry of businesses returning their business rates relief. We all have to tackle this pandemic together and the effect on different employers has been disparate. I can assure the noble Lord that, on apprenticeships, we have offered employers £2,000 for anybody under the age of 25 they take on, and £1,500 for anybody over the age of 25. We are doing what we can to support them, as well as the £2 billion Kickstart scheme, which offers six-month jobs for those between 16 and 24 on universal credit to give them an entry into the workplace.

Schools: Disadvantaged Pupils

Lord Hastings of Scarisbrick Excerpts
Wednesday 24th June 2020

(3 years, 11 months ago)

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Baroness Berridge Portrait Baroness Berridge [V]
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My Lords, the Government have been clear that we do not expect schools to be open throughout the summer holidays. Many teachers have been teaching since the February half-term. However, this is the third year running of our usual holiday activity clubs, which have funding of £9 million. We have made it clear to schools that the £650 million that will be allocated across state-funded schools can be used by them for interventions to help their students catch up. We have launched a Teach First toolkit to enable them to run summer provision if they choose to spend some of those resources in that way.

Lord Hastings of Scarisbrick Portrait Lord Hastings of Scarisbrick (CB) [V]
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My Lords, given the significant disadvantage of poorer black children, with attainment rates for black Caribbean boys eight points behind those of white boys, will the Government specifically and actively support supplementary school learning programmes not just across the summer months but to the year end for catch-up purposes? Will the department partner with charities such as Symphony, which voluntarily raised £30,000 in the last two weeks to support projects in Birmingham, Manchester and London using school and church halls?

Baroness Berridge Portrait Baroness Berridge [V]
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My Lords, the £350 million allocated for a national tutoring programme is to be aimed at the most disadvantaged students. We are giving schools the flexibility to choose how to use this funding, including for online tutoring, and the Education Endowment Foundation has given guidance on the best online providers. However, we also recognise that there will be a need for one-on-one tutoring to take place physically in some schools, and part of that funding will enable that to happen in schools with the most disadvantaged pupils.