Lord Storey Portrait

Lord Storey

Liberal Democrat - Life peer

Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Education)

(since June 2015)
Communications and Digital Committee
1st Jul 2019 - 28th Jan 2021
Small and Medium Sized Enterprises Committee
29th May 2012 - 28th Feb 2013


There are no upcoming events identified
Division Votes
Thursday 10th June 2021
Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development etc.) (England) (Amendment) Order 2021
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 72 Liberal Democrat Aye votes vs 0 Liberal Democrat No votes
Tally: Ayes - 104 Noes - 241
Speeches
Tuesday 13th July 2021
Early Years Foundation Stage (Miscellaneous Amendments) and Childcare Fees (Amendment) Regulations 2021

My Lords, I very much agree with the noble Lord, Lord Hunt, about SATs in primary schools, but I gently …

Written Answers
Tuesday 27th July 2021
District Councils: Liverpool
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Liverpool City Council: Best Value inspection report by Max Caller CBE, published …
Early Day Motions
None available
Bills
Monday 24th May 2021
Higher Education Cheating Services Prohibition Bill [HL] 2021-22
A Bill to make it an offence to provide or advertise cheating services for Higher Education assessments
Tweets
None available
MP Financial Interests
None available

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Lord Storey has voted in 149 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Lord Storey Division Votes

Debates during the 2019 Parliament

Speeches made during Parliamentary debates are recorded in Hansard. For ease of browsing we have grouped debates into individual, departmental and legislative categories.

Sparring Partners
Baroness Berridge (Conservative)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
(61 debate interactions)
Lord Watson of Invergowrie (Labour)
Shadow Spokesperson (Education)
(11 debate interactions)
Lord Agnew of Oulton (Conservative)
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
(8 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Department for Education
(55 debate contributions)
Home Office
(3 debate contributions)
Department of Health and Social Care
(2 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Lord Storey's debates

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Lord Storey, and are more likely to reflect personal policy preferences.

MPs who are act as Ministers or Shadow Ministers are generally restricted from performing Commons initiatives other than Urgent Questions.


Lord Storey has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Lord Storey has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

2 Bills introduced by Lord Storey


A Bill to make it an offence to provide or advertise cheating services for Higher Education assessments


Last Event - 2nd Reading (Lords)
Friday 25th June 2021
(Read Debate)

A bill to make it an offence to provide or advertise cheating services for Higher Education assessments.


Last Event - 2nd Reading (Lords)
Thursday 30th January 2020
(Read Debate)

Lord Storey has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting


174 Written Questions in the current parliament

(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
1 Other Department Questions
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Senior Deputy Speaker what plans there are to provide electric vehicle charging points on the Parliamentary Estate.

The Senior Deputy Speaker has asked me, as Chair of the Services Committee, to respond on his behalf. There are currently no plans to provide electric vehicle charging points on the Parliamentary Estate. The Services Committee will be considering a paper on the provision of electric vehicle charging points at a future meeting, before the end of the year.

6th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) delaying local, mayoral and police and crime commissioner elections taking place in May, or (2) making these elections entirely postal.

Primary legislation states that the elections will go ahead in May 2021.

We continue to work closely with the electoral community and public health bodies to resolve challenges and ensure everyone will be able to cast their vote safely and securely - and in a way of their choosing.

Measures are planned to support absent voting at short notice. Guidance will be published in good time ahead of the polls and this matter will be kept under review.

Any elector is able to register to vote by post on demand, if they wish. As confirmed in a letter from the Minister of State for the Constitution and Devolution, the UK Government is of the view that it would not be appropriate to impose an all-postal vote for the elections in May 2021, as this increases fraud risks and removes choice from voters who wish to cast their vote in person.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
24th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of holding elections in 2021 entirely through postal voting.

The UK Government is of the view that it would not be appropriate to impose an all-postal vote for the local and mayoral elections in England, and the Police and Crime Commissioner elections in England and Wales, in May 2021. All-postal voting increases fraud risks, and removes choice from voters who wish to cast their vote in person.

Postal voting on demand already allows any registered elector to apply for a vote by post.

The Government is working with the electoral administrators and Public Health England to identify and resolve challenges involved in delivering the May 2021 elections, including ensuring polling stations are safe and COVID-secure places to vote. People will be able participate in the polls safely, and in a way of their choice, whether by post, proxy or in-person.

This work is outlined in the recent letter of the Minister of State for the Constitution and Devolution to Electoral Returning Officers, which can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/letter-from-chloe-smith-mp-to-returning-officers.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
21st Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether people under the age of 18 have been allowed to submit questions to the daily Downing Street Covid-19 briefings; and if not, why not.

I refer the Noble Lord to the answer I gave to HL5693 on 29 June.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
5th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government (1) which Ministers are working from home as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and (2) whether they have taken a reduction in their salary as a result.

The business of government continues, and Ministers continue to work full time; their associated officeholder status accordingly is unchanged. In line with prevailing Government guidance, Ministers are working from home where they are able to do so.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
12th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the case for preparing for the postponement of the local, mayoral, metro mayors and police and crime commissioners elections; and whether they have contingency plans for postal ballots.

Further to the Written Ministerial Statement HLWS169 which I laid on 19 March 2020, the Government has confirmed that the scheduled local, mayoral and Police and Crime Commissioner elections that were due to take place on 7 May this year will be postponed until the next ordinary day of election on 6 May 2021.

Other polls that had already been set for dates from 16 March 2020 and which arise over coming weeks and months will also be addressed in legislation being brought forward as part of the Coronavirus Bill.

The decision was taken following advice from the Government’s medical experts in relation to the response to the Covid-19 virus and the advice of those delivering elections.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
26th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to reduce the noise of fireworks sold to the general public from 120 decibels to 90 decibels.

There is a comprehensive regulatory framework already in place for fireworks that aims to reduce the risks and disturbances to people and animals.

Current legislation restricts retailers to only selling consumer fireworks during the traditional firework periods of November 5th, Diwali, New Year’s Eve and the Chinese New Year. Retailers may only supply fireworks outside these traditional periods if they obtain a license from their local licensing authority. Existing legislation also controls the sale, availability and use of fireworks, as well as setting a curfew and noise limit. Current legislation limits noise from fireworks available to consumers to a maximum of 120 decibels.

The Government remains committed to promoting the safe and considerate use of fireworks through an effective legislative framework and through non-legislative measures.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
26th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to change the regulations for the licensing of premises that sell fireworks.

There is a comprehensive regulatory framework already in place for fireworks that aims to reduce the risks and disturbances to people and animals.

Current legislation restricts retailers to only selling consumer fireworks during the traditional firework periods of November 5th, Diwali, New Year’s Eve and the Chinese New Year. Retailers may only supply fireworks outside these traditional periods if they obtain a license from their local licensing authority. Existing legislation also controls the sale, availability and use of fireworks, as well as setting a curfew and noise limit. Current legislation limits noise from fireworks available to consumers to a maximum of 120 decibels.

The Government remains committed to promoting the safe and considerate use of fireworks through an effective legislative framework and through non-legislative measures.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
13th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the announcement of £60 million funding to support 20 museums of which 16 are based in London, what assessment they have made of the need to protect national heritage outside of London.

Regional sites will benefit considerably from this £60 million investment in our national cultural infrastructure, irrespective of where their headquarters happen to be located. Of the 100 projects this Fund will support, over a third are based wholly outside London and the South East. For historic reasons there is a cluster of older, more expansive estates in London that require particular care and attention, but this is not at the expense of other regions, with projects funded across the North West, South West, North East, Yorkshire, and others. In fact, every single one of the multi-site organisations has received funding for one or more of its regional sites.

Regional organisations have been further boosted by our Museums Estates and Development Fund (MEND) worth over £18 million, available exclusively to non-national accredited museums for maintenance projects. Throughout the pandemic, this Government has supported locally-accessible culture and heritage across the entire nation, with 70 per cent of awards from our £2 billion Culture Recovery Fund to date going to save thousands of organisations outside of London.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
5th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will list all of the organisations in England that will benefit from the £60 million national heritage investment announced on 3 July; and how much funding each organisation will receive.

The DCMS Press Release published on 3 July lists the twenty organisations set to benefit from this latest investment, as well as the sums awarded, and can be found online: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/60-million-to-protect-our-national-heritage

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
16th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to UNESCO to ensure that Liverpool does not lose its UNESCO World Heritage status.

The UK is a world leader in cultural heritage protection and Liverpool's World Heritage Status reflects the important role the city has played in our nation's history. DCMS continues to work closely with UNESCO, Liverpool City Council and Historic England to ensure that Liverpool does not lose its UNESCO World Heritage status. Most recently, the Minister for Digital and Culture met senior UNESCO representatives on 10th June.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
16th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of Liverpool’s UNESCO World Heritage status following the decision by the Secretary of State not to call in the planning application for the Everton Stadium.

The UK is a world leader in cultural heritage protection and Liverpool's World Heritage Status reflects the important role the city has played in our nation's history. We are working closely with UNESCO, Liverpool City Council and Historic England to ensure that Liverpool retains its World Heritage status.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
11th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of Historic England’s view that (1) the Liverpool Docks are the largest and most complete system of docks anywhere in the world, and (2) the infill of the West Waterloo Docks would harm Liverpool’s UNESCO World Heritage status.

The Government recognises the importance of protecting Liverpool’s UNESCO World Heritage status, and the outstanding universal value for which the Liverpool Docks and the rest of the site were inscribed in 2004. We continue to value the advice of Historic England on all aspects of the United Kingdom’s implementation of the World Heritage Convention. We note Historic England’s opposition to the proposed development at West Waterloo Docks and will continue to work with all parties to protect the heritage of Liverpool.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
20th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the risk of the Liverpool waterfront losing its UNESCO World Heritage status due to Everton Football Club's waterfront stadium development.

The construction of a new football stadium at Bramley Moore Dock is likely to increase perceptions that the “outstanding universal value” on which Liverpool’s UNESCO world heritage status is predicated will be placed at risk. The Government continues to work with UNESCO, Liverpool City Council, Historic England and others to reconcile the needs of heritage conservation and economic development in and around the world heritage site.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the work of the Black Swimming Association; and what steps they intend to take in response to the finding by Sport England’s Active Lives Survey, published in October 2020, that (1) 95 per cent of Black adults, (2) 80 percent of Black children, (3) 95 percent of Asian adults, and (4) 78 per cent of Asian Children, in England do not swim.

The Government supports the efforts of groups helping to promote diversity and inclusion in sport, including the Black Swimming Association who are working to address inequalities in swimming participation levels. We are committed to these efforts, and our sport and physical activity strategy ‘Sporting Future’ has diversity and inclusion at its heart.

In addition, Sport England have recently launched a new ten year strategy, “Uniting the Movement”, reinforcing their commitment to increasing diversity and inclusion in grassroots sport and physical activity, including swimming. They have invested £12.62 million in Swim England to support and promote participation in swimming, including support for people from ethnically diverse backgrounds. We welcome the recent partnership announcement between Swim England and the Black Swimming Association, to further increase numbers of participation in aquatic activity.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
17th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress they have made towards establishing the £500 million Youth Investment Fund.

The Youth Investment Fund remains a manifesto commitment for levelling up across England over the course of the parliament. In the recent announced Spending Review £30m of this was committed as capital investment for 2021-22. This will provide investment in new and refurbished safe spaces for young people, so they can access support from youth workers, and positive activities out of school, including sport and culture. Further details of the timetable for allocation and how the funding will be distributed will be announced in due course.

Government recognises the significant impact of Covid-19 on young people, particularly the most vulnerable, and on the youth services that support them. A £16.5m Youth Covid-19 Support Fund has been announced which will protect the immediate future of grassroots and national youth organisations across the country.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
29th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of allowing amateur musical groups the same outdoor and indoor rehearsal opportunities as professional musical groups.

The Government continues to advise that non-professional groups should not sing and play wind and brass instruments at this stage and should only do other activities in line with government guidance on social mixing. Singing and playing wind and brass instruments are considered higher risk activities because of the potential for aerosol production.

We understand that people are eager to play brass/wind instruments and sing together, which is why we have commissioned a study specifically looking at C-19 transmission risks associated with singing and playing wind instruments. The PERFORM study involves leading scientists and is working with musicians and representatives from the Royal Opera House and the BBC. Results of further research conducted will lead to updates of the performing arts guidance for both professionals and non-professionals.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
2nd Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government why there are no representatives of the music industry on the Cultural Renewal Taskforce.

The Cultural Renewal Taskforce has been established to support the renewal of DCMS sectors and to help the development of new COVID-19 secure guidelines for the reopening of places and businesses in these sectors, where and when it is safe to do so. The Taskforce is made up of individuals and organisations from across DCMS sectors, representing a broad range of views and backgrounds. The organisations vary not only by size and scale, but are also representative of organisations with sector interests across the country.

To support the Cultural Renewal Taskforce and the development of guidelines, DCMS has also set up eight sectoral Working Groups, which are ministerially led. Each Working Group has broad membership covering a range of relevant organisations and representative bodies for sectors.

The Entertainment and Events Working Group has numerous members from the music industry, including Association of British Orchestras, Association of Independent Festivals, Music Venue Trust and The Musicians Union. In addition, the membership of the Broadcasting, Film and Production working group also includes representation for the music industry from the Association of Independent Music, British Phonographic Industry, Music Producers Guild, and The Musicians Union.

As well as establishing these Working Groups, we continue to work with the music industry to understand the difficulties they face and help them access support through these challenging times and through recovery.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
4th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the current requirements for commercial radio stations to be awarded a radio broadcast licence.

There are two separate regimes for the licensing of commercial radio stations. National and local analogue stations, carried on FM or AM, are licensed by Ofcom under the Broadcasting Act 1990. Digital radio stations, carried on digital multiplexes, are licensed by Ofcom under the Broadcasting Act 1996. Analogue licences are issued for a fixed period; however, an analogue licence holder who also provides a digital radio service may apply for an automatic renewal.

Ofcom does from time to time advertise analogue licences to prospective bidders where an existing commercial frequency is vacated or where a commercial station chooses not to renew. However, since 2007, Ofcom has prioritised new services for the development of community radio when advertising these frequencies. There are around 300 community services currently operating across the UK and the sector is likely to expand further with the start of small-scale DAB multiplex licensing by Ofcom later this year.

New services seeking to obtain an analogue sound programme licence or digital sound programme licence from Ofcom must be based in the UK and must satisfy Ofcom that the applicant is a fit and proper person to hold such a licence. Local analogue sound programme licence holders’ services must also meet the character of service set out in the station’s licence application, and satisfy the requirements for local news and production as set out in guidance published by Ofcom under s314 of the Communications Act. There are no equivalent requirements on digital radio services, which have always been subject to a lighter touch regime.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
3rd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the decision by Bauer Media to fold local radio stations into a national radio network.

The local programming and content requirements for holders of local analogue commercial radio licenses are set by Ofcom under the relevant legislative framework – primarily the Broadcasting Act 1990 and the Communications Act 2003.

In particular, Ofcom is required under section 314 of the Communications Act 2003 to publish and keep under review guidance for commercial radio licensees setting out the detailed local programming requirements that they consider it to be appropriate for local stations to carry.

The relevant guidelines were updated by Ofcom in 2018 to give local FM licensees greater flexibility in how and where local stations produce their programmes, while ensuring that listeners’ expectations for high quality local news and other content continue to be met. These guidelines are published on Ofcom's website, and it will be for Bauer to make decisions about how to organise their services while still meeting their regulatory requirements.

The Government has long-term plans to legislate to reduce other burdens on commercial radio while maintaining protections for the provision on local news and extending these requirements to digital radio, where there are currently no such protections in place. We consulted on changes in 2017, and will bring forward legislation when Parliamentary time is available.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
3rd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact on (1) local people, and (2) the level of local content, of Bauer Media's decision (a) to fold local radio stations into a national radio network, and (b) to replace locally produced content with syndicated programme content made in London.

We have made no such assessment. The local programming and content requirements for holders of local analogue commercial radio licenses are set by Ofcom under the relevant legislative framework – primarily the Broadcasting Act 1990 and the Communications Act 2003. These are matters for Ofcom.

In particular, Ofcom is required under section 314 of the Communications Act 2003 to publish and keep under review guidance for commercial radio licensees setting out the detailed local programming requirements that they consider it to be appropriate for local stations to carry.

The relevant guidelines were updated by Ofcom in 2018 to give local FM licensees greater flexibility in how and where local stations produce their programmes, while ensuring that listeners’ expectations for high quality local news and other content continue to be met. In drawing up the current guidance, Ofcom took account of the changing patterns of radio and audio listening and the views of radio listeners. The revised guidelines are published on Ofcom's website, and it will be for Bauer to make decisions about how to organise their services while still meeting their regulatory requirements in particular the requirements to produce local news and news programming.

The Government has long-term plans to legislate to reduce other burdens on commercial radio while maintaining protections for the provision on local news and extending these requirements to digital radio, where there are currently no such protections in place. We consulted on changes in 2017, and will bring forward legislation when Parliamentary time is available.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to provide a funding grant to the Royal Life Saving Society for that society to support the leisure industry in quickly re-qualifying its safety staff.

Sport England, has announced £210 million of funding to help sport and physical activity organisations deal with the short and long term effects of the pandemic. Further information about how sports organisations can access this support is available on the Sport England website.

In addition, HM Government is distributing £200m via the National Lottery Community Fund to support voluntary organisations most impacted by Covid-19 as part of the wider £750m Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise funding package announced by the Chancellor.

DCMS will continue to work closely with organisations across the sport sector to understand the economic impact on them and how the Government can continue to support them. It is up to RLSS to apply for funding as they see fit.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what measures will need to be put in place before swimming pool operators can provide a safe environment to reopen.

Swimming plays a crucial role in supporting people to be active and the Government is committed to reopening facilities, including swimming pools, as soon as it is safe to do so.

We are holding regular discussions with representatives from the leisure sector to develop guidance for swimming pool operators, as well as other facility operators, to support them to open their facilities in a timely and safe manner once lockdown measures are eased.

As with all aspects of the Government’s response to Covid-19, we will be guided by the science to ensure that as restrictions are eased people can return to activity safely.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
8th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what powers and responsibilities Historic England have towards UNESCO World Heritage sites located in England.

Historic England provides advice to local authorities and Government regarding the historic environment in England. They also act as advisers to the UK government for World Heritage across the UK and Overseas Territories and advise site managers and others on the implementation of the Convention.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
8th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they protect the integrity of UNESCO World Heritage sites located in the UK.

UNESCO World Heritage sites in the UK are protected through heritage legislation and the respective planning regimes in each of the devolved administrations. Additionally, the National Lottery Heritage Fund and others provide grant funding to sites for projects which help to protect their integrity for the benefit of present and future generations.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
8th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of UNESCO World Heritage sites located in the UK.

Each of the 32 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the UK and its Overseas Territories must undertake reporting to the World Heritage Committee on a periodic basis. Additionally, each site must have and regularly update a management plan. This process is overseen by DCMS, acting on behalf of Her Majesty’s Government, as State Party to the World Heritage Convention.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
14th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many cases local authorities have brought against parents whose child has been deemed not to be in receipt of a suitable full-time education through home-schooling in each of the last five years.

The information requested is not held centrally and cannot be derived from current data sources. The department also does not currently collect data on numbers of home educated children.

Parents are not required to register if they are home educating their children. Therefore, there is not a robust basis on which the department can reliably collect statistics on home education.

Local authorities are under a duty to take action if it appears to them that the home education provided to a child is unsuitable. The department issued revised and strengthened guidance to local authorities in April 2019, setting out how they can exercise their powers in this regard.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
25th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government (1) how many review groups are currently established in the Department for Education, and (2) what areas they cover.

The department has a number of current review groups including: the review of post-16 qualifications at level 3 and call for evidence at level 2 and below; the independent review of children’s social care; the review of provisions for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities; and the initial teacher training market review. My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, has also recently asked Ofsted to undertake an immediate review into sexual abuse across state and independent schools.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
25th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government (1) on what date they established the Review Group into Initial Teacher Training, (2) what is the membership of the Review Group panel, and (3) how the Review Group plan to (a) take evidence, and (b) consult on its findings.

The department is making England the best place in the world to become a great teacher through giving every teacher access to world-class training and professional development opportunities throughout their career. Reforms to teacher training and early career support are key to the government’s plans to improve school standards for all.

The review is focusing on how the initial teacher training (ITT) sector can provide consistently high-quality training, in line with the Core Content Framework (CCF), in a more efficient and effective market. The review is led by Ian Bauckham, chief executive officer (CEO) of Tenax Schools Trust and Chair of Oak National Academy. The review was announced, along with the Chair and expert group, on 2 January 2021.

The expert group support the Chair with gathering evidence and shaping recommendations. The department has appointed the following individuals to provide a cross-section of knowledge and expertise:

  • Professor Samantha Twiselton, Director of Sheffield Institute of Education – Sheffield Hallam University
  • Richard Gill, Chair of the Teaching Schools Council, CEO of the Arthur Terry Learning Partnership and Lead Ofsted inspector
  • Reuben Moore, Executive Director of Programme Development – Teach First
  • John Blake, Head of Public Affairs and Engagement – Ark

The expert group are reviewing the available evidence on ITT, which includes published research commissioned by the department, as well as wider evidence from the sector. Department analysts, including social researchers, are feeding into the review to ensure that the evidence is interpreted accurately and will be used to inform any recommendations. As we did with the CCF and Early Career Framework, the review is considering international evidence alongside evidence from UK ITT markets.

Initially, the review team are conducting early work to better understand the issues and shape the direction of the work. They have held discussions with ITT representatives including the Universities’ Council for the Education of Teachers and National Association of School-Based Teacher Trainers at this initial stage, with broader engagement planned from late spring.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
25th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the safeguarding requirements for tutors working with children on the National Tutoring Programme.

The safeguarding of children and young people is paramount to the National Tutoring Programme (NTP), and we have worked closely with our delivery partners to ensure that robust safeguarding processes are in place across both pillars of the NTP.

Safeguarding was fully assessed as part of the application process with detailed due diligence checks carried out for potential tuition partners ahead of agreements being entered, and ongoing monitoring throughout the lifetime of the grant. The assessment carried out as part of the application focused on five broad areas: Safeguarding Policy and Procedures; Safeguarding Training and Development; Organisational Structure and Governance; Safe Recruitment Policies and Procedures; and Specific Practices for Online Tuition. We take safeguarding seriously and we have robust processes in place before and during the delivery of the NTP. To date, no safeguarding incidents have been reported by schools in the programme.

Individual tuition partners are responsible for managing their own safeguarding policies and procedures, with oversight from the Education Endowment Foundation to ensure processes remain robust and required standards are met. However, all tutors are required to be enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service and Barred list checked (or equivalent for international tutors), and complete appropriate safeguarding training to work on this programme.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of regulations regarding home education.

The current legal system around elective home education is a system for identifying and dealing with children who, for any reason and in any circumstances, are not receiving an efficient suitable full-time education. A situation in which a child is not receiving a suitable full-time education requires action by a local authority under education law.

In the spring of 2019, a consultation was held on proposals for: a mandatory register of children not attending state or registered independent schools to help local authorities carry out their responsibilities in relation to children not in school, a duty on parents to register their child with the local authority if not registered at specified types of schools; a duty on proprietors of certain education settings to respond to enquiries from local authorities; and a duty on local authorities to provide support to parents who educate children at home.

The consultation closed on 24 June 2019 with nearly 5000 responses. Responses to the consultation have been considered, and the government are committed to publishing the response in due course. Following the publication of the consultation, the department will make an assessment of regulations and the need for any legislative change.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many alternative schools are registered; and what estimate they have made of the number of unregistered alternative providers.

The Alternative Provision (AP) sector serves approximately 26,000 pupils across 348 state-place funded AP settings (pupil referral units, AP academies and AP free schools).

As of 19 March 2021, there were 197 pupil referral units, 102 AP academies (74 converters and 28 sponsored) and 49 open AP free schools in England. Beyond this the sector is made up of other forms of AP, such as AP placements in independent schools (circa 29,500 pupils), post-16 providers offering pre-16 AP or charities.

Many of these providers are unregistered, as they do not meet the threshold to register as a school. These small providers are commissioned by local authorities, mainstream and AP schools and offer a limited number of hours of training – often vocational – per week, supplementing the curriculum offered by the child or young person’s school. It is an offence under the Education and Skills Act 2008 to conduct unregistered AP if the provision offered meets the statutory definition of a “school”.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
17th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the (1) funding, and (2) operations, of music hubs.

The government believes that the arts are an essential part of a broad and balanced education and that high-quality arts education should not be the preserve of the elite, but the entitlement of every child.

Music Education Hubs have a vital role to play not only in core school music but also ensuring children have access to all the benefits of a wider musical education through instrumental lessons and ensembles. They have acted swiftly and innovatively to support schools through the COVID-19 outbreak, including the continuation of continuing professional development to classroom teachers.

On Friday 26 March, the department announced £79 million in the financial year 2021-22, to fund Music Education Hubs. This funding had already been confirmed earlier this month with Arts Council England, our music hubs delivery partner, and they confirmed funding with all the Music Education Hubs organisations. The government also announced our ambitious plan for all children to have access to high-quality music education, with the publication of the Model Music Curriculum, a new music curriculum for key stages 1, 2 and 3. The plans to refresh music lessons follow the full return to school for all pupils this month, and alongside wider plans to help pupil catch-up on lost education.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
16th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Williams of Trafford on 10 March (HL13719), whether (1) universities, and (2) independent schools, are permitted to accept payment of course fees in cash.

Universities, as autonomous institutions, are responsible for ensuring their compliance with the law. They need to uphold applicable public interest governance principles in order to meet the regulatory requirements of the Office for Students, the independent regulator for the higher education sector in England.

To be registered with the Office for Students, a higher education provider must have in place adequate and effective management and governance arrangements to deliver them in practice.

Whilst universities can accept cash payments, the Department for Education has spoken to representatives of the sector and understands that very few universities do this.

Independent schools are private businesses and, like universities, their handling of cash payments is subject to the same regulation as for all businesses.

The government’s money-laundering regulations require firms to combat money-laundering and to ensure that key professionals identify their customers and understand the purpose behind transactions, including the source of funds. Universities and independent schools are not within the regulated sector, but those most at risk from money-laundering – including banks, money service businesses, lawyers, and accountants – are in scope.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
11th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government (1) how many Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans were agreed, (2) how many EHC appeals took place, and (3) of those appeals, how many were successful, in each year from 2016.

The number of Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans agreed is contained in the table below.

2016

2017

2018

2019

Number of new EHC plans

36,094

42,162

48,907

53,899

These figures are from the Department for Education publication ‘Education, Health and Care plans’ and are for calendar years.

The Ministry of Justice has provided figures on appeals and outcomes from the publication Tribunal Statistics Quarterly and these are given in the attached Excel spreadsheet. The Ministry of Justice figures relate to academic years from 1 September to 31 August of each year and are, therefore, not directly comparable to the Department for Education figures. Please note as well that a claim is recorded as being in favour of the appellant if they succeed in any part of the appeal. This means that if a parent appeals on three separate grounds, and is successful in only one of the grounds, the appeal is recorded as being successful.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
10th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the payment rate for tutors delivering the National Tutoring Programme.

High quality tuition remains one of the core principles of the programme, and the department have worked closely with delivery partners to ensure this is delivered across both pillars of the programme.

When selecting approved tuition partners, the department worked with the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) to ensure schools had a wide range of high quality tuition partners to choose from in order to best suit the needs of pupils.

As a result, the approved tuition partners include a range of profit, non-profit and educational institutions, all of which offer tuition through different models and varying in price. It is the responsibility and discretion of tuition partners to set their own pay and conditions for the tutors they employ in accordance with other costs associated to tutoring, such as training, preparation for sessions, delivering tutoring via online platforms, communication with schools and quality assurance processes.

The EEF have developed a guide to the cost, quality and value for money of tuition, which can be accessed here: https://nationaltutoring.org.uk/news/making-tutoring-count-cost-quality-and-value-for-money.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
9th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether tutors on the National Tutoring Programme will require enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service checks; and, if so, how they plan to ensure all these tutors have completed such checks.

High-quality tuition is one of the fundamental principles of the National Tutoring Programme (NTP), and we have worked closely with our delivery partners to ensure that this can be delivered across both pillars of the NTP.

There is strong evidence which suggests that additional support (delivered by highly trained tutors that may or may not be qualified teachers) can have a positive impact, and can boost pupils’ progress by up to 5 months. The NTP has been designed to provide additional capacity to schools so that teachers and existing school staff can concentrate on high-quality teaching, which we recognise will make the most difference to pupils.

Whilst each Tuition Partner is responsible for setting their own criteria for tutor qualifications, there is an expectation that tutors will be at least highly qualified graduates. We recognise that the education and experience of tutors is important to the delivery of quality tuition. However, tutors will still require training to ensure that delivery is in line with the model offered by the Tuition Partner. That is why when selecting tutoring organisations, our delivery partner, the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) took into consideration the training offer available for tutors, and funding was allocated to those organisations with robust training programmes in place for all tutors to undertake.

Individual Tuition Partners are responsible for managing their own safeguarding policies and procedures, with oversight from the EEF to ensure processes remain robust. However, all tutors are required to be enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service and Barred list checked (or best available equivalent for international tutors), and complete appropriate safeguarding training in order to work on this programme. Individual Tuition Partners are responsible for managing their own safeguarding policies and procedures, with oversight from the EEF to ensure processes remain robust and required standards are met.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
9th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what qualifications an individual must have to be a tutor on the National Tutoring programme.

High-quality tuition is one of the fundamental principles of the National Tutoring Programme (NTP), and we have worked closely with our delivery partners to ensure that this can be delivered across both pillars of the NTP.

There is strong evidence which suggests that additional support (delivered by highly trained tutors that may or may not be qualified teachers) can have a positive impact, and can boost pupils’ progress by up to 5 months. The NTP has been designed to provide additional capacity to schools so that teachers and existing school staff can concentrate on high-quality teaching, which we recognise will make the most difference to pupils.

Whilst each Tuition Partner is responsible for setting their own criteria for tutor qualifications, there is an expectation that tutors will be at least highly qualified graduates. We recognise that the education and experience of tutors is important to the delivery of quality tuition. However, tutors will still require training to ensure that delivery is in line with the model offered by the Tuition Partner. That is why when selecting tutoring organisations, our delivery partner, the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) took into consideration the training offer available for tutors, and funding was allocated to those organisations with robust training programmes in place for all tutors to undertake.

Individual Tuition Partners are responsible for managing their own safeguarding policies and procedures, with oversight from the EEF to ensure processes remain robust. However, all tutors are required to be enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service and Barred list checked (or best available equivalent for international tutors), and complete appropriate safeguarding training in order to work on this programme. Individual Tuition Partners are responsible for managing their own safeguarding policies and procedures, with oversight from the EEF to ensure processes remain robust and required standards are met.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
8th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what arrangements are in place for assessing A-Levels for private candidates.

There will be a clear and accessible route for private candidates to work with a centre to receive a grade this year, at the same time as other candidates, and without significantly increased cost to a normal year.

Private candidates should be assessed in a similar way to other students, by a recognised exam centre using a range of evidence, which could include taking the exam board provided assessment materials in a suitable form. Ofqual and the exam boards will issue guidance on the forms of evidence that can be used, taking into account private candidates’ different circumstances.

Private candidates should have the same opportunity as other students to be assessed on what they were taught, and exam boards should allow centres to conduct assessments remotely. We are working with the sector to ensure there are sufficient centres accepting private candidates and a list of available centres will be published shortly. Further guidance from exam boards on assessing all candidates will follow.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
2nd Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of unregistered schools which have closed down and reformed into home education hubs.

Some educational settings may have changed their operations to support home educating parents. Unregistered schools are illegal, however, under the Education and Skills Act 2008; accordingly, they do not advertise their presence to the Department for Education. We cannot, therefore, estimate the number of previously unregistered schools which have closed down and reformed into home education hubs.

All settings which provide full-time education to five or more pupils, one child with an education, health and care plan (EHCP), or one child who is ‘looked after’ by a local authority, must be registered as a school even if this provision is only a temporary measure to support home-educating parents while in-person attendance at schools was restricted. It is an offence to conduct any independent setting which offers full-time education to five or more pupils, one child with an EHCP, or one child who is ‘looked after’ by a local authority.

​The Department for Education and Ofsted continue to investigate any settings where intelligence or evidence suggest the operation of an unregistered school.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
8th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what arrangements they have put in place to ensure that laptops are provided for apprentices who have to work from home.

We are committed to supporting apprentices and employers to safely continue with, and complete, their programmes during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Following the announcement of a new national lockdown on 4 January 2021, employers and training providers must ensure that training and assessment takes place remotely wherever possible. Face-to-face training and assessment can continue for vulnerable young apprentices, which includes 16- to 18-year-olds who may have difficulty engaging with remote training and assessment at home due to a lack of IT equipment or connectivity, and in employers’ COVID-19 secure settings where it is essential for workers to attend their workplace, and where it is safe and practical to do so.

Employers are responsible for providing their employees, including apprentices, with the tools they need to work remotely and should support apprentices with the digital resources they need to also continue their apprenticeship training remotely.

To support businesses during this time, we have extended the incentive payments for employers of up to £2,000 for each new apprentice they hire until 31 March 2021. Employers can use this funding to help meet any of the costs associated with supporting a new apprentice in the workplace, including providing laptops and other resources for learning.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
1st Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports that the Getters Talmud Torah school is continuing to operate as an unregistered school.

The Department for Education has not seen any recent evidence in relation to whether the Getters Talmud Torah setting is operating as an independent school. If the noble Lord is aware of such information I would be most grateful if he would share it with me or inform the appropriate inspectorate.

An independent school is a setting which provides a full-time education to 5 or more pupils of compulsory school age (or one or more pupil who is looked after or has an education, health and care plan). The current definition of full-time education does not capture settings which offer only a narrow curriculum, even if this teaching takes place throughout all, or most, of the school day. The department consulted on proposals last year to change the definition of independent schools in primary legislation to incorporate such settings. We are currently considering responses to this consultation and will confirm further steps in due course.

All settings, whether registered or unregistered, must also comply with relevant regulations relating to COVID-19. Failure to do so will be a breach of legislation and poses a risk to public health.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
1st Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of the number of unregistered schools that have continued to operate during the COVID-19 national lockdown which began on 5 January.

Any education setting which provides full-time provision to 5 or more pupils of compulsory school age (or one or more pupils of compulsory school age who is looked after or has an education, health, and care plan) is required to register with the Department for Education as a school. It is a criminal offence to conduct an independent school that is not registered. For this reason the Department for Education has not made an estimate of unregistered schools operating through the current lockdown.

The Department for Education and Ofsted are continuing to investigate any settings where intelligence or evidence suggest the operation of an unregistered school.

All settings, whether registered or unregistered, must also comply with relevant regulations relating to COVID-19. Failure to do so will be a breach of legislation and poses a risk to public health.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
1st Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to close any legal loopholes which allow (1) home education, and (2) unregistered schools, to operate.

The government’s aim is to ensure all young people receive world-class education which allows them to reach their potential and live a more fulfilled life, regardless of background. That education should be provided in a safe environment, whether at school or at home.

Parents have a right to educate their children at home, and the government wants the many parents who do it well to be supported. Most parents who take up the weighty responsibility of home education do a very good job, and many children benefit from being educated at home.

However, others are deemed to be ‘home educated’ but, in reality, such education as they get is mainly or entirely through attendance at unsuitable settings such as unregistered independent schools or multiple part-time settings. There is also likely to be a number of children for whom the education being provided is unsuitable, because their parents cannot educate them effectively at home, or the children are simply not being educated.

In the spring of 2019, a consultation was held on proposals for a mandatory register of children not attending state or registered independent schools to help local authorities carry out their responsibilities in relation to children not in school. The consultation closed in June 2019. Responses to the consultation have been considered and a formal government response document setting out the next steps is expected later this year.

Any education setting which provides full-time provision to 5 or more pupils of compulsory school age (or one or more pupils of compulsory school age who is looked after or has an education, health, and care plan) is required to register with the Department for Education as a school. It is a criminal offence to conduct an independent school that is not registered.

The current definition of full-time education does not capture settings which offer only a narrow curriculum even if this teaching takes place throughout all, or most, of the school day. The department consulted on proposals last year to change the definition of independent schools in primary legislation to incorporate such settings. We are currently considering responses to this consultation and will confirm further steps in due course.

The Department for Education and Ofsted are continuing to investigate any settings where intelligence or evidence suggest the operation of an unregistered school.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
26th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what financial support they are giving to supply teachers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Schools will continue to receive their budgets for the coming year as usual, regardless of any periods of partial or complete closure. Schools have autonomy over these budgets and their employment arrangements and decisions on staffing are made at the local level.

If supply staff employed via employment agencies are unable to work due to COVID-19, their employment agency can place them on furlough and use the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to claim for 80% of their wages, including during school holiday periods, provided that the eligibility criteria are met. Information on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme. Information on eligibility criteria is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-which-employees-you-can-put-on-furlough-to-use-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme.

Employers can now flexibly furlough their employees for the hours the employee would usually have worked in that period, whilst also being able to work outside of the hours they are furloughed. Employees can work for any amount of time, and any work pattern but they cannot do any work for their employer during hours that employers record them as being on furlough. Information on this is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme#flexible-furlough-agreements.

The decision to furlough an employee, fully or flexibly, is entirely at the employer's discretion as it is dependent on a range of factors that the employer is best placed to determine, for example, the amount of work available for employees.

The government has provided additional financial support for those who are unable to work because they have COVID-19, or are self-isolating, which is outlines here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-what-to-do-if-youre-employed-and-cannot-work?priority-taxon=5ebf285a-9165-476c-be90-66b9729f50da#if-someone-you-live-with-has-symptoms-of-coronaviru.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
26th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to continue the BTEC for Performing Arts.

The department is reviewing post-16 qualifications at level 3 and below, to ensure that every qualification approved for public funding has a distinct purpose, is high quality and supports progression to positive outcomes. No decisions have been made about the future of particular subjects or qualifications.

Our second stage consultation of the review, which closed on 31 January, proposed a number of groups of qualifications for funding alongside A levels and T levels in the future. These include qualifications that have a strong practical focus and support progression to specialist higher education, where they deliver valuable skills not offered by A levels. This could include performing arts qualifications. We recognise concerns about the potential removal of well-established qualifications, which is why we have consulted extensively.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they have taken to provide for the education of children excluded from school during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The government has made clear it will do whatever it takes to support children affected by COVID-19.

Good behaviour in schools is crucial if children are to learn and reach their full potential. As well as delivering excellent teaching, schools should be calm, orderly, and disciplined environments free from the low level disruption that prevents teachers from teaching, and pupils from learning.

The department supports head teachers using suspensions or expulsions where warranted. There is no right number of expulsions, but we are clear that expulsion should only be used as a last resort, and expulsion from school should not mean expulsion from a good quality education and support to reduce risk and vulnerability.

Children in alternative provision (AP) are some of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged and we have prioritised supporting them while attendance at schools has been restricted. AP should remain open to vulnerable children and children of critical workers, recognising that the characteristics of the cohorts in alternative provision will mean these schools continue to offer face to face provision for all pupils, where appropriate. Our latest guidance for special schools specialist, post-16 providers and alternative provision during the national lockdown provided for expelled pupils: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/953215/Guidance_for_special_schools__specialist_post-16_providers_and_alternative_provision_during_the_national_lockdown.pdf.

Suitable full-time education must be arranged from the 6th school day of expulsion or suspension for pupils of compulsory school age. In the case of an expulsion, this is the duty of the local authority. Statutory guidance sets out that head teachers should take reasonable steps to ensure that work is set and marked for pupils during the first five school days of expulsion where the pupil will not be attending AP.

If a pupil is attending AP after being expelled, it is the duty of the local authority to arrange AP from the fifth day of the expulsion. Statutory guidance on the use of AP sets out that suitable education is that which appropriately meets the needs of pupils and gives them an education on par with mainstream schooling: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/alternative-provision.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
12th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what support they have provided to schools for the development of online learning.

The government has made a wide range of resources available to support schools and colleges to provide high quality remote education and to meet the expectations we have set: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak#res.

The Get Help with Remote Education page on gov.uk provides a one stop shop for teachers and leaders, signposting the support package available: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/get-help-with-remote-education. This includes helping schools and colleges to access technology that supports remote education, as well as peer to peer training and guidance on how to use technology effectively. It also includes practical tools, a good practice guide and school-led webinars to support effective delivery of the curriculum. Information is available on issues such as safeguarding, statutory duties and expectations, supporting pupils and students with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), and recovery and catch up to stop pupils and students falling behind.

The government is investing over £400 million to support access to remote education and online social care, including securing 1.3 million laptops and tablets for disadvantaged children and young people. This includes over 870,000 laptops and tablets that were delivered to schools, trusts and local authorities by 25 January.

Support is also available for schools to get set up on Google or Microsoft platforms. These platforms bring together the school community, pool resources and give pupils the opportunity to work with their peers remotely. Since April, 2.4 million accounts have been set up.

The department has partnered with the UK’s leading mobile network operators, such as EE, Three, O2 and Vodafone, to provide free data to disadvantaged families, which will support access to education resources, including Oak National Academy, and other websites. Families will benefit from this additional data until July 2021. Schools will be able to request free mobile data uplifts via the Get Help with Technology service.

We have also already provided over 54,000 4G wireless routers, with free data for the academic year, and continue to provide 4G wireless routers where children need to access remote education.

In addition, we have invested £1.5 million of additional funding to expand the EdTech Demonstrator programme, which supports schools and colleges to use technology to strengthen remote education arrangements and secure a longer-term strategy. The expansion will ensure that up to 4,000 schools and colleges will receive bespoke advice and training by the end of March.

Finally, the department has made £4.84 million available for Oak National Academy both for the summer term of the academic year 2019-20, and then for the 2020-21 academic year, to provide video lessons in a broad range of subjects for Reception up to Year 11. Specialist content for pupils with SEND is also available.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
12th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment have they made of vaccinating teachers and support staff in schools that remain open for the children of key workers and vulnerable children.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) are the independent experts who advise the government on which vaccine/s the UK should use and provide advice on who should be offered them. JCVI advises that the first priorities for the COVID-19 vaccination should be the prevention of mortality and the maintenance of the health and social care systems, and as the risk of mortality from COVID-19 increases with age, prioritisation is primarily based on age. This prioritisation captures almost all preventable deaths from COVID-19.

In the next phase of the vaccine rollout, JCVI have asked that the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) consider occupational vaccination in collaboration with other government departments. The department is working with the DHSC and Public Health England to ensure that the education and childcare workforce is considered for prioritisation in the roll out of the vaccine.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
12th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many complaints Ofsted have received about the quality of online learning provided by individual schools.

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.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
12th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what support they are providing to private nurseries that are facing financial difficulties during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The early years sector has benefitted from the continuation of early years entitlement funding during the during the Summer and Autumn terms in 2020, and providers have been able to furlough their staff via the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme. As long as the staff meet the other criteria for the scheme, schools and early years providers are able to furlough their staff if they have experienced a drop in either their income from parents or government. Eligible nurseries can also benefit from a business rates holiday and can access the business loans as set out by my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

On 17 December 2020, the Government announced a return to funding early years settings for the spring term on the basis of attendance, as measured by the January 2021 census. The Early Years census count is still going ahead as expected and the census guidance is unchanged. To support local authorities, we have issued some technical advice on how that guidance can be applied this year.

In summary, children who are ill or self-isolating can be counted, as can those whose parents have temporarily withdrawn their children from open nurseries and childminders out of caution, and so long as the parent/guardian has not altered their parental declaration relating to expected hours with the provider.

Children should not be counted in the census where a setting has closed or restricted attendance, unless as a result of situations as set out in the supporting technical advice eg. staff sickness, COVID-19 isolation, staff shielding.

We continue to work with the early years sector to understand how they can best be supported to ensure that sufficient safe, appropriate and affordable childcare is available to those who need it now, and for all families who need it in the longer term.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
6th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many children and young people have been provided with free WiFi to enable virtual working from home.

We are partnering with the UK’s leading mobile network operators to provide free data to disadvantaged families which will support access to education resources, including Oak National Academy, and other websites.

We are grateful to Three, EE, Tesco Mobile, Smarty, Sky Mobile, Virgin Mobile, O2 and Vodafone. We continue to invite a range of mobile network providers to support the offer.

The country’s major telecommunications providers are also working to make it easier for families to access selected educational resources by temporarily exempting them from data charges.

We have also provided over 54,000 4G wireless routers, with free data for the academic year so that children continue to have access to remote education.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they are taking further to the findings in the report by the Information Commissioner's Office Department for Education: Data protection audit report, published on 7 October, that the Data Protection Officer of the Department for Education is not meeting the requirements of Articles 37 to 39 of the General Data Protection Regulation.

I refer the noble Lord to the answer I gave on 24 November 2020 to Question HL10194.

The department mandates the “Responsible for Information” course provided by Civil Service Learning. We are reviewing the current training requirements. The department has been working closely with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) since the audit was undertaken in February 2020 to address all the recommendations. We will be publishing a formal response in January 2021, which will include an update on the training offering for the department.

Ofsted have been present at briefings on the audit the department has given to the data protection Arm’s Length Body Network. The formal response to the ICO audit will also be available to Ofsted.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the findings in the report by the Information Commissioner's Office Department for Education: Data protection audit report, published on 7 October, what training staff at the Department for Education are receiving about (1) information governance, (2) data protection, (3) records management, (4) risk assessment, (5) data sharing, and (6) information, internal security and individual rights.

I refer the noble Lord to the answer I gave on 24 November 2020 to Question HL10194.

The department mandates the “Responsible for Information” course provided by Civil Service Learning. We are reviewing the current training requirements. The department has been working closely with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) since the audit was undertaken in February 2020 to address all the recommendations. We will be publishing a formal response in January 2021, which will include an update on the training offering for the department.

Ofsted have been present at briefings on the audit the department has given to the data protection Arm’s Length Body Network. The formal response to the ICO audit will also be available to Ofsted.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have made Ofsted aware of the Information Commissioner's Office's Department for Education: Data protection audit report, published on 7 October.

I refer the noble Lord to the answer I gave on 24 November 2020 to Question HL10194.

The department mandates the “Responsible for Information” course provided by Civil Service Learning. We are reviewing the current training requirements. The department has been working closely with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) since the audit was undertaken in February 2020 to address all the recommendations. We will be publishing a formal response in January 2021, which will include an update on the training offering for the department.

Ofsted have been present at briefings on the audit the department has given to the data protection Arm’s Length Body Network. The formal response to the ICO audit will also be available to Ofsted.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
8th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the use of (1) essay mills, and (2) contract cheating, by students during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA), and academics around the globe, agree that it is impossible to quantify exactly how widespread the use of essay mills is, as the bespoke nature of these “paid for” assignments can make it difficult for providers to detect that it is not the student’s own work. Students who engage in contract cheating are also less likely to volunteer to participate in surveys about cheating. This is a difficult time for students, and those who are feeling particularly worried about their studies could be more vulnerable to essay mills marketing right now. We are also aware of increasing anecdotal accounts of some students being blackmailed by essay mill services. It is abhorrent for these companies to take advantage of students in this situation and profit from anxiety during a global outbreak.

It is, therefore, vitally important that higher education providers, the Office for Students (OfS), and the QAA take robust action to deter, detect and address contract cheating. The OfS has published information and guidance for providers and students, and the QAA has also published a series of guides to support providers to secure academic standards and support student achievement during the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes QAA guidance for providers on how to assess digital delivery with integrity.

We have set a clear expectation that the OfS should take a visible lead in challenging the sector to eliminate the use of essay mills. Ministers have called on universities, sector bodies, ed-tech companies, and online platforms to do everything in their power to help stamp out academic cheating of any kind from our world-class higher education sector. We are also exploring, with the QAA, emerging evidence on the effectiveness of legislation on essay mills elsewhere.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
24th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that home-schooled children and young people do not become radicalised.

Educating children at home can be a positive choice when carried out with proper regard for the needs of the child. Local authorities are responsible for taking action when it appears that the Elective Home Education provision is unsuitable. This will include assessing if the provision conflicts with ‘Fundamental British Values’ as defined in Government guidance. This includes, for example, seeking to promote terrorism, or advocating violence towards people on the basis of race, religion or sex.

The provision of home education itself does not constitute a safeguarding risk. However, it is important to bear in mind that a failure to provide suitable home education can constitute a safeguarding risk, because unsuitable or inadequate education can also impair a child’s intellectual, emotional, social, or behavioural development.

The Government’s guidance to local authorities, issued in April 2019, explains how a local authority’s safeguarding duties may be engaged in these circumstances, and what steps they can take.

The Department works closely with the Home Office and Counter-Terrorism Policing to support local authorities at the highest risk of radicalisation, to fulfil their duty and prevent people from being drawn into terrorism. This includes jointly funding Prevent Education Officers, who provide expertise and support to the education sector and relevant local authority services. The Department and partners also provide a range of advice and support for parents to help them protect children and young people from extremism and radicalisation, including through both the Educate Against Hate and the Counter-Terrorism Policing ‘Act Early’ websites.

To support home education, we know that children may also attend a range of out-of-school settings. The Department has invested £3 million in a pilot scheme aimed at enhancing the safeguarding of children in out-of-school settings to protect children from all forms of harm, including radicalisation.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
24th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how home-schooled children are safeguarded.

In the spring of 2019, a consultation was held on proposals for a mandatory register of children not attending state or registered independent schools to help local authorities carry out their responsibilities in relation to children not in school. The consultation closed in June 2019. Responses to the consultation have been considered, and a formal Government response document setting out next steps is expected later this year.

The current legal system around Elective Home Education is a system for identifying and dealing with children who, for any reason and in any circumstances, are not receiving an efficient suitable full-time education. A situation in which a child is not receiving a suitable full-time education requires action by a local authority under education law.

Local authorities’ duties in respect of safeguarding children (set out in the Children Act 1989) apply to all the children in their area, no matter how they are educated. The provision of home education itself does not constitute a safeguarding risk. However, it is important to remember that a failure to provide suitable home education can constitute a safeguarding risk, because unsuitable or inadequate education can also impair a child’s intellectual, emotional, social, or behavioural development. The Government’s guidance to local authorities, issued in April 2019, explains how a local authority’s safeguarding duties may be engaged in these circumstances, and what steps they can take. This guidance is available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/791527/Elective_home_education_gudiance_for_LAv2.0.pdf.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
24th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they estimate that they will publish their response to the consultation held by the Department for Education about establishing a local authority registration system for children who do not attend state-funded or registered independent schools Children not in school, which closed on 24 June 2019.

In the spring of 2019, a consultation was held on proposals for a mandatory register of children not attending state or registered independent schools to help local authorities carry out their responsibilities in relation to children not in school. The consultation closed in June 2019. Responses to the consultation have been considered, and a formal Government response document setting out next steps is expected later this year.

The current legal system around Elective Home Education is a system for identifying and dealing with children who, for any reason and in any circumstances, are not receiving an efficient suitable full-time education. A situation in which a child is not receiving a suitable full-time education requires action by a local authority under education law.

Local authorities’ duties in respect of safeguarding children (set out in the Children Act 1989) apply to all the children in their area, no matter how they are educated. The provision of home education itself does not constitute a safeguarding risk. However, it is important to remember that a failure to provide suitable home education can constitute a safeguarding risk, because unsuitable or inadequate education can also impair a child’s intellectual, emotional, social, or behavioural development. The Government’s guidance to local authorities, issued in April 2019, explains how a local authority’s safeguarding duties may be engaged in these circumstances, and what steps they can take. This guidance is available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/791527/Elective_home_education_gudiance_for_LAv2.0.pdf.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
10th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the findings of the Information Commissioners’ Office’s audit of the Department for Education, published on 7 October.

The Department has been working closely with the Information Commissioner’s Office since the audit was undertaken in February 2020 to address all the recommendations. We will be publishing a formal response in January 2021.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
28th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to provide free school meals during school holidays for vulnerable children who attend school in local authority areas where such meals are not provided.

Free school meal provision has supported children to access a healthy, nutritious meal to learn, concentrate and achieve while they are at school, for more than a century. It is ingrained in the fabric of everyday school life. Now that our schools are fully open, this support has returned as intended.

We recognise the current challenges that families face and, building on the significant support given to the most vulnerable during the COVID-19 outbreak, we have announced a new £170 million Covid Winter Grant Scheme, which will be run by councils in England.

The funding will be ring-fenced, with at least 80% earmarked to support with food and bills, and it will cover the period to the end of March 2021. Local authorities will receive the funding at the beginning of December 2020.

It will allow councils to directly help the hardest-hit families and individuals, as well as provide food for children who need it over the holidays. Local councils understand which groups need support, and are best placed to ensure appropriate holiday support is provided, which is why they will distribute the funds, rather than schools, who will continue providing meals for disadvantaged children during term-time.

In addition to this scheme, we will also be expanding the Holiday Activities and Food programme across England next year, which has provided healthy food and enriching activities to disadvantaged children since 2018. It will cover Easter, summer and Christmas in 2021, and will cost up to £220 million. It will be available to children in every local authority in England and will build on previous programmes, including this summer’s programme, which supported around 50,000 children across 17 local authorities.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
27th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many (1) 16, and (2) 17, year olds are not in education, employment or training.

At the end of 2019 (latest figures available), the number of 16 and 17 year olds not in education, employment or training in England was (1) 23,500, at age 16 (representing 3.8% of all 16 year olds) and (2) 28,000, at age 17 (representing 4.7% of all 17 year olds).

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
6th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they intend to take to ensure that vouchers granted through any future programme providing meals for schoolchildren during school holidays are only used to purchase food.

The free school meal national voucher scheme has now closed.

As schools and their kitchens are now open, they should provide healthy, nutritious meal options for all children who are in school, and meals should be available free of charge to all infant pupils and pupils who meet the benefits-related free school meals eligibility criteria.

Schools should work with their existing suppliers to provide meals or food parcels to pupils eligible for benefits-related free school meals where they are self-isolating.

Guidance on food parcels has been produced by the Lead Association for Catering in Education, Public Health England and the department. It sets out some general principles for putting together a food parcel which will allow parents/carers to prepare simple and healthy lunches for their children at home. This can be found here: https://laca.co.uk/laca-view/free-school-meals-guidance-producing-food-parcels.

Our latest guidance for schools is set out here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance-for-schools.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
6th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government why the statistics for appeals of Education, Health and Care plans are not kept centrally.

Statistics for appeals relating to education, health and care plans are collected and published by the Ministry of Justice, and are available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/tribunals-statistics.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
1st Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans, if any, they have to introduce a register of all parents who are teaching children at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the spring of 2019 a consultation was held on proposals for a mandatory register of children who are not on the role of state or registered independent schools, to help local authorities carry out their responsibilities in relation to those children. The consultation closed in June of 2019. Responses to the consultation have been considered and a formal government response document setting out next steps is expected later this year.

As for children who are registered at state or independent schools, all such schools maintain an admissions and attendance register. Information on attendance at such schools is published here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

The latest figures show that 99.8% of state-funded schools were open on 24 September, down from 99.9% on 17 September. Of the small proportion (0.2%) of schools that were closed, this was mostly due to COVID-19 related reasons. Approximately 88% of all children on roll in all state-funded schools were in attendance on 24 September. This figure has remained broadly stable for 3 weeks.

Schools should keep a record of, and monitor engagement with remote education, but this does not need to be recorded in the attendance register.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
24th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the summer food payment scheme, and (2) the ability of recipients to use e-gift cards for non-school items.

The government has taken unprecedented and substantial action to ensure that children do not go hungry as we take measures to tackle the COVID-19 outbreak, including in relation to free school meals.

In the first instance, we asked schools to support eligible pupils by providing meals or food parcels through their existing food providers wherever possible. For circumstances where this was not possible, we established a national voucher scheme and the COVID-19 Summer Food Fund to support schools and families during this difficult time while schools were restricted from opening to all pupils.

Our national voucher scheme supplier, Edenred, reported that over £380 million worth of voucher codes had been redeemed into supermarket e-gift cards by families through the scheme as of 19 August. Over 20,350 schools had placed orders for the scheme as of 28 July. Now schools and their kitchens are open, normal free school meal provision has resumed, enabling children to have a nutritious healthy meal at school. Our guidance stated that the vouchers must be used for food and must not be redeemed for any age-restricted items, such as alcohol, cigarettes or lottery tickets. Further information is available at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/covid-summer-food-fund.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
23rd Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to introduce a register for all home educated children.

In the spring of 2019 a consultation was held on proposals for a mandatory register of children who are not on the role of state or registered independent schools, to help local authorities carry out their responsibilities in relation to those children. The consultation closed in June of 2019. Responses to the consultation have been considered and a formal government response document setting out next steps is expected later this year.

As for children who are registered at state or independent schools, all such schools maintain an admissions and attendance register. Information on attendance at such schools is published here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

The latest figures show that 99.8% of state-funded schools were open on 24 September, down from 99.9% on 17 September. Of the small proportion (0.2%) of schools that were closed, this was mostly due to COVID-19 related reasons. Approximately 88% of all children on roll in all state-funded schools were in attendance on 24 September. This figure has remained broadly stable for 3 weeks.

Schools should keep a record of, and monitor engagement with remote education, but this does not need to be recorded in the attendance register.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
23rd Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many (1) children had Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans, and (2) new EHC plans were agreed, in (a) the 2015–16, (b) the 2016–17, (c) the 2017–18, (d) 2018–19, and (e) 2019–20, academic year; how many decisions not to provide an EHC plan were appealed; and of any such appeals, how many were upheld.

The number of children and young people with an education, health and care (EHC) plan is collected as of January each year is in the attached Table A.

The number of new EHC plans collected on a calendar year basis is in the attached Table B.

Further information, from the SEN2 Survey, is available at: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/data-tables/education-health-and-care-plans.

Information on how many decisions not to provide an EHC plan were appealed, and of any such appeals, how many were upheld, is not held centrally by the department.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
9th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what financial support they have made available for supply teachers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

State funded schools continued to receive their budgets last year, as usual, regardless of any periods of partial or complete closure. This ensured that they were able to continue to pay their staff and meet their other regular financial commitments.

During the COVID-19 outbreak, the guidance made clear that schools should continue to pay any directly hired staff, including supply staff, as normal.

Schools were also advised to support financially at-risk employment agencies, with whom they had existing agreements, to ensure these agencies could continue to pay their workers where assignments had been curtailed. Supply teachers employed by private agencies who were not on a live assignment, or who were unable to source new assignments, were able to access financial support through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

As?schools?begin to?fully reopen?for?all pupils, from the beginning of the autumn term, we?anticipate the demand for supply teachers?to?return to normal.

Details of a broad range of specific COVID-19 financial support for all educational settings including early years, schools, further education colleges and universities is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-education-early-years-and-childrens-social-care/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-education-early-years-and-childrens-social-care.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
3rd Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government who will inform a school of a positive COVID-19 test of a student at that school.

Guidance on the full opening of schools was published on 2 July and has been regularly updated. This guidance is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools. This includes advice on how schools should respond to any infections and is clear that schools should ask parents to inform them immediately of the results of a pupil’s test. Local health protection teams will also contact schools directly if they become aware that an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19 has attended the school as identified by the NHS Test and Trace system. The guidance outlines how schools should respond to any infection, including engagement with NHS Test and Trace and local health protection teams.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
3rd Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many children received free school meals during the 2020 summer holidays.

The number of children who received a free school meal (FSM) during the 2020 summer holidays is held at school level, we do not hold this information.

The number and proportion of students who qualify for FSM is published in the ‘Schools, pupils and their characteristics’ publication and its underlying data files. As of the January 2020 school census, there are around 1.4 million children eligible for and claiming FSM. Statistics for the 2020 school census are available at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/schools-pupils-and-their-characteristics-january-2020.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
3rd Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what guidance they have made available to local authorities about pupils who were not a registered pupil at any school at the beginning of the lockdown put in place to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

Parents can apply for a place at any school, at any time. The statutory School Admissions Code, which is binding on all admissions authorities, including academies, sets out the process for admission into school. Applying for a school place outside of the normal points of entry to school (such as reception or year 7), is known as an in-year admission. Parents can apply directly to the admissions authority of their preferred school as an in-year admission where local authorities do not co-ordinate in-year admissions. Local authorities, however, must provide parents with information about available school places in their area.

The department launched a consultation to revise the School Admissions Code on 26 June. Improving the in-year admissions process is the main focus of the proposed changes. The consultation will run until 16 October and is available to view here: https://consult.education.gov.uk/home-to-school-transport-and-admissions-team/changes-to-the-school-admissions-code/.

Local authorities have a duty to make arrangements to establish, as far as it is possible, the identities of children of compulsory school age in their area who are not registered pupils at a school and are not receiving suitable education otherwise than at a school. The ‘children missing education’ guidance sets out the key principles to enable local authorities implement their duty, available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/children-missing-education.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
3rd Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many children are currently in care; and what percentage of those were provided with laptops for home schooling during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In terms of the numbers of children in care, the latest published figures show that 78,150 children were looked after, as of 31 March 2019. This information is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/children-looked-after-in-england-including-adoption-2018-to-2019.

The 2020, children looked after, collection closed last month and so we expect to publish the figures for March 2020 later this year.

As of 27 August, the department has delivered, or dispatched, over 220,000 laptops and tablets and over 50,000 4G wireless routers to children who would not otherwise have access, as part of over £100 million invested to support remote education and access to online social care. Over 140,000 of these devices were allocated to local authorities to support vulnerable children, young people with a social worker and care leavers. Further information is available at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/laptops-tablets-and-4g-wireless-routers-progress-data.

The devices were an injection of support to help local authorities and academy trusts to provide access to education and social care during the COVID-19 outbreak. Local authorities and trusts are responsible for distributing the devices and are best placed to know which children and young people need access to a device.

Devices are owned by the local authority, trust or school who can loan unused devices to children and young people who need them most, and who may face disruption to face-to-face education in the event of future local COVID-19 restrictions.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
3rd Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what consideration they have given to introducing standardised testing in the autumn to assist schools in identifying any learning and skills gaps among pupils.

The department undertakes a rigorous process to develop standardised statutory assessment. Such assessments allow parents and schools to understand pupils’ achievements in relation to the age-related attainment expectations outlined in the National Curriculum.

The department recognises that pupils will have missed a critical period of education due to partial school closures in the 2019/20 academic year and have therefore confirmed our intention to return to a normal standard assessment timeframe in primary schools. The continuation of assessments on this timeframe will help us to understand the remaining impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on this cohort of pupils, allowing us to target ongoing support to those that need it most.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
27th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the announcement on 7 June of grants worth more than £750,000 to help schools and colleges respond to the impact of COVID-19 on mental health and wellbeing, how many schools have received funding; and how much of that funding each such school has received.

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

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

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

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

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

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
27th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the announcement on 7 June of a pilot project with the Education Support Partnership to provide online peer support and telephone supervision to school leaders, how many people have accessed support through that scheme.

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

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
21st Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what support they have given to deaf children and young people during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
21st Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans are in place to ensure that deaf children and young people can catch-up on missed schooling during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
14th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many drug-related offences occurred on educational premises in (1) 2015–16, (2) 2016–17, (3) 2017–18, and (4) 2019–20.

The department does not gather data on drug related offences on educational premises. Individual police forces are responsible for recording crime data at a local level.

The department worked with the National Police Chiefs Council on developing guidance for schools and colleges. It sets out when a school or college should consider calling the police with regard to drugs and what to expect if they do.

The guidance on what steps to take can be found here:

https://www.npcc.police.uk/documents/Children%20and%20Young%20people/When%20to%20call%20the%20police%20guidance%20for%20schools%20and%20colleges.pdf.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
13th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the call by Ofsted’s Chief Inspectors to introduce legislation to deal with illegal unregistered schools.

The department is considering a number of steps to strengthen Ofsted's ability to tackle unregistered schools. This includes the proposals outlined in the consultation on regulating independent educational institutions, which was published on 14 February 2020 and suspended on the 7 May due to the COVID-19 outbreak. We intend to restart this consultation in the autumn, when appropriate. Once the consultation is completed we will consider our next steps on the proposals, which include changes to the registration requirement.

In the February 2019 'Integrated Communities Action Plan', the department committed to legislate to strengthen Ofsted’s powers in relation to unregistered schools. We are therefore working with Ofsted to identify areas where additional powers would enable it to better investigate unregistered schools and support prosecutions. We will announce proposals to do this in due course.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
8th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many apprentices have had their places cancelled during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The information requested is not published by the department. The latest published apprenticeships and levy statistics can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/apprenticeships-and-traineeships-june-2020.

We want apprentices and employers to continue with their apprenticeships and have introduced a range of flexibilities to make this easier, while maintaining quality. Flexibilities include encouraging providers and assessment organisations to deliver training and assessments remotely. We have also made it possible for furloughed apprentices to continue their apprenticeships and complete their programmes.

Employers can continue to recruit and train apprentices. However, we recognise that employers, at the moment, face increased challenges with hiring new apprentices. My right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced on 8 July that we will introduce a new payment of £2,000 to employers in England for each new apprentice they hire aged under 25, and a £1,500 payment for each new apprentice they hire aged 25 and over, from 1 August 2020 to 31 January 2021.

Where redundancies are made, we will endeavour to provide comprehensive and practical support to ensure that apprenticeships can continue. We have launched a new hub for apprentices that offers guidance and information to support apprentices that may be, or are being, made redundant. Our ambition is for any apprentice that is made redundant to be supported to find alternative employment and continue their apprenticeship as quickly as possible and within 12 weeks.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
7th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to address the issue of children missing from school rolls.

Nothing is more important than keeping children safe and in suitable education.

Local authorities have a duty to make arrangements to establish, as far as it is possible, the identities of children of compulsory school age in their area who are not registered pupils at a school and are not receiving suitable education otherwise than at a school. Local authorities should trace those children and ensure that they receive full-time education.

A pupil’s name can only be deleted from a school’s admission register where one of the grounds prescribed in Regulation 8 of the Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006 as amended has been met. All schools must notify the local authority when a pupil’s name is to be deleted from the admission register under any of the grounds prescribed in Regulation 8, as soon as the ground for removal is met and no later than the time at which the pupil’s name is removed from the register. They must provide information about the pupil to the local authority when they do so.

The department has made clear the practice of off-rolling, whereby children are removed from school rolls without formal exclusion in ways that are in the interests of the school rather than the pupil, is unacceptable.

To support schools to welcome back all pupils from the beginning of the autumn term, the government has published extensive guidance. We are asking schools to work with families to secure regular attendance from the start of term as this will be essential to help pupils catch up on missed education, make progress and promote their wellbeing and wider development.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
7th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of schools cutting subjects from the curriculum on the need to protect arts subjects.

The guidance for full opening of schools published on the 2 July makes clear that all state-funded schools are expected to re-establish a broad and ambitious curriculum and teach all subjects in their curriculum from the start of the autumn term, but can make use of existing flexibilities to create time to cover the most important missed content.

This guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

All state-funded schools in England have a duty to teach a broad and balanced curriculum. This includes English, mathematics, science, religious education and – from next academic year – relationships, sex and health education. Only maintained schools are required to teach the full National Curriculum, including art and design, and music. Academies are, however, expected to teach a curriculum that is comparable in breadth and ambition, and many choose to teach the full National Curriculum to achieve this.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
6th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the skills shortage in the UK for the infrastructure projects announced by the Prime Minister on 30 June.

The Employer Skills Survey 2019 gathered labour market intelligence on employer skills needs and training activity among employers across all sectors in England, Northern Ireland and Wales. It is the fifth in the biennial series of Employer Skills Surveys dating back to 2011. Previous findings are published at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/employer-skills-survey-2017-uk-report.

Findings from the 2019 survey will be published alongside these on GOV.UK in due course.

The survey collects information from employers relating to difficulties they have had filling vacancies as a result of skills shortages in applicants, along with information on relevant skills lacking in existing staff. This allows a targeted examination of more detailed skills requirements for specific sectors.

In addition, to assess skills gaps in the future we are setting up The Skills and Productivity Board, which will bring together leading experts to offer independent analysis and identify new and emerging skills needs.

The Construction Industry Training Board are delivering a skills stability plan to ensure that the construction sector continues to focus on training and skills following the COVID-19 outbreak.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
6th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to support any UK university which faces financial failure.

The government understands that the COVID-19 outbreak poses significant financial challenges to the sector. In May 2020, the government announced a package of measures combining different ways to give further support to higher education providers at this time of financial pressure.

We have stabilised admissions and are pulling forward an estimated £2.6 billion worth of forecast tuition fee payments to ease cashflow pressure this autumn. We are also bringing forward £100 million of quality-related research funding for higher education providers in England in the current academic year.

This is on top of the unprecedented package of support for businesses already announced, to help pay wages, keep staff employed and support businesses whose viability is threatened by the outbreak. We recently confirmed universities’ eligibility for these schemes, which the Office for Students estimates could be worth at least £700 million, depending upon eligibility and take-up.

In June, the government announced further UK- wide support in the form of the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy’s research stabilisation package. More details are available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/support-for-university-research-and-innovation-during-coronavirus-covid-19.

In July, the government announced the higher education restructuring regime, under which support for restructuring can be given, as a last resort, when other steps to preserve a provider’s viability and sustainability have not proved sufficient. More details are available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/higher-education-restructuring-regime.

To prevent exploitative admissions processes, the Office for Students introduced a temporary registration condition designed to address specific circumstances relating to the impact of COVID-19. To ensure a fair, structured distribution of students across providers, temporary student number controls have been put in place for full-time, undergraduate domestic and EU students for academic year 2020-21 (with certain specific exemptions).

We are reminding providers, as part of existing programmes and using established procedures, that the department will consider purchasing land and buildings where they can be used for new or expanding schools and colleges in England. In this financial year, we have budgeted up to £100 million to acquire sites for planned projects in England.

The government has been clear that our world-leading universities will always be open to international students. Our review of the International Education Strategy this autumn will respond to the new context and the challenges posed by COVID-19 across all education settings to ensure we can continue to welcome international students in the future.

The government has worked with the Office for Students to help clarify that providers can draw upon existing funding to provide hardship funds and support disadvantaged students affected by COVID-19. Providers are able to use the funding – worth around £23 million per month for July, August and September – towards student hardship funds.

The Department for Education and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy have set up a University Research and Knowledge Exchange Sustainability Taskforce to consider how best to respond to the challenges universities face on research as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
2nd Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the ‘no detriment’ policies adopted by some universities as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Notwithstanding the disruption of the COVID-19 outbreak to the higher education sector, students deserve appropriate support and recognition for their hard work and dedication. Many universities and colleges have moved adeptly to develop new ways of delivering courses through online teaching and alternatives to their usual end-of-course exams.

As higher education providers are autonomous institutions, they are responsible for determining the way their courses are taught, supervised, and assessed. The government expects providers to make all reasonable efforts for student achievement to be reliably assessed and for qualifications to be awarded appropriately. The Office for Students (OfS), the higher education regulator in England, has issued guidance to the sector that sets out expectations about providers’ approaches to teaching and assessment during this time.

Some universities have put in place policies stating that students should not be awarded a degree classification below their level of academic performance prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. This is intended by providers as a safety net for students to ensure that they are not unfairly affected by these challenging circumstances.

The guidance from the OfS is clear that standards must be maintained but that changes to assessments may be required in some circumstances. If changes are needed, students’ achievements must be ‘reliably assessed’. If a provider is absolutely confident that they already have enough evidence to make a reliable assessment of a student’s achievements, it will sometimes be appropriate to use that evidence to award and classify a degree award.

More often, however, we expect that providers will need to continue with assessment and follow the OfS’s guidance on the practical next steps. It may not be appropriate to operate a ‘no detriment’ approach for all courses if, for example, essential pieces of assessment cannot be completed.

The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education has also published a series of guides and information to support providers to maintain academic standards and to support student achievement during the COVID-19 outbreak. This includes a paper published in April, attached, which provides an overview of what 'no detriment' policies aim to achieve. The paper also provides an overview of some of the measures that providers can put in place to ensure that the academic standards of awards remain robust while also recognising the challenging circumstances for students.

We expect providers to develop solutions appropriate to each course, considering the needs of individual students. We also expect them to ensure that continuing and prospective students receive the clear, accurate, and timely information they need to make informed decisions. If students have concerns, there is a process in place. They should first raise their concerns with their university; if their concerns remain unresolved, students at providers in England or Wales can ask the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education to consider their complaint.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
2nd Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they will ensure that all children receive careers guidance during school closures.

The Careers & Enterprise Company (CEC) continues to support schools and colleges to provide young people and their parents with high-quality careers education and guidance, working with the network of local partners and providers across the country to do so. This includes supporting Careers Leaders and employers to deliver virtual careers activities, including work experience and mock interviews. The CEC worked in partnership with Oak National Academy and Learn Live to create ‘My Week of Work’, which ran from 8-12 June. There were 35,066 users on the Oak platform during the week, while 84,933 students and 758 schools registered for the Learn Live employer Q&As. The week inspired and prepared young people for the world of work by allowing them to hear from over 30 leading employers, including Burberry, BAE Systems, Morgan Sindall, Microsoft and NHS Trusts. Students heard from employees, learned about the businesses, and completed virtual work tasks.

The National Careers Service continues to provide high-quality, impartial careers information, advice, and guidance for young people via its helpline, website and web chat facility throughout this difficult time. In addition, the National Careers Service will operate an exam results helpline to ensure that young people receiving their GCSE and A Level results this summer can get advice from qualified advisers. We anticipate over 2700 young people will call the helpline this year.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
2nd Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the national curriculum framework includes (1) black history, and (2) content on the UK’s colonial and imperial past.

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

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 and Rosa Parks or others; and at key stage 3, cover the development and end of the British Empire and Britain’s transatlantic slave trade, its effects and its eventual abolition. The teaching of Black history need not be limited to these examples

It is important that pupils are taught how Britain has influenced and been influenced by the wider world. A balanced history curriculum equips pupils to ask perceptive questions, to think critically, to weigh evidence, sift arguments, and develop perspective and judgement. Fundamentally, it supports pupils to understand how Britain became the country it is today.

There is also scope to include Black and minority ethnic history and experience in other curriculums, such as in:

Citizenship: At key stage 4, students should be taught about the diverse national, regional, religious and ethnic identities in the United Kingdom and the need for mutual respect and understanding.

PSHE: Schools have flexibility to teach topics such as Black history as part of their Personal, Social, Health and Economic education (PSHE) programme and through the introduction of Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education and Health Education students will be taught the importance of respectful relationships in particular how stereotypes, based on sex, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation or disability, can cause damage.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
2nd Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Berridge on 30 June (HL5626), how they ensure that the UK has an inclusive education system which recognises and embraces diversity when schools make their own choices about what is taught.

All state-funded schools in England have a duty to teach a broad and balanced curriculum that promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils at the school, and prepares them for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life. Under the Equality Act 2010, schools must also not discriminate against a pupil in a number of respects because of a characteristic protected by the Act.

The Department for Education has published guidance to help schools fulfil their duties under the Act. This includes advice on the Public Sector Equality Duty which requires public bodies, including state-funded schools, to have due regard to the need to: foster good relations across all protected characteristics; advance equality of opportunity for people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not share it; and eliminate discrimination and other conduct prohibited by the Act. Additionally, the Independent Schools Standards requires independent schools to encourage respect for others, paying particular regard to the protected characteristics set out in the Act.

Schools and further education colleges are also required to actively promote fundamental British values, including individual liberty, and mutual respect of those of different faiths and beliefs. The Department for Education has published advice for schools on promoting these values, and has made resources available through the ‘Educate Against Hate’ website. This website provides teachers, school leaders and parents with the information, guidance and support they need to challenge radical and discriminatory views.

The school’s curriculum, including how well it meets these duties and expectations, is at the centre of Ofsted’s school inspections. Ofsted will expect a good curriculum to equip pupils for life in modern Britain. Inspectors will look at how well schools are developing pupils’ understanding of the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs. They will take account of pupils’ understanding and appreciation of the range of different cultures at the school and further afield; pupils’ ability to recognise and value the things we share in common across cultural, religious, social and socio-economic communities; and pupils’ interest in exploring, improving understanding of and showing respect for different faiths and cultural diversity and the extent to which they understand, accept and respect diversity. Ofsted’s school inspection handbook also sets the expectation that in a school with ‘good’ personal development, the school promotes equality of opportunity and diversity effectively. As part of assessing the school’s leadership and management, inspectors also consider the school’s adherence to its duties under the Equality Act 2010.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
1st Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the case for providing childcare for the children of key workers during the school summer holiday.

When state schools in a local area have closed for the summer term, children of all ages may attend holiday clubs and other out-of-school provision in that area, including the children of critical workers. This follows confirmation from my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, that from Saturday 4 July, these providers can operate over the summer holiday, with safety measures in place.

The department has published guidance for providers who run holiday clubs and other out-of-school provision for children over the age of 5, setting out the safety measures that must be in place to ensure they can operate over the summer holiday, which is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/protective-measures-for-holiday-or-after-school-clubs-and-other-out-of-school-settings-for-children-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

Providers caring for children under the age of 5 should refer to the guidance for early years and childcare providers during the COVID-19 outbreak, which is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures#who-this-guidance-is-for.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
30th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to deal with the shortfall of people coming forward to be foster parents.

It is vital that local authorities can find the right carers to meet the needs of vulnerable children. To help unlock fostering capacity during the COVID-19 outbreak, we have made amendments to the Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (England) Regulations 2010 and the Fostering Services (England) Regulations 2011. These changes aim to make it easier to identify potential placements, particularly in emergency situations, and so that new foster carers can be assessed and approved without unnecessary delay.

An independent review of foster care in England in 2017 highlighted that England does not have a shortage of foster carers overall but there are geographical gaps in provision, particularly for specific needs.

The department commissioned behavioural insights research which commenced in November 2019, to explore the barriers and motivations of prospective carers and seek recommendations for more targeted approaches in local recruitment. We will share these findings with fostering services and recruitment managers.

The department also recently funded 7 feasibility studies in commissioning and sufficiency planning, bringing together local authorities with their partners to explore innovative practices, including collaborative approaches to foster care recruitment. We are also exploring whether digital approaches could help us in supporting local authorities to improve matching of children to carers.

We have committed £125,000 from June to October to fund a new FosterlinePlus service, through which prospective foster families will be able to access the support and information they need to offer caring homes for some of our most vulnerable children.

We supported the Fostering Network’s Foster Care Fortnight in May through social media channels. We also recently launched updated fostering pages to make information more accessible to potential carers, and they are available here:
https://www.gov.uk/becoming-foster-parent.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
11th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to review the National Curriculum to ensure that it (1) better reflects black history, and (2) gives a more balanced view of the UK’s colonial and imperial past.

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

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 and Rosa Parks or others; and at key stage 3, cover the development and end of the British Empire and Britain’s transatlantic slave trade, its effects and its eventual abolition. The teaching of Black history need not be limited to these examples.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
11th Jun 2020
To ask the Leader of the House what advice has been given to Ministers in receipt of a salary about participating virtually in Chamber proceedings from their London offices.

All of the front bench, including those in receipt of a salary, have been advised to work in a way which is safe for them based on PHE guidance. This has not meant any reduction in their government and parliamentary duties.

Baroness Evans of Bowes Park
Leader of the House of Lords and Lord Privy Seal
10th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether their provision of laptops for disadvantaged children includes the provision of a laptop for each child in care.

The government is providing over 200,000 laptops and tablets to vulnerable and disadvantaged children who would otherwise not have access. This includes devices for disadvantaged children receiving support from a social worker, including pre-school children, and care leavers.

The department has allocated devices to local authorities and academy trusts based on its estimates of the number of eligible children that do not have access to a device. Local authorities and academy trusts are best placed to identify and prioritise children and young people who need devices.

The department has prioritised orders for the most vulnerable children who need access to social services (children with a social worker and care leavers).

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
9th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of Liverpool City Council's decision for Year 6 pupils not to return to school on 1 June; and whether this means that local authorities can make their own decisions about when school pupils can return to school.

We want to get all children and young people back into education as soon as the scientific advice allows because it is the best place for them to learn, and because we know how important it is for their mental wellbeing to have social interactions with their peers, carers and teachers.

Thanks to the huge efforts everyone has made to adhere to strict social distancing measures, the scientific advice indicates the transmission rate of COVID-19 has decreased and, based on all the evidence, we have been able to begin our cautious and phased approach to the wider opening of schools. This includes asking primary schools to welcome back children in nursery, Reception, year 1 and year 6 from 1 June, alongside priority groups (vulnerable children and children of critical workers).

However, we recognise that some primary schools will not have been able to open to additional children from 1 June for a number of practical reasons. We are working with local authorities and Regional Schools Commissioners across the country to identify and understand any local issues. If schools are facing particular challenges then we stand ready to support them to ensure they can open more widely as soon as possible.

In most cases the preparation for wider opening will be undertaken by the headteacher and senior colleagues of individual schools. However, relevant bodies (such as local authorities, academy trusts or governing bodies, depending on the school type) retain responsibility for key decisions and plans should be confirmed with them, particularly risk assessments of the school opening more widely, before pupils and staff return.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
8th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when legal safeguards for vulnerable children removed during the COVID-19 outbreak will be reinstated.

In regard to children’s social care, the department has not removed any primary legislative responsibility that local authorities have towards safeguarding children. The Children and Adoption (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 will expire on 25 September unless there is a clear need to extend them related to the COVID-19 outbreak, which will be informed by feedback from across the sector including children’s charities.

In regard to special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), we have temporarily changed some aspects of the law on education, health and care (EHC) needs assessments and plans. Detailed guidance on these changes is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/changes-to-the-law-on-education-health-and-care-needs-assessments-and-plans-due-to-coronavirus/education-health-and-care-needs-assessments-and-plans-guidance-on-temporary-legislative-changes-relating-to-coronavirus-covid-19.

We are committed to ending the temporary changes to the law on EHC needs assessment and plan processes at the earliest opportunity. We are keeping these measures under constant review, working with a range of stakeholders to monitor the situation on the ground.

The Regulations will expire on 25 September unless there is a clear need to extend them and we are committed to continuously reviewing them. They will be considered on a case by case basis and decisions will the informed by feedback across the sector, including children’s charities. Changes will also be subject to parliamentary scrutiny.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
4th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact on academic performance in those countries who have banned contract cheating services; and what plans they have, if any, to adopt similar policies.

The government is aware that legislation has been introduced in several countries to ban contract cheating services, including in New Zealand, several states in the USA and, most recently, Ireland. It should also be noted that a bill was introduced in Australia in December which, if passed, would make it an offence to provide or advertise academic ‘contract cheating’ services in higher education.

We would be willing to consider supporting any legislation, including a Private Members’ Bill, that is workable and that contains measures that would eliminate essay mills in ways that cannot be delivered through other means, provided that the Parliamentary time permitted.

Ministers have called on universities, sector bodies, educational technology companies and online platforms to do everything in their power to help eradicate academic cheating of any kind from our world-class higher education sector. We have set a clear expectation that the Office for Students (OfS) should take a visible lead in challenging the sector to eliminate the use of essay mills. We expect the OfS to work with the members of the UK Standing Committee for Quality Assessment to ensure that the sector has the support it needs and that it is taking firm and robust action to ensure that this threat to the integrity of the higher education system is being tackled.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the call by the Children's Commissioner for England to set up summer classes in July and August to help children from disadvantaged circumstances catch up with their schoolwork.

The government shares the concern about the impact of prolonged school closures on all pupils, particularly those who are disadvantaged. We are working at pace with partners to explore how best to support pupils to make up for time spent out of school.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
5th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have in relation to (1)SATs, (2) GCSEs and (3) A level examinations for the 2020/21 school year and, in particular, whether they expect teacher assessments to be used to determine grades.

We acknowledge the COVID-19 outbreak has caused stress and uncertainty for pupils and students due to take exams or assessments next year. In relation to SATs, the intention is that primary assessments will take place in 2020/21. With regard to GCSEs and A levels, we are working with Ofqual and the exam boards to develop our approach to next year’s exams, in light of the disruption experienced by students who are studying these courses. We do not anticipate that teacher assessments will be used to determine grades.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
28th Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government to what extent they are working with supply teacher agencies to see that supply teachers are being supported.

The department’s latest school workforce guidance on COVID-19, including financial support available to supply teachers, is set out below:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-school-closures/guidance-for-schools-about-temporarily-closing#supply-teachers-and-other-contingent-workers.

Further guidance on financial support for all education institutions is set out below: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-education-early-years-and-childrens-social-care/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-education-early-years-and-childrens-social-care.

These are rapidly developing circumstances. We continue to keep the situation under review and will keep Parliament updated accordingly.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
28th Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the number of young people losing apprenticeship opportunities due to the current crisis; and what plans they have to provide access to high-quality and independent advice and guidance for such young people.

We have introduced flexibilities to make it easier for apprentices of all ages to continue to benefit from the high-quality training that an apprenticeship provides. We are encouraging providers and assessment organisations to deliver training and assessments remotely and are keen that providers remain open for business to support learners.

Furloughed apprentices can continue to train and undertake end point assessments ensuring they can continue to progress in their careers. Where it is not possible to continue training, employers and providers can now initiate a break in learning so that the apprenticeship can resume when possible. We are pleased that 81% of apprentices have been able to continue with their studies.

We are also supporting employers and training providers during this challenging time so that people can continue to access high-quality apprenticeship opportunities. Employers can still recruit and start apprentices and eligible furloughed employees can also start apprenticeships.

Our new Apprenticeship Hub contains a full list of our guidance for apprentices affected by COVID-19 on GOV.UK, https://help.apprenticeships.education.gov.uk/hc/en-gb/sections/360003798540-Apprentice

People of all ages can also use Find an Apprenticeship to search for new apprenticeship opportunities: https://www.gov.uk/apply-apprenticeship.

The National Careers Service will continue to provide high-quality, impartial careers information, advice, and guidance to young people at this difficult time via its helpline, website and web chat facility. The Careers & Enterprise Company will also continue to support schools and colleges, where possible, to provide young people with quality careers education and guidance.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
22nd Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what support permanently excluded school pupils receive, and from whom, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As both my right hon. Friends, the Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer, have made clear, the government will do whatever it takes to support people affected by COVID-19.

Our latest guidance on the alternative provision provided for permanently excluded pupils is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-vulnerable-children-and-young-people/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-vulnerable-children-and-young-people.

These are rapidly developing circumstances. We continue to keep the situation under review and will keep Parliament updated accordingly.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
22nd Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that school re-openings are phased and conducted in an orderly manner so that social distancing and pupil and staff safety is in place.

Schools will remain closed until further notice, except for children of critical workers and vulnerable children who are encouraged to attend where it is appropriate for them to do so. We will only re-open schools when the scientific advice indicates it is safe to do so, and will consult closely with the sector on our approach to reopening.

We will give schools as much notice as possible about when they will be asked to reopen and provide guidance and advice to help schools implement any new arrangements. We have already published guidance on implementing social distancing in education settings where schools remain open for the children of critical workers and vulnerable children, which is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-implementing-social-distancing-in-education-and-childcare-settings/coronavirus-covid-19-implementing-social-distancing-in-education-and-childcare-settings.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
11th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many children have not attended school for two or more years.

The information requested is not held centrally as the Department only collects data on pupils on roll at an educational establishment.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
5th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the problem of contract cheating and essay mills.

Contract cheating and the use of essay mills are global problems. A 2018 study by Swansea University of students internationally, found the number of students outside the UK who admitted to paying for assignments since 2014 equates to one in seven.

It is almost impossible to quantify how widespread the use of essay mills is, as the bespoke nature of these “paid for” assignments can make it difficult for providers to detect it is not the student’s own work. Students who engage in contract cheating are also less likely to volunteer to participate in surveys about cheating. In 2016, the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education found there are approximately 17,000 instances of academic offences per year in the UK, although it should be noted that this figure includes all types of academic offences, not exclusively contract cheating.

In launching the Education Technology Strategy in April 2019, the government made a commitment to “Identify how anti-cheating software can be developed and improved to help tackle the problem of essay mills”. A new generation of plagiarism detection software, focused on authorship investigation, is being introduced in the UK, which will provide universities with data-backed insight into whether students are doing their own work.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
5th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of essay mills and contract cheating on academic integrity in UK universities.

The use of fake qualifications or plagiarised assignments is unacceptable. It not only threatens to undermine the reputation of our world-class higher education sector, but also devalues the hard work of those who succeed on their own merit.

It is vitally important that providers themselves take action to tackle essay mills, as it is their own reputations and that of the wider higher education sector that are on the line.

There are a number of initiatives currently underway or planned that aim to get to grips with this issue. This includes the Quality Assurance Agency updating guidance to support higher education providers in combatting contract cheating via education, prevention and detection. Guidance published by the National Union of Students also seeks to make students better aware of the consequences of contract cheating, sending a clear message that these services are not legitimate.

We have set a clear expectation that the Office for Student (OfS) should take a visible lead in challenging the sector to eliminate the use of essay mills. We expect the OfS to work with the members of the UK Standing Committee for Quality Assessment to ensure that the sector has the support it needs, and that it is taking firm and robust action to ensure that this threat to the integrity of our higher education system is being tackled.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
4th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the provision of universal free school meals for children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2.

?A key success measure for Universal Infant Free School Meals is take-up of the meal, which has been consistently strong. We monitor this through the schools census. 1.4 million infants receive a free meal through this programme which is a take-up rate of 87%.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
29th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what involvement UK Ministers and officials have had in the development of the proposed Erasmus Regulation for 2021–27.

Since it was first published by the European Commission in May 2018, the government has been involved in discussions on the draft regulation for the next programme. Discussions in the EU institutions are ongoing and the regulation has yet to be finalised. Future participation in EU programmes will be a subject of our negotiations on the future UK-EU relationship.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they inspect the overseas campuses of UK universities.

UK higher education providers with degree-awarding powers are responsible for the academic standards of their awards and for the quality of provision, irrespective of where or how courses are delivered or who delivers them.

The external review of Transnational Education (TNE) has been carried out by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) on behalf of funders, regulators and UK providers since it was established in 1997.

As higher education is a devolved matter, each nation of the UK will deliver quality assurance of TNE according to the process adopted for higher education institutions within its jurisdiction.

Historically, QAA has carried out TNE reviews, which have included a range of activities including overseas campus inspection, scrutiny of partnerships from the UK end including video conferences with providers, and the analysis of data on TNE provision.

The process for carrying out TNE review activity for UK higher education institutions has been the subject of a recent consultation which ended in January 2020, carried out by Universities UK International, Guild HE and QAA.

The consultation responses are currently being considered and the future model of TNE review, including overseas campus inspection, will be decided through this process and the consulting organisations will jointly analyse the responses and develop an action plan.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government which organisation, if any, is tasked with ensuring the quality of teaching of overseas campuses of UK universities.

UK higher education providers with degree-awarding powers are responsible for the academic standards of their awards and for the quality of provision, irrespective of where or how courses are delivered or who delivers them.

The external review of Transnational Education (TNE) has been carried out by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) on behalf of funders, regulators and UK providers since it was established in 1997.

As higher education is a devolved matter, each nation of the UK will deliver quality assurance of TNE according to the process adopted for higher education institutions within its jurisdiction.

Historically, QAA has carried out TNE reviews, which have included a range of activities including overseas campus inspection, scrutiny of partnerships from the UK end including video conferences with providers, and the analysis of data on TNE provision.

The process for carrying out TNE review activity for UK higher education institutions has been the subject of a recent consultation which ended in January 2020, carried out by Universities UK International, Guild HE and QAA.

The consultation responses are currently being considered and the future model of TNE review, including overseas campus inspection, will be decided through this process and the consulting organisations will jointly analyse the responses and develop an action plan.

Baroness Berridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
14th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress they have made in introducing a register for children not in school.

In the spring of 2019, a consultation was held on proposals for a mandatory register of children not attending state or registered independent schools to help local authorities carry out their responsibilities in relation to children not in school. The consultation closed in June 2019. Responses to the consultation have been considered and a formal government response document setting out next steps will be issued in due course.

Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
8th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of schools in England identified by Ofsted as "stuck", having underperformed for the last 13 years.

We are committed to tackling entrenched underperformance in schools wherever it exists.

In addition to the biggest funding boost for schools in a decade: an additional £2.6 billion in 2020-21, £4.8 billion by 2021-22 and £7.1 billion by 2022-23 compared to 2019-20 funding; and £1.5 billion per year to fund additional pension costs for teachers, the department announced last September that we will provide more support to “stuck” schools from high-performing, experienced school leaders. This is now in place.

The department also confirmed that we would work with Ofsted so that it can provide more detailed analysis on areas for improvement for these schools and will be confirming details in due course. This announcement can be found at the following link and is attached: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-drive-to-continue-boosting-standards-in-schools.

On 10 January, the department also launched a public consultation on removing the exemption from routine inspection for schools previously rated outstanding by Ofsted. The aim is to lift the exemption from September 2020, subject to the consultation outcome and parliamentary approval. Ending the exemption will mean all parents have up to date information about every school and can be confident that their children’s schools are continuing to deliver the best education. The department will provide additional funding for these inspections for 2020-21, and funding for subsequent years will be determined through the forthcoming Spending Review.

Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
6th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the recycling rates of (1) London, and (2) the core cities of England; and what steps they are taking to improve the rates of the poorest performing cities.

The most recent annual publication of waste statistics shows the ‘household waste’ recycling rate for the 2019/20 financial year:

  • London Region - 33.5%
  • Birmingham City Council - 23.6%
  • Manchester City Council MBC - 40.4%
  • Leeds City Council MBC - 38.2%
  • Bristol City Council – 47.1%
  • Liverpool City Council – 23.6%
  • Newcastle-upon-Tyne City Council MBC – 40.2%
  • Nottingham City Council – 26.2%
  • Sheffield City Council – 31.7%

Recycling rates for 2020/21 for local authorities in England are not yet available. Recycling rates for 2019/20 were published on 3 March 2021. An ad hoc set of provisional results covering April 2020 to June 2020 was published on 12 May 2021.

The Government is committed to increasing both the quality and quantity of materials collected for recycling and making recycling easier for everyone. The Environment Bill, which is currently progressing through Parliament, introduces legislation that will require all collectors of waste to collect a core set of materials from households, businesses, and other organisations such as schools. The core set will be plastic, glass, metal, paper and card, food and garden waste (for household only). By collecting the same core set of materials there will be less confusion among householders and businesses about what they can put in their recycling bins. As a result, the amount of materials that local authorities collect for recycling will increase.

We want to work closely with local authorities to help them improve their recycling performance. We plan to provide guidance and examples of good practice.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the case for creating new national parks.

National Parks play a crucial role in conserving and enhancing the country’s most beautiful and iconic landscapes and also make a significant contribution to nature recovery, sustainable land management, health and well-being and green recovery.

The Government commissioned the independent Landscapes Review, led by Julian Glover, as part of the 25 Year Environment Plan, in recognition of the continuing importance of our National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty to the nation. We are now carefully considering its recommendations and will respond in due course.

16th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the effect of the e-scooters trials on (1) pedestrian safety, and (2) the capacity of the police to enforce road safety laws.

The Department is putting in place a comprehensive monitoring and evaluation programme. Surveys and interviews with e-scooter users and members of the public living in e-scooter trial areas will be conducted across a range of trial areas to track and understand instances of pavement riding and pavement parking. This will be carried out by our contractors Arup and NatCen Social Research.

Enforcement of offences relating to unlawful use of powered transporters is an operational matter for individual Chief Officers of police in conjunction with local policing plans. In trial areas, e-scooter operators and local authorities are working with the police to enforce operational rules and monitor rider behaviour.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
18th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much money has been (1) budgeted, and (2) spent, on HS2 (a) in the London area within the M25, and (b) outside the London area.

Specific information on funds spent and budgeted on HS2 inside and outside the London area is not available. However, investment in HS2 will bring greater connectivity to the Midlands and the North and generate transformational economic benefits, helping to achieve our plans to level up the country and play a key role in reaching our 2050 carbon net zero objectives.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
15th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government why the speed limit on the M6 motorway northbound from junction 21A to 26 is 60mph while the same stretch southbound is 50mph.

There are currently no speed restrictions in place on the M6 motorway from junction 21A to 26 other than the 70mph national speed limit.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
29th Jan 2020
To ask the Senior Deputy Speaker what progress has been made towards making the House of Lords terrace smoke free.

The Senior Deputy Speaker has asked me, as Chair of the Services Committee, to respond on his behalf. At its meeting on 11 July 2019 the Services Committee considered a paper on changes to the smoking area on the Terrace. At the meeting the Committee agreed to move the Members’ smoking table into the designated smoking area and increase the coverage of the smoking area to reduce the dispersal of smoke across other Terrace users. The Committee was advised that these changes would take place once the scaffolding on the Terrace had been removed.

The Committee further considered the issue at its meeting on 16 January 2020, when, following advice about the issues involved in extending any coverage for a smoking area on the Terrace, the Committee was invited to provide advice on a suitable way forward. Following discussion, the Committee requested that consideration be given to alternative locations for the smoking area; a paper is expected at its March meeting.

14th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of the financial impact of not proceeding with HS2.

The Secretary of State commissioned the Oakervee Review to provide advice on how and whether to proceed with HS2, including examining the direct cost of cancelling the project. The government has committed to publishing the Oakervee Review report and will set out next steps on HS2 in due course.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
22nd Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many employers are involved in the Kick Start scheme.

As of 16th June 2021, The Department has approved Kickstart applications for over 6,000 employers. This includes employers who applied directly to the Kickstart Scheme and employers who applied via a gateway.

Although care is taken when processing and analysing Kickstart applications, referrals and starts, the data collected might be subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large-scale recording system, which has been developed quickly.

The management information presented here has not been subjected to the usual standard of quality assurance associated with official statistics, but is provided in the interests of transparency. Work is ongoing to improve the quality of information available for the programme.

Baroness Stedman-Scott
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many young people who have completed the Kick Start programme (1) are unemployed, and (2) have gone into employment, education or further training.

The Department will be monitoring and evaluating the Kickstart Scheme throughout and after its implementation, and will continue to evaluate the longer term outcomes for Kickstart participants after they have completed their six-month job placements.

We will publish the findings of the evaluation once complete.

Baroness Stedman-Scott
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many young people (1) have been, and (2) are currently, on the Kick Start scheme, broken down by age.

An initial assessment of a sample of the first 20,000 claimants who started a Kickstart job placement from the commencement of the scheme up to 6th May 2021 found the age range noted in the table below. The Department will be monitoring and evaluating the Kickstart scheme throughout its implementation, and will continue to evaluate the longer term outcomes for Kickstart participants after they have completed their six month job placements. This will include an examination of the demographic make-up of participants, including age.

Age at Kickstart job placement start

% share of all starters

Under 18

less than 1%

18

7%

19

12%

20

11%

21

14%

22

19%

23

19%

24

16%

25

less than 1%

The above table shows a small number of claimants were over 25 when they began their Kickstart job. This is as a result of some participants applying when aged 24 but turning 25 by the time their role began.

Although care is taken when processing and analysing Kickstart applications, referrals and starts, the data collected might be subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large-scale recording system which has been developed quickly. The management information presented here has not been subjected to the usual standard of quality assurance associated with official statistics, but is provided in the interests of transparency. Work is ongoing to improve the quality of information available for the programme.

Baroness Stedman-Scott
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many businesses are involved in the Kickstart Scheme; and how many 16-year olds have been offered placements through that scheme.

As of 25/02/2021, there have been around 800 employers and over 900 Gateways approved on the Kickstart scheme. We are unable to provide information on placements offered by age as this data is not currently held centrally.

Baroness Stedman-Scott
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many (1) employers, and (2) unemployed young people, have joined the Kickstart Scheme.

The Kickstart scheme has approved over 560 individual employers applying directly, this does not include the many more employers who have applied and had their jobs approved for Kickstart funding via more than 800 gateway organisations. Over 2000 young people have started a Kickstart job. We are pleased that so many young people are able to access the Kickstart Scheme under current public health restrictions.

Baroness Stedman-Scott
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
10th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to extend the eligibility criteria for applications to the Kickstart Scheme.

The Kickstart Scheme provides funding to create new job placements for 16 to 24 year olds on Universal Credit who are at risk of long term unemployment. Guidance on eligibility has been published on the gov.uk/kickstart website. As of the 11th November 2020 we have received 4,359 applications and 19,672 Kickstart placements have been approved; we will keep the eligibility for the scheme under review, but have no current plans to extend it.

Baroness Stedman-Scott
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
10th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of the number of 16 and 17 year olds who will have their job placements funded by the Kickstart Scheme; and what eligibility restrictions apply, if any, to 16 and 17 year olds who have job placements funded by the scheme.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) Kickstart Scheme is making £2 billion available to eligible employers and gateway organisations. As of September 2020 the number of 16-17 year olds on UC was 10,394 and we plan to support those who will benefit into Kickstart job placements.

The Kickstart Scheme provides funding to create new job placements for 16 to 24 year olds on Universal Credit who are at risk of long term unemployment. Guidance on eligibility has been published on the gov.uk/kickstart website.

Baroness Stedman-Scott
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
27th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many (1) 16, and (2) 17, year olds are unemployed and claiming Universal Credit.

The latest available information, showing the number of 16 and 17 year olds who are claiming Universal Credit and are not in employment, is given in the table below.

Number of 16 and 17 year olds claiming Universal Credit by Employment indicator, Great Britain, August 2020:

Age

Not in employment

In employment

Total

16

1,499

64

1,560

17

7,909

891

8,799

Source: People on Universal Credit, Stat-Xplore, Department for Work and Pensions

Notes:

  1. Statistical disclosure control has been applied to this table to avoid the release of confidential data. Totals may not sum due to the disclosure control applied.
  2. A count date of the second Thursday of the month is used when calculating the statistics for the people on Universal Credit.
  3. The employment indicator is available from November 2013 onwards. To allow sufficient time for earnings information to be gathered on all claimants, figures for the latest month in the series will not be available until the next release.
Baroness Stedman-Scott
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
27th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many (1) 16, and (2) 17, year olds are participating in the Kickstart Scheme.

As of September 2020, there were 10,394 16-17 year olds claiming Universal Credit. DWP Work Coaches are starting to refer suitable young people to employers who are offering Kickstart job placements – this will include young people aged 16 and 17 at risk of long term unemployment.

Baroness Stedman-Scott
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the potential for 16 and 17 year olds to be disqualified from the Kickstart Scheme because they are unlikely to receive Universal Credit.

We have considered the role that the Kickstart Scheme can play in supporting the employability of 16 and 17 year olds. The Kickstart Scheme is part of a wider range of employability support already on offer for 16 and 17 year olds – for example Mentoring Circles, which support young people aged 16-24, giving them an opportunity to build on their employability skills through facilitating an interaction with employers. Mentoring circles help to provide young job seekers with potential access to and interaction with role models in the workplace. Youth Hubs are also rolling out nationally, where young people can access wider support.

Baroness Stedman-Scott
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
3rd Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what financial support they intend to offer to students from vulnerable families who are unable to begin a degree course in September.

If a person has deferred commencement of the first year of a degree course, they are not treated as a student and may be able to receive Universal Credit if they satisfy all of the other conditions of entitlement.

If a person has already started their degree course and is deferring a follow on year, they are treated as a student and financial support for students comes from the system of student loans and grants designed for their needs. Exceptions are made where students have additional needs that are not met through the student support system.

Baroness Stedman-Scott
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the findings of the study undertaken by Imperial College London and Water Babies, reported on 12 April, which found that swimming pool water can inactivate the COVID-19 virus in 30 seconds in the right conditions.

Public Health England has not made an assessment.

Lord Bethell
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to their consultation on restricting online advertising for products high in fat, sugar and salt, published on 10 November 2020, what assessment they have made of restricting advertisements for such products on social media.

The consultation on how to introduce a total restriction of online advertising for products high in fat, salt and sugar included proposals for how to restrict advertising on social media. The responses will be considered and captured in the final policy decision. We will publish the response to the consultation shortly.

Lord Bethell
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Bethell on 6 August 2020 (HL7091), in how many of the 2,712 litigated clinical claims in 2019/20 for which damages were paid was (1) liability, or (2) causation, at issue.

The information NHS Resolution holds on individual clinical negligence claims does not identify or distinguish between liability and causation. Reasons for litigation are varied and include some cases where only liability is in issue, cases where only quantum, or the level of damages, is in issue and a cohort of cases where both are in issue.

In some cases, litigation is needed to reach resolution but neither liability or quantum are in dispute. Most notably, court approval is required for settlements where the injured individual lacks capacity or is a minor. Litigation may also be needed to reach a determination on a point of law or to pursue a contribution towards compensation from another party.

Lord Bethell
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what percentage of clinical negligence cases that appeared in court in the 2019/20 financial year resulted in the NHS paying damages.

In many of the small proportion of cases that go to court, the relevant National Health Service body will have already admitted liability, but are contesting claims for excessive fees or damages. In 2019/20, less than 1% of claims proceeded to trial and in 75% of those cases, NHS Resolution achieved a judgement in favour of the NHS.

Lord Bethell
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to introduce conditional fee arrangements for defence lawyers in clinical negligence cases; and what assessment they have made of the impact such action would have in terms of (1) cost savings, and (2) parity between parties.

NHS Resolution has no plans to introduce conditional fee arrangements for defence lawyers in clinical negligence cases.

NHS Resolution negotiates large-scale contracts for defendant legal services, using its position as a bulk purchaser to obtain the best expertise, including support for NHS Resolution’s work to learn from claims to improve safety, at value for money for the National Health Service. The contracts include fixed and capped fee arrangements and competitive hourly rates. NHS Resolution monitors and measures its lawyers’ performance through Key Performance Indicators and management information.

Lord Bethell
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Bethell on 17 July (HL6182), what is their expected timeframe for introducing the necessary legislation to extend the mandatory display of ratings to England.

The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme is operated by the Food Standards Agency in partnership with local authorities across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

We will consider whether mandatory display of ratings should be introduced in England in due course.

Lord Bethell
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many children in England were admitted to hospital with malnutrition in the first six months of 2020.

The information is not available in the format requested.

Lord Bethell
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the number of takeaway businesses and restaurants with low food hygiene ratings which do not display those ratings.

The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme is operated by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) in partnership with local authorities across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Food businesses covered by the scheme, including takeaways and restaurants as well as other places people eat or buy food, are provided with stickers showing their rating. Those in Wales and Northern Ireland are required by law to display the stickers at their premises, while those in England are encouraged to do so.

The FSA monitors the display of ratings through an annual survey. The latest survey, conducted in late 2019, found that for businesses with poor ratings (0, 1 or 2) 26% in England, 83% in Wales and 100% in Northern Ireland displayed the sticker at their premises.

The FSA considers that mandatory display of ratings should extend to England and has put together an evidence-based case for the necessary legislation. This is currently being considered.

Lord Bethell
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the need to make the display of food hygiene ratings compulsory.

The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme is operated by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) in partnership with local authorities across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Food businesses covered by the scheme, including takeaways and restaurants as well as other places people eat or buy food, are provided with stickers showing their rating. Those in Wales and Northern Ireland are required by law to display the stickers at their premises, while those in England are encouraged to do so.

The FSA monitors the display of ratings through an annual survey. The latest survey, conducted in late 2019, found that for businesses with poor ratings (0, 1 or 2) 26% in England, 83% in Wales and 100% in Northern Ireland displayed the sticker at their premises.

The FSA considers that mandatory display of ratings should extend to England and has put together an evidence-based case for the necessary legislation. This is currently being considered.

Lord Bethell
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many members of NHS staff provided fraudulent qualifications between 2017 and 2019.

Data on the number of cases of staff providing fraudulent qualifications detected in the National Health Service over the last three years is collected by the NHS Counter Fraud Authority. The information requested is shown in the following table.

Financial year

Number of cases

2017-18

12

2018-19

9

2019-20

4

22nd Apr 2020
To ask the Senior Deputy Speaker what assessment has been made of any potential risks of the physical Chamber sitting of the House of Lords to those peers present and the compliance of such presence with Public Health England’s advice on social distancing and restriction on movement.

The Senior Deputy Speaker has asked me, as Chair of the Services Committee, to respond on his behalf. Risk assessments of all regular activities in the Chamber have been undertaken and resulting mitigating actions implemented. These actions include:

  • Additional signage highlighting social distancing;
  • Floor markings in and around the Chamber to denote 2m distance;
  • Signage on the benches to indicate sufficient social distancing for those using them;
  • Removal of one of the Crossbenches to ensure an appropriate distance is maintained for wheelchair users;
  • Division lobbies set up in Royal Gallery to enable divisions to take place in line with social distancing requirements; and
  • Clerks and Doorkeepers issued with guidance on working practices to maintain social distancing.

Public Health England has visited the Estate to review the social distancing measures in place and is content. Virtual proceedings are in place for almost all House business and members are encouraged to work from home.

22nd Apr 2020
To ask the Senior Deputy Speaker what plans the House of Lords Commission has to enable eligibility for members who are working from home to receive their daily allowance during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The House of Lords Commission has agreed to temporarily suspend the usual system of financial support for members and replace it with one which allows members to claim the allowance at the half-rate of £162 for participation in; a sitting of this House or a Committee of the House; a virtual proceeding of this House or a virtual meeting of a Committee of this House; participation in such other Parliamentary business as may be determined by the House of Lords Commission.

The Commission has also agreed that this new, temporary arrangement should be applied retrospectively from 21 April. It is expected that a resolution to this effect will be put to the House for agreement this week.

23rd Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether supply teachers who are registered to work with a number of different supply agencies can receive payments through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme; and if so, how.

Where a supply teacher is supplied via an agency and paid through PAYE, they would be eligible to be furloughed and receive support through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme provided that the remaining eligibility criteria are met.

Furlough should be agreed between the agency, as the deemed employer, and the worker. It is advised that the need to furlough should be discussed with the end client involved.

Supply teachers are eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention scheme in the same way as other employees. If they hold multiple employment contracts, they are able to receive support from the scheme from multiple employers.

Supply teachers can be furloughed by one employer and continue to work for another. If they are furloughed by more than one employer, they will receive separate payments from each employer. Each employer can claim up to 80% grant for the hours not worked by an employee, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month.

The decision to furlough an employee, fully or flexibly, is entirely at the employer’s discretion.

During this period of restricted pupil attendance, schools have remained open for vulnerable children and the children of key workers, and remote education has been in place for other pupils. Schools have continued to engage supply staff where they have been needed to support either face to face or remote education.

Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
25th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports that some universities and independent schools are allowing overseas students to pay their fees in cash.

The Government is clear that criminals should not be allowed to profit through the use of cash payments. We are cracking down hard on dirty money via our world-leading legislation and strong law enforcement response.

Money Laundering Regulations require firms to combat money laundering, check the identity of their customers and the purpose of their transactions, including the source of funds. These rules apply to businesses which might be used by criminals to facilitate the transfer of illicit funds including banks, money service businesses, lawyers and accountants.

Anyone employed in the education sector who has suspicions around the source of a student’s funds should inform law enforcement through filing a Suspicious Activity Report – if they fail to do so they could risk being struck off by their professional bodies.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
13th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, what assessment they have made of reports that police in England and Wales deal with 23 missing children incidents per day.

Annual missing persons statistics, including how many children are reported missing, are published by the National Crime Agency’s Missing Person’s Unit:

http://missingpersons.police.uk/en-gb/resources/downloads/missing-persons-statistical-bulletins

The most recent data published by the NCA covers the period 2016-17. The NCA will publish missing persons data for 2017-18 and 2018-19 on Monday 20 July.

According to the 2016/17 data there were 179,953 missing children incidents recorded by the police in England and Wales.

Although the majority of missing children incidents are resolved within 48 hours (87% in the 2016/17 data) and no harm is reported in the majority of incidents (96% in the 2016/17 data), the Government recognises that children who go missing, even for a short period of time, are at significantly increased risk of harm, including from criminal and sexual exploitation.

We are determined that missing children and their families should receive the best possible protection and support. This includes driving a multi-agency, risk-based response to missing children incidents, with co-ordination across the police, local authorities, health sector and voluntary sector partners.

The Government is also working with the national policing lead for Missing Persons and the NCA’s UK Missing Persons Unit through the Home Office National Law Enforcement Data Programme (NLEDP) to deliver a National Register for Missing Persons (NRMP). The NRMP will allow all forces in England and Wales to manually record missing and associated found incidents, and to access data about missing people from other force areas. This will significantly improve our understanding of the scale of missing persons incidents across the UK.

Through our extensive programme of work to address criminal exploitation, county lines and child sexual exploitation and abuse, we are also tackling some of the key underlying reasons why children and young people go missing.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
5th Feb 2020
To ask the Senior Deputy Speaker whether the House of Lords Administration has replaced the employment of housekeepers with the use of contract cleaners; and if so, how much they estimate will be saved as a result of such a policy; and what will be (1) the hours, (2) the holiday entitlement, and (3) the sickness benefits, of those staff employed as contract cleaners.

The Senior Deputy Speaker has asked me, as Chair of the Services Committee, to respond on his behalf. The current policy is to retain the Housekeeping Team for the foreseeable future and to continue to provide Housekeeping services within the Palace, with a focus on the high profile areas such as the Chamber, Robing Room, Prince’s Chamber, Royal Gallery and offices on the Principal and First floor.

A contractor, AtaliaServest, currently cleans all out-buildings as well as selected Member and staff offices in the Palace of Westminster. AtaliaServest has been the incumbent cleaning contractor for over five years. Additional areas, including those with limited accessibility and lone working requirements, have been handed over to AtaliaServest. This decision was taken to maximise operational efficiency, making best use of the AtaliaServest team and allowing the House of Lords Housekeepers to focus on high profile areas and specialist cleaning, rather than for any financial benefit. The terms and conditions of AtaliaServest staff are set by AtaliaServest, all staff and contractors working on the Parliamentary Estate are paid at least the London Living Wage.

29th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Williams of Trafford on 28 January (HL424) and the absence of such a stipulation in the Immigration Rules, how they ensure that these assessments are not open to abuse.

Higher Education Providers with a track record of compliance are the only sponsor type who can make an assessment of the English language ability of students studying at degree level and above, and must have demonstrated compliance for a minimum of 4 years before gaining this privilege.

Compliance is demonstrated to UKVI by annual assessments and sponsors must also gain independent educational oversight from the Office for Students. UKVI can audit sponsor records in the course of their assessment. If sponsors fail to adhere to their sponsorship duties and fail to demonstrate a sufficient level of compliance, action will be taken by the Home Office which can include revoking their Tier 4 licence.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
28th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what International English Language Testing System level the Home Office requires overseas students attain in order for them to be granted student visas.

To be eligible to enter the UK under Tier 4, an applicant must be able to demonstrate that they have a sufficient level of English to complete the proposed course of study.

All Tier 4 (General) Students must prove they satisfy the minimum English language requirements against the Common European Framework for Reference for Languages (CEFR) in all four components (speaking, reading, writing and listening). Unless they meet the requirements to be exempt, a student must show they meet the minimum level of English at CEFR B2 to be eligible to study in the UK at degree level or above and at CEFR B1 to be eligible to study a course below degree level in the UK.

Students can prove their English Language ability in different ways including taking a Secure English Language Test (SELT) from an approved test provider or their Tier 4 sponsor may conduct an assessment themselves, if eligible to do so.

Tier 4 Higher Education Providers with a track record of compliance, are able to make their own assessment on the proficiency of an applicant in the English language, if a student is accessing a course of study at degree level or above. They must be satisfied an applicant is proficient in the English language to a minimum of CEFR B2 level in all four disciplines assessed by the International English Language Test. The provider is able to undertake its own assessment of the ability of an applicant to satisfy these criteria. There is no stipulation in the Immigration Rules relating to how this assessment must be made.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
14th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the decision by the University of Portsmouth to waive the requirement for students to have taken the International English Language Test.

To be eligible to enter the UK under Tier 4, an applicant must be able to demonstrate they have an adequate level of English to access the proposed course of study. All Tier 4 General Students must prove they satisfy the minimum English language requirements against the Common European Framework for Reference for Languages (CEFR). A student must show that they meet the minimum level of English at CEFR B2 to be eligible to study in the UK at degree level or above. Students can prove their English Language ability in different ways.

Tier 4 Higher Education Providers with a track record of compliance including the University of Portsmouth, are able to make their own assessment of the proficiency of an applicant in English Language, if a student is accessing a course of study at degree level or above. Tier 4 providers must be satisfied that an applicant is proficient in English Language to a minimum of CEFR B2 level in all four disciplines assessed by the International English Language Test. The provider is able to undertake its own assessment of the ability of an applicant to satisfy these criteria. There is no stipulation in the Immigration Rules relating to how this assessment must be made.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
14th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Liverpool City Council: Best Value inspection report by Max Caller CBE, published on 24 March, which recommended that single-member district council wards be implemented in Liverpool for 2023, whether they intend to proceed with the district council elections in that city in 2022 with the existing ward arrangements.

On 10 June, the Secretary of State announced via a Written Ministerial Statement his intention to make an Order using his powers in the Local Government Act 2000 providing for whole council elections from 2023. He confirmed that the Order would postpone for one year the May 2022 elections of one third of Liverpool City Councillors and their extend terms of office accordingly. The announcement can be viewed (attached) here:https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-statements/detail/2021-06-10/hcws84

In this announcement, the Secretary of State also clarified that he had directed the Council to consider and consult upon a new submission to the Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE), as part of the current boundary review, to include consideration of a proposal to reduce the number of Councillors to those consistent with elections on the basis of predominantly single member wards; that is single member wards across the whole Council area save where the LGBCE consider a multi member ward is essential to balance their statutory duties of delivering electoral equality, reflecting interests and identities of local communities, and of promoting effective and convenient local government. The new warding arrangements following the boundary review will be in place ahead of the 2023 elections.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
13th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the role and responsibilities of the Local Government Boundary Commission for England will be affected by the inspection of Liverpool City Council.

The Local Government Boundary Commission for England, an independent Parliamentary body, is responsible for deciding, and implementing by order subject to a Parliamentary process, warding arrangements and council size as part of their electoral reviews of local government areas. The Commission, when undertaking their electoral review of Liverpool, will have an interest in the recommendations of the Best Value Inspection Report into Liverpool City Council that relate to warding and council size. These issues, however, are entirely a matter for the Commission to decide in accordance with their existing statutory responsibilities.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
11th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the announcement that government-appointed commissioners will be introduced to oversee parts of Liverpool City Council, what relationship they expect the commissioners will have with elected city councillors.

On 24 March 2021, the Secretary of State announced his proposed intervention package for Liverpool City Council, which includes the appointment of Commissioners.

The Secretary of State’s intention is for the Council to continue to take decisions with support from Commissioners, with elected city councillors continuing their essential role of community leadership and engagement through representing the ward for which they are elected, decision-making and scrutiny. However, the Secretary of State is ‘minded to’ empower Commissioners to take decisions on the Council’s behalf if necessary. He is clear that Commissioners’ powers should be used only as a last resort if the Council fails to deliver the necessary changes, at the necessary speed


The Secretary of State has invited Liverpool City Council to make representations on his proposed intervention package by 24 May 2021. This timetable allows the Council, including the new Liverpool City Mayor and her cabinet, to respond to his proposals following the local elections that took place on 6 May 2021. The Secretary of State will carefully consider all the representations submitted to him and update the House on his decision in due course.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
20th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, following the inspection into the governance of Liverpool City Council, what assessment they have made of the need to strengthen the (1) audit, and (2) scrutiny, arrangements for local councils.

The Secretary of State published the Best Value Inspection report into Liverpool City Council on 24 March. He will take a final decision on his proposed response, following consideration of any representations received from the Council, after 24 May.

The Government remains committed to strengthening the local audit system. Our 17 December response to the Redmond review sets out how the Department, in partnership with key organisations, will act to strengthen and support the local audit market.

The Department updated the statutory guidance for local and combined authorities on overview and scrutiny in May 2019. Effective scrutiny is vital to ensure that councils can be properly held to account for their decisions, and councils running executive arrangements must put in place overview and scrutiny committees to ensure this takes place.

As with all government policy, we keep the audit and scrutiny arrangements for local government under review.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
14th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Liverpool City Council: Best Value inspection report, published on 24 March, what plans they have to strengthen the audit arrangements in place for local authorities.

Government is committed to strengthening the local audit system so that taxpayers and service users are better able to hold councils to account. Our response to the Redmond review, published on 17 December, set out how the Department, in partnership with key organisations, will act to strengthen and support the local audit market.

Action we are taking includes, subject to consultation, enabling audit firms, councils and Public Sector Audit Appointments Ltd (PSAA) to agree fees that more closely match the actual costs of audit, and working with key stakeholders to review the entry requirements for Key Audit Partners and how best to improve auditor training, to strike an appropriate balance between ensuring audit quality and market sustainability.

We have also temporarily extended the deadline for the publication of auditor opinions on local authorities’ accounts, and are providing £15 million to support affected local authorities to both meet the growing cost pressures in the audit market and deliver Sir Tony’s recommendations, to be distributed later in the spring.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
15th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what, if any, conditions they have in place to require local councils to have completed audits of their accounts in order to receive central government funding; and what assessment they have made of whether Liverpool City Council is compliant with any such conditions.

The Government does not require local authorities to complete audits of their accounts in order to receive central government funding. However, there may be other conditions attached to individual grants to ensure the funding is used for its intended purpose.

The Accounts and Audit regulations 2015 (SI 234/2015) require councils to submit their draft accounts for public inspection within certain deadlines and, once the public inspection period is completed to approve them. The regulations also require the final accounts to be published (currently by 30 November 2020) once signed off by the auditor as complete. If the authority is unable to publish the completed accounts within the specified deadline they are required to post a notice saying why they are not being published.

To help address the rising number of delayed audits and other concerns with the local audit framework, we commissioned Sir Tony Redmond to review arrangements supporting the effectiveness and quality of local authority financial reporting and external audit within the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014. Sir Tony published the outcome of his Review on 8 September and I am pleased to report that we responded, accepting the majority of his recommendations on 17 December. The report can be accessed at the following (attached) link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/local-authority-financial-reporting-and-external-audit-government-response-to-the-redmond-review

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
9th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with Liverpool City Council about their process of awarding contracts to developers.

It is a matter of public record that Merseyside Police have for many months been conducting an investigation which has resulted in a number of arrests made on suspicion of fraud, bribery, corruption and misconduct in public office, both in December 2019 and in September 2020. Further arrests were made on 4 December 2020 in connection with offences of bribery and witness intimidation. This investigation involves a significant connection to Liverpool City Council.

The Secretary of State met with Statutory Officers from Liverpool City Council at his request on Monday 7 December. He was given a range of assurances about the steps the council has taken to improve governance in the Council. Given the seriousness of the issues, the Secretary of State sought additional written assurances, including on any plans for further property disposals, and steps the authority has taken and proposes to take to secure effective governance. A copy of the letter that was sent to the council on Tuesday 8 December can be found (attached) here. Liverpool City Council submitted their response on Friday 11 December.

On 17 December the Secretary of State announced (attached) the appointment of?Max Caller CBE to carry out an inspection?of Liverpool City Council’s compliance with its Best Value Duty in relation to the authority’s planning, highways, regeneration and property management functions and the strength of associated audit and governance arrangements. The Secretary of State has asked Max Caller to report his findings by 31 March 2021.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
9th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports of appointments of councillors who lack specialist knowledge being appointed to the boards of council-owned companies.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government is clear that councillors serving on company boards need particular skills, experience and training, as identified, for example, in the Public Interest Report issued by Nottingham City Council’s external auditors on 11 August 2020. This Public Interest Report followed the identification of serious issues associated with the council’s private energy company Robin Hood Energy.

On 17 December the Secretary of State published a response to the rapid non-statutory review into Nottingham City Council commissioned on 2 November. In his response, the Secretary of State acknowledged the review’s recommendation that the Department publish sector guidance on council-owned companies. This is being considered and an announcement will be made in due course.

Nottingham City Council's non-statutory review report and Secretary of State response can be found (attached) here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/nottingham-city-council-rapid-review

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
9th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the financial reserves of each of (1) Belfast, (2) Birmingham, (3) Bristol, (4) Cardiff, (5) Glasgow, (6) Leeds, (7) Liverpool, (8) Manchester, (9) Newcastle, (10) Nottingham, and (11) Sheffield, local authorities; and what information they hold on such reserves in each case.

The Department collects and publishes reserves data as part of annual data returns from local authorities in England. These figures can be found (attached) in the individual local authority data at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/local-authority-revenue-expenditure-and-financing, in table RA of budget data, and in table RS of outturn data. The latest published reserves figures from these local authorities are shown in the table.

Non-ringfenced reserves at 31 March 2020 of requested local authorities

Other earmarked reserves (£m)

Unallocated reserves (£m)

Birmingham

463.8

133.0

Bristol

80.6

17.0

Leeds

66.7

31.5

Liverpool

96.8

5.7

Manchester

348.7

21.4

Newcastle-upon-Tyne

87.7

10.1

Nottingham

153.7

2.2

Sheffield

252.1

13.2

Source: Provisional Revenue Outturn 2019-20 returns from local authorities in England to MHCLG

We also collect information on use of reserves in our Local Authority COVID-19 financial monitoring survey. The eighth round of the survey was live between 4th and 11th December.

The financial position of councils in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are the responsibility of the relevant devolved administration.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
8th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the robustness of (1) checks and balances on, and (2) scrutiny of, directly-elected mayors in England.

All principal and combined authorities that operate with a directly-elected mayor are required to have at least one overview and scrutiny committee to hold the executive to account. Combined authorities must also put in place an audit committee to provide additional challenge and, although it is not a statutory requirement, most principal authorities do the same. Overview and scrutiny committees have powers to investigate executives’ policies and their implementation, call in decisions that have been made but not yet implemented, issue reports and draw attention to shortcomings.

Overview and scrutiny arrangements are just one element of the wider accountability framework for local government. Other key elements include: independent audit, codes of conduct, complaints handling and whistleblowing procedures, statutory officers, and transparency of information and meetings. As with all government policy, we keep the accountability framework for local government under review.

Local authorities are independent of central government. Ministers have no remit to intervene in the day to day affairs of local authorities, except where specific provision has been made in legislation. However, this does not mean there is no accountability for local councils. Local authorities must act in accordance with legislation and are ultimately accountable through the ballot box for the decisions that they make.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
25th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government (1) how many local authority planning applications have been called in by the Planning Inspectorate; (2) how many of these were overturned by the Planning Inspectorate; and (3) how many Planning Inspectorate decisions were overturned by Ministers in (a) 2016/17, (b) 2017/18, and (c) 2018/19.

The Planning Inspectorate does not call in planning applications, this is done by Ministers. Ministers decide called in applications rather than the Planning Inspectorate, based on the recommendation of an independent Inspector.

The Planning Inspectorate publishes statistics on the number of cases called in by Ministers. Numbers of cases called in were as follows:

2016-17 - 17
2017-18 - 13
2018-19 - 8

The number of called in cases decided by Ministers where they disagreed with the planning Inspector's recommendation were

2016-17 - 3 (out of a total of 14 cases decided)
2017-18 - 2 (out of a total of 10 cases decided)
2018-19 - 1 (out of a total of 5 cases decided)

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
8th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what involvement, if any, the Metro Mayors of Greater Manchester and Liverpool City Region had in decisions relating to the easing of lockdown measures for COVID-19; and when they were informed of these decisions.

There has been regular engagement between Government and the Metro Mayors of Greater Manchester and Liverpool City Region during the COVID-19 emergency. This includes Ministerial calls with the Metro Mayors of Greater Manchester and Liverpool City Region, as well as a call between the Prime Minister and the M9 Metro Mayors, to help inform Government’s approach to restarting the economy

A Ministerial-led Economic Recovery Working Group has also been established to provide regular engagement on Government’s restart and recovery planning, chaired by the Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government. This features four Metro Mayors including the Mayor of Greater Manchester.

Ministers are also holding a series of regional stocktakes as case-studies, including with Greater Manchester and Liverpool, to establish an understanding of local plans for restart and to enable collaboration across Government and local partners. The Mayors of Greater Manchester and Liverpool City Region led the stocktakes with their respective areas.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
3rd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they plan to permit churches and other places of worship to reopen.

On 11 May, the Government published the document (attached) “Our Plan to Rebuild”, which outlined the steps it would be taking to ease the lockdown restrictions.

The Government continues to consider how to allow places of worship to reopen for additional uses in Step 3 of its roadmap, which is expected to be no earlier 4 July, subject to further scientific advice. As part of the steps to ease the restrictions, the Government launched a Places of Worship Taskforce to look at how they can reopen and operate safely. Meetings are being led by the Secretary of State for Communities, or the Faith Minister, and comprise of representatives from the country’s major faiths. The Taskforce is working towards the safe reopening of places of worship as soon as possible. It also addresses the specific issues that places of worship will face as they prepare to reopen safely.

As of Saturday 13 June, places of worship are now permitted to open for individual prayer, in line with social distancing guidelines. We have published guidance (attached) to support places of worship to do this in a way that is safe and in line with social distancing. Communal prayers, worship or devotion will not be possible at this stage. The Government will continue to work with the Taskforce towards the full reopening of places of worship as soon as the scientific advice allows.

Places of worship play an important role in spiritual and mental health for many, and in bringing our communities together, which is why we want them to reopen them as soon as we can. However, no place of worship will be able to reopen for further activities before a final decision by the Government and the accompanying changes to the legal position in the published regulations. Even after we permit places of worship to reopen for further activities, some may choose to reopen in stages or at a slower pace depending on their local circumstances.

The current list of permitted activities that can take place within a place of worship can be found (attached) on gov.uk here, and the associated regulations can be found here. These documents will be updated as and when further changes come into effect.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what consideration they have given to (1) enabling alternative arrangements for the collection of signatures, and (2) extending the permitted timescale, for a city mayor referendum petition.

In response to the Coronavirus pandemic the Government has made the?Local Government?and Police?and Crime Commissioner (Coronavirus)?(Postponement?of Elections?and Referendums) (England And Wales) Regulations 2020 which provide in relation to a city mayor referendum petition that:

  • the period from 16 March 2020 to the 5 May 2021 must be disregarded when calculating the 12-month period within which signatures can be collected for a petition to be deemed valid; and
  • to be valid, a petition cannot be handed in during the period 16 March 2020 to 5 May 2021.

The Regulations also provide that any governance referendum, including a city mayor referendum, scheduled between 16 March 2020 and 5 May 2021 must be postponed to take place on 6 May 2021. The Regulations can be found (attached) at ? https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/395/regulation/12/made

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the consequences when auditors fail to sign off a district council's annual budget.

A council's annual budget is signed off by a meeting of the full council as presented by its chief finance or Section 151 Officer. An auditor does not generally have a role to play in this process. However, the auditor issues an opinion on ie ‘signs off’ a council’s year-end financial statements. This opinion may be unmodified or, where an auditor has identified significant issues, they may give a modified opinion. Auditors also have powers to issue an advisory notice or a public interest report. Local authorities are accountable to their electorate.

It is a legal requirement for a council’s accounts to be signed off by the external auditor, however as the auditor must be satisfied with the accounts before doing so, there is not a specific timescale within which they must give their opinion or other specific consequences of a failure to sign off the accounts. Recently there has been a significant increase in the number of council accounts that remain outstanding. As at 31 May 2020, the 2018/19 accounts of 57 councils had not been signed off.

To help address the audit delay issue, we commissioned the independent Redmond review to review arrangements supporting the transparency and quality of local authority financial reporting and external audit within the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014. The Review is due to report later this year. We also recognise the pressures councils - and auditors - are under in the context of Covid-19 and have therefore extended the deadlines for them to publish their draft and final accounts in 2019/20 to 1 September and 30 November 2020 respectively.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
22nd Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the possible impact of the closure of the Professional and Career Development Loans scheme on those from low-income households seeking to qualify as solicitors through the Solicitors Qualifying Exam, due to be introduced in 2021.

The legal services sector in England and Wales is independent of Government, and as such, the Government does not have a role in setting or approving the framework for admission into the legal profession.

In March 2018, the Legal Services Board (LSB) approved a rule change application made by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). This application laid out a framework upon which the SRA could seek to introduce new requirements for trainee solicitors to pass a centralised Solicitors Qualifying Exam before being admitted into the profession. However, the application only established the framework. The SRA will need to submit another rule change application to LSB in order to implement it.

In its March 2018 decision notice, the LSB set out the substantive issues that it had not been able to fully assess and would need to evaluate before it approved any further application from the SRA seeking to implementing the framework. This included assessing the full costs of the Solicitors Qualifying Exam and accessibility of assessments.

22nd Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they plan to take to ensure that aspiring solicitors from low-income households have access to the funds necessary to complete the Solicitors Qualifying Exam, alongside any associated preparation or training courses.

The legal services sector in England and Wales is independent of Government, and as such, the Government does not have a role in setting or approving the framework for admission into the legal profession.

In March 2018, the Legal Services Board (LSB) approved a rule change application made by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). This application laid out a framework upon which the SRA could seek to introduce new requirements for trainee solicitors to pass a centralised Solicitors Qualifying Exam before being admitted into the profession. However, the application only established the framework. The SRA will need to submit another rule change application to LSB in order to implement it.

In its March 2018 decision notice, the LSB set out the substantive issues that it had not been able to fully assess and would need to evaluate before it approved any further application from the SRA seeking to implementing the framework. This included assessing the full costs of the Solicitors Qualifying Exam and accessibility of assessments.