Lord Watson of Invergowrie Portrait

Lord Watson of Invergowrie

Labour - Life peer

Shadow Spokesperson (Education)

(since September 2015)
3 APPG memberships (as of 6 Oct 2021)
British Council, Looked After Children and Care Leavers, Oracy
1 Former APPG membership
Corruption
Draft Protection of Charities Bill (Joint Committee)
10th Nov 2014 - 3rd Feb 2015
Public Accounts Committee
20th Jan 1995 - 21st Mar 1997


Department Event
Tuesday 19th October 2021
Department for Education
Legislation - Main Chamber
Telecommunications (Security) Bill – report stage
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Department Event
Tuesday 26th October 2021
Department for Education
Legislation - Main Chamber
Telecommunications (Security) Bill – third reading
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Division Votes
Tuesday 12th October 2021
Skills and Post-16 Education Bill [HL]
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 58 Labour Aye votes vs 0 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 135 Noes - 135
Speeches
Tuesday 12th October 2021
Skills and Post-16 Education Bill [HL]

I thank the noble Lord. I did intend to speak before the end of the debate.

I will speak to …

Written Answers
Wednesday 4th August 2021
Schools: Finance
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the average real-terms change in per-pupil funding in (1) …
Early Day Motions
None available
Bills
None available
Tweets
None available
MP Financial Interests
None available

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Lord Watson of Invergowrie has voted in 131 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
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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)
(120 debate interactions)
Baroness Penn (Conservative)
Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
(12 debate interactions)
Lord Storey (Liberal Democrat)
Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Education)
(11 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Department for Education
(111 debate contributions)
Department of Health and Social Care
(3 debate contributions)
HM Treasury
(2 debate contributions)
Cabinet Office
(2 debate contributions)
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View all Lord Watson of Invergowrie's debates

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Lord Watson of Invergowrie, 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 Watson of Invergowrie has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Lord Watson of Invergowrie has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

Lord Watson of Invergowrie has not introduced any legislation before Parliament

Lord Watson of Invergowrie has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting


194 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
14th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans the Prime Minister has to make a national address directed at children and young people about their role in Build Back Better: our plan for growth, announced on 3 March.

I refer the noble peer to the List of Ministerial Responsibilities which sets out the allocation of portfolios across government; the Secretary of State for Education has overall responsibility for children’s services and education.

The programme of Her Majesty’s Government, including our policies to champion the interests of children and young people, will be set out in the forthcoming Queen’s Speech.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
14th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to give the Minister for Children and Families a position in Cabinet.

I refer the noble peer to the List of Ministerial Responsibilities which sets out the allocation of portfolios across government; the Secretary of State for Education has overall responsibility for children’s services and education.

The programme of Her Majesty’s Government, including our policies to champion the interests of children and young people, will be set out in the forthcoming Queen’s Speech.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
28th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the effectiveness of the National Leisure Recovery Fund.

Sports and physical activity are incredibly important for our physical and mental health, and are a vital weapon against coronavirus.

The National Leisure Recovery Fund seeks to support eligible public sector leisure centres to reopen to the public, giving the sport and physical activity sector the best chance of recovery to a position of sustainable operation over the medium term.

A total of £100 million is available as a biddable fund to eligible local authorities in England, which will be allocated in a single funding round. Eligible local authorities include: those in England who hold responsibility for the provision of leisure services, those who have outsourced their leisure provision to an external body to and those whose outsourced leisure arrangements have ended since 20 March 2020 and services are now delivered as an in-house function.

Government has worked closely with the Sport England, Local Government Association (LGA), ukactive, the District Councils' Network, Community Leisure UK, Chief Cultural and Leisure Officers Association and others to make sure the application and funding process is as fast and simple as possible. We are currently in the process of assessing bids for the fund.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
14th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to their commitment in the Conservative and Unionist Party Manifesto 2019, published on 24 November 2019, what progress they have made in setting up a "fan-led review of football governance."

Football clubs are a vital part of their local communities and must be protected, as we work to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

The Government continues to have regular discussions with the football authorities on the future direction of the sport, and how to ensure it is sustainable. We are currently deciding on the scope and structure of the fan-led review of football governance, and will announce details of this in due course.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
30th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Barran on 20 November (HL10315), what provisions that reduce digital exclusion have been implemented as a result of their continual assessment of varying approaches to promoting digital inclusion; and how the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport defines "vulnerable consumers" in that context.

In response to Covid-19, last year the Government agreed a set of commitments with the UK’s major broadband and mobile operators to support disadvantaged and vulnerable consumers. This included lifting data caps on all fixed broadband packages, and provision of new and generous landline and mobile offers, such as free or low cost mobile data boosts.

The majority of the UK’s leading mobile network operators have also agreed to provide free data uplifts to disadvantaged families with school-age children. Through it’s Get Help with Technology scheme, the Department for Education is also distributing devices to disadvantaged children. Furthemore, we are pleased that all four of the main mobile network operators have committed to working with Oak Academy to zero rate the website, and EE is also zero-rating BBC Bitesize.

In relation to identifying vulnerability in the telecoms sector, Ofcom, the telecoms regulator, requires communication providers to have in place policies and procedures to identify and support customers whose circumstances may make them vulnerable. Such circumstances can include, but not limited to, age, a physical or learning disability, health, income levels, etc.

Ofcom's vulnerability guide, which I attach, provides best practice to communication providers on supporting vulnerable consumers, including setting an expectation on providers that they take an inclusive approach to identifying vulnerable consumers, noting that circumstances that cause vulnerability can be sudden and dynamic, as demonstrated by Covid-19.

The Government has also introduced new essential digital skills qualifications (EDSQs) based on new national standards for essential digital skills. Adults with no or low digital skills can study essential digital skills qualifications for free.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
12th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the Power Their Potential scheme run by the mobile phone provider Optus in Australia, which allows customers to donate unused data each month to be distributed to those in digital poverty.

The government continually assesses varying approaches to promoting digital inclusion when addressing digital exclusion in the UK.

To help support vulnerable consumers with their connectivity and data needs, in March 2020 the Government and Ofcom worked with the UK’s major broadband, landline and mobile providers, who cover most of the market, to develop a package of voluntary industry measures. As part of these commitments, communication providers agreed to give their customers new and generous offers on mobile and landline services. This includes some providers who gave effect to this commitment by giving free and low cost data boosts on mobile, and free calling allowances on landline packages. These were offers which were able to reach consumers quickly compared to data donation arrangements.

Ofcom has also recently published a guide to Treating Vulnerable Consumers Fairly, setting out its expectations and good practice on how vulnerable telecoms consumers should be supported. This includes treating those in financial distress fairly, providing them with payment support options, such as payment holidays, and only disconnecting consumers as a last resort option.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
7th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of extending the pupil premium for Looked After and Previously Looked After children (Pupil Premium Plus) beyond Year 11, to include students in post-16 education.

The government is committed to ensuring that looked-after and previously looked-after children are supported to succeed in education and achieve positive outcomes.

The department has recently confirmed a £3 million pilot to test the use of pupil premium plus funding for looked-after children and care leavers in further education. Local authorities can apply now to take part in the pilot and successful sites will be confirmed in September 2021, with the pilot starting in October 2021 and running until March 2022. Findings from the pilot will help inform any future post-16 support developed for looked-after children, care leavers, and previously looked-after children. Further information for local authorities interested in the pilot is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/pupil-premium-plus-post-16-pilot-submit-an-expression-of-interest.

7th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by Adoption UK The Adoption Barometer: A stocktake of adoption in the UK, published in June, and, in particular, (1) the recommendation for a 10-year commitment to the Adoption Support Fund in England, (2) their finding that only 54 per cent of respondents felt the process for accessing the Adoption Support Fund was clear and only 51 per cent felt it was completed in a timely fashion, (3) the recommendation that all education and health professionals are trained in early childhood trauma, and (4) the recommendation that adoption support should be extended to at least the age of 26.

Improving adoption is a manifesto commitment and Adoption UK’s Adoption Barometer report is a valuable resource for informing policy debate. We will be considering the report carefully as part of our planning for funding for future years.

5th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the average real-terms change in per-pupil funding in (1) the most deprived 20 per cent of schools, and (2) the least deprived 20 per cent, over the past five years.

In the current 2021/22 financial year, the National Funding Formula (NFF) allocates 17%, equivalent to £6.4 billion, of its funding through additional needs factors, which include deprivation. A further £2.5 billion of pupil premium funding, which has a specific focus on raising the attainment of deprived pupils, is provided on top of that. The department has recently published notional NFF allocations for the 2022/23 financial year. The funding allocated through additional needs factors in the NFF will increase to £6.7 billion.

The following table shows average per pupil funding allocated through the NFF, for the most deprived 20% of schools, and the least deprived 20% of schools, in the financial years 2018/19 and 2022/23.

NFF funding per pupil inc premises (adjusted for ACA[1]) - 2018-19

NFF funding per pupil inc premises (adjusted for ACA) - 2022-23

% increase in real terms

Most deprived

£4,917

£5,671

3.9%

Least deprived

£3,997

£4,755

6.4%

Pay and pensions grants have been removed from this analysis, to ensure comparability between the years. The most and least deprived schools have been identified by reference to the proportion of pupils eligible for free school meals in 2022/23, and the groups of schools will not necessarily represent those who were most or least deprived in 2018/19.

In addition to NFF allocations, schools also receive funding through the pupil premium, to help them improve the attainment of their disadvantaged pupils. In the 2021/22 financial year, each primary pupil who has been eligible for free school meals at a point over the past six years attracts £1,345 Pupil Premium funding, with each “Ever 6” free school meals secondary pupil attracting £955. The equivalent rates for 2018/19 were £1,320 for primary pupils, and £935 for secondary pupils. The department will confirm schools’ pupil premium allocations for 2022/23 in spring next year.

In setting the NFF, the department has been careful to consider funding for deprivation, considering both the deprivation funding channelled through the NFF, and the funding provided through the pupil premium. It is right that schools with more pupils with additional needs, such as those indicated by measures of deprivation, low prior attainment, or English as an additional language, should receive extra funding to help ensure that schools are supported to meet the needs of all their pupils. For example, in 2021/22 a primary school pupil who is eligible for free school meals will attract a total of £2,380 for their school, through a combination of the free school meal and FSM6 factors in the NFF and the pupil premium, and a secondary pupil attracts £2,255. This is in addition to the basic per-pupil funding that all pupils attract through the NFF.

The main reasons for the relative redistribution of funding between local authorities are the introduction of minimum per pupil funding levels in 2018/19 and the funding system reflecting changes in relative deprivation over time. Some areas that have been historically particularly deprived, such as inner London, have become less deprived relative to other areas.

[1] The area cost adjustment is a multiplier that applies to both pupil-led and school-led factors and enables the core NFF funding amounts to take account of geographical variation in labour market costs.

5th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of media reports that school pupils are using fruit juice to produce fake positive COVID-19 tests.

The department is aware of this. It is imperative that everyone using lateral flow devices uses them in the correct way to ensure that we can control and slow the spread of COVID-19. Any misuse of these tests could have extremely serious consequences, and the government strongly urge people to administer the tests in a responsible way.

5th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by the Centre for Social Justice Kids can’t catch up if they don’t show up, published on 27 June, which found that almost 100,000 children did not return to schools full-time when they re-opened in March.

The COVID-19 outbreak has caused particular challenges for children, many of whom have faced significant disruption to their education. In May 2021, the department published pupil absence data from the 2020 autumn term: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/pupil-absence-in-schools-in-england-autumn-term.

Good attendance at school is vital for pupils’ education, wellbeing and development. This is why the department’s £3 billion investment in education recovery includes over £900 million that schools can use as they see best to support the children who have been most impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, the department has worked closely with local authorities and schools to support school attendance, including through providing best practice advice and guidance.

21st Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to their decision to administer a phonics screening check to year 2 pupils in the 2021–22 autumn term, what assessment they have made of the effects of such tests on children's mental health and wellbeing.

The purpose of the 2021 autumn phonics screening check is to ensure that year 2 pupils who require further support in decoding phonics are identified early and given that support in good time. Schools should support a culture of wellbeing amongst staff and pupils, and while assessment is a fundamental part of a child’s education, it is not meant to cause them stress or anxiety. The department trusts schools to approach the phonics screening check appropriately.

Children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing is a priority for this government. The department is continuing to help schools support children and young people’s wellbeing during the COVID-19 outbreak. More than £17 million of mental health funding was announced in May 2021 to improve mental health and wellbeing support in schools and colleges.

17th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government why the document Delivering World-Class Teacher Development, published on 8 June, contains no reference to universities.

The purpose of the Delivering World-Class Teacher Development publication is to describe how recent and upcoming reforms to teacher development, particularly the Early Career Framework (ECF) and National Professional Qualification (NPQ) reforms, build on one another and link together. It also provides detail on how some of these reforms will be delivered. The document was produced in response to stakeholder feedback that this kind of overview would be helpful.

The sections on delivery and quality assurance are focused on ECF and NPQ delivery. They include references to Lead Providers and Delivery Partners, without describing the types of organisations who fulfil these roles. ECF and NPQ Lead Providers will include universities as well as charities and private companies. Universities also make up a significant proportion of the initial teacher training (ITT) market, although this document does not describe the ITT delivery system.

14th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they expect career hubs to be established in every part of England; and what plans they have to support such expansion.

Working through a partnership approach, careers hubs bring together secondary schools, colleges, employers, Local Enterprise Partnerships and other organisations to drive accelerated improvements in careers education and improve skills and opportunities for young people. Currently, more than 2,260 schools and colleges (45%) are in careers hubs.

In the Skills for Jobs white paper, we confirmed our ambition to extend access to careers hubs to all secondary schools and colleges in England. We intend to continue to increase coverage this financial year to include over 3,300 schools and colleges so that more (approximately 67% of) schools and colleges can benefit from government-funded careers support. This will continue to accelerate the progress of all schools and colleges towards achieving the Gatsby Benchmarks so that all young people are equipped to make informed career and learning decisions.

We intend to continue to expand in future years and the pace of expansion will depend on the outcome of Spending Review.

14th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to launch a consultation on introducing new accountability structures underpinning the delivery of local skills improvement plans, and related matters; and when they plan to launch this consultation.

In the Skills for Jobs white paper, we set out our vision to transform further education. We want people to get the advanced technical and higher technical skills they need to get good jobs. Colleges’ place at the centre of their local communities and economies means that they are key to unlocking opportunities across the country and to building back better.

As a key step to deliver our vision, we will consult on a new funding and accountability system for further education. The consultation will address the underlying system of complex funding for adult skills and limited focus on outcomes through proposals to reform adult skills funding and the wider accountability regime for colleges and other grant funded providers. It will describe how Local Skills Improvement Plans fit into this wider funding and accountability landscape. We expect to publish the consultation in the coming months.

14th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to ensure children with (1) DiGeorge syndrome, and (2) other genetic conditions, receive specialist support to address and prevent any loss of learning and social skills further to the COVID-19 pandemic.

We are committed to helping all children, including those with genetic disorders, recover from the impact of lost learning during the COVID-19 outbreak. Following the most recent announcement on education recovery on 2 June, we have now allocated in total over £3 billion to support children and students. We are targeting resources and support at those with the greatest need and special schools will receive additional funding to ensure one-to-one tutoring for their pupils.

Within special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) funding, we have increased the high needs funding for children and young people with the most complex needs, from £5 billion in 2013 to over £8 billion in the 2021-22 financial year. The additional £730 million funding that we are providing this year is a result of increasing demand.

27th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, and if so when, they plan to publish a financial assessment on the impact of basing pupil premium allocations for 2021–22 on the October 2020 school census.

The January 2021 census will be used to determine pupil premium eligibility for alternative provision and pupil referral units for the financial year 2021/22. Pupil premium eligibility for mainstream and special schools will be based on the October 2020 census. We will confirm pupil premium allocations for the financial year 2021/22 in June 2021.

The department publishes information on pupil premium allocations and the number of pupils eligible annually. The most recent publicly available figures can be found via this link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/pupil-premium-allocations-and-conditions-of-grant-2020-to-2021.

Analysts in the department are in the process of calculating the 2021/22 financial year pupil premium funding allocations, as well as the impact of using the October census to determine eligibility. We will publish the impact of the change in pupil premium eligibility in due course, close to when the pupil premium allocations for the 2021/22 financial year are published.

Per pupil funding rates will be the same as in the 2020/21 financial year, which is expected to increase pupil premium funding to more than £2.5 billion in 2021/22 as more children have become eligible for free school meals.

In addition to the pupil premium, the government announced an additional £1 billion for national tutoring on 2 June, which will see up to 100 million tutoring hours for children and young people across England: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/huge-expansion-of-tutoring-in-next-step-of-education-recovery.

£218 million of this additional £1 billion will be directed through the government’s National Tutoring Programme. This is on top of the £215 million already planned to be invested in the 2021/22 academic year and will continue to ensure that support reaches disadvantaged pupils, while giving teachers and head teachers the discretion to support the pupils they believe are most in need.

The announcement builds on previous investments worth £1.7 billion into a COVID-19 catch up fund for schools since the outbreak began, to directly tackle the impact of lost teaching time and to help with wellbeing and recovery. This includes £302 million for a Recovery Premium building on the pupil premium, which will be targeted towards schools most in need to support disadvantaged pupils’ attainment.

27th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many pupils would have been eligible for the pupil premium if the determination of 2021–22 allocations had not been based on the October 2020 school census.

The January 2021 census will be used to determine pupil premium eligibility for alternative provision and pupil referral units for the financial year 2021/22. Pupil premium eligibility for mainstream and special schools will be based on the October 2020 census. We will confirm pupil premium allocations for the financial year 2021/22 in June 2021.

The department publishes information on pupil premium allocations and the number of pupils eligible annually. The most recent publicly available figures can be found via this link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/pupil-premium-allocations-and-conditions-of-grant-2020-to-2021.

Analysts in the department are in the process of calculating the 2021/22 financial year pupil premium funding allocations, as well as the impact of using the October census to determine eligibility. We will publish the impact of the change in pupil premium eligibility in due course, close to when the pupil premium allocations for the 2021/22 financial year are published.

Per pupil funding rates will be the same as in the 2020/21 financial year, which is expected to increase pupil premium funding to more than £2.5 billion in 2021/22 as more children have become eligible for free school meals.

In addition to the pupil premium, the government announced an additional £1 billion for national tutoring on 2 June, which will see up to 100 million tutoring hours for children and young people across England: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/huge-expansion-of-tutoring-in-next-step-of-education-recovery.

£218 million of this additional £1 billion will be directed through the government’s National Tutoring Programme. This is on top of the £215 million already planned to be invested in the 2021/22 academic year and will continue to ensure that support reaches disadvantaged pupils, while giving teachers and head teachers the discretion to support the pupils they believe are most in need.

The announcement builds on previous investments worth £1.7 billion into a COVID-19 catch up fund for schools since the outbreak began, to directly tackle the impact of lost teaching time and to help with wellbeing and recovery. This includes £302 million for a Recovery Premium building on the pupil premium, which will be targeted towards schools most in need to support disadvantaged pupils’ attainment.

26th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the forthcoming consultation on national standards for unregulated provision for children in care and care leavers, as announced in the Government’s consultation response Reforms to unregulated provision for children in care and care leavers, published on 19 February, will include a question on whether these standards should apply to care leavers aged 18 and over as well as those aged 16–17.

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

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

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

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

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

20th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the financial impact on schools of the decision to base pupil premium allocations for the 2021–22 academic year on the October 2020 school census.

The January 2021 census will be used to determine pupil premium eligibility for alternative provision and pupil referral units for the 2021-22 financial year. Pupil premium eligibility for mainstream and special schools will be based on the October 2020 census. Per pupil funding rates will be the same as in the 2020-21 financial year, which is expected to increase pupil premium funding from £2.4 billion in 2020-21 to more than £2.5 billion in 2021-22 as more children have become eligible for free school meals (FSM).

Separate to the pupil premium, we also intend to change the date for the Ever 6 FSM factor in the national funding formula (NFF). Without a change in dates, the Ever 6 factor in the 2022-23 NFF would be based on January 2020 census data. With the change to October, the intention is for the October 2020 census data to be used instead. This will shorten the Ever 6 funding lag in the NFF by 9 months and increase the amount of funding allocated through the Ever 6 factor in 2022-23, as FSM eligibility increased significantly between January and October last year.

In addition to this the government announced a further £302 million for a one off Recovery Premium which will be allocated to schools based on the same methodology as the pupil premium. In this way, schools with more disadvantaged pupils will receive larger amounts.

The department will confirm pupil premium allocations for the 2021-22 financial year in June 2021. This will provide the public with information on the specific amounts that regions, local authorities, and schools are receiving through the pupil premium for 2021-22. Data on the number of pupils who would have become eligible for the pupil premium if we had not changed the census data is not yet available.

The department publishes information on pupil premium allocations and the number of pupils eligible annually. The most recent publicly available figures can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/pupil-premium-allocations-and-conditions-of-grant-2020-to-2021.

20th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what equalities impact assessment they undertook before making the decision to charge private candidates a fee to be assessed by an exam centre in summer 2021.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

20th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the adequacy of the number of work-based qualifications included in their proposed Lifetime Skills Guarantee, announced on 29 September 2020.

The Lifetime Skills Guarantee, which my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, announced last September, promises to help people across England to develop the skills that they need at every stage of their life as we build back better from the COVID-19 outbreak.

This includes the free courses for jobs offer as well as skills bootcamps, the Lifelong Loan Entitlement and improvements to quality and access for apprenticeships.

The free courses for jobs offer gives an estimated 11 million adults in England who are 24 and over, and do not yet have A levels or equivalent qualifications, the opportunity to take their first level 3 qualification for free. This offer is a long-term commitment, backed by £95 million from the National Skills Fund in year one.

Complementing this, skills bootcamps offer free, flexible courses of up to 16 weeks, giving people the opportunity to build up sector-specific skills and fast-track to an interview with a local employer. Skills bootcamps have the potential to transform the skills landscape for adults and employers.

Work-based learning is not currently an element of the free courses for jobs or skills bootcamps offers. However, as we build on these investments, we will soon launch a consultation to further develop the National Skills Fund to ensure that it delivers a step change in adult learning, preparing adults for the economy of the future.

The Lifelong Loan Entitlement will be introduced from 2025, providing individuals with a loan entitlement to the equivalent of four years of post-18 education to use over their lifetime. It will make it easier for people to do courses locally and to study and train part-time, acquiring the skills that can transform their lives. We will be consulting on the detail and scope of the Lifelong Loan Entitlement this year, working closely with employers and learners to fully understand their needs.

20th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of the number of apprentices who have been unable to complete their courses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic; and what support they plan to provide to such apprentices in response.

We are committed to supporting apprentices to safely continue with, and complete, their programmes during the COVID-19 outbreak. Provisional figures show that from August 2020 to January 2021, 59,400 apprentices achieved their apprenticeship (frameworks and standards).

We do not hold data on the number of apprentices who have been unable to complete their programme due to the impact of COVID-19. Our data collection system does not capture COVID-19 as a reason for a break in learning or withdrawal, and in many cases there will be a range of reasons for apprentices not completing their apprenticeship.

Since 8 March 2021, all apprentices have been able to return to on-site training and assessment.

In recognition of the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, we introduced a number of flexibilities in March 2020 to ensure that apprenticeships could continue where possible. This included flexibilities to off-the-job training to support remote learning, supporting remote assessment where practicable, and making it possible for furloughed apprentices to continue their apprenticeships and undertake end-point assessments. All assessment flexibilities and discretions put in place due to COVID-19 are extended until at least 31 August 2021. For apprentices who have experienced disruption to their training due to COVID-19 employers can extend the planned duration of the apprenticeship to accommodate this.

We are also supporting apprentices who have been made redundant through our Redundancy Support Service for Apprentices, which includes a vacancy sharing scheme to help redundant apprentices find new apprenticeship opportunities with employers. In addition, we have amended legislation to enable more apprentices to complete their apprenticeship in the event of redundancy.

We continue to work closely with the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education, Ofqual and other organisations to mitigate the disruption to assessment, training and employment as a result of COVID-19.

20th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the efficacy of their Apprenticeship Incentive Scheme.

Apprenticeships are more important than ever in helping businesses to recruit the right people and develop the skills they need. To help employers offer new apprenticeships, the government’s Plan for Jobs introduced payments to employers for each new apprentice they recruit since 1 August 2020. We have now increased these payments and employers can now claim £3000 for each apprentice they take on as a new employee between 1 April and 30 September 2021. The increased payment makes it a great time for employers to offer new apprenticeship opportunities, take advantage of existing flexibilities to train apprentices in a way that suits their needs, and contribute to a skills-led recovery.

It is encouraging that employers continue to see the value apprentices can bring to their businesses. As of 3 March 2021, employers had so far claimed incentive payments for 34,810 apprentices. Employers can claim £2000 for apprentices hired as new employees from 1 August 2020 to 31 March 2021 aged 24 and under, and £1500 for those 25 and over.

We continue to carefully monitor the take-up of incentive payments by employers to ensure we continue to meet their needs as we build back better from the COVID-19 outbreak.

Additional analysis of apprenticeship incentive payments claimed to date is published here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/apprenticeships-and-traineeships.

12th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Timpson review of school exclusion published in May 2019, how many of the 30 recommendations made in the report they have implemented.

Good behaviour and discipline in schools is crucial if children are to reach their full potential. We will always back headteachers to use suspensions and expulsions when required as part of creating calm and disciplined classrooms that bring out the best in every pupil. We are also clear that expulsion should only be used as a last resort and expulsion from school should not mean expulsion from education.

Since the publication of the Timpson Review and agreeing the recommendations in principle, this government has been pursuing an ambitious programme of work on school behaviour across the school system. Earlier this month, we commenced the Behaviour Hubs programme, investing £10 million that will help schools to develop and sustain a culture where good behaviour is the norm. We have also reformed training as part of the Early Career Framework, so that all new teachers will be shown how to effectively manage behaviour in their first two years in the profession from September 2021. The department continues to work with Ofsted to tackle the practice of ‘off-rolling’ which the government is clear is unacceptable. We will be consulting on how we can help headteachers remove phones from the school day, and other revisions to the department’s behaviour and discipline, and expulsions guidance, later in the year. We intend to go further and are committed to focusing on reforms needed to deliver significantly improved outcomes for children and young people in alternative provision who are most at risk of expulsion and disengaging from education. Working with key stakeholders, we will set out plans in the forthcoming SEND review.

18th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many pupils qualifying for Pupil Premium funding achieved a qualifying score or pass mark in the 11-plus examination in (1) 2019, and (2) 2020.

The department does not hold this information. Selection tests are administered locally, and the department does not routinely collect information on individual tests.

18th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many pupils qualifying for Pupil Premium funding entered the 11-plus examination in (1) 2019, and (2) 2020.

The department does not hold this information. Selection tests are administered locally, and the department does not routinely collect information on individual tests.

18th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many pupils entered the 11-plus examination in (1) 2019, and (2) 2020.

The department does not hold this information. Selection tests are administered locally, and the department does not routinely collect information on individual tests.

18th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many parents who have been unable to resolve the issue of excessive school uniform costs with schools directly have raised that issue with the Department for Education in each of the last three academic years.

The department does not centrally collect detailed information on the number of complaints received and the exact nature of the complaint. However, we have identified 25 complaints in the last three years for which school uniform was selected as the nature of the complaint. This figure includes complaints about aspects of school uniform other than cost and excludes complaints where school uniform is referenced but is not stated as the primary reason for the complaint.

17th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Berridge on 16 March (HL13849), for what reasons they redacted the section entitled ‘Terms of Reference and ways of working’ in the contract of the chair of the independent review of the children’s social care sector.

It is usual practice, in line with The Cabinet Manual, to redact contracts where information is included relating to Cabinet agreement.

The Cabinet Manual can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cabinet-manual.

16th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have issued guidance (1) to schools, and (2) to parents of children who were shielding because of health conditions and who have Education and Health Care plans, concerning the return of these children to school from 8 March.

On the 18 March 2021 the Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England confirmed that clinically extremely vulnerable people (CEV), including children and young people, will no longer have to shield from COVID-19 from 1 April 2021 as virus infection rates continue to fall. Those on the shielded patient list will receive letters with updated guidance on the steps they can take to reduce their risk. All CEV pupils and students should attend their school or college from this date unless they are one of the very small number of pupils or students under paediatric or other specialist care and have been advised by their GP or clinician not to attend.

To support schools during the COVID-19 outbreak the government has published guidance available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/schools-coronavirus-covid-19-operational-guidance. This contains advice for pupils and students who have been confirmed as clinically extremely vulnerable, including those with an Education, Health and Care plan (EHCP). Additional guidance to support specialist settings has also been published throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-for-full-opening-special-schools-and-other-specialist-settings.

The government has also provided guidance for parents and carers on supporting children and young people, including those who are CEV or who have an EHCP, available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/what-parents-and-carers-need-to-know-about-early-years-providers-schools-and-colleges-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak/what-parents-need-to-know-about-early-years-providers-schools-and-colleges-during-covid-19. Additional guidance on mental health and wellbeing is also available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-supporting-children-and-young-peoples-mental-health-and-wellbeing.

The Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health England on the 18 March 2021 released updated guidance for those who are clinically extremely vulnerable, available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19.

16th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to provide an update on the progress of the consultation on elective home education, including consideration on the introduction of legislation.

In spring 2019, a consultation was held on proposals for a mandatory register of children not attending state or registered independent schools. This consultation was held in order to help local authorities carry out their responsibilities in relation to children not in school alongside the duty on parents to register their child with the local authority if not registered at specified types of schools, the duties on proprietors of certain education settings to respond to enquiries from local authorities, and the 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 is committed to publishing the response in due course.

16th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the scope of the Independent review of children’s social care includes consideration of possible changes to the service and protection rights of children and families provided under the Children Act 1989.

The review’s terms of reference set out the questions and themes the review will consider. The Review themes and questions can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/952624/terms_of_reference_independent_childrens_social_care_review.pdf.

They include:

1. Support: what support is needed to meet the needs of children who are referred to or involved with social care, in order to improve outcomes and make a long-term positive difference to individuals and to society?

2. Strengthening families: what can be done so that children are supported to stay safely and thrive with their families, to ensure the exceptional powers that are granted to the state to support and intervene in families are consistently used responsibly, balancing the need to protect children with the right to family life, avoiding the need to enter care?

3. Safety: what can be done so that children who need to be in care get there quickly, and to ensure those children feel safe and are not at risk of significant harm?

4. Care: what is needed for children to have a positive experience of care that prioritises stability, providing an alternative long-term family for children who need it and support for others to return home safely?

5. Delivery: what are the key enablers to implement the review and raise standards across England, such as a strong, stable and resilient workforce, system leadership and partnerships, and what is needed so that this change can be delivered?

6. Sustainability: what is the most sustainable and cost-effective way of delivering services, including high-cost services, who is best placed to deliver them, and how could this be improved so that they are fit for the future?

7. Accountability: what accountability arrangements are necessary to ensure that the state can act appropriately, balancing the need to protect and promote the welfare of children with the importance of parental responsibility, and what is needed to ensure proper oversight of how local areas discharge those responsibilities consistently?

Ultimately, the review has a broad remit. Josh MacAllister, the reviewer, is independent and it will be for him to look at the evidence presented to him and decide where change is needed.

11th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the value of school breakfast clubs, and (2) the impact of hunger on learning in the classroom; and what steps they intend to take in response.

The department knows that breakfast clubs can bring a wide range of benefits for children. An evaluation by the Education Endowment Foundation found that supporting schools to run a free of charge, universal breakfast club before school delivered an average of 2 months additional progress for pupils in key stage 1 with moderate to low security. Breakfast club schools also saw an improvement in pupil behaviour and attendance.

We support around 1.4 million children through universal infant free school meals, and a further 1.4 million through the benefit related free school meals, providing nutritious meals for children.

During the COVID-19 outbreak, we have continued to support children learning at home while schools were largely closed, through the provision of vouchers or lunch parcels. Our supplier, Edenred, have reported that more than £90 million vouchers have been redeemed by families for use in supermarkets during the most recent period of school closures.

The department is investing up to £38 million in the National School Breakfast Programme. This money is kick-starting or improving breakfast clubs in up to 2,450 schools in disadvantaged areas, making them sustainable in the long run. Approximately 280,000 children are supported by this scheme.

We are extending our support for breakfast clubs until 2023, to make sure thousands of children in disadvantaged areas have a healthy start to the day.

4th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress they have made on their consultation on elective home education.

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 provided is inappropriate, ineffective or through unsuitable settings (such as unregistered independent schools).

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.

4th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to permit the Open University to offer initial teacher training courses.

To deliver Initial Teacher Training (ITT) courses leading to Qualified Teacher Status, the Open University must become an accredited ITT provider. The process to become an accredited ITT provider is cyclical. When the next cycle opens, the Open University, and any other interested organisation, is welcome to explore the potential of becoming an accredited ITT provider. Any organisation who is interested in offering Initial Teacher Training should register their interest with the Department at the ITT.accreditation@education.gov.uk mailbox to be kept informed of future opportunities to apply.

4th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they expect to publish the outcome of their review of the support available to young people with special educational needs and disabilities, announced in September 2019.

Our ambition is to publish SEND (special educational needs and disabilities) Review proposals for public consultation in the spring of 2021.

2nd Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they expect to reply to the joint letters of 5 and 18 February sent by Article 39 to the Secretary of State for Education concerning the independent review of children’s social care.

I can confirm that a response has been sent to the letters dated 5 and 18 February from Article 39.

2nd Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many days per week the Chair of the independent review of children’s social care has been contracted to work; and what is his remuneration.

In line with the department’s usual contracting process to secure value for money, the fees paid to the Chair of the independent review of children’s social care, Josh MacAlister, were benchmarked against the fees the department has paid to previous independent reviewers, children’s services commissioners, and external contractors with a similar level of skills and experience. The Chair’s fees and number of days per week are matters subject to standard commercial confidentiality considerations, in line with usual contracting practice.

The Chair’s contract has been published as part of the department’s regular transparency returns on the government’s online contracts register, available here: https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/notice/5d832563-20b0-42f2-ba00-55c11a5dd9b3?origin=SearchResults&p=1.

2nd Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Department for Education's 2018 guidance Charging for school activities, whether “other equipment” includes (1) laptops, (2) broadband, and (3) data, where the guidance states “school governing bodies and local authorities, cannot charge for … education provided during school hours (including the supply of any materials, books, instruments or other equipment)".

Schools cannot charge for education provided during school hours, including the supply of any materials, books, instruments or other equipment. This includes laptops, broadband and data. A school can only charge parents for equipment, such as a laptop, where the child’s parent wishes their child to own it.

2nd Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what criteria were used to select the Experts by Experience Group for the independent review of children’s social care; who assessed the applications; and who comprised the interview panel for those shortlisted for interview.

Following an open expression of interest process the review has now established an Experts by Experience Board.

The Review received 1,011 applications to join the board, and the panel assessed every application and has appointed a small number of individuals that met the criteria detailed in the Expression of Interest application:

1. Have lived experienced of the children’s social care system, whether current or previous, through:

• interaction with a social worker as a child

• personal experience in care

• the family of a child who has interacted with a social worker

• the family of a child who has been placed in care

2. Are comfortable contributing respectfully alongside people who may have had very

different experiences to their own.

3. Have the ability to communicate views about children’s social care clearly and

concisely, and also the views of others with experience of children’s social care.

The Experts by Experience Board was appointed by Josh MacAlister, chair of the independent review. Josh asked Shazia Hussain (head of the review team) and Jenny Molloy (care leaver and author) to assist him reviewing all applications that were received, and Duncan Dunlop (former CEO of Who Cares? Scotland and independent panel member) also assisted with conducting interviews.

The application criteria and information regarding the assessment process for the Experts by Experience Group is also publicly available on the independent review of children’s social care’s website, located here: https://childrenssocialcare.independent-review.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/EoE-2.pdf.

2nd Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the staff comprising the secretariat of the independent review of children’s social care were recruited (1) from within the Department for Education, or (2) externally.

The review team is made up of civil servants from across government, including the Department for Education, and come from a range of backgrounds and disciplines. More information can be found on the independent review of children’s social care’s website here: https://childrenssocialcare.independent-review.uk/people/.



Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
4th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to establish a Department for Education Mental Health Action Group.

My hon. Friend, the Minister for Children and Families, and my hon. Friend, the Minister of State for Universities, have convened a mental health in education action group to look at the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the mental health and wellbeing of children, young people and staff in nurseries, schools, colleges, and universities. It will consider how to support mental wellbeing while children and young people are being taught remotely, as they return to education settings and with transitions between education settings in September 2021.

In the first instance, Ministers will engage with health experts to bring together the evidence of impact on children and young people to identify the existing range of support and make sure it is easy to access and has the greatest possible impact. They will also engage with education stakeholders, including staff and leadership unions, to ensure that we understand the issues that are facing staff in nurseries, schools, colleges and universities and how those can be supported in the coming months. Ministers will also work with the existing higher education task force to ensure that the issues it is considering around mental health are reflected.

4th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to their White Paper Skills for Jobs: Lifelong Learning for Opportunity and Growth, published on 21 January, whether they have appointed a bill team to work on the primary legislation they intend to introduce to implement the reforms to the further education and technical training system; if so, how many staff have been appointed; and what is the duration of the contracts of any such staff.

The department is aware that legislation may be needed to deliver some of the ambitious reforms set out in our White Paper and have recently been recruiting a Bill team to lead this work. When fully staffed, the team will comprise 6 officials, who will work with other colleagues across the department. Recent appointments to the team have been fixed term until the end of August 2022.

4th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have received from Ofsted about changing legislation to ensure that out-of-school settings providing a religious or narrow curriculum can only operate legally if they are registered with the Department for Education; and what steps they intend to take in response to any such representations.

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 is considering changes to the registration requirement for schools. The consultation on Regulating Independent Educational Institutions was launched on 14 February 2020 and withdrawn on 7 May due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The consultation was relaunched on 13 October 2020 and closed on 27 November. Following analysis, we will set out the government response in due course.

4th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of the number of unregistered schools continuing to operate whilst restrictions in place to address the COVID-19 pandemic are ongoing; and what plans they have to prevent the operation of such schools in future.

The department has not made any estimate of the number of unregistered schools operating through the current lockdown.

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 as a school. It is a criminal offence to conduct an independent school that is not registered.

The department 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 the COVID-19 outbreak. Failure to do so will be a breach of legislation and poses a risk to public health.

4th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what measures they have put in place to ensure that any unregistered religious schools which do not allow pupils to use technology cannot use exceptions pertaining to vulnerable children in the regulations in place to address the COVID-19 pandemic to continue to teach full-to-capacity classes whilst also claiming pupils are home-educated.

Supplementary schools for children, including those offering religious instruction, for example, are typically considered to be out-of-school settings. The department defines out-of-school settings as organisations or individuals that provide tuition, training, instruction or activities to children in England without their parents’ or carers’ supervision, but are not:

  • schools
  • colleges
  • 16 to 19 academies
  • providers caring for children that are registered with Ofsted or a childminder agency

Unregistered schools are those that are operating as an independent school without having registered with the department. It is a criminal offence (under section 96 of the Education and Skills 2008 Act) for any person to conduct an unregistered independent school, and where we find evidence that a school is operating unlawfully, the department will seek to take action by working with police, Ofsted and the Crown Prosecution Service as necessary.

The department does not hold a central register of all out-of-school settings and so is not able to give an assessment of the ability of providers in the sector to adhere to restrictions in place to address the COVID-19 outbreak. However, since the beginning of the outbreak we have been in close communication with out-of-school settings stakeholders, including various representatives from the faith sector, to outline how the protective measures in the sector guidance work to minimise the risk of transmission and infection of the virus, and how they can be practically implemented across a range of settings.

Under the current national restrictions, announced on 5 January 2021, wraparound childcare providers, holiday clubs, and out-of-school settings should only continue to offer face-to-face provision for:

  • children of critical workers, where it is reasonably necessary to support their parents or carers to work, seek work, attend a medical appointment, or undertake education or training; and
  • vulnerable children and young people

During the current national restrictions, children who are home educated should not attend out-of-school settings for face-to-face provision unless they are considered to be vulnerable, or if they are children of critical workers.

Children may face a range of vulnerabilities, some of which are not easily defined.  Our guidance outlines that local stakeholders (such as education providers and local authorities) are best placed to identify who may fall into this category. The guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision. Some pupils who have difficulty engaging in remote education may be considered to be vulnerable children and therefore eligible to attend provision. However, settings may provide their own laptops, or should consider different forms of remote education, where this is not possible, such as printed resources or textbooks, supplemented with other forms of communication to keep pupils and students on track or answer questions about work.

Further information on the criteria for vulnerable children and children of critical workers can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision. Providers should be moving to remote education as far as possible for those not eligible to attend for onsite provision.

The department expects providers that continue to offer face-to-face provision for eligible children, to follow our updated guidance on protective measures for holiday and after-school clubs, and other out-of-school settings, in order to safely adhere to the government’s restrictions. The guidance 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/protective-measures-for-out-of-school-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

We have also published updated guidance for parents and carers to follow if their children are eligible to attend for face-to-face provision and they choose to send them to these settings. This guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-for-parents-and-carers-of-children-attending-out-of-school-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak/guidance-for-parents-and-carers-of-children-attending-out-of-school-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

4th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the ability of unregistered out-of-school settings providing religious tuition to children to adhere to restrictions in place to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

Supplementary schools for children, including those offering religious instruction, for example, are typically considered to be out-of-school settings. The department defines out-of-school settings as organisations or individuals that provide tuition, training, instruction or activities to children in England without their parents’ or carers’ supervision, but are not:

  • schools
  • colleges
  • 16 to 19 academies
  • providers caring for children that are registered with Ofsted or a childminder agency

Unregistered schools are those that are operating as an independent school without having registered with the department. It is a criminal offence (under section 96 of the Education and Skills 2008 Act) for any person to conduct an unregistered independent school, and where we find evidence that a school is operating unlawfully, the department will seek to take action by working with police, Ofsted and the Crown Prosecution Service as necessary.

The department does not hold a central register of all out-of-school settings and so is not able to give an assessment of the ability of providers in the sector to adhere to restrictions in place to address the COVID-19 outbreak. However, since the beginning of the outbreak we have been in close communication with out-of-school settings stakeholders, including various representatives from the faith sector, to outline how the protective measures in the sector guidance work to minimise the risk of transmission and infection of the virus, and how they can be practically implemented across a range of settings.

Under the current national restrictions, announced on 5 January 2021, wraparound childcare providers, holiday clubs, and out-of-school settings should only continue to offer face-to-face provision for:

  • children of critical workers, where it is reasonably necessary to support their parents or carers to work, seek work, attend a medical appointment, or undertake education or training; and
  • vulnerable children and young people

During the current national restrictions, children who are home educated should not attend out-of-school settings for face-to-face provision unless they are considered to be vulnerable, or if they are children of critical workers.

Children may face a range of vulnerabilities, some of which are not easily defined.  Our guidance outlines that local stakeholders (such as education providers and local authorities) are best placed to identify who may fall into this category. The guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision. Some pupils who have difficulty engaging in remote education may be considered to be vulnerable children and therefore eligible to attend provision. However, settings may provide their own laptops, or should consider different forms of remote education, where this is not possible, such as printed resources or textbooks, supplemented with other forms of communication to keep pupils and students on track or answer questions about work.

Further information on the criteria for vulnerable children and children of critical workers can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision. Providers should be moving to remote education as far as possible for those not eligible to attend for onsite provision.

The department expects providers that continue to offer face-to-face provision for eligible children, to follow our updated guidance on protective measures for holiday and after-school clubs, and other out-of-school settings, in order to safely adhere to the government’s restrictions. The guidance 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/protective-measures-for-out-of-school-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

We have also published updated guidance for parents and carers to follow if their children are eligible to attend for face-to-face provision and they choose to send them to these settings. This guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-for-parents-and-carers-of-children-attending-out-of-school-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak/guidance-for-parents-and-carers-of-children-attending-out-of-school-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

3rd Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by the National Day Nurseries Association Early Years Funding 2019/20: Underspends and contingency budgets one year on, published in February; and in particular, its finding that over the last two years there has been a £1.5 billion underspend by local education authorities across early entitlement funding and Tax Free Childcare.

The setting of local provider funding rates is a decision for local authorities in consultation with their schools forum. The free childcare offers for 2, 3 and 4-year-olds are demand-led and local authorities will see an underspend in their funding if take-up of any of the entitlements has not been as high as the authority had forecast at the start of the year. Any underspend from a local authority’s early years budget is carried forward to the next financial year, and must remain within the education budget, as set out in guidance which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/dedicated-schools-grant-dsg-2021-to-2022/dsg-conditions-of-grant-2021-to-2022. Local authorities must also consult with their schools forum on the use of their underspend, as is set out in guidance which can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/945784/Schools_Operational_guide_2021_to_2022_V4_.pdf.

The government recognises that take up of Tax-Free Childcare (TFC) has been below expectations, particularly for school-aged children. For this reason, at the March 2020 Budget we announced a measure that will make TFC payments compatible with school payment agents, allowing up to 500,000 eligible children to access TFC for the first time.

The department is in regular contact with the early years sector and we have discussed this report and the findings with the National Day Nurseries Association.

2nd Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they are taking in relation to the underspending by local education authorities of funding earmarked for children’s early education and care which has been instead channelled into other areas of education spending.

The setting of local provider funding rates is a decision for local authorities in consultation with their Schools Forum. The free childcare offers for two-, three- and four-year-olds are demand-led and local authorities will see an underspend in their funding if take-up of any of the entitlements has not been as high as the local authority had forecast at the start of the year. Any underspend from a local authority’s early years budget is carried forward to the next financial year, and must remain within the education budget, as is set out here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/dedicated-schools-grant-dsg-2021-to-2022/dsg-conditions-of-grant-2021-to-2022. Local authorities must also consult with their Schools Forum on the use of their underspend, as is set out here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/945784/Schools_Operational_guide_2021_to_2022_V4_.pdf.

My right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced on 25 November 2020 a £44 million investment in the 2021-22 financial year, for local authorities to increase hourly rates paid to childcare providers for the government’s free childcare entitlement offers. In the 2021-22 financial year we will increase the hourly funding rates for all local authorities by 8p an hour for the two-year-old entitlement and, for the vast majority of areas, by 6p an hour for the three- and four-year-old entitlement.

28th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what advice on teaching the Holocaust they have given to academies and multi-academy trusts that do not follow the national curriculum.

Academies and free schools are required to provide their pupils with a broad and balanced curriculum, even whilst they are not required to offer the National Curriculum. Teaching about the Holocaust is an important part of that. The Department supports teaching on the Holocaust in schools through two programmes: the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Lesson from Auschwitz and the Continuing Professional Development for teachers’ work of University College London’s Centre for Holocaust Education. These programmes help teachers to teach the Holocaust and pupils to understand it, and reach all types of schools, and help to develop high quality teaching across the school sector. Ofsted’s new inspection framework also places a renewed focus on all schools ensuring pupils receive a broad, balanced and ambitious curriculum as exemplified by the National Curriculum.

The Government believes that every young person should learn about the Holocaust and the lessons it teaches us today. Effective teaching about the Holocaust can support pupils to learn about the possible consequences of antisemitism and other forms of extremism and help reduce their spread.

25th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many early education providers (1) have closed in the last six months in England, and (2) have closed in the last six months in areas of England with the highest level of income deprivation according to the English Indices of Deprivation.

Ofsted publish data monthly on joiners and leavers in the childcare sector, which we have used as a proxy for providers that may have closed.

Between 30 June 2020 and 31 December 2020, there were a total of 3,202 childcare providers who left the Early Years Register across all provider types. However, this should be considered in conjunction with those who joined the Early Years Register to understand the net impact on the childcare market. Over the same time period there were a total of 2,340 providers who joined the Early Years Register. This data does not include nursery provision within schools. Further data on leavers and joiners can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/joiners-and-leavers-in-the-childcare-sector.

Of the childcare providers who left the Early Years Register between 30 June 2020 and 31 December 2020, 396 (12%) were located in the most deprived areas. Deprivation quintiles are calculated from the Income Deprivation Affecting Children Index rank of the provider’s address.

The early years sector has benefitted from the continuation of early years entitlement funding during the during the summer and autumn terms in 2020. As private nurseries typically rely on private income for a significant proportion of their income, they are able to furlough their staff via the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme (CJRS). Further information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-job-retention-scheme. As long as the staff meet the other criteria for the scheme, private nurseries are able to furlough their staff via the CJRS if they have experienced a drop in their income either from parents or the 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. Childminders are less likely to be employers and therefore are less likely to be eligible for support via the CJRS. Childminders may find the Self Employment Income Support Scheme more relevant. further information can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-coronavirus-covid-19-self-employment-income-support-scheme.

There is little evidence of current, actual, failure in the early years market. Whilst we recognise that the early years sector has been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, we have not yet seen localised failure of the market at any time in any local authority. Most importantly, we have not seen a significant number of parents unable to secure a childcare place since early years settings re-opened fully on 1 June 2020.

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.

25th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the number of early education providers that expect to close permanently within the next six months

Ofsted publish data monthly on joiners and leavers in the childcare sector, which we have used as a proxy for providers that may have closed.

Between 30 June 2020 and 31 December 2020, there were a total of 3,202 childcare providers who left the Early Years Register across all provider types. However, this should be considered in conjunction with those who joined the Early Years Register to understand the net impact on the childcare market. Over the same time period there were a total of 2,340 providers who joined the Early Years Register. This data does not include nursery provision within schools. Further data on leavers and joiners can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/joiners-and-leavers-in-the-childcare-sector.

Of the childcare providers who left the Early Years Register between 30 June 2020 and 31 December 2020, 396 (12%) were located in the most deprived areas. Deprivation quintiles are calculated from the Income Deprivation Affecting Children Index rank of the provider’s address.

The early years sector has benefitted from the continuation of early years entitlement funding during the during the summer and autumn terms in 2020. As private nurseries typically rely on private income for a significant proportion of their income, they are able to furlough their staff via the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme (CJRS). Further information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-job-retention-scheme. As long as the staff meet the other criteria for the scheme, private nurseries are able to furlough their staff via the CJRS if they have experienced a drop in their income either from parents or the 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. Childminders are less likely to be employers and therefore are less likely to be eligible for support via the CJRS. Childminders may find the Self Employment Income Support Scheme more relevant. further information can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-coronavirus-covid-19-self-employment-income-support-scheme.

There is little evidence of current, actual, failure in the early years market. Whilst we recognise that the early years sector has been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, we have not yet seen localised failure of the market at any time in any local authority. Most importantly, we have not seen a significant number of parents unable to secure a childcare place since early years settings re-opened fully on 1 June 2020.

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.

25th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of whether the early years sector is experiencing market failure.

Ofsted publish data monthly on joiners and leavers in the childcare sector, which we have used as a proxy for providers that may have closed.

Between 30 June 2020 and 31 December 2020, there were a total of 3,202 childcare providers who left the Early Years Register across all provider types. However, this should be considered in conjunction with those who joined the Early Years Register to understand the net impact on the childcare market. Over the same time period there were a total of 2,340 providers who joined the Early Years Register. This data does not include nursery provision within schools. Further data on leavers and joiners can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/joiners-and-leavers-in-the-childcare-sector.

Of the childcare providers who left the Early Years Register between 30 June 2020 and 31 December 2020, 396 (12%) were located in the most deprived areas. Deprivation quintiles are calculated from the Income Deprivation Affecting Children Index rank of the provider’s address.

The early years sector has benefitted from the continuation of early years entitlement funding during the during the summer and autumn terms in 2020. As private nurseries typically rely on private income for a significant proportion of their income, they are able to furlough their staff via the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme (CJRS). Further information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-job-retention-scheme. As long as the staff meet the other criteria for the scheme, private nurseries are able to furlough their staff via the CJRS if they have experienced a drop in their income either from parents or the 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. Childminders are less likely to be employers and therefore are less likely to be eligible for support via the CJRS. Childminders may find the Self Employment Income Support Scheme more relevant. further information can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-coronavirus-covid-19-self-employment-income-support-scheme.

There is little evidence of current, actual, failure in the early years market. Whilst we recognise that the early years sector has been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, we have not yet seen localised failure of the market at any time in any local authority. Most importantly, we have not seen a significant number of parents unable to secure a childcare place since early years settings re-opened fully on 1 June 2020.

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.

25th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the gap between funding rates and delivery costs for early years providers.

The government continues to support families with their childcare costs. My right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced at the Spending Review a further £44 million investment in the 2021/22 financial year for local authorities to increase hourly rates paid to childcare providers for the government’s free childcare entitlement offers.

In the 2021/22 financial year, we will increase the hourly funding rates for all local authorities by 8p an hour for the entitlement for 2 year olds and, for the vast majority of areas, by 6p an hour for the entitlement for 3 year olds and 4 year olds. This will pay for a rate increase that is higher than the costs nurseries may face from the uplift to the national living wage in April 2021.

During the COVID-19 outbreak, early years settings also have access to a range of business support packages including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Attendance at childcare has been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, but we saw attendance rise over the autumn term.

The Department for Education carries out its own regular research on the cost of delivering childcare. The 2019 provider finances report is published here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/providers-finances-survey-of-childcare-and-ey-providers-2019.

The provider finances report includes data on the following:

  • total cost and total income of delivering childcare
  • variation in unit costs (an approximate measure of the average cost per child per hour for all children in the setting) and staff hourly pay
  • patterns in parent-paid hourly fees and additional charges for parents

The 2019 survey of childcare and early years providers also includes information on the costs of providing childcare: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/childcare-and-early-years-providers-survey-2019.

25th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the number of early education and childcare providers who have been unable to access (1) the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, and (2) the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.

We do not hold data on the number of early education and childcare providers who have been unable to access the support schemes on offer. However, we do know, from our survey of childcare and early years education providers and COVID-19 (September-October 2020), that 75% of group-based providers and 10% of school-based providers reported having made use of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) at any point since it was introduced. We know that the education sector has made 249,000 claims during the 3 Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grant periods up to 31 December 2020, out of an eligible population of 114,000, with the average value of claim £2,300. Further information on this survey can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/survey-of-childcare-and-early-years-providers-and-coronavirus-covid-19-wave-2.

We have issued clear guidance on how all early education and childcare providers can access the CJRS and the SEISS.

The early years sector has benefitted from the continuation of early years entitlement funding during the summer and autumn terms in 2020, and providers have been able to furlough their staff via the CJRS. 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 the 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.

An early years provider can access the CJRS to cover up to the proportion of its salary bill which could be considered to have been paid for from that provider’s private income. This would typically be income received from ‘parent-paid’ hours that have not yet returned as a result of COVID-19 and excludes all income from the government’s free entitlements. Providers should use the month of February 2020 to represent their usual income, in calculating the proportion of its salary bill eligible to be covered by the scheme, taking into account parent-paid income that has returned. Providers should adjust these proportions in subsequent furloughing applications if their income from the government's free entitlements changes.

Childminders are eligible to receive support from the SEISS, which has been extended until April 2021.

More information about the CJRS and all other business and self-employed support that is being made available can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-extends-furlough-to-march-and-increases-self-employed-support.

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.

25th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to prioritise early years staff for vaccinations against COVID-19.

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. 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 for Education is working with DHSC and Public Health England to ensure that the education and childcare workforce is considered for prioritisation in the roll-out of the vaccine.

20th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what criteria were used in the appointment of the chair of the review of children's social care, announced on 15 January.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, asked Josh MacAlister to lead the independent review of children’s social care based on his understanding of the challenges facing the system and his experience of implementing innovative solutions. It is common practice for independent reviewers to be directly appointed based on their expertise.

The department will set out the expected timescales for the review in due course. As part of business planning and setting budgets for the financial year 2021/2022, the department will work with the lead reviewer to ensure there are sufficient resources available to undertake the review.

The event to launch the review was attended by over 50 people from over 25 organisations, as well as Josh MacAlister, the reviewer, and my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education. These organisations are: Action for Children, Adoption and Special Guardianship Leadership Board, Association of Directors of Children’s Service, Barnardo’s, Become, BBC, Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service, Cardiff University, Care Leaver Covenant Board, Chair of Child Safeguarding Panel, Office of the Children’s Commissioner, Children's Society, Coram, Council for Disabled Children, Daily Telegraph, Department for Education, Early Intervention Foundation, Family Justice Observatory, Family Rights Group, Financial Times, ITV, LEAP Academy, Local Government Association, National Children’s Bureau, National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, Ofsted, Social Work England, What Works Centre for Children’s Social Care, Sky News and Social Work England. A number of individuals who were invited to and attended the event have lived experience of children’s social care. Representatives from other organisations were invited but did not attend. These are: Youth Endowment Fund, Kent University, Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Reach Academy.

20th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government on what date the chair of the review of children's social care, announced on 15 January, was appointed; what is the duration of this appointment; and what is the total budget allocated to the review.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, asked Josh MacAlister to lead the independent review of children’s social care based on his understanding of the challenges facing the system and his experience of implementing innovative solutions. It is common practice for independent reviewers to be directly appointed based on their expertise.

The department will set out the expected timescales for the review in due course. As part of business planning and setting budgets for the financial year 2021/2022, the department will work with the lead reviewer to ensure there are sufficient resources available to undertake the review.

The event to launch the review was attended by over 50 people from over 25 organisations, as well as Josh MacAlister, the reviewer, and my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education. These organisations are: Action for Children, Adoption and Special Guardianship Leadership Board, Association of Directors of Children’s Service, Barnardo’s, Become, BBC, Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service, Cardiff University, Care Leaver Covenant Board, Chair of Child Safeguarding Panel, Office of the Children’s Commissioner, Children's Society, Coram, Council for Disabled Children, Daily Telegraph, Department for Education, Early Intervention Foundation, Family Justice Observatory, Family Rights Group, Financial Times, ITV, LEAP Academy, Local Government Association, National Children’s Bureau, National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, Ofsted, Social Work England, What Works Centre for Children’s Social Care, Sky News and Social Work England. A number of individuals who were invited to and attended the event have lived experience of children’s social care. Representatives from other organisations were invited but did not attend. These are: Youth Endowment Fund, Kent University, Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Reach Academy.

20th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government which (1) organisations, and (2) individuals, were (a) invited to, and (b) attended, the launch of the review of children's social care on 15 January.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, asked Josh MacAlister to lead the independent review of children’s social care based on his understanding of the challenges facing the system and his experience of implementing innovative solutions. It is common practice for independent reviewers to be directly appointed based on their expertise.

The department will set out the expected timescales for the review in due course. As part of business planning and setting budgets for the financial year 2021/2022, the department will work with the lead reviewer to ensure there are sufficient resources available to undertake the review.

The event to launch the review was attended by over 50 people from over 25 organisations, as well as Josh MacAlister, the reviewer, and my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education. These organisations are: Action for Children, Adoption and Special Guardianship Leadership Board, Association of Directors of Children’s Service, Barnardo’s, Become, BBC, Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service, Cardiff University, Care Leaver Covenant Board, Chair of Child Safeguarding Panel, Office of the Children’s Commissioner, Children's Society, Coram, Council for Disabled Children, Daily Telegraph, Department for Education, Early Intervention Foundation, Family Justice Observatory, Family Rights Group, Financial Times, ITV, LEAP Academy, Local Government Association, National Children’s Bureau, National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, Ofsted, Social Work England, What Works Centre for Children’s Social Care, Sky News and Social Work England. A number of individuals who were invited to and attended the event have lived experience of children’s social care. Representatives from other organisations were invited but did not attend. These are: Youth Endowment Fund, Kent University, Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Reach Academy.

20th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much funding the charity Frontline received from the Department for Education in each of the last five financial years.

The charity, Frontline, received funding from the department to deliver the Frontline programme, which trains graduates to become social workers, and the Firstline programme, which supports the development of social worker managers. In the last 5 financial years, they received the below amounts (rounded):

  • £16 million in 2020/21 (year to December).
  • £20 million in 2019/20.
  • £15 million in 2018/19.
  • £13 million in 2017/18.
  • £8 million in 2016/17.

19th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they intend to take to ensure that any apprentices from disadvantaged backgrounds receive access to any (1) laptops, and (2) broadband connections, required for them to complete assessments and functional skills tests remotely.

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. 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-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 apprenticeships remotely. This includes access to equipment required for remote assessments and Functional Skills tests. Training providers may also be able to support apprentices with access to equipment where required.

To support businesses during this time, we have extended the incentive payments for employers of up to £2000 for each new apprentice they hire until the end of 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.

19th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to mandate teacher-assessed grades for functional skills tests where apprentices cannot travel to a test centre safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The impact of the COVID-19 outbreak has meant that it was not always viable for external exams and assessments to go ahead for some vocational and technical qualifications (VTQs) this year, this includes Functional Skills Qualifications (FSQs).

The department and Ofqual launched a consultation on 15 January 2021, seeking views by 29 January 2021, on the department’s position that Functional Skills qualification assessments should continue to take place remotely or in line with public health guidelines where possible, and that alternative arrangements should be introduced for those learners, including apprentices, who are unable to access assessments. The consultation on alternative arrangements for the award of VTQs and other general qualifications is published here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/953003/6743-2_2021_VTQ_alternative_arrangements_consultation_15JAN21.pdf .

The approach for providing Functional Skills learners, including apprentices, with a result through alternative arrangements will be determined in light of the consultation. Until the outcome of the consultation is known, we can confirm that active apprentices who are deemed ready to take their FSQ assessments can still do so if it is in line with public health guidelines. This means apprentices can take their assessment at work or remotely, using flexibilities made available by their awarding organisation.

14th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by the Social Mobility Commission Changing gears: understanding downward social mobility, published in November 2020; and what plans they have to address the Commission's finding that one in five people move into a lower occupational group than their parents.

The government welcomes the Social Mobility Commission’s recent report, ‘Changing gears: understanding downward social mobility’. Spreading opportunity is a top priority right across the Department for Education, every child should have the same opportunity to express their talents and make the most of their lives.

The report highlights the key role education plays in securing social mobility. The government’s approach to social mobility has been to increase opportunity and support higher standards for all pupils. That ambition has underpinned all the department’s reforms to education since 2010, which have demonstrated that it is possible to achieve the highest standards for pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds. A world-class education system that works for everyone is the surest way to spread opportunity across the country. That is why we are investing over £7 billion more in our schools by the 2022/2023 financial year. This means schools around the country can continue to raise standards to give all children the skills and knowledge they need to succeed. Moreover, pupil premium funding, worth around £2.4 billion annually, continues to benefit the most disadvantaged pupils.

Alongside apprenticeships, traineeships, and T levels, my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, recently announced the Lifetime Skills Guarantee, which aims to ensure that people across the country can access the education and training they need to succeed throughout their lives. As part of the landmark Lifetime Skills Guarantee the Prime Minister also announced a series of Skills Bootcamps and a lifelong loan entitlement for adult learners. The Skills Bootcamps give people the opportunity to build up sector-specific skills and fast-track to an interview with a local employer. The Lifelong loan entitlement will make is easier for all adults to study more flexibly – allowing them to space out their studies across their lifetimes, transfer credits between colleges and universities, and enable more part-time study.

The Social Mobility Commission will be moving to the Cabinet Office from 1 April 2021. The government has always recognised that socio-economic equality goes beyond one department; we want the levelling up agenda to be a cross-government commitment. Anchoring the Social Mobility Commission to a team at the heart of Government re-affirms this commitment.

14th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to ensure that staff working in early years settings are vaccinated against COVID-19.

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.

14th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Berridge on 23 December 2020 (HL11511), what plans they have to continue funding childcare at the same level as before the COVID-19 pandemic.

We recognise childcare attendance has been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, we saw attendance rise over the autumn term from 482,000 on 10 September to 759,000 on 17 December 2020. On 17 December 2020, the government, therefore, announced a return to funding early years settings on the basis on attendance. In line with the existing and unchanged statutory guidance local authorities should ensure that providers are not penalised for short-term absences of children, for example sickness, arriving late or leaving early, or a family emergency through withdrawing funding, but use their discretion where absence is recurring or for extended periods, taking into account the reason for the absence and the impact on the provider. The guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/use-of-free-early-education-entitlements-funding-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/use-of-free-early-education-entitlements-funding-during-coronavirus-covid-19.

We will fund local authorities in the 2021 spring term based on their January 2021 census. If attendance rises after the census is taken, we will top-up councils to up to 85% of their January 2020 census level, where a local authority can provide evidence for increased attendance during the spring term. This will give local authorities additional financial confidence to pay providers for increasing attendance later in the spring term.

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.

6th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will publish the evidence on which they based their decision to allow early years settings to remain open while all other education settings have been closed for the physical attendance of the majority of students; and if not, why not.

My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister announced on 4 January 2021 that early years settings remain open for all children during the national lockdown. Details can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/national-lockdown-stay-at-home.

Schools have been restricted because additional measures are needed to contain the spread of COVID-19. The wider significant restrictions in place as part of the national lockdown to contain the spread of COVID-19 enable us to continue prioritising keeping nurseries and childminders open, supporting parents, and delivering the crucial care and education needed for our youngest children.

Early years settings remain low risk environments for children and staff. Current evidence suggests that pre-school children (0 to 5 years) are less susceptible to infection and are unlikely to be playing a driving role in transmission. There is no evidence the new strain of the virus causes more serious illness in either children or adults and there is no evidence that the new variant of coronavirus disproportionately affects young children.

This report from PHE shows that, at present under 5s have the lowest confirmed case rate of all age groups: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/national-flu-and-covid-19-surveillance-reports.

Public Health England (PHE) advice remains that the risk of transmission and infection is low if early years settings follow the system of controls, which reduce risks and create inherently safer environments.

Early years settings have been open to all children since 1 June and there is no evidence that the early years sector has contributed to a rise in virus cases within the community. Early modelling evidence from SAGE showed that early years provision had a smaller relative impact on transmission rate when modelled with both primary schools and secondary schools.

Early years childcare providers were one of the first sectors to have restrictions lifted last summer, in recognition of the key role they play in society. Childminders and nursery staff across the country have worked hard to keep settings open throughout COVID-19 so that young children can be educated, and parents can work. The earliest years are the most crucial point of child development and attending early education lays the foundation for lifelong learning and supports children’s social and emotional development. We continue to prioritise keeping early years settings open in full because of the clear benefits to children’s education and wellbeing and to support working parents. Caring for the youngest age group is not something that can be done remotely.

These plans are being kept under review in the light of emerging scientific evidence. We are working with the scientific community to understand the properties and dynamics of the new variant VUI-202012/01 in relation to children and young people.

6th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what (1) advice, and (2) additional support, (a) special schools, and (b) alternative provision settings, will receive to enable them to stay open safely for those students who need to attend physically while there are restrictions in place to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

We published guidance on 7 January 2021 setting out how we want all schools to operate during this new lockdown. This can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak.

The guidance makes it clear that all schools, alternative provision (AP), special schools, colleges and wraparound childcare and other out-of-school activities for children should allow vulnerable children and young people and the children of critical workers to attend (recognising that the characteristics of the cohorts in special schools and alternative provision will mean these settings continue to offer face to face provision for all pupils, where appropriate). As well as setting out our expectations, the guidance includes advice on a range of matters including public health advice on minimising coronavirus risks, opening hours, recording attendance, transport, workforce, school funding and remote learning.

We must ensure as far as possible that vulnerable children and young people continue to receive high-quality education and support because we know that they, and their families, can be disproportionately impacted by being out of education. Therefore, we expect AP schools to remain open to vulnerable children and young people (along with children of critical workers) and to actively encourage those they consider to be vulnerable – identified in partnership with local services - to attend provision. AP should provide robust remote learning for those who are not attending. Similarly, special schools should continue to welcome and encourage pupils to attend full-time where parents/carers wish for their child to attend. Special post-16 settings should also continue to welcome and encourage students to attend as per their usual timetable where the young person wishes to attend.

We will continue to update guidance and support in due course, providing more detailed advice and support for special schools and AP.

5th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what additional support they will make available during the period of school closures announced by the Prime Minister on 4 January to ensure that all children who are participating in remote learning have access to (1) laptops or tablets, (2) internet provision, and (3) online education platforms; and what steps they have taken to ensure that such children have access to such items without having to share access with siblings or working parents.

The government is investing over £400 million to support access to remote education and online social care services, including securing over 1.3 million laptops and tablets for disadvantaged children and young people. Over 750,000 laptops and tablets had been delivered to schools, academy trusts and local authorities by the end of last week, nearly 140,000 of which had been delivered this month.

Laptops and tablets are owned by schools, academy trusts or local authorities who can lend these to children and young people who need them most during the current COVID-19 restrictions. Where sole access to a device is required to support continued education or care, we would expect schools and social care teams to allocate laptops or tablets on that basis.

The department has also partnered with some of the UK’s leading mobile operators to provide free data to disadvantaged families, further supporting remote learning where it is needed. Where schools identify a child from a disadvantaged family without internet access at home, they can now request free, additional data through the department’s Get Help with Technology service. We are grateful to EE, O2, Sky Mobile, Smarty, Tesco Mobile, Three, Virgin Mobile, and Vodafone. We continue to invite a range of mobile network providers to support the offer.

The department has also provided over 54,000 4G wireless routers with free data for the academic year and we will continue to do so.

The government is funding expert technical support to help schools set up secure user accounts for Google and Microsoft’s education platforms. Schools can apply for government funded support through The Key for School Leaders to get set up on one of two free to use digital education platforms: G Suite for Education or Office 365 Education. Since April 2020, 2.4 million accounts have been set up. The Key also provides case studies to demonstrate how schools are making the most of these platforms.

The EdTech Demonstrator network is in place to promote effective use of devices, including ways they can be used to promote greater accessibility to the curriculum.

The department is also supporting sector led initiatives such as the Oak National Academy. This pioneering enterprise has been created by 40 teachers from schools across England. The department has made £4.84 million available for the Oak National Academy both for the summer term of 2019-20, and for the 2020-21 academic year, to provide video lessons for Reception up to year 11. Specialist content for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities is also available. Oak National Academy will remain a free optional resource for the academic year 2020-21.

The BBC has also developed resources for families as part of a comprehensive education package, which is available on TV, BBC iPlayer and online at BBC Bitesize.

A number of mobile network providers are also working together to make access to educational resources, such as Oak Academy and BBC Bitesize, free of mobile data charges.

5th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Berridge on 25 November 2020 (HL10314), how many mobile network providers have responded to the request to provide a national service until the end of the academic year to assist disadvantaged families in gaining access to a free mobile data uplift to support remote education during periods of school closures.

The government is investing over £400 million to support access to remote education and online social care services, including securing over 1.3 million laptops and tablets for disadvantaged children and young people. Over 750,000 laptops and tablets had been delivered to schools, academy trusts and local authorities by the end of last week, nearly 140,000 of which had been delivered this month.

Laptops and tablets are owned by schools, academy trusts or local authorities who can lend these to children and young people who need them most during the current COVID-19 restrictions. Where sole access to a device is required to support continued education or care, we would expect schools and social care teams to allocate laptops or tablets on that basis.

The department has also partnered with some of the UK’s leading mobile operators to provide free data to disadvantaged families, further supporting remote learning where it is needed. Where schools identify a child from a disadvantaged family without internet access at home, they can now request free, additional data through the department’s Get Help with Technology service. We are grateful to EE, O2, Sky Mobile, Smarty, Tesco Mobile, Three, Virgin Mobile, and Vodafone. We continue to invite a range of mobile network providers to support the offer.

The department has also provided over 54,000 4G wireless routers with free data for the academic year and we will continue to do so.

The government is funding expert technical support to help schools set up secure user accounts for Google and Microsoft’s education platforms. Schools can apply for government funded support through The Key for School Leaders to get set up on one of two free to use digital education platforms: G Suite for Education or Office 365 Education. Since April 2020, 2.4 million accounts have been set up. The Key also provides case studies to demonstrate how schools are making the most of these platforms.

The EdTech Demonstrator network is in place to promote effective use of devices, including ways they can be used to promote greater accessibility to the curriculum.

The department is also supporting sector led initiatives such as the Oak National Academy. This pioneering enterprise has been created by 40 teachers from schools across England. The department has made £4.84 million available for the Oak National Academy both for the summer term of 2019-20, and for the 2020-21 academic year, to provide video lessons for Reception up to year 11. Specialist content for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities is also available. Oak National Academy will remain a free optional resource for the academic year 2020-21.

The BBC has also developed resources for families as part of a comprehensive education package, which is available on TV, BBC iPlayer and online at BBC Bitesize.

A number of mobile network providers are also working together to make access to educational resources, such as Oak Academy and BBC Bitesize, free of mobile data charges.

5th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Berridge on 25 November 2020 (HL10314), what progress they have made with mobile network operators to provide access to free additional data to support remote education during periods of school closures.

The government is investing over £400 million to support access to remote education and online social care services, including securing over 1.3 million laptops and tablets for disadvantaged children and young people. Over 750,000 laptops and tablets had been delivered to schools, academy trusts and local authorities by the end of last week, nearly 140,000 of which had been delivered this month.

Laptops and tablets are owned by schools, academy trusts or local authorities who can lend these to children and young people who need them most during the current COVID-19 restrictions. Where sole access to a device is required to support continued education or care, we would expect schools and social care teams to allocate laptops or tablets on that basis.

The department has also partnered with some of the UK’s leading mobile operators to provide free data to disadvantaged families, further supporting remote learning where it is needed. Where schools identify a child from a disadvantaged family without internet access at home, they can now request free, additional data through the department’s Get Help with Technology service. We are grateful to EE, O2, Sky Mobile, Smarty, Tesco Mobile, Three, Virgin Mobile, and Vodafone. We continue to invite a range of mobile network providers to support the offer.

The department has also provided over 54,000 4G wireless routers with free data for the academic year and we will continue to do so.

The government is funding expert technical support to help schools set up secure user accounts for Google and Microsoft’s education platforms. Schools can apply for government funded support through The Key for School Leaders to get set up on one of two free to use digital education platforms: G Suite for Education or Office 365 Education. Since April 2020, 2.4 million accounts have been set up. The Key also provides case studies to demonstrate how schools are making the most of these platforms.

The EdTech Demonstrator network is in place to promote effective use of devices, including ways they can be used to promote greater accessibility to the curriculum.

The department is also supporting sector led initiatives such as the Oak National Academy. This pioneering enterprise has been created by 40 teachers from schools across England. The department has made £4.84 million available for the Oak National Academy both for the summer term of 2019-20, and for the 2020-21 academic year, to provide video lessons for Reception up to year 11. Specialist content for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities is also available. Oak National Academy will remain a free optional resource for the academic year 2020-21.

The BBC has also developed resources for families as part of a comprehensive education package, which is available on TV, BBC iPlayer and online at BBC Bitesize.

A number of mobile network providers are also working together to make access to educational resources, such as Oak Academy and BBC Bitesize, free of mobile data charges.

30th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Barran on 20 November (HL10315), what steps they have taken to put in place measures that specifically benefit young people leaving the care system in overcoming digital exclusion.

We are aware that care leavers are less likely to have access to a device and internet package than their peers in the general population and that, consequently, they were likely to be at higher risk of loneliness and isolation during the COVID-19 outbreak. That is why, in April 2020, we prioritised care leavers for receipt of laptops and 4G wireless routers that the department distributed to local authorities as part of a £100 million investment in technology access for vulnerable children and young people.

Of the 220,000 laptops and tablets, and over 50,000 routers that have been distributed, 148,000 have been provided specifically to children with a social worker and care leavers. This has meant that thousands of care leavers have digital access to allow them to participate in learning online and to maintain contact with their Personal Advisers and with other support networks and access support services online. A copy of the guidance issued to local authorities is available at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/laptops-tablets-and-4g-wireless-routers-provided-during-coronavirus-covid-19.

Since these devices were distributed, we have extended the data packages provided, with all current SIM card contracts remaining active until July 2021. A copy of these details is available at: https://get-help-with-tech.education.gov.uk/devices/preparing-4g-wireless-routers#contract-length.

All local authorities have a duty to consult on and publish a local offer for their care leavers. This includes care leavers’ statutory entitlements, as well as any discretionary support and services that the local authority chooses to provide. Some local authorities have included supplying mobile phones, data packages or other forms of digital access for their care leavers during COVID-19 and may consider making this part of their local offer going forward.

30th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the barriers facing care leavers in being approved for contracts with broadband providers.

We are aware that care leavers are less likely to have access to a device and internet package than their peers in the general population and that, consequently, they were likely to be at higher risk of loneliness and isolation during the COVID-19 outbreak. That is why, in April 2020, we prioritised care leavers for receipt of laptops and 4G wireless routers that the department distributed to local authorities as part of a £100 million investment in technology access for vulnerable children and young people.

Of the 220,000 laptops and tablets, and over 50,000 routers that have been distributed, 148,000 have been provided specifically to children with a social worker and care leavers. This has meant that thousands of care leavers have digital access to allow them to participate in learning online and to maintain contact with their Personal Advisers and with other support networks and access support services online. A copy of the guidance issued to local authorities is available at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/laptops-tablets-and-4g-wireless-routers-provided-during-coronavirus-covid-19.

Since these devices were distributed, we have extended the data packages provided, with all current SIM card contracts remaining active until July 2021. A copy of these details is available at: https://get-help-with-tech.education.gov.uk/devices/preparing-4g-wireless-routers#contract-length.

All local authorities have a duty to consult on and publish a local offer for their care leavers. This includes care leavers’ statutory entitlements, as well as any discretionary support and services that the local authority chooses to provide. Some local authorities have included supplying mobile phones, data packages or other forms of digital access for their care leavers during COVID-19 and may consider making this part of their local offer going forward.

15th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the finding in the Department for Education report Survey of Childcare and Early Years Providers and COVID-19, published on 26 October, that 45 per cent of nurseries and pre-schools and 55 per cent of childminders expect to remain financially sustainable for the next year; and what action they intend to take to support those childcare providers who do not expect to remain financially sustainable.

The government recognises the importance of supporting the early years sector financially during the COVID-19 outbreak.

We are continuing to fund childcare at the same level as before the COVID-19 outbreak, until the end of the calendar year, giving nurseries and childminders another term of secure income, regardless of how many children are attending. Early years settings will continue to benefit from a planned £3.6 billion in funding for the 2020/21 financial year, to create free early education and childcare places.

My right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced on 25 November 2020 a further £44 million investment for the 2021/22 financial year. We can now also confirm that in the 2021/22 financial year, we will increase the hourly funding rates for all local authorities by 8p an hour for the 2 year old entitlement and, for the vast majority of areas, by 6p an hour for the 3 and 4 year old entitlement. This will pay for a rate increase that is higher than the costs nurseries may face from the uplift to the national living wage in April 2020.

Additionally, the government has provided a package of support for individuals and businesses which are directly benefitting providers of childcare. This includes business rates relief and grants, the extended Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) and the extended Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), which will remain open until April 2021, with employees receiving 80% of their current salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500.

Our ‘Survey of Childcare and Early Years Providers and COVID-19 (Coronavirus)’, published on 26 October 2020, contains information on early years providers’ use of the CJRS and how many childminders applied for and received government support. This can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/survey-of-childcare-and-early-years-providers-and-covid-19-coronavirus.

At the time of the survey (July 2020), 76% per cent of open group-based providers and 14% of open school-based providers reported having made use of the CJRS at any point.

At the time of the survey, all childminders were asked whether they had applied for any financial support from the government due to loss of income (for example, via the SEISS or the Small Business Grant Scheme). The majority of all childminders (86%) reported having applied for financial support from the government. Of these, 80% have received support and 6% had applied for but not yet received support. 14% of childminders had not applied for financial support.

The government continues to work closely with both local authorities and early years sector organisations to monitor the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the sector. We continue to both look at the costs associated with the outbreak and to secure the best and most appropriate support for the sector.

14th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government who will comprise the membership of the expert group that will advise the Secretary of State for Education on arrangements for GCSE and A level examinations in 2021.

The department recognises the challenges faced by schools, teachers, and students, and understands that disruption has been felt differently across the country, between schools and colleges in the same area, and between students within individual institutions.

In addition to a package of measures announced to ensure exams are delivered fairly next summer, the department confirmed the launch of an expert advisory group to consider the differential impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak on pupils and recommend mitigations for these impacts: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-support-the-summer-2021-exams. The expert advisory group is expected to provide initial advice in the early Spring, ensuring that any further policies recommended to my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education support the measures already announced and are developed with the education sector. We are working to finalise the terms of reference and membership of the group and will ensure that membership is representative of the sector, and geographically diverse.

14th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they expect to receive the report of the expert group tasked with advising the Secretary of State for Education on arrangements for GCSE and A level examinations in 2021.

The department recognises the challenges faced by schools, teachers, and students, and understands that disruption has been felt differently across the country, between schools and colleges in the same area, and between students within individual institutions.

In addition to a package of measures announced to ensure exams are delivered fairly next summer, the department confirmed the launch of an expert advisory group to consider the differential impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak on pupils and recommend mitigations for these impacts: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-support-the-summer-2021-exams. The expert advisory group is expected to provide initial advice in the early Spring, ensuring that any further policies recommended to my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education support the measures already announced and are developed with the education sector. We are working to finalise the terms of reference and membership of the group and will ensure that membership is representative of the sector, and geographically diverse.

14th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the use of restorative practice, and (2) prioritising conflict resolution over punishment in schools, to reduce the number of pupil exclusions.

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 studying.

All schools are required by law to have a behaviour policy outlining measures to encourage good behaviour and the sanctions that will be imposed for misbehaviour. Schools may use a range of techniques to support good behaviour, and the department trusts schools to have policies which suit the communities they serve. There is no right number of expulsions, but we are clear that expulsion should only be used as a last resort. Expulsion from school should not mean expulsion from a good quality education and support to reduce risk and vulnerability.

The department has published a range of advice and guidance to support schools to develop effective behaviour approaches. This advice can be viewed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/behaviour-and-discipline-in-schools.

We have an ambitious programme in place to improve behaviour across the school system, including improving Continuing Professional Development for teachers and school staff through the Early Career Framework and the revised National Professional Qualifications, which are due to launch in September 2021. The department is investing £10 million through the behaviour hubs programme, so that schools with exemplary behaviour cultures can work closely with schools that want and need to improve their behaviour. The first hubs are planned to launch in Spring 2021 and will run for an initial period of 3 years. More information about the behaviour hubs programme can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/behaviour-hubs.


1st Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Berridge on 10 November (HL9605), how many tutors under the National Tutor Programme were supporting schools (1) at the start of November, and (2) at the start of December.

The National Tutoring Programme (NTP) will provide additional, targeted support to disadvantaged pupils who need the most help to catch-up. Through the programme, schools will be able to access high quality, subsidised tuition from approved Tuition Partners and our most disadvantaged schools will be supported to employ in-house Academic Mentors to provide tuition to their pupils.

The NTP went live on 2 November and schools are now able to access tuition to support disadvantaged pupils that needed the most help to catch-up. Our delivery partner for the Tuition Partners pillar, the Education Endowment Foundation, has approved 33 Tuition Partners who will offer high-quality, subsidised tuition to schools. The partners can be found here: https://nationaltutoring.org.uk/ntp-tuition-partners/ntp-approved-tuition-partners. For this academic year, in total, it is estimated that through the Tuition Partners, approximately 15,000 tutors will support the scheme offering tuition to around 250,000 pupils.

In addition to this, the first 188 Academic Mentors have now been placed in schools from November. In total we will place 1,000 Academic Mentors, with the further cohorts starting in schools in January and February 2021.

16th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they plan to respond to the letter to the Secretary of State for Education, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children and Families, and the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Business and Industry from 35 charities on 29 September which requested the extension of the scheme which provided digital devices and internet access for care leavers and vulnerable children during the COVID-19 pandemic; and if so, when.

I can confirm that a response to the letter from 35 charities, dated 29 September, requesting the extension of the scheme which provided digital devices and internet access for care leavers and vulnerable children during the COVID-19 outbreak, has been sent.

12th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to extend the scheme, introduced in May, that provided access to laptops and the internet to care leavers and other vulnerable children to ensure that such children can access vital employment opportunities and remain digitally connected, active citizens.

The department has invested over £195 million to support remote education through laptops and tablets, internet provision, online education platforms and peer-to-peer support for schools using education technology.

In addition to over 220,000 laptops and tablets delivered during the summer term for disadvantaged children who would not otherwise have access, we have supplemented this support by making an additional 340,000 laptops and tablets available in the event that face-to-face education is disrupted as a result of local COVID-19 restrictions. Since September, over 100,000 of these have already been delivered to schools. This represents an injection of half-a-million devices by the end of the year. We have also provided over 51,000 4G wireless routers to support disadvantaged children to access remote education and vital social care services.

Laptops, tablets and routers are owned by the local authority, academy trust or school who can lend unused laptops, tablets and routers to children and young people who need them most, and who may face disruption to face-to-face education due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The targeting of laptops and tablets through this scheme has continually been reviewed to ensure that support is offered in the most effective way to reflect the numbers of schools disrupted and the number of laptops and tablets available at any time.

We are working with mobile network operators to provide temporary access to free additional data, offering families flexibility to access the resources that they need the most. As part of a pilot, disadvantaged families have been able to access a free mobile data uplift for this term. We are also working with mobile operators to provide a national service until the end of the academic year. We will continue to invite a range of mobile providers to support the offer.

11th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many apprenticeships relating to wind technology they have funded in (1) 2016, (2) 2017, (3) 2018, (4) 2019, and (5) 2020 to date.

The department has published information on apprenticeship starts by broad industry sector between the 2012/13 and 2018/19 academic years. Data for the 2019/20 academic year will be published in February 2021.

Apprenticeship starts relating to wind technology, oil and gas and solar technology are not published separately. However, wind and solar technology are most likely to be included in sector D: Energy Utilities and oil and gas within apprenticeship starts in sector B: Mining, C: Manufacturing or D: Energy Utilities, depending on whether the focus is on the extraction or manufacturing of oil and gas. The following table shows the number of apprenticeship starts by broad industry sector since the 2016/17 academic year.

Number of apprenticeship starts by industry sector, 2016/17 - 2018/19.

Academic year
2015/162016/172017/182018/19
Total matched apprenticeship starts
Sector
A - Agriculture2,5102,1901,5101,490
B - Mining170180260220
C - Manufacturing36,82036,17026,16026,850
D - Energy utilities2,5401,6201,1701,420
E - Water utilities1,7401,7601,6201,650
F - Construction31,71031,61027,39027,180
G - Wholesale and retail trade47,79044,42037,92040,770
H - Transportation12,17011,9509,08011,140
I - Accommodation/catering32,49027,05018,29018,580
J - Information/communication8,9009,41010,45012,000
K - Financial services16,15014,66011,87013,700
L - Real estate7,8407,9805,7805,970
M - Professional/scientific22,46021,13021,71022,970
N - Administrative services29,60030,18022,67021,630
O - Public administration21,50022,80024,76027,830
P - Education33,37033,78028,00030,230
Q - Health/social work117,410121,68075,45081,290
R - Arts/entertainment11,44012,0308,0108,030
S - Other service activities19,67018,69013,10011,900
T - Household activities1301507040
U - Extraterritorial activitiescccc
Unknown6203901,6001,300

Source: DfE Apprenticeship starts by industry characteristics 2018/19 official statistics publication.

11th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many apprenticeships relating to oil and gas they have funded in (1) 2016, (2) 2017, (3) 2018, (4) 2019, and (5) 2020 to date.

The department has published information on apprenticeship starts by broad industry sector between the 2012/13 and 2018/19 academic years. Data for the 2019/20 academic year will be published in February 2021.

Apprenticeship starts relating to wind technology, oil and gas and solar technology are not published separately. However, wind and solar technology are most likely to be included in sector D: Energy Utilities and oil and gas within apprenticeship starts in sector B: Mining, C: Manufacturing or D: Energy Utilities, depending on whether the focus is on the extraction or manufacturing of oil and gas. The following table shows the number of apprenticeship starts by broad industry sector since the 2016/17 academic year.

Number of apprenticeship starts by industry sector, 2016/17 - 2018/19.

Academic year
2015/162016/172017/182018/19
Total matched apprenticeship starts
Sector
A - Agriculture2,5102,1901,5101,490
B - Mining170180260220
C - Manufacturing36,82036,17026,16026,850
D - Energy utilities2,5401,6201,1701,420
E - Water utilities1,7401,7601,6201,650
F - Construction31,71031,61027,39027,180
G - Wholesale and retail trade47,79044,42037,92040,770
H - Transportation12,17011,9509,08011,140
I - Accommodation/catering32,49027,05018,29018,580
J - Information/communication8,9009,41010,45012,000
K - Financial services16,15014,66011,87013,700
L - Real estate7,8407,9805,7805,970
M - Professional/scientific22,46021,13021,71022,970
N - Administrative services29,60030,18022,67021,630
O - Public administration21,50022,80024,76027,830
P - Education33,37033,78028,00030,230
Q - Health/social work117,410121,68075,45081,290
R - Arts/entertainment11,44012,0308,0108,030
S - Other service activities19,67018,69013,10011,900
T - Household activities1301507040
U - Extraterritorial activitiescccc
Unknown6203901,6001,300

Source: DfE Apprenticeship starts by industry characteristics 2018/19 official statistics publication.

11th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many apprenticeships relating to solar technology they have funded in (1) 2016, (2) 2017, (3) 2018, (4) 2019, and (5) 2020 to date.

The department has published information on apprenticeship starts by broad industry sector between the 2012/13 and 2018/19 academic years. Data for the 2019/20 academic year will be published in February 2021.

Apprenticeship starts relating to wind technology, oil and gas and solar technology are not published separately. However, wind and solar technology are most likely to be included in sector D: Energy Utilities and oil and gas within apprenticeship starts in sector B: Mining, C: Manufacturing or D: Energy Utilities, depending on whether the focus is on the extraction or manufacturing of oil and gas. The following table shows the number of apprenticeship starts by broad industry sector since the 2016/17 academic year.

Number of apprenticeship starts by industry sector, 2016/17 - 2018/19.

Academic year
2015/162016/172017/182018/19
Total matched apprenticeship starts
Sector
A - Agriculture2,5102,1901,5101,490
B - Mining170180260220
C - Manufacturing36,82036,17026,16026,850
D - Energy utilities2,5401,6201,1701,420
E - Water utilities1,7401,7601,6201,650
F - Construction31,71031,61027,39027,180
G - Wholesale and retail trade47,79044,42037,92040,770
H - Transportation12,17011,9509,08011,140
I - Accommodation/catering32,49027,05018,29018,580
J - Information/communication8,9009,41010,45012,000
K - Financial services16,15014,66011,87013,700
L - Real estate7,8407,9805,7805,970
M - Professional/scientific22,46021,13021,71022,970
N - Administrative services29,60030,18022,67021,630
O - Public administration21,50022,80024,76027,830
P - Education33,37033,78028,00030,230
Q - Health/social work117,410121,68075,45081,290
R - Arts/entertainment11,44012,0308,0108,030
S - Other service activities19,67018,69013,10011,900
T - Household activities1301507040
U - Extraterritorial activitiescccc
Unknown6203901,6001,300

Source: DfE Apprenticeship starts by industry characteristics 2018/19 official statistics publication.

11th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Berridge on 15 October (HL8661), with how many employers in the 'green economy' they are working to design and deliver policies and programmes.

Employer engagement is key to our work in helping shape future policies and programmes. The new Green Jobs Taskforce which was launched on 12 November has been set up to help the UK build back greener and deliver the skilled workforce needed to reach net zero emissions by 2050. This is a joint initiative between the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and the Department for Education.

Working with employers and relevant stakeholders, the Taskforce will develop an action plan to support 2 million good quality, green jobs and the skills needed by 2030, and so support the UK to transition to a net zero economy and deliver a green recovery.

Two of the key aims of the Taskforce are to identify the skills needed to deliver near-term green recovery projects and build a pipeline of talent for the net zero workforce.

Taskforce members will represent views of businesses, employees and the skills sector. Involvement in this work will not be limited only to Taskforce members, and there will be opportunities for a wider set of stakeholders to contribute.

Details of the Taskforce including a full list of members can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-government-launches-taskforce-to-support-drive-for-2-million-green-jobs-by-2030.

Alongside this, the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education is convening a Green Apprenticeships Advisory Panel to guide the Institute in encouraging employers involved in trailblazer groups (that agree the knowledge, skills and behaviours to be required for individual apprenticeships) to align apprenticeships to net zero and wider sustainability objectives. The panel will include a range of employers with a strong footprint in the green economy. It will identify where existing apprenticeships can directly support skills for green jobs, and where there might be potential to go further or faster.

The panel will also crucially identify potential gaps where there is an opportunity to create new green apprenticeships and identify employers who may wish to take forward this work. The Institute is also developing guidance to encourage employers to include sustainable knowledge, skills and behaviours across all apprenticeships whether being newly created or going through the review process.

11th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Berridge on 15 October (HL8661), what are the names of the employers in the 'green economy' whom they are working with to design and deliver policies and programmes.

Employer engagement is key to our work in helping shape future policies and programmes. The new Green Jobs Taskforce which was launched on 12 November has been set up to help the UK build back greener and deliver the skilled workforce needed to reach net zero emissions by 2050. This is a joint initiative between the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and the Department for Education.

Working with employers and relevant stakeholders, the Taskforce will develop an action plan to support 2 million good quality, green jobs and the skills needed by 2030, and so support the UK to transition to a net zero economy and deliver a green recovery.

Two of the key aims of the Taskforce are to identify the skills needed to deliver near-term green recovery projects and build a pipeline of talent for the net zero workforce.

Taskforce members will represent views of businesses, employees and the skills sector. Involvement in this work will not be limited only to Taskforce members, and there will be opportunities for a wider set of stakeholders to contribute.

Details of the Taskforce including a full list of members can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-government-launches-taskforce-to-support-drive-for-2-million-green-jobs-by-2030.

Alongside this, the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education is convening a Green Apprenticeships Advisory Panel to guide the Institute in encouraging employers involved in trailblazer groups (that agree the knowledge, skills and behaviours to be required for individual apprenticeships) to align apprenticeships to net zero and wider sustainability objectives. The panel will include a range of employers with a strong footprint in the green economy. It will identify where existing apprenticeships can directly support skills for green jobs, and where there might be potential to go further or faster.

The panel will also crucially identify potential gaps where there is an opportunity to create new green apprenticeships and identify employers who may wish to take forward this work. The Institute is also developing guidance to encourage employers to include sustainable knowledge, skills and behaviours across all apprenticeships whether being newly created or going through the review process.

9th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of the number of apprenticeship starts in each month of 2020.

The number of apprenticeship starts from January to July 2020, reported to date, are shown in the table below:

Month

Apprenticeship starts (reported to date)

Jan-20

32,200

Feb-20

25,800

Mar-20

22,000

Apr-20

10,600

May-20

10,100

Jun-20

13,000

Jul-20

17,900

Notes

(1) Data source is the Individualised Learner Record (ILR).

(2) Figures are rounded to the nearest 100.

(3) Learners starting more than one apprenticeship will appear more than once.

(4) Apprenticeship starts include all funded and unfunded learners as reported on the ILR.

Finalised figures covering January to July 2020 are due to be published in our next ‘Apprenticeships and traineeships’ statistics publication, later this month. The exact publication date will be announced on GOV.UK soon. The first available data for the 2020/21 academic year (covering August to October 2020) will not be published until January 2021.

26th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many National Tutoring Programme Academic Mentors they estimate will be working in schools from 2 November.

The National Tutoring Programme (NTP) is an ambitious scheme that will provide additional, targeted support for those children and young people who need the most help to catch-up. The NTP will spend up to £350 million to provide targeted support for children who have been hardest hit from disruption to their education as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. The NTP for 5-16 year olds will increase access to high-quality tuition for pupils this academic year. The programme has two pillars:

1) Approved Tuition Partners will offer high quality, subsidised tuition to schools.

2) Schools in the most disadvantaged areas will be supported to employ in-house Academic Mentors to provide tuition to their pupils.

Further information on both pillars can be found here: https://nationaltutoring.org.uk/faqs.

NTP Academic Mentors will be employed in schools to provide intensive and frequent support for those pupils who need it most. Academic Mentors will provide support tailored to their school, but most Academic Mentors will support subject-specific work (both one-to-one and in small-groups), revision lessons, and provide additional support for those shielding or not in school. Academic Mentors will be a part of their school’s staff team, supporting and managing them to deliver mentoring that is linked to the curriculum.

We expect the first cohort of tutors to be supporting schools from November, and we will be able to provide final numbers placed for this initial wave in due course. We plan to increase provision through the remainder of the autumn term and into the spring term.

21st Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Berridge on 20 October (HL8957), whether they will list the members of the Department for Education's COVID-19 Recovery Advisory Group.

There are currently 12 members of the Department’s COVID-19 Recovery Advisory Group. They are:

Sir Jon Coles – CEO United Learning Group

Martyn Oliver – CEO Outward Grange

Ian Bauckham – CEO of Tenax Schools Trust

Richard Gill – CEO of Arthur Terry Learning Partnership

Ed Vainker – Co founder and Principal of REACH Academy Feltham

Becky Francis – CEO of Education Endowment Foundation

Jonathan Simons – Director at Public First

Martin Pratt – Executive Director of Supporting People, Camden and Chair of ADCS Greater London Region

Angela Cox – Director of Education, Diocese of Leeds

Rowena Hackwood – Chief Executive, Astrea Academy Trust

Mrunal Sisodia – East of England representative of the National Network of Parent Carer Forums

Susan Douglas – CEO Eden Academy Trust

20th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Berridge on 30 September (HL8220), why they have ceased funding of the Union Learning Fund with effect from March 2021 when the capacity for the National Skills Fund to replace it is not known.

The government’s commitment to the Union Learning Fund has never been open-ended and the current funding was due to cease in April 2021. We have made no commitment to funding beyond this date and have always been clear any future funding would depend on the government’s Spending Review. The decision not to renew funding after April 2021 has been communicated at this stage in the Spending Review process in order to give a greater period of notice.

The National Skills Fund is a substantial commitment to invest £2.5 billion in skills development over this parliament, which compares to £12 million in the current annual budget for Unionlearn. There is an existing adult entitlement to support any adult without English and Maths level 2 or Digital Skills level 1 to gain those qualifications, which my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister extended in his speech at Exeter College on 29 September 2020, confirming a new Lifetime Learning Guarantee that any adult without a level 3 qualification would be fully funded to obtain one. Reinvesting our existing funding for Unionlearn in our expanded offer will therefore contribute to a much more comprehensive offer in future, accessible to a wide range of learners, helping them to develop their skills and careers.

20th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the number of children with special educational needs and disabilities who are absent from school, and (2) the extent to which the lack of sufficient support and staffing necessary for those children to return safety is a factor in their absence.

It is vital that all children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) return to their educational setting so that they can receive high quality teaching and specialist professional care.

Approximately 84% of all pupils with an education, health and care plan on roll in all state-funded schools were in attendance on 15 October 2020.

For the majority of children, the benefits of being back in the classroom far outweigh the low risk from COVID-19 and schools can take action to reduce risks still further.

Opening our schools to everyone is a critical part of returning to the ‘new normal’ but we do not underestimate the challenge that this represents. We also know that special education settings may face greater challenges. We are continuing to work closely with the sector to identify issues as they arise and put appropriate measures in place as we update our guidance and support offerings.

Staff working day in, day out with children and young people with SEND and their families are best placed to understand individual needs and the adjustments that may need to be made. This knowledge and expertise underpins the guidance for special schools and other specialist settings. The guidance provides a framework, approved by Public Health England, setting out the high-level actions that all schools must undertake for full return. In planning for full return, coproduction and consultation with families is crucial.

The specialisation and the peripatetic nature of much staffing in special settings may make the flexible deployment of staff more challenging, for example in cases where only one member of staff is trained in a particular intervention. Settings and local authorities may wish to have discussions about ways to increase resilience in these circumstances, such as whether additional staff can be trained or if two settings could work together to ensure cover.

While many parents have sent their children to school, we recognise that there are some parents who will still have concerns. In these cases, we recommend schools discuss their concerns and provide reassurance of the measures they are putting in place to reduce the risk in school.

We are committed to improving local SEND services, and have started a programme of visits by Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission working with local areas to understand the experiences of children and young people with SEND and their families during the COVID-19 outbreak, and to support local areas to prioritise and meet their needs.

20th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they expect to publish the outcome of their review of support for children with special educational needs and disabilities.

The government is currently conducting a thorough and fundamental review of the special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) system.

The issues that the SEND system face are complex, but we are determined to deliver real, lasting improvements, taking into account the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The findings of the review will be published as soon as it is practicable to do so.

20th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the challenges facing the parents of children with special educational needs and disabilities as outlined in the BBC Panorama programme Fighting for an Education, broadcast on 7 September.

The safety and wellbeing of the most vulnerable children has always been a priority. That is why we kept nurseries, schools and colleges open to those with education, health and care plans, where it was safe to do so, and provided clear guidance on who was eligible to attend.

We understand that this is a challenging time for all parents, but particularly for those whose children have additional needs. As part of our response to the COVID-19 outbreak, we have supported local authorities, education providers and health services to respond to the challenges effectively by providing local authorities with £4.6 billion to meet additional demands, including within children’s services. We are also increasing high needs funding for those with the most complex special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) by £780 million this year, and a further £730 million next year, to help provide the support that parents rightly expect for their children particularly during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Our reforms to the SEND system, in 2014, introduced vital support. In September 2019, we announced the SEND Review to ensure that the SEND system provides consistent, high quality, and integrated support across education, health and care. This cross-government review will look at ways to improve SEND so that young people with additional needs can thrive as they prepare for adulthood. The review will also consider ways of strengthening the accountability system and ensuring that poorer performing local authorities are monitored closely. In addition, we have commissioned the development of a new round of inspections from Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission, which we expect to drive more substantial improvements at a local and national level.

8th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have formed a COVID-19 response University stakeholder advisory group; and if not, why not.

On 18 August, the government launched a Higher Education Taskforce comprising various representatives of the sector, initially to advise on higher education admissions and acceptances. Membership of the taskforce includes representatives from Universities UK, the Universities & Colleges Admissions Service and a wide range of groups representing the Vice-Chancellors of a broad range of higher education providers.

This group has continued to meet as the autumn term has begun and has discussed other challenges higher education providers are facing in light of COVID-19. We will look to review its terms of reference and membership in due course, in order to ensure that it remains the right means of advising on the challenges faced by higher education providers and students.

My hon. Friend, the Minister of State for Universities, has also chaired a number of sub-groups, looking at elements of the response to COVID-19 in more detail, including winter planning and student mental health.

Alongside the Higher Education Taskforce, my hon. Friend, the Minister of State for Universities has regularly been meeting other representatives of the higher education sector, including university Vice-Chancellors, the National Union of Students, and the Union for Colleges and Universities.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
8th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many meetings of the COVID-19 Response School Stakeholder Advisory Group have taken place in 2020.

All members of the Department’s Recovery Advisory Group signed personal confidentiality agreements. None of the DfE’s other COVID-19 advisory groups have signed either personal confidentiality agreements or non-disclosure agreements. This includes members of the COVID-19 Response School Stakeholder Advisory Group.

To date, there have been 6 meetings of the COVID-19 Response School Stakeholder Advisory Group. Members of the COVID-19 Response School Stakeholder Advisory Group are:

  • National Association of Headteachers (NAHT)
  • NASUWT
  • National Education Union (NEU)
  • Unison
  • Unite
  • GMB
  • National Society for Education in Art and Design (NSEAD)
  • Association of Educational Psychologists (AEP)
  • Prospect
  • TUC
  • Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL)
  • Confederation of School Trusts (CST)
  • Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS)
  • Local Government Association (LGA)
  • National Governance Association (NGA)
  • Chartered College of Teaching (CCoT)
  • Catholic Education Service (CES)
  • Church of England Education Office (CofEEO)
  • Independent Schools Council (ISC)
  • Institute of School Business Leadership (ISBL)
  • Voice
  • University and College Union (UCU)
  • Sixth Form College Association (SFCA)
8th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government who are the members of the COVID-19 Response School Stakeholder Advisory Group.

All members of the Department’s Recovery Advisory Group signed personal confidentiality agreements. None of the DfE’s other COVID-19 advisory groups have signed either personal confidentiality agreements or non-disclosure agreements. This includes members of the COVID-19 Response School Stakeholder Advisory Group.

To date, there have been 6 meetings of the COVID-19 Response School Stakeholder Advisory Group. Members of the COVID-19 Response School Stakeholder Advisory Group are:

  • National Association of Headteachers (NAHT)
  • NASUWT
  • National Education Union (NEU)
  • Unison
  • Unite
  • GMB
  • National Society for Education in Art and Design (NSEAD)
  • Association of Educational Psychologists (AEP)
  • Prospect
  • TUC
  • Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL)
  • Confederation of School Trusts (CST)
  • Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS)
  • Local Government Association (LGA)
  • National Governance Association (NGA)
  • Chartered College of Teaching (CCoT)
  • Catholic Education Service (CES)
  • Church of England Education Office (CofEEO)
  • Independent Schools Council (ISC)
  • Institute of School Business Leadership (ISBL)
  • Voice
  • University and College Union (UCU)
  • Sixth Form College Association (SFCA)
8th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many (1) personal confidentiality agreements; and (2) non-disclosure agreements, the Department for Education has signed with stakeholders and third parties advising the department on its response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

All members of the Department’s Recovery Advisory Group signed personal confidentiality agreements. None of the DfE’s other COVID-19 advisory groups have signed either personal confidentiality agreements or non-disclosure agreements. This includes members of the COVID-19 Response School Stakeholder Advisory Group.

To date, there have been 6 meetings of the COVID-19 Response School Stakeholder Advisory Group. Members of the COVID-19 Response School Stakeholder Advisory Group are:

  • National Association of Headteachers (NAHT)
  • NASUWT
  • National Education Union (NEU)
  • Unison
  • Unite
  • GMB
  • National Society for Education in Art and Design (NSEAD)
  • Association of Educational Psychologists (AEP)
  • Prospect
  • TUC
  • Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL)
  • Confederation of School Trusts (CST)
  • Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS)
  • Local Government Association (LGA)
  • National Governance Association (NGA)
  • Chartered College of Teaching (CCoT)
  • Catholic Education Service (CES)
  • Church of England Education Office (CofEEO)
  • Independent Schools Council (ISC)
  • Institute of School Business Leadership (ISBL)
  • Voice
  • University and College Union (UCU)
  • Sixth Form College Association (SFCA)
8th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many members of the COVID-19 Response School Stakeholder Advisory Group have signed personal confidentiality agreements.

All members of the Department’s Recovery Advisory Group signed personal confidentiality agreements. None of the DfE’s other COVID-19 advisory groups have signed either personal confidentiality agreements or non-disclosure agreements. This includes members of the COVID-19 Response School Stakeholder Advisory Group.

To date, there have been 6 meetings of the COVID-19 Response School Stakeholder Advisory Group. Members of the COVID-19 Response School Stakeholder Advisory Group are:

  • National Association of Headteachers (NAHT)
  • NASUWT
  • National Education Union (NEU)
  • Unison
  • Unite
  • GMB
  • National Society for Education in Art and Design (NSEAD)
  • Association of Educational Psychologists (AEP)
  • Prospect
  • TUC
  • Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL)
  • Confederation of School Trusts (CST)
  • Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS)
  • Local Government Association (LGA)
  • National Governance Association (NGA)
  • Chartered College of Teaching (CCoT)
  • Catholic Education Service (CES)
  • Church of England Education Office (CofEEO)
  • Independent Schools Council (ISC)
  • Institute of School Business Leadership (ISBL)
  • Voice
  • University and College Union (UCU)
  • Sixth Form College Association (SFCA)
16th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the written answer by Baroness Berridge on 30 March (HL2644), when they expect to launch a consultation on the National Skills Fund.

The government remains committed to consulting widely on the National Skills Fund to ensure that we develop a fund that helps adults learn valuable skills and prepare for the economy of the future. We are providing £2.5 billion (£3 billion when including Barnett funding for devolved administrations), for the National Skills Fund.

The department is continuing to review the ongoing implications of COVID-19 and we are considering the most appropriate time and approach we can take to launch the consultation, ensuring we have meaningful discussions with employers, providers and users.

In the meantime, we will engage closely with stakeholders as we continue to develop detailed plans for the National Skills Fund, including considering what role the fund could play in meeting more immediate needs in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

7th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the statement by the Children’s Commissioner for England on 2 September that children with special educational needs and disabilities could be at greater risk of exclusion unless they receive additional support upon their return to school following the closures during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As my hon. Friend, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Children and Families, set out in her letter of 2 September to children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), their families and carers and those who work to support them, we know that it is critical that all pupils and students can once again benefit from a full-time on-site education 5 days a week. Schools and colleges should work with children and young people with SEND and their families and carers so that they receive the education, therapeutic support or specialist support and reasonable adjustments that they need.

The prolonged period of absence from schools and colleges may contribute to pupils’ anxiety and disengagement with education, which could lead to increased incidences of poor behaviour. School leaders should be mindful that any disruptive behaviour might be the result of pupils’ unmet educational needs or other needs and should consider whether a multiagency assessment is necessary.

Our guidance advises that schools should update their behaviour policy as well any new rules and routines to reflect the new protective measures. The guidance for the full opening of schools is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

The guidance for the full opening of special schools and other specialist settings is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-for-full-opening-special-schools-and-other-specialist-settings/guidance-for-full-opening-special-schools-and-other-specialist-settings.

In the event that a pupil’s behaviour warrants disciplinary action, the normal rules apply. The disciplinary powers, including exclusion, that schools currently have remain in place. Headteachers should, as far as possible, avoid permanently excluding any pupil with an education, health and care plan. Pre-empting that a pupil may commit a disciplinary offence, and thus not allowing a pupil to attend school, is an unlawful exclusion.

Ofsted will continue to consider exclusions, including the rates, patterns and reasons for exclusion, and to look for any evidence of off-rolling, which is never acceptable.

7th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the financial implications for schools in which catering and support staff are employed on contracts that do not provide Statutory Sick Pay.

The government has provided guidance on Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) for all employers, which includes specific information on when your employee is off work because of COVID-19. The guidance is available at: https://www.gov.uk/employers-sick-pay.

SSP entitlement is dependent on an individual’s employment status and their contract with their employer. Employees who are directly employed by schools are entitled to SSP if they have an employment contract which they have performed some work under and they have been sick for 4 or more days in a row (including non-working days). Employees must also earn an average of at least £120 per week, give their employers correct notice and provide proof of their illness after 7 or more days off to qualify for SSP.

The sick pay arrangements for staff supplied to schools under external contract are dependent on the precise nature of the agreement between those individuals and the organisation providing those services.

7th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the number of children who do not have adequate access to computing devices or digital connectivity and who have not yet received support from the scheme to provide laptops and 4G dongles.

The department has already delivered over 220,000 laptops and tablets and over 50,000 4G wireless routers to local authorities and academy trusts for children who would not otherwise have access, as part of over £100 million invested to support remote education and access to online social care.

The department allocated laptops, tablets and routers to local authorities and academy trusts based on its estimates of the number of eligible children that did not have access to a device through other means, such as a private device or through school. Local authorities and academy trusts were responsible for distributing the devices, being best placed to know which children and young people need access to one.

Where local authorities and academy trusts identified a need greater than their initial allocation, they could provide evidence and request more devices. No valid request for additional devices was denied.

The department has published data on devices delivered through the programme here: www.gov.uk/government/publications/laptops-tablets-and-4g-wireless-routers-progress-data.

The department are now supplementing this support by making an initial 150,000 additional devices available in the event face-to-face schooling is disrupted as a result of local COVID-19 restrictions. These devices will be owned by the school, academy trust or local authority that receives them and can be loaned out to help children to access education and catch up support.

Schools will be able to use these devices to support disadvantaged pupils who would not otherwise be able to access remote education in years 3 to 11. Schools will also be able to order devices for disadvantaged children across all year groups who are shielding as a result of official advice, all year groups who attend a hospital school that is required to close and those completing their key stage 4 at a further education college that is required to close.

The targeting of devices through this scheme will be continually reviewed to ensure support is offered in the most effective way given the number of schools disrupted and the number of devices available at the time.

7th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the additional costs facing schools in ensuring that gym and sports equipment is cleaned and maintained to a sufficient standard to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Schools have the flexibility to decide how physical education, sport and physical activity will be provided whilst following the measures in their system of controls. Pupils should be kept in consistent groups, sports equipment thoroughly cleaned between each use by different individual groups. The government’s guidance for the full opening of schools includes guidance on physical activity and provides links to additional advice that is available to support schools with the safe use of equipment from organisations such as the Association for PE, the Youth Sport Trust, Swim England and Sport England. The guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

As stated in our reopening guidance, schools should use their existing resources when making arrangements to welcome all children back for the autumn. Schools have also continued to receive their core funding allocations throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. Following last year’s Spending Round, school budgets are rising by £2.6 billion in 2020-21, £4.8 billion in 2021-22 and £7.1 billion in 2022-23, compared to 2019-20.

7th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the statement by the Chair of Ofqual on 2 September that GCSE, AS and A-Level exams may take place online in 2021.

The department believes that examinations and assessments are the best and fairest way of judging students’ performance, and we expect next year’s examination series to go ahead.

We continue to work closely with Ofqual, the exam boards and groups representing teachers, schools and colleges to consider our approach to GCSE, AS and A level exams and other assessments in 2021, to ensure that next year’s exam series proceeds fairly and smoothly.

7th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they plan to invite representatives of the National Union of Students and the University and College Union to join the taskforce on university capacity; and if so, when they plan to issue such invitations.

The taskforce was established with the aim of taking quick decisions on the higher education (HE) admissions and acceptance process to ensure that students had the support and clarity they deserved at a time of change and uncertainty. We therefore prioritised bringing together the representatives of the sector best placed to make quick decisions, including the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service and a wide range of university mission groups representing the Vice Chancellors of a broad range of HE providers.

Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, we have engaged with the National Union of Students and the University and College Union at an official and ministerial level in order to ensure the government understands and is able to respond to issues currently affecting students and staff. We plan to continue this engagement as students and staff return to universities over the coming weeks.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
29th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the demand likely to be placed upon children’s social care services in the autumn.

The department has been working closely with local authorities to assess the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, setting up dedicated regional teams that are in frequent contact. Bringing together expertise from across the department, these teams monitor the challenges that local authorities are facing, including any increases in demand, and they can provide support and guidance where appropriate.

We are aware that there may be an increase in demand for children’s social care services in autumn. We are monitoring referrals via our regional teams and via a new Vulnerable Children and Young People Survey, which collects data fortnightly from local authorities in England. It includes data on contact with children supported by children’s social care, workforce, cost and system pressures as well as the number of referrals to children’s social care. We are planning to publish the data in due course.

The government has provided £3.7 billion of additional funding to support local authorities in meeting COVID-19 related pressures, including in children’s services.

We will continue to work closely with local authorities as the outbreak progresses.

29th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many early years settings are registered in England; and of those, what proportion were open in the week beginning 13 July.

There are approximately 69,000 Ofsted-registered early years childcare providers and school based early year providers in England. In the week beginning 13 July, it was estimated that 43,000 settings were open based on data supplied by local authorities. This represented 62% of all settings, with 30% closed and the status of 9% unknown. See https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

29th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to support the re-opening of all registered early years settings in September.

In order to control the spread of COVID-19, early years providers were initially only open for children of critical workers and vulnerable children.

From 1 June, early years providers have been able to welcome back children of all ages and since 20 July, they have been able to return to their normal group sizes. This paves the way for more children to transition back to their early education and support parents to return to work.

The department has provided detailed guidance for early years providers to support them to welcome back more children and implement the required protective measures:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures.

On 20 July, we announced our commitment to continue paying local authorities for the childcare places they usually fund throughout the autumn term. This means that providers who are caring for fewer children can continue to be funded at the same levels as before the COVID-19 outbreak. Local authorities will also continue to fund providers which have been advised to close, or left with no option to but close, for public health reasons. These measures give another term of secure income to nurseries and childminders who are open for the children who need them.

Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, the early years sector has also been able to access a wider package of government support in the form of a business rates holiday, business interruption loans and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Full details of the support available can be found at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures#funding.

28th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what information they have collected on the effect of the COVID-19 lockdown on vulnerable children; and how many new referrals have been made to local authority children’s social care services by (1) self-referral, (2) the police, and (3) the NHS, since the start of that lockdown.

The department has undertaken a survey of pupils, parents and young people (including vulnerable young people) to collect their views and experiences during the COVID-19 outbreak. It has also undertaken a survey of school leaders and teachers about the impact of COVID-19 on children and young people.

The department also publishes statistics on attendance in education and early years settings during COVID-19 (https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak/2020-week-29). There are also many other publicly available sources that the department makes use of, including a collated research study on children’s and young people’s views from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (https://www.rcpch.ac.uk/resources/covid-19-research-studies-children-young-peoples-views).

Additionally, a new Vulnerable Children and Young People Survey collects fortnightly data from local authorities in England. It includes data on contact with children supported by children’s social care, workforce, cost and system pressures. The new and temporary report includes the number of referrals to children’s social care and referral source. The department is planning to publish the data in due course.

The department has been working closely with local authorities to assess the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, setting up dedicated regional teams that are in frequent contact. Bringing together expertise from across the department, these teams monitor the challenges that local authorities are facing, including any increases in demand, and can provide support and guidance where appropriate.

Figures on the number of referrals and referral source are published annually in the ‘Characteristics of children in need’ statistical release here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/statistics-children-in-need. The latest published data relates to the period up to 31 March 2019.

The attached table shows the number of referrals to children’s social care services by referral source from the Vulnerable Children and Young People Survey.

28th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they expect that the review of children’s social care, set out in the Conservative Party's 2019 General Election manifesto, to commence.

The Care Review is a fundamental part of the government’s manifesto. While work has been delayed due to our immediate response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the review will be launching as soon as possible. The review will be bold, broad, and independently led, taking a fundamental look across children’s social care, with the aim of better supporting, protecting and improving the outcomes of vulnerable children and young people.

28th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when the review of special educational needs and disability, announced on 6 September 2019, will be published.

The government remains committed to completing the special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) review, taking into consideration the impact of COVID-19 on the SEND system. We will publish the review as soon as it is practicable to do so, working with children, young people, their families and experts across the education, health and care system to deliver our common goal of improving the SEND system.

28th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they intend to take in response (1) to the report by OFSTED Inspection profiles of the largest private and voluntary providers of children's homes and independent fostering agencies March 2020, published on 23 July, and (2) the reported comment by OFSTED’s director of social care that the domination of the fostering market by a small number of operators is “storing up trouble for the future”.

The government is clear that the needs of the child are paramount when making decisions about care placements. The child’s safety, the suitability and quality of a child’s placement in care is our absolute priority. As at 31 March 2020, 93% of independent fostering agencies and 80% of all private and voluntary children’s homes were judged good or outstanding by Ofsted. We believe that a mix of provision can provide quality and increase placement options for local authorities. This mix has enabled local authorities to identify much-needed foster homes for children over the past months, providing the flexibility needed to respond to the demands and pressures of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The government understands the concerns of the Ofsted Director of Social Care. The annual Ofsted data is a helpful source of insight into the children’s social care market and we continue to monitor it. We have taken action to help local authorities develop strategic approaches to securing enough placements. This includes investing part of our £200 million children’s social care Innovation Programme funding in 3 projects to improve the supply of placements. Additional funding for 2 of these projects was confirmed on 24 April as part of the £12.1 million to support vulnerable children who are most at risk during the COVID-19 outbreak. In addition, in September 2019, we funded 7 local authority-led partnerships to test new approaches to commissioning and sufficiency planning in foster care, worth almost £500,000.

28th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government to list the additional data requirements on local authorities relating to children’s social care since the start of the COVID-19 lockdown.

The department has undertaken a survey of pupils, parents and young people (including vulnerable young people) to collect their views and experiences during the COVID-19 outbreak. It has also undertaken a survey of school leaders and teachers about the impact of COVID-19 on children and young people.

The department also publishes statistics on attendance in education and early years settings during COVID-19 (https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak/2020-week-29). There are also many other publicly available sources that the department makes use of, including a collated research study on children’s and young people’s views from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (https://www.rcpch.ac.uk/resources/covid-19-research-studies-children-young-peoples-views).

Additionally, a new Vulnerable Children and Young People Survey collects fortnightly data from local authorities in England. It includes data on contact with children supported by children’s social care, workforce, cost and system pressures. The new and temporary report includes the number of referrals to children’s social care and referral source. The department is planning to publish the data in due course.

The department has been working closely with local authorities to assess the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, setting up dedicated regional teams that are in frequent contact. Bringing together expertise from across the department, these teams monitor the challenges that local authorities are facing, including any increases in demand, and can provide support and guidance where appropriate.

Figures on the number of referrals and referral source are published annually in the ‘Characteristics of children in need’ statistical release here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/statistics-children-in-need. The latest published data relates to the period up to 31 March 2019.

The attached table shows the number of referrals to children’s social care services by referral source from the Vulnerable Children and Young People Survey.

23rd Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many laptops each (1) local authority, and (2) multi-academy trust has received since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic; and how many vulnerable pupils are educated by each (a) local authority, and (b) multi-academy trust, in England.

The government has provided laptops and tablets to disadvantaged children who would otherwise not have access and are preparing for examinations in year 10, receiving support from a social worker or are a care leaver. Where care leavers, children with a social worker at secondary school and children in year 10 do not have internet connections, the government has provided 4G wireless routers.

The department has delivered laptops, tablets and 4G wireless routers to local authorities and academy trusts based on the department’s 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 children and young people who need devices and prioritise their needs.

The department has published data on devices delivered through the programme here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/laptops-tablets-and-4g-wireless-routers-progress-data. The department will be publishing a breakdown of data on devices delivered to each local authority and academy trust in future.

The closest matching available data on pupil attendance, including the attendance of vulnerable children, in educational establishments in England since 23 March was published on Tuesday 21 July at the following link and covers data up to Friday 17 July:

https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

The data is collected from individual education establishments and the published figures include estimates for non-response. Equivalent estimates have not been made at lower level geographies.

While the department is committed to welcoming all children back to school from September we recognise that there will be an ongoing role for remote education in the event a school is required to close temporarily. Schools are being asked to make preparations for this eventuality. We are reviewing the need to provide further support where this occurs.

23rd Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Berridge on 21 May (HL4175), what guidance is in place for secondary schools to permit visits for assessment tests in September and October 2020 of prospective pupils whose parents are applying for secondary transfer in September 2021.

We have published non-statutory guidance on assessment processes for selective school admissions for the 2021-22 academic year. The guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-assessment-processes-for-selective-school-admissions.

23rd Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether academies are obliged to teach all national curriculum subjects at Key Stage 2; and what action will be taken if an academy does not teach modern foreign languages at Key Stage 2.

Both academies and maintained schools are under a duty to teach a balanced and broadly based curriculum which promotes the spiritual, moral, social, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils at the school; and prepare pupils at the school for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life.

Unlike maintained schools, academies are not required to follow the national curriculum. Therefore, they are not under a statutory duty to teach modern foreign languages at key stage 2 although a primary academy may choose to do so as part of their key stage 2 curriculum.

23rd Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what arrangements are in place to ensure that the £650 million additional catch-up resources for schools and other educational settings will be allocated to the most deprived neighbourhoods.

We recognise that all children and young people have had their education disrupted as a result of COVID-19. It is our ambition to ensure that all pupils have the chance to make up for this lost education.

That is why we are introducing a universal ‘catch-up premium’ worth a total of £650 million. Our expectation is that this funding will be spent on supporting pupils to catch up after a period of disruption to their education.

Departmental guidance issued on 20 July sets out that all schools should use the total catch-up premium funding available to them as a single total from which to prioritise support for particular pupils according to their need. Additional weighting has been applied to specialist settings – special schools, alternative provision, and hospital schools - recognising the significantly higher per-pupil costs they face.

Alongside this universal offer, we have also announced a new £350 million National Tutoring Programme for disadvantaged pupils. This will increase access to high-quality tuition for disadvantaged and vulnerable children and young people, helping to accelerate their academic progress and tackling the attainment gap between them and their peers.

The departmental guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-catch-up-premium.

23rd Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much funding has been allocated to the Oak National Academy in the 2020–21 financial year; and whether there will be an independent assessment of the educational value and value for money of the contract awarded to Oak National Academy.

The department made £500,000 in grant funding available to the Oak National Academy to underwrite additional start-up costs associated with their operation over the course of this summer term. A further £4.34 million grant funding has been made available to the Oak National Academy for the 2020-21 academic year, split over the 2020/21 and 2021/22 financial years.

The payment profile across the two financial years remains subject to confirmation. A requirement of this funding is that the Oak National Academy records and makes available the vast majority of their lessons for each subject by September, to give schools maximum flexibility to align the lessons and topics with their own curriculum planning. The funding provided to the Oak National Academy is to enable teachers to supplement their remote education contingency plans.

The department is currently considering approaches to evaluating the Oak National Academy’s effectiveness.

23rd Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether all unregistered education settings are required to register with Ofsted.

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 also looked after or has an education, health and care plan) is required to register with the department. The registration process involves a pre-registration inspection by Ofsted to confirm that the setting is likely to meet the independent school standards on opening.

The department is considering changes to the registration requirement for schools. 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, set out proposals to extend the registration requirement to full-time institutions that are not currently required to register. 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.

16th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they expect to publish a response to the consultation on 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; a duty on parents to register their child with the local authority if not registered at specified types of school; 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 .

Almost 5,000 responses were received to the consultation which closed in June 2019 and they have now been considered.

The government is committed to publishing the response to the Children Not in School consultation. We anticipate the formal publication of the government response will come in autumn.

16th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they expect to publish further guidance on the national tutoring programme.

The National Tutoring Programme (NTP) was announced on 19 June as part of the £1 billion COVID-19 “catch-up” package for schools, and further information was published on 20 July. The programme will enable schools to access high-quality tutoring for disadvantaged pupils at a substantially reduced cost – and it will also give funding to school sixth forms, colleges and other further education providers for small group tuition targeted at disadvantaged students aged 16 to 19 whose studies have been disrupted as a result of COVID-19. Details about the NTP as a whole are available at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-catch-up-premium.

The element of the NTP for 5 to 16 year olds in state-funded schools in England comprises two parts. The first of these is being developed by the department in partnership with the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF), and will enable schools in all regions to access subsidised tuition from an approved list of tuition partners that meet quality, safeguarding and evaluation standards and which will be supported and funded to meet as many disadvantaged pupils as possible. Preliminary information for schools and tutoring organisations that are interested in taking part in this aspect of the NTP is published on the EEF website, available at:

https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/covid-19-resources/national-tutoring-programme/.

The second part of the programme will support schools in the most disadvantaged communities to employ in-house academic mentors to provide small group tuition to their pupils. Teach First will be responsible for the recruitment and training of the first cohort of academic mentors and their placement in schools from October 2020 onwards, with their salaries being subsidised by the government. Information about this part of the NTP is available at https://www.teachfirst.org.uk/academic-mentors.

The NTP is intended to support disadvantaged and vulnerable pupils to catch up with the education they have missed due to extended school closures. Schools will have the discretion to decide which pupils would benefit from tuition delivered by external tutors, and the number of hours that those pupils would need.

The cost per hour per pupil of implementing the NTP will vary depending on how the tutoring is delivered: whether remotely or face-to-face; in small groups or one-to-one support; and whether the tuition is accessed by schools from tutoring organisations under the NTP or through an academic mentor engaged full-time in the school.

16th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many hours of tutoring each pupil designated as vulnerable can expect to receive from the national tutoring programme in the 2020–21 school year.

The National Tutoring Programme (NTP) was announced on 19 June as part of the £1 billion COVID-19 “catch-up” package for schools, and further information was published on 20 July. The programme will enable schools to access high-quality tutoring for disadvantaged pupils at a substantially reduced cost – and it will also give funding to school sixth forms, colleges and other further education providers for small group tuition targeted at disadvantaged students aged 16 to 19 whose studies have been disrupted as a result of COVID-19. Details about the NTP as a whole are available at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-catch-up-premium.

The element of the NTP for 5 to 16 year olds in state-funded schools in England comprises two parts. The first of these is being developed by the department in partnership with the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF), and will enable schools in all regions to access subsidised tuition from an approved list of tuition partners that meet quality, safeguarding and evaluation standards and which will be supported and funded to meet as many disadvantaged pupils as possible. Preliminary information for schools and tutoring organisations that are interested in taking part in this aspect of the NTP is published on the EEF website, available at:

https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/covid-19-resources/national-tutoring-programme/.

The second part of the programme will support schools in the most disadvantaged communities to employ in-house academic mentors to provide small group tuition to their pupils. Teach First will be responsible for the recruitment and training of the first cohort of academic mentors and their placement in schools from October 2020 onwards, with their salaries being subsidised by the government. Information about this part of the NTP is available at https://www.teachfirst.org.uk/academic-mentors.

The NTP is intended to support disadvantaged and vulnerable pupils to catch up with the education they have missed due to extended school closures. Schools will have the discretion to decide which pupils would benefit from tuition delivered by external tutors, and the number of hours that those pupils would need.

The cost per hour per pupil of implementing the NTP will vary depending on how the tutoring is delivered: whether remotely or face-to-face; in small groups or one-to-one support; and whether the tuition is accessed by schools from tutoring organisations under the NTP or through an academic mentor engaged full-time in the school.

16th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact that the restrictions in place on the courts system to address the COVID-19 pandemic will have on the ability of local authorities to seek School Attendance Orders from the start of the next academic year.

We are asking schools and local authorities to work with families to secure regular school attendance for all pupils from the start of the autumn term. This will be essential to help pupils catch up on missed education, make progress and promote their wellbeing and wider development. Schools should bear in mind the potential concerns of pupils, parents and households who may be reluctant or anxious about returning and put the right support in place to address this.

A local authority will be able to serve a school attendance order on a parent if they fail to satisfy the local authority that their child of compulsory school age is receiving a suitable education either by regular attendance at school or otherwise. Failure to comply with a school attendance order is an offence.

Local authorities should not experience delays in court proceedings, provided they use the “single justice procedure” for offences relating to school attendance orders.

16th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of the cost per hour per pupil of implementing the national tutoring programme; and how much of the cost per hour is estimated to be administrative cost.

The National Tutoring Programme (NTP) was announced on 19 June as part of the £1 billion COVID-19 “catch-up” package for schools, and further information was published on 20 July. The programme will enable schools to access high-quality tutoring for disadvantaged pupils at a substantially reduced cost – and it will also give funding to school sixth forms, colleges and other further education providers for small group tuition targeted at disadvantaged students aged 16 to 19 whose studies have been disrupted as a result of COVID-19. Details about the NTP as a whole are available at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-catch-up-premium.

The element of the NTP for 5 to 16 year olds in state-funded schools in England comprises two parts. The first of these is being developed by the department in partnership with the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF), and will enable schools in all regions to access subsidised tuition from an approved list of tuition partners that meet quality, safeguarding and evaluation standards and which will be supported and funded to meet as many disadvantaged pupils as possible. Preliminary information for schools and tutoring organisations that are interested in taking part in this aspect of the NTP is published on the EEF website, available at:

https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/covid-19-resources/national-tutoring-programme/.

The second part of the programme will support schools in the most disadvantaged communities to employ in-house academic mentors to provide small group tuition to their pupils. Teach First will be responsible for the recruitment and training of the first cohort of academic mentors and their placement in schools from October 2020 onwards, with their salaries being subsidised by the government. Information about this part of the NTP is available at https://www.teachfirst.org.uk/academic-mentors.

The NTP is intended to support disadvantaged and vulnerable pupils to catch up with the education they have missed due to extended school closures. Schools will have the discretion to decide which pupils would benefit from tuition delivered by external tutors, and the number of hours that those pupils would need.

The cost per hour per pupil of implementing the NTP will vary depending on how the tutoring is delivered: whether remotely or face-to-face; in small groups or one-to-one support; and whether the tuition is accessed by schools from tutoring organisations under the NTP or through an academic mentor engaged full-time in the school.

14th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the access of local authorities and adoptive parents to therapeutic services provided through the Adoption Support Fund during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The government acted quickly to establish the Adoption Support Fund COVID-19 scheme in April 2020. The government provided over £6 million to local authorities and regional adoption agencies through the Adoption Support Fund COVID-19 scheme to enable them to provide specific therapeutic support to adoptive and eligible special guardianship families for needs arising from the COVID-19 outbreak. The funding included support for activities which would normally be outside the standard Adoption Support Fund. Local authorities and regional adoption agencies were invited to apply between 27 April and 12 June 2020 and 433 applications were approved supporting up to 61,000 families.

We also introduced flexible arrangements for the standard Fund, including allowing therapy to be amended to take account of the COVID-19 restrictions.

9th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the practicality of social distancing for secondary school pupils travelling to and from school, in particular in rural areas; and what assessment they have made of the findings in the analysis by the Education Policy Institute Getting pupils back into school: the unresolved problem of transport, published on 3 July.

We recognise that ensuring there is sufficient, appropriate transport for all children to return to school safely is a very significant challenge, including in rural areas. We are working closely with the Department for Transport to achieve this and to ensure local authorities have robust plans in place for the autumn term.

Our guidance published on 2 July outlines steps which schools and local authorities should take:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools#section-2-school-operations.

The advice for passengers on public transport to adopt a social distance of two metres, or a ‘one metre plus’ approach where this is not possible, does not apply on dedicated school transport. This is because pupils on dedicated school transport services do not mix with the general public on those journeys.

As school transport is arranged by local authorities for a planned number of children, demand for services can be managed in a way which is not possible on public transport. This predictability, which public transport does not afford, will allow for planning so that protective measures can be put in place. For example, in some circumstances, it may be possible for children to sit with other children from their school bubble on school transport. We know this won’t always be possible and where that is case, other measures such as the use of hand sanitiser upon boarding and/or disembarking, additional cleaning of vehicles, organised queuing and boarding will be more important. We will publish additional guidance for dedicated school transport shortly.

In many areas, pupils normally make extensive use of the wider public transport system, particularly public buses. We expect that public transport capacity will continue to be constrained in the autumn term. Its use, particularly in peak times, should be kept to an absolute minimum so that the capacity is available for those that have no alternative method of travel. Schools should encourage parents, staff and pupils to walk or cycle to school if at all possible. The government has announced a £2 billion package to promote cycling and walking, including to support pop-up bicycle lanes and widened pavements. For some families, driving children to school will also be an option. Those using public transport should refer to the Department for Transport’s safer travel guidance for passengers, available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-travel-guidance-for-passengers.

9th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the likely effect of the decision to end the Year 7 literacy and numeracy catch-up premium on pupils who do not achieve the expected standard in reading or maths at the end of Key Stage 2.

Although the year 7 catch-up premium has been discontinued, we continue to provide funding which can be used to support pupils who did not reach the expected standard in reading or maths at the end of key stage 2. The national funding formula (NFF) contains a low prior attainment factor which is allocated on a similar basis to the year 7 catch-up premium, but provides funding for all five years that a pupil is in secondary school. NFF allocations do not directly determine schools’ budgets, which are set through formula determined by local authorities in consultation with local schools. Local authorities are free to use a low prior attainment factor in their local formula, and for 2020-21, all are doing so.

In 2020-21, the amount allocated through the secondary low prior attainment factor in the school’s NFF is increasing by £49 million from £924 million to £973 million.

In addition, the £1 billion catch up package that the government announced on 19 June includes £650 million to help all pupils make up for the lost teaching time and £350 million for a new National Tutoring Programme for disadvantaged pupils.

9th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what effect they expect the COVID catch-up fund to have on the ability of schools to attract additional funding under the National Funding Formula for pupils in Years 7 to 11 with lower attainment who need support to catch up.

Schools will continue to attract funding via the national funding formula (NFF) for pupils with low prior attainment. The NFF contains a low prior attainment factor which is allocated on a similar basis to the year 7 catch-up premium, but provides funding for all five years that a pupil is in secondary school. NFF allocations do not directly determine schools’ budgets, which are set through formula determined by local authorities in consultation with local schools. Local authorities are free to use a low prior attainment factor in their local formula, and for 2020-21, all are doing so.

In 2020-21, the amount allocated through the secondary low prior attainment factor in the schools NFF has increased by £49 million from £924 million to £973 million.

In addition, the £1 billion catch up package that the government announced on 19 June includes £650 million to help all pupils make up for the lost teaching time and £350 million for a new National Tutoring Programme for disadvantaged pupils.

NFF allocations for 2020-21 were published in October 2019; allocations for 2021-22 will be published shortly. The additional funding schools will receive through the COVID-19 catch-up plan will not have any effect on the funding allocated through the NFF.

9th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how the Ofsted visits to schools due to take place after the summer holidays will differ from formal inspections other than they will not result in the school being graded.

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

9th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what sources of funding will be available to secondary schools to support low attainment pupils following the decision to end the Year 7 literacy and numeracy catch-up premium.

Schools will continue to attract funding via the national funding formula (NFF) for pupils with low prior attainment. The NFF contains a low prior attainment factor which is allocated on a similar basis to the year 7 catch-up premium, but provides funding for all five years that a pupil is in secondary school. NFF allocations do not directly determine schools’ budgets, which are set through formula determined by local authorities in consultation with local schools. Local authorities are free to use a low prior attainment factor in their local formula, and for 2020-21, all are doing so.

In 2020-21, the amount allocated through the secondary low prior attainment factor in the schools NFF has increased by £49 million from £924 million to £973 million.

In addition, the £1 billion catch up package that the government announced on 19 June includes £650 million to help all pupils make up for the lost teaching time and £350 million for a new National Tutoring Programme for disadvantaged pupils.

NFF allocations for 2020-21 were published in October 2019; allocations for 2021-22 will be published shortly. The additional funding schools will receive through the COVID-19 catch-up plan will not have any effect on the funding allocated through the NFF.

25th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many members of the COVID-19 Response School Stakeholder Advisory Group have been asked to sign personal confidentiality agreements by the Department for Education.

Members of the COVID-19 Response School Stakeholder Advisory Group are not required to sign personal confidentiality agreements.

25th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what arrangements they have put in place to facilitate permanently home-schooled children being awarded the grades required to allow the take up of college and university places in the 2020/21 academic year.

This is a matter for Ofqual, the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation. I have asked its Chief Regulator, Sally Collier, to write to the noble Lord and a copy of her reply will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

25th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what arrangements they (1) have, and (2) plan to, put in place to ensure that students studying vocational and other equivalent qualifications are able to complete their qualifications in the same way as those studying for GCSEs and A-Levels.

It is imperative that as many students as possible receive their results this summer so they can progress to their next steps in education or employment. The department has been working closely with Ofqual, the qualifications regulator, to agree how this can be achieved, in light of the disruption to teaching and cancellation of examinations and assessments this year due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Ofqual has published its framework for the awarding of results for vocational and technical qualifications, which sets out what awarding organisations must do to provide results for students who were due to take assessments this summer. Ofqual and awarding organisations are working with schools, colleges and other providers to implement these measures. The framework is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/extraordinary-regulatory-framework-vtq-covid-19-conditions-and-requirements.

Results for vocational qualifications that are used for progression into further or higher education, such as Technical Awards and Applied General qualifications, should wherever possible be calculated in line with the approach for GCSEs, AS and A levels. For other vocational qualifications, such as those that are used for entry into employment where demonstration of practical competence is necessary, it may not be appropriate to calculate a result. For these, adapted assessments will be delivered and Ofqual is working with the awarding organisations and centres to deliver these assessments wherever possible this summer. Only as a last resort should assessments be delayed into the 2020/21 academic year.

An appeals process will be in place for students who believe that the assessment process was not followed correctly. Students who feel their result does not reflect their ability will be able to sit an assessment at the next available opportunity. An autumn assessment series for GCSE and A levels will be delivered in 2020. Ofqual has published its plans for this in response to its consultation, and Ofqual is working with awarding organisations to agree arrangements for autumn assessment opportunities for vocational and technical qualifications where appropriate. The department will issue further guidance on the autumn series in due course.

Ofqual has also published proposals for GCSE, AS and A level exams, and VTQ assessments for the 2020/2021 academic year, which are available here:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/897137/Consultation_on_proposed_changes_to_the_assessment_of_GCSEs__AS_and_A_levels_in_2021_020620.pdf

and: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/897029/VTQ_position_paper_-_operation_and_regulation_for_2020-21.pdf

25th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the appeals system for grades awarded this year for GCSE, AS Level and A Level exams will operate to a timetable that will ensure that students do not have to defer the next stage of their education by a full year.

This is a matter for Ofqual, the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation. I have asked its Chief Regulator, Sally Collier, to write to the noble Lord and a copy of her reply will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

25th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with Sevenoaks School following reports that teaching staff are routinely asked to increase predicted grades on UCAS applications for students who may be in danger of missing out on their preferred degree course.

The department is aware of a complaint that Sevenoaks School has increased predicted grades on Universities and College Admissions Service (UCAS) applications for some students. The school’s handling of the complaint will be considered when it is next inspected.

UCAS provides guidance for all schools to support them in making predicted grades and the school has been reminded about these guidelines.

Schools should not be inflating predicted grades and we expect teachers to use their best judgement to predict grades for students which most accurately reflect their abilities.

If this is not the case in any school, we expect them to change their policies.

16th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that BAME history and colonisation are taught and integrated across the curriculum in (1) primary, and (2) secondary, schools.

The department is committed to an inclusive education system which recognises and embraces diversity. The history curriculum gives teachers and schools the freedom and flexibility to use specific examples from history to teach pupils about the history of Britain and the wider world. Schools and teachers can determine which examples, topics and resources to use to stimulate and challenge pupils and reflect key points in history.

There are opportunities within the themes and eras of the history curriculum for teachers and schools to teach Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic history at Key Stages 1 to 3, and to teach about colonisation.

4th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, in respect of each occasion on which a temporary closure direction was issued under the Coronavirus Act 2020, schedule 16, paragraph 1, whether they will list (1) the persons to whom it was issued; (2) when it was published; (3) when it came into effect; (4) where it was published; (5) the specified period for the direction; (6) the advice received under paragraph 1(4) of schedule 16; and (5) the guidance to which a person receiving a direction must have regard to under paragraph 5(4) of schedule 16.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education has not issued any temporary closure directions under schedule 16, paragraph 1 of the Coronavirus Act 2020, nor has he authorised anyone (either local authority or the Office for Students) to issue temporary closure directions under paragraph 4 of Schedule 16 to that Act.

4th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, in respect of each occasion on which a temporary closure direction was issued under Coronavirus Act 2020, schedule 16, paragraph 4, whether they will list (1) the terms and conditions of the authorisation, and (2) the persons to whom the authorisation was issued.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education has not issued any temporary closure directions under schedule 16, paragraph 1 of the Coronavirus Act 2020, nor has he authorised anyone (either local authority or the Office for Students) to issue temporary closure directions under paragraph 4 of Schedule 16 to that Act.

4th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, in respect of each occasion on which a temporary closure direction was issued under the Coronavirus Act 2020, schedule 17, paragraph 1, whether they will list (1) the persons to whom the direction was issued; (2) when it was published; (3) when it came into effect; (4) where it was published; (5) the specified period for the direction; (6) the advice received under paragraph 1(3) of schedule 17; and (5) the guidance to which a person receiving a direction must have regard to under paragraph 4(4) of schedule 17.

Schedule 17, paragraph 1 of the Coronavirus Act 2020 gives the Secretary of State a power to issue ‘temporary continuity directions’ to educational institutions, registered childcare providers and local authorities requiring them to take reasonable steps which can be set out in the direction in connection with the provision of education, training, childcare (or services relating to these), or ancillary services and facilities, for a specified period. My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education has not issued any temporary continuity directions under schedule 17, paragraph 1 of the Coronavirus Act 2020, nor has he authorised anyone (either local authority or the Office for Students) to issue temporary continuity directions under paragraph 3 of Schedule 17 to that Act.

4th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, in respect of each occasion on which a temporary closure direction was issued under Coronavirus Act 2020, schedule 17, paragraph 3, whether they will list (1) the terms and conditions of the authorisation, and (2) the persons to whom the authorisation was issued.

Schedule 17, paragraph 1 of the Coronavirus Act 2020 gives the Secretary of State a power to issue ‘temporary continuity directions’ to educational institutions, registered childcare providers and local authorities requiring them to take reasonable steps which can be set out in the direction in connection with the provision of education, training, childcare (or services relating to these), or ancillary services and facilities, for a specified period. My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education has not issued any temporary continuity directions under schedule 17, paragraph 1 of the Coronavirus Act 2020, nor has he authorised anyone (either local authority or the Office for Students) to issue temporary continuity directions under paragraph 3 of Schedule 17 to that Act.

4th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government which safeguards to protect children were (1) altered, and (2) removed, by the Adoption and Children (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020.

The safety of vulnerable children remains paramount for the government during the COVID-19 outbreak which is why the vast majority of statutory duties remain unchanged. The duties to our most vulnerable children that are set out in primary legislation remain in place and we have made no changes to these.

The Adoption and Children (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 allow some temporary and limited flexibility during the COVID-19 outbreak, but these should only be used when absolutely necessary with oversight by senior management and decisions recorded. We expect local authorities and providers to comply with the original statutory duties where possible.

The amendments do not alter the overarching primary legislative responsibilities that local authorities have towards protecting children from significant harm and promoting their welfare. Some regulations have been temporarily amended, for example, to allow for face-to-face visits to take place remotely for use when absolutely necessary. However, local authorities must continue to act in the best interest of each child at all times.

3rd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Berridge on 21 May (HL4173), when they intend to add supermarkets owned by the Co-op to the list of those participating in the COVID-19 national voucher scheme for children eligible for free school meals.

The vouchers for free school meals can currently be spent in a variety of supermarkets. Initially, the scheme included supermarkets that already have e-gift card arrangements in place with our supplier: Asda, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Morrisons, Marks & Spencer and Waitrose. On Monday 27 April, we added Aldi to this list and on Wednesday 29 April, we added McColl’s. We have been working with other supermarkets to encourage them to join. Any additional supermarkets would need to have the right infrastructure to deliver e-gift cards across their network of stores.

Schools are best placed to make decisions about the most appropriate free school meal arrangements for eligible pupils during this period. In the first instance, we are asking schools to speak to their catering teams and food suppliers about preparing meals or food parcels that could be collected by or delivered to families that are not in attendance. Where this is not possible, schools can use the national voucher scheme or make alternative voucher arrangements locally. Our guidance for schools sets out that they can be reimbursed for costs incurred where the national voucher scheme is not suitable for their families, and this can include alternative voucher arrangements with supermarkets that are not part of the national voucher scheme.

We thank all supermarkets for their hard work during these challenging times.

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

3rd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Berridge on 21 May (HL4173), what is their definition of “children on the edge of receiving support from children’s social care services”.

This phrase is part of a wider description of vulnerable children and young people for the purposes of educational attendance during the COVID-19 outbreak. The guidance 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

Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, educational providers have been able to offer places to children and young people who may be vulnerable and therefore would benefit from attendance. This includes children who have an education, health and care plan, who have been assessed as being in need under section 17 of the Children Act, or who have been identified as vulnerable for some other reason, at the educational provider or local authority’s discretion. The phrase, 'children on the edge of receiving support from children’s social care services', is one of the examples given as an illustration of children who might be in this category of 'otherwise vulnerable' children and therefore benefit from attendance. It is not a precise definition as the emphasis is on local discretion and was chosen partly as a response to requests from local authorities, schools and other safeguarding partners for the flexibility to offer education places to children and young people who didn’t meet one of the very specific, defined thresholds. These children might include, for example, some children and young people receiving early help services.

3rd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what efforts they will make to encourage schools in the independent sector to grant access to their premises and resources over the summer to pupils from state schools disadvantaged by school closures in place since March.

The government shares the concern about the impact of prolonged school closures on disadvantaged pupils and is committed to doing whatever we can to make sure no child, whatever their background, falls behind as a result of COVID-19.

The government has committed over £100 million to support vulnerable and disadvantaged children in England to access remote education and social care services, including by providing laptops, tablets and 4G wireless routers.

The government is providing over 200,000 laptops and tablets to vulnerable and disadvantaged children who would otherwise not have access and are preparing for examinations in year 10, receiving support from a social worker or are a care leaver. The government is also providing over 50,000 4G wireless routers to care leavers, children with a social worker at secondary school and disadvantaged children in year 10 who do not have internet connections.

The department has also partnered with BT to give 10,000 young people free access to BT Wi-Fi hotspots, who do not have access to good internet by other means.

We are considering, with a range of partner organisations what more is required to support all pupils make up for time spent out of school. This includes discussions with the Independent Schools Council to understand what offers of support might be available locally.

12th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their definition of disadvantaged in relation to school children.

The department defines disadvantaged pupils as those who are recorded as claiming free school meals at any point in the last six years, those pupils in the care of an English local authority, and those pupils who have left care in England or Wales through adoption, a special guardianship order or child arrangements order.

The department recognises that other pupils face challenges in realising their potential at school. It encourages school leaders to exercise their autonomy when deciding how to provide extra support, particularly through the pupil premium, so that the needs of other pupil groups, such as those in touch with a social worker and young carers, may be addressed.

12th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to publish scientific evidence that schools are safe to re-open before pupils are allowed to return in June.

The government is committed to publishing the scientific evidence that has informed SAGE’s advice, including evidence related to schools.

These papers are being published in batches. The full list of papers released to date is available by following the link below. This list will be updated to reflect papers considered at recent and future meetings, available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/scientific-advisory-group-for-emergencies-sage-coronavirus-covid-19-response.

12th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to redefine the role of regional schools commissioners during the period of school closures in place to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

The majority of schools have remained open during the COVID-19 pandemic for vulnerable pupils and children of key workers, and as Senior Civil Servants at the Department for Education, Regional Schools Commissioners (RSCs) have continued to exercise their responsibilities and take decisions on behalf of the Secretary of State for Education.

In addition during this period, RSCs have led virtual Regional Education and Children’s (REACT) teams within the Department for Education and from Ofsted to bring together a wide range of departmental policy and operational interests, in order to provide a coherent interface with local authorities acting in their capacity as local coordinators of the emergency response.

6th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure sustainable funding for the apprenticeship sector in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education’s Review of Funding Band methodology and their review of the apprenticeship levy in England as announced in the Budget.

In 2020-21, funding available for investment in apprenticeships in England will remain around £2.5 billion, double what was spent in 2010-11. Budgets for future years will be set by HM Treasury in due course.

Apprenticeships are a valuable route into good quality employment and help to boost employers’ skills – they will play an important role in supporting our economic recovery, post COVID-19.

The government is committed to improving the operation of the apprenticeship levy, as my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer confirmed in the Budget in March. We continue to engage closely with businesses and listen to their views about the operation of the apprenticeship levy and the programme more broadly, taking into account the impact of COVID-19.

In response to the challenges of COVID-19, the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education’s consultation on changes to the funding band recommendation process was extended six weeks and closed on 18 May. It will launch a second consultation on a refined model later this year.

6th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to take account of the impact of COVID-19 when undertaking the review of the apprenticeship levy in England, as announced in the Budget.

In 2020-21, funding available for investment in apprenticeships in England will remain around £2.5 billion, double what was spent in 2010-11. Budgets for future years will be set by HM Treasury in due course.

Apprenticeships are a valuable route into good quality employment and help to boost employers’ skills – they will play an important role in supporting our economic recovery, post COVID-19.

The government is committed to improving the operation of the apprenticeship levy, as my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer confirmed in the Budget in March. We continue to engage closely with businesses and listen to their views about the operation of the apprenticeship levy and the programme more broadly, taking into account the impact of COVID-19.

In response to the challenges of COVID-19, the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education’s consultation on changes to the funding band recommendation process was extended six weeks and closed on 18 May. It will launch a second consultation on a refined model later this year.

6th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government which supermarkets are participating in the COVID-19 national voucher scheme for children eligible for free school meals; and what the eligibility criteria are for supermarkets.

Our latest guidance on providing free school meals is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance-for-schools.

Through the national voucher scheme, schools and families could initially access eGift cards for Morrisons, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Waitrose and M&S. On Monday 27 April Aldi were added to this scheme and on Wednesday 29 April McColl’s were also added.

We continue to work with a wide range of supermarkets to encourage them to join. In order to be part of the scheme they are required to have the right infrastructure to deliver eGift cards in a uniform way across their network of stores.

If families are not able to access any of the supermarkets which are part of the national voucher scheme, schools are able to purchase vouchers directly for alternative supermarkets. They can be reimbursed for the cost of these alternatives through the schools’ coronavirus exceptional costs fund, up to £15 per pupil per week. This funding covers unavoidable additional costs incurred to the COVID-19 outbreak that cannot be met from existing resources. Further information can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-schools/school-funding-exceptional-costs-associated-with-coronavirus-covid-19-for-the-period-march-to-july-2020.

6th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to provide increased financial assistance to school children from disadvantaged families in England when schools reopen.

Schools will continue to receive their budgets for the coming year as usual, regardless of any periods of partial or complete closure. That will ensure that they are able to continue to pay their staff and meet other regular financial commitments. We will also continue to pay the pupil premium, worth around £2.4 billion per annum, to schools so that they have extra funding to provide support to their disadvantaged pupils – with per pupil rates for the current financial year being the highest ever.

6th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the continuation of 11-plus exams in state schools during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Arrangements for selecting pupils by ability are for the admission authorities for selective schools to decide. It will be important for admission authorities to consider what changes they may need to make to their arrangements for this year.

We are in discussion with representatives of the sector and will provide advice in due course.

5th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to support the long-term viability of apprenticeship providers, in the light of 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.

Training providers have in many cases developed effective online learning resources which enables them to retain their apprentices on programme so they can continue developing new skills, which will be vital for our economic recovery. At the same time training providers also have access to the comprehensive range of business support measures announced by HM Treasury. In addition, on 24 April 2020, the Education and Skills Funding Agency launched a Provider Relief Scheme which will put in place short term financial measures to support eligible training providers’ cash flow based on an assessment of need. This will enable us to retain capacity within the apprenticeships and adult education sector to deliver the skills we will need to support economic recovery post-outbreak. The relief scheme will also enable training providers who are eligible for support to maintain delivery to and support for existing apprentices, learners and employers whilst enabling new apprentices and learners to enrol as soon as it is safe to do so.

Additionally, to ensure that providers are able to continue to deliver quality apprenticeships and maintain their income throughout the disruption, we have made significant changes to some aspects of our funding rules, offering immediate solutions to the problems being faced.

Our latest guidance on working with apprentices in the current environment is set out below:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-schools-and-other-educational-settings.

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

5th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the role that apprenticeships will play in supporting (1) the economy, and (2) people to gain the skills they need, after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Apprenticeships will play an important role in supporting economic recovery. They provide individuals with a valuable route into employment, a boost to their career, and enable employers to build the skilled workforce they need to recover and grow.

There are now over 530 high-quality, employer-designed apprenticeship standards to equip individuals with the transferable skills, knowledge and behaviours that employers want.

We are actively supporting apprentices, employers and training providers during this challenging time, and have introduced a number of flexibilities so apprentices can continue learning and complete their apprenticeships. We are promoting the remote delivery of training and assessment, and eligible furloughed employees can continue or start new apprenticeships.

We continue to work closely with employers, providers and apprentices to ensure high-quality apprenticeships support businesses to recover and thrive by equipping them with the skills they need for the future.

5th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that apprentices who have deferred, or taken a break in their studies, because of the COVID-19 pandemic can continue once the lockdown is lifted.

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. This includes apprentices who are furloughed, who can continue to train and undertake end point assessments, and also start apprenticeships where eligible. We are encouraging providers and assessment organisations to deliver training, assessment and support for apprentices remotely wherever possible.

Where it is not possible to continue training or assessment due to COVID-19, we have enabled apprentices, employers and providers to initiate a break in learning to ensure that apprentices can continue and complete their apprenticeships when it is possible to do so. We have also introduced flexibilities to enable apprentices to complete their apprenticeship in the event of disruption to assessment. Apprentices ready for assessment, but who cannot be assessed due to COVID-19 issues, can now have their end-point assessment rescheduled.

Further guidance for employers and training providers is available at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-apprenticeship-programme-response.

5th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to review the current rules for apprenticeships, which require those who have been made redundant to find another job within 12 weeks in order to continue their apprenticeship.

Our ambition remains for any apprentice facing redundancy to be supported to find alternative employment and continue their apprenticeship as quickly as possible and within 12 weeks.

We fund an apprentice’s training to completion if they have 6 months or less of their apprenticeship remaining at the point at which they are made redundant.

Apprentices need to be able to apply their off-the-job training to a workplace environment, so it is important that apprentices remain in work relevant to their apprenticeship.

Substantial support for businesses, including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, is intended to enable people to remain in employment and reduce redundancies.

Should COVID-19 lead to redundancies, we will endeavour to provide comprehensive, practical support to ensure that apprenticeships can continue.

5th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the number of children without access to (1) laptops, (2) reliable internet connections and (3) other equipment necessary for them to participate in remote learning.

We are constantly reviewing the needs of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children to ensure they get the support they need at this time.

The Government has committed over £100 million to support vulnerable and disadvantaged children in England to access remote education. We are providing laptops and tablets to disadvantaged children who would otherwise not have access and are preparing for examination in Year 10, receiving support from a social worker or are a care leaver. We are also providing 4G wireless routers to care leavers, children with a social worker at secondary school and disadvantaged Year 10 pupils who do not have sufficient internet connections.

To support householders who face challenges accessing an internet connection, the government has brokered an agreement with all the major telecoms companies aimed at protecting the most vulnerable, as well as those who may become vulnerable due to COVID-19. We are also working to remove data charges for educational resources for families who rely on 4G.

For those in rural areas or without a connection, schools will be able to draw on support from the BBC which is broadcasting lessons on television. Some of the BBC educational content is offline, via the red button, which disadvantaged pupils without digital devices or connectivity will still be able to access

Schools may also choose to draw on the many resources offers which have been made by publishers across the country. The department has published an initial list of high quality online educational resources, which have been identified by some of the country’s leading educational experts to help pupils to learn at home. The list is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-online-education-resources.

5th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme on the ability of nurseries and childcare providers to retain staff.

The government has announced unprecedented support for businesses, including the early years sector, to protect against the impact of COVID-19. For childcare providers, this includes business rates relief for nurseries, a range of loans and grants, and the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme. Information on the support available can be found in the guidance for early years settings here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures#funding.

Early years settings will also continue to receive early years entitlement funding, and can access the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to cover up to the proportion of their pay bill which could be considered to have been paid for from their provider’s private income.

The department has published guidance on the financial support available for all settings, including information on the interaction between early years entitlements funding and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. The guidance 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#sector-specific-guidance.

If a provider sees their early years dedicated schools grant income reduced by their local authority in order to fund childcare places elsewhere, they may be able to increase the proportion of their salary bill eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme in the next furlough period. Further information is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/use-of-free-early-education-entitlements-funding-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/use-of-free-early-education-entitlements-funding-during-coronavirus-covid-19#using-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme.

The government is monitoring the impact these measures are having and keeping all policies under review.

25th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether all Pupil Referral Units will remain open to maintain the safety of pupils during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The government has asked providers of alternative provision (AP), including pupil referral units, to work with local authorities to consider the best way to support vulnerable children and those of critical workers who cannot remain safely at home, including by keeping AP settings open where it is safe and feasible to do so. If that isn’t possible our expectation is that local authorities and AP providers will need to assess the safeguarding needs of those children on a case by case basis, working with social workers and other agencies to make appropriate arrangements.


The government has published questions and answers about the provisions being made for vulnerable children and young people, which can be found at the link below: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-vulnerable-children-and-young-people.

25th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that schools and education authorities can fulfill their duties under the Equality Act 2010 to provide reasonable adjustments and auxiliary aids for pupils with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The duties under the Equality Act 2010 on local authorities, schools and other education settings are unchanged.

The welfare of children and young people with special educational needs or disabilities is a high priority for the department, especially during this period of uncertainty. We are working closely with colleagues across government to ensure that appropriate arrangements, and support, are in place for all of the department’s sectors – from early years and childcare to schools and children’s social care, and for vulnerable groups including children with special educational needs.

Many children and young people with disabilities will fall under the definition of “vulnerable children” when it comes to the response to the COVID-19 outbreak, for example because they have special educational needs or they are receiving support from social care. The government has published questions and answers about the provisions being made for vulnerable children and young people, which can be found at the link below: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-vulnerable-children-and-young-people.

25th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, in the context of the Coronavirus Act 2020, schools will be given discretionary powers to ensure that vulnerable pupils who do not have an official social care status can remain in school.

Supporting vulnerable children is a priority at this time. That is why, on Wednesday 18 March, my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister and my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education announced that schools will remain open for vulnerable children, alongside children of critical workers. Vulnerable children include those who have a social worker and those with education, health and care plans.

Leaders of educational settings and designated safeguarding leads know best who their most vulnerable children are and will have the flexibility to offer a place to those on the edges of receiving children’s social care support, who do not have an official social care status, to remain in school if they believe it is in the best interests of the child.

25th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to work with charities and other agencies to ensure that vulnerable children are identified and receive the support they require during the period of school closures related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

We are committed to ensuring the safety and protection of vulnerable children and young people, particularly during the current period. Vulnerable children include those who have a social worker and those with education, health and care plans. Schools and other education settings should continue to offer places to vulnerable children alongside the children of critical workers. We have also given leaders of educational settings and designated safeguarding leads the flexibility to offer a place to those children on the edges of receiving children’s social care support, who do not have an official social care status.

We have asked education providers to work closely with the local authority, and other organisations where relevant, to enable the identification of vulnerable children, and ensure they are offered an education place where applicable.

The department is in regular contact with charities and other agencies, particularly during this period. These organisations play a vital role and provide valuable feedback and insight that will help us to support vulnerable children at this time.

24th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to increase the level of graduate leadership in the early years sector.

The early years foundation stage framework is mandatory for all early years providers in England. It sets out the staffing requirements for early years settings, including ratios and qualifications.

While the department does not require graduates to be employed in private, voluntary and independent early years settings, we are committed to ensuring that there are routes to graduate-level qualifications for the early years workforce. We fully fund the early years initial teacher training programme which leads to early years teacher status, including bursaries and employer incentives.

24th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the (1) number, and (2) distribution, of relevant businesses required to meet the demand for T-levels.

Given the scale of the challenge, it is important that employers from all industries and regions are supported to deliver industry placements. We have carried out extensive stakeholder engagement across different industries, considered a range of evidence and put a substantial support package in place.

The published evidence is on pages 10 to 12 in the following link (which is also attached): https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/802703/Industry_placements_policy_update.pdf. This document also provides links to other evidence.

The National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) is promoting T levels and industry placements, including through operating a matching service which puts employers in touch with providers in their area. The NAS is also able to target specific geographical areas, as well as specific sectors and employers of specific sizes and types.

In May 2019, we published a new framework for industry placements to accommodate different industries, students and locations. We are piloting an employer support fund that is designed to help employers offering industry placements. We are also developing an employer support package alongside this. We will continue to monitor the regional and industry challenges to best target our activity to ensure that businesses can successfully meet the demands for T levels.

24th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the most recent trends in the level of teacher recruitment and retention.

The number of teachers remains high, with over 453,000 teachers in our schools – 12,000 more than in 2010. Postgraduate recruitment to teacher training is at its highest level since 2010-11, with over 29,000 postgraduate trainees recruited in 2019-20. The department will continue to take action to ensure teaching remains an attractive and fulfilling career. The figures of postgraduate and undergraduate initial teacher training new entrants by academic year can be found in the table attached.

In 2019, the government published the Teacher Recruitment and Retention Strategy, setting out how we will attract and retain great teachers. At the heart of the strategy is the Early Career Framework, which will provide new teachers with the solid foundations for a successful career in the profession.

The department has made significant progress in implementing the strategy since it was published. We have set out plans to significantly raise teachers’ starting pay to £30,000 by September 2022. We have also published a new Initial Teacher Training Core Content Framework, which will align with the Early Career Framework to ensure all teachers benefit from at least three years of evidence-based training. Additionally, the findings from the Teacher Workload Survey 2019 show that there has been a reduction in reported working hours for teachers, middle leaders and senior leaders of five hours a week between 2016 and 2019. While these findings suggest that our work and that of the profession is starting to make a real difference, we will continue to take action to tackle unnecessary workload.

22nd Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to introduce legislation in this Parliament relating to education; and when they expect any such legislation to be introduced.

As set out in the Queen’s Speech, this government is committed to ensuring that all young people have access to an excellent education, unlocking their full potential and preparing them for the world of work.

We have already laid legislation this Parliament requiring local authorities to provide every secondary school with at least £5,000 per pupil next year, and every primary school with at least £3,750 per pupil. This will support the lowest funded schools across the country so that all schools are able to provide an excellent education for their pupils.

We have also laid legislation to introduce, from August 2020, the new entitlement to fully funded digital qualifications for adults with no or low digital skills.

Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
22nd Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they had with Peterborough Council prior to that authority's decision to plan to open the first fully religiously selective Government-funded faith school since 2010.

It has always been possible to establish new schools that can prioritise up to 100% of admissions on the basis of faith criteria and a number of these have opened since 2010. It is for a schools admissions authority to decide whether they will use faith-based admissions criteria or not.

Regarding Peterborough City Council’s decision to approve the proposals for a new Catholic voluntary aided school on 6 January 2020, we gave approval in principle in June 2019 to provide funding to the Roman Catholic Diocese of East Anglia (RCDEA) for a new Catholic primary school. The department publishes guidance on how to take these decisions in the opening and closing maintained schools guidance. Local authorities are best placed to decide whether a proposed school meets the needs of its local community.

Guidance is attached and available from: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-organisation-maintained-schools.

Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
14th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have held with the Environment Agency following the publication of its report Water and sewerage companies in England: environmental performance report for 2020 on 13 July, in particular regarding its decision to grant the highest environmental performance rating to five water companies, despite the overall failure of the industry to reduce by 50 per cent the number of incidents in which significant amounts of raw sewage are released into the environment compared to 2012.

The assessment of environmental performance of water and sewerage companies in England is a made by the Environment Agency as the environmental regulator using a methodology that is published and has been consulted on with Defra and other organisations including eNGOs.

The environmental performance of a water company and the rating achieved is based on their performance against six metrics: total pollution incidents, serious pollution incidents, self-reporting of pollution incidents, discharge permit compliance, delivery of their environmental programme and their security of supply index for water resource. It is not based on the performance against any one metric such as serious pollution incidents.

Although the sector did not achieve an overall 50% reduction in serious pollution incidents compared to the number in 2012, the number of serious pollution incidents declined for the second year in a row and were at the lowest number ever at 44 in 2020. Three of the five water companies with the highest performance rating in 2020 (Northumbrian Water, Severn Trent and United Utilities) achieved more than a 50% reduction over the 2012 to 2020 period. However, the sector as a whole needs to accelerate to zero serious incidents and ramp up work to support the Government’s goal to ensure clean and plentiful water, as the report highlights.

There is more work to be done and over the last year the EA has made sure all companies develop and publish a pollution incident reduction plan for them to better understand their risks and implement interventions to reduce incident numbers. The EA has also worked with Ofwat to better align the financial penalties that they impose with environmental performance metrics. The EA will continue to use its influence and regulatory powers to require water companies to make timely, necessary and achievable improvements.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the statement by David Black, acting Chair of Ofwat, on 13 July that there should be a "step-change in culture and commitment" by water companies "to fundamentally change the way they deliver for customers and the environment".

The recent Environmental Performance Assessment (EPA) report, to which David Black’s comments relate, spans the last 12 months and makes for extremely disappointing reading. Even the industry-leading water companies have more work to do, especially on the use of storm overflows. Water companies have environmental responsibilities and they must realise them. They have a legal duty to avoid pollution to our rivers and other waterways.

The Government, the Environment Agency and Ofwat announced on 22 July the consultation of the review of the Water Industry National Environment Programme (WINEP), an ambitious programme of work that water companies are required to complete to meet their obligations from environmental legislation and UK Government policy. Water company actions driven by this programme have the potential to greatly enhance the natural environment, ultimately helping to protect the health of rivers and waterways in England and support sustainable growth.

For 2020 to 2025 water companies are investing £7.1 billion to protect and improve the environment. This includes the £5.2 billion invested through WINEP.

The strategic policy statement (SPS) for Ofwat published for consultation on July 22 outlines the Government’s key priorities for Ofwat’s regulation of the water sector in England. This includes water companies’ day-to-day environmental performance, with a focus on meeting the Government’s ambitions to significantly reduce the frequency and volume of sewage discharges from storm overflows. As well as challenging water companies to plan strategically their drainage and wastewater services in order to improve resilience and reduce pollution incidents, the Government expects Ofwat to challenge companies to continue to drive down leakage and improve water efficiency for the benefit of current and future customers.

The Environment Bill will also address this step change, with three new measures to reduce sewage discharges from storm overflows:

The first statutory requirement will place a duty on Government to publish a plan by September 2022 to reduce sewage discharges from storm overflows and to reduce their impact. This plan will be informed by work of the Storm Overflows Taskforce and will be subject to consultation and informed by an impact assessment. The Government will consider a wide range of options, including measures proposed in the Rt Hon Philip Dunne MP’s Private Member’s Bill. The plan will complement existing Asset Management Plans and new statutory Drainage and Wastewater Management Plans produced by water companies.

There will be an additional statutory requirement for Government to report to Parliament on progress on implementing the plan every five years, which will align progress with existing Asset Management Plan cycles for maximum effectiveness.

The third requirement will be a duty on water companies and the Environment Agency to publish data on storm overflow operation on an annual basis so that it is available and accessible to the public.

The Environment Bill will also require a legally binding, long-term water quality target. We are currently considering water targets on reducing pollution from wastewater, as well as agriculture and abandoned metal mines. Setting targets will provide a strong mechanism to deliver long-term environmental outcomes.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to end the practice of water companies being permitted to self-report pollution incidents.

It is a requirement on water companies to self-report pollution incidents and there are no plans to remove this important requirement.

Pollution incidents occur as a result of a system failure and require a reactive response. The quicker the response, the better the outcome for the environment. If the self-reporting of pollution incidents was not required, the Environment Agency would be reliant on third parties to report when things have gone wrong. Water companies can inform the Environment Agency of problems much quicker than if reported by third parties.

High levels of self-reporting demonstrates honesty and transparency and is an indicator that companies are managing their systems effectively. Making this information available and reporting it in the Environment Agency's annual water company performance report shines a light on company performance. Removing this requirement would reduce transparency, be worse for the environment and would reduce the Environment Agency's ability to hold water companies to account.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the £90m fine imposed on Southern Water by the Environment Agency for dumping raw sewage into protected seas; and what plans they have to direct the Environment Agency to hold Southern Water to stricter standards in future.

On 9 July 2021, Southern was handed a record £90 million fine after pleading guilty to thousands of illegal discharges of sewage which polluted rivers and coastal waters in Kent, Hampshire and Sussex. The Environment Agency led the successful prosecution, which is the largest criminal investigation in its 25-year history.

The findings in this case were shocking and wholly unacceptable. The Government has made clear that water companies have environmental responsibilities and must realise them. They have a legal duty to avoid pollution to our rivers and other waterways. Water companies should not be letting this happen and those that do will be punished by the full force of the law.

This fine, the largest ever imposed on a water company, is absolutely appropriate and welcomed. It will rightly be paid solely from the company's operating profits, rather than customer bills.

The Government works closely with the regulators including the Environment Agency and Ofwat to support their work to monitor Southern Water's performance and to hold them to account to deliver improvements for their customers and the environment. For example, the strategic policy statement (SPS) for Ofwat published on 22nd July for consultation outlines Government's key priorities for the independent regulator. This includes continuing to work on water companies' day-to-day environmental performance, with a focus on meeting the Government's ambitions to reduce significantly the frequency and volume of sewage discharges from storm overflows. As well as this, the statement asks Ofwat to challenge water companies to strategically plan their drainage and wastewater services in order to improve resilience and reduce pollution incidents. Ofwat will also work with companies to drive down leakage and improve water efficiency for the benefit of current and future customers.

Although it has improved on last year's Environmental Performance Assessment (EPA) 1-star rating, Southern Water remains one of the worst performing companies. Southern Water has a package of undertakings to deliver following enforcement action. The package includes steps to improve investment and performance at its wastewater treatment works and to increase transparency for customers about its environmental performance.

Minister Pow met with Southern Water's management team earlier this year to discuss their environmental performance. Emma Howard Boyd, Chair of the Environment Agency, also met with Southern Water's Chair, and the Secretary of State will be meeting with them to discuss their 2020 EPA results.

The Environment Agency regularly reviews the EPA metrics and targets to hold water companies to strict standards. They are working on introducing new metrics for water resources, storm overflows and sludge in the future.

The Government will continue to work closely with the Environment Agency and Ofwat as they regulate robustly to drive improvements in the sector.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the UN Development Programme's Gender Social Norms Index, published on 5 March, in particular of the high percentage of people reported as holding at least one bias against women in relation to politics, economics, education, violence or reproductive rights.

These findings are very concerning, but consistent with other evidence. The most recent World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report suggests growing disparity between women and men for a second year running in political empowerment, access to health and education and participation in the labour force.

Gendered norms and discriminatory social norms underpin the lack of progress towards gender equality and empowerment of girls and women worldwide.

That is why, at the heart of DFID’s Strategic Vision for Gender Equality is a call to action to challenge and change the unequal power relations between men and women, and the negative attitudes and discriminatory practices that hold girls and women back.

Rigorous evaluations conducted under DFID’s flagship What Works to Prevent Violence Programme have shown that it is possible to shift social norms within the timeframe of a programme. Approaches that engaged whole communities to challenge harmful norms achieved significant reductions in Violence Against Women and Girls of around 50%.

16th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to reimburse local authorities in London for any additional costs incurred as a result of the loss of free public transport for people under the age of 18 living in that city.

The £1.6 billion Extraordinary Funding and Financing Agreement to enable Transport for London (TfL) to continue operating services contained a series of conditions to facilitate safe travel on public transport in London, including the temporary suspension of free travel for under 18s.

The Department is working closely with TfL, the Department for Education and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government on how the temporary suspension can be operationalised.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
22nd Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to consult with interested parties prior to the publication this year of the national strategy for disabled people outlined in the Queen's Speech.

The Government will publish a National Strategy for Disabled People in 2020 focusing on removing barriers to ensure disabled people can lead a life of opportunity and fully participate in British society. The strategy will be developed with disabled people, disability organisations and charities, and will support disabled people in all aspects and phases of their lives, including housing, education, transport and jobs.

Baroness Stedman-Scott
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many local authorities in England have combined their adult social services and children's social services under one director.

The information requested is not held centrally.

19th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the announcement by Childline on 13 January that there was a 16 per cent increase in the number of counselling sessions about mental health with children aged 11 and under from April to December 2020 as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

We continue to work closely with the Department for Education, NHS England and NHS Improvement, Public Health England and a wide range of stakeholders to support all people’s mental wellbeing and mental health, and we are working with them to ensure that children and young people and their parents or carers know what support is available. For those who need them, NHS services remained open throughout the first wave and will do so throughout the second.

6th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to prioritise the provision of COVID-19 vaccines to school staff and other keyworkers to ensure that essential public services can be safe working environments.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) consists of independent experts who advise the Government on which vaccines the United Kingdom should use and provide advice on prioritisation at a population level.  For the first phase, the JCVI has advised that the vaccine be given to care home residents and staff, as well as frontline health and social care workers, then to the rest of the population in order of age and clinical risk factors.

If school staff and other key workers are captured in phase one due to their age, or clinical risk factors, they will be prioritised.

Prioritisation decisions for the next phase of delivery are subject to the surveillance and monitoring data and information from phase one, as well as further input from independent scientific experts, such as the JCVI. Phase two of the rollout may include targeted vaccination of those at high risk of exposure and/or those delivering key public services, such as school staff.

15th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Bethell on 11 December (HL11105), where information on the number of children diagnosed as having foetal alcohol spectrum disorder is held.

This information is not currently collected and only estimates are available. The Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network 156 published in January 2019 estimated that approximately 3.2% of babies born in the United Kingdom are affected by foetal alcohol spectrum disorder. Further estimates on prevalence are calculated by academic institutions and voluntary organisations and vary greatly.

3rd Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the number of children in England who have been diagnosed as having foetal alcohol spectrum disorder.

This information is not held centrally.

17th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by the British Society for Immunology The ageing immune system and COVID-19, published on 10 November.

The British Society for Immunology’s report was shared with the Department and reviewed by officials alongside other insightful academic studies into COVID-19 immunity. Research into the immune response of the ageing population is ongoing and is currently being expanded.

For example, last week the Government announced the expansion of the current Vivaldi 2 study that will test thousands more care home staff and residents for their immune response to COVID-19. By tripling its size, this expanded study will provide a detailed picture of coronavirus infection in care homes in England. These findings will help improve our understanding of these vulnerable groups’ immune response to COVID-19 and help inform future treatments for the virus.

12th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they estimate that the NICE quality standard on foetal alcohol spectrum disorder will be published.

The quality standard on foetal alcohol spectrum disorder was due to be published by the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in January 2021. However, its first consultation on the draft quality standard in March 2020 was delayed by COVID-19.

NICE re-ran its consultation in August/September this year and is currently scheduling revised project timelines. The expected month of publication will be available once the revisions are complete. NICE still expects to publish its final quality standard in 2021.

9th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to expand pro-vaccination campaigns to encourage maximum uptake of any vaccines to prevent (1) COVID-19, and (2) other conditions, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Department is working closely with Public Health England, NHS England and NHS Improvement to promote vaccinations and raise awareness of their benefits and the diseases they prevent. We are also working with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to help social media platforms identify and take action against incorrect claims about COVID-19 in line with their terms and conditions. This includes anti-vaccination narratives that could endanger people’s health. As we get closer to a potential COVID-19 vaccine, we will continue to provide clear information to the public and urge people to seek National Health Service advice, so they have the right information to make an informed choice.

29th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they plan to take in response to the report by Aging Clinical Experimental Research The role of vitamin D in the prevention of coronavirus disease 2019 infection and mortality, published on 6 May.

Public Health England (PHE) supported the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to review emerging evidence on vitamin D and the prevention and treatment of COVID-19. NICE’s review, published in June 2020, concluded that there is currently no evidence to support taking vitamin D supplements to reduce the risk or severity of COVID-19.

PHE re-issued its advice on vitamin D supplementation early in April 2020; whilst stay at home measures were in place it was recommended that everyone take a daily vitamin D supplement to keep bones and muscles healthy.

A copy of the NICE evidence review Vitamin D for COVID-19 is attached.

3rd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have for mass media campaigns on COVID-19 guidance to target (1) adults aged 60 and over, (2) those designated as clinically vulnerable, and (3) those designated as clinically extremely vulnerable.

At present, there are media campaigns using television, print, radio, and digital that target adults over the age of 65. There are not currently any plans for media campaigns targeted towards the clinically vulnerable and extremely clinically vulnerable. There is guidance available for these groups online at GOV.UK and this guidance has been promoted online through the National Health Service and Every Mind Matters sites. The impact of communications is constantly monitored and optimised on a regular basis.

3rd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to revise their guidance to those designated clinically vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We recognise the effect that social distancing and self-isolation may have on a person’s mental wellbeing, including those who are clinically vulnerable and self-isolating. We have published official guidance on mental health and wellbeing online at GOV.UK and are promoting this through the Every Mind Matters online resource.

We are working with the National Health Service and Public Health England, service users, academics and the voluntary sector to gather evidence and assess the potential longer-term mental health impacts of COVID-19 and plan for how to support the public’s mental health and wellbeing throughout the ‘recovery’ phase.

3rd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to assess the impact of the easing of the lockdown on 1 June on the mental health and loneliness of those designated clinically vulnerable.

We are working with the National Health Service and Public Health England, service users, academics and the voluntary sector to gather evidence and assess the potential longer-term mental health impacts of COVID-19 and plan for how to support the public’s mental health and wellbeing throughout the ‘recovery’ phase.

At each review point for the social distancing measures, we will also review the risks for the clinical vulnerable and the clinically extremely vulnerable and assess whether the shielding period needs to be extended or whether it is possible for the shielding guidance to be eased further. We will base our assessment on clinical advice from our medical experts, and the best data available about the prevalence of COVID-19 in the community.

The Government has also formed a new ‘Tackling Loneliness Network’ of charities, businesses and public figures to help connect groups at risk of isolation and bring together data and insights to better understand the impacts of COVID-19 on loneliness


6th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to provide financial support to parents unable to work due to the demands of home-schooling children while schools are closed due to the restrictions in place to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Government has invested over £300 million to support remote education, including providing devices and internet access to pupils who need it most.

Since its introduction, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) has been available to anyone who has been unable to work due to caring responsibilities arising from COVID-19, such as caring for children who are at home as a result of school and childcare facilities closing, or caring for a vulnerable individual in their household. The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme is also available to parents and carers who cannot work because of childcare commitments.

In order to support businesses to retain their employees and protect the UK economy, the Chancellor has extended both the CJRS and SEISS until the end of April.

Individual families have also benefitted from increased welfare payments, enhanced statutory sick pay, a stay of repossession proceedings and mortgage holidays.

The government has provided over £400m for 1.3 million laptops and tablets for disadvantaged children and young people. Over 750,000 of these have already been delivered to schools.

Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
24th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the possibility of zero-rating VAT on e-publications, including audiobooks and eBooks, to bring them into line with their physical counterparts.

The Government keeps all taxes under review, including VAT.

Any amendments to the VAT regime as it applies to physical publications and e-publications must be carefully assessed against policy, economic and fiscal considerations. Representations on this issue are considered as part of the fiscal event process.

The impact on people from low-income backgrounds and on literacy levels of any reduction of VAT on e-publications is likely to depend on commercial decisions about the extent to which any tax saving would lead to price reductions for consumers.

Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
24th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the case for reducing the VAT applied to digital reading materials with a view to supporting reading among children and young people from low-income backgrounds.

The Government keeps all taxes under review, including VAT.

Any amendments to the VAT regime as it applies to physical publications and e-publications must be carefully assessed against policy, economic and fiscal considerations. Representations on this issue are considered as part of the fiscal event process.

The impact on people from low-income backgrounds and on literacy levels of any reduction of VAT on e-publications is likely to depend on commercial decisions about the extent to which any tax saving would lead to price reductions for consumers.

Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
25th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made, in the context of the Coronavirus Act 2020, of the need to protect children without an Education, Health and Care plan who may live in households where there is domestic abuse.

Domestic abuse is a devastating crime. We fully recognise the severe impact it has on both victims and their children, and that many of them may feel even more vulnerable during social distancing and self-isolation.

The Government is liaising with specialist domestic abuse service providers and local authorities to monitor and assess the impact of social distancing on victims of domestic abuse and their children, and to ensure that sources of advice and support continue to be available to them.

Schools have been asked to continue to provide care for vulnerable children including those who are supported by social care, those with safeguarding and welfare needs, and those on child protection plans. We are working with schools and local authorities to help identify the children who most need support at this time.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
22nd Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many functional economic areas there are in England; and what plans they have to match them with local authority administrative boundaries.

HM Government does not recognise a set number of functional economic areas. As such, there are no plans to match them with local authority administrative boundaries.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
28th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they have taken to support district councils (1) to provide, and (2) to protect, leisure services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The funding available to support local authorities with leisure provision depends on whether they receive revenue or subsidise their provision and whether they provide it in-house or externally. Leisure facilities may also be eligible for wider government support for businesses. The amount any council receives will depend on their individual circumstances.

If an authority has budgeted to receive income from its leisure centres (whether in-house or externalised) and has irrecoverable transactional income losses which were budgeted for in 2020-21, they may claim support for these losses through the Sales, Fees and Charges Income Compensation Scheme (which refunds 75% of eligible income loss beyond a 5% threshold). The scheme was recently extended into the first three months of 2021-22.

If an authority subsidises its leisure provision (whether in-house or externalised), they may wish to use part of their allocation of the £4.6 billion of unringfenced funding MHCLG has provided to support councils to meet additional costs as a result of the pandemic to offset these costs, of which Shire District Councils have received £318 million in 2020/2021. Recognising the impacts of COVID-19 on local authorities will continue beyond this financial year, the Department announced £1.55 billion of support for additional costs at the 2020 Spending Review, of which Shire District Councils have been allocated over £102 million. Allocations for this £1.55 billion of support were published on 17 December 2020 and payments are planned to be made in April 2021.

If an external provider delivers leisure services, they may have been eligible for Sport England’s National Leisure Recovery Fund (NLRF) to support operators during the current national restrictions, support the reopening and recovery of the public leisure sector and prevent further closures of outsourced leisure trusts and operators. Applications to the fund have now closed and the results will be known by late February.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
14th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what proportion of court proceedings concerning children in care being put up for adoption have been adjourned or otherwise delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Her Majesty’s Courts & Tribunals Service has agreed a set of business priorities with the judiciary for the family courts and are clear that all urgent family proceedings must be dealt with during the COVID-19 outbreak.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/881017/Ops_update_-_family_court_business_priorities_24_April_2020_FINAL.pdf

The Family Court Statistics Quarterly report on average timeliness for care and supervision proceedings however there is no separate data for proceedings in which the care plan is adoption. The latest available data is for the quarter to March 2020.