Topical Questions Debate

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Department: Department for Education

Topical Questions
Joseph Johnson Excerpts
Monday 11th September 2017

(2 years, 5 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Department for Education
Kerry McCarthy Portrait Kerry McCarthy (Bristol East) (Lab) - Hansard

T5. I very much welcome what the Universities Minister had to say last week about excessive pay packages for university vice-chancellors and the measures he is taking to try to get vice-chancellors to justify those packages to their university courts. Does he really think that that will make a difference given that vice-chancellors are paid so much more than the £150,000 talked about? [900778]

The Minister for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation (Joseph Johnson) Hansard
11 Sep 2017, 3:28 p.m.

I thank the hon. Lady for her words of support for our intervention. It is important that there is transparency and accountability on how funds are used, and I am confident that the Office for Students will use its powers effectively to achieve that.

James Heappey (Wells) (Con) - Hansard
11 Sep 2017, 3:28 p.m.

The Secretary of State will know that West Somerset is an opportunity area, and we have a big reskilling requirement to take full advantage of the construction of Hinkley Point C. Does she share my concern, therefore, about the reduction of funding for Somerset Skills & Learning? And will she encourage her Department to do all that is necessary to restore the funding as quickly as possible?

Break in Debate

Liz McInnes (Heywood and Middleton) (Lab) Hansard
11 Sep 2017, 3:35 p.m.

Flammable cladding has been found on university halls of residence and privately provided student accommodation throughout the country. With students returning to that accommodation in the coming weeks, what will the Secretary of State do to ensure their safety?

Joseph Johnson Hansard
11 Sep 2017, 3:36 p.m.

The higher education sector has taken this issue very seriously indeed. The Department has had a positive and comprehensive response from all 238 HEFCE-funded providers and designated alternative providers. When issues have been identified, providers have been quick to respond to protect student safety. Officials will continue to work closely with those in the Department for Communities and Local Government who are reviewing private student accommodation.

Suella Fernandes (Fareham) (Con) - Hansard
11 Sep 2017, 3:35 p.m.

Michaela Community School, a free school that I have the honour of chairing and having co-founded, was recently graded outstanding in its first Ofsted report. My right hon. Friend the Minister for School Standards has visited the school; will the ministerial team join me in congratulating the staff, teachers and pupils at Michaela—led by the inspirational Katharine Birbalsingh—who are transforming young people’s lives?