Joseph JohnsonMP Main Page: Joseph Johnson (Conservative - Orpington)
Department Debates - View all Joseph Johnson's debates with the Department for Education
(2 years, 3 months ago)Commons Chamber
7. When she last met representatives from Universities UK and Universities Scotland; and what matters were discussed at those meetings. 
“Scotland is losing out in the recruitment of international students…because the UK has one of the least competitive policies on post-study work in the English-speaking world.”
That is a direct quotation from the website of Universities Scotland. Will the Minister work with the Home Office and the Scottish Government to ensure that Scottish universities can make stronger post-study work offers to international students?
Despite any increases that the Minister may cite, the diversity of those students has narrowed dramatically. Higher education depends on the ability to attract and retain talent from across the world. The Minister will be aware that since 1998, Canada’s provincial nominee scheme has operated successfully, allowing provinces to vary immigration policy to suit their own requirements. I understand that the UK Government are anti-immigration, but Scotland is not. Will the Minister tell Universities Scotland what discussions he is having with the Home Office about the reinstatement of the post-study work visa?
Of course, it is not just students who are having problems. Dr Jessamyn Fairfield is a physicist originally from New Mexico, but now lecturing in Galway. In August Dr Fairfield arrived in Cardiff to do a science show. Her parking pass and entry to the festival were considered payment in kind and she was denied entry to the UK. Similar cases have been documented involving academics attending conferences. Ironically, Dr Fairfield is back in the UK this week to receive a prize for scientific engagement. So what assurances can the Minister give to academics like Dr Fairfield, who is in Parliament today, that the UK remains open for conferences and academic events?
I wonder if the Minister told Universities UK how the Department was funding the Prime Minister’s announcements on student finance. Can he confirm that those will cost the Department £175 million in this spending review period, and can he guarantee that this will not be funded by yet more cuts to the rest of the education budget?
8. What steps she is taking to support children with special educational needs. 
Break in Debate
T7. Universities were shocked when a member of the Government took it upon himself to write to them seeking details of the professionals teaching Brexit-related courses. Is the Secretary of State comfortable with that sort of McCarthyite behaviour? If not, what will she do about it? 
Under the new national funding formula, West Sussex schools are set to have a funding increase of 10.7%. However, the county has been historically one of the lowest funded. Are there any other measures that can be brought forward to ensure that that historical underfunding is righted?