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Written Question
Childminding
Thursday 18th April 2024

Asked by: Bridget Phillipson (Labour - Houghton and Sunderland South)

Question to the Department for Education:

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate she has made of the number of childminders on the (a) Early Years Register and (b) Childcare Register in (i) each region and (ii) each local authority in each year since 2018.

Answered by David Johnston - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)

This is a matter for His Majesty’s Chief Inspector, Sir Martyn Oliver. I have asked him to write to the hon. Member and a copy of his reply will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.


Written Question
Students: Freedom of Expression
Monday 15th April 2024

Asked by: Bridget Phillipson (Labour - Houghton and Sunderland South)

Question to the Department for Education:

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, in reference to the Office for Students consultation on proposed regulatory advice and other matters relating to freedom of speech, announced on 26 March 2024, what discussions (a) she and (b) the Office for Students have had on this with (i) the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, (ii) other Ministers in the Department for Business and Trade, (iii) Officials in that Department, (iv) the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Affairs, (v) other Ministers in the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and (vi) officials in that Department.

Answered by David Johnston - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)

Officials regularly speak on matters of mutual importance across government, particularly on cross-cutting policy and new legislation. The department’s officials continue to engage with both the Office for Students (OfS) and other governmental departments (OGDs) surrounding the Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Act 2023 (the Act).

Officials will continue to engage with the OfS and OGDs ahead of the Act coming into force, currently planned for 1 August 2024 for the main provisions, including the complaints scheme. The content of the consultation published on 26 March 2026 is a matter for the OfS.


Written Question
Department for Education: Defamation
Monday 25th March 2024

Asked by: Bridget Phillipson (Labour - Houghton and Sunderland South)

Question to the Department for Education:

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to paragraphs 7.16 and 7.17 of the Ministerial Code, on how many occasions Ministers in her Department have informed the Law Officers that they are the defendants in a libel action in (a) their personal capacity, (b) their official position and (c) both since 19 December 2019.

Answered by Damian Hinds - Minister of State (Education)

I am unable to confirm the details asked for, as this would contravene paragraph 2.13 of the Ministerial Code, which prevents disclosure of the fact that the Law Officers have advised or have not advised and the content of their advice without their authority.


Written Question
Childcare
Thursday 21st March 2024

Asked by: Bridget Phillipson (Labour - Houghton and Sunderland South)

Question to the Department for Education:

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the net increase in the number of (a) Ofsted-registered childcare places suitable for children aged two or under, (b) Ofsted-registered childcare places suitable for children aged over two and (c) Ofsted-registered childcare places, suitable for delivery of the government’s planned increase in childcare entitlements from 1 April 2024 was in each month since March 2023, broken down by local authority.

Answered by David Johnston - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)

This is a matter for His Majesty’s Chief Inspector, Sir Martyn Oliver. I have asked him to write to the hon. Member and a copy of his reply will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.


Written Question
St Leonard's Catholic School
Wednesday 13th March 2024

Asked by: Bridget Phillipson (Labour - Houghton and Sunderland South)

Question to the Department for Education:

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether she has made an assessment of the implications for her policies of Durham University's research entitled A report on the impact of RAAC closure on the exam cohorts of St Leonard’s Catholic School, County Durham, published on 31 December 2023.

Answered by Damian Hinds - Minister of State (Education)

​Thanks to the hard work of school and college leaders, all schools and colleges with confirmed RAAC are providing full time face-to-face education for all pupils. The department is supporting schools and colleges, including St Leonard’s Catholic School, to keep any disruption to education to an absolute minimum. Every case is unique and the impact on schools is highly varied. For example, in some cases there is no impact on teaching space, or it is limited to small areas. In some cases, RAAC may be limited to a single classroom.

Exams and assessments must demonstrate what a student knows, understands and can do, rather than what a student might have known, understood or been able to do should circumstances have been different. In order to maintain qualification standards and public confidence in qualifications, all students taking GCSEs and A levels are assessed to the same standard. If different standards are applied for different groups of students, then the qualification will cease to provide a reliable indication of the knowledge, skills and understanding that it is intended to measure.

Alongside Ofqual, the department has worked with examination awarding organisations to facilitate discussions with affected schools. The department has asked awarding organisations to, where possible, agree longer extensions for coursework and non-examined assessment so that pupils have as much time as possible to complete these tasks.


Written Question
Students: Assessments
Wednesday 13th March 2024

Asked by: Bridget Phillipson (Labour - Houghton and Sunderland South)

Question to the Department for Education:

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether she has had discussions with (a) AQA, (b) OCR, (c) Edexcel and (d) Pearson on adaptations for students studying for (i) GCSEs, (ii) A-levels and (iii) VTQs who have had their learning disrupted by the presence of reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete.

Answered by Damian Hinds - Minister of State (Education)

It is not possible to address the differential impact of disruption to teaching and learning by making changes to exams and assessments for some students or groups of students. Exams and assessments must demonstrate what a student knows, understands and can do in respect of particular qualification specifications, rather than what a student might have known, understood or been able to do should circumstances have been different.

Departmental officials are, however, working closely with affected schools to ensure the best possible education for students and are taking every step possible to remove any obstacles to learning through mitigations. This includes temporary accommodation where needed and in some instances the use of specialist facilities in off-site accommodation. Any school or college that is struggling to deliver particular assessments due to RAAC will receive support according to their specific circumstances.

The department has also asked awarding organisations to be as flexible as possible within the confines of their processes and regulations, for example by agreeing longer extensions to coursework and non-exam assessment deadlines with affected schools and colleges.


Written Question
Schools: Concrete
Wednesday 13th March 2024

Asked by: Bridget Phillipson (Labour - Houghton and Sunderland South)

Question to the Department for Education:

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment she has made of the potential impact of RAAC-related disruption on exam preparations for students in years 11 and 13.

Answered by Damian Hinds - Minister of State (Education)

Thanks to the hard work of school and college leaders, all schools and colleges with confirmed RAAC are providing full time face-to-face education for all pupils. The department is supporting schools and colleges to keep any disruption to education to an absolute minimum.

The government is funding the removal of RAAC present in school and colleges either through grants, or through the School Rebuilding Programme. A list of education settings with confirmed RAAC and the funding route to permanently remove RAAC was published on 8 February 2024, which is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/reinforced-autoclaved-aerated-concrete-raac-management-information. Every school or college with confirmed RAAC has been assigned dedicated support from caseworkers and project delivery teams are also on hand to support with implementing mitigation plans.

Every case is unique and the impact on schools and colleges can be highly varied, including for students in years 11 and 13. Departmental officials work with schools and colleges to put in place a bespoke plan based on their circumstances. In some cases, there is no impact on teaching space, or it is limited to small areas. For others, mitigation plans can include using other spaces on the school site or locally until building works are carried out or temporary buildings are installed.

Alongside Ofqual, the department has worked with examination awarding organisations to facilitate discussions with affected schools. Awarding organisations have agreed to be as flexible as possible within the constraints of their regulations and processes, for example by agreeing longer extensions for coursework and non-examination assessments where needed so that pupils have as much time as possible to complete these tasks.


Written Question
Schools: Concrete
Wednesday 13th March 2024

Asked by: Bridget Phillipson (Labour - Houghton and Sunderland South)

Question to the Department for Education:

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps she is taking to ensure that students studying for (a) GCSEs, (b) A-levels and (c) VTQs are not held back by disruption to their learning caused by the presence of reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete.

Answered by Damian Hinds - Minister of State (Education)

Thanks to the hard work of school and college leaders, all schools and colleges with confirmed RAAC are providing full time face-to-face education for all pupils. The department is supporting schools and colleges to keep any disruption to education to an absolute minimum.

The government is funding the removal of RAAC present in school and colleges either through grants, or through the School Rebuilding Programme. A list of education settings with confirmed RAAC and the funding route to permanently remove RAAC was published on 8 February 2024, which is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/reinforced-autoclaved-aerated-concrete-raac-management-information. Every school or college with confirmed RAAC has been assigned dedicated support from caseworkers and project delivery teams are also on hand to support with implementing mitigation plans.

Every case is unique and the impact on schools and colleges can be highly varied, including for students in years 11 and 13. Departmental officials work with schools and colleges to put in place a bespoke plan based on their circumstances. In some cases, there is no impact on teaching space, or it is limited to small areas. For others, mitigation plans can include using other spaces on the school site or locally until building works are carried out or temporary buildings are installed.

Alongside Ofqual, the department has worked with examination awarding organisations to facilitate discussions with affected schools. Awarding organisations have agreed to be as flexible as possible within the constraints of their regulations and processes, for example by agreeing longer extensions for coursework and non-examination assessments where needed so that pupils have as much time as possible to complete these tasks.


Written Question
Schools: Concrete
Wednesday 13th March 2024

Asked by: Bridget Phillipson (Labour - Houghton and Sunderland South)

Question to the Department for Education:

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many pupils in years 11 and 13 are studying at (a) schools and (b) colleges affected by reinforced autoclave aerated concrete.

Answered by Damian Hinds - Minister of State (Education)

Thanks to the hard work of school and college leaders, all schools and colleges with confirmed RAAC are providing full time face-to-face education for all pupils. The department is supporting schools and colleges to keep any disruption to education to an absolute minimum.

The government is funding the removal of RAAC present in school and colleges either through grants, or through the School Rebuilding Programme. A list of education settings with confirmed RAAC and the funding route to permanently remove RAAC was published on 8 February 2024, which is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/reinforced-autoclaved-aerated-concrete-raac-management-information. Every school or college with confirmed RAAC has been assigned dedicated support from caseworkers and project delivery teams are also on hand to support with implementing mitigation plans.

Every case is unique and the impact on schools and colleges can be highly varied, including for students in years 11 and 13. Departmental officials work with schools and colleges to put in place a bespoke plan based on their circumstances. In some cases, there is no impact on teaching space, or it is limited to small areas. For others, mitigation plans can include using other spaces on the school site or locally until building works are carried out or temporary buildings are installed.

Alongside Ofqual, the department has worked with examination awarding organisations to facilitate discussions with affected schools. Awarding organisations have agreed to be as flexible as possible within the constraints of their regulations and processes, for example by agreeing longer extensions for coursework and non-examination assessments where needed so that pupils have as much time as possible to complete these tasks.


Written Question
Members: Correspondence
Thursday 29th February 2024

Asked by: Bridget Phillipson (Labour - Houghton and Sunderland South)

Question to the Department for Transport:

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when he plans to respond to the letter of 9 November 2023 from the hon. Member for Houghton and Sunderland South constituency sent on behalf of a constituent.

Answered by Anthony Browne - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

A response to your letter was sent on 26 February.