Emma Hardy Portrait

Emma Hardy

Labour - Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle

First elected: 8th June 2017

Shadow Minister (Flooding, Oceans and Coastal Communities)

(since September 2023)

Finance (No. 2) Bill
10th May 2023 - 15th May 2023
Financial Services and Markets Bill
12th Oct 2022 - 3rd Nov 2022
Treasury Committee Sub-Committee on Financial Services Regulations
20th Jun 2022 - 20th Jun 2022
Skills and Post-16 Education [HL] Bill
29th Nov 2021 - 7th Dec 2021
Local Government (Disqualification) Bill
24th Nov 2021 - 1st Dec 2021
Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill
7th Sep 2021 - 22nd Sep 2021
Shadow Minister (Education)
10th Apr 2020 - 8th Mar 2021
Education Committee
11th Sep 2017 - 6th Nov 2019


Department Event
Wednesday 6th March 2024
HM Treasury
Financial Statement - Main Chamber
Budget Statement
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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 19th March 2024
11:30
HM Treasury
Oral questions - Main Chamber
19 Mar 2024, 11:30 a.m.
HM Treasury (including Topical Questions)
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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 7th May 2024
11:30
HM Treasury
Oral questions - Main Chamber
7 May 2024, 11:30 a.m.
HM Treasury (including Topical Questions)
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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
Wednesday 21st February 2024
Motor Vehicles (Driving Licences) (Reform)
voted No - in line with the party majority
One of 77 Labour No votes vs 0 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 63 Noes - 81
Speeches
Wednesday 21st February 2024
Ceasefire in Gaza
I thank my right hon. Friend for giving way, and of course I am very pleased to be supporting an …
Written Answers
Friday 16th February 2024
Inland Border Facilities: Ashford
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the cost is of (a) purchase of …
Early Day Motions
Monday 5th February 2024
50th anniversary of the loss with all hands of the trawler fishing vessel Gaul
That this House notes with solemnity and sadness the 50th anniversary of the loss of the fishing vessel Gaul, with …
Bills
Tuesday 28th March 2023
Humber2100+ Project Bill 2022-23
A Bill to give the Environment Agency certain powers and duties in respect of the Humber2100+ project; and for connected …
MP Financial Interests
Monday 30th October 2023
2. (b) Any other support not included in Category 2(a)
Name of donor: Alan Johnson Books
Address of donor: South View, Garthorpe Road, Adlingfleet DN14 8HZ
Amount of donation or …
EDM signed
Wednesday 10th May 2023
Workers' Educational Association 120th anniversary
That this House congratulates the WEA on its 120th anniversary; recognises that the organisation was founded in 1903 as the …
Supported Legislation
Wednesday 8th September 2021
Multi-Academy Trusts (Ofsted Inspection) Bill 2021-22
A Bill to amend section 5 of the Education Act 2005 to provide that Ofsted may inspect the governing bodies …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliament, Emma Hardy has voted in 711 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Emma Hardy Division Votes

Debates during the 2019 Parliament

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

Sparring Partners
Matt Western (Labour)
Shadow Minister (Education)
(72 debate interactions)
Michelle Donelan (Conservative)
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
(66 debate interactions)
Toby Perkins (Labour)
Shadow Minister (Nature and Rural Affairs)
(46 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Department for Education
(386 debate contributions)
HM Treasury
(109 debate contributions)
Department of Health and Social Care
(68 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
Legislation Debates
Financial Services and Markets Act 2023
(12,324 words contributed)
Skills and Post-16 Education Act 2022
(3,719 words contributed)
Finance (No. 2) Act 2023
(1,236 words contributed)
View All Legislation Debates
View all Emma Hardy's debates

Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle Petitions

e-Petitions are administered by Parliament and allow members of the public to express support for a particular issue.

If an e-petition reaches 10,000 signatures the Government will issue a written response.

If an e-petition reaches 100,000 signatures the petition becomes eligible for a Parliamentary debate (usually Monday 4.30pm in Westminster Hall).

Petitions with highest Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle signature proportion
Petitions with most Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle signatures
Petition Debates Contributed

We want the Government to repeal the Dangerous Dogs Act and replace it with legislation that focuses on early intervention to prevent dog bites and tackle dog-related issues regardless of breed or type, based solely on their behaviour.


I believe that the XL bully is a kind, beautiful natured breed that loves children and people in general, and are very loyal and loving pets.

Revoke all licences (PEL) for commercial breeders of laboratory animals. Require all Project Licences (PPLs) applications be reviewed by an independent Non Animal Methods (NAMs) specialist committee. Revise s24 ASPA 1986 to allow review. Urge International Regulators to accept & promote NAMs.

Reverse the plan to withdraw funding for most applied general qualifications such as BTECs and guarantee they will continue to play a major role in the qualifications landscape. Students should not be forced to choose between studying A levels or T levels from the age of 16.

Endometriosis and PCOS are two gynaecological conditions which both affect 10% of women worldwide, but both are, in terms of research and funding, incredibly under prioritised. This petition is calling for more funding, to enable for new, extensive and thorough research into female health issues.

Now the hedgehog has been listed as vulnerable to extinction in the UK, we are calling on the Government to move hedgehogs to schedule 5 of the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 to allow them greater protection.

The University and College Union has repeatedly called on its members to strike. However, strikes are ineffective if students, not employees are the main source of revenue. For this to change, government needs to step in and require universities to reimburse tuition fees lost due to strike action.

All students should be reimbursed of this years tuition fees as universities are now online only due to COVID-19, with only powerpoints online for learning materials which is not worthy of up to £9,250. Furthermore, all assessments are being reconsidered to ‘make do’ and build up credits.

As students are unable to access facilities or continue with their eduction at their university setting in the following semester, we would like to request that the government considers refunding tuition payments for Semester 3.

The quality of online lectures is not equal to face-to-face lectures. Students should not have to pay full tuition fees for online lectures, without experiencing university life. The Government should require UK universities to partially refund tuition fees while online teaching is implemented.

Students across the UK have returned to University to be told our learning will be predominantly online for the foreseeable future. The Government should therefore lower our tuition fees and we should receive a partial refund for the effects this will have on our learning and university experience.

After 9 months of maternity leave, most working mums do not receive any maternity pay and need to go back to work. I think all working parents should be entitled to 15 hours free childcare from the time a child is 9 months. It makes more sense to provide this funding from 9 months instead of 2 years


Latest EDMs signed by Emma Hardy

5th February 2024
Emma Hardy signed this EDM as the primary signatory on Monday 5th February 2024

50th anniversary of the loss with all hands of the trawler fishing vessel Gaul

Tabled by: Emma Hardy (Labour - Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle)
That this House notes with solemnity and sadness the 50th anniversary of the loss of the fishing vessel Gaul, with all hands, on the night of 8-9 February 1974 in storm conditions in the Barents Sea, north of Norway; remembers the 36 crew who lost their lives; further notes that …
14 signatures
(Most recent: 20 Feb 2024)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 6
Independent: 3
Conservative: 2
Scottish National Party: 2
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
5th June 2023
Emma Hardy signed this EDM as the primary signatory on Monday 5th June 2023

Establishment of a Hull York Dental School

Tabled by: Emma Hardy (Labour - Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle)
That this House acknowledges with concern the survey by the British Dental Association which shows the dental workforce has been reduced to a level not seen since 2012-13; notes an unmet need for dentistry was at a record high at one in four of the adult population in 2022; further …
5 signatures
(Most recent: 26 Jun 2023)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 4
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
View All Emma Hardy's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Emma Hardy, 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.


Emma Hardy has not been granted any Urgent Questions

3 Adjournment Debates led by Emma Hardy

3 Bills introduced by Emma Hardy


A Bill to set national minimum requirements for flood mitigation and protection measures in new build public and private properties enforced by local planning authorities; to place reporting requirements on local and national government in relation to flood prevention measures; to establish a certification scheme for improvements to domestic and commercial properties for flood prevention and mitigation purposes and an accreditation scheme for installers of such improvements; to require insurers to take account of such improvements and any existing flood prevention and mitigation measures that were planning permission requirements when determining premiums; to extend eligibility to the Flood Reinsurance scheme under section 64 of the Water Act 2014 to small and medium-sized enterprises and homes built after 2009; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 40%

Last Event - 2nd Reading
Friday 6th May 2022

A Bill to give the Environment Agency certain powers and duties in respect of the Humber2100+ project; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading
Tuesday 28th March 2023

The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will make no further progress. A Bill to grant local authorities increased powers of compulsory purchase; to amend the law relating to land valuation and compensation; to make provision requiring landowners to fulfil conditions relating to planning permission; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Wednesday 4th September 2019
(Read Debate)

1106 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
6 Other Department Questions
1st Feb 2024
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, If she will make an assessment of the potential impact on women's health of the Government's progress on implementing the recommendations of the report of the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review entitled First Do No Harm, published on 8 July 2020.

Patient safety and women’s health is a top priority for this Government.

That’s why since the ‘First Do No Harm’ report we have:

o Appointed England’s first Patient Safety Commissioner

o Setup specialist centres for women impacted by mesh

o Piloted ways doctors can declare their interests

o And launched a national mandatory Medical Device Outcome Registry.

Beyond this, we published the first Women’s Health Strategy for England, which set out our plans for improving how the health and care system listens to women.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
9th May 2023
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what recent progress her department has made on the Variations in Sex Characteristics Call For Evidence.

There has been a delay in publishing the VSC Call for Evidence report and the Government plans to release it in due course. The Government is considering the findings of the Call for Evidence and how it can improve outcomes for people with VSC.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
23rd Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, whether she has made an assessment of the potential merits of including measures on supporting providers of (a) radio and (b) other audio services on digital platforms in the forthcoming Media Bill.

The Government has today published Command Paper CP 822, which contains a draft Media Bill.

The draft Bill contains measures which will ensure that UK radio remains available to listeners via their smart speakers over the coming years, while providing scope for innovative collaboration and partnerships between stations and the smart speaker platforms.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
23rd Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions she has had with Cabinet colleagues on including support for UK radio and audio in the Media Bill.

The Government has today published Command Paper CP 822, which contains a draft Media Bill.

The draft Bill contains measures which will ensure that UK radio remains available to listeners via their smart speakers over the coming years, while providing scope for innovative collaboration and partnerships between stations and the smart speaker platforms.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
20th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions she has had with Ofcom on (a) the timing of and (b) the terms of reference for the review of the TV Distribution market, announced in the 2022 Broadcasting white paper.

The Secretary of State and I meet representatives of Ofcom regularly to discuss a range of issues relating to broadcasting, as do officials from my Department.

The findings of Ofcom’s review of market changes referred to in the Broadcasting White Paper will form part of our evidence base for future long term decisions for the period after 2034. My officials continue to work with Ofcom to suggest areas of potential focus for the review.

As set out in the Broadcasting White Paper, the Government has asked Ofcom to publish the findings of their review before the end of 2025.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
20th Jun 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment his Department has made of the potential impact of the proposed merger between Vodafone-Three on national security.

As an open economy, we welcome investment where it supports UK growth and jobs, meets our stringent legal and regulatory requirements, and does not compromise our national security. The Government has robust powers under the National Security & Investment Act to block or impose remedies on transactions that pose a national security risk.

As you will appreciate, we cannot comment on specific acquisitions nor the applicability of the National Security and Investment regime.

Nusrat Ghani
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade) (jointly with the Cabinet Office)
22nd May 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will make an assessment of the monetary value of the benefits delivered by urban wetlands.

The information requested falls under the remit of the UK Statistics Authority.

A response to the Hon lady’s Parliamentary Questions of 22 May are attached.

22nd May 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether he will make an estimate of the contribution of urban wetlands to the economy.

The information requested falls under the remit of the UK Statistics Authority.

A response to the Hon lady’s Parliamentary Questions of 22 May are attached.

29th Nov 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the Office for National Statistics data entitled Deaths registered weekly in England and Wales, provisional: week ending 18 November 2022 published on 29 November 2022, whether he has made an assessment of the reasons excess deaths have increased since October 2022.

The information requested falls under the remit of the UK Statistics Authority.

A response to the Hon. Member's Parliamentary Question: PQ98831 is attached.

15th Nov 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what is the projected cost to the public purse of the UK Covid-19 Inquiry.

The Inquiry’s timescales, process and procedure are all matters for its independent Chair, who is under a statutory duty to avoid unnecessary cost in the conduct of the Inquiry. The Inquiry will publish details of its expenditure on its website in due course.

12th May 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the number of 18-24 year olds not in full-time education are employed (a) on zero hours contracts, (b) through agencies and (c) are self-employed.

The information requested falls under the remit of the UK Statistics Authority.


A response to the hon. Member’s Parliamentary Question of 12 May is attached.

25th Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will publish data on the number of deaths of children from (a) flu, not flu and pneumonia, (b) measles, (c) varicella, (d) mumps, (e) rubella and (f) whooping cough in 2020.

The information requested falls under the remit of the UK Statistics Authority. I have, therefore, asked the Authority to respond.

25th Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will publish data on the number of deaths of children from (a) flu, not flu and pneumonia, (b) measles, (c) varicella, (d) mumps, (e) rubella and (f) whooping cough in 2019.

The information requested falls under the remit of the UK Statistics Authority. I have, therefore, asked the Authority to respond.

25th Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will publish data on the number of deaths of children from (a) flu, not flu and pneumonia, (b) measles, (c) varicella, (d) mumps, (e) rubella and (f) whooping cough in 2018.

The information requested falls under the remit of the UK Statistics Authority. I have, therefore, asked the Authority to respond.

25th Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will publish data on the number of deaths in 2017 from childhood illnesses including (a) flu (directly from flu not flu and pneumonia), (b) measles, (c) chickenpox, (d) mumps, (e) rubella and (f) whooping cough.

The information requested falls under the remit of the UK Statistics Authority. I have, therefore, asked the Authority to respond.

25th Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will publish data on the number of deaths of children from (a) flu, not flu and pneumonia, (b) measles, (c) varicella, (d) mumps, (e) rubella and (f) whooping cough in 2016.

The information requested falls under the remit of the UK Statistics Authority. I have, therefore, asked the Authority to respond.

25th Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will publish data on the number of covid-19 deaths in children in (a) 2020 and (b) 2021 to date.

The information requested falls under the remit of the UK Statistics Authority. I have, therefore, asked the Authority to respond.

30th Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of lifting the 11.00pm curfew in tier 1 and tier 2 areas for the businesses affected by those restrictions.

On 4 January 2021, the Prime Minister announced a national lockdown in England. Details and guidance are available on gov.uk, as well as information on restrictions applicable in other parts of the United Kingdom. Restrictions are kept under review.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
24th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what risk assessment he has made of allowing three households to mix during the period of lifted covid-19 restrictions from 23 to 27 December 2020; and if he will make a statement.

I refer the hon. Member to the written statement made by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on 25 November.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
24th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what risk assessment he has made of allowing three households to meet in restaurants and pubs during the period of lifted covid-19 restrictions from 23 to 27 December 2020; and if he will make a statement.

I refer the hon. Member to the written statement made by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on 25 November.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
21st Oct 2020
What steps she is taking to help tackle race inequality in the workplace.

In July, the Government launched the independent Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities, which is looking at outcomes across the country, with a focus on employment, enterprise, education, health and the criminal justice system.

Led by the evidence, the Commission will consider the causes of persistent disparities and barriers different groups face, and make recommendations for further action.

Their work will be crucial in informing and improving the national conversation on race. The Commission will aim to provide its report to the Prime Minister at the end of the year.

Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what plans he has to publish a list of businesses that will be able to open under stage three of the Government’s covid-19 recovery strategy.

The move to Step Three of the COVID-19 Recovery Strategy will take place when the assessment of risk warrants further adjustments to the remaining measures.

Further details will be published in due course as appropriate.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
2nd Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, whether she has powers to review substantial transfers of assets between private companies when the proposed transaction may (a) be over value and (b) present significant risks to the employees and suppliers of the company purchasing the assets.

Directors of a company must act in good faith to promote its success for the benefit of its members as a whole. When taking decisions, directors must have regard to the interests of employees and the need to foster business relationships with suppliers, customers and others.

My Rt Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Business and Trade has powers to appoint inspectors to conduct confidential investigations into trading companies where information suggests serious corporate abuse and such an investigation would be in the public interest. In an insolvency situation, she has powers to investigate the conduct of company directors.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
29th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, with reference to Royal Mail's announcement on the rise of the cost of first class stamps, what steps her Department is taking to ensure Ofcom is fulfilling its responsibility to ensure all USO postal products are affordable for all consumers.

The Government’s objective continues to be ensuring the provision of a sustainable, accessible and affordable universal postal service. However, as the independent regulator of postal services, regulatory decisions are a matter for Ofcom in which Government is not involved.

Ofcom’s regulatory framework imposes prices controls, ‘safeguard caps’, on certain second-class products to ensure a basic universal service is available to all at affordable prices. Ofcom will conduct a public consultation in 2023-24 to inform a review of the safeguard caps that should apply from April 2024.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
29th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, with reference to the Seventh Report of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee of Session 2022–23, HC 1045, whether her Department plans to take steps to ensure Ofcom’s investigation into the Royal Mail (a) takes account of previous years targets and (b) accepts evidence from postal workers.

It is for Ofcom, as the independent regulator of postal services, to set and monitor Royal Mail’s service standards and decide how to use its powers to investigate and take enforcement action should Royal Mail fail to achieve its obligations without good justification. The Government has no role in Ofcom’s regulatory investigations.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
12th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, whether she has made an assessment of the potential merits of including the potential impacts of decommissioning in the Environmental Impact Assessments for establishing new (a) oil and (b) gas developments.

The UK has a comprehensive legal framework of environmental protection measures for offshore oil and gas activities, including decommissioning activities. It covers the entire oil and gas life cycle, from the initial licence application to decommissioning.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
27th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, if he will make an assessment of the adequacy of the legal framework for protecting the marine environment in the context of recent progress in decommissioning oil and gas boreholes in the North Sea.

The decommissioning of wells is important to enable the safety and integrity of the well to protect the marine environment. The relevant regulators, Offshore Petroleum Regulator for Environment and Decommissioning (OPRED), HSE and NSTA continue to work together to ensure well decommissioning is progressed in accordance with the relevant safety and environmental regulations and standards.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
7th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what steps her Department plans to take to monitor the environmental impact of oil and gas exploration in the period after licensing rounds increase in frequency.

The UK has a comprehensive legal framework of environmental protection measures for offshore oil and gas activities which will continue to apply. This covers the entire oil and gas life cycle, from the initial licence application to decommissioning activities. All activities that could impact the environment are subject to rigorous environmental assessment, and offshore activities are controlled through an environmental permitting process. There is also an inspection and enforcement regime in place to monitor compliance with the conditions included in environmental approvals.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
7th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, whether she has had recent discussions with the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on the potential environmental impact of new offshore oil and gas licences on marine protected areas.

The UK has a comprehensive legal framework of environmental protection measures for offshore oil and gas activities, which will apply to new licences. It covers the entire oil and gas life cycle, from the initial licence application to decommissioning activities.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
7th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what her Department’s policy is on managing the marine impacts of oil and gas licensing.

The mission of the Offshore Petroleum Regulator for Environment and Decommissioning (OPRED) is to drive up the environmental performance of the offshore oil and gas industries, ensuring they minimise their impact on the environment and support the UK’s net zero transition.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
30th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what recent steps he has taken to help decarbonise the Humber industrial region.

The Zero Carbon Humber Partnership is supported by UK Government funding through the Industrial Decarbonisation Challenge to support the rollout of decarbonisation technologies.

CCUS technologies have the potential to accelerate the Government's decarbonisation ambitions in the Humber region. The East Coast Cluster was selected as part of the CCUS Programme’s Track-1. The process will be launched later this year to enable expansion of Track-1 clusters, including in the Humber. The Government has also set out its view that the Viking (Humber) transport and storage system, given its maturity, is one of those best placed to deliver the Government's objectives for Track-2 and an update will be provided in the summer.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
29th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what estimate he has made of the potential impact of the Humber industrial region's contribution to the total UK greenhouse gas output.

Greenhouse gas (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide) emissions estimates are published annually by the department at a local authority and regional level, including Yorkshire & The Humber. The latest publication covers 2005 – 2021.

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/uk-local-authority-and-regional-greenhouse-gas-emissions-national-statistics

This information – as well as emissions estimates for large point sources – is also viewable in emissions maps on the National Atmospheric Emissions Inventory (NAEI) website, maintained by Ricardo Energy & Environment:

https://naei.beis.gov.uk/data/map-large-source

https://naei.beis.gov.uk/laghgapp/

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
29th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what recent estimate he has made of when the carbon dioxide pipeline from the Endurance carbon dioxide store will reach the Humber industrial region.

To contribute to the ambition of capturing and storing 20-30Mt CO2 per year, the Government will develop the Track-1 clusters to increase the benefits they can deliver. The Government announced in Powering Up Britain that it will launch a process later this year to enable further expansion of the Track-1 clusters, beyond the initial deployment, identifying and selecting projects for the HyNet and East Coast Clusters – including the Humber – and their associated stores, as they become viable, to be operational by 2030.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
29th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what assessment has he made of the potential impact of (a) carbon capture and storage and (b) hydrogen power on decarbonisation of the Humber industrial region.

Analysis suggests there are more than 10MtCO2 per year in the Humber industrial area which carbon capture and storage and hydrogen projects could play a key role in decarbonising.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
10th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of extending the definition of businesses eligible for the Energy and Trade Intensive Industries discount to include the IT industry.

The Energy Bill Relief Scheme (EBRS) review assessed a range of qualitative and quantitative evidence and contributions from businesses and other stakeholders, on sectors that may be most affected by price increases based on energy and trade intensity (ETII). To qualify as an ETII sector, the sector had to be above the 80th percentile for energy intensity and the 60th percentile for trade intensity. The IT industry does not meet these criteria and is therefore not included in the ETII scheme.

The new Energy Bill Discount Scheme will provide a baseline discount to all eligible non-domestic customers, including the IT industry, until 2024. The unit discount is capped at £19.61/MW for electricity, and £6.97/MW for gas.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
17th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, if he will make an estimate of the number of people claiming Employment Support Allowance who are no longer eligible for the Warm Homes Discount following the changes to eligibility in 2022; and what assessment his Department has made of the potential impact of changing the criteria on people who are no longer eligible.

As households previously applied through their suppliers, who set their own application processes and eligibility criteria and selected successful applicants each year, the Government has not been able to assess how many households in receipt of Employment Support Allowance are no longer eligible.

The Government has expanded the scheme this year, providing £150 rebates to low-income and vulnerable households. The Government published impact assessments alongside the consultation and the final policy, which compared the option for reforming the scheme in England and Wales to continuing the previous scheme. These can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/warm-home-discount-better-targeted-support-from-2022.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
8th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, if he will make an estimate of the number of people claiming Personal Independence Payment who are no longer eligible for the Warm Homes Discount following the changes to eligibility in 2022; and what assessment his Department has made of the potential impact of changing the criteria on those no longer eligible.

The Government has expanded and reformed the Warm Home Discount scheme in England and Wales to target fuel poverty better and provide most rebates automatically.

Households in receipt of means-tested benefits with high energy costs based on certain characteristics of their property are eligible for the rebate. Around 62% of Personal Independence Payment and Disability Living Allowance recipients receive a means-tested benefit; those with high energy costs are eligible. As a result of expanding and reforming the scheme, the Government estimates that 160,000 more households where a person has a disability or long-term illness will receive a rebate.

These changes do not apply in Scotland, where customers apply for a Broader Group rebate through their energy suppliers, who can set their own eligibility criteria.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
7th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what the accreditation process is for heat pump installers under the Boiler Upgrade Scheme.

In order to participate under the Boiler Upgrade Scheme, installers must first submit a request to create an account with the scheme administrator, Ofgem. Only Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) certified installers, who are members of a Consumer Code that ensures customers are protected by a Trading Standards Institute Approved Code of Practice, are eligible to create an account and carry out work under the scheme. This ensures high standards for consumer protection.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
20th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what discussions she has had with Ofcom on the proposed Three-Vodafone merger.

Ministers and Departmental officials regularly meet with Ofcom to discuss a range of telecoms issues.

It is the responsibility of the Competition and Markets Authority to assess the impact on consumers and competition in the market of the proposed merger between Vodafone and Three, with input from sectoral regulators.

The Government does not comment on specific mergers or acquisitions, which are subject to the UK’s stringent legal and regulatory requirements.

12th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, pursuant to her Answer of 8 June to question 187868 on Artificial Intelligence and Life Sciences: Research, what proportion of UK Research and Innovation funds does research involving (a) humans, (b) human materials, (c) animal models and (d) non-animal technologies receive; and what steps UKRI is taking to increase the proportion of funding for non-animal technologies in relation to animal models.

It is not possible to break down UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) funding data in this way. The Government actively supports and funds the development and dissemination of techniques that replace, reduce, and refine the use of animals in research (the 3Rs), primarily through funding from UKRI for the National Centre for the 3Rs (NC3Rs). UKRI provide around £10 million funding per annum to the NC3Rs for research to develop 3Rs technologies.

The NC3Rs has committed to increase funding for technologies that replace the use of animals, including through their £4.7 million joint funding call with UKRI’s Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council for next generation non-animal technologies.

5th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, whether she is taking steps to support research and development into (a) advanced cultures of human cells and tissues, (b) organ-on-a-chip technology and (c) artificial intelligence.

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) funds a portfolio of research involving humans, human materials, animal models, and non-animal technologies. This includes a recent £5 million investment by UKRI’s Medical Research Council in two new platforms as part of a human nervous tissue resources call; and a £4.7 million joint funding call by UKRI’s Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research focussed on supporting next generation non-animal technologies, such as organ-on-a-chip.

This complements work by UKRI including £1.6 million support for an AI in bioscience network.

20th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what steps he is taking to protect the UK’s broadcast spectrum allocation at the 2023 World Radiocommunications Conference.

The Government remains committed to the future of broadcast television and radio, and, in particular, to the future of digital terrestrial television (DTT), the technology underpinning the popular Freeview platform, which relies on suitable access to ultra high frequency (UHF) spectrum.

The Government has been supportive of Ofcom’s negotiations on behalf of the UK within the ITU and at a European regional level. They have been advocating for the inclusion of a ‘no change’ option, which would maintain broadcast’s priority access to the UHF spectrum.

In addition, from a technical and regulatory perspective, even in a scenario where mobile was granted an allocation at the World Radiocommunication Conference 2023, and it is subsequently deployed in neighbouring countries, the UK would be able to rely on the ITU Radio Regulations, ITU Regional Agreements and existing bilateral TV broadcasting agreements with our neighbouring countries to ensure that DTT use of the spectrum in the UK can continue. Before any decisions about the future of DTT in the UK are made, close consideration will be given to how any changes would impact audiences.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
20th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what assessments she has made of the potential impact of the ITU World Radiocommunication Conference 2023 on (a) Freeview frequencies for mobile services and (b) access for UK viewers.

The Government remains committed to the future of broadcast television and radio, and, in particular, to the future of digital terrestrial television (DTT), the technology underpinning the popular Freeview platform, which relies on suitable access to ultra high frequency (UHF) spectrum.

The Government has been supportive of Ofcom’s negotiations on behalf of the UK within the ITU and at a European regional level. They have been advocating for the inclusion of a ‘no change’ option, which would maintain broadcast’s priority access to the UHF spectrum.

In addition, from a technical and regulatory perspective, even in a scenario where mobile was granted an allocation at the World Radiocommunication Conference 2023, and it is subsequently deployed in neighbouring countries, the UK would be able to rely on the ITU Radio Regulations, ITU Regional Agreements and existing bilateral TV broadcasting agreements with our neighbouring countries to ensure that DTT use of the spectrum in the UK can continue. Before any decisions about the future of DTT in the UK are made, close consideration will be given to how any changes would impact audiences.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
17th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, with reference to the provisions of the Electronic Communications Code (Conditions and Restrictions) 2003 and The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 governing planning permission to expand Fibre to the Premises broadband for designated communications network operators and to the length of notice such operators must give to the Local Planning Authority for the erection and siting of telegraph poles and excavation of pavements, what assessment she has made of the consequences for those provisions and notice of the (a) disruption to residents and (b) permanent effects of new telegraph poles; and if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of (i) limiting the number of times new cable can be laid in the same street by different operators and (ii) giving residents a right to consultation over erection of telegraph poles.

Access to digital services is increasingly important to businesses and consumers throughout the UK. The Government is committed to ensuring the right legislative framework is in place to ensure that there is a competitive broadband market and ensure that everyone receives the connectivity they need at a price which is affordable. At the same time, we recognise that the framework must take into account any effects on the local community.

Operators are given statutory rights to carry out streetworks and install apparatus on or below a street or road under Part 8 of the Electronic Communications Code. In addition, the Electronic Communications Code (Conditions and Restrictions) Regulations 2003 set out the circumstances where lines can be installed above ground and what the notice requirements are for doing so. Finally, operators are required to seek permission to carry out this work from the local highway authority and should also follow the Cabinet Siting and Pole Siting Code of Practice, a copy of which is here. Together these measures ensure that telegraph poles are placed appropriately, and local authorities and communities are engaged prior to their installation.

The Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Act, which received Royal Assent on 6 December 2022, includes provisions which make it easier for operators to share existing infrastructure, including underground ducts. This should help reduce the need for future new pole installations, reduce the costs of providing new services and encourage competition within the market. The Government will continue to monitor the effectiveness of the measures and compliance by operators with the measures set out above.

17th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to encourage the creation of businesses.

We are encouraging the creation of businesses through the Start Up Loan scheme which provides loans and mentoring support to new entrepreneurs, as well as through our network of 38 Growth Hubs across England which provide access to information and advice on starting a business.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
6th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of allowing people to choose whether to receive the Warm Home Discount from their gas supplier rather than their electricity supplier.

Households eligible for a Warm Home Discount rebate receive their payment on their electricity supply by default to ensure it is clear which supplier is accountable for providing the rebate. This also reduces the risk of rebate payments being duplicated or missed between different suppliers.

Where a customer is eligible for a rebate and receives both electricity and gas from one supplier, known as a dual fuel supply, they may request for the rebate to be provided on their gas supply. This is at the discretion of the energy supplier.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
6th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of allowing people who receive the Warm Home Discount the option to have it paid to their gas supplier rather than their electricity supplier.

Participating energy suppliers are responsible for providing Warm Home Discount rebates to their eligible customers.

Eligible households receive their payment on their electricity supply by default to ensure it is clear which supplier is accountable for providing the rebate. This also reduces the risk of rebate payments being duplicated or missed between different suppliers.

Where a customer is eligible for a rebate and receives both electricity and gas from one supplier, known as a dual fuel supply, they may request for the rebate to be provided on their gas supply. This is at the discretion of the energy supplier.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
13th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to his Answer of 25 November to Question 89897, Energy: Houseboats, what steps he is taking to (a) identify houseboat residents and (b) ensure they receive their Energy Bills Support Scheme payments in a timely manner, and what steps he is taking to ensure they have parity of support with residents on terra firma when the EBRS discount scheme ends.

The Energy Bills Support Scheme Alternative Funding will provide support of £400 for energy bills for households without a domestic electricity supply, including those who are off the energy grid entirely. This may include houseboats, subject to eligibility checks. Eligibility, timescales and method of delivery will be announced shortly.

HM Treasury is currently conducting a review of the current Energy Bill Relief Scheme and evidence from a broad range of stakeholders has already been received. The Government intends to report on this by the end of the year.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
1st Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department has taken recent steps to help ensure that energy suppliers punctually and adequately refund the credit balances of their customers who pay for their energy (a) by direct debit and (b) in other ways.

The Government has no plans to intervene in this area. Under existing rules set by Ofgem, suppliers must automatically refund outstanding credit balances within 10 days of issuing a final bill. Suppliers must also refund accumulated credit on request by an existing customer in a timely manner unless they have reasonable grounds not to.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
15th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of conducting a review into postage stamp prices.

As a private business, Royal Mail’s management sets the prices for its services. The Government does not have a role in Royal Mail’s commercial decisions.

In setting prices Royal Mail must observe the regulatory framework set by Ofcom, the independent regulator. This framework imposes price caps, ‘safeguard caps’, on certain second-class products to ensure a basic universal service is available to all at affordable prices and users of postal services, especially vulnerable consumers, are protected from on-going price rises.

Ofcom plans to review the safeguard caps with a consultation and statement during 2023/24.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
1st Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he plans to reapply green levies to fuel bills following the end of the Energy Price Guarantee in April.

The Energy Price Guarantee includes the temporary suspension of green levies. A Treasury-led review of the scheme will design a new approach to support households and businesses with energy bills after April 2023. Outcomes of the review will be announced in due course.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
1st Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when he will publish the eligibility criteria for the Warm Home Discount Core Group 2.

The Government published a draft Eligibility Statement for the Warm Home Discount scheme for England and Wales over the summer, available at https://www.gov.uk/‌government/consultations/warm-home-discount-england-and-wales-draft-eligibility-statement. The Government has considered the responses to the draft and the final Eligibility Statement has now been published, available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/warm-home-discount-eligibility-statement-england-and-wales.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
1st Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the take up rate amongst pre-payment meter customers of vouchers for the £400 rebate; what plans he has to support those who are digitally excluded; and if he will make a statement.

Suppliers are reporting to the Department on scheme delivery, including the redemption of prepayment meter vouchers. These figures will be published in due course.

Prepayment meter customers in England, Scotland and Wales should have already received their first Energy Bills Support Scheme (EBSS) discount voucher. These have been sent by SMS text, email or post.

Suppliers are obliged to take all reasonable steps to ensure the EBSS voucher is provided and redeemed, including by making a minimum of three attempts by at least two different methods to contact customers who have not redeemed their payment to encourage them to take action.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
29th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has made an assessment of the effectiveness of carbon neutral fuel; and if he will publish the data his Department holds on that matter.

BEIS publishes a range of statistics on renewable energy in Energy Trends at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/energy-trends-section-6-renewables and in DUKES at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/renewable-sources-of-energy-chapter-6-digest-of-united-kingdom-energy-statistics-dukes

The Department for Transport regularly publishes data on renewable fuel supplied under the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation, including the carbon intensity of these fuels.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
22nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when he expects to reach agreement on participation in Horizon Europe; what estimate he has made of the number of current UK based research project bids that are reliant on participation; and what plans he has he made to support those bids should agreement not be reached before their commencement dates.

The UK is committed to and stands ready to formalise our association to Horizon Europe at the earliest opportunity. At the recent EU-UK Specialised Committee the EU confirmed they were unwilling to move on UK association but we continue to push the EU to formalise our association.

We recognise that delays by the EU have led to uncertainty for researchers, businesses and innovators based in the UK. To provide reassurance the Government has guaranteed funding for all of the eligible, successful applicants in the first wave of Horizon Europe calls. The guarantee is a short-term measure to support the UK sector while delays to our association continue. The UK Government has stated that it will monitor the situation closely and may consider whether it is appropriate to change the scope of the guarantee, in which case, it will provide updated guidance. The EU have not yet publicly published full results for applications into all parts of Horizon Europe so it is not possible to estimate the number of current UK based bids.

8th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of reopening the Green Homes Grant scheme; and if he will make a statement.

The Green Homes Grant Voucher scheme was designed to provide a short-term economic stimulus while tackling the country’s contribution to climate change. However, it was not delivering at the rate and scale the government had originally intended, facing a number of delivery challenges. The scheme closed to new applications on 31 March 2021 and will not reopen.

To ensure we continue to deliver on our net zero ambitions and support a thriving building retrofit industry, the Government will be expanding its funding commitment for both the Homes Upgrade Grant scheme and the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund with up to £950 million and £800 million in additional funding respectively over 2022/23 to 2024/25. This takes total funding to over £6.4billion across the lifetime of this Parliament. The Government is also introducing a new Boiler Upgrade Scheme worth £450 million, which will provide capital grants towards the cost of a heat pump.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
25th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 4 November 2021 to Question 69684, on Ofgem: Standards, whether he has plans to request an account of the insolvencies in the energy supply market to be made by Ofgem to Parliament.

Ministers have regular conversations with Ofgem. As an independent regulator Ofgem is available upon request to give an account of the recent insolvencies in the energy supply market directly to Parliament.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department plans to work with the Office for Product Safety and Standards to review the safety regulations for the use of fireworks in the context of distress caused by fireworks to (a) people with learning disabilities, (b) young children and (c) animals.

The Government takes the issues associated with the sale and use of fireworks seriously. That is why there is a comprehensive regulatory framework in place that aims to reduce the risks and disturbances to both vulnerable people and animals.

As part of the Government’s programme of action, we continue to commission research and use evidence to inform our work. This has included developing and publishing an evidence base on fireworks and undertaking engagement with a wide range of interested groups, including charities supporting vulnerable groups and animal welfare organisations.

Through our public awareness campaign for the 2021 fireworks season, we promoted the safe and considerate use of fireworks to the general public, to ensure that those using them do so safely and considerately. The campaign was far reaching and had a potential reach of 4.1 million people on Twitter (10 October-7 November 2021).

The Office for Product Safety and Standards is part of the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy.

4th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of Ofgem market entry requirements which came into effect in January 2021 in preventing company failures.

The process for awarding supply licenses, including market entry requirements, is independently set by the regulator Ofgem. Ofgem is the independent regulator of the gas and electricity markets in Great Britain and is accountable to Parliament.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
29th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of extending the Green Homes Grant deadline for an additional 12 months.

The Green Homes Grant Voucher scheme was designed to provide a short-term economic stimulus while tackling our contribution to climate change. However, it was not delivering at the rate and scale the government had originally intended, facing a number of delivery challenges. The scheme closed to new applications on 31 March 2021 and will not reopen.

Last month, the Government published the Heat and Buildings Strategy which allocated more than £3.9 billion of new funding for decarbonising heat and buildings. This will fund the next 3 years of investment through the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund, the Home Upgrade Grant scheme, the Boiler Upgrade Scheme and the Heat Networks Transformation Programme and reducing carbon emissions from public buildings through the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
20th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has plans to review Ofgem's processes for awarding licences to energy supply companies (a) in general and (b) for Avro Energy.

The process for awarding supply licences is independently set by Ofgem. Ofgem are reviewing their approach to supplier licensing, to ensure that appropriate protections are in place against poor customer service and financial instability. New market entry requirements came into effect in January 2021 focussed on the ongoing requirements on suppliers operating in the market to promote responsible risk management, improved governance and increased accountability.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
17th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has held discussions with (a) the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on whether the forthcoming Women's Health Strategy is planned to inform the criteria for the allocation of funding from the Advanced Research and Invention Agency (ARIA) and (b) ARIA on prioritising research into women’s health prior to the publication of that strategy.

ARIA’s leaders, not Government, will be responsible for the strategic direction of their programme portfolio. While there are many UK funding programmes for which Ministers do set the strategic direction, ARIA is specifically being set up without those constraints. We aim to establish ARIA in Spring 2022.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
17th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans he has to increase funding for (a) epilepsy treatments and medication and (b) UK life-sciences research more widely.

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) funds research into epilepsy primarily through the Medical Research Council and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.

Funding for research projects that specifically refer to epilepsy in the project title or abstract in each of the last five years are set out in the table below. This does not include wider funding that contributes to epilepsy research.

Financial year 2014/2015

Financial year 2015/2016

Financial year 2016/2017

Financial year 2017/2018

Financial year 2019/2020

£8m

£6.2m

£8.4m

£9.7m

£10.6m

The DHSC-funded National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) facilitates and enables life science research, from early translational research, through clinical research, to applied health research. Life science companies can access NIHR resources at any stage in their clinical development process and DHSC ensures all parts of the NIHR are open to collaboration with industry.

The Government is committed to making the UK a global hub for life sciences. This means building on our strengths in basic science and medical research to ensure the UK remains at the forefront of worldwide efforts to tackle the most pressing healthcare challenges, from cancer to dementia.

As part of our commitment, the Government will raise total UK investment in R&D to 2.4% of GDP by 2027. Life Sciences is critical to this – with the pharmaceutical industry accounting for one fifth of the total industrial spend on R&D in the UK1.

We will also continue to support our fantastic research infrastructure, which bolsters the sector, stimulates economic growth and drives better outcomes for patients.

17th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of extending the Green Homes Grant scheme until 31 March 2022.

The Green Homes Grant Voucher scheme was designed to provide a short-term economic stimulus while tackling our contribution to climate change. However, it was not delivering at the rate and scale we had originally intended. The scheme closed on 31 March 2021 and will not reopen.

We will refocus efforts and funding on alternative approaches which will maximise delivery of home retrofits for consumers who are most in need.

The Government will be expanding its funding commitment for both the Local Authority Delivery element of the Green Homes Grant scheme and the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund with £300 million of new funding.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department has issued guidance to local authorities to exclude coach tour operators from the Restart Payments; and if he will make a statement.

The Government has introduced an unprecedented package of support for businesses including grants for those businesses that are required to close or which are severely affected by the restrictions put in place to tackle Covid-19 and save lives.

Coach Tour Operators are not eligible for the Restart Grant Scheme. This is because eligible businesses must offer in-person services, where the main service and activity takes place in a fixed rate-paying premises, in the relevant sectors.

However, they may be able to access discretionary support through the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG). This funding gives Local Authorities the ability to provide support that suits their local area including to support those businesses not required to close but which have had their trade severely affected by the restrictions. My Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced an additional £425m will be made available via ARG meaning that more than £2bn has been made available to local authorities since November 2020.

Guidance was published for Local Authorities on 17th March for both the Restart Grants and the Additional Restrictions Grant, and guidance for the Additional Restrictions Grant identifies that group tour and coach operators can be considered for support through this funding.

1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether door-to-door selling is permitted during the period of covid-19 lockdown restrictions announced in January 2021.

Door-to-door sales should not take place during the national lockdown. Sales activities should be conducted remotely (such as by phone, online or e-mail) as set out in the business closures guidance.

25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to increase the competitiveness of the business environment to support the growth of the UK maritime industry.

The Government recognises the importance of the UK maritime sector to our economy. BEIS is working with the sector and other Government departments to facilitate access to innovation support via UKRI programmes.

BEIS will continue to work with the Maritime Enterprise Working Group, addressing issues of common concern to secure a truly competitive, sustainable and globally successful marine engineering and shipbuilding industry.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the letter of 13 November 2020 from the Leader of Kingston upon Hull City Council, Stephen Brady OBE, on the levels of covid-19 infection in the city, what plans he has to make discretionary support available to businesses in Hull and the East Riding once the November 2020 covid-19 restrictions end on 2 December 2020.

Hull City Council has received £5,195,560 and East Riding of Yorkshire Council has received £6,823,460 in Additional Restrictions Grant funding. This is a discretionary grant which is being provided to local authorities in order to provide support to their business communities over and above the up to £3,000 per four week period grant available to all businesses that are required to close due to national or local restrictions. The Additional Restrictions Grant can be spent at any point up until the end of financial year 2021/22.

In addition, areas reverting to either Tier 2 or Tier 3 following the national lockdown would be eligible for both Local Restrictions Grant Support (Closed) for businesses that are required to close and Local Restrictions Grant Support (Open) that provides Local Authorities with a discretionary fund to support businesses that are not required to close but are severely impacted.

We are working closely with local authorities to roll out business support grant schemes as quickly as practicable and we are keeping levels of support under close review.

17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he plans to take steps against retailers that do not limit the number of customers in accordance with Government guidance on Working safely during coronavirus, last updated on 9 November 2020.

The Government guidance on working safely during coronavirus states that it is for each business to carry out its own risk assessment, in consultation with their workers, to inform the actions they should take to reduce the risks of COVID-19. All companies have the same obligations to protect the health and safety of their workers and other people who may be affected by their business.

Employers will need to consider how best to maintain social distancing at their workplace. This may include restricting the number of customers in a shop at any one time and making this clear to customers and other visitors.

If anyone has concerns that employers are not taking all reasonably practicable steps to reduce the risks of COVID-19, they should get in touch with their employee representative or union, or with the Health and Safety Executive.

If the enforcing authority finds that an employer is not taking action to properly manage workplace risk, a range of actions is open to them including specific advice or issuing enforcement notices.

The vast majority of employers are responsible and will join with the UK’s fight against COVID-19 by working with the government and their sector bodies to protect their workers and the public. However, inspectors are carrying out compliance checks nationwide to ensure that employers are taking the necessary steps.

16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how his Department plans to support new businesses to ensure that they can access a Bounce Back Loan during the November 2020 covid-19 lockdown period.

The Bounce Back Loan Scheme, launched in May 2020, has been introduced to help smaller businesses impacted by coronavirus (COVID-19). It is designed to help businesses who were trading prior to 1 March 2020 and have been negatively impacted by COVID-19.

Other Government support is available for newer businesses during the pandemic, including the British Business Bank’s Start Up Loans Scheme, which is available to individual who have founded businesses trading for less than two years. The Scheme offers access to affordable government-backed finance of between £500 and £25,000 per owner (limited to £100,000 per business) at a fixed 6% interest per annum.

30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether businesses who have been adversely affected by the Rule of 6 and 10.00pm curfew restrictions in tier 1 local covid alert level areas are eligible for covid-19 business grant support.

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister addressed the nation on Saturday 31 October setting out new national restrictions. These restrictions will apply nationally for four weeks up to Wednesday 2 December, and will override the current Local Alert Level restrictions.

The Government will provide further financial support. The furlough scheme is being extended for a month with employees receiving 80% of their current salary for hours not worked. The mortgage holiday will also be extended to reassure homeowners. Business premises which are legally forced to close will receive grants worth up to £3,000 per month in England, and £1.1bn is being provided to Local Authorities to enable them to support businesses.

5th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions he has had with (a) online retailers and (b) online retailing platforms on preventing the sale of counterfeit products.

The Government takes the protection of intellectual property seriously and supports a range of initiatives designed to reduce this illicit trade.

Officials from the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) have been holding roundtable meetings with representatives from online platforms and rights holders to discuss the availability of counterfeits on their platforms and to help co-ordinate law enforcement action against sellers.

In September 2013, we launched a dedicated Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU), run by the City of London Police. It is dedicated to tackling serious and organised online piracy and counterfeiting (affecting digital and physical goods) and protecting legitimate UK businesses. IPO provided funding of around £9 million over the period 2013-2019.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans he has to provide support to businesses in the first quarter of 2021 when deferred payments and initial loan repayments become due.

The Government has provided a comprehensive package of support to help businesses that have been affected by Covid-19. This package includes the small business grants, the coronavirus loan schemes, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, as well as deferral of income tax payments.

The Government will continue to work closely with local authorities, businesses, and business representative organisations to understand the impact of Covid-19 on businesses. This will include consideration of how payments for deferred VAT and loan repayments will impact businesses from March 2021.

We are developing a consistent industry-wide approach to the collections and recoveries of Bounce Back loans. This will ensure that lenders understand the full range of support they can provide to borrowers struggling to repay their loans.

23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many universities have accessed the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan scheme.

As of 21 June, a total of 50,482 loans have been issued under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), with a value of £10.53 billion.

Issuing new loans is the priority for lenders and the Government. We are working with the British Business Bank, HM Treasury and the lenders on providing regular and transparent data publication going forward, including sectoral breakdowns.

15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to help people for whom English is not a first language apply for covid-19 related loans and grants.

The Government is committed to supporting the people who invest in our country by locating their businesses here, particularly in these challenging times.

We have provided information on the range of business support available on Gov.UK. For further information people can contact our Business Support Helpline.

The Business Support Helpline is a free, multi-channel advice and guidance service, operating across England, which offers a translation and interpretation service for those whom English in not their first language. The helpline can support all businesses, from those starting a business to established traders, including information about accessing Covid-19 related loans and grants.

20th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, whether the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee medal is available to people who had served a combined total of five years in the Armed Forces and frontline NHS services on 6 February 2022.

To qualify for The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Medal recipients must be in an eligible role in the public sector on 6 February 2022 and have completed five years’ service.

There are some circumstances where prior service in a previous eligible role might be taken into account and aggregated with current service by a Department in deciding on medal eligibility.

Individual Departments, the Devolved Administrations and Crown Dependencies are responsible for applying the eligibility criteria and making eligibility decisions regarding the award of the Medal to their staff and other organisations that fall under their sponsorship.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
14th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of requiring large music venues to charge a ticket levy to fund investment in (a) musicians and (b) grassroot music venues.

His Majesty’s Government is committed to supporting our grassroots music venues, which play an absolutely crucial role in our world-leading music sector, and are key to developing the future talent pipeline.

That is why we are supporting them to develop the next generation of British talent, by providing an additional £5 million to Arts Council England’s successful Supporting Grassroots Live Music fund, as announced in the Creative Industries Sector Vision on 14 June. This fund will enable venues to increase support for young, emerging and more diverse artists, improve equipment and physical infrastructure, and support venues to become more financially resilient and develop new income streams.

This is in addition to other government support provided to the live music sector, including over £3 million during the pandemic from the Emergency Grassroots Music Venues Fund, and through Arts Council England’s Supporting Grassroots Live Music fund since 2019.

Contemporary, operatic, and classical music subsectors receive funding through a wide variety of sources, including Arts Council England. Decisions made by the Arts Council about the allocation of funding are taken at arm's length from Government. Decisions are made in line with the Council’s ten-year strategy, which sets the direction for all of the artforms and sub-sectors it supports, including opera, contemporary, and classical music.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is in regular discussions with all parts of the music industry, including live venues of all sizes across the country. The Department works closely with interested parties and across Government to ensure the live music sector continues to thrive. Whilst industry-led discussions on the proposal of a ticket levy are ongoing, we have no plans to enforce large venues to impose a ticket levy.

14th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of providing the same level of funding to grassroots music venues that host contemporary music as provided for opera and classical music.

His Majesty’s Government is committed to supporting our grassroots music venues, which play an absolutely crucial role in our world-leading music sector, and are key to developing the future talent pipeline.

That is why we are supporting them to develop the next generation of British talent, by providing an additional £5 million to Arts Council England’s successful Supporting Grassroots Live Music fund, as announced in the Creative Industries Sector Vision on 14 June. This fund will enable venues to increase support for young, emerging and more diverse artists, improve equipment and physical infrastructure, and support venues to become more financially resilient and develop new income streams.

This is in addition to other government support provided to the live music sector, including over £3 million during the pandemic from the Emergency Grassroots Music Venues Fund, and through Arts Council England’s Supporting Grassroots Live Music fund since 2019.

Contemporary, operatic, and classical music subsectors receive funding through a wide variety of sources, including Arts Council England. Decisions made by the Arts Council about the allocation of funding are taken at arm's length from Government. Decisions are made in line with the Council’s ten-year strategy, which sets the direction for all of the artforms and sub-sectors it supports, including opera, contemporary, and classical music.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is in regular discussions with all parts of the music industry, including live venues of all sizes across the country. The Department works closely with interested parties and across Government to ensure the live music sector continues to thrive. Whilst industry-led discussions on the proposal of a ticket levy are ongoing, we have no plans to enforce large venues to impose a ticket levy.

5th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, if she will make a comparative assessment of the impact of levels of public subsidy for (a) contemporary, (b) opera and (c) classical music on music venues.

Contemporary, operatic, and classical music venues receive funding through a wide variety of sources, including Arts Council England.

Decisions made by the Arts Council about the allocation of funding are taken at arm's length from government. It takes these decisions in line with its ten-year strategy, which sets the direction for all of the art forms and sub-sectors it supports, including opera, contemporary, and classical music. The Arts Council has also commissioned further independent analysis on how to best support opera.

Arts Council England produces a robust analysis of its investment, including a breakdown by discipline and geography.

5th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, whether her Department plans to provide further support to (a) Polar Bear in Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle constituency and (b) other grassroots music venues.

The Government is committed to supporting our grassroots music venues, which are the lifeblood and research and development centres of our world-leading music sector.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is in regular discussions with all parts of the music industry, including live venues of all sizes across the country. The department works closely with stakeholders and across Government to ensure the live music sector continues to thrive.

The Government has provided significant support to the live music sector. This includes more than £1 million during the pandemic from the Emergency Grassroots Music Venues Fund, and through the Supporting Grassroots Live Music fund in Arts Council England (ACE). In July 2021, The Polar Bear in Hull was awarded a £31,200 Project Grants through ACE’s Supporting Grassroots Live Music fund. This scheme has been extended until September 2023, and we will continue to engage with the sector on its future.

31st Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when she expects the White Paper on football reform to be published; and whether it is her policy to support the introduction of an independent regulator for English football.

We will publish a White Paper that sets out a detailed plan on how football will be reformed through regulation in the coming weeks.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what her Department's time frame is for the dormant assets consultation period following Royal Assent of the Dormant Assets Bill.

The consultation to determine the social and environmental focus of the English expenditure of future dormant assets funding will be launched as soon as Summer 2022. The consultation will be open for at least 12 weeks, with the government response to the consultation being published within 12 weeks of the consultation closure.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to help ensure the safety of children online.

Protecting children online is at the heart of the Online Safety Bill, which the government published in draft in May 2021 for pre-legislative scrutiny. Sites in scope of the Bill which are likely to be accessed by children will need to deliver appropriate safety measures to protect children from inappropriate or harmful content online. If sites fail in their duties under the Bill, they will be subject to tough enforcement action including fines of up to 10% of global qualifying annual turnover.

The government is clear that tech companies should use their ingenuity now to improve child online safety. We have taken a number of steps to help companies and users improve online safety, including the publication of a One Stop Shop for child online safety, the Online Media Literacy Strategy, and Safety by Design guidance.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
21st Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the clarity of the advice in The visitor economy - Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19) on coach party travel after June 21 2021; and whether he has plans to issue revised guidance.

The Government's ‘Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19)’ guidance pages, including the visitor economy guidance, outline what is currently permitted at Step 3 of the Roadmap and how businesses can operate safely under current restrictions.

The Prime Minister’s reopening Roadmap sets out the forward look for Step 4. The roadmap also sets out how ongoing reviews (for example, the Social Distancing Review) will inform how businesses will operate in Step 4. It is expected that England will move to Step 4 on 19 July, though the data will be reviewed after 2 weeks in case the risks have reduced. The Government will continue to monitor the data and the move to Step 4 will be confirmed one week in advance, at which point, the ‘Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19)’ guidance for businesses across the economy - including the visitor economy guidance - will be updated.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
14th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans he has to introduce transparency reports for recognised news publisher websites in respect of harm occurring on their comments boards.

The government is committed to a free and independent press. This is vital to a strong and fully functioning democracy where the powerful can be held to account without fear. The government does not intervene in editorial or moderation decisions made by news publishers. DCMS does not hold data on comments sections of news publisher websites.

Anyone concerned by material published on a news website’s comment section can complain directly to the publisher or to the relevant independent self regulator. The majority of traditional publishers—including 95% of national newspapers by circulation—are members of The Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO). A number of smaller publishers have joined The Independent Monitor for the Press (IMPRESS).

There are no plans to introduce transparency reporting requirements for news publishers; websites.

DCMS ministers and officials regularly meet with a range of stakeholders to discuss a range of issues.

14th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with newspaper proprietors, editors, or staff on the moderation of recognised news publisher websites.

The government is committed to a free and independent press. This is vital to a strong and fully functioning democracy where the powerful can be held to account without fear. The government does not intervene in editorial or moderation decisions made by news publishers. DCMS does not hold data on comments sections of news publisher websites.

Anyone concerned by material published on a news website’s comment section can complain directly to the publisher or to the relevant independent self regulator. The majority of traditional publishers—including 95% of national newspapers by circulation—are members of The Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO). A number of smaller publishers have joined The Independent Monitor for the Press (IMPRESS).

There are no plans to introduce transparency reporting requirements for news publishers; websites.

DCMS ministers and officials regularly meet with a range of stakeholders to discuss a range of issues.

14th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what data his Department holds on the volume of harmful comments appearing in comments sections of recognised news publisher websites.

The government is committed to a free and independent press. This is vital to a strong and fully functioning democracy where the powerful can be held to account without fear. The government does not intervene in editorial or moderation decisions made by news publishers. DCMS does not hold data on comments sections of news publisher websites.

Anyone concerned by material published on a news website’s comment section can complain directly to the publisher or to the relevant independent self regulator. The majority of traditional publishers—including 95% of national newspapers by circulation—are members of The Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO). A number of smaller publishers have joined The Independent Monitor for the Press (IMPRESS).

There are no plans to introduce transparency reporting requirements for news publishers; websites.

DCMS ministers and officials regularly meet with a range of stakeholders to discuss a range of issues.

14th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of moderator systems of comments sections on recognised news publisher websites.

The government is committed to a free and independent press. This is vital to a strong and fully functioning democracy where the powerful can be held to account without fear. The government does not intervene in editorial or moderation decisions made by news publishers. DCMS does not hold data on comments sections of news publisher websites.

Anyone concerned by material published on a news website’s comment section can complain directly to the publisher or to the relevant independent self regulator. The majority of traditional publishers—including 95% of national newspapers by circulation—are members of The Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO). A number of smaller publishers have joined The Independent Monitor for the Press (IMPRESS).

There are no plans to introduce transparency reporting requirements for news publishers; websites.

DCMS ministers and officials regularly meet with a range of stakeholders to discuss a range of issues.

14th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the prevalence of online harms occurring in the comments sections of recognised news publisher websites.

The government is committed to a free and independent press. This is vital to a strong and fully functioning democracy where the powerful can be held to account without fear. The government does not intervene in editorial or moderation decisions made by news publishers. DCMS does not hold data on comments sections of news publisher websites.

Anyone concerned by material published on a news website’s comment section can complain directly to the publisher or to the relevant independent self regulator. The majority of traditional publishers—including 95% of national newspapers by circulation—are members of The Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO). A number of smaller publishers have joined The Independent Monitor for the Press (IMPRESS).

There are no plans to introduce transparency reporting requirements for news publishers; websites.

DCMS ministers and officials regularly meet with a range of stakeholders to discuss a range of issues.

11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of when it will be safe for community music rehearsals to resume as covid-19 restrictions are eased.

It is important that we take a cautious approach in easing restrictions, so that we can see the impact of the steps we are taking before moving to the next step. From 17 May, non-professional performing arts activities are permitted indoors and outdoors, within the legal gathering limits. Activities should be organised to allow for social distancing to be maintained.

Outdoors, people can take part in non-professional performing arts activities in a group of up to 30 people. Activities can take place with multiple permitted groups, provided the groups are kept separate throughout the activity, and the event is organised in line with the organised events guidance for local authorities

Indoors, people can take part in non-professional performing arts activities in a group of up to 6 people, or as a group of 2 households/bubbles. Activities can take place with multiple permitted groups, provided the groups are kept separate throughout the activity, and the event is organised in line with the organised events guidance for local authorities. However, non-professional singing indoors should only take place in a single group of up to 6 people.

27th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if his Department will make an assessment of the (a) implications for his policies of the findings of the recent survey by #WeMakeEvents of businesses and individuals in the live event supply chain and (b) potential merits of making sector-specific fiscal support available to the live entertainment industry in response to the effects of the covid-19 outbreak on that industry.

The Government recognises the severe impact the pandemic has had on supply chain businesses for the live events sector.

Supply chain organisations were eligible for the first two rounds of the Culture Recovery Fund and are recognised as a critical part of the sector. Across the first two rounds of funding, the Culture Recovery Fund has helped 311 organisations in the live music supply chain to date with approximately £47million awarded. A further £300M will be available to continue supporting the broad cultural sector throughout 2021.

The Government will spend over £33 billion supporting those in self-employment during this crisis, among the most generous anywhere in the world. The Government has also provided economic wide support packages which the sector has been able to access including extensions to the furlough scheme, SEISS, and additional business support.

22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of allowing adult gaming centres to reopen alongside retail from 12 April 2021 as covid-19 restrictions are eased.

The Prime Minister announced on Monday 22 February that indoor entertainment venues, which will include Adult Gaming Centres as well as bingo halls, casinos and cinemas, will open at Step 3 of the roadmap, not before 17 May. The Government has designed the roadmap for reopening premises following careful consideration of the evidence and scientific advice. The roadmap strikes a balance between mitigating the social, health and economic impacts of closures and the need to avoid a resurgence of COVID-19 infections. It also takes account of the cumulative impact of easing restrictions and the need to assess the impact at each step. As the business of Adult Gaming Centres consists entirely of customers playing gaming machines within the premises, they are considered to be entertainment and will open at Step 3.

In recognition of the impact of requiring some businesses to remain closed for a longer period, the Chancellor announced an enhanced package of support at the Budget, including Restart Grants of up to £18,000 per premises, specifically for those which must remain closed beyond Step 2. Also included in the budget were extensions to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, with further discretionary funding for Local Authorities.

17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans he has to tackle racist and misogynistic abuse in newspaper comment sections.

The government is committed to a free and independent press, and does not intervene in what the press can and cannot publish. We are clear, however, that with this freedom, comes responsibility, which media organisations must take seriously. It is important that there exists an independent self regulatory regime to ensure that the press adheres to a wide set of clear and appropriate standards, and to offer individuals a means of redress where these are not met.

The majority of traditional publishers—including 95% of national newspapers by circulation—are members of The Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO). A small number of publishers have joined The Independent Monitor for the Press (IMPRESS). These regulators issue codes of conduct which provide guidelines on a range of areas including discrimination, and set out the rules that members have agreed to follow.

Complaints about comments on news websites can be directed to the publication itself, or to the appropriate self-regulator.

30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what guidance he has published on (a) dance, (b) yoga and (c) swimming and (d) other group indoor sessions for people living under tier 3 covid-19 restrictions.

Sports and physical activity are incredibly important for our physical and mental health, and are a vital weapon against coronavirus. That’s why we made sure that people could exercise at least once a day even during the height of the first period of enhanced national restrictions and why we opened up grassroots sport and leisure facilities as soon as it was safe to do so.

As the Prime Minister said on 23 November national restrictions will end on Wednesday 2 December, and gyms and sport facilities including swimming pools will reopen across all tiers. Under Tier 3, gyms and sports facilities will be open for individual exercise and exercise in single households or support bubbles only. Indoor group activities and exercise classes should not take place. You can continue to do unlimited exercise alone, or in an outdoor public place in groups up to 6.

There are exceptions, however, which can take place in any number for disability sport, sports as part of the curriculum in education and supervised sport and physical activity for under-18s (including those who were under 18 on 31 August 2020).

Government has published overarching guidance for grassroots sport but doesn’t publish guidance for individual sports. It is for the National Governing Body of the sport to consider the steps that would need to be taken, and the conditions that would need to be met, for their activity to resume. The National Governing Body should also publish relevant guidance.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
27th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he plans to make additional financial support available to cinemas in tier 3 covid-19 restricted areas.

The Government has implemented a tiering system which aims to reduce and keep R below 1, and will therefore allow areas to move down the tiers. However, we recognise how tough the measures are for people and businesses in Tier 3. This is why, in addition to the Job Retention Scheme and other measures available, businesses in England that are forced to close will receive up to £3,000 for each 28 day period. This includes cinemas.

In addition, as important cultural hubs for communities right across the country, the Government has supported cinemas through the VAT cut on tickets and concessions, a business rates holiday and Bounce Back Loans. This is alongside the £1.57 billion support package for key cultural organisations that was announced in July, the biggest ever one-off investment in culture. Independent cinemas are eligible for a share of up to £30m of this package, and the majority of allocations are expected to be announced in December.

23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if it remains his policy to create a £500 million Youth Investment Fund; and if he will make a statement.

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

The funding will be allocated from the Government’s unprecedented £750 million package of support which is benefiting tens of thousands of frontline charities, so they can continue their vital work. More than £60 million of this package has already been provided to organisations working with vulnerable children and young people.

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

3rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of allowing gymnasiums to remain open during the November 2020 covid-19 lockdown.

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

Nobody wanted to be in the position of having to introduce further National Restrictions. However as the Prime Minister said, with the virus spreading faster than expected we cannot allow our health system to be overwhelmed. Therefore, from Thursday 5 November until Wednesday 2 December indoor and outdoor leisure will need to close. The National Restrictions are designed to get the R rate under control through limiting social contact and reducing transmissions.

In order for these measures to have the greatest impact, we will all need to sacrifice doing some things that we would otherwise like to do, for a short period of time. The difficulty is that, when you unpick one thing, the effectiveness of the whole package is compromised. As soon as we're in a position to start lifting restrictions, grassroots sports will be one of the first to return.

People are still allowed to leave their homes for exercise and recreation outdoors, with your household or on your own, or with one person from another household or support bubble.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether racist abuse and disinformation will be within the remit of the Government’s planned online harms regulatory system.

The new online harms regulatory framework will require companies to put effective systems and processes in place to protect UK users. The Online Harms White Paper set out an indicative list of harms which will be in scope of the new regulatory framework. Further details will be included in the full government response to the consultation, which we will publish later this year.

1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether comments on newspaper website forums will be considered to be user generated content for the purpose of the Government's legislative strategy for tackling online harms.

Online harms regulation seeks to improve online safety while ensuring pluralism, freedom of expression and media freedoms are protected online, Online harms regulation will not duplicate existing regulatory activity. The former DCMS Secretary of State made it clear in his 2019 letter to the Society of Editors that existing regulation on moderated comment sections on news sites would not be duplicated. Full details on the scope of online harms regulation will be published in the full Government Response to the Online Harms White Paper Consultation later this year.


1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to help tackle (a) disinformation and (b) abuse on the commenting forums of newspaper websites.

The Government takes the issue of disinformation very seriously. During the Covid-19 pandemic, it has been vitally important that the public has accurate information and DCMS is leading work across Government to tackle disinformation.

The Cross-Whitehall Counter Disinformation Unit was stood up on 5 March, bringing together cross-Government monitoring and analysis capabilities. The Unit’s primary function is to provide a comprehensive picture of the extent, scope and impact of disinformation and misinformation regarding Covid-19 and to work with partners to ensure appropriate action is taken.

More generally, the Government’s Online Harms White Paper, published in April 2019, set out our plans for world-leading legislation to make companies more responsible for their users’ safety online. We intend to establish in law a new duty of care on companies towards their users which will be overseen by an independent regulator. This regulator will set clear safety standards, backed up by mandatory reporting requirements and strong enforcement powers to deal with non-compliance.

However, Online Harms regulation will not seek to duplicate existing regulation on moderated comment sections on news sites. The government is committed to independent self-regulation of the press. Complaints about user-generated comments on news websites can be directed to the publication itself, or to the appropriate self-regulator. The majority of traditional publishers—including 95% of national newspapers by circulation—are members of IPSO. A small number of publishers have joined IMPRESS

1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the effect of (a) covid-19 disinformation and (b) other online harms on newspaper comment forums on public safety; and if he will make a statement.

The Government takes the issue of disinformation very seriously. During the Covid-19 pandemic, it has been vitally important that the public has accurate information and DCMS is leading work across Government to tackle disinformation.

The Cross-Whitehall Counter Disinformation Unit was stood up on 5 March, bringing together cross-Government monitoring and analysis capabilities. The Unit’s primary function is to provide a comprehensive picture of the extent, scope and impact of disinformation and misinformation regarding Covid-19 and to work with partners to ensure appropriate action is taken.

More generally, the Government’s Online Harms White Paper, published in April 2019, set out our plans for world-leading legislation to make companies more responsible for their users’ safety online. We intend to establish in law a new duty of care on companies towards their users which will be overseen by an independent regulator. This regulator will set clear safety standards, backed up by mandatory reporting requirements and strong enforcement powers to deal with non-compliance.

However, Online Harms regulation will not seek to duplicate existing regulation on moderated comment sections on news sites. The government is committed to independent self-regulation of the press. Complaints about user-generated comments on news websites can be directed to the publication itself, or to the appropriate self-regulator. The majority of traditional publishers—including 95% of national newspapers by circulation—are members of IPSO. A small number of publishers have joined IMPRESS

30th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether his Department plans to set up a taskforce on the reopening of live entertainment venues after the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will take steps to ensure that representatives of the National Arena Association, the Concert Promoters Association and the British Association of Concert Halls sit on such a taskforce.

The ministerially-chaired Events and Entertainment Working Group was established to support the Secretary of State’s Cultural Renewal Taskforce. It focuses on developing covid-19 secure guidance to enable the safe reopening of the performing arts, music and entertainment sectors.

The National Arenas Association and the Concert Promoters Association are active and valued members of the Working Group, and DCMS is in regular dialogue with a range of stakeholders from across the live entertainment sector.

30th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans he has to announce a timeframe for the reopening of live entertainment venues without the need for social distancing.

We are committed to reopening creative businesses, including live entertainment venues, in line with the latest Government regulations and advice.

The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport recently set out a five stage roadmap that the government will work through to get the performing arts and live entertainment sectors back up and running as soon as possible.

The ministerially-chaired Events and Entertainment Working Group was established to support the Secretary of State’s Cultural Renewal Taskforce. It focuses on developing covid-19 secure guidance to enable the safe reopening of the performing arts, music and entertainment sectors.

30th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what representations his Department received from representatives from the Ten-pin Bowling Proprietor's Association in advance of the Government's decision to require bowling alleys to remain closed as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased; and what the scientific evidence is underpinning the decision for those venues to remain closed.

DCMS officials have spoken to a representative of the Ten-pin Bowling Proprietor’s Association and also several other key sector members to discuss guidance and next steps to reopening the sector.

Bowling alleys will be able to reopen from 1 August provided they have written a Covid-19 risk assessment.

We have worked closely with stakeholders to develop further Covid-19 Secure reopening guidance for venues such as bowling alleys. Specific guidance on bowling alleys has been published within UKHospitality’s ‘Covid-19 Secure Guidelines for Hospitality Businesses’. We continue to meet regularly with the wider sector through the Cultural Renewal Taskforce’s Sport and Visitor Economy working groups.

As with all aspects of the Government’s response to Covid-19, our decisions have been and will continue to be based on scientific evidence and public health assessments.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what consultation his Department undertook with representatives from tenpin bowling (a) operators and (b) organisations on the decision to keep that sector closed when the covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased on 4 July 2020.

Sports and physical activity facilities play a crucial role in supporting adults and children to be active.

The Government is committed to reopening leisure facilities including Bowling Alleys as soon as it is safe to do so. The Sport Working Group, led by myself, feeds into the Secretary of State’s Cultural Renewal Taskforce and ensures strong sector and expert support for the co-development of guidelines and will help leisure facilities become Covid-secure and re-open as early as possible in July.

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

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what his timescale is for informing representatives of tenpin bowling operators of (a) the requirements they must meet to be permitted to safely re-open to the public and (b) how those operators submit proposals to Government for approval of meeting those requirements.

Sports and physical activity facilities play a crucial role in supporting adults and children to be active.

The Government is committed to reopening leisure facilities including Bowling Alleys as soon as it is safe to do so. The Sport Working Group, led by myself, feeds into the Secretary of State’s Cultural Renewal Taskforce and ensures strong sector and expert support for the co-development of guidelines and will help leisure facilities become Covid-secure and re-open as early as possible in July.

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

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when escape room experiences will be allowed to reopen during the covid-19 outbreak.

Indoor attractions will be permitted to reopen from 4 July, so long as they can do so in line with COVID-19 Secure guidelines.

People should only visit indoor attractions within their household group (or support bubble) or with one other household (or support bubble).


We have worked very closely with the tourism sector to develop Covid-secure guidance which will help visitor economy businesses reopen safely. This can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/the-visitor-economy.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
17th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions he has had with (a) national charities and (b) other organisations on co-ordination of volunteers to help with the response to the covid-19 to ensure (i) elderly and (ii) vulnerable people are safeguarded.

I have had several discussions with charities on how they can mobilise volunteers safely to support vulnerable groups. My officials are working with organisations to identify key sectoral partners, to lead efforts and mobilise volunteers. We are also working with colleagues across government to shape support available in the coming weeks and months to ensure that volunteers and vulnerable people they are helping are kept safe.

25th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether she has made an assessment of the potential merits of allowing open book examinations for (a) English literature and (b) other subjects.

This is a matter for the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual). The department has asked its Chief Regulator, Sir Ian Bauckham CBE, to write to the hon. Member for Hull West and Hessle and a copy of his reply will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
16th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of introducing an appeals process for parents and carers fined for taking their child out of school during term time.

Where a child is registered at a school, regular attendance is vital for their attainment, wellbeing and long-term development. The department is clear that parents should do everything they can to ensure that their child is in school every day. The law entitles every child of compulsory school age to receive an efficient, full-time education, and it is the legal responsibility of every parent to ensure their child receives that education either by attendance at a school or otherwise than at a school.

Where parents choose to register their child at a school, the law places a duty on the parents to ensure their child of compulsory school age attends school regularly. If parents fail to do this, they may be guilty of an offence and be issued a penalty notice or prosecuted. A parent has no right of appeal against a penalty notice. The penalty notice offers the parent the opportunity to avoid any conviction for the offence if it is paid in full and on time. If the penalty is not paid in full and on time, the local authority must decide either to prosecute the parent for the original offence or withdraw the notice.

If the local authority decides to prosecute, the parent and the local authority will have the opportunity to present their case to the court. The court will then make a decision based on the representations made.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
13th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether her Department has plans to take steps to ensure pupils with vision impairment can access transcriptions of accessible notation in (a) braille and (b) large print.

Under the Children and Families Act 2014, mainstream schools must use their best endeavours to make sure a child or young person who has Special Educational Needs, including visual impairment, gets the special educational provision they need.

All schools have duties under the Equality Act 2010 towards individual disabled children and young people. They must make reasonable adjustments, including the provision of auxiliary aids and services for disabled children, to prevent them being put at a substantial disadvantage.

To teach a class of pupils with sensory impairments, a teacher is required to hold the relevant mandatory qualification in sensory impairment (MQSI). Teachers working in an advisory role to support these pupils should also hold the appropriate qualification. The MQSI provides sensory impairment teachers with the specialist expertise needed to ensure pupils with a visual impairment are supported effectively, including modifying, producing and adapting teaching and learning materials in an appropriate medium, such as braille or enlarged/modified text, to make them accessible and training to others in how this is done.

David Johnston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
7th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of including personal financial education as a subject in the National Curriculum.

Financial education already forms a compulsory part of the National Curriculum for mathematics at Key Stages 1 to 4 and citizenship at Key Stages 3 and 4, which together cover important financial topics including personal budgeting, saving for the future, managing credit and debt, and calculating interest. The National Curriculum is compulsory for maintained schools. Academies must teach a broad and balanced curriculum, including mathematics.

My right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister recently announced more funding for secondary mathematics, and that mathematics will be studied by all 16 to 18 year olds as part of the new Advanced British Standard qualification.

As with all aspects of the curriculum, schools have flexibility over how they deliver financial education, so they can develop an integrated approach that is sensitive to the needs and background of their pupils.

There is a wide range of support for financial education. The Money and Pensions Service has published guidance, setting out how schools can improve the financial education they deliver, and signposting to services and resources that can help. The guidance is available at: https://maps.org.uk/en/publications/research/2021/financial-education-guidance-for-primary-and-secondary-schools-in-england.

Talk Money Week, which is running from 6 to 10 November, is focused on this year’s campaign ‘Do One Thing’ to help improve financial wellbeing. The Talk Money Week 2023 Toolkit for Schools includes a dedicated pack of information and resources to help schools promote the financial wellbeing of their pupils and students, during Talk Money Week and beyond. The toolkit is available at: https://maps.org.uk/en/our-work/talk-money-week#Download-the-Toolkit-for-Schools.

The Department’s national network of 40 Maths Hubs also supports schools to improve their mathematics teaching, including financial content in the mathematics curriculum, based on best practice from East Asia.

The Oak National Academy, which became an independent Arm’s Length Body in September 2022, will provide adaptable, optional and free support for schools to reduce teacher workload and enable schools to provide a high quality curriculum. New Oak curriculum materials, including for mathematics, will start to be available from autumn 2023, with full curriculum packages available by summer 2024. Oak’s next phase of procurement of curriculum resources is expected to launch in late 2023 and will include citizenship.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
5th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether she plans to consult parents as part of the consultation of statutory guidance on relationships education, relationships and sex education and health education.

All parents will have an opportunity to present their views as part of the public consultation on revised guidance due to be launched in the autumn of this year.

In developing revised guidance for consultation, the Department asked a range of stakeholders, including a number of groups representing parents, to share evidence about areas of the guidance they would like to see strengthened.

Parents have also been invited to contribute their views directly in roundtables with Ministers, focusing on key topics such as suicide prevention and teaching materials for relationships, sex and health education.

29th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether her Department has been involved in Oak National Academy's commercial content licensing discussions with publishers.

The Secretary of State for Education has not had any discussions with the publishers of educational resources on the matter of commercial content licensing.

Oak National Academy has been discussing third party content for its curriculum resources with publishers and other rights holders. The Department wants to support these discussions and has made contact with relevant publishers to this end, in order to support Oak’s aims to reduce teacher workload and improve pupil outcomes.

8th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether she has made an assessment of the potential benefits of waiving exam fees for home-educated children.

The Government supports the right for parents to choose to home educate their children. By electing to home educate, parents or guardians also accept full responsibility for their child’s education, including any costs associated with their education and exams.

Some Local Authorities may provide assistance to home educating families, including for public examinations, but this is at their discretion.

The Department has begun a voluntary, termly collection of data from Local Authorities on elective home education, including details of the types of support Local Authorities are able to offer families. Our existing guidance for Local Authorities on home education sets out examples of the types of additional support authorities can offer. The guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/elective-home-education.

The Department knows that many Local Authorities offer help in accessing free or discounted resources and facilities for home educating families, such as signposting to local groups and library schemes, as well as to curriculum resources. Through continuing data analysis, the Department will build a better understanding of the support offered, problems faced in accessing support and where more assistance should be targeted.

As part of its commitment to introducing statutory Local Authority registers for children not in school, the Department also remains committed to introducing a new duty on Local Authorities to provide support to home educating families, should they want it. This could, in theory, include examination support, as well as supporting parents to access curriculum resources. The Department will legislate for these Children Not in School measures at a suitable future opportunity to help Local Authorities to ensure that all children in their areas are receiving an appropriate education, regardless of where they are educated.

8th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment her Department has made of the adequacy of access to curricular resources for home-educated children.

The Government supports the right for parents to choose to home educate their children. By electing to home educate, parents or guardians also accept full responsibility for their child’s education, including any costs associated with their education and exams.

Some Local Authorities may provide assistance to home educating families, including for public examinations, but this is at their discretion.

The Department has begun a voluntary, termly collection of data from Local Authorities on elective home education, including details of the types of support Local Authorities are able to offer families. Our existing guidance for Local Authorities on home education sets out examples of the types of additional support authorities can offer. The guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/elective-home-education.

The Department knows that many Local Authorities offer help in accessing free or discounted resources and facilities for home educating families, such as signposting to local groups and library schemes, as well as to curriculum resources. Through continuing data analysis, the Department will build a better understanding of the support offered, problems faced in accessing support and where more assistance should be targeted.

As part of its commitment to introducing statutory Local Authority registers for children not in school, the Department also remains committed to introducing a new duty on Local Authorities to provide support to home educating families, should they want it. This could, in theory, include examination support, as well as supporting parents to access curriculum resources. The Department will legislate for these Children Not in School measures at a suitable future opportunity to help Local Authorities to ensure that all children in their areas are receiving an appropriate education, regardless of where they are educated.

8th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Sutton Trust report entitled The Recent Evolution of Apprenticeships, published on 8 December, what steps she is taking to increase the uptake of higher and degree level apprenticeships by young people from more disadvantaged areas.

The table attached shows the take-up of apprenticeships by age and home deprivation level from 2017/18 to 2022/23.

The department wants to see more young people from disadvantaged backgrounds accessing higher and degree level apprenticeships as they are crucial in driving social mobility by boosting skills and improving earnings and career opportunities.

We are promoting apprenticeships to students of all backgrounds through our Apprenticeship Support & Knowledge programme. The department publishes the Higher and Degree apprenticeship vacancy listing twice a year, which will highlight over 350 vacancies across the country that are available for young people to apply for in 2023 and 2024. The link to the vacancy listing can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/higher-and-degree-apprenticeships.

The department wants to ensure apprenticeships are accessible for young people and is working with UCAS on the expansion of their apprenticeships service. From this autumn, young people will see more personalised options on UCAS, including apprenticeships. From autumn 2024, students will be able to apply for apprenticeships alongside an undergraduate degree application. This will help put technical and vocational education on an equal footing with traditional academic routes.

The department is also making up to £8 million available to higher education providers in the 2022/23 financial year to support them to grow their degree apprenticeship offers. We are also working with the Office for Students to improve access to and participation in higher and degree apprenticeships.

The department knows that small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are key in creating apprenticeship opportunities for those in disadvantaged areas and we have recently launched an SME pathfinder in four regions of the North of England to support employers to find and hire new apprentices at all levels.

The department provides additional funding to employers and training providers to support them to take on young apprentices aged 16 to18, and apprentices aged 19 to 24 that have an education, health and care plan or have been in care. Apprentices starting in August under the age of 25 that have been in local authority care can also claim a bursary of £3,000.

The department will continue to champion the Social Mobility Commission’s Apprenticeships Toolkit for employers, and work with some of the country’s most influential employers through the Apprenticeship Diversity Champions Network to set out how employers can better recruit and support apprentices from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
8th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the report entitled The Recent Evolution of Apprenticeships, published by the Sutton Trust on 8 December 2022, what assessment she has made of consequences for her policies of the take-up of apprenticeships by (a) age and (b) socio-economic background of apprentices.

The table attached shows the take-up of apprenticeships by age and home deprivation level from 2017/18 to 2022/23.

The department wants to see more young people from disadvantaged backgrounds accessing higher and degree level apprenticeships as they are crucial in driving social mobility by boosting skills and improving earnings and career opportunities.

We are promoting apprenticeships to students of all backgrounds through our Apprenticeship Support & Knowledge programme. The department publishes the Higher and Degree apprenticeship vacancy listing twice a year, which will highlight over 350 vacancies across the country that are available for young people to apply for in 2023 and 2024. The link to the vacancy listing can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/higher-and-degree-apprenticeships.

The department wants to ensure apprenticeships are accessible for young people and is working with UCAS on the expansion of their apprenticeships service. From this autumn, young people will see more personalised options on UCAS, including apprenticeships. From autumn 2024, students will be able to apply for apprenticeships alongside an undergraduate degree application. This will help put technical and vocational education on an equal footing with traditional academic routes.

The department is also making up to £8 million available to higher education providers in the 2022/23 financial year to support them to grow their degree apprenticeship offers. We are also working with the Office for Students to improve access to and participation in higher and degree apprenticeships.

The department knows that small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are key in creating apprenticeship opportunities for those in disadvantaged areas and we have recently launched an SME pathfinder in four regions of the North of England to support employers to find and hire new apprentices at all levels.

The department provides additional funding to employers and training providers to support them to take on young apprentices aged 16 to18, and apprentices aged 19 to 24 that have an education, health and care plan or have been in care. Apprentices starting in August under the age of 25 that have been in local authority care can also claim a bursary of £3,000.

The department will continue to champion the Social Mobility Commission’s Apprenticeships Toolkit for employers, and work with some of the country’s most influential employers through the Apprenticeship Diversity Champions Network to set out how employers can better recruit and support apprentices from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
3rd Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many complaints he received of maladministration by academy admission authority appeal panels in each of the last five years; and what the average time taken was to (a) reply to and (b) resolve complaints in the same period.

The Department aims to acknowledge all complaints within three working days. In relation to admission maladministration complaints relating to academies, the Department has received the following number in the last five calendar years:

Year

Academy Admission Appeal Panel Complaints

Average Days to Resolve

2018

233

20.68

2019

352

23.39

2020

406

15.78

2021

339

15.66

2022

253

19.07

17th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether she expects the Public Bodies Review Programme for 2023-24 to assess the Office for Students.

The Cabinet Office has not yet published the list of public bodies to be prioritised for review in the 2023/24 financial year.

It is currently the intention that the Office for Students will be reviewed under the Public Bodies Review Programme from autumn 2023, with findings likely published by the end of the financial year. These timings may change.

Cabinet Office guidance outlines the requirements for reviews of public bodies, including the new requirements covering governance, accountability, efficacy and efficiency of arm’s length bodies.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
17th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when the Public Bodies Review Programme 2023-24 will report on its review of the Office for Students.

The Cabinet Office has not yet published the list of public bodies to be prioritised for review in the 2023/24 financial year.

It is currently the intention that the Office for Students will be reviewed under the Public Bodies Review Programme from autumn 2023, with findings likely published by the end of the financial year. These timings may change.

Cabinet Office guidance outlines the requirements for reviews of public bodies, including the new requirements covering governance, accountability, efficacy and efficiency of arm’s length bodies.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
17th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment she has made of the adequacy of the financial performance of the Office for Students.

Officials in the department and the Office for Students (OfS) regularly discuss the OfS's finances and funding and its business planning and efficiency, including the level of resource it needs to deliver its priorities.

The Framework Document between the department and the OfS can be found at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1129117/OfS_framework_document.pdf.

The document sets out the governance framework within which the OfS and the department operate, and the OfS’s core responsibilities, including in relation to financial matters.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
17th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department is taking to help improve the recruitment and retention of early years practitioners in (a) Hull West and Hessle and (b) England.

The department is working proactively with the sector and local authorities, including those in the Kingston upon Hull area, to build our understanding of the situation and how we might support the sector to attract more staff to work in early years education and childcare.

​The government is providing a package of training, qualifications, expert guidance, and targeted support for the early years sector to help address existing recruitment and retention challenges, including providing additional funding for graduate level specialist training leading to early years teacher status and an accredited level 3 early years SENCO qualification. More information on the early years education recovery programme can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/early-years-education-recovery-programme.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
2nd Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 20 July 2022 to Question 37614, Schools: Buildings, which schools in Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle constituency have at least one construction element in (a) condition grade C and (b) condition grade D.

The Condition Data Collection (CDC) was one of the largest and most comprehensive data collection programmes in the UK public sector. It collected data on the building condition of government funded schools in England. It provides a robust evidence base to enable the Department to target capital funding for maintaining and rebuilding school buildings.

The key, high level findings of the CDC programme were published in May 2021 in the ‘Condition of School Buildings Survey: Key Findings’ report. This report is available at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/989912/Condition_of_School_Buildings_Survey_CDC1_-_key_findings_report.pdf.

Individual CDC reports have been shared with every school and their responsible body in the Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle constituency to use alongside their existing condition surveys to plan maintenance schedules and investment plans. The Department plans to publish detailed school level CDC data. This data is being prepared and will be published as soon as possible.

30th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether her Department has provided additional funding to (a) further and (b) higher education providers to help them prepare for the introduction of the lifelong loan entitlement in the period since that policy was announced; whether her Department plans to provide additional funding for this purpose in future financial years; and what recent estimate she had made of whether the lifelong loan entitlement will be available from 2025.

Additional funding has been provided to Further and Higher Education providers as part of the Higher Education Short Course trial in the period since the Lifelong Loan Entitlement (LLE) was announced. The Government is considering other activities required to ensure providers are ready to respond to the LLE for launch in 2025, a timeline which the Government remains committed to and is on track to deliver.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
30th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many applications there have been to date for places on the Higher Education Short Courses trial; how many and what proportion of those applications were accepted; and how many and what proportion of those that were accepted applied for (a) fee and (b) maintenance loans.

The Higher Education Short Courses trial, which will be rolling out over the course of the 2022/23 academic year, has seen 22 providers develop over 100 short courses. The department will be monitoring the overall number of students and number of applications for loans as part of the trial, which is due to run for three years in total.

The department is developing bespoke engagement activity to further engage trial providers. We are keen to explore how they can maximise their relationships with employers to ensure steady uptake of the new short courses opening throughout the year and beyond. We will continue to work closely with those providers to maximise the number of applications.

We are only offering tuition fee loans for the courses within this trial. This is the first time that a tuition fee loan from the Student Loans Company has been available to students applying for Higher Education short courses. Those who need additional support may be eligible for a study-costs bursary which can be used towards study-related costs, such as childcare, books, and travel, and is distributed directly by their provider.

The department is gathering and evaluating data throughout the trial alongside the Student Loan Company, Office for Students and providers, and will use this to inform the development of the Lifelong Loan Entitlement. We currently have no plans to publish any specific data.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
18th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps she is taking to ensure that exam boards consistently provide current and past exam papers in accessible formats for candidates with vision impairment.

This is a matter for Ofqual, the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation. I have asked its Chief Regulator, Dr Jo Saxton, to write to the Honourable Member and a copy of her reply will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

18th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what accessible formats her Department has considered for the 2023 exam season; and whether her Department has considered making modified exam papers consistent across all exam boards and qualifications.

This is a matter for Ofqual, the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation. I have asked its Chief Regulator, Dr Jo Saxton, to write to the Honourable Member and a copy of her reply will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

18th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment her Department has made of the implications of the needs of candidates with vision impairments for the development of electronic examinations.

This is a matter for Ofqual, the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation. I have asked its Chief Regulator, Dr Jo Saxton, to write to the Honourable Member and a copy of her reply will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

11th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Office for National Statistics publication entitled Cost of living and higher education students, England: 24 October to 7 November 2022, published on 23 November 2022, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of conducting research into the effect of the cost of living on further education students.

The department has carried out research in these areas. We have collected survey data on the impact of rising cost of living on households, including whether parents have cut back on household costs to fund education-related costs, and whether affordability has impacted their child’s participation in educational activities in the 2021/22 academic year. This data relates to parents of secondary school pupils in England, but those who responded to the survey could also be parents of learners in further education. The same surveys also asked pupils and learners in post-16 education in classroom settings in England about some facets of cost of living, in particular whether the rising cost of living has led to those pupils and learners changing their plans for education or training.

The survey data from the 2021/22 academic year has been published here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/parent-pupil-and-learner-panel-omnibus-surveys-for-2021-to-2022. The department intends to collect similar data for the 2022/23 academic year and we will publish this data in due course.

The government appreciates the difficulties caused by the rising cost of living and inflation, and is focused on levelling up so that young people and adults, regardless of their background or geographic location, can get the skills and training they need to secure rewarding, well-paid jobs and move up the ladder of opportunity.

The department provides a number of financial support programmes for those students who need the most help with the costs associated with staying in post-16 education. This includes extra funding to providers for disadvantaged students aged 16 to 19 with low prior attainment, or those who live in the most disadvantaged areas. In addition, the 16 to 19 bursary fund targets support towards young people who need the most help with education-related costs. In the 2022/23 academic year the department is providing £164 million to help financially disadvantaged students participate in post-16 education to cover such costs as travel, meals, books and course equipment, and over £31 million for free meals.

The department also provided over £550 million in the 2021/22 academic year to enable providers of 16 to 19 education to recruit, support, and retain disadvantaged students, and support those with special education needs and disabilities.

For those learners aged 19 and over, providers receive disadvantage uplift so that there is increased funding for learners living in deprived areas. In addition, funds are made available to providers to help adults overcome barriers to learning. This includes Learner Support, which is available to colleges and providers to support learners aged 19 and over with a specific financial hardship which is preventing them from taking part and/or continuing in learning, and learning support which is available to meet the cost of putting in place reasonable adjustments, as set out in the Equality Act 2010, for learners who have an identified learning difficulty and/or disability, to achieve their learning goal.

The department has also taken steps to improve apprentice pay, including aligning the apprentice national minimum wage rate with the national minimum wage rate for under 18s, and accepting in full the recommendations of the Independent Low Pay Commission to increase the apprentice national minimum wage by 9.7% from April 2023.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
11th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment has he made of the impact of inflation on the average incomes of (a) parents supporting 16 to19 year olds in full-time (i) further education colleges and (ii) school sixth forms, (b) adults in part-time further education and (c) post-16 apprentices; and whether his Department is taking steps to help mitigate the impact of inflation on these groups.

The department has carried out research in these areas. We have collected survey data on the impact of rising cost of living on households, including whether parents have cut back on household costs to fund education-related costs, and whether affordability has impacted their child’s participation in educational activities in the 2021/22 academic year. This data relates to parents of secondary school pupils in England, but those who responded to the survey could also be parents of learners in further education. The same surveys also asked pupils and learners in post-16 education in classroom settings in England about some facets of cost of living, in particular whether the rising cost of living has led to those pupils and learners changing their plans for education or training.

The survey data from the 2021/22 academic year has been published here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/parent-pupil-and-learner-panel-omnibus-surveys-for-2021-to-2022. The department intends to collect similar data for the 2022/23 academic year and we will publish this data in due course.

The government appreciates the difficulties caused by the rising cost of living and inflation, and is focused on levelling up so that young people and adults, regardless of their background or geographic location, can get the skills and training they need to secure rewarding, well-paid jobs and move up the ladder of opportunity.

The department provides a number of financial support programmes for those students who need the most help with the costs associated with staying in post-16 education. This includes extra funding to providers for disadvantaged students aged 16 to 19 with low prior attainment, or those who live in the most disadvantaged areas. In addition, the 16 to 19 bursary fund targets support towards young people who need the most help with education-related costs. In the 2022/23 academic year the department is providing £164 million to help financially disadvantaged students participate in post-16 education to cover such costs as travel, meals, books and course equipment, and over £31 million for free meals.

The department also provided over £550 million in the 2021/22 academic year to enable providers of 16 to 19 education to recruit, support, and retain disadvantaged students, and support those with special education needs and disabilities.

For those learners aged 19 and over, providers receive disadvantage uplift so that there is increased funding for learners living in deprived areas. In addition, funds are made available to providers to help adults overcome barriers to learning. This includes Learner Support, which is available to colleges and providers to support learners aged 19 and over with a specific financial hardship which is preventing them from taking part and/or continuing in learning, and learning support which is available to meet the cost of putting in place reasonable adjustments, as set out in the Equality Act 2010, for learners who have an identified learning difficulty and/or disability, to achieve their learning goal.

The department has also taken steps to improve apprentice pay, including aligning the apprentice national minimum wage rate with the national minimum wage rate for under 18s, and accepting in full the recommendations of the Independent Low Pay Commission to increase the apprentice national minimum wage by 9.7% from April 2023.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
11th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether her Department has undertaken research into the impact of level of inflation on the incomes of (a) parents with 16-19 year olds in full-time further education, (b) adults in part-time further education and (c) post-16 apprentices.

The department has carried out research in these areas. We have collected survey data on the impact of rising cost of living on households, including whether parents have cut back on household costs to fund education-related costs, and whether affordability has impacted their child’s participation in educational activities in the 2021/22 academic year. This data relates to parents of secondary school pupils in England, but those who responded to the survey could also be parents of learners in further education. The same surveys also asked pupils and learners in post-16 education in classroom settings in England about some facets of cost of living, in particular whether the rising cost of living has led to those pupils and learners changing their plans for education or training.

The survey data from the 2021/22 academic year has been published here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/parent-pupil-and-learner-panel-omnibus-surveys-for-2021-to-2022. The department intends to collect similar data for the 2022/23 academic year and we will publish this data in due course.

The government appreciates the difficulties caused by the rising cost of living and inflation, and is focused on levelling up so that young people and adults, regardless of their background or geographic location, can get the skills and training they need to secure rewarding, well-paid jobs and move up the ladder of opportunity.

The department provides a number of financial support programmes for those students who need the most help with the costs associated with staying in post-16 education. This includes extra funding to providers for disadvantaged students aged 16 to 19 with low prior attainment, or those who live in the most disadvantaged areas. In addition, the 16 to 19 bursary fund targets support towards young people who need the most help with education-related costs. In the 2022/23 academic year the department is providing £164 million to help financially disadvantaged students participate in post-16 education to cover such costs as travel, meals, books and course equipment, and over £31 million for free meals.

The department also provided over £550 million in the 2021/22 academic year to enable providers of 16 to 19 education to recruit, support, and retain disadvantaged students, and support those with special education needs and disabilities.

For those learners aged 19 and over, providers receive disadvantage uplift so that there is increased funding for learners living in deprived areas. In addition, funds are made available to providers to help adults overcome barriers to learning. This includes Learner Support, which is available to colleges and providers to support learners aged 19 and over with a specific financial hardship which is preventing them from taking part and/or continuing in learning, and learning support which is available to meet the cost of putting in place reasonable adjustments, as set out in the Equality Act 2010, for learners who have an identified learning difficulty and/or disability, to achieve their learning goal.

The department has also taken steps to improve apprentice pay, including aligning the apprentice national minimum wage rate with the national minimum wage rate for under 18s, and accepting in full the recommendations of the Independent Low Pay Commission to increase the apprentice national minimum wage by 9.7% from April 2023.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
11th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many (a) people in total and (b) employees in total have participated Skills Bootcamps; and what data she holds on how many (i) employees have been requested to participate by their employer in and (ii) employers have requested that their employees participate in Skills Bootcamps.

Data published in December 2021 shows that in the 2020/21 financial year, 2,800 learners participated in a Skills Bootcamp. Learner employment status was captured as part of an evaluation published in October 2021 and of those who reported their employment status, 61% were employed and 6% were self-employed.

In the 2021/22 financial year, there were 16,120 Skills Bootcamps learner starts. An implementation evaluation report for Skills Bootcamps delivery during financial year 2021/22, which will be published later this year, will provide further detail on learner starts, their employment status and whether a learner’s employer has contributed to the cost of the Skills Bootcamp.

The department does not hold information on how many employees have been requested to participate by their employer in a Skills Bootcamp or on how many employers have requested that their employees participate in Skills Bootcamps.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
15th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 14 December 2022 to Question 104365 on Oak National Academy, if he will publish the non-statutory curriculum guidance that will be provided to Oak National Academy.

As outlined in the Oak National Academy framework document, Oak will have due regard to the Department’s non statutory curriculum guidance. The Department does not intend to provide Oak with any specific non statutory guidance but expects Oak to remain abreast of existing and new published non statutory guidance as it becomes available.

7th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps she is taking to ensure that the forthcoming National SEND and Alternative Provision Improvement Plan will consider the whole journey of young people with SEND through a 0 to 25 system; what assessment she has made of the different needs and challenges of schools and FE colleges in supporting young people with SEND; and what steps is she taking to ensure these differing needs and challenges are reflected in that Plan.

The Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and Alternative Provision (AP) Green Paper, published in March 2022, set out proposals for a single national SEND and AP system, from early years to adulthood. These proposals offer children and young people the opportunity to thrive, with access to the right support, so they can fulfil their potential and lead happy, healthy and productive adult lives.

Throughout the 16-week consultation period, the department attended 175 events to listen to and engage with several thousand people, including children and young people of different ages. These conversations covered a broad range of sectors, including schools and further education colleges, to understand the challenges facing the system and to hear feedback on our proposals.

The green paper consultation closed on 22 July 2022. The department is using the feedback received, along with continued engagement with the whole system, to inform the next stage of delivering improvements for children, young people and their families.

The department is committed to publishing a full response to the green paper in an improvement plan early in 2023.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
6th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans she has to safeguard the independence of the content and style of curriculum materials produced by the Oak National Academy.

As set out in Oak National Academy’s Framework Agreement, Oak will be operationally independent from the Department. The Department will not prescribe or approve the content of curriculum packages or educational resources.

6th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make an assessment of the impact on the commercial curriculum resources market of converting Oak National Academy to an arms-length body producing state-financed and endorsed curriculum materials.

As an integral part of the process to set up Oak National Academy as an arm’s length body, with close regard to Cabinet Office guidance, the Department produced a business case which included an assessment of potential market impact. This business case was published in early November. Monitoring market impact will be a priority throughout Oak National Academy’s lifetime and will be factored into the body’s ongoing evaluation and two year review.

As an arm’s length body, Oak will receive Government funding through the Department. Oak will ensure alignment with the National Curriculum and have due regard to the Department’s non statutory curriculum guidance but is operationally independent of Government.

6th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans she has to direct the Oak National Academy on children's learning about (a) society and (b) history.

Oak’s resources will be created independently, free to access, non-compulsory for schools to use, and evidence based. In creating curriculum packages and educational resources, Oak will ensure alignment with the National Curriculum, and have due regard to the Department’s non-statutory curriculum guidance.

The Department does not prescribe how subjects, including society and history, should be taught but we expect schools to develop a curriculum that meets the need of their pupils.

6th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if she will make an estimate of the potential loss of revenue for teacher authors from Oak National Academy spending on full curriculum resources.

The Government has set aside up to £43 million over the next three years to support Oak National Academy, a significant proportion of which is expected to be provided directly to schools, publishers, and other organisations for the creation of resources on behalf of Oak.

Where Oak needs to use existing third party content, such as texts, Oak will seek to have an overarching licence with relevant licensing bodies wherever feasible, or direct relationships with rights holders where necessary, so the rights holder gets full payment for their work.

6th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what impact the Oak National Academy’s proposed creative commons licensing would have on teacher authors’ moral rights of (a) attribution and (b) integrity.

Oak National Academy has conducted the recent procurement on the basis of a non-commercial licence, but will be exploring the case for alternatives, including Open Government Licence and commercial licence. Some market testing indicated benefits to that approach.

In considering a range of potential licensing arrangements Oak will ensure third party intellectual property rights will be respected.

1st Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the funding rate per pupil for (a) schools, (b) sixth-form colleges and (c) further education colleges was in each of the last five years.

The schools National Funding Formula (NFF) calculates an allocation for every school, based on their individual pupil and school characteristics. The table below shows the average funding per pupil allocated through the NFF for England over the past five years. Per pupil funding excludes growth funding and individual schools’ actual allocations are based on Local Authorities’ local funding formulae.

Financial Year

Average per pupil funding through the schools NFF

2018/19

£4,585

2019/20

£4,640

2020/21

£4,828

2021/22

£5,212

2022/23

£5,358

The national funding rate per student for 16 to 19-year-olds and young people aged up to 25 with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) is the same for all institution types.

The table below shows the national funding rate for the last five academic years for a full-time student aged 16 to 19 and young people aged up to 25 with SEND.

Academic Year

National funding rate

2018/19

£4,000

2019/20

£4,000

2020/21

£4,188

2021/22

£4,188

2022/23

£4,542

The increase to the national funding rate for the 2022/23 academic year includes funding to roll in the Teachers’ Pay Grant with an equivalent uplift for other institutions, funding for the additional hours policy, and an affordable increase for inflation. Details related to the 2022/23 funding rate are available in published guidance, which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/16-to-19-funding-information-for-2022-to-2023. Rates for all funding bands are published annually at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/funding-rates-and-formula.

1st Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will set out the total spending on (a) adult education and (b) apprenticeships in each of the last five years.

Departmental spending on adult education is reported through publication of Annual Reports and Accounts. These are available for each of the last five financial years with the most recent report published for 2020/21. These can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/dfe-annual-reports.

Spend on apprenticeships is reported in the Education & Skills Funding Agency Annual Report and Accounts. The latest report, for 2021/22, is published here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/education-and-skills-funding-agency-esfa-annual-report-and-accounts-2021-to-2022.

The table below shows the department’s ring-fenced apprenticeships spend for the last five years.

Financial Year

Total Ring-fenced Apprenticeships Spend (£ million)

2017/18

1,586

2018/19

1,738

2019/20

1,919

2020/21

1,863

2021/22

2,455

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
1st Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment her Department has made of the potential impact of removing energy cost support after April 2023 on the finances of further education colleges.

The department knows that alongside pay and inflationary pressures, one of the biggest challenges facing some colleges is the rising cost of energy. We are keeping under review the potential impacts of the rising cost of energy on providers across the department’s remit.

Colleges are autonomous institutions responsible for their own financial sustainability and are taking actions to respond to inflationary pressures, for example through reducing energy consumption.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has recently outlined the range of support on energy cost increases that will be available for businesses, the public sector and households. As part of that, the Energy Bill Relief Scheme will provide a price reduction to ensure that all businesses and other non-domestic customers, including colleges, are protected from excessively high energy bills over this winter. Discounts will be applied to energy usage initially between 1 October 2022 and 31 March 2023.

Schools and colleges in England will also be allocated a share of £500 million in capital funding in financial year 2022/23. This comprises £447 million for schools and sixth form colleges and £53 million for FE colleges, to spend on energy efficiency upgrades.

This will not only help schools and colleges save money, but it will also make them more energy efficient during the cold period and increase winter resilience for future years. A further education college group will receive £290,000 on average from that additional funding. Allocations were published on 6 December 2022 to help colleges plan, and payments are expected to be made in January 2023.

The department is investing £3.8 billion more in further education and skills over the Parliament as a whole to ensure people can access high-quality training and education that leads to good jobs, addresses skills gaps, boosts productivity and supports levelling up. This will support the sector to reform and deliver the technical, skilled education employers want and our economy needs.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
12th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the impact of levels of (a) covid-19 in the general population, (b) staff absences and (c) pupil absences on the current guidance on covid-19 to schools and parents.

The Government has moved to managing COVID-19 like other respiratory infections given the high immunity in society, a greater understanding of the virus and improved access to treatments.

The Department does not hold information on the potential costs to schools of supply teaching and support staff absences in the autumn term due to COVID-19. Head teachers are best placed to determine the workforce required to meet the needs of pupils and in the case of staff absence, in the first instance schools should follow their usual process for covering absences.

The Department previously collected data on staff and pupil absences through the Educational Setting status form (EdSet), which helped to support our response to the COVID-19 outbreak. The Department is always mindful of balancing the need for data collections with the burdens we place on those collating it, and since the start of the 2022/23 academic year the EdSet form has been closed and schools are no longer being asked to complete it. Data on attendance in education settings during the COVID-19 pandemic can be found here: Attendance in education and early years settings during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Week 30 2022 – Explore education statistics – GOV.UK (explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk).

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) publishes weekly reports on the percentage of people testing positive for COVID-19 in private residential households, which can be found here: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection Survey, UK Statistical bulletins - Office for National Statistics.

The Department have also been working to establish a better, more timely flow of pupil level attendance data across schools, trusts, local authorities, without placing any additional administrative burdens on schools. Most state-funded schools across the country have now signed up. This will allow data to be collected directly from all schools’ electronic registers and will help the department, schools, local authorities and trusts to identify pupils who need most support to attend.

Attendance reports will help schools and local authorities make better use of attendance data to identify those in need of support earlier, as outlined in the new attendance guidance. They will also help the Department respond to national and regional issues. A report on how the data is used can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/share-your-daily-school-attendance-data.

12th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the ratio of (a) staff and (b) pupil absences compared to levels of covid-19 in the general population over the period of the covid-19 pandemic.

The Government has moved to managing COVID-19 like other respiratory infections given the high immunity in society, a greater understanding of the virus and improved access to treatments.

The Department does not hold information on the potential costs to schools of supply teaching and support staff absences in the autumn term due to COVID-19. Head teachers are best placed to determine the workforce required to meet the needs of pupils and in the case of staff absence, in the first instance schools should follow their usual process for covering absences.

The Department previously collected data on staff and pupil absences through the Educational Setting status form (EdSet), which helped to support our response to the COVID-19 outbreak. The Department is always mindful of balancing the need for data collections with the burdens we place on those collating it, and since the start of the 2022/23 academic year the EdSet form has been closed and schools are no longer being asked to complete it. Data on attendance in education settings during the COVID-19 pandemic can be found here: Attendance in education and early years settings during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Week 30 2022 – Explore education statistics – GOV.UK (explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk).

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) publishes weekly reports on the percentage of people testing positive for COVID-19 in private residential households, which can be found here: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection Survey, UK Statistical bulletins - Office for National Statistics.

The Department have also been working to establish a better, more timely flow of pupil level attendance data across schools, trusts, local authorities, without placing any additional administrative burdens on schools. Most state-funded schools across the country have now signed up. This will allow data to be collected directly from all schools’ electronic registers and will help the department, schools, local authorities and trusts to identify pupils who need most support to attend.

Attendance reports will help schools and local authorities make better use of attendance data to identify those in need of support earlier, as outlined in the new attendance guidance. They will also help the Department respond to national and regional issues. A report on how the data is used can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/share-your-daily-school-attendance-data.

12th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the potential costs to schools of supply teaching and support staff absences in the autumn term due to Covid.

The Government has moved to managing COVID-19 like other respiratory infections given the high immunity in society, a greater understanding of the virus and improved access to treatments.

The Department does not hold information on the potential costs to schools of supply teaching and support staff absences in the autumn term due to COVID-19. Head teachers are best placed to determine the workforce required to meet the needs of pupils and in the case of staff absence, in the first instance schools should follow their usual process for covering absences.

The Department previously collected data on staff and pupil absences through the Educational Setting status form (EdSet), which helped to support our response to the COVID-19 outbreak. The Department is always mindful of balancing the need for data collections with the burdens we place on those collating it, and since the start of the 2022/23 academic year the EdSet form has been closed and schools are no longer being asked to complete it. Data on attendance in education settings during the COVID-19 pandemic can be found here: Attendance in education and early years settings during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Week 30 2022 – Explore education statistics – GOV.UK (explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk).

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) publishes weekly reports on the percentage of people testing positive for COVID-19 in private residential households, which can be found here: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection Survey, UK Statistical bulletins - Office for National Statistics.

The Department have also been working to establish a better, more timely flow of pupil level attendance data across schools, trusts, local authorities, without placing any additional administrative burdens on schools. Most state-funded schools across the country have now signed up. This will allow data to be collected directly from all schools’ electronic registers and will help the department, schools, local authorities and trusts to identify pupils who need most support to attend.

Attendance reports will help schools and local authorities make better use of attendance data to identify those in need of support earlier, as outlined in the new attendance guidance. They will also help the Department respond to national and regional issues. A report on how the data is used can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/share-your-daily-school-attendance-data.

12th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will publish the research on the use of carbon dioxide monitors in schools referred to in his letter of 17 August 2022 to Geoff Barton, General Secretary, ASCL.

The Department carried out a £25 million programme to improve ventilation in all education settings in the 2021/22 academic year. The Department provided over 386,000 CO2 monitors to state-funded early years, schools, and further education providers, to support them in being able to assess ventilation in their setting.

The Department has also provided over 8,000 air cleaning units to state-funded schools with poorly ventilated teaching spaces that cannot be otherwise remedied. Applications were assessed against strict criteria that were set out in guidance.

Regarding the question on publishing the research on the use of CO2 monitors, the Department already published research on the use of CO2 monitors on 24 January 2022 this year, with further information added to this release on 30 June 2022.

The full publication is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/co2-monitor-survey-and-applications-for-air-cleaning-units.

20th Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many applications were there for places on the Higher Education Short Courses trial; how many and what proportion of these applications were accepted; and how many and what proportion of those that were accepted applied for (i) fee and (ii) maintenance loans.

The Higher Education Short Course Trial is testing flexible short courses at 22 providers across England. These courses are brand new, and they will be rolling out over the 2022/23 academic year.

The nature of these short courses means they are not tied to the concept of the academic year and providers have discretion on when to deliver these courses. The department expects the majority of courses to start from January 2023.

At this early stage in the trial, the Student Loans Company (SLC) has received 12 applications for tuition fee loans to date.[1] However, we expect more students to be participating in these courses, as they can choose to self-fund or receive funding from their employers for their tuition fees.

Students apply directly to providers for these courses. The exact number of applications for Higher Education Short Course Trial courses is held by each individual provider.

Maintenance loans are not provided as part of the trial. However, those who need additional support may be eligible for the short course study-costs bursary.

The department will be monitoring the overall number of students on courses and the number of applications for loans at various points throughout the trial.

As a new type of learning, the department is expecting demand for short courses to increase over the course of the three-year trial, as more learners become aware of these opportunities and realise the benefits flexible learning can bring.

[1] Information provided by the SLC, correct as of 21/09/22.

6th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has made an assessment of the impact of (a) recent and (b) anticipated rises in the energy price cap on school budgets; and if he will take steps to support schools with the increase in the cost of energy.

School energy bills are not impacted by the energy price cap, as their energy contracts are commercial rather than domestic.

The department has surveyed all schools in England to get basic data on their current and future energy tariffs to better understand how they have been affected by recent energy price increases. The survey closed on 2 June 2022, and the responses will be used to understand the impacts of energy cost increases on schools and inform considerations of additional support the department could offer.

Cost increases should be considered in the wider context of funding for schools. The department is delivering a £4 billion cash increase in the core schools budget next year, taking total funding to £53.8 billion. This includes an additional £1.2 billion for schools in the new schools supplementary grant for the 2022/23 financial year. Overall, this represents a 7% cash terms per pupil boost, which will help schools meet the pressures we know they are facing, particularly around energy costs.

All schools can access a range of school resource management (SRM) tools to help them get the best value from their resources, save on regular purchases, and reduce non-teaching costs. The department’s SRM tools include recommended deals for energy costs and ancillary services relating to energy. The Get Help Buying for Schools service will also be able to offer support to schools in switching and entering new contracts. Guidance will be updated on a regular basis to inform schools of the market and commercial position, with practical advice on exiting existing and entering new contracts. This guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/buying-for-schools.

The department understands that every school’s circumstances are different, and where schools are in serious financial difficulty, they should contact their local authority or the Education and Skills Funding Agency.

6th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the length of time it will take under the National Funding Formula for similar schools in different areas to receive parity of funding.

Since its introduction in the 2018/19 financial year, the schools national funding formula (NFF) has distributed funding for mainstream schools in England fairly between local authorities. This is based on the individual needs and characteristics of schools and pupils. Local authorities then distribute that funding among their respective schools, using their own formulae.

Following last year’s ‘Fair school funding for all’ consultation, the department is moving to a direct funding formula for schools. The formula will complete the reforms to school funding which started when the NFF was introduced. A direct NFF will mean that the department determines funding allocations for individual schools without substantial local adjustment, on the basis of a single, consistent formula for the whole country.

Many local authorities have already moved their local formula to follow the NFF more closely. 105 out of 150 local authorities in England moved all of the values used in their local formulae closer to the NFF between the 2018/19 and 2021/22 financial years, or kept them within 1% of NFF values after allowing for the area cost adjustment. 73 local authorities are now mirroring the NFF funding factors almost exactly.

The department will start the process of transitioning fully to the direct NFF in the 2023/24 financial year by requiring that local authorities use all, and only, NFF factors in their local formulae. Local formulae factor values should move at least 10% closer to the NFF.

The department is not setting a definitive end date at which the direct NFF will be implemented. It will be important to continue to be guided by the impact of the initial transition towards the direct NFF, before deciding on the further pace of change. However, to give a sense of the likely timescales to inform schools’ and local authorities’ planning, the department is setting out that it expects to have moved to the direct NFF within the next five financial years, or by the 2027/28 funding year.

The department hopes that it will move to the direct NFF sooner than this. As we move to the direct NFF, individual schools’ budgets will continue to be protected, so that they do not suffer an excessive year-on-year reduction.

6th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the trends in the levels of the average per pupil funding between local authorities in England; and if he will make a statement.

The department publishes annual statistics on school revenue funding. The latest publication can be found here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/school-funding-statistics/2021-22. This gives an overview of trends in school funding from the 2010/11 to 2022/23 financial years. Nationally, per-pupil funding increased by 4.5% over the course of the 2020/21 and 2021/22 financial years and then by a further 4.2% in the 2022/23 financial year, reaching £6,780 (in 2021/22 prices). The majority of core schools funding is distributed via the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG). Local authority level funding allocations of the DSG by year can be found here: https://skillsfunding.service.gov.uk/view-latest-funding/national-funding-allocations/DSG/2022-to-2023.

The schools national funding formula (NFF) continues to distribute funding fairly, based on the needs of schools and their pupil cohorts. Most of the funding is distributed based on pupil numbers and characteristics, which ensures that resources are delivered where they are needed most. The NFF allocates 17% (£6.7 billion) of all funding in the 2022/23 financial year through additional needs factors based on deprivation, low prior attainment, English as an additional language and mobility. The total amount allocated through the deprivation factors in the NFF is increasing by £225 million, or 6.7%, in the 2022/23 financial year. In addition, the 2022/23 financial year supplementary grant will provide significant additional funding for deprivation.

Similarly, the current high needs funding formula, introduced in the 2018/19 financial year after extensive consultation, was a significant step forward in making the allocation of funding fairer. The formula is based on the population of 2- to 18-year-olds in a local authority area and includes several factors which together are intended to reflect the level of need in the area. The government intends to consult and seek views on further changes to the funding formula in due course.

The department’s national funding formulae are not designed to give every local authority the same amount of funding. It is right that areas with more children and young people with additional needs, or areas of socioeconomic deprivation, should get extra funding to enable the right level of support to be given.

6th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will publish a timeframe for the implementation of proposals in the SEND review, including those proposals in respect of equitable funding across the country for young children and young people in special schools and other specialist provision; and what steps his Department is taking to ensure that funding is sufficient to implement those proposals from the date that they are introduced.

The department is currently consulting on proposals in the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and Alternative Provision (AP) Green Paper, including those on funding. The consultation will close on 22 July 2022. The department will publish a response to the consultation and set out plans for delivery later in the year.

The government continues to deliver year-on-year, real terms per pupil increases to the core schools budget with a £7 billion increase in funding by the 2024/25 financial year, compared with the 2021/22 financial year. This takes total funding to £56.8 billion by the 2024/25 financial year. As a result, the department was able to announce last December that high needs funding for children and young people with complex needs is increasing in the 2022/23 financial year by £1 billion to a total of £9.1 billion.

Funding will continue to increase in the 2023/24 and 2024/25 financial years. Funding for the 2025/26 financial year onwards is subject to the next Spending Review.

Alongside annual allocations of funding for SEND provision, the department will support the delivery of reforms through a £70 million SEND and AP change programme. This is both to test and refine key changes, and to help local systems manage the necessary improvements.

18th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether the proposed new local SEND partnerships will be required to include representation from services for children with low incidence needs, such as sensory impairment.

The department is consulting on new local partnerships that will bring together representatives across early years, schools, further education, alternative and specialist provision, in addition to health and care partners and other partners, including youth justice.

The government will publish a national special educational needs and disabilities and alternative provision delivery plan setting out the government's response to the consultation and how change will be implemented in detail.

18th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he plans to take to increase the number of qualified teachers of the deaf.

The department is determined that all children and young people, including those who are deaf or have a hearing impairment, receive the support they need to succeed in their education. Information on the number of qualified teachers of the deaf are not collected centrally.

In addition to holding Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), it is a legal requirement for teachers of classes of pupils who have sensory impairments to hold the relevant mandatory qualification. Providers must be approved by my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, to offer these qualifications. Teachers working in an advisory role to support such pupils should also hold the appropriate qualification.

The department intends to develop a new approval process to determine providers of Mandatory Qualification in Sensory Impairment from the start of the 2023/24 academic year. Our aim is to ensure a steady supply of teachers of children with visual, hearing, and multi-sensory impairment, in both specialist and mainstream settings.

All teachers in local authority-maintained schools or non-maintained special schools in England are required to hold Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), which is awarded upon successful completion of an ITT course.

Our reformed Initial Teacher Training Core Content Framework (ITT CCF) and the new Early Career Framework (ECF), both developed with sector experts, equip teachers with a clear understanding of the needs of all children, including those with SEND.

ITT courses must be designed so that trainee teachers can demonstrate that they meet the Teachers’ Standards at the appropriate level which includes the requirement that all teachers must have a clear understanding of the needs of all pupils, including those who are deaf or have a hearing impairment.

Consideration of SEND underpins both the ITT CCF and ECF which were both produced with the support of sector experts. The ECF is designed to support all pupils to succeed and seeks to widen access for all.

Wider decisions relating to teachers’ professional development rest with schools, headteachers, and teachers themselves, as they are in the best position to judge their own requirements, which may include further training and development.

18th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the number of peripatetic Teachers of the Deaf in England.

The department is determined that all children and young people, including those who are deaf or have a hearing impairment, receive the support they need to succeed in their education. Information on the number of qualified teachers of the deaf are not collected centrally.

In addition to holding Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), it is a legal requirement for teachers of classes of pupils who have sensory impairments to hold the relevant mandatory qualification. Providers must be approved by my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, to offer these qualifications. Teachers working in an advisory role to support such pupils should also hold the appropriate qualification.

The department intends to develop a new approval process to determine providers of Mandatory Qualification in Sensory Impairment from the start of the 2023/24 academic year. Our aim is to ensure a steady supply of teachers of children with visual, hearing, and multi-sensory impairment, in both specialist and mainstream settings.

All teachers in local authority-maintained schools or non-maintained special schools in England are required to hold Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), which is awarded upon successful completion of an ITT course.

Our reformed Initial Teacher Training Core Content Framework (ITT CCF) and the new Early Career Framework (ECF), both developed with sector experts, equip teachers with a clear understanding of the needs of all children, including those with SEND.

ITT courses must be designed so that trainee teachers can demonstrate that they meet the Teachers’ Standards at the appropriate level which includes the requirement that all teachers must have a clear understanding of the needs of all pupils, including those who are deaf or have a hearing impairment.

Consideration of SEND underpins both the ITT CCF and ECF which were both produced with the support of sector experts. The ECF is designed to support all pupils to succeed and seeks to widen access for all.

Wider decisions relating to teachers’ professional development rest with schools, headteachers, and teachers themselves, as they are in the best position to judge their own requirements, which may include further training and development.

18th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he plans to amend careers guidance to require schools, colleges and local authorities to work together on specialist careers advice for disabled young people.

The department has published statutory guidance for schools and colleges on providing careers guidance and statutory guidance for local authorities on their duties relating to the participation of young people in education, employment or training. Both statutory guidance documents are clear about the important role that, to fulfil their statutory responsibilities, schools, colleges and local authorities must work together to ensure that young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) can access the careers advice that they need. By identifying those in need of targeted support, schools, colleges, local authorities and other agencies, can support disabled young people to make positive and well-informed choices and to participate in education or training.

Statutory guidance states that schools and colleges must co-operate with local authorities, who also have statutory functions in relation to supporting young people’s participation in education and training and an important role to play through their responsibilities for SEND support services.

The participation of young people in education, employment and training statutory guidance also states that local authorities should work with schools, colleges and other post-16 providers, as well as other agencies, to support young people to participate in education or training and to identify those in need of targeted support to help them make positive and well-informed choices.

The careers statutory guidance includes an expectation that schools and colleges will use the Gatsby Benchmarks of Good Career Guidance to develop and improve their careers programmes. The third benchmark focusses on addressing the individual needs of each student. We expect schools and colleges to tailor careers activities and educational goals to the needs of each student, taking account of their prior knowledge and skills, the choices and transitions they face and any additional support that may be needed to overcome barriers.

The department funds The Careers & Enterprise Company (CEC) to increase young people’s exposure to the world of work and support schools and colleges to achieve the Gatsby Benchmarks. The CEC runs a Community of Practice focused on inclusion. Schools, colleges and training providers work together to support each other in their local community to work with students from disadvantaged groups, including young people with SEND, through the sharing of good practice and the development of resources.

To help more young people with SEND get into great careers we are also taking action to improve careers guidance - providing support, resources and SEND specific training for Careers Leaders and Special Educational Needs Coordinators who design and deliver inspirational careers education programmes, tailored to the needs of young people with SEND.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
18th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he plans to ensure that the proposed new Leadership SENCo National Professional Qualification will include modules on (a) deaf awareness and (b) support for deaf children.

The introduction of a leadership level National Professional Qualification (NPQ) for special educational needs coordinators (SENCOs) remains subject to consultation through the ongoing Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Review consultation.

For this reason, we have not yet determined the content of the potential SENCO NPQ. However, as is standard in the development of NPQs, the department will be led by the latest and best available evidence and will draw on the knowledge of sector experts to shape the qualification. This will ensure the qualification provides SENCOs with the knowledge and skills needed to fulfil their statutory duties and ensure the best outcomes for children and young people with SEND.

16th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the impact of reducing Uni Connect funding by an additional £10 million on reducing the gap in higher education participation between the most and least represented groups in (a) the Humber and (b) nationally.

The Uni Connect programme was originally set up as a four-year investment programme to support the creation of a strong and versatile network of local partnerships, aimed at providing sustained outreach to young people across England. During this initial start-up phase, funding was set at £60 million to support the establishment of local partnerships and establishing projects to support hard-to-read students.

The programme is now in its third phase. The department has set out in its strategic priorities guidance in 2021 and 2022 that funding should be redirected, with funding to be spent on maintaining core infrastructure and delivering the most effective interventions which meet specific policy aims.

In November 2021, the department issued new guidance to the Office for Students (OfS) on rebooting the access and participation regime in England. As part of this new approach, the Director for Fair Access and Participation has asked providers to play a greater role in improving equality of opportunity in further and higher education within schools.

In April 2022, the OfS issued guidance to providers inviting them to vary their current plans. Providers are being asked to incorporate more attainment raising activities in partnership with schools in their currents access and participation plans. Providers are also asked to develop more diverse pathways into their institution, including levels 4 and 5 and apprenticeships. Additionally, providers are being asked to consider the needs that exist both nationally and within their own regional and local context.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
12th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make an assessment of the types of biometric data of pupils collected in state schools.

Advice for schools and colleges that wish to use personal information about pupils, for the purposes of using automated biometric recognition systems, is set out in the department’s non-statutory guidance, available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/692116/Protection_of_Biometric_Information.pdf. The guidance covers legal duties, under the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012, in relation to the processing of biometric information in schools. It also covers the data protection regime.

The guidance is clear that reasonable alternative arrangements must be provided for pupils who do not use automated biometric recognition systems. These alternative arrangements should ensure that pupils do not suffer any disadvantage or difficulty in accessing services or premises. Likewise, such arrangements should not place any additional burden on parents whose children are not participating in such a system.

The department has no plans to undertake any assessment of the types of biometric data of pupils collected in state schools. The decision to use biometric technology rests entirely with individual schools, who are legally responsible for any data they gather and use, according to the UK General Data Protection Regulation, Protection of Freedoms Act and Data Protection Act. As such, the department believes that if a school wishes to introduce biometric technology, it is rightly a decision for an individual school to make. This decision should be taken based on its own operational needs, in consultation with its staff, pupils, parents and carers and having regard to, amongst other things, the relevant data protection law.

12th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that schools offer pupils alternatives to biometric identification to access services and education.

Advice for schools and colleges that wish to use personal information about pupils, for the purposes of using automated biometric recognition systems, is set out in the department’s non-statutory guidance, available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/692116/Protection_of_Biometric_Information.pdf. The guidance covers legal duties, under the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012, in relation to the processing of biometric information in schools. It also covers the data protection regime.

The guidance is clear that reasonable alternative arrangements must be provided for pupils who do not use automated biometric recognition systems. These alternative arrangements should ensure that pupils do not suffer any disadvantage or difficulty in accessing services or premises. Likewise, such arrangements should not place any additional burden on parents whose children are not participating in such a system.

The department has no plans to undertake any assessment of the types of biometric data of pupils collected in state schools. The decision to use biometric technology rests entirely with individual schools, who are legally responsible for any data they gather and use, according to the UK General Data Protection Regulation, Protection of Freedoms Act and Data Protection Act. As such, the department believes that if a school wishes to introduce biometric technology, it is rightly a decision for an individual school to make. This decision should be taken based on its own operational needs, in consultation with its staff, pupils, parents and carers and having regard to, amongst other things, the relevant data protection law.

14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the publication on 19 November 2021 of statutory guidance on the cost of school uniforms, what measures his Department has put in place to support a parent or parents who consider the cost of their children's uniform is neither reasonable nor affordable at the start of the new school year in September 2022.

The department published new statutory guidance on the cost of school uniforms in November 2021 to ensure the cost is reasonable and secures the best value for money for parents. The department expects governing boards to be compliant with much of the guidance by September 2022 and fully compliant by Summer 2023. The department’s statutory guidance on the cost of school uniform can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cost-of-school-uniforms/cost-of-school-uniforms.

The guidance is clear that disputes around school uniform are to be resolved locally and pursued in accordance with a school’s complaints policy. In law, governing boards must have a complaints procedure in place to deal with issues such as a complaint about school uniforms.

Parents should be able to lodge their complaints or objections easily. The department expects the governing board to consult and work closely with parents to arrive at a mutually acceptable outcome.

If, having gone through the school’s complaints process, a parent is not satisfied by the way the school has addressed their concerns, they can complain to the department.

23rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the timescale for fully establishing the new Shipbuilding Skills Taskforce.

The UK Shipbuilding Skills Taskforce was announced as part of the National Shipbuilding Strategy Refresh on Thursday 10 March 2022. It will run for approximately 18 months. It aims to develop and implement a future-focused skills strategy for shipbuilding to ensure that the UK’s shipbuilding industry has its workforce needs met today and in the future.

Applications are now open for a chair and members for the taskforce. These will close on 3 April 2022 for the Chair, and 17 April for members.

We anticipate that the chair and members will be announced in May, with the first meeting to take place in early summer 2022.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to his Answer of 10 February 2022 to Question 119780 on Primary Education: Assessments, how will data from the national statistics be analysed to understand trends in education recovery; whether data from multiplication tables check in year 4 be included in that analysis; what his timescale for completing and publishing this analysis is; and whether primary schools will be required to share information about pupil attainment at key stage 2 with relevant secondary schools.

Primary school tests and assessments will be returning for the first time since 2019, and the data from the tests and assessments will enable us to understand the impact of COVID-19 disruption on the attainment and progress of all pupils. Where data is available, the department will assess the trends in education recovery by comparing the attainment level (for example, the proportion of key stage 2 pupils reaching the expected standards in reading, writing and maths) of pupils taking the tests and national curriculum assessments in 2022, with the attainment level of pupils who took these before the COVID-19 outbreak.

We will use data from multiplication tables check in year 4 to understand primary pupils’ attainment in maths. However, as 2022 will be the first time the multiplication tables check will be taken on a statutory basis, we will not be able to compare the performance of pupils taking the checks this year with the results from a previous cohort to assess education recovery.

The interim key stage 2 national curriculum assessments statistics will be released in July 2022. Further detail, including breakdowns at local authority level and by school and pupil characteristics, will be released in the provisional key stage 2 national curriculum assessments statistics in September 2022. The multiplication tables check statistics will be released between September and October 2022.

When a pupil changes school, including when they change phase of education, schools are required to share securely the pupil's educational records, including information about attainment in relevant statutory tests and assessments.

Maintained schools are required to transfer this information by law, through The Education (Pupil Information) (England) Regulations 2005 (S.I 1437). Academies and free schools are required to transfer the information through obligations in their individual funding agreements.

18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to improve the financial literacy of school children in Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle.

Education on financial matters helps to ensure that young people are prepared to manage their money well, make sound financial decisions, and know where to seek further information when needed.

Financial education forms part of the citizenship national curriculum which can be taught at all key stages and is compulsory at key stages 3 and 4: https://www.gov.uk/national-curriculum. Financial education ensures that pupils are taught the functions and uses of money, the importance of personal budgeting, money management and managing financial risk. At secondary school, pupils are taught about income and expenditure, credit and debt, insurance, savings and pensions, financial products and services, and how public money is raised and spent.

The department has introduced a rigorous mathematics curriculum, which provides young people with the knowledge and financial skills to make important financial decisions. In the primary mathematics curriculum, there is a strong emphasis on the essential arithmetic knowledge that pupils should be taught. This knowledge is vital, as a strong grasp of numeracy and numbers will underpin pupils’ ability to manage budgets and money, including, for example, using percentages. There is also some specific content about financial education, such as calculations with money.

The secondary mathematics curriculum develops pupils’ understanding and skills in relation to more complex personal finance issues such as calculating loan repayments, interest rates, and compound interest.

As with other aspects of the curriculum, schools have flexibility over how they deliver these subjects, so they can develop an integrated approach that is sensitive to the needs and background of their pupils.

The Money and Pensions Service published financial education guidance for primary and secondary schools in England on 11 November 2021, during Talk Money week. The guidance is designed to support school leaders to enhance the financial education currently delivered in their schools to make it memorable and impactful, and is available to view here: https://maps.org.uk/2021/11/11/financial-education-guidance-for-primary-and-secondary-schools-in-england/.

The department will continue to work closely with the Money and Pensions Service and other stakeholders such as Her Majesty's Treasury, to consider learning from other sector initiatives and whether there is scope to provide further support for the teaching of financial education in schools.

7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the publication on 19 November 2021 of statutory guidance on the cost of school uniforms, what assessment he has made of the ability of the responsible bodies to accurately assess what is affordable in terms of the total cost of school uniform; whether he plans to issue further guidance; and what recourse is available to parents for whom the new uniforms costs are unaffordable.

It is for the governing body of a school (or the academy trust, in the case of academies) to determine their uniform policy. The department has published statutory guidance on the cost of school uniform that requires schools to prioritise cost consideration for parents and to keep school uniforms affordable.

The department has sought to provide a framework in the guidance that sets clear direction for schools on factors which affect affordability within which schools should operate. This should make uniform more affordable whilst also allowing for local decision making.

School leaders know their local communities best and are best placed to take decisions on their uniform policy. These decisions should be informed by the views of pupils and parents. The guidance requires school leaders to engage with parents and pupils on cost issues when developing their uniform policy and a school should be able to show how these views have been considered in their policy.

The guidance does not prevent schools or local authorities from offering support in cases of financial hardship where they choose to do so. The department does not currently intend on publishing additional guidance on the cost of school uniform.

7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the recent communication of the Minister of State for School Standards to all primary school heads on assessments taking place in the academic year 2021-22, what steps will be taken to analyse attainment; in what form the analysis of those assessments will be disseminated to (a) parents, (b) primary schools and (c) secondary schools in respect of those pupils transferring to year 6 at the start of the new academic year.

The department will publish statistics at national, regional and local authority level for key stage 2, including analysis of attainment and progress by pupil and school characteristics. These statistics will be published on explore education statistics and have been announced via the department’s statistics release calendar. This can be found here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/.

The data from the national statistics publication will also help the department understand trends in education recovery.

As primary school tests and assessments will be returning for the first time since 2019, without any adaptations, the 2021/22 key stage 2 results will not be published in compare school and college performance tables, accessed here: https://www.compare-school-performance.service.gov.uk/find-a-school-in-england.

Schools are required to provide parents with the results of national curriculum assessments for their child, alongside comparative information on the results of pupils of the same age in the school and of those pupils nationally.

Primary schools may also share information about pupil attainment at key stage 2 with secondary schools.

31st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department plans to publish an updated impact assessment including the impact of the Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill on students' union finances ahead of the Report Stage of that Bill.

The government will publish an updated impact assessment for the Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill to reflect changes made to the bill during its passage ahead of introduction in the House of Lords.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
14th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of including Malayalam in the curriculum.

The government is committed to increasing the number of pupils studying languages at GCSE, including languages that are reflected in modern Britain. That is why the teaching of languages is in the national curriculum for pupils from age 7 to 14, and why GCSE languages were included as part of the English Baccalaureate suite of subjects in 2010.

It is ultimately for schools to decide which languages they wish to teach, and the department does not specify which languages should be taught or how to teach them. Schools can therefore teach Malayalam if they wish.

27th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department makes of potential conflicts of interest arising from private companies transferring levy funds to public bodies.

Our reforms to apprenticeships have put employers in the driving seat, supporting them to choose and access high-quality training to meet their skills needs now and in the future.

We continue to make improvements to the levy transfer system to make it easier for large employers to make full use of their levy funds and support starts in their supply chain, sector or local area, and to support more employers, including small and mid-sized enterprises, to take on new apprentices.

Apprenticeship levy transfers can only be used to pay for apprenticeship training and assessment. The employer transferring their funds is not responsible for any aspect of the apprenticeship they are supporting, such as the apprentice’s wages or their employment. The employer receiving the transferred funds has full responsibility for ensuring that the apprenticeship is of high quality and meets our funding policy and conditions.

In addition to allowing levy-paying employers to specify an employer they wish to transfer funds to, our improvements to the levy transfers system now enable employers to advertise funding pledges. Employers can pledge transfer funds to support a specific type or level of apprenticeship, or an apprenticeship in a particular sector or region. It is for employers, both in the public and private sectors, to choose whether to apply for these funding pledges, and for the pledging employer to decide who to transfer their funds to.

We do not publish data on employers that have sent or received transfers of levy funds.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
27th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what suitability criteria are used to assess private companies before their apprenticeship levy funds are transferred to public bodies.

Our reforms to apprenticeships have put employers in the driving seat, supporting them to choose and access high-quality training to meet their skills needs now and in the future.

We continue to make improvements to the levy transfer system to make it easier for large employers to make full use of their levy funds and support starts in their supply chain, sector or local area, and to support more employers, including small and mid-sized enterprises, to take on new apprentices.

Apprenticeship levy transfers can only be used to pay for apprenticeship training and assessment. The employer transferring their funds is not responsible for any aspect of the apprenticeship they are supporting, such as the apprentice’s wages or their employment. The employer receiving the transferred funds has full responsibility for ensuring that the apprenticeship is of high quality and meets our funding policy and conditions.

In addition to allowing levy-paying employers to specify an employer they wish to transfer funds to, our improvements to the levy transfers system now enable employers to advertise funding pledges. Employers can pledge transfer funds to support a specific type or level of apprenticeship, or an apprenticeship in a particular sector or region. It is for employers, both in the public and private sectors, to choose whether to apply for these funding pledges, and for the pledging employer to decide who to transfer their funds to.

We do not publish data on employers that have sent or received transfers of levy funds.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
27th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what process exists allowing for access to the names of all private companies sharing their apprenticeship levy funds with public bodies.

Our reforms to apprenticeships have put employers in the driving seat, supporting them to choose and access high-quality training to meet their skills needs now and in the future.

We continue to make improvements to the levy transfer system to make it easier for large employers to make full use of their levy funds and support starts in their supply chain, sector or local area, and to support more employers, including small and mid-sized enterprises, to take on new apprentices.

Apprenticeship levy transfers can only be used to pay for apprenticeship training and assessment. The employer transferring their funds is not responsible for any aspect of the apprenticeship they are supporting, such as the apprentice’s wages or their employment. The employer receiving the transferred funds has full responsibility for ensuring that the apprenticeship is of high quality and meets our funding policy and conditions.

In addition to allowing levy-paying employers to specify an employer they wish to transfer funds to, our improvements to the levy transfers system now enable employers to advertise funding pledges. Employers can pledge transfer funds to support a specific type or level of apprenticeship, or an apprenticeship in a particular sector or region. It is for employers, both in the public and private sectors, to choose whether to apply for these funding pledges, and for the pledging employer to decide who to transfer their funds to.

We do not publish data on employers that have sent or received transfers of levy funds.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
25th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 22 October 2021 to Question 57294, on Students: Finance, what data he holds on the number of applicants who began studies outside the UK before becoming refugees and have subsequently only been granted funding by the Student Loans Company for the years of their course that are deemed to be uncompleted; and whether he has plans to enable funding to be made available to those applicants for full courses at higher education institutions in the UK.

The department is not able to answer the requirements in this request around the number of applicants who began studies outside the UK before becoming refugees. The Student Loans Company asks students "Have you started an undergraduate course of Higher Education in any country since leaving school?" on the application form but does not log which country the applicant studied in so cannot confirm if the studies were started outside the UK.

Generally, fee support on full-time courses is available for the duration of the course plus one extra year if needed. If a student has previous full-time higher education (HE) study at a publicly funded provider, whether within the UK or overseas, those years will normally be deducted from the number of years of fee support available for a subsequent full-time course. These rules exist to enable us to target resources more effectively at students who have not had a chance to experience HE. The rules do not apply to maintenance support.

In addition to the standard entitlement, if a student did not complete their most recent previous course because of compelling personal reasons, an additional year of fee support may be granted in respect of the first year that the student takes of a new course. This applies equally to persons who have been granted international protection by the Home Office such as refugees and, from 1 August 2022 those relocated to the UK under the Afghan relocation and assistance policy, who will be eligible for immediate student support without needing to demonstrate three years ordinary residence in the UK and Islands before the start of the course.

There are no current plans to changes this system.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of private companies sharing their apprenticeship levy funds with public bodies.

We are committed to supporting more employers to use apprenticeships to develop the skilled workforces they need, and to support more people, from all backgrounds, to benefit from the high quality training that apprenticeships offer.

To help large employers make full use of their levy funds, we are making it easier for them to transfer their unused funds and support new starters in other businesses, sectors or regions. In September, we launched a new online service to allow levy paying employers to advertise funding pledges, and to enable other businesses to browse and apply for these funds. Private sector companies are able to transfer levy funds to employers in the public sector.

It is encouraging to see that companies, including DPD, Mace Group, and Amazon UK, have already begun to take advantage of this opportunity and pledge funds for transfer.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of increasing the flexibility in how employers can spend Apprenticeship Levy funds; and whether he has plans to reform existing restrictions.

The apprenticeship levy is an important part of our reforms supporting employers of all sizes to invest in high-quality apprenticeship training.

We are making apprenticeships more flexible so that they better meet the needs of employers in all sectors. We are encouraging greater use of innovative apprenticeship training models, such as the front-loading of off-the-job training so apprentices can be productive from day one in the workplace. We are also developing accelerated apprenticeships so that apprentices with substantial prior learning from other skills programmes, such as traineeships and T Levels, can achieve occupational competence more quickly.

In August, we launched a new £7 million flexi-job apprenticeship fund to support greater use of apprenticeships in sectors such as creative and construction, where flexible working practices are commonplace. Flexi-job apprenticeships will enable apprentices to move between different host employers in a sector or region as they complete the training requirements for their apprenticeship.

We are also making it easier for large employers to make full use of their levy funds by transferring them to support new starts in small businesses, or in a certain sector or region. In September, we launched a new online service to allow levy-paying employers to pledge funds for transfer, making it easier for large and small employers alike to make better use of transfers.

We currently have no plans to review the apprenticeship levy, including how employers’ levy funds are used. The levy was created to support the uptake and delivery of high-quality apprenticeships and has been set at a level to fund this employer demand. It funds apprenticeships for employers of all sizes, including for smaller employers who do not have their own levy funds to use.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has plans to review the effectiveness of the Apprenticeship Levy.

The apprenticeship levy is an important part of our reforms supporting employers of all sizes to invest in high-quality apprenticeship training.

We are making apprenticeships more flexible so that they better meet the needs of employers in all sectors. We are encouraging greater use of innovative apprenticeship training models, such as the front-loading of off-the-job training so apprentices can be productive from day one in the workplace. We are also developing accelerated apprenticeships so that apprentices with substantial prior learning from other skills programmes, such as traineeships and T Levels, can achieve occupational competence more quickly.

In August, we launched a new £7 million flexi-job apprenticeship fund to support greater use of apprenticeships in sectors such as creative and construction, where flexible working practices are commonplace. Flexi-job apprenticeships will enable apprentices to move between different host employers in a sector or region as they complete the training requirements for their apprenticeship.

We are also making it easier for large employers to make full use of their levy funds by transferring them to support new starts in small businesses, or in a certain sector or region. In September, we launched a new online service to allow levy-paying employers to pledge funds for transfer, making it easier for large and small employers alike to make better use of transfers.

We currently have no plans to review the apprenticeship levy, including how employers’ levy funds are used. The levy was created to support the uptake and delivery of high-quality apprenticeships and has been set at a level to fund this employer demand. It funds apprenticeships for employers of all sizes, including for smaller employers who do not have their own levy funds to use.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he plans to allow people whose higher education has been disrupted as a result of international conflict to apply for funding with student finance.

The government has a longstanding and proud tradition of providing a safe haven to those who have no choice but to leave their home country because of endangerment to their lives or to those of their families. Student support for higher education courses is available to persons granted international protection by the Home Office, including those recognised as refugees or who have been granted humanitarian protection, stateless leave, Calais leave or section 67 leave. Such persons are exempt from the three-year ordinary residence requirement.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much money raised from the Apprenticeship Levy remains un-spent as at 18 October 2021.

The apprenticeship levy is collected by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs from all UK employers with a pay bill above £3 million. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland receive a share of levy funding and it is for the devolved administrations to decide how their allocations should be used. The Department for Education’s annual apprenticeship budget for England is set by Her Majesty’s Treasury and, although closely linked, is distinct from the total levy income collected. The levy has been set at a level to fund demand for apprenticeships in employers of all sizes.

In the 2021-22 financial year, funding available for investment in apprenticeships in England is around £2.5 billion, double that spent in the 2010-11 financial year in cash terms. Details of the apprenticeship budget spend for each financial year are included in the Education & Skills Funding Agency’s Annual Report and Accounts.

Employers in England are able to access their apprenticeship levy contributions, plus a 10% government top up, via their digital apprenticeship service accounts. Employers can use these funds to pay for apprenticeship training and assessment in their business, or they can transfer them to support apprenticeships in other businesses. Employers have 24 months to use their funds once they enter their apprenticeship service account before they begin to expire on a rolling, month-by-month basis.

As of 30 September 2021, the total balance of available funds in levy-paying employers’ Apprenticeship Service accounts is £4.81 billion. This represents funds that employers have contributed and are able to spend over a two-year period.

We do not anticipate that all employers who pay the levy will need or want to use all the funds available to them, but they are able to if they wish. As well as funding new apprenticeships in levy-paying employers, income from the levy funds new apprenticeships in employers that do not pay the levy, existing apprentices that started in previous years, and additional payments to employers and providers.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what information his Department holds on whether employers are using their levy funds to access high quality apprenticeship training and assessment.

The apprenticeship levy is an important part of our reforms to apprenticeships, supporting employers of all sizes to invest in high-quality apprenticeships.

Employers that pay the levy can spend the funds available to them in their apprenticeship service accounts on apprenticeship training and assessment. Employers have developed over 630 high-quality apprenticeship standards in a diverse range of occupations, allowing them to spend the levy on the training that works for them.

Our reforms to apprenticeships have made them longer and better, with more off-the-job training and an independent assessment at the end. Ofsted inspects the quality of apprenticeship training provision at all levels. Any provider that receives an ‘inadequate’ Ofsted assessment for apprenticeships will be removed from the Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers. We are also taking a number of steps to improve the quality of apprenticeships further. This includes refreshing the Register with more stringent criteria, investing in a comprehensive package of professional workforce development for apprenticeship providers and providing tools, advice, and guidance to support employers to give their apprentices a high-quality experience.

We publish a wide range of information on apprenticeships through our monthly and quarterly statistical releases. Information on the number of apprenticeship starts, achievements, types of apprenticeships undertaken (for example standards and sector subject areas), as well as the number of starts supported by apprenticeship service account levy funds, can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/fe-data-library-apprenticeships.

Provisional data show that there have been 319,400 starts reported to date in the 2020/21 academic year. Final year data will be published in November here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/further-education-and-skills-statistical-first-release-sfr#latest-releases.

In August 2020, we introduced incentive payments for employers taking on new apprentices as part of the Plan for Jobs. Latest figures show that over 101,000 apprentices have been supported through the apprenticeship incentives between August 2020 and September 2021, of which 76% of apprentices are under the age of 25. We have extended the £3,000 incentive payment for new apprentice hires of any age until 31 January 2022 to support employers to offer new apprenticeships.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to fund arts subjects in higher education.

The government values arts and creative subjects in higher education. Ensuring that there is high-quality provision in a range of subjects is critical in order to build our workforce and support our public services. Provision for higher education in the arts is also intellectually rewarding and culturally enriching for those studying them, and for wider society. An estimated 8% of the total student population (in England) – i.e. 165,555 students – chose to take up courses in the creative arts and design[1]. Our student loan system supports students with the qualifications to benefit from higher education to access higher education, including arts and design courses with a total of £1.8 billion made available as tuition fee and maintenance loans in the 2019/20 academic year for students doing art and design courses[2].

The government also supports arts courses via the Strategic Priorities Grant, a funding pot to support the provision of higher education. This includes high-cost subject funding - extra money given to providers to deliver expensive subjects, including arts. For the 2021/22 academic year, the high-cost subject funding rate for arts courses will be £121.50, an investment of £18 million by the government into the teaching of creative arts, performing arts and media subjects[3]. We have also asked the Office for Students to invest an additional £10 million in our world-leading specialist providers, many of which specialise in arts provision.

We continue to support the provision of arts subjects and ensure that Strategic Priorities Grant funding is used effectively.

[1] Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), Table 49: https://www.hesa.ac.uk/data-and-analysis/students/table-49 (English providers only).

[2] Analysis of information from the Student Loans Company on the loan outlay for HE arts courses for academic year 2019/20. This figure covers English-domiciled undergraduate and postgraduate students who were studying full- or part-time.

[3] Office for Students, Recurrent funding for 2021-22, Table 2: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/media/b2eaeeb4-7fed-4eda-9868-a4671f170129/recurrent-funding-2021-22.pdf.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
14th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many hours per week his Department recommends that (a) primary and (b) secondary schools dedicate to physical education.

Physical education (PE) is an important part of a broad and balanced curriculum and should be taught to pupils of all ages. Currently, PE is the only foundation subject compulsory through all stages of the National Curriculum.

It is for schools to decide how much time should be dedicated to PE and the Department does not set specific expectations. The Department will be looking at examples of good PE and sport with the aim of illustrating how it can be most effectively provided during the school week.

30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what data his Department holds on the prevalence of the Delta variant of covid-19 within schools; and what steps he is taking to stop further transmission of covid-19 to pupils aged under 16.

Data on the Delta variant is held by the Department of Health and Social Care, where Public Health England (PHE) leads on surveillance and outbreak management.

PHE publishes weekly technical briefings on COVID-19 variants of concern and variants under investigation in England, which are available here:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/997418/Variants_of_Concern_VOC_Technical_Briefing_17.pdf.

This sets out (pages 34-37) data on the number of clusters or outbreaks associated with a range of settings, including schools, colleges and nurseries.

PHE also publishes the total number of cases of each variant in the UK as part of information on variants of COVID-19, which is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/new-sars-cov-2-variant. This includes total confirmed Delta variant cases and prevalence split by region, as part of PHE weekly technical briefings.

The Delta variant is now the dominant strain in the UK. Therefore, as well as variant surveillance, both PHE and the Office for National Statistics’ routine surveillance on case rates, outbreaks, and prevalence are tracking Delta.

The Department’s priority is for schools to deliver face-to-face, high quality education to all pupils. The evidence is clear that being out of education causes significant harm to educational attainment, life chances, mental and physical health.

We have worked closely with the Department of Health and Social Care and PHE to revise guidance which schools should follow to minimise the risk of transmission of COVID-19. The guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak.

We will continue to keep these measures under review, in partnership with health experts and informed by the latest scientific evidence and advice.

30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions his Department is having with local authorities on flexible school admissions for summerborn children.

The Department published updated guidance for local authorities and parents on the admission of summer born children in 2020 to help ensure that parents can make an informed decision about what is right for their child, and that admission authorities make decisions that are in the best interests of the child.

In May, the Department published the results of our latest research surveys of local authorities and parents into the delayed admission of summer born children to school. This research shows that local authorities are responding positively to requests by parents to delay their summer born child’s start in Reception.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, issued a statement to all admission authorities, including local authorities, to ensure admission authorities take these decisions in the best interests of the child.

24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of arrangements for assessing spoken language as part of GCSE English Language; and whether he has had discussions with representatives of Ofqual on that matter.

There are no current plans to review the subject content for GCSE English Language on which the assessment objectives are based. The Department is supportive of the promotion of oracy, but it has not yet discussed with Ofqual the recommendations made by the Oracy All-Party Parliamentary Group.

For 2021 and 2022 assessment only, Ofqual have removed the requirement for teachers to submit an audio-visual recording of a sample of students undertaking their spoken language assessment for GCSE English Language. This offers teachers greater flexibility over how and when the assessments are carried out, allowing them to take account of current and potential public health restrictions.

18th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will issue guidance to schools and colleges on whether educational coach trips planned after 21 June can still take place.
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effect of covid-19 school closures on the spoken language (a) development and (b) ability of schoolchildren across all ages.

The Government recognises that extended school and college restrictions have had a substantial impact on children and young people’s education and we are working with schools and colleges to develop a long term plan to support pupils make up for education lost over the course of this Parliament.

In June 2021, the Department announced £1.4 billion of additional funding for education recovery. This is in addition to the £1.7 billion already committed, bringing total investment announced for education recovery over the past year to over £3 billion. The additional funding package provides support for children aged 2 to 19 in schools, colleges and early years settings, and will increase reforms in two areas where the evidence is clear our investment will have a significant impact: high quality tutoring and teaching. This will provide an additional £1 billion for tutoring, which will allow us to provide up to 100 million hours of tuition for 5-19 year olds by 2024, targeting disadvantaged children and key subjects such as maths and English. We are also making available an extra £400 million to help to provide 500,000 teacher training opportunities across the country, alongside professional development for early years practitioners.

The Department launched a £26.3 million English Hubs programme in 2018, dedicated to improving the teaching of reading. The 34 English Hubs in the programme are primary schools which are outstanding at teaching early reading. We have since provided a further £17 million for this school to school improvement programme, which focuses on systematic synthetic phonics, early language, and reading for pleasure. Since its launch, the English Hubs programme has provided appropriate and targeted support to several thousands of schools across England. In the 2020/21 academic year the programme is providing intensive support to over 875 partner schools.

26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to help ensure that all schools are meeting their statutory requirements as part of the spoken language programme of study within the Primary and Secondary National Curriculum.

Standard English is taught in schools from Year 1 and the aim is that every young person should be able to use Standard English irrespective of accent or dialect, where appropriate, in writing and relatively formal speaking.

The National Curriculum for English reflects the importance of spoken language in pupils’ development across the whole curriculum. The quality and variety of language that pupils hear and speak is vital for developing their vocabulary and grammar and their understanding for reading and writing.

Pupils in Years 1 to 6 should be taught to:

  • listen and respond appropriately to adults and their peers;
  • ask relevant questions to extend their understanding and knowledge;
  • use relevant strategies to build their vocabulary;
  • articulate and justify answers, arguments and opinions;
  • give well-structured descriptions, explanations and narratives for different purposes, including for expressing feelings;
  • maintain attention and participate actively in collaborative conversations, staying on topic and initiating and responding to comments;
  • use spoken language to develop understanding through speculating, hypothesising, imagining and exploring ideas;
  • speak audibly and fluently with an increasing command of Standard English;
  • participate in discussions, presentations, performances, role play/improvisations and debates;
  • gain, maintain and monitor the interest of the listener(s);
  • consider and evaluate different viewpoints, attending to and building on the contributions of others;
  • select and use appropriate registers for effective communication.

Spoken language continues to underpin the development of pupils' reading and writing during Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4. The National Curriculum programmes of study for these key stages state that teachers should ensure pupils' confidence and competence in this area continue to develop. Pupils should be taught to understand and use the conventions for discussion and debate, as well as continuing to develop their skills in working collaboratively with their peers to discuss reading, writing and speech across the curriculum.

The Department’s poetry competition, delivered by Poetry by Heart, supports this initiative and helps to develop and support inspiring poetry teaching in schools, and to motivate pupils and teachers to explore our rich literary heritage. Pupils choose poems from the online anthology covering 1,000 years of poetry and recite these in school-based competitions. A national final will be held in July 2021 and is open to pupils in Key Stages 2, 3, 4 and 5.

In 2018, the Department launched a £26.3 million English Hubs Programme dedicated to improving the teaching of reading, with a focus on supporting children making the slowest progress in reading, many of whom come from disadvantaged backgrounds. The 34 English Hubs in the programme are primary schools which are outstanding at teaching early reading. We have since invested a further £17 million in this school-to-school improvement programme, which focuses on systematic synthetic phonics, early language, and reading for pleasure. Since its launch, the English Hubs Programme has provided appropriate and targeted support to several thousands of schools across England. In the 2020/21 academic year, the programme is providing intensive support to over 875 partner schools.

26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking tackle the language gap between the most and least advantaged pupils.

The Department recognises that extended school and college restrictions have had a substantial impact on children and young people’s education and are committed to helping pupils make up education lost due to the COVID-19 outbreak. To address this challenge, my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, is committed to working with parents, teachers, and schools and colleges to develop a long-term plan to help schools and colleges to support pupils make up their lost education over the course of this Parliament.

There is sound evidence that systematic phonics is a highly effective method for teaching early reading. The evidence indicates that the teaching of phonics is most effective when combined with a language-rich curriculum. Evidence has also shown that phonics is an important component in the development of early reading skills, particularly for children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Our phonics performance has improved since the tests were introduced. In 2019, 82% of pupils in Year 1 met the expected standard in the phonics screening check, compared to just 58% when the check was introduced in 2012. For disadvantaged pupils, this has gone from 45% in 2012 to 71% in 2019. 2019 results showed that by the end of Year 2, 91% of pupils met the expected standard in the phonics screening check.

In June 2021, the Department announced £1.4 billion of additional funding for education recovery. This is in addition to the £1.7 billion already committed, bringing total investment announced for education recovery over the past year to over £3 billion. The additional funding package provides support for children aged 2 to 19 in schools, colleges and early years settings, and will increase reforms in two areas where the evidence is clear our investment will have a significant impact: high quality tutoring and teaching. This will provide an additional £1 billion for tutoring, which will allow us to provide up to 100 million hours of tuition for 5-19 year olds by 2024, targeting disadvantaged children and key subjects such as maths and English.

The National Curriculum has been designed to make sure that all children leave primary school fully literate and ready to progress at secondary school. One of the overarching aims of the National Curriculum is to ensure that all pupils acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language. The curriculum for English increases the level of demand from an early age with greater emphasis on grammar and vocabulary development.

The Department also launched a £26.3 million English Hubs Programme in 2018, dedicated to improving the teaching of reading, with a focus on supporting children making the slowest progress in reading, many of whom come from disadvantaged backgrounds.

24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 21 May 2021 to Question 1192, what plans he has to make changes to SATS tests in the 2020-21 academic year in terms of (a) content, and (b) the collation of results to facilitate their use as a diagnostic assessment of lost learning rather than as a test of progress; and whether he plans for those results to be used to rank schools' performance.

The Department has no plans to make changes to the content of primary assessments planned to take place in the 2021/22 academic year. The purpose of the National Curriculum assessments is to determine pupil attainment in relation to the National Curriculum. They enable parents to understand the performance of their child with respect to national expectations.

Primary assessments are different from qualifications, where it is essential that we try to account for lost education given the importance of the outcomes for the next stages of education and employment. The assessments will help identify the impact on pupil attainment of lost time in education and, although not designed as fully diagnostic assessments, will support schools in planning the appropriate next steps for teaching. As a result, it would not be appropriate to change the content of primary assessments as this would provide only a partial picture of pupil attainment.

The Department is considering possible approaches to school accountability data in the 2021/22 academic year and plan to confirm details in due course.

24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether local area SEND accelerated progress plans are publicly available documents; and if he will make a statement.

Under the local area special educational and disability (SEND) inspection framework, all local authorities in England are required by the Department for Education to produce an action plan (often referred to as an Accelerated Progress Plan or APP) if inspectors have found that insufficient progress has been made against their Written Statement of Action.

The local authorities that have been required to produce an APP are the following: Bury, Dorset, Hartlepool, Kingston upon Hull, Lancashire, Medway, Oldham, Oxfordshire, Sefton, South Gloucestershire, Suffolk, Surrey, and Windsor and Maidenhead.

Local authorities are required by the department to publish their action plans locally (for example, on the local authority website), so that parents, carers, children and young people can understand the actions that they are taking to address concerns raised during SEND inspections. A formal progress review meeting will take place within at least 6 months of the revisit report being published. The key partners involved, including the Parent Carer Forum, will be invited to attend. Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission will not revisit unless directed by my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education.

24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, which local authorities have been required to produce an Accelerated Progress Plan as a result of a revisit by Ofsted and Care Quality Commission inspectors under the local area SEND inspection programme; and whether production of an Accelerated Progress Plan is a requirement for every local authority where those inspectors have found that insufficient progress has been made in addressing significant weaknesses previously identified.

Under the local area special educational and disability (SEND) inspection framework, all local authorities in England are required by the Department for Education to produce an action plan (often referred to as an Accelerated Progress Plan or APP) if inspectors have found that insufficient progress has been made against their Written Statement of Action.

The local authorities that have been required to produce an APP are the following: Bury, Dorset, Hartlepool, Kingston upon Hull, Lancashire, Medway, Oldham, Oxfordshire, Sefton, South Gloucestershire, Suffolk, Surrey, and Windsor and Maidenhead.

Local authorities are required by the department to publish their action plans locally (for example, on the local authority website), so that parents, carers, children and young people can understand the actions that they are taking to address concerns raised during SEND inspections. A formal progress review meeting will take place within at least 6 months of the revisit report being published. The key partners involved, including the Parent Carer Forum, will be invited to attend. Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission will not revisit unless directed by my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education.

13th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of postponing SATs assessments for the academic year 2021-22 in the context of the disruption to learning caused by the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department is continuing to plan for a full programme of primary assessments to take place in the 2021/22 academic year, including the statutory Reception Baseline Assessment and multiplication tables check, as previously announced. The assessments will help gauge the impact of lost time in education and will enable the Department to better understand the effectiveness of education recovery initiatives. Full details for 2021/22 primary assessments will be confirmed in due course.

13th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department plans to reform the statutory assessment system in primary schools.

Assessment is an important part of a child’s schooling and is fundamental in a high performing education system. Statutory assessments at primary school are an essential part of ensuring that all pupils master the basics of reading, writing, and Mathematics to prepare them for secondary school. Assessment data also enable parents, schools, and the Department to understand the impact of lost time in education and recovery initiatives.

In 2017, the Government carried out a consultation into primary assessment in England. The consultation received over 4000 responses from a diverse range of backgrounds and specialisms, providing a broad and informed range of views that informed policy on the current primary assessment system. In addition, the Department engages with relevant stakeholders on a regular basis to understand their views on primary assessment.

11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans his Department has to introduce information on the effects of littering into the curriculum.

The National Curriculum already includes content regarding environmental and sustainability issues in both the science and geography curricula. For example, in primary science pupils are taught about how environments can change as a result of human actions. This could include teaching about the impact of litter on the environment, which schools can expand on should they wish to.

In citizenship, pupils are taught about the wider world and the interdependence of communities within it. Pupils are taught that resources can be allocated in different ways and that these economic choices affect individuals, communities and the sustainability of the environment.

Citizenship includes opportunities for pupils to undertake school and community-based volunteering, encouraging young people to come together to tackle the local issues they care about within school and in the wider community. Schools are expected to use their professional expertise and understanding of their pupils to develop the right approach for their particular school. Many schools do choose to teach pupils about the impact of litter, including helping pupils undertake volunteering, such as litter picking. The citizenship programmes of study are available to view here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-curriculum-in-england-citizenship-programmes-of-study.

22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans his Department has to issue guidance to schools and colleges on offering plant-based food and drink options to pupils.

The government’s School Food Standards regulates the food and drink provided at both lunchtime and at other times of the school day. Beyond this, we believe that head teachers, school governors and caterers are best placed to make decisions about their school food policies, taking into account local circumstances and the needs of their pupils. In doing so, we expect schools to make reasonable adjustments for pupils with particular requirements, for example to reflect dietary and cultural needs.

The School Food Standards already contain sufficient flexibility to enable schools to provide a variety of plant-based food and drink options to pupils if there is a demand for them. School food policies work best when schools discuss them with parents and pupils, so that parents have the opportunity to raise pupils’ particular dietary needs.

12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many children are known to be home educated in each of the last five years; and how many of those children had special educational needs.

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

A pupil’s name can lawfully be deleted from the admission register on the grounds prescribed in Regulation 8 of the Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006 as amended. All schools must notify the local authority when a pupil’s name is to be deleted from the admission register under any of the grounds prescribed in Regulation 8, as soon as the ground for removal is met and no later than the time at which the pupil’s name is removed from the register.

Parents are not under a duty to register if they are home educating their children and, therefore, there is not a robust basis on which the Department can reliably collect statistics on home education.

The number of children and young people with an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan who are electively home educated was first collected in 2020. In January 2020, there were 2,983 children and young people with an EHC plan who were electively home educated. Further information on this data is available here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/education-health-and-care-plans.

12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many children have been removed from school rolls and not moved to another school in each of the last five years.

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

A pupil’s name can lawfully be deleted from the admission register on the grounds prescribed in Regulation 8 of the Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006 as amended. All schools must notify the local authority when a pupil’s name is to be deleted from the admission register under any of the grounds prescribed in Regulation 8, as soon as the ground for removal is met and no later than the time at which the pupil’s name is removed from the register.

Parents are not under a duty to register if they are home educating their children and, therefore, there is not a robust basis on which the Department can reliably collect statistics on home education.

The number of children and young people with an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan who are electively home educated was first collected in 2020. In January 2020, there were 2,983 children and young people with an EHC plan who were electively home educated. Further information on this data is available here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/education-health-and-care-plans.

12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many and which local areas have been required to produce a written statement of action after a local area SEND inspection in each year since 2016; which of those areas have been re-visited by (a) Ofsted and (b) Care Quality Commission inspectors; and what the outcome was for each such area.

From May 2016, Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) began inspecting local areas on their effectiveness in fulfilling their new duties for children and young people who have special educational needs or a disability (SEND). All 151 local areas in England will be inspected over a period of 5 years.

The purpose of the inspections is to provide reassurance to families that local areas are being held to account and to support local areas to improve their services and deliver better outcomes for children and young people. They also provide evidence for local areas to receive appropriate external support and intervention.

Following the inspection, local areas are not graded, but are given a narrative evaluation report that highlights areas of strength and areas where improvements need to be made. Where there are significant weaknesses, the local area will be required to produce and publish a Written Statement of Action (WSoA).

Ofsted and CQC are revisiting those local areas with a WSoA to assess the progress made against each of the actions in the WSoA since the original inspection. Local areas are usually revisited within 18 months of their WSoA having been accepted as fit for purpose by Ofsted and CQC.

Where a local area is considered to have made sufficient progress against its WSoA, monitoring visits from the Department for Education and NHS England will cease.

As of 13 April 2021, 117 local areas have been inspected and their reports published under the Ofsted and CQC SEND inspection framework. Of these, 60 local areas have been asked to produce a WSoA. Out of the 22 local areas revisited to assess progress made against each of the actions in the WSoA since the original inspection, 9 have made sufficient progress against all their significant areas of concern. There are currently 34 outstanding local authority SEND inspections and Ofsted/CQC plan to restart full area SEND inspections from June 2021 at the earliest. Inspections will be of areas that have not yet been inspected under the current framework. There are 38 outstanding Revisits. Ofsted and CQC will start revisiting areas where they had significant concerns about SEND provision from April 2021.

Where sufficient progress has not been made against all areas of the WSoA following a revisit, the Department for Education, Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and NHS England will determine the next steps on a case-by-case basis. This could include my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, using powers of intervention. As a minimum, local area leaders will be required to submit an action plan, co-produced with partners, showing how the local area will report on progress and impact, and how partners (including families) will be kept fully informed of progress. A formal joint Department for Education and NHS England progress review meeting will be held with the local area within 6 months of the revisit report. The department’s SEND advisers and NHS England leads continue to work closely with local authority and health services to support them in making the necessary improvements to services.

The local areas asked to produce a WSoA following a local area SEND inspection are listed here:

  • Bedford Borough
  • Birmingham
  • Brent
  • Bristol
  • Bury
  • Central Bedfordshire
  • Cheshire East
  • Cumbria
  • Derby City
  • Devon
  • Dorset
  • Dudley
  • Durham
  • Essex
  • Hartlepool
  • Hull, Kingston upon
  • Kent
  • Kingston upon Thames
  • Lancashire
  • Leicester City
  • Leicestershire
  • Liverpool
  • Luton
  • Medway
  • Merton
  • Middlesbrough
  • Newcastle upon Tyne
  • Norfolk
  • North East Lincolnshire
  • North Somerset
  • Northumberland
  • Oldham
  • Oxfordshire
  • Peterborough
  • Redcar and Cleveland
  • Rochdale
  • Sandwell
  • Sefton
  • Sheffield
  • Shropshire
  • Somerset
  • South Gloucestershire
  • South Tyneside
  • Southend-on-Sea
  • Staffordshire
  • Stockport
  • Stockton-On-Tees
  • Suffolk
  • Surrey
  • Sutton
  • Swindon
  • Thurrock
  • Wakefield
  • Walsall
  • Waltham Forest
  • Wandsworth
  • Windsor and Maidenhead
  • Wokingham
  • Worcestershire
  • York

The table below indicates the outcome of local areas revisited by Ofsted/CQC.

Local authority

Revisit outcome

Bedford Borough

Sufficient progress made against all weaknesses

Brent

Sufficient progress made against all weaknesses

Bury

Not sufficient progress made against all weaknesses

Dorset

Not sufficient progress made against all weaknesses

Durham

Sufficient progress made against all weaknesses

Hartlepool

Not sufficient progress made against all weaknesses

Hull, Kingston upon

Not sufficient progress made against all weaknesses

Lancashire

Not sufficient progress made against all weaknesses

Medway

Not sufficient progress made against all weaknesses

Middlesbrough

Sufficient progress made against all weaknesses

Oldham

Not sufficient progress made against all weaknesses

Oxfordshire

Not sufficient progress made against all weaknesses

Rochdale

Sufficient progress made against all weaknesses

Sandwell

Sufficient progress made against all weaknesses

Sefton

Not sufficient progress made against all weaknesses

South Gloucestershire

Not sufficient progress made against all weaknesses

Suffolk

Not sufficient progress made against all weaknesses

Surrey

Not sufficient progress made against all weaknesses

Sutton

Sufficient progress made against all weaknesses

Wakefield

Sufficient progress made against all weaknesses

Waltham Forest

Sufficient progress made against all weaknesses

Windsor and Maidenhead

Not sufficient progress made against all weaknesses

During the COVID-19 outbreak, inspections were suspended, however it is vital that these children and young people, whose wellbeing and care may have also been significantly affected by the disruption to services caused by the outbreak, continue to receive support. Therefore, I commissioned CQC and Ofsted to work collaboratively with local areas through a series of interim visits, which began in October 2020 and finished in March 2021. These visits gave an insight into how well the system is working, support local areas to meet the needs of children and young people at this difficult time, and allowed Ofsted to share good practice.

CQC and Ofsted have been commissioned by the Department for Education, with the support of DHSC, to develop a new area SEND inspection framework to launch after the existing inspection cycle has finished. Learning from the published assessment of the current approach, this will include a greater focus on the experience of children and young people with SEND, and their families, and give more prominence to the quality integration and commissioning of education, health and care services. The new framework will take into account the COVID-19 outbreak’s impact on services and on children, young people and families.


12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, on what date all students will be able to return to their university campus and resume in-person teaching during the covid-19 outbreak.

Following the review into when the remaining higher education students can return to in-person teaching and learning, the government has announced that the remaining students should return to in-person teaching no earlier than 17 May 2021, alongside Step 3 of the roadmap. Students and institutions will be given at least a week’s notice of any further return in accordance with the timing of Step 3 of the roadmap.

The government roadmap is designed to maintain a cautious approach to the easing of restrictions to reduce public health risks and ensure that we can maintain progress towards full reopening. However, the government recognises the difficulties and disruption that this may cause for many students and their families and that is why the government is making a further £15 million of additional student hardship funding available for this academic year 2020/21. In total we have made an additional £85 million of funding available for student hardship.

We are supporting universities to provide regular twice weekly asymptomatic testing for all students and staff on-site and, from May, at home. This will help break chains of transmission of the virus.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what progress has been made on his Department's review of support for children with special needs education in England that began in September 2019.

The special educational needs and disability (SEND) review is a major priority for the government. We all want to see the vision of the 2014 reforms fully delivered: better outcomes for children and young people which prepare them for adulthood, coproduced with them and their families.

As you are aware, the COVID-19 outbreak has been extremely challenging for many families of children with SEND. Supporting them continues to be a priority for this government, and their wellbeing has been central to our response throughout.

The outbreak has unavoidably delayed completion of the review and altered the context in which it will be implemented. Our ambition is to publish SEND review proposals for public consultation in the spring of 2021.

15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment his Department has made of the potential benefits of extending the summer school term into the summer holiday period in response to the disruption to education caused by the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government is committed to helping all children and young people make up education lost as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Department has appointed Sir Kevan Collins as Education Recovery Commissioner to oversee a long-term plan for education recovery. Sir Kevan will engage with parents, pupils, and teachers in the development of this broader approach and review how evidence-based interventions can be used to address the impact the COVID-19 outbreak has had on education. We will share further details in due course.

Schools are of course free to offer summer activities to pupils should they so wish. We are making £200 million available to secondary schools to fund a short summer school, offering a blend of academic education and enrichment activities. We are recommending a focus on incoming Year 7 pupils, but schools are free to target those most in need of support.

9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of reducing the number of teacher training days during the covid-19 outbreak in the 2020-21 academic year.

Teachers continue to benefit from five days of inset training each year and the Department has not identified any need to reduce this. Schools have the freedom to determine the dates on which they hold inset days and what they use them for. Inset days have been helpful to support teachers in managing additional pressures during the COVID-19 outbreak. In December, my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, announced that schools could take an additional inset day on 4 January 2021 to help teachers train and prepare for COVID-19 testing in schools.

The local authority is required to set term dates for community schools, community special schools, voluntary controlled schools, pupil referral units and maintained nursery schools. The governing bodies of foundation and voluntary aided schools are required to set their own term dates. Local authorities and governing bodies must set dates in line with the requirement of the length of the school year as set out in the Education (School Day and School Year) (England) Regulations 1999.

Academy trusts, of academies and free schools, set their own term dates and they are not bound by school day and school year regulations.

With regard to initial teacher training (ITT), the ITT criteria requires programmes to be designed to provide trainees with enough time in school to demonstrate that they have achieved all the Teachers’ Standards. These typical periods of time are set out in the ITT criteria and supporting advice, which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/initial-teacher-training-criteria/initial-teacher-training-itt-criteria-and-supporting-advice#c23-training-in-schools. For most courses, this will typically be 120 days. The Department has clarified to ITT providers that in the event of disruption due to the COVID-19 outbreak, courses with fewer than 120 days physically in school are acceptable. This will not result in non-compliance in relation to C2.3 of the ITT criteria. Further information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-initial-teacher-training-itt/coronavirus-covid-19-initial-teacher-training-itt#changes-to-the-itt-criteria-for-2020-to-2021.

9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many teacher training days his Department has scheduled for the 2020-21 academic year.

Teachers continue to benefit from five days of inset training each year and the Department has not identified any need to reduce this. Schools have the freedom to determine the dates on which they hold inset days and what they use them for. Inset days have been helpful to support teachers in managing additional pressures during the COVID-19 outbreak. In December, my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, announced that schools could take an additional inset day on 4 January 2021 to help teachers train and prepare for COVID-19 testing in schools.

The local authority is required to set term dates for community schools, community special schools, voluntary controlled schools, pupil referral units and maintained nursery schools. The governing bodies of foundation and voluntary aided schools are required to set their own term dates. Local authorities and governing bodies must set dates in line with the requirement of the length of the school year as set out in the Education (School Day and School Year) (England) Regulations 1999.

Academy trusts, of academies and free schools, set their own term dates and they are not bound by school day and school year regulations.

With regard to initial teacher training (ITT), the ITT criteria requires programmes to be designed to provide trainees with enough time in school to demonstrate that they have achieved all the Teachers’ Standards. These typical periods of time are set out in the ITT criteria and supporting advice, which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/initial-teacher-training-criteria/initial-teacher-training-itt-criteria-and-supporting-advice#c23-training-in-schools. For most courses, this will typically be 120 days. The Department has clarified to ITT providers that in the event of disruption due to the COVID-19 outbreak, courses with fewer than 120 days physically in school are acceptable. This will not result in non-compliance in relation to C2.3 of the ITT criteria. Further information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-initial-teacher-training-itt/coronavirus-covid-19-initial-teacher-training-itt#changes-to-the-itt-criteria-for-2020-to-2021.

3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Office for Students Guide to Funding 2020-21, whether a review of the longer-term approach to funding has taken place in respect to London weighting.

The Strategic Priorities Grant, formerly referred to as the Teaching Grant, plays an important role in supporting providers and students to develop the skills and knowledge needed locally, regionally, and nationally to support the economy.

We have asked the Office for Students (OfS) to reform the grant for the 2021-22 financial year to ensure that more of taxpayers’ money is spent on supporting higher education provision which aligns with national priorities, such as healthcare, science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and subjects meeting specific labour market needs.

The London weighting accounts for a small proportion of London-providers’ income. Providers in London received around £64 million London Weighting in the 2020-21 academic year, which is less than 1% of their estimated total income.

London universities will be able to benefit from the significant uplifts we are making to elements of the Strategic Priorities Grant, including the first real terms increase in years in per capita funding for high-cost subjects in grant funding, as well as being able to bid for capital investment to support the delivery of strategic subjects.

We have also asked the OfS for a £10 million increase to the specialist provider allocation, to support these institutions which are particularly reliant on Strategic Priorities Grant funding, many of whom are London-based. We want to ensure that our small and specialist providers, including some of our top music and arts providers, receive additional support, and that grant funding is used to effectively support students.

The OfS will consult on these changes shortly, before final allocations for the 2021/22 financial year are confirmed and will carefully consider the impact of any changes on providers.

In terms of supporting higher education providers and students, we have recently made available an additional £50 million of hardship funding for the 2020/21 financial year. In total we have made £70 million of funding available for student hardship, including the £20 million made available to higher education providers in December. Providers will have flexibility in how they distribute the funding to students, in a way that will best prioritise those in greatest need.

This money is in addition to the £256 million of Student Premium funding higher education providers are able draw on for the 2021/22 academic year towards student hardship funds, including the purchase of IT equipment, and mental health support, as well as to support providers’ access and participation plans.

Furthermore, we have asked the OfS to allocate £15 million towards student mental health in 2021/22 through the proposed reforms to Strategic Priorities grant funding, to help address the challenges to student mental health posed by the transition to university, given the increasing demand for mental health services. This will target those students in greatest need of such services, including vulnerable groups and hard to reach students.

The OfS has also been asked to allocate £5 million to providers in order to provide additional support for student hardship in 2021/22. This is to mitigate the rise in student hardship due to COVID-19 impacts on the labour market which particularly affect, for example, students relying on work to fund their studies, students whose parents have lost income and students who are parents and whose partner's income has been affected.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what data was used to arrive at the reduction of 50 per cent to the high-cost subject funding for other courses in price group C1.

The Strategic Priorities Grant, formerly referred to as the Teaching Grant, plays an important role in supporting providers and students to develop the skills and knowledge needed locally, regionally, and nationally to support the economy.

We have asked the Office for Students (OfS) to reform the grant for 2021-22 to ensure that more of taxpayers’ money is spent on supporting higher education provision which aligns with national priorities. This includes the reprioritisation of funding towards the provision of high-cost subjects that support the NHS and wider healthcare policy, high-cost science, technology, engineering and mathematics subjects, and subjects meeting specific labour market needs.

This government also values the arts. High quality provision in a range of subjects is critical for our workforce and our public services and is culturally enriching for our society, and that is why we have invested in our world class specialist providers through the Strategic Priorities Grant. This includes asking the OfS for a £10 million increase to the specialist provider allocation, to support these institutions which are particularly reliant on Strategic Priorities Grant funding. We want to ensure that our small and specialist providers, including some of our top music and arts providers, receive additional support, and that grant funding is used to effectively support students.

The OfS will consult on these changes shortly, before final allocations for 2021-22 are confirmed, and will carefully consider the impact of any changes on providers.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effect of the reduction of 50 per cent to the high-cost subject funding for other courses in price group C1 on the number of (a) courses available, (b) UK students undertaking those courses and (c) international students undertaking those courses.

The Strategic Priorities Grant, formerly referred to as the Teaching Grant, plays an important role in supporting providers and students to develop the skills and knowledge needed locally, regionally, and nationally to support the economy.

We have asked the Office for Students (OfS) to reform the grant for 2021-22 to ensure that more of taxpayers’ money is spent on supporting higher education provision which aligns with national priorities. This includes the reprioritisation of funding towards the provision of high-cost subjects that support the NHS and wider healthcare policy, high-cost science, technology, engineering and mathematics subjects, and subjects meeting specific labour market needs.

This government also values the arts. High quality provision in a range of subjects is critical for our workforce and our public services and is culturally enriching for our society, and that is why we have invested in our world class specialist providers through the Strategic Priorities Grant. This includes asking the OfS for a £10 million increase to the specialist provider allocation, to support these institutions which are particularly reliant on Strategic Priorities Grant funding. We want to ensure that our small and specialist providers, including some of our top music and arts providers, receive additional support, and that grant funding is used to effectively support students.

The OfS will consult on these changes shortly, before final allocations for 2021-22 are confirmed, and will carefully consider the impact of any changes on providers.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the provision of (a) careers guidance, (b) mental health support and and (c) preparation for transition to further and higher education in those schools supported by the UniConnects programme, and what assessment he has made of the effect of the change in the level of funding for that programme in 2021-22 on that provision.

The Uni Connect programme, operated by the Office for Students (OfS), is a 4-year investment programme. It was established to support the creation of a strong and versatile network of local partnerships with cross-England coverage. It aims to provide sustained outreach to young people in schools and colleges in areas with low or unexplained gaps in higher education (HE) participation.

The programme is due to come to an end in July 2021, which presents the opportunity to consider its scope and objectives, including funding other areas of increasing importance for students and prospective students.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, wrote to the OfS on 19 January, providing guidance under section 2(3) of the Higher Education and Research Act 2017 (HERA). This set out the funding allocation for the 2021/22 financial year and the government’s priorities to ensure that more of taxpayers’ money is spent on supporting HE provision which aligns with national priorities, including targeting funds to support students and prioritise the most disadvantaged learners.

On 8 February the Secretary of State set out the strategic priorities to higher education. In this the OfS were asked to allocate £15 million towards student mental health in 2021/22 through the proposed reforms to the Strategic Priorities Grant funding, to help address the challenges posed by the transition to university, given the increasing demand for mental health services. This will target those students in greatest need of such services, including vulnerable groups and hard to reach students.

The OfS were asked to allocate £5 million to providers in order to provide additional support for student hardship in 2021/22. This is to mitigate the rise in student hardship due to pandemic impacts on the labour market which particularly affect, for example, students relying on work to fund their studies, students whose parents have lost income and students who are parents and whose partner's income has been affected.

The OfS plan to consult on the proposed changes to the Strategic Priorities Grant shortly, before final allocations for the 2021/22 academic year are confirmed, whilst carefully considering the impact of any changes on providers. Any decisions will be made in light of the allocations within the available Strategic Priorities Grant, whilst having due regard to general duties, the Public Sector Equality Duty and statutory guidance.

The OfS have consulted on the approach to the next phase of the Uni Connect programme from the 2021/22 academic year to the 2024/25 academic year, and will report on the outcomes shortly. That consultation outlined the proposal to continue to support efficient and joined-up collaborative HE outreach through the programme, intended to support activity that complements providers’ access and participation plans, create pathways to FE and HE, help address the academic, financial and cultural barriers to progression and support under-represented learners to achieve their ambitions. Proposals set out a future approach to targeting high-priority schools and colleges and giving greater focus to progression from non-traditional routes into and through HE, including through FE and among mature learners.

We are investing over £100 million in financial year 2020/21 to help young people and adults to get high quality careers provision, including funding for the Careers & Enterprise Company (CEC) to roll out its Enterprise Adviser Network and expand its role supporting schools and colleges across the 8 Gatsby Benchmarks, and for the National Careers Service to deliver high quality, impartial information, advice and guidance service to young people and adults. We will continue to assess the impact of careers provision in schools and colleges through CEC’s digital tool, Compass, which measures progress against the Gatsby Benchmarks.

The OfS will consider the impact of any changes on providers before publishing a response towards the end of March 2021. The government welcomes the consultation on the future of the programme, before final allocations are confirmed. Any funding beyond 2021/22 financial year will be determined at the next Spending Review.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 25 February 2021 to Question 155341 on the Turing Scheme, what steps he is taking to (a) identify the geographical areas of disadvantage and (b) actively target and promote the Turing scheme in those areas; what funding has been allocated for such promotion; and whether such funding is part of the stated budget for that scheme.

Successful applications for the Turing Scheme will support social mobility and widen participation across the UK. The scheme will help and promote equal access and opportunities to all pupils, students and learners regardless of background, in line with the government’s levelling-up agenda. It will offer additional financial support for disadvantaged students and, unlike Erasmus, there will be additional funds available to pay for disadvantaged students’ travel costs. More information on the Turing Scheme, including the aim for widening access, is available on the scheme’s website: www.turing-scheme.org.uk.

The Turing Scheme’s delivery partner, a consortium of the British Council and Ecorys, will actively promote the scheme across the whole of the UK, concentrating on areas of socio-economic disadvantage and lower social mobility, including the department’s identified Opportunity Areas, because disadvantaged students have been typically under-represented when it comes to taking advantage of international education opportunities. .

The UK-wide scheme is demand-led. However, the qualitative assessment criteria are positively weighted towards projects that reach out to groups with fewer opportunities.

Funding for the UK-wide promotion is part of the administration costs for the scheme, allowed for within the overall budget.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that all university careers services have in place effective interventions for students with disabilities.

This government believes it is important that disabled students receive an appropriate level of support wherever and whatever they choose to study and is committed to ensuring that all students with disabilities receive the support they need to enable them to study alongside their fellow students on an equal basis.

I am aware of the recommendations in the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services Disability Task Group's eighteenth annual ‘What Happens Next? 2021 Report’, looking at the outcomes of 2018 disabled graduates, and how the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle’s questions reflect those recommendations. The report can be found here: https://www.agcas.org.uk/Latest/what-happens-next-2021.

It is pleasing to see the Disabled Students’ Commission (DSC) is supporting the report’s recommendation that more research should be undertaken on the outcomes of disabled graduates, and that the commission’s upcoming primary research project will have a focus on disabled graduates and employment.

Good work in identifying barriers disabled students can face when moving into employment after graduation was also included in Policy Connect's ‘Arriving at Thriving’ report published in October 2020, following a six-month inquiry that included gathering evidence from over 500 disabled students, which can be accessed here: https://www.policyconnect.org.uk/research/arriving-thriving-learning-disabled-students-ensure-access-all.

I agree wholeheartedly with the report’s suggestion that higher education (HE) providers must recognise the importance for disabled students of good careers information, advice and guidance by investing in the regular training and continuing professional development of careers services professionals. I am also delighted that the DSC has committed to producing materials shortly that will promote the development of disability employability guidance and boost effective practice among HE providers and employers.

Advance HE's ‘Equality in higher education: Student statistical report 2020’ meanwhile shows similar continuation and qualification rates for disabled and non-disabled UK domiciled full-time first degree entrants (89.3% and 88.5%, respectively). 6.5% of disabled students who entered HE in academic year 2017/18 left HE with no award the following year, compared with 6.8% of non-disabled students. The report can be found here: https://www.advance-he.ac.uk/knowledge-hub/equality-higher-education-statistical-report-2020.

The Office for Students has a formal key performance measure to eliminate the gap in degree outcomes (firsts or 2:1s) between disabled students and non-disabled students by academic year 2024/25.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he plans to commission research to establish what is effective in improving the outcomes of disabled graduates.

This government believes it is important that disabled students receive an appropriate level of support wherever and whatever they choose to study and is committed to ensuring that all students with disabilities receive the support they need to enable them to study alongside their fellow students on an equal basis.

I am aware of the recommendations in the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services Disability Task Group's eighteenth annual ‘What Happens Next? 2021 Report’, looking at the outcomes of 2018 disabled graduates, and how the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle’s questions reflect those recommendations. The report can be found here: https://www.agcas.org.uk/Latest/what-happens-next-2021.

It is pleasing to see the Disabled Students’ Commission (DSC) is supporting the report’s recommendation that more research should be undertaken on the outcomes of disabled graduates, and that the commission’s upcoming primary research project will have a focus on disabled graduates and employment.

Good work in identifying barriers disabled students can face when moving into employment after graduation was also included in Policy Connect's ‘Arriving at Thriving’ report published in October 2020, following a six-month inquiry that included gathering evidence from over 500 disabled students, which can be accessed here: https://www.policyconnect.org.uk/research/arriving-thriving-learning-disabled-students-ensure-access-all.

I agree wholeheartedly with the report’s suggestion that higher education (HE) providers must recognise the importance for disabled students of good careers information, advice and guidance by investing in the regular training and continuing professional development of careers services professionals. I am also delighted that the DSC has committed to producing materials shortly that will promote the development of disability employability guidance and boost effective practice among HE providers and employers.

Advance HE's ‘Equality in higher education: Student statistical report 2020’ meanwhile shows similar continuation and qualification rates for disabled and non-disabled UK domiciled full-time first degree entrants (89.3% and 88.5%, respectively). 6.5% of disabled students who entered HE in academic year 2017/18 left HE with no award the following year, compared with 6.8% of non-disabled students. The report can be found here: https://www.advance-he.ac.uk/knowledge-hub/equality-higher-education-statistical-report-2020.

The Office for Students has a formal key performance measure to eliminate the gap in degree outcomes (firsts or 2:1s) between disabled students and non-disabled students by academic year 2024/25.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he plans to commission research to better understand (a) how disabled graduates (i) make decisions on (A) location and (B) basis of employment and (ii) make other career decisions and (b) the barriers that disabled graduates face in achieving their career ambitions.

This government believes it is important that disabled students receive an appropriate level of support wherever and whatever they choose to study and is committed to ensuring that all students with disabilities receive the support they need to enable them to study alongside their fellow students on an equal basis.

I am aware of the recommendations in the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services Disability Task Group's eighteenth annual ‘What Happens Next? 2021 Report’, looking at the outcomes of 2018 disabled graduates, and how the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle’s questions reflect those recommendations. The report can be found here: https://www.agcas.org.uk/Latest/what-happens-next-2021.

It is pleasing to see the Disabled Students’ Commission (DSC) is supporting the report’s recommendation that more research should be undertaken on the outcomes of disabled graduates, and that the commission’s upcoming primary research project will have a focus on disabled graduates and employment.

Good work in identifying barriers disabled students can face when moving into employment after graduation was also included in Policy Connect's ‘Arriving at Thriving’ report published in October 2020, following a six-month inquiry that included gathering evidence from over 500 disabled students, which can be accessed here: https://www.policyconnect.org.uk/research/arriving-thriving-learning-disabled-students-ensure-access-all.

I agree wholeheartedly with the report’s suggestion that higher education (HE) providers must recognise the importance for disabled students of good careers information, advice and guidance by investing in the regular training and continuing professional development of careers services professionals. I am also delighted that the DSC has committed to producing materials shortly that will promote the development of disability employability guidance and boost effective practice among HE providers and employers.

Advance HE's ‘Equality in higher education: Student statistical report 2020’ meanwhile shows similar continuation and qualification rates for disabled and non-disabled UK domiciled full-time first degree entrants (89.3% and 88.5%, respectively). 6.5% of disabled students who entered HE in academic year 2017/18 left HE with no award the following year, compared with 6.8% of non-disabled students. The report can be found here: https://www.advance-he.ac.uk/knowledge-hub/equality-higher-education-statistical-report-2020.

The Office for Students has a formal key performance measure to eliminate the gap in degree outcomes (firsts or 2:1s) between disabled students and non-disabled students by academic year 2024/25.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he plans to give higher education providers access to free school meals data to fulfill his request that universities focus their access and participation work on white boys on free schools meals as set out in his Strategic Guidance letter to the Office for Students on 5 February 2021.

The government is committed to transforming the lives of young people, so they can go as far as their hard work and talent will take them, regardless of their background or where they live. It is more crucial than ever before that we tap into the brilliant talent that our country has to offer, and make sure that university places are available to all who are qualified by ability and attainment to pursue them and who wish to do so.

All higher education (HE) providers wanting to charge higher level fees must also have an Access and Participation Plan agreed by the Office for Students (OfS), in which they set out the measures they intend to take to support students from disadvantaged backgrounds and under-represented groups to access and succeed in HE.

Through our recent guidance letter to the OfS, we have asked that their work to improve access and participation in HE should include a focus on white working-class boys who are currently the least likely group to progress to HE.

Departmental officials are working closely with the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) to explore how we can support HE providers to improve and enhance access to data collected by the Department, including free school meals (FSM) data. We recently gave approval to UCAS to incorporate FSM data into their multiple equality measure for the 2021 HE admissions cycle, which UCAS will make available to HE providers as part of their modernised contextual data service. My officials are continuing to work with UCAS to consider the changes required to their processes to enable the lawful sharing of FSM data directly with HE providers.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department plans to enable the sharing of free school meals data with higher education providers to allow institutions to better identify individuals from the groups least likely to enter higher education.

The government is committed to transforming the lives of young people, so they can go as far as their hard work and talent will take them, regardless of their background or where they live. It is more crucial than ever before that we tap into the brilliant talent that our country has to offer, and make sure that university places are available to all who are qualified by ability and attainment to pursue them and who wish to do so.

All higher education (HE) providers wanting to charge higher level fees must also have an Access and Participation Plan agreed by the Office for Students (OfS), in which they set out the measures they intend to take to support students from disadvantaged backgrounds and under-represented groups to access and succeed in HE.

Through our recent guidance letter to the OfS, we have asked that their work to improve access and participation in HE should include a focus on white working-class boys who are currently the least likely group to progress to HE.

Departmental officials are working closely with the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) to explore how we can support HE providers to improve and enhance access to data collected by the Department, including free school meals (FSM) data. We recently gave approval to UCAS to incorporate FSM data into their multiple equality measure for the 2021 HE admissions cycle, which UCAS will make available to HE providers as part of their modernised contextual data service. My officials are continuing to work with UCAS to consider the changes required to their processes to enable the lawful sharing of FSM data directly with HE providers.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that the Turing Scheme provides more opportunities for students from disadvantaged backgrounds than Erasmus+.

The Turing Scheme will be backed by £110 million, providing funding for around 35,000 students in universities, colleges and schools to go on study and work placements overseas, starting in September 2021. Further details are available on the new Turing Scheme website.

The Turing Scheme is an outward mobility scheme funding UK students to travel abroad. The UK is a world-leading destination for study and research, with four universities in the world’s top 10 and 18 in the top 100. The UK is currently second only to the USA as a destination for international higher education students with approximately 560,000 students from abroad and has been one of the most popular destinations within Erasmus+. It is clear that we have considerable appeal as a destination and partner in international mobilities and exchanges.

Under previous arrangements for student mobility, of which Erasmus+ was a prominent part, UK undergraduates from more advantaged backgrounds have been 1.7 times more likely to participate in mobility schemes compared to disadvantaged students.

Through the Turing Scheme, we will look to target those parts of the country with historically low levels of take-up with a view to boosting social mobility and support disadvantaged students with additional grants for living costs and travel expenses, making life-changing opportunities accessible to everyone across the country.

In order to increase the participation of disadvantaged groups we plan the following measures, which will maintain parity with or exceed the support provided by Erasmus+:

  • When bidding, providers will need to demonstrate how their project will support widening access. The assessment criteria will be heavily weighted towards this criterion.
  • Maintaining parity with Erasmus+ grant rates and existing student finance support but provide additional financial support for those from disadvantaged backgrounds by reimbursing travel-related costs.
  • We will actively target and promote the scheme in those geographical areas of disadvantage to help level up the country.
  • We have reduced the minimum higher education duration of outward mobilities from a minimum of one term to 4 weeks enabling a wider group of students to participate than was the case under current Erasmus+ programme.
Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the absence of reciprocal funding for incoming students in the Turing Scheme compared to Erasmus+.

The Turing Scheme will be backed by £110 million, providing funding for around 35,000 students in universities, colleges and schools to go on study and work placements overseas, starting in September 2021. Further details are available on the new Turing Scheme website.

The Turing Scheme is an outward mobility scheme funding UK students to travel abroad. The UK is a world-leading destination for study and research, with four universities in the world’s top 10 and 18 in the top 100. The UK is currently second only to the USA as a destination for international higher education students with approximately 560,000 students from abroad and has been one of the most popular destinations within Erasmus+. It is clear that we have considerable appeal as a destination and partner in international mobilities and exchanges.

Under previous arrangements for student mobility, of which Erasmus+ was a prominent part, UK undergraduates from more advantaged backgrounds have been 1.7 times more likely to participate in mobility schemes compared to disadvantaged students.

Through the Turing Scheme, we will look to target those parts of the country with historically low levels of take-up with a view to boosting social mobility and support disadvantaged students with additional grants for living costs and travel expenses, making life-changing opportunities accessible to everyone across the country.

In order to increase the participation of disadvantaged groups we plan the following measures, which will maintain parity with or exceed the support provided by Erasmus+:

  • When bidding, providers will need to demonstrate how their project will support widening access. The assessment criteria will be heavily weighted towards this criterion.
  • Maintaining parity with Erasmus+ grant rates and existing student finance support but provide additional financial support for those from disadvantaged backgrounds by reimbursing travel-related costs.
  • We will actively target and promote the scheme in those geographical areas of disadvantage to help level up the country.
  • We have reduced the minimum higher education duration of outward mobilities from a minimum of one term to 4 weeks enabling a wider group of students to participate than was the case under current Erasmus+ programme.
Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what comparative assessment he has made of the potential merits of the (a) Turing Scheme and (b) Erasmus+ for students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The Turing Scheme will be backed by £110 million, providing funding for around 35,000 students in universities, colleges and schools to go on study and work placements overseas, starting in September 2021. Further details are available on the new Turing Scheme website.

The Turing Scheme is an outward mobility scheme funding UK students to travel abroad. The UK is a world-leading destination for study and research, with four universities in the world’s top 10 and 18 in the top 100. The UK is currently second only to the USA as a destination for international higher education students with approximately 560,000 students from abroad and has been one of the most popular destinations within Erasmus+. It is clear that we have considerable appeal as a destination and partner in international mobilities and exchanges.

Under previous arrangements for student mobility, of which Erasmus+ was a prominent part, UK undergraduates from more advantaged backgrounds have been 1.7 times more likely to participate in mobility schemes compared to disadvantaged students.

Through the Turing Scheme, we will look to target those parts of the country with historically low levels of take-up with a view to boosting social mobility and support disadvantaged students with additional grants for living costs and travel expenses, making life-changing opportunities accessible to everyone across the country.

In order to increase the participation of disadvantaged groups we plan the following measures, which will maintain parity with or exceed the support provided by Erasmus+:

  • When bidding, providers will need to demonstrate how their project will support widening access. The assessment criteria will be heavily weighted towards this criterion.
  • Maintaining parity with Erasmus+ grant rates and existing student finance support but provide additional financial support for those from disadvantaged backgrounds by reimbursing travel-related costs.
  • We will actively target and promote the scheme in those geographical areas of disadvantage to help level up the country.
  • We have reduced the minimum higher education duration of outward mobilities from a minimum of one term to 4 weeks enabling a wider group of students to participate than was the case under current Erasmus+ programme.
Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
11th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of making Advanced Learner Loans available for (a) part-time and (b) modular higher education courses.

The government recognises the importance of studying flexibly and the benefits it can bring to individuals, employers and the wider economy.

We have made changes to support part-time undergraduate students and mature students. Since September 2012, eligible students undertaking part-time undergraduate courses have been able to apply for up-front tuition fee loans to meet the full costs of their tuition. Students starting to attend part-time degree level courses since August 2018 have also been able to access full-time equivalent loans as a contribution towards their living costs.

Advanced Learner Loans provide fees support for designated further education courses at advanced and higher levels, including levels 4 to 6. Those courses may be studied at an intensity decided by the student and institution. Fees are determined by the course subject and guided learning hours.

However, we need to take more radical steps to support lifelong learning. This is why my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, announced that we will introduce a flexible Lifelong Loan Entitlement equivalent to four years of post-18 education. The loan entitlement will be for modules at higher technical and degree levels (levels 4 to 6), as well as for full years of study. It will make it easier for adults and young people to study more flexibly, allowing them to space out their studies, transfer credits between institutions, and partake in more part-time study. We will consult on the detail and scope of the Lifelong Loan Entitlement this year, setting out proposals for how and when it will be introduced.

As recently set out in the Skills for Jobs white paper, while it is our intention that the Lifelong Loan Entitlement will ultimately be the primary route of funding for advanced technical and degree levels (levels 4 to 6), including modular provision, in the 2021/22 financial year we intend to fund trials of modular high-quality technical provision. This will stimulate demand and supply and improve our understanding of what works in delivering effective modular provision ahead of the introduction of the Lifelong Loan Entitlement.

We will continue to look at what other short-term changes could be helpful to ensure that we are continuously building towards the Lifelong Loan Entitlement, ensuring that we take advantage of any available opportunities to test and learn prior to its introduction.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make an assessment of the potential effect on higher education institutions of funding reductions resulting from the proposed removal of London Weighting from the Teaching Grant.

The higher education (HE) teaching grant will be reformed for the 2021-22 financial year to ensure that more of taxpayers’ money is spent on supporting HE provision which aligns with national priorities, such as healthcare, science, technology, engineering, mathematics and subjects meeting specific labour market needs.

London weighting funding is a small proportion of the overall income of providers and it is right for the government to re-allocate public money where it is most needed. Universities should not receive additional investment for teaching simply because of where they are located. Excellent provision can be delivered across the country.

London already has, on average, the highest percentage of good or outstanding schools, the highest progression to higher education, and more HE providers than any other region in England. This government is firmly committed to the levelling up agenda and this reform will invest more money directly into high quality institutions in the Midlands and the North.

The analysis we offer at this stage, as presented in the annex to the letter to the Office for Students (OfS), gives a broad indication of the impact of the changes to aid understanding. This letter can be accessed here: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/media/a3814453-4c28-404a-bf76-490183867d9a/rt-hon-gavin-williamson-cbe-mp-t-grant-ofs-chair-smb.pdf.

The OfS will consult on these changes shortly, before final allocations for the 2021-22 financial year are confirmed and will carefully consider the impact of any changes on providers.

We are also making available an additional £50 million of hardship funding this financial year. In total we have made £70 million of funding available for student hardship given the £20 million made available to higher education providers in December 2020. Providers will have flexibility in how they distribute the funding to students, in a way that will best prioritise those in greatest need.

This money is in addition to the £256 million of Student Premium funding higher education providers are able draw on this academic year towards student hardship funds, including the purchase of IT equipment and mental health support, as well as to support providers’ access and participation plans. Furthermore, we have asked the OfS to allocate £15 million towards student mental health in 2021/22 through the proposed reforms to teaching grant funding.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when he plans to publish the economic rationale behind the removal of the London Weighting aspect of the Teaching Grant for London-based universities.

The higher education (HE) teaching grant will be reformed for the 2021-22 financial year to ensure that more of taxpayers’ money is spent on supporting HE provision which aligns with national priorities, such as healthcare, science, technology, engineering, mathematics and subjects meeting specific labour market needs.

London weighting funding is a small proportion of the overall income of providers and it is right for the government to re-allocate public money where it is most needed. Universities should not receive additional investment for teaching simply because of where they are located. Excellent provision can be delivered across the country.

London already has, on average, the highest percentage of good or outstanding schools, the highest progression to higher education, and more HE providers than any other region in England. This government is firmly committed to the levelling up agenda and this reform will invest more money directly into high quality institutions in the Midlands and the North.

The analysis we offer at this stage, as presented in the annex to the letter to the Office for Students (OfS), gives a broad indication of the impact of the changes to aid understanding. This letter can be accessed here: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/media/a3814453-4c28-404a-bf76-490183867d9a/rt-hon-gavin-williamson-cbe-mp-t-grant-ofs-chair-smb.pdf.

The OfS will consult on these changes shortly, before final allocations for the 2021-22 financial year are confirmed and will carefully consider the impact of any changes on providers.

We are also making available an additional £50 million of hardship funding this financial year. In total we have made £70 million of funding available for student hardship given the £20 million made available to higher education providers in December 2020. Providers will have flexibility in how they distribute the funding to students, in a way that will best prioritise those in greatest need.

This money is in addition to the £256 million of Student Premium funding higher education providers are able draw on this academic year towards student hardship funds, including the purchase of IT equipment and mental health support, as well as to support providers’ access and participation plans. Furthermore, we have asked the OfS to allocate £15 million towards student mental health in 2021/22 through the proposed reforms to teaching grant funding.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when the Office for Students consultation on the proposed removal of London Weighting from the Teaching Grant for London-based universities in the financial year 2020-21 will be published.

The higher education (HE) teaching grant will be reformed for the 2021-22 financial year to ensure that more of taxpayers’ money is spent on supporting HE provision which aligns with national priorities, such as healthcare, science, technology, engineering, mathematics and subjects meeting specific labour market needs.

London weighting funding is a small proportion of the overall income of providers and it is right for the government to re-allocate public money where it is most needed. Universities should not receive additional investment for teaching simply because of where they are located. Excellent provision can be delivered across the country.

London already has, on average, the highest percentage of good or outstanding schools, the highest progression to higher education, and more HE providers than any other region in England. This government is firmly committed to the levelling up agenda and this reform will invest more money directly into high quality institutions in the Midlands and the North.

The analysis we offer at this stage, as presented in the annex to the letter to the Office for Students (OfS), gives a broad indication of the impact of the changes to aid understanding. This letter can be accessed here: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/media/a3814453-4c28-404a-bf76-490183867d9a/rt-hon-gavin-williamson-cbe-mp-t-grant-ofs-chair-smb.pdf.

The OfS will consult on these changes shortly, before final allocations for the 2021-22 financial year are confirmed and will carefully consider the impact of any changes on providers.

We are also making available an additional £50 million of hardship funding this financial year. In total we have made £70 million of funding available for student hardship given the £20 million made available to higher education providers in December 2020. Providers will have flexibility in how they distribute the funding to students, in a way that will best prioritise those in greatest need.

This money is in addition to the £256 million of Student Premium funding higher education providers are able draw on this academic year towards student hardship funds, including the purchase of IT equipment and mental health support, as well as to support providers’ access and participation plans. Furthermore, we have asked the OfS to allocate £15 million towards student mental health in 2021/22 through the proposed reforms to teaching grant funding.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what risk assessment his Department has conducted on allowing early years providers to remain open during the covid-19 lockdown announced in January 2021.

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. Early education gives children the communication and social skills which set them up for life. Caring for the youngest age group is not something that can be done remotely.

Public Health England's advice remains that young children are less susceptible to the virus and play a lower role in transmission, usually because young children have lower contact outside their household.

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 that the new variant of COVID-19 disproportionately affects young children. The current confirmed case rate of COVID-19 amongst young children remains the lowest of all age groups.

Furthermore, settings should continue to undertake risk assessments and implement the system of controls. It is a legal requirement that settings should revisit and update their risk assessments (building on the learning to date and the practices they have already developed). It is good practice to treat risk assessments during COVID-19 as a “living document” and keep them under very regular review in the light of any changing circumstances.

Further information on risk assessments and the system of controls can be found in the guidance here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/950653/Education_and_childcare_settings_-_national_lockdown_from_5_January_2021_.pdf.

25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to increase the number of students that are pursuing careers in the maritime sector.

Young people need information on the range of jobs and careers and encounters with employers to inspire them about what they can achieve. Information on the maritime sector is available from a number of sources. The National Careers Service provides independent, professional advice on careers, skills, and the labour market.

The Careers and Enterprise Company is making sure that every young person has access to inspiring encounters with the world of work, including work placements, work experience and other employer-based activities. It is offering support to schools by increasing the level of employer input into careers programmes.

Employers and professional bodies in the maritime sector can sign up to ‘Inspiring the Future’, run by the Education and Employers charity. This free programme allows volunteers to visit state schools to talk to pupils about their job. This will raise the profile of various careers within the maritime sector.

There are a number of apprenticeships in the maritime sector; at present four standards are available for delivery.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department plans to offer Free School Meal vouchers to people aged between 16-18 in full-time education during the period of covid-19 restrictions announced in January 2021.

Further education institutions should continue to provide support for students who are eligible for free meals, whether they are attending or studying remotely due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Institutions should continue to provide support in the most appropriate way based on their local circumstances.

Eligible 16-18 year old pupils attending school settings are able to receive free school meal support. Schools are free to decide the best approach for their free school meal pupils. They can provide lunch parcels, locally arranged vouchers, or they can use the national voucher scheme which re-opened on Monday 18 January.

Our full guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance-for-schools#free-meals-for-further-education-students.

18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether student nurses who are unable to complete the necessary clinical placement hours for qualification due to disruptions during the covid-19 outbreak will be asked to pay extra tuition fees if their courses are extended as a result.

Health Education England is working locally with each higher education provider so that placements are available and is supporting healthcare students to ensure that as many as possible graduate on time.

Institutions should not charge nursing students additional tuition fees in circumstances where they need more study time to complete their course as result of undertaking a paid placement in the NHS, or as result of needing to undertake clinical placements over an extended period.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether third year nursing students who voluntarily entered paid placements to assist with the covid-19 outbreak will be asked to pay extra tuition fees if their courses are extended as a result.

Health Education England is working locally with each higher education provider so that placements are available and is supporting healthcare students to ensure that as many as possible graduate on time.

Institutions should not charge nursing students additional tuition fees in circumstances where they need more study time to complete their course as result of undertaking a paid placement in the NHS, or as result of needing to undertake clinical placements over an extended period.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
15th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether students completing a Photography degree are permitted to complete practical work independently outside of their household during the January 2021 covid-19 lockdown period.

We know that higher education (HE) providers are working hard to review their arrangements to reflect the situation facing students during this period of national lockdown. We expect providers to ensure that continuing and prospective students receive the clear, accurate and timely information needed to make informed decisions. This includes making students aware of any potential for changes to arrangements for assessment at the earliest opportunity. Providers will make their own judgements based on the latest national and local public health guidance, taking account of the need to minimise risk to staff and students.

On 7 January, the department published updated guidance on the plans for students returning to higher education for the spring term. This guidance is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/higher-education-reopening-buildings-and-campuses. There is also general guidance on national lockdown, available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/national-lockdown-stay-at-home#when-you-can-leave-home.

As stated in the national guidance, everyone must stay at home wherever possible. It is permissible to leave the house for work and education where it cannot reasonably be done at home. However, we strongly encourage students to remain at home, and work with their providers to make plans that enable students to continue to stay at home in line with guidance wherever possible. For any academic work that takes place outside of the house, risk assessments should take place to ensure work can be conducted in a COVID-secure way and comply with social distancing guidelines. This exemption only applies if it is an essential part of the course and no alternative is available. During the period of lockdown, everyone should avoid all but essential contact and travel outside their household.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the proposed taskforce on the mental health challenges facing pupils, students and staff throughout the education sector, announced at the Education Committee hearing of 13 January 2021 on the impact of covid-19 on education and children’s services, what the planned timescale is for the establishment of that taskforce; what the remit will be of that taskforce; whether representatives of staff unions will be invited on to that taskforce; how pupils and students will be represented on that taskforce; and when that taskforce will make recommendations.

The government has made children’s wellbeing and mental health a central part of our response to the COVID-19 outbreak. We have been working with the Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health England to monitor the impact on children and young people and will confirm shortly the next steps for setting up the task force to build on that work and make sure that we continue to hear from those affected, including education staff.

The support we have already put in place for children and young people will be critical during this time. We continue to prioritise keeping early years settings open in full because of the clear benefits to children’s education and wellbeing. We know how important it is for children’s wellbeing to have social interactions with their peers and staff. In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, we are providing £1.15 million funding to existing charity grant partners to support disadvantaged and vulnerable parent and child mental health and wellbeing, and to help children catch up and transition back into early education.

The department has issued guidance for schools which includes information and sources of further advice on supporting mental health and wellbeing: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak.

Schools have the flexibility to offer a place in school as a vulnerable child to pupils for whom being in school will help them manage their mental health, or to access support more easily. Schools are also continuing to offer pastoral support to pupils working remotely at home, informed, and supported by training and expert advice that we have made available including through the £8 million Wellbeing for Education Return scheme and through local links with mental health providers. This information and support is relevant to remote provision as well as to those attending school. Schools should make sure that parents and pupils know who to contact if they have new concerns about mental health and wellbeing.

We are also committed to providing and signposting wellbeing guidance and support; and ensuring that specialist mental health support is available for those students and staff in further education (FE) who need it. Our guidance to the FE sector for the period of national lockdown includes a specific section on mental health, signposting providers to additional resources, such as webinars and online platforms, for supporting students and staff with their mental health and wellbeing.

The Department for Education College Collaboration Fund provides £5.4 million national programme of competitive grant funding for all statutory FE colleges to be delivered in this financial year 2020/21. We particularly welcomed applications that address one of five specific quality improvement needs, and five of the projects funded support student and/or staff mental health and wellbeing through online programmes and remote support.

With regards to students in higher education, it is for higher education providers as autonomous bodies to identify and address the needs of their student body and to decide what mental health and wellbeing support to put in place. At the start of, and throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, the government has asked universities to prioritise mental health support, and continue to support their students, which has included making services accessible from a distance. We encourage students to stay in touch with their provider’s student support and welfare teams, as these services are likely to continue to be an important source of assistance. Many providers have bolstered their existing mental health services, and adapted delivery mechanisms including reaching out to students who may be more vulnerable.

In October, my hon. Friend, the Minister of State for Universities, wrote to Vice Chancellors outlining that student welfare should remain a priority. The department have convened a working group of representatives from the higher education and health sectors, specifically to address the current and pressing issues that students are facing during the COVID-19 outbreak.

We have also worked with the Office for Students (OfS) to provide Student Space, which has been funded by up to £3 million by the OfS. Student Space is a mental health and wellbeing platform designed to bridge any gaps in support for students arising from this unprecedented situation and works alongside existing services. Ensuring students have access to quality mental health support is my top priority, which is why we asked the OfS to look at extending the platform. We are delighted they have been able to extend the platform to support students for the whole 2020/21 academic year.

Students struggling with their mental health can also access support via online resources from the NHS, Public Health England via the Better Health - Every Mind Matters website, and the mental health charity Mind.

We have also put in place support for staff. We have worked in partnership with the sector and mental health experts to announce a range of public commitments on mental health and wellbeing, including improving access to resources, building wellbeing into teacher training and policy making, and the creation of the first ever Education Staff Wellbeing Charter.

We have taken action to respond to the mental health needs of school leaders by launching a £95,000 pilot led by Education Support to provide online peer-support and telephone supervision from experts to around 250 school leaders. This service will run until March 2021. The outcome of the pilot will inform future wellbeing support.

Alongside this action in education for those who need specialist support or help, all NHS Mental Health Trusts are providing 24/7 open access telephone lines to support people of all ages and continue to deliver mental health support to children and young people. The government is continuing to invest in and prioritise mental health. The NHS will receive around an additional £500 million this year, to address waiting times for mental health services, give more people the mental health support they need, and invest in the NHS workforce.

13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what further support he plans to provide to support the mental health challenges facing pupils, students and staff throughout the education sector prior to recommendations from the proposed taskforce announced at the Education Committee hearing of 13 January 2021 on the impact of covid-19 on education and children’s services.

The government has made children’s wellbeing and mental health a central part of our response to the COVID-19 outbreak. We have been working with the Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health England to monitor the impact on children and young people and will confirm shortly the next steps for setting up the task force to build on that work and make sure that we continue to hear from those affected, including education staff.

The support we have already put in place for children and young people will be critical during this time. We continue to prioritise keeping early years settings open in full because of the clear benefits to children’s education and wellbeing. We know how important it is for children’s wellbeing to have social interactions with their peers and staff. In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, we are providing £1.15 million funding to existing charity grant partners to support disadvantaged and vulnerable parent and child mental health and wellbeing, and to help children catch up and transition back into early education.

The department has issued guidance for schools which includes information and sources of further advice on supporting mental health and wellbeing: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak.

Schools have the flexibility to offer a place in school as a vulnerable child to pupils for whom being in school will help them manage their mental health, or to access support more easily. Schools are also continuing to offer pastoral support to pupils working remotely at home, informed, and supported by training and expert advice that we have made available including through the £8 million Wellbeing for Education Return scheme and through local links with mental health providers. This information and support is relevant to remote provision as well as to those attending school. Schools should make sure that parents and pupils know who to contact if they have new concerns about mental health and wellbeing.

We are also committed to providing and signposting wellbeing guidance and support; and ensuring that specialist mental health support is available for those students and staff in further education (FE) who need it. Our guidance to the FE sector for the period of national lockdown includes a specific section on mental health, signposting providers to additional resources, such as webinars and online platforms, for supporting students and staff with their mental health and wellbeing.

The Department for Education College Collaboration Fund provides £5.4 million national programme of competitive grant funding for all statutory FE colleges to be delivered in this financial year 2020/21. We particularly welcomed applications that address one of five specific quality improvement needs, and five of the projects funded support student and/or staff mental health and wellbeing through online programmes and remote support.

With regards to students in higher education, it is for higher education providers as autonomous bodies to identify and address the needs of their student body and to decide what mental health and wellbeing support to put in place. At the start of, and throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, the government has asked universities to prioritise mental health support, and continue to support their students, which has included making services accessible from a distance. We encourage students to stay in touch with their provider’s student support and welfare teams, as these services are likely to continue to be an important source of assistance. Many providers have bolstered their existing mental health services, and adapted delivery mechanisms including reaching out to students who may be more vulnerable.

In October, my hon. Friend, the Minister of State for Universities, wrote to Vice Chancellors outlining that student welfare should remain a priority. The department have convened a working group of representatives from the higher education and health sectors, specifically to address the current and pressing issues that students are facing during the COVID-19 outbreak.

We have also worked with the Office for Students (OfS) to provide Student Space, which has been funded by up to £3 million by the OfS. Student Space is a mental health and wellbeing platform designed to bridge any gaps in support for students arising from this unprecedented situation and works alongside existing services. Ensuring students have access to quality mental health support is my top priority, which is why we asked the OfS to look at extending the platform. We are delighted they have been able to extend the platform to support students for the whole 2020/21 academic year.

Students struggling with their mental health can also access support via online resources from the NHS, Public Health England via the Better Health - Every Mind Matters website, and the mental health charity Mind.

We have also put in place support for staff. We have worked in partnership with the sector and mental health experts to announce a range of public commitments on mental health and wellbeing, including improving access to resources, building wellbeing into teacher training and policy making, and the creation of the first ever Education Staff Wellbeing Charter.

We have taken action to respond to the mental health needs of school leaders by launching a £95,000 pilot led by Education Support to provide online peer-support and telephone supervision from experts to around 250 school leaders. This service will run until March 2021. The outcome of the pilot will inform future wellbeing support.

Alongside this action in education for those who need specialist support or help, all NHS Mental Health Trusts are providing 24/7 open access telephone lines to support people of all ages and continue to deliver mental health support to children and young people. The government is continuing to invest in and prioritise mental health. The NHS will receive around an additional £500 million this year, to address waiting times for mental health services, give more people the mental health support they need, and invest in the NHS workforce.

12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what support his Department is making available to private GCSE and A Level candidates in response to the cancellation of examinations due to take place in summer 2021.

As a result of the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, the Department will not be asking pupils to sit GCSE, AS and A level exams this summer as planned.

The Department has been clear that it is important to find an accessible route for private candidates, and those not in school this year, to be assessed and receive a grade. We have launched a two week consultation on how to fairly award all pupils a grade that supports them to progress to the next stage of their lives. We will continue to engage with a range of relevant stakeholders when developing plans for our policy on GCSE, AS and A level assessments in 2021, as will the exams regulator Ofqual. A full equalities impact assessment, informed by the results of the consultation, will be published in due course.

8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what risk assessment his Department has conducted on the transmission rate of covid-19 in nurseries.

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/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak.

Schools have been restricted because additional measures are needed to contain the spread of the virus. The wider significant restrictions in place as part of the national lockdown to contain the spread of the virus in the community 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 COVID-19 disproportionately affects young children.

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. 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.

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 evidenced in the report: Modelling and behavioural science responses to scenarios for relaxing school closures showed that early years provision had a smaller relative impact on transmission rate when modelled with both primary schools and secondary schools. The report is available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/886994/s0257-sage-sub-group-modelling-behavioural-science-relaxing-school-closures-sage30.pdf.

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 through the COVID-19 outbreak 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 the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of gathering (a) data on pupil absence due to the covid-19 outbreak and (b) other data on pupils to assist universities with the entrance selection for 2021.

We recognise that students applying to university in 2021 have experienced unprecedented disruption to their education as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Universities have an important role to play in ensuring that this is a country where everyone can reach their potential, regardless of their background or ethnicity.

Universities are independent and autonomous institutions. As such, how to use data in their admissions decisions is a matter for each individual higher education provider.

However, we would encourage universities to be flexible when making offers to individual students whose education has been disproportionally and adversely impacted from the COVID-19 outbreak, to ensure that these students are able to receive fair offers for 2021. We will give further and higher education providers the earliest possible indication of the process and timescale for how grades will be awarded this year, so they can plan accordingly.

The department continues to regularly publish statistics on pupil attendance and COVID-related absence in schools.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what incentives are in place to encourage employers to offer supported internships to young people with Education, Health and Care Plans.

It is a priority of the department to improve the outcomes of young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). The SEND Code of Practice states that all children and young people with SEND should be prepared for adulthood, including employment, and that this preparation should start early.

As structured study programmes based primarily at an employer, supported internships help young people aged 16-24 with an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan to achieve sustainable paid employment through learning in the workplace. There are no financial employer incentives, but in 2017, the government provided £9.7 million for local authorities to train additional job coaches to support young people with SEND on work placements, and to establish local supported internship forums, to bring together education providers, local authorities, employers and other key figures to identify local opportunities and overcome the local barriers to create a supported internship programme.

The number of young people undertaking a supported internship has been rising annually. The most recent report was in January 2020 and showed that 2,231 young people with EHC plans were undertaking supported internships, an increase from 1,646 from the same time in 2019 and 1,186 in 2018.

Work is currently ongoing as part of the SEND Review to consider how best to continue to boost employment outcomes for young people on EHC Plans. Our ambition is to publish proposals for public consultation in the spring of 2021, as soon as it is practicable to do so, working with children, young people, their families and experts across education, health and care to deliver our common goal of improving the SEND system.

30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans his Department has to ensure universities provide adequate support for lost learning during the covid-19 outbreak to new students in the 2021 intake.

We recognise students have experienced unprecedented disruption to their education this year and this disruption has not fallen equally across the country.

In December 2020, 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. In light of the decision to cancel exams, the department is working to finalise the terms of reference and membership of the group. We will ensure that membership is representative of the sector and is geographically diverse. Further details on membership and priorities of the group will be provided in due course.

We will consider the advice of the group and work closely with sector leaders in the higher education taskforce on any recommendations arising.

Universities are extremely aware of the difficulties that students have faced this year and we encourage them to take this into account and be flexible when making offers to students and when supporting them in their transition into higher education.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure the UK remains an attractive destination for education for international students.

The government remains clear that our world-leading universities, which thrive on being global institutions, are and will always be open to international students.

This has been particularly evident since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, where the government has worked closely with the higher education sector to ensure existing rules and processes are as flexible as possible, so that international students wanting to study at UK universities remotely or in person, where appropriate under the current circumstances, can do so. This includes the ability to engage via distance learning and blended learning for the duration of the 2020/21 academic year, provided that students intend to transition to face-to-face learning as soon as circumstances allow.

The UK was one of the first countries to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak by introducing comprehensive immigration flexibility for international students and staff, and the government has implemented a number of concessions to assist visa holders in the UK who have been impacted by global travel and health restrictions. This has included offering extensions of visas for those whose leave expired and relaxing the rules on visa switching in the UK, as well as confirming that existing international students who have been studying by distance/blended learning will remain eligible to apply for the new graduate route. This will offer a non-extendable period of leave to stay and work in the UK at any skill level for 2 years (3 for doctoral graduates), provided they are in the UK by 6 April 2021 and meet the other requirements of the route. The graduate route represents a significant improvement in our offer to international students and will help ensure our higher education sector remains competitive internationally. In December 2020, the government also confirmed that students commencing a one-year Masters programme in January 2021 will remain eligible for the graduate route even if they are studying remotely, provided they enter the UK before 27 September 2021 and complete the final semester of their studies in the UK.

To further enhance the UK’s reputation as an attractive study destination, the government launched the student route in October 2020. This route streamlines the immigration process for international students, improving student experience; allows for an extended 6-month application window for prospective students; and allows greater scope for international students to apply for further leave as a student or to switch into other routes from inside the UK (in-country switching).  This, coupled with the graduate route, means the UK now has a world-class student visa offer befitting our world-class higher education sector.

The picture is looking more positive now than it did in the summer when the higher education sector projected a large decline in international student numbers. Recent UCAS data shows that there has been a 11% increase in acceptances for non-UK full-time undergraduate applicants between 2019 and 2020, although this is dependent on ongoing developments in context of the global health situation.

We are doing our utmost to continue to attract and support international students as well as the sector during this unprecedented time. We continue to work with the sector, devolved administrations and posts overseas delivering a package of bespoke communications that directly targets international students, making clear our world-leading UK offer. As part of this communications activity, the government approved £1 million for the British Council-led Study UK campaign to help drive international student intake from 16 global markets and further promote the graduate route.

Professor Sir Steve Smith, the UK’s new International Education Champion who was appointed in the summer of 2020, will also assist in opening up export growth opportunities for the whole UK education sector, tackling international challenges such as attracting international students to both our schools and universities and helping to forge lasting global connections. The government has also committed to publish an International Education Strategy update (in early 2021), which will respond to the new context and challenges that are posed across all education settings.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what progress his Department has made in meeting the Government's International Education Strategy export targets.

In December 2020, the Department for Education published updated statistics showing that education exports and transnational education activity generated £23.3 billion for the UK economy in 2018, an increase of 8.9% since 2017.

In 2019, the International Education Strategy set out the government’s ambition to increase the value of education exports to £35 billion per year and increase the total number of international students choosing to study in the UK higher education system each year to 600,000 by 2030.

The latest published data on the number of international students choosing to study at a UK higher education institution, which precedes the publication of the International Education Strategy in March 2019, shows that the UK hosted around 490,000 international students in the 2018/19 academic year. Recent UCAS data shows that there has been a 11% increase in acceptances for non-UK full-time undergraduate applicants between 2019 and 2020, though this is dependent on ongoing developments in the context of the global health situation. Currently, it is too early to assess the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the number of international students studying in the UK.

As part of the government’s commitment to review progress of the International Education Strategy, the Department for Education is working with the Department for International Trade to produce an update to the International Education Strategy, to be published early this year, outlining plans to support recovery and growth in the sector towards this education exports ambition, through the outbreak and beyond.

Further information can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/uk-revenue-from-education-related-exports-and-transnational-education-activity-2018, https://www.hesa.ac.uk/news/16-01-2020/sb255-higher-education-student-statistics/location, and https://www.ucas.com/data-and-analysis/undergraduate-statistics-and-reports/ucas-undergraduate-sector-level-end-cycle-data-resources-2020.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will publish his Department's assessment of the amount of additional funding allocated for home to school transport since September 2020 that has been provided to coach operators.

Since September 2020, the Department has provided local transport authorities with £98.5 million in grant allocations. Local transport authorities are using this funding to increase transport capacity on dedicated school and college transport during the COVID-19 outbreak. This includes hiring significant numbers of additional vehicles, including coaches. Allocations to local transport authorities are published at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/extended-rights-to-free-school-travel--2.

We have not provided any additional home to school transport funding directly to coach operators.

30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much of the Government funding allocated for additional home to school transport since September 2020 has been provided to coach operators.

Since September 2020, the Department has provided local transport authorities with £98.5 million in grant allocations. Local transport authorities are using this funding to increase transport capacity on dedicated school and college transport during the COVID-19 outbreak. This includes hiring significant numbers of additional vehicles, including coaches. Allocations to local transport authorities are published at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/extended-rights-to-free-school-travel--2.

We have not provided any additional home to school transport funding directly to coach operators.

7th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department plans to provide financial support to student nurses for their time on placement during the covid-19 outbreak.

Students who volunteered on a paid placement as part of the COVID-19 response received a salary and automatic NHS pension entitlement at the appropriate band. Since September 2020, all eligible new and continuing nursing, midwifery and many allied health students on pre-registration courses at English universities can benefit from at least £5,000 per academic year of additional maintenance grant funding, which they will not need to pay back. This funding is in addition to the support that students can already access through the student loans system, subject to eligibility, and the existing learning support fund, which includes funding for childcare, specific support for placements through travel and dual accommodation expenses and support for exceptional hardship.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the potential loss of earnings to students prevented from returning to their term-time jobs by plans for a staggered return to universities in the 2021.

We are committed to prioritising education and want to enable all students who have travelled home for the winter break to return to their universities and resume blended learning. While we are confident that face-to-face teaching as an element of blended learning can be done in COVID-secure environments, the mass movement of students across the country has been identified as a possible transmission risk by public health experts. In order to manage this risk whilst reducing disruption to education, we advise that students return to university during a period staggered over five weeks. Further details can be found in the ‘Students returning to higher education for spring term guidance’ published on 2 December and available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/higher-education-reopening-buildings-and-campuses/students-returning-to-higher-education-from-spring-term.

We realise that this year has been incredibly difficult for students and we are aware of the disproportionate impact the crisis will have on some students. In these exceptional circumstances some students may face financial hardship. Students experiencing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19 should contact their higher education provider.

The department has worked with the Office for Students (OfS) to clarify that providers are able to use existing funds, worth around £23 million per month for April to July this year and £256 million for academic year 2020/21, towards hardship support. On 2 December, we announced that we will be making available up to £20 million on a one-off basis to support those that need it most, particularly disadvantaged students. Further detail will be set out in due course, and we will work with the OfS to do this.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the cost to universities of testing all students returning in the new year 2021; and what assessment he has made of the potential merits of providing financial support to universities to deliver those tests.

Following the end of term break, our top priority for January 2021 is the welfare of students, staff and the wider communities around higher education (HE) providers. As stated in the January 2021 student return guidance, published on 2 December 2020, all HE providers should offer asymptomatic mass testing to all students on their return. The guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/higher-education-reopening-buildings-and-campuses/students-returning-to-higher-education-from-spring-term.

The Department for Education is actively working with the Department for Health and Social Care to ensure that all HE providers can deliver government supported asymptomatic test sites utilising lateral flow devices, which will help to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 transmission during the staggered return.

Personal protective equipment and kits will be provided to HE providers at no cost, along with access to digital solutions, training and clinical guidance to support testing. A cost recovery model is also in place for providers to recover costs for workforce, site set up and site furnishings.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what information he holds on the rate of graduate employment for people who finished university in summer 2020.

Statistics on graduate employment in the calendar year 2020 will be published in our annual “Graduate Labour Market Statistics” release in April 2021.

Statistics specifically relating to the 2020 graduating cohort and their outcomes 15 months after graduation will be published by the Higher Education Statistics Agency from their “Graduate Outcomes (GO) survey” in mid-2022.

We recognise that a number of 2020 and 2021 graduates will face challenges gaining employment due to the adverse impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the UK labour market and economy.

The Recruitment and Employment Federation has found an increase in the confidence of bosses to start hiring again, and we are doing all we can to help people find roles if they are at the start of their career journey. Our nationwide network of Work Coaches is supporting jobseekers and matching them with employers who are recruiting.

As part of the government’s Skills Recovery package plan for jobs, we are investing an additional £32 million in the National Careers Service up to March 2022. This investment will provide individual careers advice for 269,000 more people whose jobs or learning have been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Many higher education providers have developed new and innovative ways to support students and graduates who are looking to continue their studies or to prepare for employment. The Department for Education is working with Universities UK, the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services, the Institute of Student Employers, the Office for Students and the higher education sector to identify and help promote the overall range of support offered to graduates who are looking to enter the labour market or continue their studies at this challenging time.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what information he holds on graduate employment rates for people who completed an undergraduate degree in 2020.

Statistics on graduate employment in the calendar year 2020 will be published in our annual “Graduate Labour Market Statistics” release in April 2021.

Statistics specifically relating to the 2020 graduating cohort and their outcomes 15 months after graduation will be published by the Higher Education Statistics Agency from their “Graduate Outcomes (GO) survey” in mid-2022.

We recognise that a number of 2020 and 2021 graduates will face challenges gaining employment due to the adverse impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the UK labour market and economy.

The Recruitment and Employment Federation has found an increase in the confidence of bosses to start hiring again, and we are doing all we can to help people find roles if they are at the start of their career journey. Our nationwide network of Work Coaches is supporting jobseekers and matching them with employers who are recruiting.

As part of the government’s Skills Recovery package plan for jobs, we are investing an additional £32 million in the National Careers Service up to March 2022. This investment will provide individual careers advice for 269,000 more people whose jobs or learning have been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Many higher education providers have developed new and innovative ways to support students and graduates who are looking to continue their studies or to prepare for employment. The Department for Education is working with Universities UK, the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services, the Institute of Student Employers, the Office for Students and the higher education sector to identify and help promote the overall range of support offered to graduates who are looking to enter the labour market or continue their studies at this challenging time.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to publish a plan for a managed student return to universities at the start of 2021.

Following the end of term break, our top priority for January 2021 will be the welfare of students, staff, and the communities around higher education providers. We are looking to utilise mass testing to make the return to higher education as safe as possible, and will provide further guidance in due course, considering future developments and the relevant scientific advice.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to publish guidance on continuing education after 9 December 2020 for students undertaking teacher training placements.

The Department has published guidance confirming that initial teacher training (ITT) trainees can continue their school placements after 9 December 2020, until the end of the school term, where they are operationally essential and content to do so. The guidance is published here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/higher-education-reopening-buildings-and-campuses/student-movement-and-plans-for-the-end-of-autumn-2020-term#healthcare-and-other-students-on-placements-returning-home-during-december.

19th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effect on student loan repayments for people living in overseas countries experiencing hyperinflation.

The repayment of student loans is governed by the Education (Student Loans) (Repayment) Regulations 2009 (as amended). The Student Loans Company has arrangements in place to collect repayments from all borrowers who move away from the UK by establishing a repayment schedule based on the borrower’s income.

Overseas repayment thresholds are calculated using World Bank cost of living data, which is used to compare differences between the cost of living in the UK and other countries. This data is reviewed annually. The thresholds take account of living costs in different countries, so that repayments are based on ability to repay, wherever the borrower lives.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
19th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to change the regulations governing the Student Loans Company to enable that company to make adjustments to repayments for people living in overseas countries undergoing hyperinflation.

The repayment of student loans is governed by the Education (Student Loans) (Repayment) Regulations 2009 (as amended). The Student Loans Company has arrangements in place to collect repayments from all borrowers who move away from the UK by establishing a repayment schedule based on the borrower’s income.

Overseas repayment thresholds are calculated using World Bank cost of living data, which is used to compare differences between the cost of living in the UK and other countries. This data is reviewed annually. The thresholds take account of living costs in different countries, so that repayments are based on ability to repay, wherever the borrower lives.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to his letter to vice chancellors dated 18 November 2019 whether all universities have completed the review requested of them to ensure adherence to building and fire safety regulations; and what matters have been identified as arising from those reviews.

The safety of students and staff across the education estate remains Ministers' highest priority. My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, received a 100% response from higher education (HE) institutions following his letter of 18 November 2019, which asked them to review their fire safety arrangements.

HE institutions are autonomous bodies and they are responsible for the buildings they own. We expect them to take into account the latest building safety guidance for owners of multi-storey, residential buildings published on 20 January this year by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG).

The evacuation of the student accommodation owned by Paragon was co-ordinated by the building owners with the relevant universities. Students were moved quickly to new accommodation, and the process was monitored by departmental officials.

The department has received a copy of a report on the cause of the fire at The Cube. Further action is for the local authorities. Department officials continue to work closely with their MHCLG counterparts to ensure action is taken across the education estate, including in response to the January guidance, as part of cross government work on fire safety working with the sector and local authorities.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department has made an assessment of the role of the fire safety review, called for in his letter of the 18 November 2019 to vice chancellors, in the evacuation of the Paragon student accommodation in October 2020.

The safety of students and staff across the education estate remains Ministers' highest priority. My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, received a 100% response from higher education (HE) institutions following his letter of 18 November 2019, which asked them to review their fire safety arrangements.

HE institutions are autonomous bodies and they are responsible for the buildings they own. We expect them to take into account the latest building safety guidance for owners of multi-storey, residential buildings published on 20 January this year by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG).

The evacuation of the student accommodation owned by Paragon was co-ordinated by the building owners with the relevant universities. Students were moved quickly to new accommodation, and the process was monitored by departmental officials.

The department has received a copy of a report on the cause of the fire at The Cube. Further action is for the local authorities. Department officials continue to work closely with their MHCLG counterparts to ensure action is taken across the education estate, including in response to the January guidance, as part of cross government work on fire safety working with the sector and local authorities.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department has received a copy of the final report into the cause of the fire at The Cube student accommodation in Bolton last year; and what steps his Department has taken in response to that matter.

The safety of students and staff across the education estate remains Ministers' highest priority. My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, received a 100% response from higher education (HE) institutions following his letter of 18 November 2019, which asked them to review their fire safety arrangements.

HE institutions are autonomous bodies and they are responsible for the buildings they own. We expect them to take into account the latest building safety guidance for owners of multi-storey, residential buildings published on 20 January this year by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG).

The evacuation of the student accommodation owned by Paragon was co-ordinated by the building owners with the relevant universities. Students were moved quickly to new accommodation, and the process was monitored by departmental officials.

The department has received a copy of a report on the cause of the fire at The Cube. Further action is for the local authorities. Department officials continue to work closely with their MHCLG counterparts to ensure action is taken across the education estate, including in response to the January guidance, as part of cross government work on fire safety working with the sector and local authorities.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that the application for disabled students' allowance (a) recognises the challenges of the applicant's disability and (b) is (i) straightforward to complete and (ii) processed in a timely manner.

The Student Loans Company offers a telephone service, to help students who are unable to complete either an online or paper application, for Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs).

Parts of the online DSAs application are pre-populated from a student’s main Student Finance application. The online application therefore requires the student only to add information concerning their disability. Paper DSAs applications are not pre-populated, are more detailed, and will consequently take slightly longer to complete.

Initial applications are currently taking around 19 working days to be reviewed, but the Student Loans Company is working to process all DSA applications within a reasonable timeframe. Updates on processing times are published regularly at: https://www.practitioners.slc.co.uk/exchange-blog/.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether baby massage groups are exempt from the November 2020 covid-19 restrictions; and if his Department will publish guidance on that matter.

Baby massage groups need to meet necessary exceptions to continue during the COVID-19 November 2020 national restrictions.

Where these are held in Ofsted registered settings, they should follow government guidance on the COVID-19 outbreak for early years and childcare providers. This is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures.

Support groups for new parents in community settings, such as places of worship, community centres or halls, or libraries, and that are essential to deliver in person, can continue. These can be conducted with up to 15 participants where formally organised to provide mutual aid, therapy, or any other form of support. These groups must be organised by a business, a charitable, benevolent, or philanthropic institution, or a public body, and must follow COVID-19 secure guidance. Restricted businesses which are required to close, such as coffee shops, cannot hold support groups. When national restrictions apply, in determining the limit of 15 participants, no account is to be taken of any child who is below the age of 5.

Informal groups, such as those organised by a parent, need to comply with the gathering and household mixing rules. In practice, during the period of national restrictions, this means these groups should only meet virtually.

Supervised activity for children can continue to take place where it is reasonably necessary to enable parents to work, search for work or to undertake training or education, for example in indoor gyms, fitness studios, indoor sports facilities and other indoor leisure centres, community centres or halls.

30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to increase covid-19 testing capacity in and around universities at the end of the 2020 autumn term.

We have quickly established walk-through sites and deployed mobile test sites so that almost all universities are within 1.5 miles, allowing staff and students to get access to tests should they develop symptoms. Testing capacity is the highest it has ever been and we are seeing significant demand. The department continues to work closely with the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC), and with sector representatives, to ensure that any students who display symptoms can have quick and easy access to testing.

As part of our ongoing work to develop new testing technology, we are currently piloting the use of lateral flow tests with a number of universities. This is a clinically validated swab antigen test that does not require a laboratory for processing and can turnaround rapid results within an hour at the location of the test. Piloting this technology will help us better understand where to best use it and how it can be operationalised in the real world; to protect those at high risk, find the virus and help enable us to go back to as normal a way of life as possible. They will also form the foundations to delivering mass testing, testing large numbers of people in a short period of time, with test results made available quickly, so that people in environments such as schools, colleges, and universities can be reassured more quickly that they are not infected, or isolate themselves more quickly if they are.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to ask Ofqual to publish the minutes of its board meetings that have taken place since September 2019.

This is a matter for Ofqual, the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation. The Department has asked its interim Chief Regulator, Dame Glenys Stacey, to write directly to the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle. A copy of her reply will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department holds data on the number of university students who have deferred their studies since the beginning of the 2020-21 academic year.

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) have published data on the number of deferrals during the 2020 applications cycle.

The latest data, as at 10 September 2020, can be found on UCAS’s website at: https://www.ucas.com/data-and-analysis/undergraduate-statistics-and-reports/statistical-releases-daily-clearing-analysis-2020.

This shows that, at this point, 25,520 of all UK applicants placed at UK higher education providers had deferred their place, which equates to 5.8% of all placed applicants. This is a 0.1 percentage point increase on the previous year; at the same point in the previous applications cycle (2019), 5.7% of all placed UK applicants had deferred their place.

Applicant data by deferral status for all domiciles can be found at the link provided.

Final figures from UCAS will be published at the end of the year.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when he intends to publish his plans for the safe return of students home from universities at the end of the autumn 2020 term.

As my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, announced to the House on Tuesday 29 September, the department is working with universities to make sure that all students are supported to return home safely and spend Christmas with their loved ones, if they choose to do so. Where students choose to stay in their university accommodation over Christmas, universities should continue making sure that they are well looked after. The department is working with the sector to publish guidance on students returning home safely at Christmas and expects to publish it shortly.

The safety and wellbeing of staff and students in higher education is always our priority. The government is doing all it can to minimise the risks to those working and studying in our higher education institutions, during this unprecedented situation, whilst mitigating the impact on education.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
7th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of making financial support available to students wishing to complete a second undergraduate degree.

Students studying on a strategically important course are already able to access student support for a qualification at an equivalent or lower level to one they already hold.

For other students, those who already have a qualification that is equivalent to or at a higher level than the course they wish to study, will not qualify for maintenance or fee support. This ensures that finite public funds are focussed on those studying a higher education qualification for the first time.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
5th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many universities are currently operating under tier (a) one, (b) two, (c) three and (d) four covid-19 restrictions; and how many students are represented in each of those tier restriction categories.

Universities agree their COVID-19 outbreak plans with their local Directors of Public Health, and those plans are shared with the department.

The situation is evolving constantly as students return to higher education. So far we know that 4 universities have moved to tier three, with these decisions being made in collaboration with local public health teams. Other universities are in either tier 1 or tier 2.


Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
5th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has plans in place to send free school meals to the homes of eligible children who are self-isolating as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

As schools and their kitchens are now open, they should provide healthy, nutritious meal options for all children who are in school. Meals should be available free of charge to all infant pupils and pupils who meet the benefits-related free school meals eligibility criteria. If children are eligible for benefit-related free school meals but are self-isolating, we expect catering providers to be in a strong position to support any eligible pupils through food parcels, be those daily or weekly. We have put guidance in place for schools on how they can support children in these circumstances, which is complemented by advice from the schools food trade organisation, LACA, and Public Health England on what a good food parcel should comprise. Our latest guidance for schools is set out here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance-for-schools.

2nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to his letter to the hon Member for Hull West and Hessle of 21 September 2020, how much of the £100 million allocated to support remote education has been (a) allocated to and (b) claimed by university students.

The department invested over £100 million to help provide laptops and devices for disadvantaged children and young people so they can access education and social care services remotely.

The department distributed laptops, tablets and 4G wireless routers for disadvantaged children in year 10, children receiving support from a social worker and care leavers to ensure these children and young people could continue to access education and vital social care services online during the COVID-19 outbreak.

As part of this, we have provided devices for care leavers, including those who might be studying at university.

Information on the equipment distributed to care leavers, including those studying in higher education, is held by local authorities.

Data on the number of care leavers in higher education are included in the report ‘Children Looked After in England (including adoption), year ending 31 March 2019’. This data shows that 6% of 19 to 21-year-old care leavers were known to be in higher education. This report is available at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/children-looked-after-in-england-including-adoption-2018-to-2019.

The government has also worked closely with the Office for Students to help clarify that higher education providers can draw upon existing funding to provide hardship funds and support disadvantaged students impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. Providers are able to use the funding, worth around £256 million for the academic year 2020/21 towards student hardship funds, including the purchase of IT equipment.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
30th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to his oral contribution of 29 September 2020, official report, on students’ return to universities, whether funding is available for new applications from students or education institutions for support with digital access.

The department invested over £100 million to help provide laptops and devices for disadvantaged children and young people so they can access education and social care services remotely. As part of this, we have provided devices for care leavers, including those who are studying at university.

The government has also worked closely with the Office for Students to help clarify that providers can draw upon existing funding to provide hardship funds and support disadvantaged students impacted by COVID-19. Providers are able to use the funding, worth around £256 million for the academic year 2020/21 towards student hardship funds, including the purchase of IT equipment.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when he plans to respond to the independent review of the Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework conducted by Dame Shirley Pearce and submitted in August 2019.

The Higher Education and Research Act (2017) requires that the report of the independent review of the Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework should be laid before Parliament.

The reviewer, Dame Shirley Pearce, has submitted her report to ministers and we are considering the report’s evidence and recommendations. We intend to lay the report in due course, and publish it alongside the government’s response.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he (a) has taken and (b) plans to take to provide additional financial support to higher education students in response the covid-19 outbreak.

The government is aware of the disproportionate impact that the COVID-19 outbreak will have on some students. Officials are working with the sector to continue to monitor the situation.

The government has already worked closely with the Office for Students to help clarify that providers can draw upon existing funding to provide hardship funds and support disadvantaged students impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Providers were able to use the funding, worth around £23 million per month for April to July this year and £256 million for the academic year 2020/21 starting from August, towards student hardship funds, including for the purchase of IT equipment and mental health support, as well as to support providers’ access and participation plans.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, (a) how and (b) what steps he is taking to monitor changes in the level of drop-out rates among higher education students due to the covid-19 outbreak in the 2020-21 academic year.

Data on students leaving their higher education studies and not continuing their studies following their year of entry are collected and published by the Higher Education Statistics Agency.

We have set up a Higher Education Task Force, involving representatives from across the government and the higher education sector. The taskforce meets weekly to explore the challenges currently facing the sector as it continues to deal with the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak. Where there is emerging evidence of increasing drop-out rates presented by or to the taskforce, its members will seek to understand and address the possible impact of COVID-19.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
23rd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he plans to issue updated covid-19 guidance to children's residential care homes.

On Friday 25 September, we published updated COVID-19 guidance for children’s social care services, which includes guidance on residential provision for children. The guidance is available at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-childrens-social-care-services/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-local-authorities-on-childrens-social-care.

21st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent estimate he has been made of the number of university students unable to provide a suitable guarantor for their securing accommodation.

We do not collate or currently hold information pertaining to the number of university students unable to provide a suitable guarantor for securing their accommodation.

Any student struggling to provide a guarantor should, in the first instance, speak to the specialist accommodation team at their higher education (HE) provider to discuss the options available to them. Some HE providers operate a rent guarantor scheme for those students unable to provide a suitable guarantor to secure their accommodation. Students will receive scheduled payments of loans towards their living costs for the current 2020/21 academic year. Many HE providers will have hardship funds to support students in times of need.

The expectation is that, where any student requires additional support, providers will support them through their own hardship funds.

The government is aware of the disproportionate impact that the COVID-19 outbreak will have on some students. Officials are working with the sector to continue to monitor the situation.

The government has already worked closely with the Office for Students (OfS) to help clarify that providers can draw upon existing funding to provide hardship funds and support disadvantaged students impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. Providers were able to use the funding, worth around £23 million per month for April to July, this year and £256 million for the 2020/21 academic year starting from August, towards student hardship funds, including the purchase of IT equipment and mental health support as well as to support providers’ access and participation plans.

We have also allocated £100 million to support remote education, including to provide routers and laptops to vulnerable students, prioritising care leavers, including those at university.

The Student Space platform, which is funded by the OfS, bridges gaps in support for students arising from this unprecedented situation and is designed to work alongside existing services.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
21st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of providing support to university students unable to provide a guarantor to secure their accommodation.

We do not collate or currently hold information pertaining to the number of university students unable to provide a suitable guarantor for securing their accommodation.

Any student struggling to provide a guarantor should, in the first instance, speak to the specialist accommodation team at their higher education (HE) provider to discuss the options available to them. Some HE providers operate a rent guarantor scheme for those students unable to provide a suitable guarantor to secure their accommodation. Students will receive scheduled payments of loans towards their living costs for the current 2020/21 academic year. Many HE providers will have hardship funds to support students in times of need.

The expectation is that, where any student requires additional support, providers will support them through their own hardship funds.

The government is aware of the disproportionate impact that the COVID-19 outbreak will have on some students. Officials are working with the sector to continue to monitor the situation.

The government has already worked closely with the Office for Students (OfS) to help clarify that providers can draw upon existing funding to provide hardship funds and support disadvantaged students impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. Providers were able to use the funding, worth around £23 million per month for April to July, this year and £256 million for the 2020/21 academic year starting from August, towards student hardship funds, including the purchase of IT equipment and mental health support as well as to support providers’ access and participation plans.

We have also allocated £100 million to support remote education, including to provide routers and laptops to vulnerable students, prioritising care leavers, including those at university.

The Student Space platform, which is funded by the OfS, bridges gaps in support for students arising from this unprecedented situation and is designed to work alongside existing services.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to make provision for postgraduate students whose courses have been extended as a result of covid-19 but are disallowed by Student Finance England from applying for further supporting loans through compelling personal reasons and other mechanisms.

Students are eligible to access one loan up to the maximum amount that was available when they started their course. There is no discretion within the regulations to increase the entitlement where a student extends their study, but students who have not accessed the maximum loan can apply for an additional amount of loan.

If a student has withdrawn from their course due to Compelling Personal Reasons, they may nonetheless be eligible for a further loan for a second full course. Withdrawal as a result of reasons connected to COVID-19 is usually considered to be one such Compelling Personal Reason.

Many higher education providers will have hardship funds to support students in times of need, including emergencies. The expectation is that, where any student requires additional support, providers will support them through their own hardship funds.

We have worked closely with the Office for Students to enable higher education providers to draw upon existing funding to increase hardship funds and support disadvantaged students impacted by COVID-19. As a result, providers were able to use the funding, worth around £23 million per month for April to July 2020 and £256 million for the academic year 2020/21 starting from August, towards student hardship funds.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to make an assessment of the effect of the (a) covid-19 outbreak and (b) 2020 A-level awards process on university applications from students from disadvantaged backgrounds for the 2020-21 academic year in order to mitigate any such adverse effects for the 2021-22 academic year.

The government will do whatever it takes to support people affected by COVID-19. This has been an incredibly difficult time for students and this government is making every effort to make sure that all those who planned to move on to higher education can do so.

Protecting students’ mental health and wellbeing is a priority. I wrote to all higher education providers asking them to ensure they continue to support students. We have clarified that providers can use funding worth £256 million for the academic year of 2020/21, starting from August, towards student hardship funds and mental health support. Furthermore, the Office for Students has provided up to £3 million to fund the Student Space platform to bridge gaps in mental health support for students.

Through our government taskforce, we are working closely with universities to support them with the challenges they face and to help them build capacity for students entering university in the 2020/21 academic year. We have already announced that we intend to remove the temporary student number controls as well as the normal caps on medical and dental students. We will also be making additional funding available to universities to help them take on more students.

The government and the higher education sector have agreed that all students who achieved the required grades will be offered a place at their first choice university in the 2020/21 academic year wherever possible, or if maximum capacity is reached, they will be offered an alternative course or a deferred place. In these circumstances, we have asked universities to particularly consider what they can do for students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

As of 2 September, The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service figures show that a record 24,680 18-year-olds from the most disadvantaged backgrounds (POLAR4 quintile 1) in England have been accepted into university for 2020/21 – this is a record rate of 22.9%, compared to the same point last year. I also wrote to Vice Chancellors on 28 August, confirming that I would work with higher education providers in the coming weeks to support the 2021/21 intake of students.

We are also ensuring that higher education providers have the guidance they need to ensure that their provision is COVID-19 secure. We will continue to work with the sector to support them with the current challenges that providers might face as well as to deliver on this year’s admission cycle and to allow the sector to access the government support on offer as needed.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he plans to require universities that have accepted medical students on a deferred entry to 2021-22 as a result of the 2020 A-level awards to accept the result of the 2020 UCAT and BMAT tests beyond their 12-month validity period to ensure that students do not have to resit them.

Universities are independent, autonomous bodies. As such, they are responsible for their own admissions decisions, including on the use of the University Clinical Aptitude Test and BioMedical Admissions Test in their admissions process.

The evidence for acceptance to university courses ceases to be relevant once a university student has been accepted to the course, regardless of when they have commenced, including deferrals. The Medical Schools Council is not aware of any medical school that would expect any student in this situation to have to resit.

The government has asked that universities are as flexible as possible, and we will continue to make every effort to minimise the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on young people’s education.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that all residential educational settings follow PHE guidance on isolating pupils with covid-19 on the premises, with particular regard to international students with no family in the UK.

The Department has provided guidance for all residential settings on supporting pupils living in those settings who either show symptoms of, or are confirmed to have, COVID-19. Additional guidance, specifically for boarding schools, is provided to help with the collection, transfer and isolation of students entering the UK and travelling to a named boarding school or a named household.

Both documents were prepared in consultation with Public Health England and are published on GOV.UK:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-isolation-for-residential-educational-settings/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-isolation-for-residential-educational-settings;

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-boarding-schools-with-international-students.

The Department’s guidance explains that residential settings need to ensure that the arrangements for the oversight of any student in isolation protects their safety and welfare.

21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether the £1,000 incentive payment available to any employer taking on an apprentice aged 16-18, or aged 19-24 with an Education Health and Care plan or care leaver, is also available to an employer taking on such a person on a supported internship.

It is a priority of the department to improve the outcomes of young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). The SEND Code of Practice states that all children and young people with SEND should be prepared for adulthood, including employment, and that this preparation should start early.

Structured study programmes, based primarily at an employer, such as supported internships, help young people aged 16-24 with an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan to achieve sustainable paid employment through learning in the workplace. In 2017, the government announced £9.7 million for local authorities to increase the number of supported internships and other pathways to employment for young people with SEND, by establishing local supported internship forums and training additional job coaches.

The number of young people undertaking a supported internship has been rising annually. The most recent report was in January 2020 and showed that 2,231 young people with EHC plans were undertaking supported internships, an increase from 1,646 from the same time in 2019 and 1,186 in 2018.

Work is currently ongoing, as part of the SEND Review, to consider how best to continue to boost employment outcomes for young people on EHC Plans.

The £1000 additional payment for employers who take on apprentices aged 16-18 or aged 19-24 who have previously been in care or who have a local authority EHC plan, is in recognition of the additional costs associated with supporting these groups in the workplace. This payment is not available to employers taking on these young people on a supported internship.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answers of 12 June 2020 to Questions 56134 and 56135 on Erasmus+ programme, what progress her Department has made on the development of a domestic alternative to Erasmus+.

In the event that the UK does not participate in the next Erasmus+ programme (2021-27), departmental officials have been preparing a UK-wide domestic alternative scheme should we need to have a contingency measure. As this scheme is still being developed and negotiations with the EU on UK participation in the Erasmus+ programme are ongoing, it is too early to set out the exact details of the scheme. However, I have discussed the development of the domestic alternative with my ministerial counterparts in the devolved administrations and hosted a roundtable in March with a range of higher education and further education stakeholders including representative and mission groups and Vice-Chancellors.

Departmental officials have also been engaging with officials in the devolved administrations as well as sector bodies and institutions through a series of roundtables and interviews so far, speaking to representatives from across the education sector in all 4 nations to understand their views and ensure that this scheme can deliver a world-leading exchange programme.

14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answers of 12 June 2020 to Questions 56134 and 56135 on the Erasmus+ Programme, what steps he has taken to consult on the development of a domestic alternative to Erasmus+ scheme; and with whom he has held those consultations with.

In the event that the UK does not participate in the next Erasmus+ programme (2021-27), departmental officials have been preparing a UK-wide domestic alternative scheme should we need to have a contingency measure. As this scheme is still being developed and negotiations with the EU on UK participation in the Erasmus+ programme are ongoing, it is too early to set out the exact details of the scheme. However, I have discussed the development of the domestic alternative with my ministerial counterparts in the devolved administrations and hosted a roundtable in March with a range of higher education and further education stakeholders including representative and mission groups and Vice-Chancellors.

Departmental officials have also been engaging with officials in the devolved administrations as well as sector bodies and institutions through a series of roundtables and interviews so far, speaking to representatives from across the education sector in all 4 nations to understand their views and ensure that this scheme can deliver a world-leading exchange programme.

13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will publish the most recent Annual Performance and Resource Agreement Letter from the Government to the Student Loans Company.

The department has issued the Annual Performance and Resource Agreement to the Student Loans Company (SLC), however there was a delay in issuing it this year due to the impact of COVID-19. The Annual Performance and Resource Agreement will be published by the SLC later in the year.

The department does not publish the Ministerial letter, however the SLC’s ‘Corporate Strategy 2019-20 to 2021-22’ (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/corporate-strategy) sets out the medium-term direction and strategy in line with shareholders’ priorities.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will publish the most recent Ministerial letter from his Department to the Chair of the Student Loans Company sent as part of the Annual Performance and Resource Agreement process.

The department has issued the Annual Performance and Resource Agreement to the Student Loans Company (SLC), however there was a delay in issuing it this year due to the impact of COVID-19. The Annual Performance and Resource Agreement will be published by the SLC later in the year.

The department does not publish the Ministerial letter, however the SLC’s ‘Corporate Strategy 2019-20 to 2021-22’ (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/corporate-strategy) sets out the medium-term direction and strategy in line with shareholders’ priorities.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of increasing London Metropolitan University's student number control limit.

I have regular meetings with representatives from the higher education sector, including individual providers, to discuss temporary student number controls and higher education issues.

London Metropolitan University has made representations to the department in relation to student number controls. As with all such representations, officials will consider and respond to the university in due course.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, departmental officials and I will continue to work closely with the sector on strengthening and stabilising the higher education system.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
7th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the recent decision of the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement that international students offered only online university courses in that country must leave the US, whether he plans to take steps to encourage international students to study in the UK.

The government has been clear that our world-leading universities, which thrive on being global institutions, will always be open to international students. Engaging closely with the devolved administrations and the higher education sector, we are working to reassure prospective international students that UK higher education is ‘open for business’, remains-world class and is a safe place to study. This includes continued work with Study UK (the government’s international student recruitment campaign led by the British Council), support for the sector-led #WeAreTogether campaign and a package of bespoke communications that will directly target prospective international students, making clear our world-leading offer.

We are also taking steps to promote the new graduate route, which will provide a non-extendable period of leave to stay and work in the UK at any skill level. The government announced on 1 July, as part of the new graduate route, that international students who complete a PhD from summer 2021 can stay in the UK for 3 years after study to live and work. Students who have successfully completed undergraduate and master’s degrees will be able to stay for 2 years. This represents a significant improvement in our offer to international students and will help ensure our higher education sector remains competitive internationally.

Furthermore, on 22 June, with my counterparts in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, I wrote to prospective international students to outline the support and guidance available to international students who are considering studying in the UK from the autumn: https://study-uk.britishcouncil.org/sites/default/files/letter_to_prospective_international_students.pdf. This letter reiterates a number of flexibilities that the government has already announced for international students including, amongst other mitigations, confirmation that distance/blended learning will be permitted for the 2020/21 academic year provided that international students’ sponsors intend to transition to face-to-face learning as soon as circumstances allow, and that international students present in the UK before 6 April 2021 will be eligible for the graduate route if they meet the other requirements of the route when it is introduced in summer 2021.

Guidance published on 24 March provides a temporary work-around for students who need to undertake distance learning due to the COVID-19 outbreak. This is reiterated in guidance for short-term and Tier 4 students updated on 1 June: www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-tier-4-sponsors-migrants-and-short-term-students.

The government is also in discussions with Universities UK and other sector representatives on a regular basis to ensure we are united in welcoming international students to the UK. In particular, we expect international students to be appropriately supported upon arrival by their chosen university during these unprecedented times – especially those who will be subject to the 14-day self-isolation period.

The UK’s new International Education Champion, Sir Steve Smith, will assist with opening up export growth opportunities for the whole UK education sector, which will include attracting international students to UK universities. Alongside Sir Steve’s appointment, our review of the International Education Strategy this autumn will respond to the new context and the challenges posed by COVID-19 across all education settings to ensure we can continue to welcome international students in the future.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
7th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment his Department has made of the effect of covid-19 outbreak on agricultural colleges.

We are aware of the financial impact COVID-19 has had on post-16 providers, including Agricultural Colleges.

We will continue to pay grant funded providers, including Agricultural Colleges, their scheduled monthly profiled payments for the remainder of the 2019/20 funding year and funding allocations for 2020/21 have been confirmed. Payments will be made in line with the national profile.

The funding system also provides a programme cost weighting uplift for agriculture courses delivered in eligible land-based settings, reflecting their higher costs.

For colleges in significant financial difficulties the exiting support arrangements remain in place, including short-term solvency support via emergency funding

The further education commissioner and his highly experienced team are able to talk through plans, concerns and issues. The department’s pool of National Leaders of Governance (NLGs) are also able to offer support. Local Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) teams are also providing support and enquiries can be submitted through the ESFA enquiries service.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
7th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department has taken to provide bespoke support to agricultural colleges during the covid-19 outbreak.

We are aware of the financial impact COVID-19 has had on post-16 providers, including Agricultural Colleges.

We will continue to pay grant funded providers, including Agricultural Colleges, their scheduled monthly profiled payments for the remainder of the 2019/20 funding year and funding allocations for 2020/21 have been confirmed. Payments will be made in line with the national profile.

The funding system also provides a programme cost weighting uplift for agriculture courses delivered in eligible land-based settings, reflecting their higher costs.

For colleges in significant financial difficulties the exiting support arrangements remain in place, including short-term solvency support via emergency funding

The further education commissioner and his highly experienced team are able to talk through plans, concerns and issues. The department’s pool of National Leaders of Governance (NLGs) are also able to offer support. Local Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) teams are also providing support and enquiries can be submitted through the ESFA enquiries service.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, is he will include specific advice on the importance of good indoor ventilation in the document, Guidance Higher education: reopening buildings and campuses.

Higher education providers are autonomous institutions and we expect them to make their own judgements based on the latest public health guidance. We published guidance on 3 June on the reopening of buildings and campuses to help providers make informed decisions about their provision in ways that protect the health and wellbeing of both staff and students. Our guidance contains links to other sources of relevant advice, including to the guidance on safer workplaces: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19, including references to the importance of ventilation, particularly in advance of reopening buildings.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many laptops have been provided to pupils in Hull west and Hessle constituency due to school closures during the covid-19 outbreak to date.

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.

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. Where care leavers, children with a social worker at secondary school and children in Year 10 do not have internet connections, we are providing 4G wireless routers.

The Department has ordered over 200,000 laptops and tablets and allocated devices to local authorities and academy trusts based on its estimates of the number of eligible children that do not have access to a device. Local authorities and academy trusts are best placed to identify and prioritise children and young people who need devices. The Department is working to provide these devices in the shortest possible timeframe; deliveries to schools and Local Authorities began in May and is continuing throughout June.

The Department has published information about how many laptops, tablets and 4G wireless routers we have delivered or dispatched to local authorities and academy trusts as of 14 June, which can be viewed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/laptops-tablets-and-4g-wireless-routers-progress-data.

This includes 1,415 devices to Hull City Council for children with a social worker and care leavers. For East Riding of Yorkshire Council, a total of 828 devices have been delivered: 625 for children with a social worker and care leavers, and 203 for disadvantaged Year 10 pupils.

23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what proportion of university staff are furloughed as of 23 June 2020.

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.

Statistics on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) are published on GOV.UK. The latest publication provides analysis of claims made up until 31 May 2020 and is available here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/coronavirus-job-retention-scheme-statistics-june-2020.

This shows that, across all education sectors, 20,800 employers have furloughed 213,400 staff and made claims to the value of £363 million. However, it is not possible to disaggregate higher education staff from these figures.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) are continuing to develop statistics on the CJRS and plan to publish monthly updates.

The Department of Education is also working with HMRC and HM Treasury to develop appropriate monitoring arrangements for the CJRS.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department has undertaken an equalities impact assessment when arriving at the values of a continuation rate of =90 per cent and a skilled employment/further study rate of =75 per cent as minimum qualifying thresholds for higher education establishments to bid for funding for 5,000 non-health care places.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, gave consideration to a wide range of factors when setting out the eligibility criteria for the extra non-healthcare places. This included the need to ensure that these places lead to completed qualifications and entry into the professions in which we need more people so we can support our vital public services and add value to the economy. My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, had due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination and the other equality aims under the Equality Act (2010) when formulating the policy on student number controls (SNCs). Admitting students, including disadvantaged students, to low quality courses which do not give them the support they need to complete their degree, or do not give them good access to graduate employment, is not in the interest of students.

Overall, SNCs allow for substantial growth across the sector – they allow for all provider forecasts of growth and another 5% growth above this. Every individual provider in the country can recruit at least 6.5% more students than in the last academic year. The extra places that my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education can award, are in addition to this already generous allowance.

SNCs will, however, re-distribute students more equally across different higher education providers compared to what would likely occur in the absence of any quantitative limits on student numbers at individual providers. Providers in the medium and low tariff groups are expected to be the main beneficiaries from SNCs as they are most likely to feel the greatest pressure on recruitment.

Our overarching aim is to protect students and to allow all students who want to go to university, and who meet their entry requirements, to access higher education.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department made of the social intake of higher education institutions and the communities they serve when setting the specific values of the continuation rate and the skilled employment/further study rate as minimum qualifying thresholds for institutions to bid for funding for 5,000 non-health care places.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, gave consideration to a wide range of factors when setting out the eligibility criteria for the extra non-healthcare places. This included the need to ensure that these places lead to completed qualifications and entry into the professions in which we need more people so we can support our vital public services and add value to the economy. My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, had due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination and the other equality aims under the Equality Act (2010) when formulating the policy on student number controls (SNCs). Admitting students, including disadvantaged students, to low quality courses which do not give them the support they need to complete their degree, or do not give them good access to graduate employment, is not in the interest of students.

Overall, SNCs allow for substantial growth across the sector – they allow for all provider forecasts of growth and another 5% growth above this. Every individual provider in the country can recruit at least 6.5% more students than in the last academic year. The extra places that my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education can award, are in addition to this already generous allowance.

SNCs will, however, re-distribute students more equally across different higher education providers compared to what would likely occur in the absence of any quantitative limits on student numbers at individual providers. Providers in the medium and low tariff groups are expected to be the main beneficiaries from SNCs as they are most likely to feel the greatest pressure on recruitment.

Our overarching aim is to protect students and to allow all students who want to go to university, and who meet their entry requirements, to access higher education.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what methodology his Department used to determine the values of a continuation rate of =90% and a skilled employment/further study rate of =75% as minimum qualifying thresholds for higher education establishments to bid for funding for 5,000 non-health care places.

The process for bidding for the additional 5,000 non healthcare places, the details of which were published on 1 June, is for one year only. The intention is that it is simple, competitive, and places minimal burden on higher education providers.

The Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework (TEF) Year Four data was used, as it provides a comprehensive overview of quality measures for higher education providers in England, including continuation and high-skilled employment and further study metrics. It is publicly available and requires no additional aggregation or calculation, ensuring transparency. Other data sources are or will be available, but do not average across multiple years of data as is done in TEF.

The combination of the continuation rate of =90 per cent and the skilled employment/further study rate of =75 per cent as minimum qualifying thresholds, ensures that the 5,000 places are awarded on a competitive basis, by restricting eligibility to only the top performing providers.

The methodology used for student number controls more broadly, already allows for the substantial growth forecast by the sector, plus another 5%. This allows providers to increase their student numbers compared to previous years.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, for what reason values of the continuation rate of =90 per cent and the skilled employment/further study rate of =75 per cent as minimum qualifying thresholds for higher education establishments to bid for funding for 5,000 non-health care places were chosen in place of indicators available from the Teaching Excellence Framework.

The process for bidding for the additional 5,000 non healthcare places, the details of which were published 1 June, is for one year only. The intention is that it is simple, competitive and places minimal burden on higher education providers.

The Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) Year Four data was used, as it provides a comprehensive overview of quality measures for higher education providers in England, including continuation and high-skilled employment/further study metrics. It is publicly available and requires no additional aggregation or calculation, ensuring transparency. Other data sources are or will be available, but do not average across multiple years of data as is done in TEF.

The combination of the continuation rate of =90 per cent and the skilled employment/further study rate of =75 per cent as minimum qualifying thresholds, ensures that the 5,000 places are awarded on a competitive basis, by restricting eligibility to only the top performing providers.

The methodology used for student number controls more broadly, already allows for the substantial growth forecast by the sector, plus another 5%. This allows providers to increase their student numbers compared to previous years.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
16th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what support his Department provides to parents of autistic children who are unable to access childcare during the covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

The government recognises the significant challenges the COVID-19 outbreak has presented for autistic children and young people, and their families.

From 1 June, early years providers, including childminders, have been able to welcome back children of all ages.

For school age children, from the week commencing 1 June, we have asked primary schools to welcome back children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6, alongside priority groups. This includes children and young people with an education, health and care (EHC) plan who are not already attending, according to individual risk assessment. We have also asked special schools to work towards a phased return of more children and young people, without a focus on specific year groups and informed by risk assessments.

We are asking local authorities and education settings, working in partnership with parents, carers and young people, to maintain risk assessments for children and young people with EHC plans who are remaining at home. These assessments help inform decisions about the support children and young people should receive, noting that circumstances, such as the child’s and family’s needs and wellbeing, may change. Our latest guidance on supporting children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) to return to school or college is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-send-risk-assessment-guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-send-risk-assessment-guidance.

16th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on access to education, what steps he is taking to ensure that children are provided with the skills to (a) manage money effectively and (b) prepare them for making future financial decisions.

Financial education is taught within the national curriculum in maths and citizenship. The Department will continue to work closely with The Money and Pension Service and HM Treasury to consider how we can further support the teaching of financial education in schools.

At present, due to the unprecedented challenges for schools caused by COVID-19, the Government understands that schools will need flexibility around the education they are providing to their pupils, both at home and at school. We expect schools and teachers to use their professional judgement, and knowledge of their pupils’ educational needs and home circumstances, to plan appropriate content that enables education to continue.

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

15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effect of covid-19 lockdown on the provision of financial education to primary school pupils by (a) teachers and (b) voluntary organisations.

Due to the unprecedented challenges for schools caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, the Government understands that schools will need flexibility around the education they are providing to their pupils. We expect schools and teachers to use their professional judgement, and knowledge of their pupils’ educational needs and home circumstances, to plan appropriate content that enables education to continue.

Our latest guidance on teaching children at this time is set out below:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/remote-education-during-coronavirus-covid-19.

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

15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether degree apprentices will be included in the temporary student number controls for 2020-21.

Apprenticeships will be excluded from student number controls. When monitoring potential recruitment above a student number control, a higher education provider will not be considered to have exceeded the student number control by virtue of the number of apprenticeship students that it has.

Apprenticeships are jobs with a sustained element of training, so this provision is delivered in conjunction with local employers where the apprentice is employed. Relationships between these employers and providers are usually well established so they are unlikely to be vulnerable to aggressive recruitment practices and they pose little or no threat to the stability of the sector.

However, despite apprentices being in full-time employment, they are sometimes also recorded as studying full-time in the Higher Education Students Early Statistics (HESES) data. This data is used to calculate and monitor student number controls.

For HESES20, the Office for Students will provide guidance on how apprentices are recorded in the data return, which will allow all apprenticeship places to be identified.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make it his policy to increase the number of seafarer apprentices.

Employers are at the heart of our reforms to apprenticeships, which include designing high-quality standards that deliver the skills that employers need and determining which apprenticeships employers offer and when they offer them. Over 550 employer-designed standards are now available and standards developed by the maritime sector include Able Seafarer at level 2, Maritime Operations Officer at level 3 and Marine Pilot at level 5. We announced in October 2018 that all new starts would be on these high-quality standards from 1 August 2020 and almost 75% of new apprenticeship starts are now on standards.

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, we have introduced a broad range of flexibilities, including encouraging the remote delivery of apprenticeships, in order to ensure that apprentices can continue with their learning as far as possible and to support the continued take up of apprenticeships by employers. The Marine Pilot Standard is one of the standards where flexibilities to the end point assessment have been agreed.

Apprenticeships will have an important role to play in creating employment opportunities, particularly for young people, and in supporting employers in all sectors to access the skilled workforce that they need to recover and grow, following the COVID-19 outbreak. We are looking to support employers of all sizes, and particularly smaller businesses, to take on new apprentices this year. We will set out further details in due course. We will also ensure that there is sufficient funding to support small businesses that want to take on an apprentice this year.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to increase the number of apprentices in all sectors of the transport industry over the next five years.

We are working closely with intermediary bodies in the transport sector to promote apprenticeships to 55,000 employer members. This includes through campaigns, events and school and college partnerships. The National Skills Academy for Rail is supporting employers in the sector to develop new apprenticeship standards, ensuring employers identify the skills they need for the future. Transport sector ambassadors are also engaging intermediary bodies to foster commitment to apprenticeship delivery in the transport sector.

Apprenticeships will have an important role to play in creating employment opportunities, particularly for young people, and supporting employers in all sectors, including transport, to access the skilled workforce they need to recover and grow post COVID-19. We are looking to support employers of all sizes, and particularly smaller businesses to take on new apprentices this year. We will set out further details in due course. We will also ensure that there is sufficient funding to support small businesses wanting to take on an apprentice this year.

We continue to work closely with the Department for Transport to support apprentices in the aviation and aerospace sector.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what support his Department provided to maritime training colleges in England in each of the last five years for which data is available.

The government funds a range of study programmes for 16 to 19 year olds, and via the Adult Education Budget (AEB), to help learners gain the skills they need to get into and progress in work, an apprenticeship or further learning. Additional funding is available to support apprenticeships.

Within this, funding is available for particular qualifications related to maritime studies, but in general the government does not separately allocate funding to maritime training colleges as they are a part of different institutions.

Education and Skills Funding Agency funding allocations, for each institution, are published on GOV.UK for 16 to 19 (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/16-to-19-education-funding-allocations?mxmroi=2305-8593-35041-0#published-allocations) and AEB (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/19-funding-allocations).

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what funding his Department has allocated to maritime training colleges in England in each of the last five years for which figures are available.

The government funds a range of study programmes for 16 to 19 year olds, and via the Adult Education Budget (AEB), to help learners gain the skills they need to get into and progress in work, an apprenticeship or further learning. Additional funding is available to support apprenticeships.

Within this, funding is available for particular qualifications related to maritime studies, but in general the government does not separately allocate funding to maritime training colleges as they are a part of different institutions.

Education and Skills Funding Agency funding allocations, for each institution, are published on GOV.UK for 16 to 19 (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/16-to-19-education-funding-allocations?mxmroi=2305-8593-35041-0#published-allocations) and AEB (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/19-funding-allocations).

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with the Chancellor and Home Secretary on the (a) budget for and (b) functioning of, a domestic alternative to the Erasmus+ scheme.

The government remains committed to international exchanges in education, both with the EU and further afield.

For students planning to study abroad in September 2020, the UK will continue to participate fully in the current (2014-2020) Erasmus+ and European Solidarity Corps (ESC) programmes under the Withdrawal Agreement negotiated with the EU. This means that the projects that have been successfully bid for during the current programmes will continue to receive EU funding for the full duration of the project, including for those programmes where funding runs beyond 2020 and the end of the transition period. Participants who are due to study, train, volunteer or spend time abroad through Erasmus+ and ESC exchanges will be able to participate fully and for the full duration of their exchange.

Beyond the 2020/21 academic year, the government remains open to considering participation in elements of the next Erasmus+ programme, provided that the terms are in the UK’s interests. Future participation is subject to our ongoing negotiations with the EU. In parallel, the government is continuing to develop the option for a domestic alternative to Erasmus+, to ensure that we are prepared for every eventuality, and will publish information on a possible alternative, if appropriate, in due course.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether a date for publishing the details of an alternative scheme to Erasmus+ has been set; and whether any such date will take into account the need for students to finalise plans to study abroad in September 2020.

The government remains committed to international exchanges in education, both with the EU and further afield.

For students planning to study abroad in September 2020, the UK will continue to participate fully in the current (2014-2020) Erasmus+ and European Solidarity Corps (ESC) programmes under the Withdrawal Agreement negotiated with the EU. This means that the projects that have been successfully bid for during the current programmes will continue to receive EU funding for the full duration of the project, including for those programmes where funding runs beyond 2020 and the end of the transition period. Participants who are due to study, train, volunteer or spend time abroad through Erasmus+ and ESC exchanges will be able to participate fully and for the full duration of their exchange.

Beyond the 2020/21 academic year, the government remains open to considering participation in elements of the next Erasmus+ programme, provided that the terms are in the UK’s interests. Future participation is subject to our ongoing negotiations with the EU. In parallel, the government is continuing to develop the option for a domestic alternative to Erasmus+, to ensure that we are prepared for every eventuality, and will publish information on a possible alternative, if appropriate, in due course.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to guarantee maritime apprenticeships in (a) Hull and (b) Dover as a result of plans by P&O Ferries to make seafarer redundancies on ferries working from those ports.

We have introduced a broad range of flexibilities, including encouraging the remote delivery of apprenticeships, to ensure that apprentices can continue with their learning as far as possible and to support the continued take-up of apprenticeships: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-apprenticeship-programme-response/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-apprentices-employers-training-providers-end-point-assessment-organisations-and-external-quality-assurance-pro.

Apprenticeships will have an important role to play in creating employment opportunities, particularly for young people, and in supporting employers in all sectors to access the skilled workforce that they need to recover and grow, following the COVID-19 outbreak. Apprenticeship standards available in the maritime sector include Able Seafarer (Deck) and Marine Pilot.

We are looking to support employers of all sizes, and particularly small businesses, and in all sectors, including the maritime sector, to take on new apprentices this year. We will set out further details in due course. We will also ensure that there is sufficient funding to support small businesses that want to take on an apprentice this year.

A substantial package of support for businesses, including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-job-retention-scheme), is available to enable people to remain in employment and reduce redundancies. Where redundancies are made, we will endeavour to provide comprehensive and practical support to ensure that apprenticeships can continue. We have launched a new hub for apprentices that offers guidance and information to support apprentices that may be, or are being, made redundant: https://help.apprenticeships.education.gov.uk/hc/en-gb/sections/360003798540-Apprentice. We will continue to review how best to support these apprentices as part of the wider economic recovery.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that (a) maritime and (b) offshore employers are not deterred by the covid-19 pandemic from recruiting apprentices.

We have introduced a broad range of flexibilities, including encouraging the remote delivery of apprenticeships, to ensure that apprentices can continue with their learning as far as possible and to support the continued take-up of apprenticeships: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-apprenticeship-programme-response/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-apprentices-employers-training-providers-end-point-assessment-organisations-and-external-quality-assurance-pro.

Apprenticeships will have an important role to play in creating employment opportunities, particularly for young people, and in supporting employers in all sectors to access the skilled workforce that they need to recover and grow, following the COVID-19 outbreak. Apprenticeship standards available in the maritime sector include Able Seafarer (Deck) and Marine Pilot.

We are looking to support employers of all sizes, and particularly small businesses, and in all sectors, including the maritime sector, to take on new apprentices this year. We will set out further details in due course. We will also ensure that there is sufficient funding to support small businesses that want to take on an apprentice this year.

A substantial package of support for businesses, including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-job-retention-scheme), is available to enable people to remain in employment and reduce redundancies. Where redundancies are made, we will endeavour to provide comprehensive and practical support to ensure that apprenticeships can continue. We have launched a new hub for apprentices that offers guidance and information to support apprentices that may be, or are being, made redundant: https://help.apprenticeships.education.gov.uk/hc/en-gb/sections/360003798540-Apprentice. We will continue to review how best to support these apprentices as part of the wider economic recovery.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what processes his Department has put in place to determine the assessed grades at (a) GCSE and (b) A level of students who have registered at an exam centre but studied privately outside of a school or college.

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 hon. Member and a copy of her reply will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to his Department's guidance, Get technology support for children and schools during coronavirus (COVID-19), how many pupils in England had received either a laptop or a dongle directly from his Department before the start of half term on 22 May 2020.

The Department is providing laptops and tablets to vulnerable and disadvantaged children who would otherwise not have access and are preparing for examination in Year 10, receiving support from a social worker, including pre-school children, or are a care leaver.

Where care leavers, children with a social worker at secondary school and disadvantaged children in Year 10 do not have internet connections, we are providing 4G wireless routers to them so that they can learn at home.

Local authorities and academy trusts are best placed to identify and distribute the laptops, tablets and 4G wireless routers to children and young people who need them. The Department has invited local authorities to order devices for the most vulnerable children first - children with a social worker and care leavers.

To date, the Department has delivered nearly 50,000 devices and 10,000 4G wireless routers to local authorities distribute to eligible children. Deliveries will continue throughout June.

4th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department has plans to update the International Education Strategy as a result of the covid-19 pandemic.

The International Education Strategy,? published in March 2019,? by the Department for Education and the Department for International Trade, set out a commitment to review progress following its publication.??The review, which we intend to publish this autumn, will ensure that the International Education Strategy responds to this new context and the challenges that are posed.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
29th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to engage with (a) small and specialist higher education institutions, (b) institutions that are not members of Universities UK and (c) universities in remote, rural and coastal areas on their financial sustainability as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

We recognise that the COVID-19 outbreak is an unprecedented situation and brings significant challenges to the higher education (HE) sector.

My department engages regularly with representative bodies covering all types of HE provider, encompassing all locations, as well as receiving representations in person and by correspondence from individual providers. We continue to work closely with the Office for Students (OfS), as the regulator for the HE sector in England, to ensure that we maintain an up-to-date understanding of the financial risks and implications COVID-19 is bringing to bear on providers.

The OfS has stated that one of its key priorities during the outbreak is to support the financial sustainability of the sector and it has enhanced its monitoring to identify any potential risks. Providers with concerns about their financial viability or sustainability have been encouraged to contact the OfS at the earliest opportunity. The OfS ensures that it keeps the department aware of its current assessment of the risks posed by COVID-19 across the whole English HE sector.

My department is working closely with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and Her Majesty’s Treasury to ensure that we consider the implications across the whole of England arising from COVID-19 related financial sustainability risk in HE.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when the Independent Review of the Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework by Dame Shirley Pearce will be published.

The Higher Education and Research Act (2017) requires that the report of the independent review of the Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework (TEF) should be laid before Parliament.

The reviewer, Dame Shirley Pearce, has submitted her report to ministers and we are considering the report’s evidence and recommendations. We intend to lay the report in due course and publish it alongside the government’s response.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of suspending the national students survey due to varied effects of the covid-19 outbreak.

The National Student Survey (NSS) is managed by the Office for Students (OfS), the independent regulator of higher education in England, on behalf of the UK funding and regulatory bodies.

The fieldwork for this year’s NSS took place from 6 January to 30 April 2020. The survey is largely online so the collection of data has not been significantly affected. The OfS has not placed any expectation on higher education providers to publicise the survey during the time of the pandemic. The OfS will take a view in due course on how this year’s NSS will be used having considered the impacts of Covid-19 on the results.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on enabling students that are unable to (a) work and (b) be furloughed to claim universal credit during the covid-19 pandemic.

Students with a part time employment contract should speak to their employer about the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme which has been set up to help pay staff wages and keep people in employment. HMRC are working urgently to get the scheme up and running and we expect the first grants to be paid within weeks.

Students suffering hardship should in the first instance contact their provider. Many universities have hardship funds to support students most in need and contact details are available on university websites.

Undergraduate students studying on full-time courses will continue to receive their maintenance loan payments as planned for the remainder of this academic year, 2019/20. Eligible students who need to undertake additional weeks of study on their course in the current academic year may qualify for additional long courses loan to help with their living costs.

Certain groups of students eligible for benefits such as lone parents will continue to qualify for Universal Credit in addition to their maintenance loans.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of suspending data, performance tables and targets for further education colleges and sixth form colleges until September 2021.

As part of steps taken to fight the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), the government announced that all exams due to take place in schools and colleges in England in summer 2020 are cancelled and that it will not publish any school or college level educational performance data based on tests, assessments or exams for 2020. This includes both school and college performance tables and qualification achievement rates. This announcement can be found at the following link: https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-statement/Commons/2020-03-23/HCWS176/.

We will also not include any 2020 results data at pupil level in future performance tables.

The department will not hold schools or colleges to account on the basis of exams and assessment data from summer 2020. Additionally, this data will not be used by other organisations, such as Ofsted and local authorities, to hold schools or colleges to account. Further information can be found at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-school-and-college-performance-measures.

We have made no assessment yet of the potential case for and against suspending data and performance tables beyond this year.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to implement the Cabinet Office guidance entitled Procurement Policy Note 02/20: Supplier relief due to COVID-19 for contracted suppliers for apprenticeships and other skills programmes.

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

On 24 April we opened the Education and Skills Funding Agency’s post-16 provider relief scheme to training providers with contracts for services that were procured as a service under the Public Contract Regulations (2015). The purpose of the scheme is to ensure that training providers can continue to deliver high quality education and training to make sure we have the skills needed to rebuild our economy following the COVID-19 outbreak. This also includes supporting new learners, where possible, to learn the skills that they need to progress. Details of eligibility and how to apply are available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/esfa-post-16-provider-relief-scheme.

The closing date for applications is 30 April 2020 at midnight. Providers will be notified on or around 15 May 2020 if they are to receive support.

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

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of providing staff and children in schools with personal protective equipment.

It is important to underline that schools, all childcare settings (including early years settings, childminders and providers of childcare for school-age children), colleges and other educational establishments, remain safe places for children and staff. The fewer children making the journey to school and the fewer children in educational settings, the lower the risk that the virus can spread and infect vulnerable individuals in wider society.

We have published guidance on social distancing in educational settings to limit the risk of the virus spreading. It can be found here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-implementing-social-distancing-in-education-and-childcare-settings.

We will work with schools, childcare settings and local authorities to ensure that adequate supplies of personal and domestic cleaning products are available to schools. We will issue further detailed guidance regarding the supply and use of personal protective equipment to settings that require it.

23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will remove all observations for the end point assessment (EPAs) of apprentices and replace EPAs with professional judgement.

We are working with training providers, end-point assessment organisations and external quality assurance organisations during this challenging time to maintain the integrity of apprenticeships and support employers and apprentices.

Guidance issued on GOV.UK on 23 March 2020 sets out how we are responding to the impact of Covid-19, including on the matters of end point assessments: www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-apprenticeship-programme-response.

Guidance from the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education on the delivery of assessment was issued on 23 March 2020 and is available at the following link: https://www.instituteforapprenticeships.org/response-to-covid-19/.

We are keeping the guidance under review and will publish updates as the situation evolves.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of allowing training providers to deliver apprenticeships via virtual classrooms.

The government is committed to supporting apprentices and employers to continue to build the skills capabilities that the country needs now and in the future. We are working with training providers, end-point assessment organisations and external quality assurance organisations during this challenging time to maintain the integrity of apprenticeships and support employers and apprentices.

We are encouraging training providers to deliver training to apprentices remotely and via e-learning as far as is practicable. We are allowing the modification of end-point assessment arrangements, including remote assessments wherever practicable and possible, to ensure that apprentices can continue to complete their apprenticeship, despite any break that they need to take as a result of Covid-19.

Guidance issued on 23 March 2020 sets out how we are responding to the impact of Covid-19. It details the temporary flexibilities that we are introducing to the apprenticeship programme and provides answers to questions related to these changes. The guidance can be found on the GOV.UK website here: www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-apprenticeship-programme-response.

We are keeping the guidance under review and will publish updates as the situation evolves.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the income of childminders; and what discussions he has had with the Chancellor on providing childminders with income protection.

The government has set out specific measures to support childcare providers during the COVID-19 outbreak:

  • We will continue to pay funding to local authorities for the early years entitlements for 2, 3 and 4-year-olds
  • To support private nurseries, the Chancellor of the Exchequer has also announced that they will be eligible for a business rates holiday for one year from 1 April.

Childcare providers will also benefit from the wider measures the Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced to support the people and businesses of the UK:

  • A three-point plan announced in the Budget providing £12 billion of support for public services, individuals and businesses whose finances are affected by the outbreak
  • A package to provide additional support for businesses and individuals totalling £350 billion
  • The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to help firms continue to keep people in employment. This means that businesses can put workers on temporary leave and the government will pay them cash grants of 80% of their wages up to a cap of £2,500, providing they keep the worker employed
  • A scheme to help the UK’s self-employed who are affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The new Self-Employed Income Support Scheme will enable those eligible to receive a cash grant worth 80% of their average monthly trading profit over the last three years. This covers 95% of people who receive the majority of their income from self-employment
  • On 28 March, my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, announced that the government will also temporarily suspend the wrongful trading provisions to give company directors greater confidence to use their best endeavours to continue trading during this pandemic emergency, without the threat of personal liability should the company ultimately fall into insolvency.

The government is also providing the following additional support:

  • deferral of Self-Assesment income tax payments due in July 2020
  • VAT payments due with VAT returns between now and the end June 2020 will be deferred. UK VAT registered businesses will not need make those payments until March 2021
  • grants for businesses that pay little or no business rates
  • increased amounts of Universal Credit
  • the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme.

The latest guidance from the department for early years and childcare providers can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures.

23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make it his policy for the assessment of Functional Skills that where testing is not possible tutors are able to determine where a learner has achieved the requisite competency.

On 9 April, the Department for Education and Ofqual published details in relation to the assessment approaches for vocational and technical qualifications. This sets out that learners due to take assessments for Functional Skills qualifications before the end of the summer will receive a calculated result.

Further information is available at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/direction-issued-to-the-chief-regulator-of-ofqual.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will guarantee programme income for (a) grant, (b) contracted and (c) other provider types until the end of the covid-19 outbreak.

We are very grateful for how further education (FE) providers are responding to the unique challenge of COVID-19. We recognise the financial impact that this is having on the FE sector and are working to make changes where we can.

We have confirmed that the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) will continue to pay grant-funded providers their scheduled monthly profiled payments for the remainder of the 2019/20 funding year. Allocations for 2020/21 have now also been confirmed and payments will be made as scheduled. Up-to-date details are contained in operational guidance available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-further-education-provision.

For colleges in significant financial difficulties, the existing support arrangements remain in place, including short-term emergency funding.

In addition, we have been regularly liaising with the sector. On 24 April 2020, we published details of a provider relief scheme that will offer targeted financial support for training providers. This is designed to retain capacity within the apprenticeships and adult education sector to deliver the skills that we need to support economic recovery. As part of that, we want to maintain support for existing learners and employers and to enable new learners to enrol. Full details of the scheme are available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/esfa-post-16-provider-relief-scheme.

This is in addition to the series of wider measures to support employers and employees set out by my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer on 3 April. Details are available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/financial-support-for-businesses-during-coronavirus-covid-19.

We are continuing to work through remaining issues on provider funding.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
20th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that teacher assessments that will potentially replace exams are fair and impartial.

On 18 March, the Government announced the cancellation of all exams and assessments due to take place in schools and colleges in England this summer, as part of the fight to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Our priority is to ensure that students can move on as planned to the next stage of their lives, including starting university, college or sixth form, a job or an apprenticeship in the autumn. For GCSE, AS and A-level students, we will make sure they are awarded a grade which reflects their work. A calculated grade will be awarded this summer based on a range of the best available evidence, including any non-exam assessment that students have already completed. The independent qualifications regulator, Ofqual, is working urgently with the exam boards and teacher representatives to set out proposals for how these arrangements will work and will be talking to teachers’ representatives before finalising an approach, to ensure that the approach taken is as fair as possible.

There is a very wide range of different vocational and technical qualifications as well as other academic qualifications for which students were expecting to sit exams this summer. These are offered by a large number of awarding organisations, and have differing assessment approaches – in many cases students will already have completed modules or non-exam assessment which could provide evidence to award a grade. We are encouraging these organisations to show flexibility and pragmatism to ensure students are not disadvantaged. Ofqual is working urgently with the sector to explore options and we will work with them to provide more details shortly.

20th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether colleges will be given discretionary powers to ensure that vulnerable pupils who do not have official status can remain in college.

We have ensured that vulnerable students and the children of key workers can remain in college. Where young people are particularly at risk or there are safeguarding issues, colleges may make appropriate arrangements that allow them to continue to attend.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
19th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to allow awarding organisations to enable work from apprentices to be accepted as evidence by video capture and witness testimonials for the next six months during the covid-19 outbreak.

We have developed guidance with the sector to support all parts of the apprenticeship system, which is consistent with advice issued by Public Health England. Guidance issued on 23 March sets out how we are responding to the impact of Covid-19 on the apprenticeship programme. It can be found at:

www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-apprenticeship-programme-response.

We are keeping the guidance under active review and will publish updates as the situation evolves.

The authority to change assessment methods sits with the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IfATE). IfATE issued guidance on 23 March about the range of temporary flexibilities being introduced to end-point assessment: https://www.instituteforapprenticeships.org/response-to-covid-19/.

IfATE are working closely with external quality assurance providers and end-point assessment organisations to make adjustments to assessment plans, including remote assessment wherever possible, whilst maintaining the integrity of the apprenticeship. Some assessment methods can be carried out remotely but these will need to be checked for each apprenticeship standard to take account of specific occupational requirements. Adjustments will need to be logged with relevant external quality assurance providers.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
18th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the amount of emergency funding that further education and sixth form colleges will require to prevent them from having to close during the covid-19 outbreak.

The department is very grateful to education providers who are responding to the unique challenge of COVID-19, including making provision to continue support for vulnerable children and key workers following the announcement of 18 March. Clearly, there will be a substantial financial impact on the sector, which requires a strong response.

Firstly, where there are current planned payment profiles, we are seeking to provide stability. The Education and Skills Funding Agency will continue to pay grant-funded providers their scheduled monthly payments for the remainder of the year. Allocations for 2020/21 will have been confirmed by the end of March and payments will made as profiled. We are also looking to put in place a process for providing reimbursement for additional costs imposed by responding to COVID-19.

Secondly, we want to ensure that apprentices can continue and complete their apprenticeship, wherever possible, despite any break that they have to take as a result of COVID-19. We are committed to working with training providers, end-point assessment organisations and external quality assurance organisations to mitigate the operational and financial impacts of this disruption and maintain the integrity of apprenticeships. We have published apprenticeship guidance and this is available at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-apprenticeship-programme-response. For other funding streams, we will be making decisions on where existing rules and models may need to be modified in relation to any planned reconciliation and future year allocations.

For colleges in significant financial difficulties, the existing support arrangements remain in place including through short-term solvency support through emergency funding.

My right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, has also announced a series of wider measures to support employers and employees, recognising the significant impacts caused by COVID-19. Education, training and assessment providers who operate as businesses or charities are able to access the package of measures to support businesses. Details of this support are available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses. We are working closely with HM Treasury to monitor how the support packages are benefitting organisations and to consider any further action which may be required.

To provide more detailed information for further education providers, we have published operational guidance available at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-further-education-provision.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
18th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on guaranteeing the income of the (a) Adult Education Budget, (b) apprenticeship and (c) other study programmes during the covid-19 outbreak.

There is urgent work under way in the department, the Education and Skills Funding Agency and with the Greater London Authority (GLA) and Mayoral Combined Authorities (MCAs) to ensure that we have the appropriate policy response in place to respond to the impact of Covid-19 on the Further Education sector and its adult learners. We are also looking at how we can help to mitigate the impact on the activity-based funding model for apprenticeships. On 16-19 funding, we do not anticipate that the closure will affect 2019/20 or 2020/21 funding for which education institutions’ allocations have already been calculated. We are looking at the implications for future years and will clarify as soon as we are able to.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
18th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent discussions he has had with Ofqual on provision of updated guidance to educational institutions on the summer 2020 (a) examinations and (b) final assessments.

As my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, announced to the House on 18 March, the Government has taken the difficult decision to cancel all examinations due to take place in schools and colleges in England this summer, as part of the fight to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Along with my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, I have been in regular communication with Ofqual to ensure that we provide timely advice to educational institutions on alternative arrangements.

The Department’s priority for GCSE and A-level students is to ensure they can move on as planned to the next stage of their education, including starting college, sixth form courses or apprenticeships, in the autumn. We will ensure they are awarded a grade which reflects their work. Our intention is that a grade will be awarded this summer based on the best available evidence, including any non-examination assessment that students have already completed. On 3 April, Ofqual published details for schools, colleges, parents and car