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Written Question
Home Education: Standards
12 May 2020

Questioner: Andrew Selous

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department makes of parents's competence in (a) reading, (b) writing and (c) mathematics in relation to home schooling; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Nick Gibb)

The Department has made no such assessment. The Government does not expect parents to act as teachers or to provide the activities and feedback that a school or nursery would. Parents and carers should do their best to help children and support their education while dealing with other demands. We have issued information, guidance and support to parents and carers of children who are learning from home, which is available at:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/supporting-your-childrens-education-during-coronavirus-covid-19.


Written Question
Further Education
2 Mar 2020

Questioner: Andrew Selous

Question

What assessment he has made of the capacity of further education colleges to meet future demand for training in (a) electric vehicle maintenance and (b) the building of zero energy bill homes.

Answer (Gillian Keegan)

We have been supporting colleges up and down the country to ensure they have the capacity to deliver provision for the future. We are working with the Construction sector to plan and deliver the skills needed to decarbonise the industry and create more energy efficient builds.

I was delighted to read that Central Bedfordshire College in my honourable friend’s constituency has opened a £3.5 million Technology and Skills Centre to deliver the high-end technology and construction skills that businesses in his area need to thrive.


Written Question
Church Schools
9 May 2019

Questioner: Andrew Selous

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether there are any church schools in multi-academy trusts where less than half of the schools in that multi-academy trust are church schools.

Answer (Nadhim Zahawi)

As at 1 May 2019, there are 371 Multi-Academy Trusts (MAT) that include church schools. Of these, there are 99 MATs where church schools make up less than half of the academies within that Trust. We have identified church schools as those schools with a religious designation relating to the Christian faith. This includes Church of England, Greek Orthodox, Catholic and non-denominational Christian schools.


Written Question
Children: Protection
19 Dec 2018

Questioner: Andrew Selous

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 12 December 2018 to Question 198762 on Children: Protection, what cross-cutting factors his Department has identified as affecting trends in the level of demand for children's services.

Answer (Nadhim Zahawi)

The most common factors that present themselves in children’s social care assessments are domestic abuse, neglect and mental health. Data on this is available in Tables B3 and C3 of statistical release ‘Characteristics of children in need 2017-18’ here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/characteristics-of-children-in-need-2017-to-2018.


Written Question
Children: Protection
12 Dec 2018

Questioner: Andrew Selous

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of (a) trends in the level of (i) looked-after children and (ii) child protection plans and (b) the reasons for those trends.

Answer (Nadhim Zahawi)

We monitor the number of children looked after and the number of children with child protection plans on an ongoing basis. Figures on the number of looked after children at the 31 March in the last five years are published in Table A1 of statistical release ‘Children looked after in England including adoption: 2017 to 2018’ at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/children-looked-after-in-england-including-adoption-2017-to-2018.

Figures on the number of children with child protection plans are published in Table A2 of the statistical release ‘Characteristics of children in need 2017-18’ at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/characteristics-of-children-in-need-2017-to-2018.

The government is working between now and the Spending Review 2019 to get a sharper and more granular picture of demand for children’s services, including the factors that affect this demand, to help ensure that local authorities have the resources they need. The factors that affect these trends are cross-cutting and there is variation between local authorities. We are also working with Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government on the fair funding review of relative needs and resources which is looking in more detail at levels of demand in local authorities.


Written Question
Children: Care Homes
3 Dec 2018

Questioner: Andrew Selous

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the (a) level of harm caused to children and (b) amount of police time expended as a result of the absence of regulations governing over 16 year old children's homes; if he will (i) instruct Ofsted to undertake inspections of those homes and (ii) introduce a fit and proper person test for directors of those homes; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Nadhim Zahawi)

All children’s homes are governed by the same legislation and regulations, regardless of the age of the children they look after. We expect local authorities to safeguard children in their care aged over 16 in the same way they safeguard any looked-after child and for Ofsted to challenge those that are not meeting their duties.

Under the Care Standards Act (2000) and the Children’s Homes (England) Regulations (2015), all providers of children’s homes, including children’s homes catering for young people 16 and over, must be registered with Ofsted and, where the provider is an organisation or partnership, appoint a registered manager. Each individual connected to the registration of a children’s home must have their fitness to practice continually assessed by Ofsted.

We recognise the impact calls from children’s homes can have on police time. We recently published a new ‘National protocol on reducing unnecessary criminalisation of looked-after children and care leavers’: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-protocol-on-reducing-criminalisation-of-looked-after-children. This will inform social care providers, including children’s homes, on practice in responding to an incident, and aims to reduce the burden on police caused by unnecessary call-outs for low-level behaviour management and issues we would normally expect a responsible parent to manage without the support of the police.


Written Question
Children: Education
22 Feb 2018

Questioner: Andrew Selous

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what systems are in place for a Children Missing Education Officer to contact HM Revenue and Customs to request information on a family where there are concerns about a child not receiving a suitable education.

Answer (Nick Gibb)

Local authorities (LA) have a duty to make arrangements to establish, as far as possible, the identities of children of compulsory school age in their area who are not registered pupils at a school and are not otherwise receiving suitable education. The Department issues statutory guidance to enable LAs to implement this legal duty.

This guidance does not include a prescriptive or comprehensive list of all possible actions LAs could undertake when trying to locate a child, but does set out that in some cases it may be appropriate for LAs to make enquiries via other agencies.

The guidance sets out that LAs could ‘follow local information sharing arrangements and where possible make enquiries via other local databases and agencies e.g. those of housing providers, school admissions, health services, police, refuge, Youth Justice Services, children’s social care, and HMRC’. The guidance advises LAs that it may be helpful to have local contacts with the HMRC, and other agencies, to assist them in tracing children missing education.


Written Question
Children: Education
8 Feb 2018

Questioner: Andrew Selous

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the criteria is for HMRC to make available to local authority children missing education officers contact details of the families concerned.

Answer (Nick Gibb)

Nothing is more important than keeping children safe and in suitable education. Local authorities have a duty to make arrangements to establish, as far as possible, the identities of children of compulsory school age in their area who are not registered pupils at a school and are not receiving suitable education otherwise.

When the whereabouts of a child is unclear or unknown, local authorities should consider the individual facts of each case, and use their judgment to decide what would constitute reasonable enquiries in order to try to locate the child.

The Department does not provide a prescriptive list of actions that should be completed when trying to locate a child. In some cases, it may be appropriate for local authorities to make enquiries via other agencies, including HMRC. There is no specific criteria they are required to meet in order to be provided this information. Any sharing of information must comply with the law relating to data protection, which should be in line with local arrangements for recording and sharing information. Further information can be found in our statutory guidance on Children Missing Education: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/children-missing-education.


Written Question
Education: Travellers
23 Oct 2017

Questioner: Andrew Selous

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether the statistics on educational participation and attainment by Irish Travellers in the race disparity audit can be broken down for (a) Travellers living in settled accommodation in a mixed community and (b) Travellers living on Traveller-only sites.

Answer (Nick Gibb)

The Department does not collect information on educational participation and attainment by Irish Travelers broken down by where they live (e.g. in settled accommodation in a mixed community or on traveller-only sites).


Written Question
Sex and Relationship Education
11 Sep 2017

Questioner: Andrew Selous

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Answer of 28 June 2017 to Question 854 on sex and relationship education, if she will provide an update on the engagement process for statutory guidance on relationships and sex education.

Answer (Nick Gibb)

We will announce shortly further details on the wider engagement process. This will set out how we will build evidence from schools, parents, younger people and other organisations to shape draft statutory guidance, which will then be subject to public consultation.


Written Question
Sex and Relationship Education
28 Jun 2017

Questioner: Andrew Selous

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether the Government plans to consult on proposed changes to relationships and sex education in schools.

Answer (Nick Gibb)

The Department for Education will be conducting a thorough engagement process on the scope and content of relationships education and relationships and sex education, involving a wide range of interested stakeholders. This process will seek evidence from schools and teachers; parents and pupils; experts in safeguarding and child wellbeing; subject experts; voluntary organisations and other interested parties; and other government departments and public sector bodies.

It will inform the development of regulations and statutory guidance, covering subject content, school practice and quality of delivery, which will then be subject to consultation. Following consultation, regulations will be laid in the House allowing for a full and considered debate.

We will set out more details shortly about the engagement process and the work to consider age appropriate subject content.


Written Question
Department for Education: Recruitment
28 Feb 2017

Questioner: Andrew Selous

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether her Department operates a ban the box employment policy in respect of ex-offender job applicants with unspent convictions; and how many employees of her Department have unspent convictions.

Answer (Caroline Dinenage)

The Department for Education’s recruitment policies are fully compliant with the Ban the Box initiative. The Department does not hold information about how many employees have unspent convictions.


Written Question
Apprentices: Taxation
31 Jan 2017

Questioner: Andrew Selous

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if she will make it her policy not to impose the apprenticeship levy on small schools; and for what reasons large academies are not required to pay that levy.

Answer (Robert Halfon)

The levy is being introduced to fund a step change in apprenticeship numbers and quality. All employers in England, including schools, can use the funds raised by the levy for apprenticeship training and assessment, getting valuable skills for their organisations. Levying all employer paybills over £3m, including those in the education sector, is considered to be the simplest, fairest and most objective way of doing this.

For academies, the trust is the employer and single academies or multi-academy trusts with a paybill of over £3m will pay the apprenticeship levy. For foundation and voluntary aided schools, the governing body is the employer. For community and voluntary controlled schools, the local authority is the employer.

This means that, for community and voluntary controlled schools, the local authority will pay the levy, rather than the school. The local authority may pass these costs on to the school but they will also be able to pass on the benefits - giving the school access to digital funds to pay for apprenticeship training.


Written Question
Schools: Finance
23 Jan 2017

Questioner: Andrew Selous

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if she will amend her Department's definition of sparsity in school funding criteria to specify that a school less than three miles from another school is not classed as a rural school.

Answer (Nick Gibb)

The Government is committed to supporting small and remote schools which, due to their location, do not necessarily have the same opportunities to work as efficiently as other schools. 63% of respondents to our stage 1 schools national funding formula (NFF) consultation agreed with our proposal to include a ‘sparsity’ factor to target additional funding to schools that are small and remote. The Government’s response to the first stage NFF consultation is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/schools-national-funding-formula.

We are now consulting on proposals for the amount of sparsity funding that eligible schools should receive. Under our proposals, small and remote schools would receive £27 million of funding through the sparsity factor, and 676 schools that do not currently receive any sparsity funding from their local authority would start to receive this funding. The second stage consultation runs until 22 March 2017 and the documentation can be found at: https://consult.education.gov.uk/funding-policy-unit/schools-national-funding-formula2/.

We will make final decisions on the national funding formula following the conclusion of the consultation.


Written Question
Home Education: Travellers
12 Dec 2016

Questioner: Andrew Selous

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of elective home education for children from the traveller community; how many of those children achieved five or more GCSEs including English and mathematics at grade A* to C in the last academic year; how many of such children went to university in each of the last three years; and if she will make a statement.

Answer (Caroline Dinenage)

As there is no registration requirement for home educated children, overall numbers are not known and no general assessment of the effectiveness of home education for Traveller children can be undertaken. As part of their duty to identify children who are not receiving suitable education, local authorities work with Traveller communities to ensure that children are either being educated at home effectively, or attend school.

The Department publishes statistics on the attainment of pupils from Traveller of Irish heritage backgrounds and their destinations after the end of key stage 4 and key stage 5, but these only cover pupils and students who attend state-funded schools and colleges and not those who are electively home educated.


Written Question
None
10 Apr 2014

Questioner: Andrew Selous

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what his policy is on career colleges.

Answer (Elizabeth Truss)

The Government's policy for career colleges is the same as for any other further education college that enrols 14- to 16-year-olds. The Education Funding Agency first needs to grant permission for the college to enrol 14- to 16-year-olds, and permission is restricted to colleges with a Good or Outstanding Ofsted rating.

The proposals set out by the Career College Trust, an independent charity, take advantage of the flexibilities and freedoms of the funding reforms introduced by this Government to provide an alternative approach to offering high quality academic and vocational education from age 14.

I await with interest developments in career colleges and other innovative schemes for 14-19 provision, which have arisen as a result of the Government's vocational education reforms.