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Written Question
Nature Conservation: Education
Tuesday 26th April 2022

Asked by: Stuart Anderson (Conservative - Wolverhampton South West)

Question to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs:

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Education on ensuring conservation education is taught in schools in England.

Answered by Rebecca Pow - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

I recently met with DfE's Minister Walker to discuss the importance of increasing children's connection and access to nature and to expand educational opportunities to support green skills and jobs. Defra and DfE worked closely on the Sustainability and Climate Change Strategy which was published on Thursday 21 April. The strategy includes the following commitments where conservation education will play a key role in delivery:

1. A commitment from DfE to increase opportunities for all children and young people to spend time in nature, learn more about it, and get involved in improving their local environment.

2. A commitment to build on the investment into the Children and Nature Programme by engaging with Defra on more research into outdoor learning and how to help schools deliver it. DfE also commit to embedding the learning from the Children and Nature Programme into their two new initiatives - the National Education Nature Park and the Climate Leaders Award. By 2030, they anticipate that participation in the National Education Nature Park, and increased opportunities to connect with nature, will increase the number of young people who become data scientists, ecologists and biologists.

3. A goal to introduce a new natural history GCSE by 2025, which will include developing a deeper understanding of conservation. This will be accompanied by a pathway of learning for children up to GCSE level so that they have the knowledge and skills to undertake the GCSE. This includes a new Primary Science Model Curriculum with an emphasis on nature. This will raise the profile of education on nature and climate change and help to ensure that young people have the right skills to progress into a career in green jobs if they choose to do so.

4. The Strategy recognises the 25 Year Environment Plan as a driver of green jobs and skills needs alongside the Net Zero Strategy and sets out the natural environment training on offer. DfE have also committed to working with Defra to help develop this offer where gaps are identified through the Green Jobs Delivery Group.


Written Question
Children's Centres and Youth Centres: Coronavirus
Wednesday 5th January 2022

Asked by: Helen Hayes (Labour - Dulwich and West Norwood)

Question to the Department for Education:

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what (a) assessment he has made of the potential impact of the omicron variant on (i) children’s centres and (ii) youth clubs, and (b) steps he is taking to help ensure holiday provision can remain safely open during the Christmas holidays.

Answered by Will Quince - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)

​My right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, announced on 8 December 2021 that England will move to Plan B following the rapid spread of the Omicron variant in the UK. Urgent work has been ongoing to understand the impact of the new variant with regards to vaccines, treatments and transmissibility. Further information on Plan B can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/prime-minister-confirms-move-to-plan-b-in-england.

Ensuring parents can continue to access childcare remains a priority for the government. The department recognises the important role childcare, such as Holiday Activity clubs, play in providing additional childcare options to parents and carers, as well as providing enriching activities and promoting the wellbeing of children. We have prioritised that these settings can remain open, and continue to encourage schools to ensure they are offering this provision, if they have it in place.

The government also recognises the significant impact of COVID-19 on young people, particularly the most vulnerable, and the important role of youth work in supporting their development and wellbeing. We are engaging regularly with key youth organisations and colleagues in other government departments to understand the impact of COVID-19 on the provision of vital services for young people and options for addressing this.

We have updated protective measures guidance for the sector, to ensure they can offer this provision as safely as possible, which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/protective-measures-for-holiday-or-after-school-clubs-and-other-out-of-school-settings-for-children-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

Public health advice in this guidance includes UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA)-endorsed control measures, which build on the hierarchy of protective measures that were in use throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. When implemented in line with a revised risk assessment, these measures create an environment for children and staff where the risk of transmission of infection is substantially reduced for children and staff.

Additionally, specific youth sector COVID-19 guidance has been developed by the National Youth Agency, in line with guidance published by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, other youth sector organisations, union representatives and health and safety experts. Youth workers continue to be classified as key workers delivering frontline services, and currently all young people are able to attend indoor or outdoor youth provision.

The government continues to manage the risk of serious illness from the spread of the virus. COVID-19 continues to be a virus that we learn to live with, and the imperative to reduce the disruption to children and young people’s education and wellbeing remains.

We will continue to look closely at all the emerging data of the omicron variant but vaccines remain our best line of defence and it is now more vital than ever that those who are unvaccinated come forward, and those eligible for their boosters book when called.


Written Question
Free Schools: Sports
Monday 20th September 2021

Asked by: Philip Davies (Conservative - Shipley)

Question to the Department for Education:

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 7 September 2021 to Question 40787 on Free Schools: Sports, if he will set out the location and nature of the (a) indoor and outdoor facilities for sport and (b) site for additional sporting facilities referred to in the Answer.

Answered by Michelle Donelan - Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)

One in a Million Free School currently has access to an indoor creative arts studio area and an outdoor single Multi-Use Games Area on site. The department does not hold information on the off-site facilities that the school is currently accessing. The site that the department has identified to provide additional sporting facilities for the school is on Bolton Road in Bradford and the department is currently in the process of assessing its suitability for use by the trust.


Written Question
Air Pollution
Wednesday 8th September 2021

Asked by: Fleur Anderson (Labour - Putney)

Question to the Department of Health and Social Care:

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to support people with damaged lungs as a result of air pollution.

Answered by Jo Churchill - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

The Department is working with organisations such as Health Education England and the Royal Colleges to ensure that healthcare professionals are equipped to treat those vulnerable to the health impacts of air pollution.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s guidance ‘Air pollution: outdoor air quality and health’, also provides advice for people with chronic respiratory or cardiovascular conditions and the impacts of air pollution. The guidance is available at the following link:

https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/qs181

NHS England and NHS Improvement are taking a whole system approach to asthma management which includes addressing environmental triggers. The children and young people's transformation programme has asked local systems to prioritise local improvements in asthma care. This will include supporting clinicians to discuss the short and long-term adverse effects of air pollution on children with asthma and any mitigation strategies.


Written Question
Free Schools: Sports
Tuesday 7th September 2021

Asked by: Philip Davies (Conservative - Shipley)

Question to the Department for Education:

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 23 July 2021 to Question 33181 on Free Schools: Sports, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the sporting facilities at One in a Million Free School.

Answered by Nick Gibb

One in a Million Free School currently has access to both indoor and outdoor facilities for sport, either within the school grounds or through off site arrangements. The Department has identified a site to provide additional sporting facilities for the school.


Written Question
Free Schools: Sports
Friday 23rd July 2021

Asked by: Philip Davies (Conservative - Shipley)

Question to the Department for Education:

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the number of free schools which do not yet have adequate sporting facilities.

Answered by Nick Gibb

All free schools have indoor facilities for sport and are required to have suitable outdoor provision for physical education. This could be through sports facilities within the school grounds or through off-site arrangements.


Written Question
Extracurricular Activities: Coronavirus
Thursday 24th June 2021

Asked by: Rachael Maskell (Labour (Co-op) - York Central)

Question to the Department for Education:

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps is he taking to ensure that residential Outdoor Activity Centres can fully reopen in summer 2021 after the covid-19 outbreak to support the needs of young people.

Answered by Nick Gibb

The Department recognises the significant benefits that summer camps and other forms of education outside the classroom can have on children’s academic development as well as their mental health and wellbeing.

Since 17 May 2021, out of school settings, including outdoor education centres, have been able to operate in groups of any size for both indoor and outdoor provision. It remains important to continue minimising mixing between children where possible.

Since 21 June, out of school settings have been able to undertake residential visits and overnight stays with groups of up to 30 children. The Department has provided updated guidance which sets out how this can be operated safely. This guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/protective-measures-for-holiday-or-after-school-clubs-and-other-out-of-school-settings-for-children-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak/protective-measures-for-holiday-and-after-school-clubs-and-other-out-of-school-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, the Government has listened to the views of the scientific community, in particular the information from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies and its sub-groups when taking decisions on the best way to tackle COVID-19.

Education and childcare settings continue to be supported with appropriate guidance on safety measures, and the Department is committed to ensuring that out of school settings are able to effectively manage risks, create an inherently safer environment and maximise face to face education wherever possible. As new evidence or data emerges, the Government will act accordingly to ensure that all out of school settings have the right safety measures in place and that measures remain proportionate to the threat posed by COVID-19. The advice on residential visits and the need for protective measures will be reviewed again in advance of Step 4.

The Department is also working closely with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the National Youth Agency to ensure we have full awareness of the effect the COVID-19 outbreak has had on the youth sector. In response to youth sector engagement, dedicated youth sector COVID-19 guidance has been developed by the National Youth Agency in collaboration with DCMS, the Department, youth sector organisations and public health experts.


Written Question
Extracurricular Activities: Coronavirus
Thursday 24th June 2021

Asked by: Rachael Maskell (Labour (Co-op) - York Central)

Question to the Department for Education:

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that outdoor activity centres can reopen after the covid-19 outbreak for the 2021 summer holidays for a full programme of outdoor activities.

Answered by Nick Gibb

The Department recognises the significant benefits that summer camps and other forms of education outside the classroom can have on children’s academic development as well as their mental health and wellbeing.

Since 17 May 2021, out of school settings, including outdoor education centres, have been able to operate in groups of any size for both indoor and outdoor provision. It remains important to continue minimising mixing between children where possible.

Since 21 June, out of school settings have been able to undertake residential visits and overnight stays with groups of up to 30 children. The Department has provided updated guidance which sets out how this can be operated safely. This guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/protective-measures-for-holiday-or-after-school-clubs-and-other-out-of-school-settings-for-children-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak/protective-measures-for-holiday-and-after-school-clubs-and-other-out-of-school-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, the Government has listened to the views of the scientific community, in particular the information from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies and its sub-groups when taking decisions on the best way to tackle COVID-19.

Education and childcare settings continue to be supported with appropriate guidance on safety measures, and the Department is committed to ensuring that out of school settings are able to effectively manage risks, create an inherently safer environment and maximise face to face education wherever possible. As new evidence or data emerges, the Government will act accordingly to ensure that all out of school settings have the right safety measures in place and that measures remain proportionate to the threat posed by COVID-19. The advice on residential visits and the need for protective measures will be reviewed again in advance of Step 4.

The Department is also working closely with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the National Youth Agency to ensure we have full awareness of the effect the COVID-19 outbreak has had on the youth sector. In response to youth sector engagement, dedicated youth sector COVID-19 guidance has been developed by the National Youth Agency in collaboration with DCMS, the Department, youth sector organisations and public health experts.


Written Question
Extracurricular Activities: Coronavirus
Thursday 24th June 2021

Asked by: Fiona Bruce (Conservative - Congleton)

Question to the Department for Education:

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that children and young people are able to attend youth residential activities over the forthcoming summer holiday period in the event that covid-19 restrictions are maintained beyond 19 July 2021.

Answered by Nick Gibb

The Department recognises the significant benefits that summer camps and other forms of education outside the classroom can have on children’s academic development as well as their mental health and wellbeing.

Since 17 May 2021, out of school settings, including outdoor education centres, have been able to operate in groups of any size for both indoor and outdoor provision. It remains important to continue minimising mixing between children where possible.

Since 21 June, out of school settings have been able to undertake residential visits and overnight stays with groups of up to 30 children. The Department has provided updated guidance which sets out how this can be operated safely. This guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/protective-measures-for-holiday-or-after-school-clubs-and-other-out-of-school-settings-for-children-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak/protective-measures-for-holiday-and-after-school-clubs-and-other-out-of-school-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, the Government has listened to the views of the scientific community, in particular the information from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies and its sub-groups when taking decisions on the best way to tackle COVID-19.

Education and childcare settings continue to be supported with appropriate guidance on safety measures, and the Department is committed to ensuring that out of school settings are able to effectively manage risks, create an inherently safer environment and maximise face to face education wherever possible. As new evidence or data emerges, the Government will act accordingly to ensure that all out of school settings have the right safety measures in place and that measures remain proportionate to the threat posed by COVID-19. The advice on residential visits and the need for protective measures will be reviewed again in advance of Step 4.

The Department is also working closely with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the National Youth Agency to ensure we have full awareness of the effect the COVID-19 outbreak has had on the youth sector. In response to youth sector engagement, dedicated youth sector COVID-19 guidance has been developed by the National Youth Agency in collaboration with DCMS, the Department, youth sector organisations and public health experts.


Written Question
Extracurricular Activities: Coronavirus
Thursday 24th June 2021

Asked by: Theresa Villiers (Conservative - Chipping Barnet)

Question to the Department for Education:

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has had discussions with the National Youth Agency on allowing youth summer camps run by (a) the scouts, (b) faith groups and (c) other organisations to resume.

Answered by Nick Gibb

The Department recognises the significant benefits that summer camps and other forms of education outside the classroom can have on children’s academic development as well as their mental health and wellbeing.

Since 17 May 2021, out of school settings, including outdoor education centres, have been able to operate in groups of any size for both indoor and outdoor provision. It remains important to continue minimising mixing between children where possible.

Since 21 June, out of school settings have been able to undertake residential visits and overnight stays with groups of up to 30 children. The Department has provided updated guidance which sets out how this can be operated safely. This guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/protective-measures-for-holiday-or-after-school-clubs-and-other-out-of-school-settings-for-children-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak/protective-measures-for-holiday-and-after-school-clubs-and-other-out-of-school-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, the Government has listened to the views of the scientific community, in particular the information from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies and its sub-groups when taking decisions on the best way to tackle COVID-19.

Education and childcare settings continue to be supported with appropriate guidance on safety measures, and the Department is committed to ensuring that out of school settings are able to effectively manage risks, create an inherently safer environment and maximise face to face education wherever possible. As new evidence or data emerges, the Government will act accordingly to ensure that all out of school settings have the right safety measures in place and that measures remain proportionate to the threat posed by COVID-19. The advice on residential visits and the need for protective measures will be reviewed again in advance of Step 4.

The Department is also working closely with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the National Youth Agency to ensure we have full awareness of the effect the COVID-19 outbreak has had on the youth sector. In response to youth sector engagement, dedicated youth sector COVID-19 guidance has been developed by the National Youth Agency in collaboration with DCMS, the Department, youth sector organisations and public health experts.