Department for Education

The Department for Education is responsible for children’s services and education, including early years, schools, higher and further education policy, apprenticeships and wider skills in England.



Secretary of State

 Portrait

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education

Shadow Ministers / Spokeperson
Labour
Bridget Phillipson (LAB - Houghton and Sunderland South)
Shadow Secretary of State for Education

Scottish National Party
Carol Monaghan (SNP - Glasgow North West)
Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Education)

Labour
Lord Watson of Invergowrie (LAB - Life peer)
Shadow Spokesperson (Education)

Liberal Democrat
Daisy Cooper (LDEM - St Albans)
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Education)

Democratic Unionist Party
Paul Girvan (DUP - South Antrim)
Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Education)

Labour
Baroness Sherlock (LAB - Life peer)
Shadow Spokesperson (Education)

Plaid Cymru
Ben Lake (PC - Ceredigion)
Shadow PC Spokesperson (Education)

Liberal Democrat
Lord Storey (LDEM - Life peer)
Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Education)
Junior Shadow Ministers / Deputy Spokesperson
Labour
Stephen Morgan (LAB - Portsmouth South)
Shadow Minister (Education) (Schools)
Toby Perkins (LAB - Chesterfield)
Shadow Minister (Education)
Helen Hayes (LAB - Dulwich and West Norwood)
Shadow Minister (Education)
Matt Western (LAB - Warwick and Leamington)
Shadow Minister (Education)
Ministers of State
Michelle Donelan (CON - Chippenham)
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
Robin Walker (CON - Worcester)
Minister of State (Education)
Parliamentary Under-Secretaries of State
Alex Burghart (CON - Brentwood and Ongar)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
Will Quince (CON - Colchester)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
Baroness Barran (CON - Life peer)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
Scheduled Event
Monday 31st January 2022
14:30
Department for Education
Oral questions - Main Chamber
31 Jan 2022, 2:30 p.m.
Education (including Topical Questions)
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Scheduled Event
Tuesday 1st February 2022
09:30
Education Committee - Private Meeting - Select & Joint Committees
1 Feb 2022, 9:30 a.m.
Children's Homes
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Debates
Tuesday 25th January 2022
Women and Equalities
Ministerial Corrections
Select Committee Docs
Tuesday 25th January 2022
00:00
EPB0127 - Prison Education
Written Evidence
Select Committee Inquiry
Monday 6th December 2021
Education challenges facing children and young people from Gypsy, Roma and Traveller backgrounds

The inquiry will focus on the educational experiences of children and young people from a Gypsy, Roma and Traveller background. …

Written Answers
Tuesday 25th January 2022
Schools and Universities: Confucius Institutes
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department monitors the activities of Confucius Institutes in English schools …
Secondary Legislation
Friday 22nd October 2021
Childcare (Early Years Provision Free of Charge) (Extended Entitlement) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2021
These Regulations make an amendment to the Childcare (Early Years Provision Free of Charge) (Extended Entitlement) Regulations 2016 (“the Regulations”).
Bills
Thursday 27th October 2016
Technical and Further Education Act 2017
A Bill to make provision about technical and further education.
Dept. Publications
Wednesday 26th January 2022
00:15

Department for Education Commons Appearances

Oral Answers to Questions is a regularly scheduled appearance where the Secretary of State and junior minister will answer at the Dispatch Box questions from backbench MPs

Other Commons Chamber appearances can be:
  • Urgent Questions where the Speaker has selected a question to which a Minister must reply that day
  • Adjornment Debates a 30 minute debate attended by a Minister that concludes the day in Parliament.
  • Oral Statements informing the Commons of a significant development, where backbench MP's can then question the Minister making the statement.

Westminster Hall debates are performed in response to backbench MPs or e-petitions asking for a Minister to address a detailed issue

Written Statements are made when a current event is not sufficiently significant to require an Oral Statement, but the House is required to be informed.

Most Recent Commons Appearances by Category
Dec. 06
Oral Questions
Jan. 11
Written Statements
Jan. 25
Westminster Hall
Jan. 06
Adjournment Debate
View All Department for Education Commons Contibutions

Bills currently before Parliament

Department for Education does not have Bills currently before Parliament


Acts of Parliament created in the 2019 Parliament

Department for Education has not passed any Acts during the 2019 Parliament

Department for Education - Secondary Legislation

These Regulations make an amendment to the Childcare (Early Years Provision Free of Charge) (Extended Entitlement) Regulations 2016 (“the Regulations”).
These Regulations make amendments to the Non-Maintained Special Schools (England) Regulations 2015 (“the 2015 Regulations”) and to the Independent School Standards, as set out in the Schedule to the Education (Independent School Standards) Regulations 2014 (“the 2014 Regulations”).
View All Department for Education Secondary Legislation

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).

Trending Petitions
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(198 in the last 7 days)
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(98 in the last 7 days)
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Petition Open
14,873 Signatures
(72 in the last 7 days)
Petitions with most signatures
Petition Debates Contributed

Government should support vulnerable children & #endchildfoodpoverty by implementing 3 recommendations from the National Food Strategy to expand access to Free School Meals, provide meals & activities during holidays to stop holiday hunger & increase the value of and expand the Healthy Start scheme

Call on the government to consider holding debates in Parliament between MPs and university students to raise/discuss issues that affect them. It will allow students to voice their opinions and concerns about tuition fees of £9250 a year which are too high, particularly as grants have been removed

Close down schools and colleges due to the increase in COVID-19 cases. We are seeing cases of students and teachers catching the virus since schools have reopened.

View All Department for Education Petitions

Departmental Select Committee

Education Committee

Commons Select Committees are a formally established cross-party group of backbench MPs tasked with holding a Government department to account.

At any time there will be number of ongoing investigations into the work of the Department, or issues which fall within the oversight of the Department. Witnesses can be summoned from within the Government and outside to assist in these inquiries.

Select Committee findings are reported to the Commons, printed, and published on the Parliament website. The government then usually has 60 days to reply to the committee's recommendations.


11 Members of the Education Committee
Robert Halfon Portrait
Robert Halfon (Conservative - Harlow)
Education Committee Chair since 27th January 2020
Christian Wakeford Portrait
Christian Wakeford (Labour - Bury South)
Education Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
Ian Mearns Portrait
Ian Mearns (Labour - Gateshead)
Education Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
Caroline Johnson Portrait
Caroline Johnson (Conservative - Sleaford and North Hykeham)
Education Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
Tom Hunt Portrait
Tom Hunt (Conservative - Ipswich)
Education Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
Apsana Begum Portrait
Apsana Begum (Labour - Poplar and Limehouse)
Education Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
Kim Johnson Portrait
Kim Johnson (Labour - Liverpool, Riverside)
Education Committee Member since 11th May 2020
Kate Osborne Portrait
Kate Osborne (Labour - Jarrow)
Education Committee Member since 13th July 2021
Nicola Richards Portrait
Nicola Richards (Conservative - West Bromwich East)
Education Committee Member since 7th September 2021
Brendan Clarke-Smith Portrait
Brendan Clarke-Smith (Conservative - Bassetlaw)
Education Committee Member since 19th October 2021
Miriam Cates Portrait
Miriam Cates (Conservative - Penistone and Stocksbridge)
Education Committee Member since 19th October 2021
Education Committee: Upcoming Events
Education Committee - Private Meeting
Children's Homes
1 Feb 2022, 9:30 a.m.
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50 most recent Written Questions

(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

18th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will publish in full the Ministerial diary of the former Secretary of State for Education for 20 May 2020.

Ministers regularly meet with departmental officials and external stakeholders. Details of ministerial meetings with external organisations are published quarterly and can be found on https://www.gov.uk/.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department monitors the activities of Confucius Institutes in English schools and universities.

A number of education providers in England host Confucius Institutes (higher education) or Confucius Classrooms (schools) and they are responsible for ensuring their partnerships are managed appropriately with the right due diligence in place.

The department does not monitor the activities of these partnerships but takes seriously any concerns regarding the operation of international organisations at UK education providers. We will continue to support education providers to promote mutually beneficial international collaborations. We will look carefully at this important issue and if any provider has concerns regarding their international collaborations, they should inform the government.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
20th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many children are home-schooled in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England.

The department does not collect data on the number of electively home-educated children as there is no statutory requirement for local authorities to maintain such a register. Such data as is currently collected is held by local authorities.

However, the government is committed to a form of a register for children not in school, which would include home educated children. This would improve data collection and sharing, as well as help local authorities undertake their existing duties and help safeguard all children who are in scope. We will set out further details on this in the government response to the children not in school consultation, which we will publish in the coming weeks.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
20th Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answers by Baroness Barran on 18 January (HL5056 and HL5057), what steps they take to ensure that radical Islamism is not being taught in madrassas in the UK; whether they have any evidence that radical Islamism is being taught in those settings; and if so, what further steps they intend to take.

The government is committed to ensuring all children are safe, wherever they are educated, including safe from extremism and radicalisation. The department is actively working with the education sector, national partners, and local partners to safeguard children and young people from these risks. In addition to the work that we do with schools and colleges to ensure our children and young people are resilient to extremist ideology, we jointly fund with the Home Office a network of experts who provide frontline support to education providers

We have also established an online form to allow concerns regarding extremism within the education sector to be reported directly to the department, to complement our existing counter extremism helpline, and we encourage anyone with a concern to use this service.

As mentioned in my answer of 18 January, in instances where the department becomes aware of a provider where extremist activity might be taking place, we will also work closely with relevant agencies, such as the local authority, Ofsted and the police to act. In those rare cases, such as the case of Umar Haque in 2018, which saw the attempted radicalisation of several children in a London Madrassa through devious and sophisticated grooming techniques, we have worked closely with safeguarding partners to intervene and safeguard the children, and to act against the perpetrators. In the case of Umar Haque, we saw multi-agency action result in the conviction of him and his associates under the Terrorism Act 2006.

However, while there are many legal powers in place to protect children in out-of-school providers including madrassas, which have been proven to be effective, we have not ruled out further action.

As outlined in my previous answer, the department has been taking forward a package of activity aimed at further enhancing safeguarding in this sector. This includes the provision of over £3 million of targeted funding to pilot ways in which we can boost local capacity further to identify and intervene in out-of-school providers of concern, and testing the utility of existing powers held across multiple agencies, such as local authorities, the police and Ofsted, to safeguard children attending these providers.

These pilots were taken forward with the intention of building our evidence base to inform our national next steps for supporting safeguarding in the sector, including the need for any legislation. This work concluded at the end of last year, and we are currently evaluating the outcome of these pilots. We will set out our next steps to this work in due course.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment his Department has made over the number of women at risk of unemployment due to (a) lack of available childcare spaces and (c) the rising costs for childcare.

In terms of the availability of childcare spaces, we know from findings from the 2021 Childcare and early years providers survey that there is some spare capacity in the system. 7 in 10 (70 per cent) group-based providers reported having spare places in their full day provision and almost half of childminders (49%) reported having spare capacity on average across the week. The survey can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/childcare-and-early-years-providers-survey-2021.

We continue to monitor sufficiency of childcare and liaise regularly with local authorities through telephone calls and regular surveys. They are not currently reporting any substantial sufficiency or supply issues and we have not seen a substantial number of parents unable to secure a childcare place, either this term or since early years providers re-opened fully on 1 June 2020.

This government is committed to making childcare more affordable and more accessible. In terms of the costs of childcare, this includes 15 hours free early education for all three and four year olds and disadvantaged two year olds, as well as an additional 15 hours for eligible working parents (also known as ‘30 hours’), which can help save families over £6,000 per child a year.

The tax-free childcare offer is also available for working families. This scheme means that for every £8 parents pay their provider via an online account, the government will pay £2, up to a maximum contribution of £2,000 per child each year (up to £500 every 3 months).

Additionally, Universal Credit childcare reimburses up to 85% of childcare costs for working parents on a low income. This is subject to a monthly limit of £646 for one child or £1,108 for two or more children, payable in arrears

Findings from the department’s parent survey (published in December 2019) highlights the positive impact the 30 hours free childcare entitlements can have on parents’ working patterns, with a third (33%) of parents saying that in the absence of 30 hours they would be working fewer hours and the majority of parents (70%) reporting that 30 hours had given them more flexibility in the hours they could work. It also showed that a small but notable proportion of mothers reported that accessing the 30 hours had led them to enter work (6%) or increase their hours (17%). The survey can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/childcare-and-early-years-survey-of-parents-2019.

The department continues to explore what more can be done to help parents access childcare which suits their lives, including out of hours childcare or before or after school. We are committed to working together across government to make our current suite of offers work as effectively as possible and ensure it delivers for those parents who need it.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has made an estimate of the number of (a) autistic children and young people and (b) other pupils in Lewisham Deptford that have yet to return to full-time education as a result of covid-19.

We do not collect data on the attendance of children and young people broken down by specific conditions. Statistics on attendance during the COVID-19 outbreak can be found here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

The department collects data on the total number of children that are absent each day from school due to any reason relating to COVID-19. As we collect the total number of students absent from school, we are unable to determine if the same pupil is absent on consecutive days, so are unable to provide a total for the number of pupils that are yet to return to full-time education because of COVID-19.

Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, we have published and updated guidance for special schools, special post-16 providers and alternative provision to provide additional information and support for delivering education in these settings. This is clear that regular attendance at school, both special and mainstream, is vital for children’s education, wellbeing and long-term development and school attendance has been mandatory since the end of the last national lockdown. Our guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-for-full-opening-special-schools-and-other-specialist-settings.

To support this, we recommend that leaders in education work collaboratively with families to reassure them and to help their child engage with their everyday activities. Discussions should have a collaborative approach, focusing on the welfare of the child or young person and responding to the concerns of the parent, carer, or young person.

Any families with concerns about their child’s health should speak with their child’s GP or health care team for advice and guidance.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
19th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what mechanisms are in place to encourage effective cross-department working to help ensure that children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities receive the relevant support for their needs.

Working across government to ensure the needs of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) are met, is a priority for this department.

In July 2021 the government published the National Disability Strategy, setting out our vision to improve the everyday lives of disabled people. We gave a range of commitments over supporting children and young people with disabilities in their education and preparation for adulthood.

One of the most frequently occurring types of SEN recognised in children and young people is autism. We are working closely with partners across government to improve support for autistic people of all ages.

In July 2021, we published jointly with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) the new ‘Autism Strategy’, which extended to children and young people for the first time, with funding in its first year of £74 million. In it, we set out how we will continue our programme of developing training and resources for education staff. We also committed to working in collaboration across government, with autistic people and their families, the NHS, local government, and the voluntary sector, to implement the strategy, and we are continuing to do so.

Focusing on the health and care needs of children and young people with SEND, the department contributes to the cross-system, cross-government building the right support delivery board which is responsible for driving further progress in reducing the number of autistic children, young people, and adults, with a learning disability in mental health inpatient settings. We are a key partner in the children and young people’s workstream, which is one of the board’s core priorities.

Working closely with DHSC, the department has lent its support to the Down’s Syndrome Bill, currently moving through parliament, and proposed by my right hon. Friend for North Somerset, which seeks to improve services and life outcomes for people with down’s syndrome. The bill would place a new duty on my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, to issue guidance in England to certain health, social care, housing and education authorities on meeting the specific needs of people with down‘s syndrome.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of funding for SEN support in schools for the purposes of ensuring that autistic children who do not have an education health and care plan are supported.

The majority of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) do not have an education, health and care plan and are supported by their schools from the allocations of funding they receive for all their pupils. We have announced that significant additional funding is being made available for schools.

In financial year 2022-23 alone, core schools funding will increase by £4 billion compared to financial year 2021-22, a 5% real terms per pupil boost. This total includes a £2.5 billion increase in mainstream school funding for 5 to 16 year olds in financial year 2022-23, compared to this financial year 2021-22. This is equivalent to an average 5.8% cash increase, or £300, per pupil – with each local authority forecast to see at least a 4.7% increase per pupil for the mainstream schools in their area.

The national funding formula continues to distribute this funding fairly, based on the needs of schools and their pupil cohorts. It is provided to cover mainstream schools’ core spending, including support for pupils with low to mid-level SEND. Regulations require local authorities to identify such an amount within each school’s budget, and to calculate that amount using a sum of £6,000 (per pupil) as the threshold below which the school will be expected to meet the additional costs of pupils with special educational needs from its core budget, before accessing further high needs top-up funding from the local authority. It remains for individual schools to determine the best use of the funds available to them, to support all their pupils, including those with SEND.

Alongside additional funding, we have made significant progress with the SEND Review and my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, committed, at the 3 November 2021 Education Select Committee, that in the first three months of this year we would publish proposals for full public consultation.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
19th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many Qualified Teachers of the Visually Impaired were working in schools in England in each of the last five years.

The department is firmly committed to ensuring that children with special education needs and disabilities (SEND), including visual impairments, receive the support they need to achieve in their early years, school and college.

Information on the number of qualified teachers of the visually impaired, and specialist habilitation workers, is not collected by the department.

It is a legal requirement for qualified teachers of classes of pupils who have sensory impairments to hold the relevant mandatory qualification in sensory impairment (MQSI). To offer MQSIs, providers must be approved by my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education.

We intend to develop a new approval process to determine providers of MQSIs from the start of the academic year 2023/2024. 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.

High needs funding, which is specifically for supporting children with more complex SEND, will be increasing by £1 billion in the financial year 2022-23 and will bring the overall total of funding for high needs to £9.1 billion. This unprecedented increase of 13% comes on top of the £1.5 billion increase over the last two years.

Decisions about how funding is used, including for the employment of specialist teachers for visually impaired children and specialist habilitation professionals, are made by local authorities and schools.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
19th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many specialist habilitation workers were working within school settings in England in each of the last five years.

The department is firmly committed to ensuring that children with special education needs and disabilities (SEND), including visual impairments, receive the support they need to achieve in their early years, school and college.

Information on the number of qualified teachers of the visually impaired, and specialist habilitation workers, is not collected by the department.

It is a legal requirement for qualified teachers of classes of pupils who have sensory impairments to hold the relevant mandatory qualification in sensory impairment (MQSI). To offer MQSIs, providers must be approved by my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education.

We intend to develop a new approval process to determine providers of MQSIs from the start of the academic year 2023/2024. 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.

High needs funding, which is specifically for supporting children with more complex SEND, will be increasing by £1 billion in the financial year 2022-23 and will bring the overall total of funding for high needs to £9.1 billion. This unprecedented increase of 13% comes on top of the £1.5 billion increase over the last two years.

Decisions about how funding is used, including for the employment of specialist teachers for visually impaired children and specialist habilitation professionals, are made by local authorities and schools.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
19th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans his Department has to increase the number of specialist professionals supporting children and young people with a vision impairment, including specifically habilitation professionals and qualified teachers of the visually impaired.

The department is firmly committed to ensuring that children with special education needs and disabilities (SEND), including visual impairments, receive the support they need to achieve in their early years, school and college.

Information on the number of qualified teachers of the visually impaired, and specialist habilitation workers, is not collected by the department.

It is a legal requirement for qualified teachers of classes of pupils who have sensory impairments to hold the relevant mandatory qualification in sensory impairment (MQSI). To offer MQSIs, providers must be approved by my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education.

We intend to develop a new approval process to determine providers of MQSIs from the start of the academic year 2023/2024. 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.

High needs funding, which is specifically for supporting children with more complex SEND, will be increasing by £1 billion in the financial year 2022-23 and will bring the overall total of funding for high needs to £9.1 billion. This unprecedented increase of 13% comes on top of the £1.5 billion increase over the last two years.

Decisions about how funding is used, including for the employment of specialist teachers for visually impaired children and specialist habilitation professionals, are made by local authorities and schools.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
20th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to recruit more private applied behaviour analysis tutors nationally.

Autism is a spectrum condition where children have a range of strengths and difficulties. There is no well-founded research to show that any one intervention for children with autism (such as Applied Behaviour Analysis) is more effective than all the other interventions or which interventions are best for which children on the spectrum. The government believes that intervention decisions should be taken by professionals locally, in consultation with parents and young people, after a thorough assessment of the child or young person’s needs.

All schools are required to identify and address the special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) of the pupils they support and to use their best endeavours to make sure that a child or young person gets the support they need.

High needs funding, which is specifically for supporting children with SEND, will be increasing by £1 billion in financial year 2022-23 and will bring the overall total of funding for high needs to £9.1 billion. This unprecedented increase of 13% comes on top of the £1.5 billion increase over the last two years. Decisions about how funding is used, including for the employment of specialist tutors or the use of specific interventions, are made by local authorities and schools.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
20th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of current regulations for private special educational needs providers in ensuring that the level of education provided is adequate.

Independent schools must have meet the requirements of the Education (Independent School Standards) Regulations 2014 which set out the standards for the education, welfare and safety for pupils attending an independent school, including pupils with special educational needs and disabilities. Ofsted and the Independent Schools Inspectorate inspect all independent schools against these standards.

Local authorities are responsible for securing the provision specified in the education, health and care plans (ECHPs) they maintain, including for those placements in private providers. They are required to conduct reviews of all EHCPs that they maintain at least annually. If a review finds that elements of the provision specified in the plan are no longer appropriate, then the local authority should review the EHCP and consider whether the provision should be amended and/or a different institution named.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
13th Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many trained mental health first aiders there are in secondary schools in England.

The department does not hold data on the number of Mental Health First Aiders in schools and we believe it is important that schools are able to decide what training they offer to their staff based on the individual circumstances of the school.

However, we have made sure that schools have access to a range of training, so teachers understand and respond to the mental health and wellbeing issues that pupils face, including those issues that are as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The response to the consultation on the ‘Transforming children and young people’s mental health provision: a green paper’, published in July 2018, confirmed our commitment to provide mental health awareness training for a member of staff from all state-funded secondary schools in England by March 2020. ​The Department of Health and Social Care awarded the final year (19-20) of this 3 year programme to deliver Mental Health Awareness Training to all eligible secondary schools to the Anna Freud Centre, having previously been delivered by Mental Health First Aid England.

For the longer term, we announced £9.5 million on 10 May 2021 to offer senior mental health lead training to around a third of all state schools and colleges in the 2021/22 academic year, as part of its commitment to offer this training to all state schools and colleges by 2025. A senior mental health lead is a strategic leadership role in a school or college, responsible for overseeing the settings whole school or college approach to promote children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing, as well as supporting those who need help with their mental health to receive appropriate support. The role is not mandatory, and the senior mental health lead training will not be compulsory.

Since applications opened in October 2021, over 8,000 eligible schools and colleges have applied for a senior mental health training grant. Over 6,500 of these have booked onto a Department for Education quality-assured training course and over 3,500 senior leads are estimated to have begun their training.

Ahead of this, to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak, our recent £15 million Wellbeing for Education Recovery and Return programmes provided free expert training, support and resources for school and college staff dealing with children and young people experiencing mental health issues. Information provided by 95% of local authorities, on how they delivered training and support using Wellbeing for Education Return funding, suggests that training and support reached over 12,000 education settings. Many local authorities have also told us that this funding has enabled and accelerated cross-system collaboration to support education settings, staff, children and young people and their families. Local areas continue to share examples of practice (promotional materials, worksheets, presentations, links to recorded sessions and local directories and evaluations) with us and each other.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
13th Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to introduce a dedicated mental health first aider in every secondary school in England.

The department does not hold data on the number of Mental Health First Aiders in schools and we believe it is important that schools are able to decide what training they offer to their staff based on the individual circumstances of the school.

However, we have made sure that schools have access to a range of training, so teachers understand and respond to the mental health and wellbeing issues that pupils face, including those issues that are as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The response to the consultation on the ‘Transforming children and young people’s mental health provision: a green paper’, published in July 2018, confirmed our commitment to provide mental health awareness training for a member of staff from all state-funded secondary schools in England by March 2020. ​The Department of Health and Social Care awarded the final year (19-20) of this 3 year programme to deliver Mental Health Awareness Training to all eligible secondary schools to the Anna Freud Centre, having previously been delivered by Mental Health First Aid England.

For the longer term, we announced £9.5 million on 10 May 2021 to offer senior mental health lead training to around a third of all state schools and colleges in the 2021/22 academic year, as part of its commitment to offer this training to all state schools and colleges by 2025. A senior mental health lead is a strategic leadership role in a school or college, responsible for overseeing the settings whole school or college approach to promote children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing, as well as supporting those who need help with their mental health to receive appropriate support. The role is not mandatory, and the senior mental health lead training will not be compulsory.

Since applications opened in October 2021, over 8,000 eligible schools and colleges have applied for a senior mental health training grant. Over 6,500 of these have booked onto a Department for Education quality-assured training course and over 3,500 senior leads are estimated to have begun their training.

Ahead of this, to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak, our recent £15 million Wellbeing for Education Recovery and Return programmes provided free expert training, support and resources for school and college staff dealing with children and young people experiencing mental health issues. Information provided by 95% of local authorities, on how they delivered training and support using Wellbeing for Education Return funding, suggests that training and support reached over 12,000 education settings. Many local authorities have also told us that this funding has enabled and accelerated cross-system collaboration to support education settings, staff, children and young people and their families. Local areas continue to share examples of practice (promotional materials, worksheets, presentations, links to recorded sessions and local directories and evaluations) with us and each other.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans his Department has to actively engage children and young people with a vision impairment in the upcoming SEND Review.

Throughout the special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) Review, we have engaged extensively with children and young people with a range of SEND, and their parents, to ensure we have heard their views directly about how the system needs to improve, including for those with a visual impairment

The outcome of the Review will be published in the first three months of this year as a Green Paper for full public consultation. We will ensure that our subsequent public consultation is accessible to a wide audience and provide a range of alternative formats to support those with vision, motor, cognitive or learning difficulties and deafness or impaired hearing engage fully in the consultation.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans his Department has for engaging the parents and carers of children and young people with a vision impairment in the upcoming SEND Review.

Throughout the special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) Review, we have engaged extensively with children and young people with a range of SEND, and their parents, to ensure we have heard their views directly about how the system needs to improve, including for those with a visual impairment

The outcome of the Review will be published in the first three months of this year as a Green Paper for full public consultation. We will ensure that our subsequent public consultation is accessible to a wide audience and provide a range of alternative formats to support those with vision, motor, cognitive or learning difficulties and deafness or impaired hearing engage fully in the consultation.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many primary school (a) children and (b) teachers and staff have been diagnosed with covid-19 in each month in (i) 2020 and (ii) 2021.

The department does not hold the primary data source of COVID-19 cases. This is accessible from the ‘Coronavirus in the UK’ dashboard. COVID-19 case data can be found here: https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/?_ga=2.91108568.335840232.1603021384-1347302696.1578321854.

The department publishes daily school attendance data on a fortnightly basis. This helps with the monitoring of the COVID-19 impact on school attendance. Absence due to suspected and confirmed cases of COVID-19 is available from the 23 May 2020 to 6 January 2022 and information can be found on Explore Education Statistics. The most recent national, regional and local authority data can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic-23-march-2020-to-6-january-2022.

National level pupil data can be found in Table 1B of the underlying data files, whilst teacher data can be found in Table 1D. For dates where any local authority is on half term, a holiday methodology is applied and the national data for both pupil and teachers can be found in Table 1A.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities on improving the provision of technical education in coastal towns; and if he will make a statement.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, and officials within his department meet with counterparts in other government departments regularly to discuss education and skills matters.

In 2021 the department worked with the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and other government departments, by contributing to its work on the Future of Seaside Towns and setting out the department’s proposals to boost skills and technical education around the country, including in coastal towns.

We are 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 includes more investment for apprenticeships and employers in coastal communities can access funding for apprenticeships to meet their skills needs.

We have also launched T Levels, which are world-class programmes developed with over 250 leading employers to the same quality standards as apprenticeships and will ensure more young people gain the skills and knowledge demanded by employers. T Levels are already being delivered across the country, including in coastal areas such as Scarborough and Blackpool.

The government is rolling out Local Skills Improvement Plans, which will set out the key changes needed to make technical education and training more responsive to local labour market skills needs. They will be developed by local employer representative bodies working closely with further education colleges, other providers and key local stakeholders, and will be tailored to the challenges and opportunities most relevant to local areas. We have started by trailblazing these Plans in eight local areas across England in 2021-22, including in Cumbria, Kent, Sussex and Tees Valley, which have coastal towns.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on improving the provision of technical education in coastal towns; and if he will make a statement.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, and officials within his department meet with counterparts in other government departments regularly to discuss education and skills matters.

In 2021 the department worked with the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and other government departments, by contributing to its work on the Future of Seaside Towns and setting out the department’s proposals to boost skills and technical education around the country, including in coastal towns.

We are 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 includes more investment for apprenticeships and employers in coastal communities can access funding for apprenticeships to meet their skills needs.

We have also launched T Levels, which are world-class programmes developed with over 250 leading employers to the same quality standards as apprenticeships and will ensure more young people gain the skills and knowledge demanded by employers. T Levels are already being delivered across the country, including in coastal areas such as Scarborough and Blackpool.

The government is rolling out Local Skills Improvement Plans, which will set out the key changes needed to make technical education and training more responsive to local labour market skills needs. They will be developed by local employer representative bodies working closely with further education colleges, other providers and key local stakeholders, and will be tailored to the challenges and opportunities most relevant to local areas. We have started by trailblazing these Plans in eight local areas across England in 2021-22, including in Cumbria, Kent, Sussex and Tees Valley, which have coastal towns.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on improving the provision of technical education in coastal towns; and if he will make a statement.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, and officials within his department meet with counterparts in other government departments regularly to discuss education and skills matters.

In 2021 the department worked with the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and other government departments, by contributing to its work on the Future of Seaside Towns and setting out the department’s proposals to boost skills and technical education around the country, including in coastal towns.

We are 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 includes more investment for apprenticeships and employers in coastal communities can access funding for apprenticeships to meet their skills needs.

We have also launched T Levels, which are world-class programmes developed with over 250 leading employers to the same quality standards as apprenticeships and will ensure more young people gain the skills and knowledge demanded by employers. T Levels are already being delivered across the country, including in coastal areas such as Scarborough and Blackpool.

The government is rolling out Local Skills Improvement Plans, which will set out the key changes needed to make technical education and training more responsive to local labour market skills needs. They will be developed by local employer representative bodies working closely with further education colleges, other providers and key local stakeholders, and will be tailored to the challenges and opportunities most relevant to local areas. We have started by trailblazing these Plans in eight local areas across England in 2021-22, including in Cumbria, Kent, Sussex and Tees Valley, which have coastal towns.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
11th Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government (1) whether they intend to establish university scholarships for former interpreters, and the families of these interpreters, from Afghanistan who are resident in the UK, and if so, (2) how many they plan to establish, and (3) when they will be established.

The government welcomes our responsibility to those who have worked for the British forces in conflict zones. Many have served with distinction and at great personal risk, working in dangerous and challenging situations. We would not have been able to carry out our work there without them.

We are doing what is right to honour their service by providing generous support that properly reflects their work and the risks involved, especially to interpreters and translators who worked alongside us in frontline roles; through the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP), details of which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/afghan-relocations-and-assistance-policy/afghan-relocations-and-assistance-policy-information-and-guidance .

In addition to the ARAP, the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme will welcome up to an additional 20,000 vulnerable Afghans to the UK, including women, children, LGBT and religious minorities, details of which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/afghan-citizens-resettlement-scheme.

A significant cross-government effort is under way, dubbed ‘Operation Warm Welcome’, to ensure Afghans arriving in the UK receive the vital support they need to rebuild their lives, find work, pursue education, and integrate into their local communities.

As part of Operation Warm Welcome, we announced there would be further funding for up to 300 undergraduate and postgraduate scholarships for Afghans at UK universities. The department will update with further details of this programme in due course.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 13 January 2022 to Question 100627, on Special Schools: Ventilation, how many CO2 monitors were offered to special schools.

The CO2 monitor roll out began in September 2021 to all state-funded education providers, including early years, schools and further education providers. This included all special schools and alternative provision, who were prioritised to receive their monitors first given their higher-than-average numbers of vulnerable pupils.

As of 14 January 2022, the department has delivered 22,859 CO2 monitors to special schools, including post-16 special and alternative provision education providers, and 42,665 CO2 monitors to nurseries and early years education providers.

The programme provided state-funded education providers, including special schools, nurseries, and early years education providers, with sufficient monitors to take representative readings from across their estate assessing all spaces in a relatively short space of time. All education providers have received roughly one monitor for every two teaching rooms. Precise numbers vary according to different provider types. CO2 monitors are portable and so schools and other education providers can move them around to test their full estate, starting with areas they suspect may be poorly ventilated.

The department has also provided guidance on how to use CO2 monitors. This is available on the ventilation document sharing platform that all providers have access to.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
18th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 13 January 2022 to Question 100627, on Special Schools: Ventilation, how many CO2 monitors were offered to nurseries and early years settings.

The CO2 monitor roll out began in September 2021 to all state-funded education providers, including early years, schools and further education providers. This included all special schools and alternative provision, who were prioritised to receive their monitors first given their higher-than-average numbers of vulnerable pupils.

As of 14 January 2022, the department has delivered 22,859 CO2 monitors to special schools, including post-16 special and alternative provision education providers, and 42,665 CO2 monitors to nurseries and early years education providers.

The programme provided state-funded education providers, including special schools, nurseries, and early years education providers, with sufficient monitors to take representative readings from across their estate assessing all spaces in a relatively short space of time. All education providers have received roughly one monitor for every two teaching rooms. Precise numbers vary according to different provider types. CO2 monitors are portable and so schools and other education providers can move them around to test their full estate, starting with areas they suspect may be poorly ventilated.

The department has also provided guidance on how to use CO2 monitors. This is available on the ventilation document sharing platform that all providers have access to.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent guidance he has issued to (a) local authorities and (b) academy trusts on using non-disclosure agreements for school staff.

The department has issued no new advice to local authorities or schools in relation to non-disclosure agreements (NDAs). Our position remains as set out in paragraph 5.29 of the Staffing and Employment Advice for Schools, that any settlement agreement between a school and a member of staff that includes a confidentiality clause must adhere to the provisions set out in the Employment Rights Act 1996.

Advice in relation to NDAs has recently been focused on higher education providers. On 18 January 2022, my right hon. Friend, the Minister for Higher and Further Education launched a new pledge alongside Maria Miller MP and Can’t Buy My Silence, which commits universities to not using NDAs to silence victims of sexual misconduct, bullying, or other forms of harassment. The list of those universities who have signed the pledge will be held by the campaign group, Can't Buy My Silence, and hosted on their website.

Harassment of any sort is abhorrent and cannot be tolerated at schools, colleges or universities. Education providers have a responsibility to ensure that they provide a safe and inclusive environment for all students and staff.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the number of autistic children and young people that have yet to return to full-time education following the periods of school closures as a result of covid-19.

We do not collect data on the attendance of children and young people broken down by specific conditions. Statistics on attendance can be found here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, we have published and updated guidance for special schools, special post-16 providers and alternative provision to provide additional information and support for delivering education in these settings, available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-for-full-opening-special-schools-and-other-specialist-settings. This is clear that regular attendance at school, both special and mainstream, is vital for children’s education, wellbeing and long-term development and school attendance has been mandatory since the end of the last national lockdown.

To support this, we recommend that leaders in education work collaboratively with families to reassure them and to help their child engage with their everyday activities. Discussions should have a collaborative approach, focusing on the welfare of the child or young person and responding to the concerns of the parent, carer or young person.

Any families with concerns about their child’s health should speak with their child’s GP or health care team for advice and guidance.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
20th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many teaching hours per week, on average, are spent on (a) Maths, (b) English and (c) Sciences for children in Key Stage (i) one, (ii) two and (iii) three.

Information on the school workforce in England, including the curriculum taught in secondary schools, is published in the annual ‘School Workforce in England’ national statistic here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/school-workforce-in-england.

As at November 2020 (latest information available) around 15% of reported taught teaching hours were in each of mathematics, English and sciences in state-funded secondary schools in England (Table 1). To produce this information, data on subjects taught is collected from a large sample of secondary schools, and this is then weighted and grossed to provide national totals.

Table 1: Hours taught in a typical week in state-funded secondary schools1 for key stage 32, by subject, number and percentage3

November 2020

Subject

Number

Percentage

Mathematics

272,435

14.9%

English

283,896

15.5%

All Sciences

271,082

14.8%

Total

1,830,688

100.0%

Source: School Workforce Census 2020 and Database of Teacher Records 2021

1 - Collected from secondary schools that use electronic timetabling software that can produce data in the format required

2 - Teaching in years 7, 8 and 9.

3 - Percentage of all hours taught.

The information requested is not collected centrally for key stages 1 and 2. Some information is available from the Omnibus Survey (2017). The information collected through this survey provides information on the amount of time, in minutes per week, spent teaching subjects within primary schools (key stage one and two) (Table 2). Information from this survey was published here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/teacher-voice-omnibus-may-to-july-2016-survey-dfe-questions

Table 2: Minutes per week spent on curriculum subject-specific lessons in primary schools, by subject, median and percentage of time taught

May 2016

Subject

Median

Percentage

Mathematics

300

30%

English

300

30%

Science

60

6%

Total

995

100%

Source: Teacher Voice Omnibus Survey May 2016 and Senior Leader booster June 2016

Number of responses = 469

All state-funded schools are required to offer a balanced and broadly based curriculum which promotes pupils’ spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development; and prepares pupils for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of life.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 14 January to Question 98444 on Schools: Finance, how many schools have contacted the Educational Skills and Funding Agency on the matter of financial difficulties in each year since 1 April 2017.

The department trusts schools to manage their own budgets. The latest published data shows that financial health has held up well and that most academy trusts and maintained schools are in surplus. At the end of the 2019/20 academic year, 96% of academy trusts were in surplus or broke even compared to 94% the previous year. At the end of 2020/21 financial year, 92% of local authority maintained schools were in cumulative surplus or broke even compared to 88% the previous year.

For academies, the department is the primary regulator. Academy trusts’ Funding Agreements, the Academy Trust Handbook and the Academies Accounts Direction set a clear regulatory framework. The academy trust financial support framework provides trusts, and the public, with greater clarity on the circumstances in which we would offer financial support to financially vulnerable trusts, available to view here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/financial-support-for-academy-trusts-in-financial-difficulty/financial-support-for-academy-trusts-in-financial-difficulty. It sets out more information about our expectations and requirements for receiving this support, and the conditions we may apply to ensure any support is managed effectively. As part of this activity, we work with trusts to develop and monitor a plan to return to a sustainable, well-managed position and helping them build their capacity. The department is transparent and publishes annual data on the financial support given academy trusts in financial difficulty, and to trusts supporting schools in financial difficulty. The data for academic years 2018-19 and 2019-20 can be found on GOV.UK, here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/academy-trusts-receiving-esfa-financial-support-in-2018-to-2019 and here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1041460/Annex_9_additional_funding.pdf. Data for academic year 2020-21 will be published later this year alongside the 2020-21 Academies Sector Annual Report and Accounts.

The primary responsibility for maintained schools and the management of their finances, including schools in financial difficulty, rests with their local authority. Local authorities are required to publish schemes for financing schools, setting out the financial relationship between them and the schools they maintain. Each scheme will be different and tailored to local authority. The department’s role is to support local authorities in their efforts to strengthen the financial accountability and efficiency of the maintained schools’ sector.

The department also provides a range of information, tools, training, and guidance to help schools and trusts save money on day-to-day costs through the school resource management programme, available to view here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/schools-financial-health-and-efficiency.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment her Department has made of the implications for its policies of the figures from Scotland on the reduction of transmission of covid-19 connected with mask wearing in schools.

Each of the devolved administrations has a Chief Medical Officer (CMO) and a Chief Scientific Adviser (CSA). They work with Sir Chris Whitty, the CMO to the UK government, and Sir Patrick Vallance, the government CSA, to provide co-ordinated advice to government departments in all 4 nations.

Expert scientific advisory groups are convened at a UK level and provide advice to the CMOs of the 4 nations, to health authorities in the devolved administrations, and to the devolved governments directly.

The UK government has worked closely with the devolved administrations throughout the COVID-19 outbreak and continues to do so. However, education and health are devolved, and each nation of the UK has its own guidance to support education providers. It will be for the Scottish government to respond regarding its figures and face covering policies and the reduction of transmission of COVID-19 connected with mask wearing in schools in Scotland.

The department will always prioritise the health and welfare of staff, pupils and students.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) provides independent, evidence-based advice and guidance to other government departments, including the Department for Education, in the context of the response to COVID-19. The advice provided is based on critical appraisal of the most up-to-date evidence available and has changed depending on the epidemiological picture and emerging evidence. It is based on this advice that the department’s recommendations are made.

My right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, announced on 19 January that Plan B is to end. This decision comes in response to national infection data showing the prevalence of COVID-19 to be on a downward trajectory. Whilst there are some groups where cases are likely to continue rising, it is likely that the Omicron wave has now peaked nationally. There remains significant pressure on the NHS, but hospital admissions have stabilised, and the number of patients in intensive care units remains low and is falling.

Therefore, it is right that we remove the most stringent restrictions around wearing face coverings in schools, but the virus is still with us and continuing with proportionate protective measures remains vital to protect education.

As a result, face coverings are no longer advised for pupils, staff and visitors in classrooms. From 27 January, face coverings are no longer advised for pupils, staff and visitors in communal areas. This advice remains subject to change as the situation develops. A link to our guidance is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak.

On 5 January 2022, the department published its evidence summary on the use of face coverings in education providers which is available at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1044767/Evidence_summary_-_face_coverings.pdf.

The UKHSA critically assesses and reviews the current global evidence on a range of risk mitigations, including face coverings, in publicly available evidence reviews. The most recent review was published in November 2021 and can be found at: https://ukhsa.koha-ptfs.co.uk/cgi-bin/koha/opac-retrieve-file.pl?id=35a32498205a656d9a849736b4037314.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that universities return to face-to-face teaching and in person learning.

Face-to-face teaching is a vital part of getting a high-quality student experience. With the removal of the Plan B measures, there are no COVID restrictions that apply to higher education (HE) and providers should ensure that they are delivering the full programme of face-to-face teaching and learning that they were providing before the COVID-19 outbreak.

We know that, in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, HE providers have delivered new and innovative approaches to teaching and learning and some providers continue to use some of these approaches alongside in-person provision. However, online learning should only be offered to enhance the student experience, not to detract from it, and it should not be used as a cost-cutting measure. The Office for Students (OfS) will be monitoring to ensure this is the case, and that universities are being open about what students can expect.

The government expects all universities to continue to deliver excellent learning, in line with guidance from the OfS. On 29 October I wrote to all English HE providers to make clear that we expect them to be offering a high-quality face-to-face student experience and, on 17January, my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education wrote an open letter to students about face-to-face teaching, setting out what they can do if they feel they are not getting the teaching they signed up for, details of which can be found here: https://educationhub.blog.gov.uk/2022/01/17/face-to-face-teaching-is-a-vital-part-of-getting-a-high-quality-student-experience-education-secretary-nadhim-zahawi-writes-to-students/. In addition, I have been speaking with some university Vice Chancellors to ensure they are offering students the amount of in-person teaching they should expect.

If students have concerns, they should first raise them with their HE provider. If their concerns remain unresolved, students at HE providers in England or Wales can ask the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for higher education to consider their complaint.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans the Government has to improve provision of social services to protect vulnerable children.

Local authorities children’s social care spending on the most vulnerable children – those needing a social worker, children in care, and care leavers – has increased by over £3 billion since financial year 2012-13.

The department takes robust action when an authority does not meet its requirements to protect all children and young people. Local authorities rated inadequate by Ofsted receive comprehensive support from the department. Those performing well are supported to share best practice.

In this financial year, 2021-22, we have invested £5.7 million to expand our sector-led improvement (SLI) programme so that 19 of our strongest performing local authorities are able to work with their peers, to improve children’s social care services. Since July 2021, SLI partners have worked with 42 local authorities, the majority of which are judged to be inadequate or require improvement by Ofsted, and have delivered around 5,500 days of support to the sector.

We are investing over £4 million over the three years to March 2024 to support the development of corporate and political leadership across children’s services, working closely with the Local Government Association. 146 local authorities out of a total of 151 have benefited from the programme to date.

We have also invested £22.2 million in the COVID-19 Regional Recovery and Build Back Better Fund this year, which seeks to support local authorities to work together to address COVID-19 pressures, where a regional approach would be beneficial in addressing issues that face the sector.

Looking to the future, this government is committed to making a real difference to the needs, experience and outcomes of vulnerable children and families supported by children’s social care. To do this, we need to make fundamental changes to the current system. That is exactly why this government launched the Independent Review of Children’s Social Care, a bold and broad review with the aim of contributing to ambitious and deliverable reforms.

The review will share its final recommendations in spring 2022 and the government will then consider and respond to them. Further, the National Child Safeguarding Practice Review of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes’s death and the Joint Targeted Area Inspection of Solihull will make sure we learn what needs to be changed nationally, and that we can understand and strengthen local work to safeguard children.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the suitability of the IOE Confucius Institute as a provider of the Mandarin Excellence Programme in English schools.

The aim of the department’s Mandarin Excellence Programme (MEP) is to ensure that a high number of pupils in schools in England are on track to fluency in Mandarin, providing an increased pipeline of speakers to meet the future business and economic needs of the country.

In April 2021, the department considered tenders as part of a procurement for a new contract to run the MEP from September 2021 onwards. University College London’s Institute of Education (UCL IOE) Confucius Institute met the requirements of the department’s specifications and was awarded the contract in July as the successful bidder. UCL IOE delivers the MEP in partnership with the British Council.

UCL IOE has had a successful track record in delivering the MEP since its inception in 2016. The programme has grown from 14 schools in 2016 to 75 in 2022. There are currently over 7,800 pupils on the programme and over 8,000 pupils have benefitted from the programme since it began. In 2021, the first cohort sat their GCSEs in the language, with UCL reporting that 97% achieved at least Level 5 and 73% achieved either Level 8 or Level 9.

The department continues to monitor the provider and the programme closely through regular, on-going contract management.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to tackle the practice of informal exclusions of autistic children in educational settings.

By their very nature, informal exclusions of any child are unlawful. This is why we already make clear in the suspension and permanent exclusion guidance that ‘informal’ or ‘unofficial’ suspensions, such as sending pupils home ‘to cool off’, are unlawful, regardless of whether they occur with the agreement of parents or carers. Further information of this guidance can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-exclusion/changes-to-the-school-exclusion-process-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak.

Any suspension of a pupil, even for short periods of time, must be in line with the relevant legislation and recorded as a suspension. The department is also clear that off rolling is unacceptable in any form and continues to work with Ofsted to identify and tackle it. The forthcoming special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) Review will also set out proposals for improving support for children with SEND in mainstream, which will look to ensure they get the right support in the right place at the right time.

All schools are required to have a behaviour policy which must be lawful, proportionate and reasonable. An initial intervention to address underlying causes of disruptive behaviour should include an assessment of whether appropriate provision is in place to support any special educational needs, including autism, or disability that a pupil may have. The department will be setting this out clearly in the consultation on the revised ‘behaviour in schools’ guidance and the ‘suspension and permanent exclusion’ guidance which will be published shortly. These will equip headteachers to create calm, orderly, safe, and supportive school environments where all pupils can thrive and reach their potential in safety and dignity and where exclusions are only ever used lawfully, and when absolutely necessary as a last resort.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to help ensure that the ongoing work in his Department on behaviour management reflects the needs of autistic children and children with special educational needs.

By their very nature, informal exclusions of any child are unlawful. This is why we already make clear in the suspension and permanent exclusion guidance that ‘informal’ or ‘unofficial’ suspensions, such as sending pupils home ‘to cool off’, are unlawful, regardless of whether they occur with the agreement of parents or carers. Further information of this guidance can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-exclusion/changes-to-the-school-exclusion-process-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak.

Any suspension of a pupil, even for short periods of time, must be in line with the relevant legislation and recorded as a suspension. The department is also clear that off rolling is unacceptable in any form and continues to work with Ofsted to identify and tackle it. The forthcoming special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) Review will also set out proposals for improving support for children with SEND in mainstream, which will look to ensure they get the right support in the right place at the right time.

All schools are required to have a behaviour policy which must be lawful, proportionate and reasonable. An initial intervention to address underlying causes of disruptive behaviour should include an assessment of whether appropriate provision is in place to support any special educational needs, including autism, or disability that a pupil may have. The department will be setting this out clearly in the consultation on the revised ‘behaviour in schools’ guidance and the ‘suspension and permanent exclusion’ guidance which will be published shortly. These will equip headteachers to create calm, orderly, safe, and supportive school environments where all pupils can thrive and reach their potential in safety and dignity and where exclusions are only ever used lawfully, and when absolutely necessary as a last resort.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to support the (a) learning and (b) mental health of autistic children and young people.

The department wants every autistic young person to reach their potential and feel heard at every stage of their life. That is why, in its first year alone, the department is investing £74 million into our cross-government National Autism Strategy to promote a straightforward route to diagnosis, the correct support, increasing understanding and improving access to a quality education and social care.

£600,000 of this funding has gone toward the department’s contract with the Autism Education Trust (AET) for the 2021/22 financial year. The department has funded the AET since 2011 to deliver autism awareness training to education staff in early years, schools and further education colleges. It has so far reached more than 305,000 people across the country. This includes not only teachers and teaching assistants, but also support staff such as receptionists, dining hall staff and caretakers, encouraging a 'whole school' approach to supporting autistic pupils.

The mental health of all students, including autistic children and young people, is a priority for this department. During Mental Health Awareness week in May 2021, we announced more than £17 million to improve mental health and wellbeing support in schools and colleges.

This is in addition to the £79 million to boost children and young people’s mental health support we announced in March 2021. This includes increasing the number of Mental Health Support Teams in schools and colleges to cover approximately 35% of pupils in England by 2023.

In addition to our existing commitments, the department is also determined to ensure that the special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) system works more effectively for those children who need extra support, including autistic children. That is why we are completing the SEND Review, to improve outcomes and build a sustainable SEND system where there is clear accountability.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
14th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many staff were directly employed by his Department to work on contingency planning guidance for educational institutions in (a) November 2019, (b) February 2020, (c) May 2020 and (d) August 2020.

Work on contingency planning guidance for educational institutions is undertaken by teams across the department with responsibility for various policy areas.

The information on staff working on these areas is not centrally held as the department’s HR system does not record the specific tasks that staff are employed on. Seeking the information across the department’s six main business areas could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
14th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the potential effect of the £15,000 tax-free bursary on the number of new modern foreign language teachers.

The bursaries the department offers for initial teacher training (ITT) are intended to incentivise applications to ITT courses. The department reviews the bursaries on offer each year to take account of several factors, including historic recruitment, forecast economic conditions and teacher supply need in each subject. This provides flexibility to respond to the need to attract new teachers, and means the department is spending money where it is needed most.

To support the recruitment of modern-foreign language (MFL) teachers, the department has increased the languages bursary to £15,000 for the 2022/23 academic year. This is to incentivise candidates to train to teach MFL as the department recognises that recruiting languages trainees will remain challenging. The department will review the need for financial incentives across all subjects before announcing the bursaries for the 2023/24 academic year.

All MFL trainee teachers on tuition fee-funded ITT routes are also able to apply for a tuition fee loan and maintenance loan to support their living costs. Additional student finance is also available depending on individual circumstances, such as the Childcare Grant.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
14th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans his Department has made to update the contingency plans and guidance for future health crises for (a) his Department, (b) schools, (c) nurseries and early years providers, (d) colleges, (e) further education institutions and (f) universities and the higher education sector.

The government developed its contingency framework for education and childcare providers to help them, and others who work with them, to manage the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, and have contingency plans in place for future COVID-19 outbreaks. This guidance is regularly updated, most recently on 21 January 2022, and is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-local-restrictions-in-education-and-childcare-settings/contingency-framework-education-and-childcare-settings

Education providers are required to prepare their own outbreak response plans, and then in December to refresh them before the end of term. Any measures providers are required to implement are supported by comprehensive national guidance. We work very closely across government to ensure our planning is in step with wider society and informed by the most up to date public health advice.

The department is considering how the changes made to respond to COVID-19 can support wider readiness for future potential public health scenarios. A contingency framework for any future health crisis would draw upon lessons learnt from COVID-19, but would need to be specific to the new circumstances and part of a coherent cross-government response.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
14th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the total capital budget was for schools in England in each year between 2002 and 2022.

The department provides annual capital funding to support the education sector. This includes funding to create sufficient school places and to maintain and improve the condition of the school estate. In addition, the department also delivers capital building programmes, including the free schools programme, Priority School Building Programme and the new School Rebuilding Programme. The department’s capital budget also supports providers other than schools. This includes post-16 and early years providers, as well as the department’s own estate. There is no separate capital budget for schools specifically.

For a breakdown of capital expenditure in each financial year since 2002-03 please see the table below:

Financial Year

Capital Departmental Expenditure Limits, £billion

2002-03

2.7

2003-04

3.5

2004-05

4.1

2005-06

4.4

2006-07

4.1

2007-08

5.2

2008-09

5.5

2009-10

7.4

2010-11

7.1

2011-12

5.0

2012-13

4.6

2013-14

4.1

2014-15

4.8

2015-16

5.1

2016-17

5.7

2017-18

4.9

2018-19

5.4

2019-20

4.9

2020-21

4.8

Note: Figures have been taken from the department accounts which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/dfe-annual-reports.

The department’s capital expenditure limit for the 2021-22 financial year is £5.6 billion. In addition to this, the 2021 Spending Review announced a total of £19.4 billion of capital funding to support the education sector between the 2022-23 and 2024-25 financial years, an average of £6.5 billion per annum.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
19th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to help ensure comprehensive covid-19 mitigation practices in schools in Newcastle.

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 remains, balanced with managing transmission risk.

My right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, has announced that from 20 January, face coverings are no longer recommended in classrooms and teaching spaces for staff, and pupils and students in year 7 and above. They were introduced in classrooms at the start of the spring term as a temporary measure. From 27 January, face coverings are no longer recommended in communal areas for staff, and pupils and students in year 7 and above.

However, a range of a range of protective measures remain in place. Local directors of public health may temporarily advise the use of face coverings in communal areas or classrooms where this is proportionate due to specific local public health concerns.

Testing remains important in reducing the risk of transmission of COVID-19 within schools and colleges. Staff and secondary school pupils should continue to test twice weekly at home, with lateral flow device (LFD) test kits. Schools are encouraged to ask all visitors to take an LFD test before entering the school.

Young people aged 5 to 18 and fully vaccinated adults who are identified as a close contact of someone with COVID-19 can take an NHS rapid LFD test every day for 7 days and continue to attend their school or college as normal, unless they have a positive test result.

People with COVID-19 in England can now end their self-isolation after 5 full days, as long as they test negative on day 5 and day 6.

Every child aged 12 and over is eligible to receive the vaccine. Healthy 12 to 15-year-olds can have a second dose. All 16 to 17-year-olds will be offered the booster vaccination.

Children aged 5 to 11 years in a clinical risk group or who are a household contact of someone who is immunosuppressed are now able to get two doses of the vaccine.

We have provided carbon dioxide monitors backed by £25 million in government funding. Over 99% of eligible maintained schools, further education colleges, and the majority of early years education providers have received a carbon dioxide monitor, with over 350,000 delivered. The government is now making available at least 7,000 funded air cleaning units for poorly ventilated teaching spaces where quick fixes to improve ventilation are not possible.

Schools should regularly review their risk assessments and continue to comply with health and safety law implementing proportionate control measures in line with our guidance. All education and childcare providers should have contingency plans in place in cases of outbreaks within schools, as set out in the contingency framework, to help break chains of transmission. This framework is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-local-restrictions-in-education-and-childcare-settings.

Regarding Newcastle upon Tyne, the measures in place apply nationally as the department no longer applies different local measures. However, local directors of public health have the discretion to apply some local rules as outlined above.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
19th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department has plans to extend eligibility for senior mental health lead training grants to all schools.

Schools and colleges in receipt of institution-level state funding are eligible for a senior mental health grant. The government does not currently plan to fund senior mental health lead training for education staff in independent settings with fee-paying pupils and students, but they may access the same Department for Education quality-assured training as state-funded schools.

Further information on eligibility and how schools and colleges can assess their specific learning needs and preferences, and select the most suitable quality-assured course is available at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/senior-mental-health-lead-training.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of the requirement for all non-medical help providers to offer face-to-face support on (a) providers who are unable to offer face-to-face support, (b) sole traders who can only provide face-to-face support in one location and (c) users who require out of hours and weekend support.

Students in receipt of Disabled Students’ Allowance can choose to have their non-medical help sessions either face-to-face or remotely (for example by video call). We therefore expect all non-medical help suppliers to be able to provide either face-to-face or remote non-medical help sessions, or a mixture of the two, as the student chooses. The department confirmed this to the sector in July 2021 and more information is available here: https://www.practitioners.slc.co.uk/media/1887/ssin-0721-new-arrangements-for-remote-support-202122.pdf.

In the context of the COVID-19 outbreak and providers who are unable to offer face-to-face support, the department considered the impact of this policy on non-medical help suppliers who were particularly vulnerable to COVID-19. Following this, we announced in December 2021 that there would be an exemption to this policy for non-medical help sole traders who have received specific clinical advice from a medical professional not to engage in face-to-face work for reasons relating to COVID-19. Further details of this exemption and how to apply for it can be found here: https://www.practitioners.slc.co.uk/media/1913/update-on-arrangements-for-remote-support_ssin_december-2021_final.pdf.

With regard to sole traders who can only provide face-to-face support in one location, sole traders are able to specify in which regions they can offer non-medical help support in their listing on the department’s register of suppliers here: https://www.practitioners.slc.co.uk/exchange-blog/2020/september/10092020-guidance-for-nmh-suppliers/. We require non-medical help suppliers, including sole traders, to be able to provide both face-to-face and remote support in the regions for which they are listed. Apart from that it is a matter for the supplier to decide in which regions they wish to operate.

Regarding users who require out of hours and weekend support, students have a choice between face-to-face and remote support. If students require out of hours and weekend support, and would prefer this to be remote, then they can request remote support from their non-medical help supplier.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
19th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many people participated in the Government's traineeship programme in (a) 2019-20 and (b) 2020-21.

Traineeship starts for the 2019/20 and 2020/21 academic year is shown in the table below.

Traineeship starts August to July

Age Group

2019/20

2020/21

Under 19

9,100

9,900

19-24

3,000

7,500

Total

12,100

17,400

Note:

  1. Volumes are rounded to the nearest 100
  2. Source: Individualised Learner Record

Further information on apprenticeship starts and traineeship starts can be found in the Apprenticeships and traineeships statistics publication, available here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/apprenticeships-and-traineeships#content-10-heading.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
19th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that there is sufficient provision of technical and practical education in green skills to meet the future demands of the economy.

​​The government is committed to supporting green skills across the country. At the recent Spending Review, we set out investment of £3.8 billion in further education and skills over the course of 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 includes funding for programmes to support green skills crucial to the net zero transition.

Building on the skills for jobs white paper, the Net Zero Strategy (published in October 2021) sets out how the government’s skills reforms will strengthen links between employers and providers, support workers in high carbon sectors with the transition, and help to build a pipeline of future talent.

Through the Lifetime Skills Guarantee, we are supporting workers to gain the skills they need to transition to the green economy, including through targeted support for retraining. As part of this and through the National Skills Fund investment, we are delivering Skills Bootcamps, which are short, flexible courses covering digital, technical and green skills. Green Skills Bootcamps are available in areas such as housing retrofit, solar, nuclear energy and vehicle electrification.

The Free Courses for Jobs offer has, since April 2021, been supporting adults who do not have a qualification at level 3 or higher to access over 400 level 3 courses for free. The offer currently includes qualifications linked to green sectors such as agriculture, building and construction, engineering, environmental conservation, horticulture and forestry and science. This offer replaces loan funding with grant funding for any adult over the age of 23 looking to achieve their first level 3 qualification. In addition, we have recently announced that, from April this year, any adult in England who is earning under the National Living Wage annually (£18,525), or is unemployed, will also be able to access these qualifications for free, regardless of their prior qualification level.

At post-16 level, we will continue to build on our apprenticeship reforms, to align the majority of post-16 technical education and training with employer-led standards by 2030. A strengthened system of employer-led standards, underpinning apprenticeships, T Levels and new higher technical qualifications will ensure employers, including in low carbon sectors, have a central role in designing and developing qualifications and training.

High quality apprenticeships give students of all ages the practical skills, knowledge, and behaviours to make an immediate impact across all industries. The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (the Institute) has convened a Green Apprenticeships Advisory Panel (GAAP) to work with employers to align apprenticeships to net zero objectives. Work is underway to map existing apprenticeship standards against green occupations and identify opportunities to create new standards in areas including retrofit, agri-tech and renewable energy and the GAAP has endorsed existing apprenticeships which support green career pathways.

In 2021, we introduced the first occupational traineeships, in collaboration with sector bodies, to provide a clear, planned transition to an apprenticeship at level 2 to 3 for young people aged 16 to 24. They allow young people to continue in learning with a work-based programme of training. Going forward, we will consider the potential to develop and introduce other occupational traineeships, including in priority and green sectors to ensure that young people secure the jobs of the future.

We are continuing to roll out T Levels that support green careers, providing high quality technical qualifications as an alternative to A levels which are underpinned by the same employer-led approach as apprenticeships. The building services engineering for construction T Level, launched in September 2021, will cover housing retrofit and heat pump installation. From September 2022, new T Levels will be available in engineering, manufacturing, processing and control, with agriculture, land management and production available by September 2023. The Institute is exploring the suitability of potential future T Levels and occupational specialisms, focusing on areas to support green skills.

Our network of Institutes of Technology (IoT) across England specialise in delivering higher technical education and are utilising their state of the art facilities to offer training in green skills. This includes the East London IoT which offers training in green and zero carbon energy production, and the Greater Birmingham and Solihull IoT which focuses on sustainable engineering. The network is supporting increased participation from underrepresented groups, including women, helping to grow the pipeline of individuals with science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) skills needed for green jobs. We are investing £120 million in the second wave of IoTs, to be up and running this year.

Working alongside industry, we will continue to ensure that our existing skills programmes can be directed to support the net zero agenda, and where appropriate identify further opportunities to flex key skills programmes to support green sectors and occupations.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
19th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what funding his Department plans to provide (a) schools and (b) local authorities for school improvements in financial year 2023-24.

We have allocated £11.3 billion since 2015 to maintain and improve the condition of school facilities, including £1.8 billion in the 2021/22 financial year. We expect to publish details of funding allocations for the 2022/23 financial year in the spring this year, and to provide details for the 2023/24 financial year in 2023.

The department allocates condition funding each year to schools and those responsible for school buildings to improve and maintain the condition of the school estate. Local authorities, large multi-academy trusts (MATs) and large voluntary-aided (VA) bodies receive an annual school condition allocation (SCA) to invest in condition priorities across the schools for which they are responsible. Allocations and the methodology for calculating SCA for the 2021-22 financial year can be found online here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/school-capital-funding

Smaller or stand-alone academy trusts and VA bodies are instead able to bid into the Condition Improvement Fund (CIF). The CIF is an annual bidding round to apply for capital funding that is usually launched in autumn each year, with outcomes announced in spring.

In June 2020, my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, announced a new 10 year rebuilding programme which will deliver 500 projects over the next decade, replacing many poor condition and ageing school buildings with modern designs that will be net zero carbon in operation.

We have confirmed the first 100 schools in the programme. We expect to set out the response to our recent consultation on the approach to prioritising further schools shortly, as well as details of the next round of the programme.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department has plans to change the method by which attainment is measured among disadvantaged pupils in the context of the recent significant increase in pupil eligibility for free school meals.

We are committed to continuing to publish data to show how schools are performing with their disadvantaged pupils both nationally and at school level. Such measures are a vital part of ensuring schools drive social mobility.

Analysis carried out by the department in 2018, following the changes to Universal Credit eligibility, indicated that the impact on schools’ disadvantage data was likely to be relatively minor in the context of normal levels of change schools see in their free school meals (FSM) cohorts’ year-on-year.

The gap index is designed to withstand changes in the education delivery landscape.

We recognise however, the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak and the recent significant increase in the numbers of pupils eligible for FSM. The department will keep its effectiveness, as a measure, under review as the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak becomes better understood.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
10th Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to encourage universities to make face-to-face teaching compulsory.

Face-to-face teaching is a vital part of getting a high-quality student experience. With the removal of the Plan B measures, there are no COVID restrictions that apply to higher education (HE) and providers should ensure that they are delivering the full programme of face-to-face teaching and learning that they were providing before the COVID-19 outbreak.

We know that in response to the COVID-19 outbreak HE providers delivered new and innovative approaches to teaching and learning and that some providers continue to use some of these approaches alongside in-person provision. However, online learning should only be offered to enhance the student experience, not to detract from it, and it should not be used as a cost-cutting measure. The Office for Students (OfS) will be monitoring to ensure this is the case, and that universities are being open about what students can expect.

The government expects all universities to continue to deliver excellent learning, in line with guidance from the OfS. On 29 October, my right hon. Friend, the Minister of State for Higher and Further Education, wrote to all English HE providers to make clear that we expect them to be offering a high quality face-to-face student experience. On 17 January, my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, wrote an open letter to students about face-to-face teaching, setting out what they can do if they feel they are not getting the teaching they signed up for. This letter can be found here: https://educationhub.blog.gov.uk/2022/01/17/face-to-face-teaching-is-a-vital-part-of-getting-a-high-quality-student-experience-education-secretary-nadhim-zahawi-writes-to-students/. In addition, the Minister of State for Higher and Further Education has been speaking with some university Vice Chancellors to ensure they are offering students the amount of in-person teaching they should expect.

If students have concerns, they should first raise them with their HE provider. If their concerns remain unresolved, students at HE providers in England or Wales can ask the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education to consider their complaint.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department is on track to provide senior mental health lead training to all state schools and colleges by 2025.

The government is making good progress on its commitment to offer senior mental health lead training to all state-funded schools and colleges in England by 2025. The department has invested over £9.5 million in financial year 2021-22 to fund senior mental health lead training grants for over 8,000 eligible schools and colleges. As of 14 January, over 3,500 senior leads are estimated to have begun their training. Our position on issuing grants for financial year 2022-23 will be confirmed later in the spring.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
16th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent discussions Ministers in his Department have had with Ministers in the Department for Health & Social Care on provision for vaccinating school-age children in (a) July 2021, (b) August 2021, and (c) September 2021.

Vaccines are the best way we can protect ourselves and help keep children and young people in face-to-face education.

Since 23 October, 12 to 15 year olds have been able to book a COVID-19 vaccination out of school, through vaccination centres. On 20 December, the NHS opened the national booking service for 12 to 15 year olds to get their second COVID-19 jab. School-age immunisation service providers have been running since schools returned in the new year, with second doses also being offered through schools from 10 January. This offer runs in parallel with the in-school vaccination programme and ensures young people eligible for the vaccine can access appointments out of term time in addition to in school.

All eligible staff and students aged 12 and over are encouraged to take up the offer of the vaccine, including boosters, where eligible.

I met with Department of Health and Social Care ministers once over this period and Department for Education ministers and policy officials an additional four times. A number of these discussions touched on vaccinations.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)