Debates between Lord Polak and Lord Agnew of Oulton

There have been 4 exchanges between Lord Polak and Lord Agnew of Oulton

1 Mon 29th April 2019 Religious Schools: Admission Policies
Department for Education
3 interactions (126 words)
2 Mon 25th February 2019 Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education, and Health Education
Department for Education
3 interactions (317 words)
3 Tue 27th November 2018 Schools: Mental Health Support
Department for Education
3 interactions (219 words)
4 Thu 15th March 2018 Children: Missed Education
Department for Education
3 interactions (222 words)

Religious Schools: Admission Policies

Debate between Lord Polak and Lord Agnew of Oulton
Monday 29th April 2019

(1 year, 10 months ago)

Lords Chamber

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Department for Education
Lord Agnew of Oulton Portrait Lord Agnew of Oulton
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The noble Lord talks absolute sense.

Lord Polak Portrait Lord Polak (Con)
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My Lords, although purporting to promote tolerance, the humanist campaign is in fact aimed at limiting access for people of faith to state-funded education. Does the Minister agree that, rather than give credence to those who want to limit parental choice, we should protect our British values, promote tolerance and respect the rights of parents?

Lord Agnew of Oulton Portrait Lord Agnew of Oulton
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My noble friend is completely correct. One of the most powerful things in our education system is diversity, and faith schools exist simply because there is huge demand for them. As I mentioned earlier, they have a higher level of oversubscription than most other school systems. They are required to teach a broad and balanced curriculum, and they are inspected by Ofsted on that basis.

Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education, and Health Education

Debate between Lord Polak and Lord Agnew of Oulton
Monday 25th February 2019

(2 years ago)

Lords Chamber

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Department for Education
Lord Agnew of Oulton Portrait Lord Agnew of Oulton
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I reassure the noble Baroness that we will provide further advice to support schools to improve the practice and training that could be delivered using the latest technology, including opportunities for face-to-face training for teachers. We intend to produce supporting information by September for schools on how to teach all aspects of internet safety, not just those relating to relationships, sex and health, and to help schools deliver this in a co-ordinated and coherent way across the curriculum. They will of course be free to seek advice from the department on whether the various forums that are out there are considered good. I mentioned that forum because I did not get to my notes quickly enough, but there are several others, such as the PSHE Association; the Royal Foundation, set up by the two Dukes, which focuses on mental health; and the Catholic Education Service, which has also created a model curriculum for primary and secondary schools.

Lord Polak Portrait Lord Polak (Con)
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My Lords, I welcome this Statement, but does my noble friend the Minister agree that the press reports over the weekend suggesting that primary schools were teaching LGBT issues from the age of five cannot possibly be true? Can he also confirm that while there is no specific requirement to teach about LGBT in primary schools, they can cover LGBT content if they consider it age-appropriate to do so? Finally, can he confirm that age-appropriateness is ultimately a matter for the governors of a school?

Lord Agnew of Oulton Portrait Lord Agnew of Oulton
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To reassure my noble friend, it is not correct that young children aged five or six will be taught about sexual education. We are quite clear that that is not required until a child moves into secondary education. On LGBT, the approach at a young age is more about letting children understand that families come in different shapes and sizes, to remove any sense of bigotry that could develop at an early age through ignorance.

Schools: Mental Health Support

Debate between Lord Polak and Lord Agnew of Oulton
Tuesday 27th November 2018

(2 years, 3 months ago)

Lords Chamber

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Department for Education
Lord Agnew of Oulton Portrait Lord Agnew of Oulton
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My Lords, it is up to individual schools to deploy their resources as they see fit. Where school counsellors provide an important role, I am sure they are used, but as I said in answer to the supplementary question asked by the noble Lord, Lord Storey, we are deploying more resources into this area in schools.

Lord Polak Portrait Lord Polak (Con)
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Is the Minister aware that the Jewish Leadership Council has just launched a scheme to improve mental health in schools? Trained counsellors/well-being practitioners are being recruited to five schools—two primary schools, Rimon and Broughton Jewish, and three secondary schools, JFS, JCoSS and Yavneh College—for a three-year pilot. Will the Minister join me in congratulating Yavneh College, Spencer Lewis, the head teacher, and the staff as, according to the Sunday Times, it has just been announced as the best performing non-selective school in the country?

Lord Agnew of Oulton Portrait Lord Agnew of Oulton
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My Lords, many faith schools are high performing and achieve consistently high exam results. I am happy to join my noble friend in congratulating Yavneh College. Many of the best schools focus on well-being as an intrinsic part of their job, so I welcome the initiatives highlighted by my noble friend. Promoting well-being can help prevent problems arising or escalating, ensuring that both the school and pupils are provided with the tools they need to achieve the best results.

Children: Missed Education

Debate between Lord Polak and Lord Agnew of Oulton
Thursday 15th March 2018

(2 years, 11 months ago)

Lords Chamber

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Department for Education
Lord Agnew of Oulton Portrait Lord Agnew of Oulton
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My Lords, I accept that this is a vulnerable group of children, but local authorities have a number of powers of intervention. The guidance that we will be issuing shortly will clarify that to ensure that they aware of all the tools that they have available to them.

Lord Polak Portrait Lord Polak (Con)
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My Lords, we are a tolerant and diverse society in which home schooling plays a part. However, there should be a register of these institutions to ensure better safeguarding, and certainly premises should be looked at from a health and safety point of view. Who is driving the agenda for secularisation? Will the Minister remind Ofsted that the humanists are not the only minority group with opinions? Does he agree it is bizarre that it is they who are the most intolerant and are being evangelical in wanting everyone to conform to their views?

Lord Agnew of Oulton Portrait Lord Agnew of Oulton
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My Lords, we try to represent a broad coalition in education. I am proud that we live in one of the most tolerant and inclusive countries in the world—as I said in an article in the Times today—and we have to meet the concerns of all people. The humanists have to be reasonable, as do any of the other religious groups, and my job is to ensure that we reach a compromise for all concerned and that children are safe.