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Written Question
Department for Education: Civil Servants
21 Jan 2022

Questioner: Bridget Phillipson (LAB - Houghton and Sunderland South)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has additional plans to relocate civil service posts currently in central London to other parts of England.

Answered by Michelle Donelan

The department has made positive and significant progress in reducing its presence in London. In 2016, 50% of our workforce was based in London but by 2022 this has shifted to just 30%. Our future plans as part of commitments to the Places for Growth agenda achieve the right balance between relocating roles while still providing opportunities to develop talent and expertise within our London workforce. This aligns with our aim to connect policy delivery with local stakeholders and delivery partners across England.


Written Question
National Tutoring Programme
21 Jan 2022

Questioner: Bridget Phillipson (LAB - Houghton and Sunderland South)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many (a) primary and (b) secondary pupils are receiving tutoring or academic mentoring from National Tutoring Programme tuition partners.

Answered by Robin Walker

The national tutoring programme aims to deliver up to 2 million tuition courses this year, and up to 90 million tuition hours by the 2024/25 academic year across the programme’s 3 pillars.

The programme is currently on course to deliver its objectives. Schools know their pupils best and have the freedom to enrol those who will benefit most. So far, an estimated 230,000 courses have been started by pupils through the school-led tutoring pillar, an estimated 20,000 with academic mentors and an estimated 52,000 with tuition partners. As a course consists of 15 tuition hours, this means pupils who need it most will be receiving millions of hours of high quality support.

We do not currently publish statistics by school phase but will consider doing so going forward.


Written Question
Academies: Finance
21 Jan 2022

Questioner: Bridget Phillipson (LAB - Houghton and Sunderland South)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent estimate he has made of the proportion of academy trusts with financial reserves in excess of (a) 10%, (b) 20% and (c) 30% of their annual budget.

Answered by Robin Walker

At the end of 2019/20 academic year, the total cumulative surplus of trusts with positive reserves was £3.17 billion. This compares with the total cumulative surplus of schools with positive reserves in the local authority maintained sector of £2.27 billion at the end of financial year 2020/21. The proportion of academy trusts with financial reserves in excess of (a) 10%, (b) 20% and (c) 30% of their income is as follows:

Proportion of academy trusts in surplus bands

> 10% revenue reserves as a percentage of income

55.9%

> 20% revenue reserves as a percentage of income

21.8%

> 30% revenue reserves as a percentage of income

8.0%

This is derived from the latest published data on the schools financial benchmarking website and represents academy trusts’ financial position at the end of the 2019/20 academic year. This website is available at: https://schools-financial-benchmarking.service.gov.uk/Help/DataSources.

A sound reserves policy is essential for all academy trusts. Unlike local authority maintained schools, academies are subject to company law, and therefore cannot operate while being insolvent, so they often hold reserves to reduce this risk.

The amount of reserves each academy trust should set aside will depend on the type and size of the academy trust, as well as the particular risks that it faces (for instance, if they are part of a Private Finance Initiative contract).

This is in addition to any reserves that academy trustees wish to set aside to accommodate longer-term plans, such as capital developments and financial investment.


Written Question
Department for Education: Staff
20 Jan 2022

Questioner: Bridget Phillipson (LAB - Houghton and Sunderland South)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 22 December 2021 to Question 92909 on Department for Education: Staff, whether he has any plans to restructure staffing within his Department.

Answered by Michelle Donelan

Like many organisations, having reflected on how the COVID-19 outbreak has changed us and our sectors, and at how we want to work in future, we are currently working with our staff to take a purposeful look at how we are organised to deliver. Doing this now allows us to work on this alongside the arm’s length body review of the Education and Skills Funding Agency.


Written Question
Transport: North East
20 Jan 2022

Questioner: Bridget Phillipson (LAB - Houghton and Sunderland South)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what discussions officials in his Department have had with their counterparts in the Department for Transport on plans for a future city region settlement in north east England to allow access to funding through the City Region Sustainable Transport Settlements programme.

Answered by Neil O'Brien

CRSTS funding is available for the North East subject to the appropriate governance structures being in place as set out in Baroness Vere’s letter to regional leaders on 22 October 2021. It is for the relevant local authorities to propose new governance structures in order to access the funds available. The department is continuing its engagement with local authorities, and the North of Tyne Mayoral Combined Authority, on these plans and continue to update colleagues in DfT as the engagement progresses.


Written Question
Schools: Air Conditioning
20 Jan 2022

Questioner: Bridget Phillipson (LAB - Houghton and Sunderland South)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether, in respect of the devices being trialled by the Secretary of State for Health & Social Care in primary schools in Bradford, and pursuant to the Answer of 5 January to Question 94337 on the procurement of devices for the filtration device marketplace, whether (a) any, or (b) all the devices being tested in Bradford are also available for sale to schools through the filtration marketplace.

Answered by Robin Walker

On 2 January, the department announced that up to 7,000 air cleaning units are being made available for mainstream state-funded providers for the very few cases where maintaining good ventilation is not possible. Deliveries will start in February. This is in addition to the 1,000 units made available for special and alternative provision providers that we announced in November. Deliveries of these units are already underway.

The department has also launched an online marketplace which provides schools, colleges and nurseries with a route to purchasing air cleaning units at a suitable specification and competitive price. This is available at: https://s107t01-webapp-v2-01.azurewebsites.net/list/air-cleaning. In future, we may review this list and, as more products which meet our specification become available, these will be added. All purchases through the marketplace are managed by the supplier, rather than by the department.

The department’s decision to make air cleaning units available for poorly ventilated spaces in education and care providers has been informed by Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) advice and external consultation with specialists. When used properly, air cleaning units can help reduce airborne contaminants in a poorly ventilated space, including viruses like COVID-19.  Air cleaning units are not a substitute for ventilation and should never be used as a reason to reduce ventilation. They are not necessary in spaces that are adequately ventilated.

All air cleaning units provided by the department have met an approved technical specification. The department’s technical specification used to assess the units was developed through a rigorous consultation with industry-wide experts in both air cleaning and ventilation from academia, professional bodies, and industry, including chartered engineers, scientists, and several government departments. Through this consultation, we have developed a specification specific to education focusing on key drivers including classroom size, acoustics, clean air delivery and filtration, as well as requiring strong evidence to verify manufacturers' claims.

There were no requests received from ministers in the procurement process for air cleaning units and establishment of the online marketplace. This includes any requests to encourage the purchase of air cleaning units manufactured in the UK. Air cleaning units that met the approved technical specification were included on the marketplace, and units were only excluded if they failed to meet the technical specification. All the suppliers’ bids were subject to independent expert scrutiny to maintain objectivity and conformance to the specification.

Interim findings from the Bradford trial of air cleaning units in primary schools, which is a pilot run by the Department of Health and Social Care, were shared with the department as a part of the cross-government development of our specification. All discussions were supplier agnostic. The manufacturers involved in the Bradford trial did not gain any additional advantage or consideration for inclusion in the department marketplace, which followed its own compliant procurement process as outlined above. The products used in the Bradford trial were not presented as an offer from suppliers during the procurement process, they are therefore not available on the marketplace.

All procurement activity was undertaken with full compliance with the Public Contract Regulations (2015). The procurement of the air cleaning devices was undertaken using the Crown Commercial Service Framework (RM6157) which can be accessed by central government departments, including the department and the wider public sector. We have selected a range of products which meet our specification criteria to provide education and childcare providers with high quality air cleaning units of a suitable specification.

The department will publish details of the contracts for air cleaning units which will include the technical specification criteria on contracts finder in line with the government’s transparency agenda.


Written Question
Teachers: Recruitment
20 Jan 2022

Questioner: Bridget Phillipson (LAB - Houghton and Sunderland South)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to his Department's press release entitled Education Secretary calls for ex-teachers to return to classrooms published on 20 December 2021, with what (a) frequency and (b) regularity does his Department plan to (i) receive and (ii) publish updates on the number of ex-teachers volunteering to return to the classroom.

Answered by Robin Walker

The department is extremely grateful to all the teachers who are responding to our call to return temporarily to the classroom to support schools to remain open and deliver face to face education for pupils.

On 12 January 2022, the department published initial data from a sample of supply agencies gathered between 20 December 2021 and 7 January 2022. This showed that 485 former teachers have signed up with supply agencies, and over 100 Teach First alumni have also expressed interest in returning to the classroom.

Given the size of the sample, the true number of sign-ups since the call was launched will be larger. Full details of the data release can be found here; https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/number-of-ex-teachers-joining-the-school-workforce-2021-to-2022. We remain in close contact with supply agencies to monitor the interest they receive to help schools during this time.

We will keep the need for further data collections under review.

We directed the call for former teachers through employment agencies as they are best placed to match the supply that is coming forward with the demand that is there from schools. Using employment agencies also reduces the administrative burden of temporary recruitment from our schools.

We need to balance the need for data with the burden we place on those collating it, so we did not request information by region, upper/lower tier local authority or parliamentary constituency, and the employment agencies that are working with us have no reason to sort and organise their candidates in such a way. Where a specific supply teacher is prepared to work will differ from individual to individual for many different reasons.

Between 16 December 2021 and 4 January 2022, there were over 244,000 unique page impressions and over 86,000 unique visitors to the Get into Teaching website. There were over 41,000 unique impressions on the page containing the urgent call to qualified teachers up to 12 January 2022. In the same period last year, there were over 388,000 unique page impressions and over 108,000 unique visitors to the website, although the data is not directly comparable as the Get into Teaching website was relaunched on 8 April 2021.

The new site has condensed much of the information on the legacy website, meaning that year-on-year figures are not directly comparable. Engagement levels remain consistent, with users spending similar amounts of time on the new website. In addition, we saw increased interest in teaching during the first year of the COVID-19 outbreak, which was reflected in a particularly high number of visitors to the website.


Written Question
Teachers: Recruitment
20 Jan 2022

Questioner: Bridget Phillipson (LAB - Houghton and Sunderland South)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will publish by (a) region, (b) upper tier local authority, (c) lower tier local authority, and (d) parliamentary constituency the number of teachers that have volunteered to return to teaching following the Government's appeal to former teachers in December 2021.

Answered by Robin Walker

The department is extremely grateful to all the teachers who are responding to our call to return temporarily to the classroom to support schools to remain open and deliver face to face education for pupils.

On 12 January 2022, the department published initial data from a sample of supply agencies gathered between 20 December 2021 and 7 January 2022. This showed that 485 former teachers have signed up with supply agencies, and over 100 Teach First alumni have also expressed interest in returning to the classroom.

Given the size of the sample, the true number of sign-ups since the call was launched will be larger. Full details of the data release can be found here; https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/number-of-ex-teachers-joining-the-school-workforce-2021-to-2022. We remain in close contact with supply agencies to monitor the interest they receive to help schools during this time.

We will keep the need for further data collections under review.

We directed the call for former teachers through employment agencies as they are best placed to match the supply that is coming forward with the demand that is there from schools. Using employment agencies also reduces the administrative burden of temporary recruitment from our schools.

We need to balance the need for data with the burden we place on those collating it, so we did not request information by region, upper/lower tier local authority or parliamentary constituency, and the employment agencies that are working with us have no reason to sort and organise their candidates in such a way. Where a specific supply teacher is prepared to work will differ from individual to individual for many different reasons.

Between 16 December 2021 and 4 January 2022, there were over 244,000 unique page impressions and over 86,000 unique visitors to the Get into Teaching website. There were over 41,000 unique impressions on the page containing the urgent call to qualified teachers up to 12 January 2022. In the same period last year, there were over 388,000 unique page impressions and over 108,000 unique visitors to the website, although the data is not directly comparable as the Get into Teaching website was relaunched on 8 April 2021.

The new site has condensed much of the information on the legacy website, meaning that year-on-year figures are not directly comparable. Engagement levels remain consistent, with users spending similar amounts of time on the new website. In addition, we saw increased interest in teaching during the first year of the COVID-19 outbreak, which was reflected in a particularly high number of visitors to the website.


Written Question
Teachers: Vocational Guidance
20 Jan 2022

Questioner: Bridget Phillipson (LAB - Houghton and Sunderland South)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many (a) page impressions and (b) unique visitors there were to the GetintoTeaching website run by his Department from (i) 16 December 2021 to 4 January 2022 and (ii) 16 December 2020 to 4 January 2021.

Answered by Robin Walker

The department is extremely grateful to all the teachers who are responding to our call to return temporarily to the classroom to support schools to remain open and deliver face to face education for pupils.

On 12 January 2022, the department published initial data from a sample of supply agencies gathered between 20 December 2021 and 7 January 2022. This showed that 485 former teachers have signed up with supply agencies, and over 100 Teach First alumni have also expressed interest in returning to the classroom.

Given the size of the sample, the true number of sign-ups since the call was launched will be larger. Full details of the data release can be found here; https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/number-of-ex-teachers-joining-the-school-workforce-2021-to-2022. We remain in close contact with supply agencies to monitor the interest they receive to help schools during this time.

We will keep the need for further data collections under review.

We directed the call for former teachers through employment agencies as they are best placed to match the supply that is coming forward with the demand that is there from schools. Using employment agencies also reduces the administrative burden of temporary recruitment from our schools.

We need to balance the need for data with the burden we place on those collating it, so we did not request information by region, upper/lower tier local authority or parliamentary constituency, and the employment agencies that are working with us have no reason to sort and organise their candidates in such a way. Where a specific supply teacher is prepared to work will differ from individual to individual for many different reasons.

Between 16 December 2021 and 4 January 2022, there were over 244,000 unique page impressions and over 86,000 unique visitors to the Get into Teaching website. There were over 41,000 unique impressions on the page containing the urgent call to qualified teachers up to 12 January 2022. In the same period last year, there were over 388,000 unique page impressions and over 108,000 unique visitors to the website, although the data is not directly comparable as the Get into Teaching website was relaunched on 8 April 2021.

The new site has condensed much of the information on the legacy website, meaning that year-on-year figures are not directly comparable. Engagement levels remain consistent, with users spending similar amounts of time on the new website. In addition, we saw increased interest in teaching during the first year of the COVID-19 outbreak, which was reflected in a particularly high number of visitors to the website.


Written Question
Teachers: Recruitment
20 Jan 2022

Questioner: Bridget Phillipson (LAB - Houghton and Sunderland South)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the former teachers who have responded to his request that they return to teaching, how many such teachers were in classrooms in England as of 12 January 2022.

Answered by Robin Walker

The department is extremely grateful to all the teachers who are responding to our call to return temporarily to the classroom to support schools to remain open and deliver face to face education for pupils.

On 12 January 2022, the department published initial data from a sample of supply agencies gathered between 20 December 2021 and 7 January 2022. This showed that 485 former teachers have signed up with supply agencies, and over 100 Teach First alumni have also expressed interest in returning to the classroom.

Given the size of the sample, the true number of sign-ups since the call was launched will be larger. Full details of the data release can be found here; https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/number-of-ex-teachers-joining-the-school-workforce-2021-to-2022. We remain in close contact with supply agencies to monitor the interest they receive to help schools during this time.

We will keep the need for further data collections under review.

We directed the call for former teachers through employment agencies as they are best placed to match the supply that is coming forward with the demand that is there from schools. Using employment agencies also reduces the administrative burden of temporary recruitment from our schools.

We need to balance the need for data with the burden we place on those collating it, so we did not request information by region, upper/lower tier local authority or parliamentary constituency, and the employment agencies that are working with us have no reason to sort and organise their candidates in such a way. Where a specific supply teacher is prepared to work will differ from individual to individual for many different reasons.

Between 16 December 2021 and 4 January 2022, there were over 244,000 unique page impressions and over 86,000 unique visitors to the Get into Teaching website. There were over 41,000 unique impressions on the page containing the urgent call to qualified teachers up to 12 January 2022. In the same period last year, there were over 388,000 unique page impressions and over 108,000 unique visitors to the website, although the data is not directly comparable as the Get into Teaching website was relaunched on 8 April 2021.

The new site has condensed much of the information on the legacy website, meaning that year-on-year figures are not directly comparable. Engagement levels remain consistent, with users spending similar amounts of time on the new website. In addition, we saw increased interest in teaching during the first year of the COVID-19 outbreak, which was reflected in a particularly high number of visitors to the website.


Written Question
Leamside Line
20 Jan 2022

Questioner: Bridget Phillipson (LAB - Houghton and Sunderland South)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 10 January 2022 to Question 96861 on Leamside Line, for what reason the Parliamentary Under-Secretary does not plan to visit the Leamside line to discuss the case for its proposed reopening.

Answered by Wendy Morton

As stated in the Integrated Rail Plan, the case for re-opening the Leamside route would be best developed as part of any future city region settlement. The North East will be eligible for these settlements once appropriate governance is in place. I understand that the previous Rail Minister discussed with you the challenges around progressing this scheme at the present time.


Written Question
Schools: Air Conditioning
20 Jan 2022

Questioner: Bridget Phillipson (LAB - Houghton and Sunderland South)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 5 January 2022 to Question 94337 on the procurement of devices for the filtration device marketplace, whether (a) any, or (b) all the devices available for sale to schools through that marketplace have been included in the trial being carried out in primary schools in Bradford by the Secretary of State for Health & Social Care.

Answered by Robin Walker

On 2 January, the department announced that up to 7,000 air cleaning units are being made available for mainstream state-funded providers for the very few cases where maintaining good ventilation is not possible. Deliveries will start in February. This is in addition to the 1,000 units made available for special and alternative provision providers that we announced in November. Deliveries of these units are already underway.

The department has also launched an online marketplace which provides schools, colleges and nurseries with a route to purchasing air cleaning units at a suitable specification and competitive price. This is available at: https://s107t01-webapp-v2-01.azurewebsites.net/list/air-cleaning. In future, we may review this list and, as more products which meet our specification become available, these will be added. All purchases through the marketplace are managed by the supplier, rather than by the department.

The department’s decision to make air cleaning units available for poorly ventilated spaces in education and care providers has been informed by Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) advice and external consultation with specialists. When used properly, air cleaning units can help reduce airborne contaminants in a poorly ventilated space, including viruses like COVID-19.  Air cleaning units are not a substitute for ventilation and should never be used as a reason to reduce ventilation. They are not necessary in spaces that are adequately ventilated.

All air cleaning units provided by the department have met an approved technical specification. The department’s technical specification used to assess the units was developed through a rigorous consultation with industry-wide experts in both air cleaning and ventilation from academia, professional bodies, and industry, including chartered engineers, scientists, and several government departments. Through this consultation, we have developed a specification specific to education focusing on key drivers including classroom size, acoustics, clean air delivery and filtration, as well as requiring strong evidence to verify manufacturers' claims.

There were no requests received from ministers in the procurement process for air cleaning units and establishment of the online marketplace. This includes any requests to encourage the purchase of air cleaning units manufactured in the UK. Air cleaning units that met the approved technical specification were included on the marketplace, and units were only excluded if they failed to meet the technical specification. All the suppliers’ bids were subject to independent expert scrutiny to maintain objectivity and conformance to the specification.

Interim findings from the Bradford trial of air cleaning units in primary schools, which is a pilot run by the Department of Health and Social Care, were shared with the department as a part of the cross-government development of our specification. All discussions were supplier agnostic. The manufacturers involved in the Bradford trial did not gain any additional advantage or consideration for inclusion in the department marketplace, which followed its own compliant procurement process as outlined above. The products used in the Bradford trial were not presented as an offer from suppliers during the procurement process, they are therefore not available on the marketplace.

All procurement activity was undertaken with full compliance with the Public Contract Regulations (2015). The procurement of the air cleaning devices was undertaken using the Crown Commercial Service Framework (RM6157) which can be accessed by central government departments, including the department and the wider public sector. We have selected a range of products which meet our specification criteria to provide education and childcare providers with high quality air cleaning units of a suitable specification.

The department will publish details of the contracts for air cleaning units which will include the technical specification criteria on contracts finder in line with the government’s transparency agenda.


Written Question
Schools: Air Conditioning
20 Jan 2022

Questioner: Bridget Phillipson (LAB - Houghton and Sunderland South)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 5 January 2022 to Question 94337 on Schools: Air Conditioning, whether Ministers made any request to civil servants overseeing procurement for the filtration device marketplace in respect of encouraging the procurement of devices made in the UK at any stage during that process.

Answered by Robin Walker

On 2 January, the department announced that up to 7,000 air cleaning units are being made available for mainstream state-funded providers for the very few cases where maintaining good ventilation is not possible. Deliveries will start in February. This is in addition to the 1,000 units made available for special and alternative provision providers that we announced in November. Deliveries of these units are already underway.

The department has also launched an online marketplace which provides schools, colleges and nurseries with a route to purchasing air cleaning units at a suitable specification and competitive price. This is available at: https://s107t01-webapp-v2-01.azurewebsites.net/list/air-cleaning. In future, we may review this list and, as more products which meet our specification become available, these will be added. All purchases through the marketplace are managed by the supplier, rather than by the department.

The department’s decision to make air cleaning units available for poorly ventilated spaces in education and care providers has been informed by Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) advice and external consultation with specialists. When used properly, air cleaning units can help reduce airborne contaminants in a poorly ventilated space, including viruses like COVID-19.  Air cleaning units are not a substitute for ventilation and should never be used as a reason to reduce ventilation. They are not necessary in spaces that are adequately ventilated.

All air cleaning units provided by the department have met an approved technical specification. The department’s technical specification used to assess the units was developed through a rigorous consultation with industry-wide experts in both air cleaning and ventilation from academia, professional bodies, and industry, including chartered engineers, scientists, and several government departments. Through this consultation, we have developed a specification specific to education focusing on key drivers including classroom size, acoustics, clean air delivery and filtration, as well as requiring strong evidence to verify manufacturers' claims.

There were no requests received from ministers in the procurement process for air cleaning units and establishment of the online marketplace. This includes any requests to encourage the purchase of air cleaning units manufactured in the UK. Air cleaning units that met the approved technical specification were included on the marketplace, and units were only excluded if they failed to meet the technical specification. All the suppliers’ bids were subject to independent expert scrutiny to maintain objectivity and conformance to the specification.

Interim findings from the Bradford trial of air cleaning units in primary schools, which is a pilot run by the Department of Health and Social Care, were shared with the department as a part of the cross-government development of our specification. All discussions were supplier agnostic. The manufacturers involved in the Bradford trial did not gain any additional advantage or consideration for inclusion in the department marketplace, which followed its own compliant procurement process as outlined above. The products used in the Bradford trial were not presented as an offer from suppliers during the procurement process, they are therefore not available on the marketplace.

All procurement activity was undertaken with full compliance with the Public Contract Regulations (2015). The procurement of the air cleaning devices was undertaken using the Crown Commercial Service Framework (RM6157) which can be accessed by central government departments, including the department and the wider public sector. We have selected a range of products which meet our specification criteria to provide education and childcare providers with high quality air cleaning units of a suitable specification.

The department will publish details of the contracts for air cleaning units which will include the technical specification criteria on contracts finder in line with the government’s transparency agenda.


Written Question
Schools: Air Conditioning
20 Jan 2022

Questioner: Bridget Phillipson (LAB - Houghton and Sunderland South)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 5 January 2022 to Question 94337 on Schools: Air Conditioning, whether he had discussions with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on the inclusion of the makes of air purification device being trialled in Bradford primary schools before launching the filtration device marketplace.

Answered by Robin Walker

On 2 January, the department announced that up to 7,000 air cleaning units are being made available for mainstream state-funded providers for the very few cases where maintaining good ventilation is not possible. Deliveries will start in February. This is in addition to the 1,000 units made available for special and alternative provision providers that we announced in November. Deliveries of these units are already underway.

The department has also launched an online marketplace which provides schools, colleges and nurseries with a route to purchasing air cleaning units at a suitable specification and competitive price. This is available at: https://s107t01-webapp-v2-01.azurewebsites.net/list/air-cleaning. In future, we may review this list and, as more products which meet our specification become available, these will be added. All purchases through the marketplace are managed by the supplier, rather than by the department.

The department’s decision to make air cleaning units available for poorly ventilated spaces in education and care providers has been informed by Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) advice and external consultation with specialists. When used properly, air cleaning units can help reduce airborne contaminants in a poorly ventilated space, including viruses like COVID-19.  Air cleaning units are not a substitute for ventilation and should never be used as a reason to reduce ventilation. They are not necessary in spaces that are adequately ventilated.

All air cleaning units provided by the department have met an approved technical specification. The department’s technical specification used to assess the units was developed through a rigorous consultation with industry-wide experts in both air cleaning and ventilation from academia, professional bodies, and industry, including chartered engineers, scientists, and several government departments. Through this consultation, we have developed a specification specific to education focusing on key drivers including classroom size, acoustics, clean air delivery and filtration, as well as requiring strong evidence to verify manufacturers' claims.

There were no requests received from ministers in the procurement process for air cleaning units and establishment of the online marketplace. This includes any requests to encourage the purchase of air cleaning units manufactured in the UK. Air cleaning units that met the approved technical specification were included on the marketplace, and units were only excluded if they failed to meet the technical specification. All the suppliers’ bids were subject to independent expert scrutiny to maintain objectivity and conformance to the specification.

Interim findings from the Bradford trial of air cleaning units in primary schools, which is a pilot run by the Department of Health and Social Care, were shared with the department as a part of the cross-government development of our specification. All discussions were supplier agnostic. The manufacturers involved in the Bradford trial did not gain any additional advantage or consideration for inclusion in the department marketplace, which followed its own compliant procurement process as outlined above. The products used in the Bradford trial were not presented as an offer from suppliers during the procurement process, they are therefore not available on the marketplace.

All procurement activity was undertaken with full compliance with the Public Contract Regulations (2015). The procurement of the air cleaning devices was undertaken using the Crown Commercial Service Framework (RM6157) which can be accessed by central government departments, including the department and the wider public sector. We have selected a range of products which meet our specification criteria to provide education and childcare providers with high quality air cleaning units of a suitable specification.

The department will publish details of the contracts for air cleaning units which will include the technical specification criteria on contracts finder in line with the government’s transparency agenda.


Written Question
Education: Finance
19 Jan 2022

Questioner: Bridget Phillipson (LAB - Houghton and Sunderland South)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will publish the (i) name of each local authority in receipt of monies for the Wellbeing for Education Recovery Grant, (b) amount of money granted to each of those authorities in 2021-2022, (b) number of children of school age resident in the area of each of those authorities and (c) amount of money per school age child that grant represents for each of those authorities.

Answered by Will Quince

In May 2021, the government provided £7 million in Wellbeing for Education Recovery grants to local authorities, to further help to support education staff in local schools and colleges to promote and support the wellbeing and mental health of pupils and students during recovery from the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak. This built on the £8 million support provided in the 2020-21 financial year under the Wellbeing for Education Return scheme.

A grant determination letter for 2021-22 was published on 10 June 2021, confirming the funding allocations for all local authorities in receipt of the grant. The funding allocations were based on the number of state-funded settings per upper tier local authority. The grant determination letter for 2021-22 can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/wellbeing-for-education-return-grant-s31-grant-determination-letter.

Wellbeing for Education Recovery grants are intended to be spent in the 2021-22 financial year by local authorities on:

  • helping local schools and colleges to navigate existing provision and available support for wellbeing and mental health
  • continuing to deliver or expand previous Wellbeing for Education Return training for education staff
  • providing ongoing support and advice for schools and colleges that need it
  • supporting schools and colleges to plan for, conduct or refresh local assessments of current and anticipated needs for mental health or wellbeing support.

The grants are not intended to be spent on interventions with children and young people, and consequently, providing a breakdown of funding on a per child basis would not be meaningful in this context and cannot be provided.