Speeches made during Parliamentary debates are recorded in Hansard. For ease of browsing we have grouped debates into individual, departmental and legislative categories.
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).
These initiatives were driven by Diane Abbott, and are more likely to reflect personal policy preferences.
MPs who are act as Ministers or Shadow Ministers are generally restricted from performing Commons initiatives other than Urgent Questions.
Diane Abbott has not been granted any Adjournment Debates
Diane Abbott has not introduced any legislation before Parliament
Diane Abbott has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting
The Government is taking steps to close the educational attainment gap and improve the education of disadvantaged children and young people of all ethnic backgrounds. The Department recognises that the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak has been felt most heavily by disadvantaged children and young people, and so it is important that we target support towards these children.
On 24 February, the Department announced a £700 million Education Recovery package, building on the £1 billion provided in 2020. As well as a range of measures to support all pupils to recover lost education, the package includes significant funding aimed at addressing the needs of disadvantaged pupils. This includes a one off £302 million Recovery Premium for the next academic year that will be allocated to schools based on disadvantage funding eligibility. Schools with more disadvantaged pupils will therefore receive larger allocations. Within this package is a £22 million accelerator fund to scale up evidence based approaches that support children and young people in disadvantaged areas.
In June 2020, as part of the £1 billion COVID-19 catch up package, the Department announced £350 million to fund the National Tutoring Programme for disadvantaged students in the 2020/21 and 2021/22 academic year. The programme will provide additional, targeted support for those children and young people who have been hardest hit from disruption to their education as a result of school closures. Teachers and school leaders should exercise professional judgement when identifying which pupils would benefit most from this additional support.
There is extensive evidence that tutoring is one of the most effective ways to accelerate pupil progress, and the Department wants to extend this opportunity to disadvantaged and vulnerable learners. We are funding small group tuition for 16 to 19 year olds and early language skills in Reception classes. The Department is also providing over £400 million to support access to remote education and online social care services. To date, over 1.29 million laptops and tablets have been delivered to schools, trusts, local authorities and further education providers.
£200 million will be made available to secondary schools to deliver face to face summer schools. Funding is allocated on the basis of schools’ existing year 7 pupils, but there is flexibility for schools to draw in other pupils should they identify a need. Schools will identify the pupils most in need of support and will be able to target provision based on pupils’ needs.
The ongoing provision of pupil premium funding, which is worth £2.5 billion this financial year, aims to close the attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers. It allows school leaders to tailor the support they provide, based on the needs of their disadvantaged pupils, with the aim of accelerating their progress and improving their educational attainment.
The Department is confident that the system of teacher assessed grades, underpinned by clear guidance published by the Joint Council for Qualifications, will ensure the grades students receive are as fair and consistent as possible. In addition to this guidance, exam boards have provided grade descriptors and exemplar materials to support teachers. The grade descriptors and materials exemplify the established performance standard that is maintained each year by awarding organisations. To ensure that there is a common basis to all teacher assessed grades, teachers are being asked to apply the performance standards described in the grade descriptors to the evidence of students’ work this year.
Students should have confidence in their grades this year and it is vital that teachers are supported to avoid any unconscious bias. Awarding organisations will provide assessment materials, guidance, and training to support centres to make fair, consistent, and evidence-based decisions which are without bias. Ofqual have also published information for centres about making objective judgements this year, available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/information-for-centres-about-making-objective-judgements.
Centres will be encouraged to allow students to see the evidence used to determine their grade in advance of that grade being submitted. This transparency should enable any errors or circumstances relating to particular pieces of evidence to be taken into account in advance of the grade submission. Students’ grades will also go through internal and external quality assurance processes to ensure errors are identified and that judgements are as consistent as possible. Internal standardisation will help mitigate the risk of unconscious bias in judgements of students’ grades. Centres will set out how they will ensure objectivity in their centre policies, which will be reviewed by exam boards.
There will also be an appeals system as a safety net to resolve any errors not identified during the earlier parts of the process. The Department has made clear that every student will have the right to appeal their grade.
Since 2010, this Government has been committed to raising educational standards for all pupils to ensure that all young people leave school with the knowledge, skills and qualifications they need to succeed in life. The proportion of schools now rated by Ofsted as Good or Outstanding has risen from 68% in 2010 to 86% in 2020. The Department does not design education policy that exclusively targets certain groups of pupils based on ethnicity, but we are focused on tackling the attainment gap that exists between disadvantaged children and their more affluent peers.
We know that the COVID-19 outbreak poses great challenges to the education system. In June 2020, the Department announced a £1 billion catch-up package, which includes £350 million for a National Tutoring Programme to increase access to high-quality tuition for the most disadvantaged children and young people, helping to accelerate their academic progress and directly tackling the attainment gap.
More recently, in February 2021, we committed a further £700 million of funding for the 2021/22 academic year. This package includes a new one off £302 million Recovery Premium for state-funded primary and secondary schools, building on the Pupil Premium, to further support pupils who need it most.
As part of the Government’s commitment to develop a longer-term education recovery plan, Sir Kevan Collins has been appointed as Education Recovery Commissioner and is working with teachers, school and college leaders, educational charities, and families to review how evidence-based interventions can be used to address the impact of education lost due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
As part of a broad and balanced curriculum, pupils should be taught about different societies, and how different groups have contributed to the development of Britain.
The Department regularly engages with teachers and other stakeholders on the curriculum, including on diversity and inclusion. There is already a wide range of high-quality resources on teaching a culturally diverse curriculum content, including those produced by education publishers, voluntary organisations, subject associations, and remote education resources from the Oak National Academy.
The Government is considering the recommendations in the report by the Commission for Race and Ethnic Disparities, including on curriculum resources, and assessing the next steps for future policy. In recognition of the extensive scope of recommendations, my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, has established a new Inter Ministerial Group. The group will be chaired by my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.
Parental involvement in their child’s education has always been important, and this has been further underlined during the COVID-19 outbreak. The Department realises this is a challenging time for parents, carers and children, and remote education has brought new demands for them and changed how they engage with schools. Parents played a crucial role in their child’s education whilst schools were closed for most pupils.
School attendance is now mandatory for all pupils and the usual rules on school attendance have applied again since 8 March 2021. This includes parents’ duty to secure their child’s regular attendance at school. It is vital that pupils attend school to minimise the longer-term impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on their education, wellbeing and wider development, and that is why education has been prioritised as we begin to relax restrictions.
Evidence tells us that the early years are crucial for a child’s development, and what happens at home plays a vital role. This is why the Department launched Hungry Little Minds, a campaign to encourage parents to engage in activities that support their child’s early education. The campaign aims to communicate that there are simple, everyday things parents can do to help their children’s language and literacy. The campaign is part of our wider work to support parents and families. We provided £5.3 million of grant funding in the 2020-21 financial year to voluntary and community sector organisations to support disadvantaged and vulnerable children in the early years, including support with the home education environment.
The Government is providing over £400 million to support remote education and online social care services, including making 1.3 million laptops and tablets available for disadvantaged children and young people.
To date, over 1.29 million laptops and tablets have been delivered to schools, trusts, local authorities and further education providers. The Department has also partnered with the UK’s leading mobile operators to provide free data to help over 30,000 disadvantaged children get online, as well as delivering over 75,000 4G wireless routers for pupils without connection at home.
Laptops and tablets are owned by schools, trusts, local authorities or further education providers, who can lend these to children and young people who need them. Allocations of devices to schools and colleges are based on the number of pupils or students they have who are eligible for free school meals or free meals. This approach ensures that support provided by the Government reaches those families that need it most.
The immigration removal estate is kept under ongoing review to ensure that the Home Office has sufficient capacity, in the right places and that it provides value for money.
The Home Office has acquired the former Hassockfield Secure Training Centre in County Durham and will open it as an immigration removal centre (IRC) for around 80 women by the autumn. Initial discussions with the planning authority have taken place and work has commenced at the site. An Equality Impact Assessment will be completed as part of this programme of work.
The immigration detention capacity for women is not being expanded. We plan to supplement the new Hassockfield IRC by continuing to provide some detention capacity for women at Colnbrook, Dungavel and Yarl’s Wood IRCs, in order to provide flexibility in placement and shorter escorting journeys for those in detention, including women.
The Metropolitan Police Service Parliamentary Liaison and Investigation Team (PLaIT) is made up of seven members of staff in total, including the Head of PLaIT. We are unable to give further details on the Head of the team, at this time; however, all Members’ of Parliament are able to make direct contact with PLaIT and the Head of PLaIT through dedicated, known communication channels.
I published the Windrush Lessons Learned Review and made a statement on 19 March 2020.