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Written Question
Apprentices: Energy Industry
3 Feb 2020

Questioner: Giles Watling (CON - Clacton)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans his Department has to encourage the energy industry to increase the number of apprenticeships in that industry.

Answered by Michelle Donelan

We have put employers at the heart of our apprenticeship system, empowering them to design the standards they need to meet their emerging skills needs in a changing economy. The independent Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education supports employers to develop standards and acts as the guarantor of their quality. Apprenticeships available in the sector include junior energy manager, smart home technician and power engineer.

Employers in the energy industry in England can use their apprenticeship levy funds to invest in these new high quality apprenticeship standards, unlocking the productivity benefits associated with employing apprentices.

We are encouraged to see companies in the energy sector engaging positively with the apprenticeship system. E.ON, for example, has apprentices working throughout its business in areas as diverse as cyber security, renewables, smart metering and customer service.


Written Question
STEM Subjects: Females
5 Jul 2019

Questioner: Giles Watling (CON - Clacton)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to increase the number of women taking up careers in STEM.

Answered by Anne Milton

In order to increase the number of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) industries, we are encouraging more girls to take STEM subjects at school, college and university, as well as providing improved careers advice and awareness and working with the STEM sector to champion gender representation.

We announced substantial spending commitments in the Autumn Budget 2017 on maths, digital and technical education. We are funding programmes to increase the take-up of maths, such as the Advanced Maths Premium, and physics, through the Stimulating Physics Network, which has a specific strand focusing on increasing the number of girls in physics A level.

We are supporting better teaching of maths, science and computing in schools, including a new £84 million programme for computing teaching and participation. As part of this investment, we also launched the Gender Balance in Computing pilot programme this year, which aims to identify practical interventions that schools (at all stages, excluding post-16) can implement to improve girls’ participation in computing.

We have committed to improving STEM careers advice in schools in the Careers Strategy, including making sure that STEM encounters, such as with employers and apprenticeships, are built into school career programmes by updating school and college statutory guidance. We are also raising awareness of the range of careers that STEM qualifications offer, through programmes such as STEM ambassadors. 44% of these ambassadors are women.

Finally, we are taking steps to work with the sector through apprenticeships and using the employer Apprenticeships Diversity Champions Network, now employing 70 members, to champion gender representation in industries where improvement is needed.


Written Question
Children: Social Services
15 Mar 2019

Questioner: Giles Watling (CON - Clacton)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking in advance of the Spending Review to ensure that children’s services departments are adequately funded.

Answered by Nadhim Zahawi

The government will consider long-term children’s services funding as part of the Spending Review which my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced will take place this year. We are working closely with local authorities and the wider sector to build a robust evidence base on the levels of children’s services costs and pressures.


Written Question
Schools: Racial Discrimination
12 Mar 2019

Questioner: Giles Watling (CON - Clacton)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to encourage anti-racism initiatives in schools.

Answered by Anne Milton

All schools are required to actively promote our shared values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance for those of different faiths and beliefs. Schools are also required to promote equality and respect for others, with particular regard to the protected characteristics. Promotion of these values is part of Ofsted’s inspection framework and the department has published guidance to schools on promoting these important values as part of pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development.

In 2016, the department also launched the Educate Against Hate website which provides resources for teachers and school leaders to support their promotion of these values. This includes the department’s Respectful Schools Communities toolkit; a self-review and signposting tool to support schools to develop a whole-school approach which promotes respect and discipline.

Additionally, subject to the passage of regulations through parliament, schools will be required to teach relationships education to all primary pupils and relationships and sex education to all secondary pupils from September 2020. The focus is on building positive, respectful relationships, including online, and understanding the impact of harmful stereotypes and bullying.

The department also supports a number of specific initiatives in schools to combat bullying. The department is providing over £2.8 million of funding, between September 2016 and March 2020, to 4 anti-bullying organisations to support schools to tackle bullying. This includes projects targeting bullying of particular groups, such as those who are victims of hate-related bullying, along with a project to report bullying online. These projects contribute towards the government’s Hate Crime Action plan.

Finally, as part of our commitments in the government’s Integrated Communities Action Plan, the department has funded an expanded national school linking programme. This seeks to encourage meaningful social mixing between different types of schools and foster understanding of those with different backgrounds, faiths and beliefs. Last year, the Linking Network worked with over 400 schools leading to 17,635 pupils taking part in activities supporting integration.


Written Question
Schools: Racial Discrimination
12 Mar 2019

Questioner: Giles Watling (CON - Clacton)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many incidents of racism were reported in schools in (a) England, (b) Essex, (c) Tendring and (d) Clacton constituency in (i) 2017 and (ii) 2018.

Answered by Nick Gibb

The information requested is not held centrally.

Schools are not required to report centrally on racist incidents or to publish figures. Schools have the freedom to develop their own approaches for monitoring behaviour, including racist incidents, and to exercise their own judgement as to what will work best for their pupils and the communities they serve. They are required to publish a behaviour policy that outlines measures to encourage good behaviour and to prevent all forms of bullying amongst pupils, including racist bullying, and are held to account by Ofsted. Where schools feel that an incident might constitute a crime, guidance makes it clear that they should report it to the police.


Written Question
Apprentices
29 Jun 2018

Questioner: Giles Watling (CON - Clacton)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to make apprenticeships more affordable for apprentices.

Answered by Anne Milton

Apprenticeships are paid jobs with training - they benefit people of all ages and backgrounds, allowing apprentices to earn while they learn without having to pay for training or qualifications.

We provide funding so that employers and providers can support their apprentices with some of the costs of their apprenticeships. We provide up to £600 to training providers to support apprentices from the 27 per cent most disadvantaged postcode areas when they train on a framework, and £150 a month where an apprentice requires further learning support as a result of conditions such as dyslexia or other learning difficulties and disabilities. We also provide a £1,000 payment to providers and employers when they take on a 16-18 year old apprentice. The funding we provide ensures that any additional costs are not passed on to employers or providers.

A young person on an apprenticeship will receive at least the apprentice national minimum wage, which increased to £3.70 per hour in April 2018. This represents a 5.7 per cent increase and means the Apprentice rate is at a record high in nominal and real terms. The Low Pay Commission estimates that the increase will benefit up to 34,000 apprentices. In England, the mean pay rate for level 2 apprentices is £6.69; the level 2 median is £6.35. The mean pay rate for level 3 apprentices is £7.38; the level 3 median is £7.10.

In addition, from August 2018, we are introducing a £1,000 bursary to eligible care leavers aged 16-24 starting an apprenticeship. We understand that care leavers face particular financial disadvantage and government has a responsibility to support them as they transition into the world of work through an apprenticeship.


Written Question
Apprentices: Low Incomes
18 May 2018

Questioner: Giles Watling (CON - Clacton)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the financial effect on low income families with a child that undertakes an apprenticeship.

Answered by Anne Milton

One of the core principles of an apprenticeship is that it is a paid job with training, allowing apprentices to earn while they learn, and it is treated accordingly in the benefit system. Apprentices are not required to pay for their training or assessment.

A young person on an apprenticeship will receive at least the apprentice national minimum wage, which increased to £3.70 per hour in April 2018. In England, the mean pay for level 2 apprentices is £6.69; the level 2 median pay is £6.35. The mean pay rate for level 3 apprentices is £7.38; the level 3 median pay is £7.10.

We are not currently considering extending the scope of Care to Learn, student financial support including the 16-19 Bursary Fund or the Childcare Grant to apprenticeships as they are classed as paid contractual employment with training.

We are creating an apprenticeship system that is open to a wide range of people. As we continue to reform the apprenticeships system we will keep our funding for apprentices with additional needs under review.

For apprentices claiming benefits in their own right, financial support is available for those on low incomes. Eligible apprentices may be able to claim Universal Credit or Tax Credits to help with living costs. Universal Credit is also an in-work benefit, so claimants in work on low wages, including apprentices under contract, can continue to claim support for housing. Parents of apprentices are not, however, eligible to claim Child Benefit, as apprentices, like other employees, earn a wage.

In addition, an apprentice may be entitled to the usual in-work benefits, such as Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credits. If an apprentice has children, is aged 16 or over and does paid work of at least 16 hours a week then they could qualify for tax credits, unless they are already earning £25,000 per year or more. Statutory Sick Pay is paid on the basis of the level of earnings in the relevant period. Disabled apprentices may be entitled to Access to Work payments to help with any support needed to do their job such as assistive technology or an assistant.


Written Question
Apprentices: Low Incomes
18 May 2018

Questioner: Giles Watling (CON - Clacton)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department plans to make low income apprentices eligible for (a) student bursaries and (b) income support.

Answered by Anne Milton

One of the core principles of an apprenticeship is that it is a paid job with training, allowing apprentices to earn while they learn, and it is treated accordingly in the benefit system. Apprentices are not required to pay for their training or assessment.

A young person on an apprenticeship will receive at least the apprentice national minimum wage, which increased to £3.70 per hour in April 2018. In England, the mean pay for level 2 apprentices is £6.69; the level 2 median pay is £6.35. The mean pay rate for level 3 apprentices is £7.38; the level 3 median pay is £7.10.

We are not currently considering extending the scope of Care to Learn, student financial support including the 16-19 Bursary Fund or the Childcare Grant to apprenticeships as they are classed as paid contractual employment with training.

We are creating an apprenticeship system that is open to a wide range of people. As we continue to reform the apprenticeships system we will keep our funding for apprentices with additional needs under review.

For apprentices claiming benefits in their own right, financial support is available for those on low incomes. Eligible apprentices may be able to claim Universal Credit or Tax Credits to help with living costs. Universal Credit is also an in-work benefit, so claimants in work on low wages, including apprentices under contract, can continue to claim support for housing. Parents of apprentices are not, however, eligible to claim Child Benefit, as apprentices, like other employees, earn a wage.

In addition, an apprentice may be entitled to the usual in-work benefits, such as Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credits. If an apprentice has children, is aged 16 or over and does paid work of at least 16 hours a week then they could qualify for tax credits, unless they are already earning £25,000 per year or more. Statutory Sick Pay is paid on the basis of the level of earnings in the relevant period. Disabled apprentices may be entitled to Access to Work payments to help with any support needed to do their job such as assistive technology or an assistant.


Written Question
Apprentices: Low Incomes
18 May 2018

Questioner: Giles Watling (CON - Clacton)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department plans to make low income apprentices with children eligible for the (a) Care to Learn Scheme and (b) Childcare Grant.

Answered by Anne Milton

One of the core principles of an apprenticeship is that it is a paid job with training, allowing apprentices to earn while they learn, and it is treated accordingly in the benefit system. Apprentices are not required to pay for their training or assessment.

A young person on an apprenticeship will receive at least the apprentice national minimum wage, which increased to £3.70 per hour in April 2018. In England, the mean pay for level 2 apprentices is £6.69; the level 2 median pay is £6.35. The mean pay rate for level 3 apprentices is £7.38; the level 3 median pay is £7.10.

We are not currently considering extending the scope of Care to Learn, student financial support including the 16-19 Bursary Fund or the Childcare Grant to apprenticeships as they are classed as paid contractual employment with training.

We are creating an apprenticeship system that is open to a wide range of people. As we continue to reform the apprenticeships system we will keep our funding for apprentices with additional needs under review.

For apprentices claiming benefits in their own right, financial support is available for those on low incomes. Eligible apprentices may be able to claim Universal Credit or Tax Credits to help with living costs. Universal Credit is also an in-work benefit, so claimants in work on low wages, including apprentices under contract, can continue to claim support for housing. Parents of apprentices are not, however, eligible to claim Child Benefit, as apprentices, like other employees, earn a wage.

In addition, an apprentice may be entitled to the usual in-work benefits, such as Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credits. If an apprentice has children, is aged 16 or over and does paid work of at least 16 hours a week then they could qualify for tax credits, unless they are already earning £25,000 per year or more. Statutory Sick Pay is paid on the basis of the level of earnings in the relevant period. Disabled apprentices may be entitled to Access to Work payments to help with any support needed to do their job such as assistive technology or an assistant.