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Written Question
Veterinary Medicine: Training
27 May 2021

Questioner: John Spellar (LAB - Warley)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many vets graduated in the 2019-20 academic year; and how many veterinary students commenced courses in the 2020-21 academic year.

Answered by Michelle Donelan

The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) collects and publishes data on students enrolled in higher education (HE) in the UK. Latest statistics refer to the 2019/20 academic year.

Data on students obtaining qualifications at UK HE providers are available by subject of study and level of qualification obtained in the 2019/20 academic year in Table 50 of HESA’s ‘Higher Education Student Data’ pages, available here: https://www.hesa.ac.uk/data-and-analysis/students/table-50.

In the 2019/20 academic year, there were 2,290 full-person-equivalent[1] undergraduate and postgraduate qualifiers in veterinary sciences at UK HE providers.

Data covering students entering courses in the 2020/21 academic year will be published by HESA in January 2022. The latest available statistics on students entering courses by subject studied can be found in Table 52: https://www.hesa.ac.uk/data-and-analysis/students/table-52.

In the 2019/20 academic year, there were 2,990 full-person-equivalent1 undergraduate and postgraduate entrants to veterinary sciences at UK HE providers.

[1] Counts are on the basis of full-person-equivalents. Where a student is studying more than one subject, they are apportioned between the subjects that make up their course. Refers to “05 Veterinary sciences” under the Common Aggregation Hierarchy of subjects: https://www.hesa.ac.uk/support/documentation/hecos/cah-about.


Written Question
Members: Correspondence
1 Mar 2021

Questioner: John Spellar (LAB - Warley)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when he plans to respond to the letter from the hon. Member for Warley dated 17 November regarding Mr Asghar.

Answered by Nick Gibb

I can confirm that a response has been sent to the letter dated 17 November 2020, from the right hon. Member for Warley.


Written Question
Members: Correspondence
23 Sep 2020

Questioner: John Spellar (LAB - Warley)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when he plans to respond to the correspondence of 16 June 2020 from the hon. Member for Warley on his constituent Angela Turner.

Answered by Nick Gibb

I can confirm that a response has been sent to the letter dated 16 June, from the right hon. Member for Warley.


Written Question
Apprentices: Construction
21 Jul 2020

Questioner: John Spellar (LAB - Warley)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps the Government is taking to tackle the reduction in the number of apprentice places in the construction industry.

Answered by Gillian Keegan

Apprenticeships will have an important role to play in creating employment opportunities, particularly for young people, and in supporting employers in all sectors to access the skilled workforce that they need to recover and grow following the COVID-19 outbreak.

We recognise that employers, at the moment, face increased challenges with hiring new apprentices and so we will introduce a new payment of £2,000 to employers in England for each new apprentice they hire aged under 25, and a £1,500 payment for each new apprentice they hire aged 25 and over, from 1 August 2020 to 31 January 2021. Details can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/hm-treasury. We will also ensure that there is sufficient funding to support small businesses wanting to take on an apprentice this year.

Employers are at the heart of our reforms to apprenticeships, designing high-quality standards that deliver the skills that they need, and allowing them to spend the levy on the apprenticeships training that matters for them. Employers in the construction sector have developed 86 standards which are approved for delivery. These include Groundworker at level 2 and Building Services Design Technician at level 3. A further 12 are in development.

The construction industry will be key in supporting the country’s economic recovery and my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, recently announced a £5 billion Capital Investment Plan to accelerate infrastructure projects aimed at stimulating the sector and help to recruit and retain staff including apprentices.

We are working with construction sector to encourage the take up of apprenticeships to ensure businesses can restart and recover as quickly as possible.


Written Question
Apprentices: Coronavirus
21 Jul 2020

Questioner: John Spellar (LAB - Warley)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans the Government has to introduce flexibility in the use of Apprenticeship Levy funds to help mitigate the effects of the covid-19 outbreak on current and potential construction apprentices.

Answered by Gillian Keegan

The apprenticeship levy is an important part of our apprenticeship reforms, supporting employers of all sizes to make a long-term, sustainable investment in training. We recognise that employers at the moment face increased challenges with hiring new apprentices so we have announced a new payment of £2,000 to employers in England for each new apprentice they hire aged under 25, and a £1,500 payment for each new apprentice they hire aged 25 and over, from 1 August 2020 to 31 January 2021. Details can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/hm-treasury. We will also ensure that there is sufficient funding to support small businesses wanting to take on an apprentice this year.

In light of the challenges presented by COVID-19, we have introduced a range of flexibilities so that apprentices and employers can continue with their apprenticeships. These include encouraging remote learning, as well as allowing furloughed apprentices to continue their apprenticeships and undertake end point assessments.

Employers are at the heart of our reforms to apprenticeships, designing high-quality standards that deliver the skills that they need, and allowing them to spend the levy on the apprenticeships training that matters for them. Employers in the construction sector have developed 86 standards which are approved for delivery. These include Groundworker at level 2 and Building Services Design Technician at level 3. A further 12 are in development.

We are working with the construction sector to encourage the take up of apprenticeships to ensure businesses can restart and recover as quickly as possible.

We remain committed to looking at how to improve the working of the apprenticeship levy, to support large and small employers in meeting the long-term skills needs of the economy.


Written Question
Apprentices: Taxation
14 Jul 2020

Questioner: John Spellar (LAB - Warley)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure Apprenticeship Levy funds can be used to support (a) current and (b) future construction apprentices after the covid-19 outbreak.

Answered by Gillian Keegan

Apprenticeships will be key to our recovery, especially for young people. We are looking at ensuring that we support employers, especially small businesses, to take on new apprentices this year and will provide further details in due course. The apprenticeship levy is an important part of our apprenticeship reforms, supporting employers of all sizes to make a long-term, sustainable investment in training. We will ensure that there is sufficient funding to support small businesses wanting to take on an apprentice this year.

We recognise that employers, at the moment, face increased challenges with hiring new apprentices and so we will introduce a new payment of £2,000 to employers in England for each new apprentice they hire aged under 25, and a £1,500 payment for each new apprentice they hire aged 25 and over, from 1 August 2020 to 31 January 2021. Details can be found here https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/hm-treasury.

We are developing a campaign plan to underpin our work on supporting the recovery and getting redundant apprentices back to work. As part of this campaign we will be working with all the largest construction businesses to ensure they can restart and recover as quickly as possible. This will include encouraging the sector to take on redundant apprentices from other employers both inside and outside of construction.

In light of the challenges presented by COVID-19, we have extended the transition of non-levy paying employers onto the apprenticeship service from 1 November 2020 to 1 April 2021. Under the new system, smaller employers will have more control over the funding they use to create new apprenticeship opportunities and can reserve funds before choosing the provider that best meets their needs. Levy-paying employers can transfer up to 25% of the annual value of funds in their apprenticeship service accounts to other employers. Employers can continue to recruit and train apprentices. They already have 24 months in which to spend their funds before these expire.

We want apprentices and employers to continue with their apprenticeships and have introduced a range of flexibilities to make this easier, while maintaining the quality of apprenticeships. Flexibilities include encouraging remote delivery of training and allowing changes to end point assessment, as well as introducing additional flexibility to allow furloughed apprentices to continue their apprenticeships and undertake end point assessments.

Employers are developing new apprenticeships standards, allowing them to spend the levy on the apprenticeships training that matters for them. There are now 86 construction standards that have been designed by employers across a range of levels to meet employer demand to date and a further 12 construction standards that are currently in development.


Written Question
Apprentices: Construction
14 Jul 2020

Questioner: John Spellar (LAB - Warley)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to increase the number of apprentice places in the construction industry.

Answered by Gillian Keegan

Apprenticeships will have an important role to play in creating employment opportunities, particularly for young people, and in supporting employers in all sectors, to access the skilled workforce that they need to recover and grow, following COVID-19 outbreak. We will ensure that there is sufficient funding to support small businesses wanting to take on an apprentice this year and will provide further details in due course.

The construction industry will be key in supporting the country’s economic recovery and the Prime Minister recently announced a £5 billion Capital Investment Plan to accelerate infrastructure projects. We are working with the sector to encourage take up of new apprentices and continue to work with employers including Persimmons Homes and Balfour Beatty through our Apprenticeship Diversity Champions Network to promote best practice in recruiting and supporting apprentices from diverse backgrounds and under-represented groups including Black Asian Minority Ethnic and women.


Written Question
Apprentices: Equality
14 Jul 2020

Questioner: John Spellar (LAB - Warley)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps the Government is taking to ensure greater diversity and improve gender and BAME equality amongst construction apprentices.

Answered by Gillian Keegan

Apprenticeships will have an important role to play in creating employment opportunities, particularly for young people, and in supporting employers in all sectors, to access the skilled workforce that they need to recover and grow, following COVID-19 outbreak. We will ensure that there is sufficient funding to support small businesses wanting to take on an apprentice this year and will provide further details in due course.

The construction industry will be key in supporting the country’s economic recovery and the Prime Minister recently announced a £5 billion Capital Investment Plan to accelerate infrastructure projects. We are working with the sector to encourage take up of new apprentices and continue to work with employers including Persimmons Homes and Balfour Beatty through our Apprenticeship Diversity Champions Network to promote best practice in recruiting and supporting apprentices from diverse backgrounds and under-represented groups including Black Asian Minority Ethnic and women.


Written Question
Members: Correspondence
14 Jul 2020

Questioner: John Spellar (LAB - Warley)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when he plans to reply to the letter of 1 May 2020 from the right hon. Member for Warley on funding to apprenticeship training providers.

Answered by Nick Gibb

I can confirm that the letter, dated 1 May 2020, from the right hon. Member for Warley has been responded to. A response was sent via email to the right hon. Member on 23 June 2020.


Written Question
Children: Social Services
4 Nov 2019

Questioner: John Spellar (LAB - Warley)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of trends in the level of central Government funding for local authorities on the adequacy of children's services provided by local authorities.

Answered by Michelle Donelan

The number of inadequate local authorities has fallen by a third from 30 in April 2017 to 17 at the end of October 2019, as a result of our reforms.

Local authorities have been given access to over £200 billion in the 5 years since Spending Review 2015. The Spending Round 2019 also confirmed an additional £1 billion grant for adult and children’s social care services in 2020-21 in addition to the continuation of existing social care grants.


Written Question
Children: Protection
4 Nov 2019

Questioner: John Spellar (LAB - Warley)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what support his Department is providing to improve local authority support for vulnerable children.

Answered by Michelle Donelan

All children should have access to the support they need to keep them safe, provide them with a stable and nurturing home, and overcome challenges to achieve their potential. That is why, at the Spending Round 2019, the government confirmed an additional £1 billion grant for adult and children’s social care in 2020-21 in addition to the continuation of all existing social care grants.

Local authorities core spending power is expected to rise from £46.2 billion to £49.1 billion in 2020/21, an estimated 4.3% real terms increase.

We also provide targeted help and support to drive improvement in local authorities. We are investing £20 million in regional sector-led improvement to get ahead of failure. Our strong ‘Partner in Practice’ authorities have already helped over 70 local authorities, getting upstream of the risk of failure, with work underway to broker support for many more. Additionally, we are investing £2 million in improving leadership in children's services with support being delivered through the local government authority. In addition to the £84 million targeted fund, the Autumn Budget made £410 million available to local authorities for adults and children’s social care in 2019/20.


Written Question
Higher Education
20 Jun 2019

Questioner: John Spellar (LAB - Warley)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many undergraduates are currently studying courses for (a) veterinary surgery, (b) architecture and (c) web design.

Answered by Chris Skidmore

The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) collects and publishes data on students enrolled in higher education (HE). HESA published data for undergraduates currently studying courses for veterinary surgery, architecture and web design at the following link: https://www.hesa.ac.uk/data-and-analysis/students/table-22.

Information on undergraduate students enrolled in each principal subject area at HE institutions in 2017/18 has been provided in Table 1 which has been attached. This includes the principal subjects that encompass veterinary surgery and architecture. There is no direct classification for web design.


Written Question
School Meals: Lancashire
21 Nov 2018

Questioner: John Spellar (LAB - Warley)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions his Department has had with Lancashire County Council on the Council's ban on halal and kosher meat in school meals.

Answered by Nadhim Zahawi

The department has had no discussions with Lancashire County Council with regards to their ban on halal and kosher meat in school meals. The government sets out required minimum standards for school food in the School Food Standards to ensure that children are served healthy, nutritious meals at school. The standards do not specify food requirements in terms of cultural and religious needs.

Headteachers, governors and their caterers are best placed to make decisions about their school food policies, which includes acting reasonably to provide choices that take account of cultural, religious and special dietary needs. Schools that choose to arrange their school meals through a local authority or another catering organisation may wish to take this into consideration. Schools may consider providing both halal and non-halal or kosher food each day, or ensuring that dishes are clearly labelled to allow pupils to select the appropriate choice.


Written Question
Bright Tribe Multi-academy Trust
13 Sep 2018

Questioner: John Spellar (LAB - Warley)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when (a) he and (b) officials in his Department were made aware of the financial concerns relating to Bright Tribe academy trust; and what steps his Department has taken to address those concerns.

Answered by Nadhim Zahawi

The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) have a robust intervention strategy, built on a clear framework and communicated and regulated through trusts’ funding agreements and the Academies Financial Handbook.

The former Secretary of State (Nicky Morgan), my right hon. Friend for Loughborough, was initially made aware of the financial concerns relating to Bright Tribe Trust in July 2015.

The ESFA has worked closely with Bright Tribe Trust since 2015. An initial Financial Management and Governance Review was completed in November 2015, with follow up visits in September 2016 and August 2017. In June 2018, we made a further visit to Bright Tribe Trust in relation to the outstanding capital issues at The Whitehaven Academy.

The ESFA reviews all allegations received about Bright Tribe Trust and individual schools within the trust. Following most recent allegations, a warning letter was issued by the EFSA on 7 August 2018.


Written Question
Universities: West Midlands
7 Nov 2016

Questioner: John Spellar (LAB - Warley)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many school leavers in (a) Warley constituency and (b) Sandwell who went to university in the last five years for which figures are available were (i) entitled and (ii) not entitled to free school meals.

Answered by Lord Johnson of Marylebone

Information is given on the number and percentage of students completing key stage 5 study (A level and other level 3 qualifications) in mainstream state-funded schools and colleges, before progressing to study at a UK higher education institution for at least two terms the following year, in each of the last five years for which information is available. Free school meal eligibility is as recorded when students were in Year 11.

The table below show figures for the Warley constituency for the years 2010/11 to 2014/15. Numbers of pupils are shown rounded to the nearest ten, in line with how published information was shown in these years. Percentages are calculated using unrounded figures.

In each of the last five years, 20 to 60 students in the Warley constituency (rounded to the nearest ten), who had been eligible for free school meals in Year 11 and completed key stage 5 study, progressed to higher education. This compares to between 140 and 190 students who had not been eligible for free school meals. Due to the small numbers of students involved, these proportions have varied year on year.

Comparable information on pupil destinations for Sandwell is published annually at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/statistics-destinations

Number of students completing KS5

Number at UK Higher Education Institution

% at UK Higher Education Institution (calculated on unrounded figures)

(rounded to nearest 10)

(rounded to nearest 10)

FSM

Non-FSM

FSM

Non-FSM

FSM

Non-FSM

2014/15 (2013/14 KS5 cohort)

90

300

60

190

65%

65%

2013/14 (2012/13 KS5 cohort)

70

340

40

190

57%

56%

2012/13 (2011/12 KS5 cohort)

60

250

30

140

56%

56%

2011/12 (2010/11 KS5 cohort)

90

280

60

180

65%

63%

2010/11 (2009/10 KS5 cohort)

40

210

20

150

47%

70%