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Written Question
Schools: Buildings
Monday 18th September 2023

Asked by: Tim Farron (Liberal Democrat - Westmorland and Lonsdale)

Question to the Department for Education:

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if she will list the schools in England by (i) parliamentary constituency and (ii) local authority which have been contacted due to their buildings containing reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete.

Answered by Nick Gibb

Departments have been asked to report on the current picture of suspected and confirmed RAAC in their estates as soon as possible. This will be updated on a regular basis as new buildings are identified and surveying and remediation are carried out.

The Government published lists of education settings confirmed as having RAAC on Wednesday 6 September, and committed to providing further updates.


Written Question
Special Educational Needs
Monday 17th July 2023

Asked by: Tim Farron (Liberal Democrat - Westmorland and Lonsdale)

Question to the Department for Education:

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department is taking to increase SEND support in schools.

Answered by Claire Coutinho - Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero

The department is determined that all children and young people receive the support they need to benefit from their education and progress to the next stage of their lives. All teachers should be confident in identifying and supporting pupils with Special Education Needs and Disabilities (SEND). The SEND Code of Practice:0-25 Years (2015), sets out what schools should do to fulfil their duties to identify and support all children with SEND, regardless of whether they have an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan. The SEND Code of Practice can be found at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/398815/SEND_Code_of_Practice_January_2015.pdf.

The department published the SEND and Alternative Provision (AP) Improvement Plan in March 2023. Quality teaching and support are vital for children with SEND to reach their full potential. As part of this a new leadership level Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) National Professional Qualification will be introduced for schools. The department is also taking steps to build teacher expertise in meeting the needs of children with SEND through a review of the Initial Teacher Training (ITT) Core Content Framework and Early Career Framework.

The most recent Ofsted education inspection framework also places greater emphasis on what schools are doing to support children and young people with SEND to progress and achieve their goals.


Written Question
Schools: Registration
Monday 17th July 2023

Asked by: Tim Farron (Liberal Democrat - Westmorland and Lonsdale)

Question to the Department for Education:

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment she has made of the adequacy of the average time taken to register a new school; and whether she is taking steps to reduce processing times.

Answered by Nick Gibb

The Department acts as the regulator of independent schools on behalf of the Secretary of State for Education. The Department’s registration guidance document is clear that the process for registering a new independent school can take around six months from receipt of a complete application. The Department is content that this target is being met. For the period February to June 2023, it has taken on average 23 weeks to reach a decision on registration from the date on which a complete application was submitted.

The Department follows a robust set of processes that aim to safeguard and protect children and ensure that only applications that are likely to meet all of the independent school standards (ISS) are approved for registration. Schools not meeting the ISS are not providing a safe and suitable education for children. The Department’s processes include a mandatory pre-registration inspection conducted by Ofsted on the degree to which the ISS are likely to be met in this school. Any proposal to reduce the processing time must ensure that the safety and wellbeing of children is not reduced through more limited scrutiny of new applications.


Written Question
Hospitality Industry and Tourism: Apprentices
Monday 12th June 2023

Asked by: Tim Farron (Liberal Democrat - Westmorland and Lonsdale)

Question to the Department for Education:

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department is taking to encourage young people to (a) enter the hospitality and tourism industry and (b) undertake a degree apprenticeship in tourism.

Answered by Robert Halfon - Minister of State (Education)

The department is introducing T Levels in a phased approach, with a strong emphasis on quality, both of the qualification itself and its delivery. We can only assess the impact on an industry of the introduction of T Level once we’re able to assess the positive impact the T Level makes.

The department communicated the decision to defer the T Level in Catering in March 2023, and providers have subsequently supported students interested in this T Level to find alternate learning programmes to suit their needs, with existing qualifications still funded and available until after the Catering T Level is rolled out.

The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education regularly reviews its occupational standards across all sectors. It is currently in the process of engaging with a wide range of stakeholders in catering and hospitality, to ensure that the occupational standards in this sector which underpin apprenticeships and T Level technical qualifications are up to date, and fully meet the needs of employers.

There is no T Level specifically in travel and tourism, but T Levels in business and administration are well placed to develop the skills that are relevant to many occupations in this area. Students will then be able to tailor their programme by undertaking their industry placement with a relevant employer in the sector.

A range of other provision is available to those young people who want to gain skills in the Hospitality and Travel and Tourism Sectors.

There are 137 Level 2 and Level 3 qualifications in the Hospitality and catering sector for 16-19 year olds that are approved for funding in 2023/2024, and 73 Level 2 and Level 3 qualifications in the Travel and tourism sector for 16-19 year olds approved for funding in 2023/2024. Existing travel and tourism qualifications are still in receipt of funding until 2026.

The department is encouraging awarding organisations to develop travel and tourism-focused technical qualifications at Level 3, working with employers, colleges, and schools to design new qualifications that support young people to enter employment or further technical study where that is what they want to do.

Apprenticeships provide people of all ages with the opportunity to earn and learn the skills needed to start, or progress in, an exciting career in the hospitality and tourism sector. Employers in this sector can access a range of high-quality apprenticeship standards to meet their skills needs, including the Level 3 Travel Consultant, Level 4 Hospitality Manager and Level 4 Senior Culinary Chef. We want to see more young people from all backgrounds undertaking degree apprenticeships, that provide people with high-quality training and are important in supporting productivity, social mobility and widening participation in higher education and employment. Over the next two years the department is making up to £40 million available to higher education providers through the Strategic Priorities Grant, to grow their degree apprenticeship provision and form new employer partnerships.

Young people can also benefit from the Free Courses for Jobs offer of a free Level 3 qualification in Hospitality and Catering delivered by a range of providers in England. This offer was extended to include Hospitality and Catering due to a significant skills shortage in the sector following the lifting of lockdown, and robust labour market analysis showing the opportunities in this field.

All young people and learners have access to impartial, lifelong careers advice and guidance which empowers them to progress into work or the next stage of their career. This will include advice on a range of options for training in areas such as Hospitality and Travel and Tourism.


Written Question
Catering and Hospitality Industry: T-levels
Monday 12th June 2023

Asked by: Tim Farron (Liberal Democrat - Westmorland and Lonsdale)

Question to the Department for Education:

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of how many students would have taken the T level in Catering and Hospitality this year.

Answered by Robert Halfon - Minister of State (Education)

The department is introducing T Levels in a phased approach, with a strong emphasis on quality, both of the qualification itself and its delivery. We can only assess the impact on an industry of the introduction of T Level once we’re able to assess the positive impact the T Level makes.

The department communicated the decision to defer the T Level in Catering in March 2023, and providers have subsequently supported students interested in this T Level to find alternate learning programmes to suit their needs, with existing qualifications still funded and available until after the Catering T Level is rolled out.

The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education regularly reviews its occupational standards across all sectors. It is currently in the process of engaging with a wide range of stakeholders in catering and hospitality, to ensure that the occupational standards in this sector which underpin apprenticeships and T Level technical qualifications are up to date, and fully meet the needs of employers.

There is no T Level specifically in travel and tourism, but T Levels in business and administration are well placed to develop the skills that are relevant to many occupations in this area. Students will then be able to tailor their programme by undertaking their industry placement with a relevant employer in the sector.

A range of other provision is available to those young people who want to gain skills in the Hospitality and Travel and Tourism Sectors.

There are 137 Level 2 and Level 3 qualifications in the Hospitality and catering sector for 16-19 year olds that are approved for funding in 2023/2024, and 73 Level 2 and Level 3 qualifications in the Travel and tourism sector for 16-19 year olds approved for funding in 2023/2024. Existing travel and tourism qualifications are still in receipt of funding until 2026.

The department is encouraging awarding organisations to develop travel and tourism-focused technical qualifications at Level 3, working with employers, colleges, and schools to design new qualifications that support young people to enter employment or further technical study where that is what they want to do.

Apprenticeships provide people of all ages with the opportunity to earn and learn the skills needed to start, or progress in, an exciting career in the hospitality and tourism sector. Employers in this sector can access a range of high-quality apprenticeship standards to meet their skills needs, including the Level 3 Travel Consultant, Level 4 Hospitality Manager and Level 4 Senior Culinary Chef. We want to see more young people from all backgrounds undertaking degree apprenticeships, that provide people with high-quality training and are important in supporting productivity, social mobility and widening participation in higher education and employment. Over the next two years the department is making up to £40 million available to higher education providers through the Strategic Priorities Grant, to grow their degree apprenticeship provision and form new employer partnerships.

Young people can also benefit from the Free Courses for Jobs offer of a free Level 3 qualification in Hospitality and Catering delivered by a range of providers in England. This offer was extended to include Hospitality and Catering due to a significant skills shortage in the sector following the lifting of lockdown, and robust labour market analysis showing the opportunities in this field.

All young people and learners have access to impartial, lifelong careers advice and guidance which empowers them to progress into work or the next stage of their career. This will include advice on a range of options for training in areas such as Hospitality and Travel and Tourism.


Written Question
Catering and Hospitality Industry: T-levels
Monday 12th June 2023

Asked by: Tim Farron (Liberal Democrat - Westmorland and Lonsdale)

Question to the Department for Education:

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made on the impact on the hospitality industry of postponing the T level in Catering and Hospitality.

Answered by Robert Halfon - Minister of State (Education)

The department is introducing T Levels in a phased approach, with a strong emphasis on quality, both of the qualification itself and its delivery. We can only assess the impact on an industry of the introduction of T Level once we’re able to assess the positive impact the T Level makes.

The department communicated the decision to defer the T Level in Catering in March 2023, and providers have subsequently supported students interested in this T Level to find alternate learning programmes to suit their needs, with existing qualifications still funded and available until after the Catering T Level is rolled out.

The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education regularly reviews its occupational standards across all sectors. It is currently in the process of engaging with a wide range of stakeholders in catering and hospitality, to ensure that the occupational standards in this sector which underpin apprenticeships and T Level technical qualifications are up to date, and fully meet the needs of employers.

There is no T Level specifically in travel and tourism, but T Levels in business and administration are well placed to develop the skills that are relevant to many occupations in this area. Students will then be able to tailor their programme by undertaking their industry placement with a relevant employer in the sector.

A range of other provision is available to those young people who want to gain skills in the Hospitality and Travel and Tourism Sectors.

There are 137 Level 2 and Level 3 qualifications in the Hospitality and catering sector for 16-19 year olds that are approved for funding in 2023/2024, and 73 Level 2 and Level 3 qualifications in the Travel and tourism sector for 16-19 year olds approved for funding in 2023/2024. Existing travel and tourism qualifications are still in receipt of funding until 2026.

The department is encouraging awarding organisations to develop travel and tourism-focused technical qualifications at Level 3, working with employers, colleges, and schools to design new qualifications that support young people to enter employment or further technical study where that is what they want to do.

Apprenticeships provide people of all ages with the opportunity to earn and learn the skills needed to start, or progress in, an exciting career in the hospitality and tourism sector. Employers in this sector can access a range of high-quality apprenticeship standards to meet their skills needs, including the Level 3 Travel Consultant, Level 4 Hospitality Manager and Level 4 Senior Culinary Chef. We want to see more young people from all backgrounds undertaking degree apprenticeships, that provide people with high-quality training and are important in supporting productivity, social mobility and widening participation in higher education and employment. Over the next two years the department is making up to £40 million available to higher education providers through the Strategic Priorities Grant, to grow their degree apprenticeship provision and form new employer partnerships.

Young people can also benefit from the Free Courses for Jobs offer of a free Level 3 qualification in Hospitality and Catering delivered by a range of providers in England. This offer was extended to include Hospitality and Catering due to a significant skills shortage in the sector following the lifting of lockdown, and robust labour market analysis showing the opportunities in this field.

All young people and learners have access to impartial, lifelong careers advice and guidance which empowers them to progress into work or the next stage of their career. This will include advice on a range of options for training in areas such as Hospitality and Travel and Tourism.


Written Question
Agriculture: Further Education
Tuesday 9th May 2023

Asked by: Tim Farron (Liberal Democrat - Westmorland and Lonsdale)

Question to the Department for Education:

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much funding the Government has allocated to agricultural colleges in each of the last five years.

Answered by Robert Halfon - Minister of State (Education)

The attached Excel spreadsheet supplies the allocation values for institutions which are specified as Agricultural and Horticultural Colleges and includes the institution name and UK Provider Reference Number.

Allocations of funding are provided on an academic year basis, August through July, and therefore span multiple years. Whilst the funding is allocated to Agricultural and Horticultural Colleges, these institutions do deliver other study programmes. The data does not include funding for employer led apprenticeships or any funding devolved to Mayoral Combined Authorities.


Written Question
Apprentices: Standards
Tuesday 9th May 2023

Asked by: Tim Farron (Liberal Democrat - Westmorland and Lonsdale)

Question to the Department for Education:

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many high-quality apprenticeship standards were available in the agriculture, environmental and animal care sector in each of the last ten years.

Answered by Robert Halfon - Minister of State (Education)

Apprenticeships are a great way for people to receive high quality training and to begin or progress in a career in the agriculture, environmental and animal care sector. There are 40 occupationally specific apprenticeship standards currently available in this sector, including Level 3 veterinary nurse, Level 4 countryside ranger and Level 5 horticulture and landscaping technical manager.

The first employer-designed apprenticeship standards were introduced in 2014 to replace apprenticeship frameworks, as part of reforms to improve the quality of apprenticeships. Since August 2020, all new apprentices have been on apprenticeships designed against these standards. The table below shows the current number of apprenticeship standards on the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education’s (IfATE) agriculture, environmental and animal care occupational route. Three further standards are currently in development.

Year

Apprenticeship standards available

2015

3

2016

4

2017

7

2018

18

2019

24

2020

31

2021

40

2022

40

2023

40

Employers decide which apprenticeship places they offer and when, according to the needs of their business. The table below shows the number of apprenticeship starts in the agriculture, horticulture and animal care sector subject area, across both apprenticeship frameworks and standards, since the 2012/13 academic year.

Academic Years

Framework Starts

Standards Starts

Total Starts

2012/13

7,090

N/A

7,090

2013/14

7,060

N/A

7,060

2014/15

7,010

N/A

7,010

2015/16

8,190

N/A

8,190

2016/17

7,330

60

7,390

2017/18

5,330

1,320

6,640

2018/19

3,190

3,460

6,650

2019/20

1,940

3,950

5,890

2020/21

120

5,410

5,530

2021/22

30

6,630

6,660

2022/23 (Aug to Jan)

Low

4,480

4,480

To note:

  • Low means fewer than five.
  • There has been a small number of starts on frameworks since their withdrawal in 2020. Framework starts are recorded where an apprentice is returning to framework apprenticeship after an extensive break.


Written Question
Apprentices
Tuesday 9th May 2023

Asked by: Tim Farron (Liberal Democrat - Westmorland and Lonsdale)

Question to the Department for Education:

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many apprenticeship places have been available in the agriculture, environmental and animal care sector in each of the last ten years.

Answered by Robert Halfon - Minister of State (Education)

Apprenticeships are a great way for people to receive high quality training and to begin or progress in a career in the agriculture, environmental and animal care sector. There are 40 occupationally specific apprenticeship standards currently available in this sector, including Level 3 veterinary nurse, Level 4 countryside ranger and Level 5 horticulture and landscaping technical manager.

The first employer-designed apprenticeship standards were introduced in 2014 to replace apprenticeship frameworks, as part of reforms to improve the quality of apprenticeships. Since August 2020, all new apprentices have been on apprenticeships designed against these standards. The table below shows the current number of apprenticeship standards on the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education’s (IfATE) agriculture, environmental and animal care occupational route. Three further standards are currently in development.

Year

Apprenticeship standards available

2015

3

2016

4

2017

7

2018

18

2019

24

2020

31

2021

40

2022

40

2023

40

Employers decide which apprenticeship places they offer and when, according to the needs of their business. The table below shows the number of apprenticeship starts in the agriculture, horticulture and animal care sector subject area, across both apprenticeship frameworks and standards, since the 2012/13 academic year.

Academic Years

Framework Starts

Standards Starts

Total Starts

2012/13

7,090

N/A

7,090

2013/14

7,060

N/A

7,060

2014/15

7,010

N/A

7,010

2015/16

8,190

N/A

8,190

2016/17

7,330

60

7,390

2017/18

5,330

1,320

6,640

2018/19

3,190

3,460

6,650

2019/20

1,940

3,950

5,890

2020/21

120

5,410

5,530

2021/22

30

6,630

6,660

2022/23 (Aug to Jan)

Low

4,480

4,480

To note:

  • Low means fewer than five.
  • There has been a small number of starts on frameworks since their withdrawal in 2020. Framework starts are recorded where an apprentice is returning to framework apprenticeship after an extensive break.


Written Question
Religion: Education
Tuesday 28th June 2022

Asked by: Tim Farron (Liberal Democrat - Westmorland and Lonsdale)

Question to the Department for Education:

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department plans to introduce a national professional qualification for religious education leaders.

Answered by Robin Walker

National professional qualifications (NPQs) are a national, voluntary suite of qualifications, designed to support the professional development of teachers and school leaders.

NPQs are based on the latest evidence of what works and have been developed by teachers, leaders, and education experts, and are designed to allow for practical implementation in their own settings across the country. NPQs provide teachers access to the best possible in-role training and support, both in specialist areas of practice, such as leading the teaching and learning of a subject, key stage, or phase, and in leadership roles, too.

Each NPQ is underpinned by a content framework. The content of the NPQ frameworks build on and complement one another, to deliver a shared understanding of the principles of effective professional development.

While it is not subject-specific, the NPQ in Leading Teaching will enable professionals to develop expert teaching practice within their relevant context through the use of subject-specific, phase-specific, or domain-specific exemplification materials.

NPQs are also designed to allow professionals to develop expert teaching and leadership practice to apply this to their relevant context.

NPQs can and should be supplemented by a variety of subject-specific professional development, including that which is provided by schools, trusts, subject associations, charities, curriculum hubs, Oak National Academy, and other private training organisations.

The government is committed to delivering 500,000 teacher training opportunities over the next 3 years. As part of this, we are investing in training scholarships so that all teachers and school leaders in state-funded schools can access NPQs for free over the next three academic years.

The department encourages all Religious Education leaders to consider enrolling on a fully-funded NPQ. To do so, they should contact their local Teaching School Hub in the first instance. Further information about NPQs and the content frameworks can be accessed on: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-professional-qualifications-npqs-reforms/national-professional-qualifications-npqs-reforms.