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Lords questions government on the Covid-19 track and trace system and online support for pupils on 18 June

17 June 2020

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Business started in the House of Lords on Thursday 18 June with daily oral questions on the Covid-19 track and trace system, recruiting nurses onto degree courses, the Post Office Horizon accounting system and online support for pupils.

Questions on Thursday 18 June:

  • Baroness Anelay of St Johns asked the government what progress it has made with the implementation of the Covid-19 track and trace system.

    Topics discussed include: easing lockdown before the system is fully operational; the numbers of people reached by contact tracers who then isolate; the test and trace pilot on the Isle of Wight; test and trace apps; asymptomatic testing and tracing; processes to prevent transmission in localised hotspots; plans to use interpreters in the test and trace programme; and the timeline for further rollout of the test and trace system.


  • Lord Clark of Windermere asked the government about its plans to facilitate the recruitment of nurses onto degree courses beginning in September 2020.

    Topics discussed include: the shortage of nurses in the UK; combined nursing and social work courses; maintenance grants, bursaries and long-term support for nursing students; career progression for carers; efforts to recruit potential nursing students in schools; retention of qualified nurses; and the treatment of student and recent graduate nurses.


  • Lord Arbuthnot of Edrom asked the government what steps it has taken to establish an independent inquiry into the Post Office's Horizon accounting system.

    Topics discussed include: the importance of an independent review, delivered as quickly as possible; compensating those who have suffered and the evidence needed before these steps can be taken; and sanctioning an independent, judge-led enquiry.


  • Lord Addington asked the government what steps they are taking to publish guidance on what is an acceptable level of online support for pupils, following the paper by Professor Francis Green ‘Schoolwork in lockdown: new evidence on the epidemic of educational poverty' which found that 20 per cent of pupils have done either no schoolwork at home, or less than one hour a day.

    Topics discussed include: offering different types of teaching; plans for opening schools in September; ensuring all disadvantaged children have access to the internet and necessary devices at home; encouraging secondary schools to open in July; OFSTED reports taking into account the lack of internet access for some students; and what the pupil premium is currently being spent on.

Further information

Image: House of Lords / Roger Harris