Written questions and answers

Written questions allow Members of Parliament to ask government ministers for information on the work, policy and activities of government departments.

Historical written answers can be found in Hansard.

Find the latest written questions and answers for the 2017-19 session below. We welcome your feedback on this service.

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Unique Identifying Number – Every written question in the House of Commons has a UIN per Parliament. In the House of Lords each written questions has a UIN per parliamentary session.
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Q
Asked by Angela Rayner
(Ashton-under-Lyne)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 26 February 2019
Department for Education
Institute for Apprenticeships: Apprentices
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many and what proportion of staff at the Institute for Apprenticeships are apprentices.
A
Corrected answer by: Nadhim Zahawi
Corrected on: 23 July 2019
An error has been identified in the written answer given on 04 March 2019.
The correct answer should have been:

The department currently employs 209 apprentices. This can be broken down into the following groups in the attached table, which also shows the proportion against the total number of employees.

Regarding the proportion of apprentices employed at the Institute for Apprenticeships, this is a matter for the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education. I have asked the Chief Executive, Sir Gerry Berragan, to write to the hon. Member for Ashton-under-Lyne and a copy of his reply will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Within the Education and Skills Funding Agency, 5 employees working on apprenticeships strategy, policy and delivery are apprentices, which represents 1.6% of the total of 317 employees.

A
Answered by: Anne Milton
Answered on: 04 March 2019

The department currently employs 209 apprentices. This can be broken down into the following groups in the attached table, which also shows the proportion against the total number of employees.

Regarding the proportion of apprentices employed at the Institute for Apprenticeships, this is a matter for the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education. I have asked the Chief Executive, Sir Gerry Berragan, to write to the hon. Member for Ashton-under-Lyne and a copy of his reply will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Within the Education and Skills Funding Agency, 5 employees working on apprenticeships strategy, policy and delivery are apprentices, which represents 1.6% of the total of 317 employees.

Q
Asked by Angela Rayner
(Ashton-under-Lyne)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 26 February 2019
Department for Education
Department for Education: Apprentices
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many and what proportion of staff in his Department working on apprenticeship strategy, policy, and delivery are apprentices.
A
Corrected answer by: Nadhim Zahawi
Corrected on: 23 July 2019
An error has been identified in the written answer given on 04 March 2019.
The correct answer should have been:

The department currently employs 209 apprentices. This can be broken down into the following groups in the attached table, which also shows the proportion against the total number of employees.

Regarding the proportion of apprentices employed at the Institute for Apprenticeships, this is a matter for the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education. I have asked the Chief Executive, Sir Gerry Berragan, to write to the hon. Member for Ashton-under-Lyne and a copy of his reply will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

The Education and Skills Funding Agency is responsible for apprenticeship strategy, policy and delivery and there are 317 employees in this division. Within the Education and Skills Funding Agency, 5 8 employees working on apprenticeships strategy, policy and delivery are apprentices, which represents 1.6% 2.5% of their workforce. the total of 317 employees.

A
Answered by: Anne Milton
Answered on: 04 March 2019

The department currently employs 209 apprentices. This can be broken down into the following groups in the attached table, which also shows the proportion against the total number of employees.

Regarding the proportion of apprentices employed at the Institute for Apprenticeships, this is a matter for the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education. I have asked the Chief Executive, Sir Gerry Berragan, to write to the hon. Member for Ashton-under-Lyne and a copy of his reply will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

The Education and Skills Funding Agency is responsible for apprenticeship strategy, policy and delivery and there are 317 employees in this division. Within the Education and Skills Funding Agency, 5 8 employees working on apprenticeships strategy, policy and delivery are apprentices, which represents 1.6% 2.5% of their workforce. the total of 317 employees.

Q
Asked by Tony Lloyd
(Rochdale)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 16 July 2019
Department for Education
Post-18 Education and Funding Review
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has formally responded to the letter on the implementation of the recommendations of the Augar Review signed by 203 College Principals.
A
Answered by: Anne Milton
Answered on: 23 July 2019

I can confirm that we have received the letter from my hon. Friend, the Member for Witney, Robert Courts, and 203 College Principals and I am responding to this letter. My hon. Friend, the Member for Witney, Robert Courts, and 203 College Principals shall receive their response shortly.

Q
(Canterbury)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 18 July 2019
Department for Education
Further Education
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits in extending consumer protection law to cover further education courses.
A
Answered by: Anne Milton
Answered on: 23 July 2019

An assessment of the potential merits of extending consumer protection law to cover further education (FE) courses has not been made. However, the government promotes high quality FE within a regulatory framework, that aims to protect the rights of learners accessing FE courses.

FE college corporations operate as independent charities and are subject to robust accountability arrangements for the public funding they receive. Ofsted inspects and publicly reports on the quality of education within FE providers. The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) allocates significant annual funding to providers of education and skills training for young people and adults. ESFA holds providers to account for their performance to ensure they consistently raise standards.

The FE Choices learner satisfaction survey 2017-18 captures learners’ experiences of their college or training organisation. The most recent survey was published by the department on 19 July and reports that 82% of learners were ‘likely’ or ‘extremely likely’ to recommend their learning provider to friends or family.

FE providers must also ensure that complaint handling processes and practices are accessible, clear and fair to learners.

Q
(Blackpool South)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 18 July 2019
Department for Education
National Retraining Scheme
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the get help to retrain scheme, whether the digital service will include the assessment of adults' (a) qualifications and (b) skills.
A
Answered by: Anne Milton
Answered on: 23 July 2019

Get Help to Retrain is the first of a series of products that will make up the full National Retraining Scheme (NRS). We are expecting the NRS to evolve and grow as we learn better what best works.

With support from qualified National Careers Service advisers, the service will support adults to understand which skills they have from their current role and which further skills would be required for a potential new, better job.

In addition, the service helps people to find training opportunities that may help the user to bridge the skills gap to a new role, initially consisting of training currently available and later including more bespoke offerings. It will also direct users to local job opportunities that could be within their reach.

Q
(Blackpool South)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 18 July 2019
Department for Education
National Retraining Scheme
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of the roll-out of the Get Help to Retrain scheme (a) in the Liverpool City Region and (b) to all eligible adults in England by 2020.
A
Answered by: Anne Milton
Answered on: 23 July 2019

In October 2018, the government announced a £100 million initial commitment to continue to test, learn and develop the National Retraining Scheme. This has allowed us to start delivering the first parts of the scheme in the Liverpool City Region. Get Help to Retrain will be expanded to more people and more areas throughout the testing phase before being made available to all eligible adults in England in 2020. In addition to this, we are continuing to develop new products in parallel to the testing of Get Help to Retrain, which will collectively make up the complete service.

Q
Asked by Paul Farrelly
(Newcastle-under-Lyme)
Asked on: 16 July 2019
Department for Education
Apprentices: Young People
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he plans to reintroduce young apprenticeships.
A
Answered by: Anne Milton
Answered on: 22 July 2019

There are currently no plans to reintroduce the Young Apprenticeships programme.

However, high-quality apprenticeships are available to people of all ages. Our reforms are improving apprenticeships by making them longer with more off-the job training and formal assessment at the end.

An apprenticeship provides the foundation for a successful career and is a great option for young people who are strong academically but want on-the-job experience and a high-quality alternative to full-time university study.

Traineeships are available to provide quality training to those young people who need to develop their skills and experience in order to enter the labour market. The department’s recent Traineeship Impact Evaluation Report shows that 75% of trainees are in apprenticeships, other jobs, or further learning a year after their traineeship.

Q
Asked by Jon Trickett
(Hemsworth)
Asked on: 17 July 2019
Department for Education
Department for Education: Working Hours
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much time off in lieu has been taken by staff in his Department in each of the last five years.
A
Answered by: Anne Milton
Answered on: 22 July 2019

The information requested is not held centrally.

In the department, a voluntary ‘flexi-scheme’ is available to all employees who are responsible for ensuring their hours of attendance are recorded accurately. Managers are responsible for ensuring that employees are not working excessive hours. If an employee accrues extra hours they may, with the agreement of their manager, take time off. Managers and employees have an obligation to ensure that working patterns are in accordance with the working time regulations.

The department is committed to the wellbeing of its staff and around 90% of our senior civil servants have received Wellbeing Confident Leader training. The department has mental health first aiders, fair treatment ambassadors and a wellbeing network who all work to help prioritise staff wellbeing at work.

Q
Asked by Paul Farrelly
(Newcastle-under-Lyme)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 17 July 2019
Department for Education
Apprentices: Taxation
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will take steps to (a) increase transparency of the amount of apprenticeship levy spent on different types of apprenticeship and (b) help ensure the availability of data on the socioeconomic background of apprentices by apprenticeship level.
A
Answered by: Anne Milton
Answered on: 22 July 2019

Our quarterly ‘Apprenticeships and Traineeships’ and monthly ‘Apprenticeships and Levy Statistics’ data releases provide extensive information on the breakdown of apprenticeship starts by level, sector subject area and framework/standard. This is in addition to whether starts are supported by the apprenticeship levy. The most recent quarterly release was published on 11 July 2019 and can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/apprenticeships-and-traineeships-july-2019. This data, in addition to our extensive engagement with employers and sector bodies, informs our picture of emerging demand across the employer-led apprenticeships programme.

We use the ‘Further education: indices of multiple deprivation’ data release to understand the background of apprentices and inform our widening participation policies. This data is broken down by apprenticeship level and benchmarked against data for participation in all further education and skills training. We know that apprentices disproportionately come from more disadvantaged areas: in 2017/18, 24% of participating apprentices came from the most disadvantaged fifth of areas, compared to 15.6% from the least disadvantaged fifth. This data is available at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/765589/Index_of_Multiple_Deprivation_201516_to_201718.xlsx.

Q
Asked by Kevin Brennan
(Cardiff West)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 17 July 2019
Department for Education
Apprentices: Film
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 11 July 2019 to Question 274454, whether his Department plans to collect data which would enable an assessment of the amount of apprenticeship levy money that was (a) paid by and (b) spent on apprenticeships by screen industry companies in financial year 2018-19.
A
Answered by: Anne Milton
Answered on: 22 July 2019

The apprenticeship levy is collected by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) from employers with a pay bill in excess of £3 million per year. HMRC does not collect data which allows levy collection to be broken down by sector.

The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) does not require levy-paying employers to register a sector when they set up an online apprenticeship service account to manage their funds. Therefore, ESFA are unable to supply information on the sectoral distribution of spending on apprenticeships. There are currently no plans to change the registration process to collect this information from employers registering for an apprenticeship service account.

We are working closely with employers in the creative industries, including companies in the screen industry, so they can realise the benefits of apprenticeships. The Department for Digital Culture, Media and Sport is developing an innovative pilot which will enable apprentices to benefit from hands-on experience on the sets of major films and television shows. Launching later this year, it will explore a new model that fulfils the requirements of high-quality apprenticeships, but uses multiple placements on film and television productions, as well as addressing skills shortages.

Q
Asked by Alex Sobel
(Leeds North West)
Asked on: 17 July 2019
Department for Education
Further Education: Yorkshire and Humber
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much funding his Department has allocated to further education colleges in Yorkshire and Humber in each year since 2010.
A
Answered by: Anne Milton
Answered on: 22 July 2019

The department publishes the funding allocations for individual colleges annually.

Links to funding allocations for the most recent years for both 16 to 19 year olds and adults are given below:

Funding allocations for 16 to 19 year olds can be found at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/16-to-19-allocation-data-2018-to-2019-academic-year.

Funding allocations for adults can be found at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/funding-allocations-to-training-providers-2018-to-2019.

Q
(Feltham and Heston)
Asked on: 18 July 2019
Department for Education
Adult Education: Qualifications
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the proportion of adults without qualifications in (a) London and (b) Hounslow Borough.
A
Answered by: Anne Milton
Answered on: 22 July 2019

The latest estimates of the proportion of adults without qualifications come from the Office for National Statistics Labour Force Survey data for the period January 2018 to December 2018. In Hounslow, 6.0% of adults aged between 16 and 64 had no qualifications, compared with 6.6% for London as a whole.

Q
Asked by Bim Afolami
(Hitchin and Harpenden)
Asked on: 12 July 2019
Department for Education
Private Education
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the number of UK children that have attended fee paying schools in the UK in each year since 2010.
A
Answered by: Anne Milton
Answered on: 18 July 2019

The number of pupils attending independent schools in England in each year since 2010 is published in table 1a of the ‘Schools, pupils and their characteristics’ statistical release. This can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/schools-pupils-and-their-characteristics-january-2019.

Information on the nationality of pupils is not collected and information on children attending schools in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland is the responsibility of the devolved administrations.

Q
Asked by Paul Farrelly
(Newcastle-under-Lyme)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 15 July 2019
Department for Education
Apprenticeships: Degrees
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that school leavers are informed of degree apprenticeships.
A
Answered by: Anne Milton
Answered on: 18 July 2019

We are pleased that Universities UK has recognised degree apprenticeships as a ‘growing success story’. Degree apprenticeships give employers the opportunity to work with universities to develop the higher-level skills they need, and apprentices the opportunity to gain a degree while they earn. Alongside our work to raise awareness of these benefits, we are also making it easier to find and apply for vacancies with employers of all sizes.

Current vacancies can be found on the ‘Find an apprenticeship’ website, the UCAS ‘Careers finder’ site, and employers’ own websites. We encourage employers to promote their future vacancies up to a year in advance in our Higher and Degree Listing, which is published at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/higher-and-degree-apprenticeships. We are aiming to publish our next listing, for vacancies commencing in September 2020, in September 2019 and this will be distributed to schools and handed out at events.

The Degree Apprenticeships Development Fund has supported initiatives including UCAS careers fairs, materials on apprenticeships for schools, and apprenticeship ambassadors. In the 2018/19 academic year, we attended 30 UCAS Higher Education Exhibitions across England, directly engaging with an estimated 8,500 young people, and worked with UCAS to contact over a quarter of a million more young people by email to raise awareness of apprenticeships

We also provide a free service to schools through the Apprenticeship Support and Knowledge project, to make sure that teachers have the knowledge and support to enable them to promote apprenticeships to their students. This has enabled over three quarters of a million young people to hear about apprenticeships since the project’s launch in 2016.

Q
Asked by Peter Dowd
(Bootle)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 11 July 2019
Department for Education
Apprenticeships
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many apprenticeships were created in 2018 as a result of capital infrastructure projects.
A
Answered by: Anne Milton
Answered on: 16 July 2019

The information requested is not held centrally.

The department does publish a wide range of data on apprenticeships on a monthly, quarterly and annual basis, including on the number of starts in each sector subject area. These resources are available at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/fe-data-library-apprenticeships.

Q
Asked by Peter Dowd
(Bootle)
Asked on: 11 July 2019
Department for Education
Manufacturing Industries: Apprentices
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many apprenticeships were created in the manufacturing sector in 2018.
A
Answered by: Anne Milton
Answered on: 16 July 2019

The most recent statistics on apprenticeships starts by industry sector cover the academic years 2012/13 to 2016/17 and are published on GOV.UK:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/apprenticeships-in-england-by-industry-characteristics.

In 2016/17 there were:

  • 36,170 starts in the manufacturing sector;
  • 1,620 starts in the energy sector; and
  • 31,610 starts in the construction sector.

Statistics for 2017/18 are due to be published in October 2019.

Grouped Questions: 276216 | 276218
Q
Asked by Peter Dowd
(Bootle)
Asked on: 11 July 2019
Department for Education
Energy: Apprentices
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many apprenticeships were created in the energy sector in 2018.
A
Answered by: Anne Milton
Answered on: 16 July 2019

The most recent statistics on apprenticeships starts by industry sector cover the academic years 2012/13 to 2016/17 and are published on GOV.UK:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/apprenticeships-in-england-by-industry-characteristics.

In 2016/17 there were:

  • 36,170 starts in the manufacturing sector;
  • 1,620 starts in the energy sector; and
  • 31,610 starts in the construction sector.

Statistics for 2017/18 are due to be published in October 2019.

Grouped Questions: 276215 | 276218
Q
Asked by Peter Dowd
(Bootle)
Asked on: 12 July 2019
Department for Education
Construction: Apprentices
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many apprenticeships were created in the construction sector in 2018.
A
Answered by: Anne Milton
Answered on: 16 July 2019

The most recent statistics on apprenticeships starts by industry sector cover the academic years 2012/13 to 2016/17 and are published on GOV.UK:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/apprenticeships-in-england-by-industry-characteristics.

In 2016/17 there were:

  • 36,170 starts in the manufacturing sector;
  • 1,620 starts in the energy sector; and
  • 31,610 starts in the construction sector.

Statistics for 2017/18 are due to be published in October 2019.

Grouped Questions: 276215 | 276216
Q
Asked by Stephen Timms
(East Ham)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 09 July 2019
Department for Education
Apprentices: Construction
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many people have registered on the Level two bricklayer apprenticeship standard in the last 12 months.
A
Answered by: Anne Milton
Answered on: 15 July 2019

Latest published figures show that from July 2018 to March 2019, there were 460 starts on the level 2 Bricklayer apprenticeship standard. This figure is available here:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/804343/Monthly-apprenticeship-starts-fwk-tool_May-2019.xlsx.

We publish other breakdowns on apprenticeship starts regularly in the further education data library: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/fe-data-library.

Q
Asked by Paul Farrelly
(Newcastle-under-Lyme)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 09 July 2019
Department for Education
Artificial Intelligence: Education
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department plans to (a) update curriculums and (b) develop new courses to take account the evolution of artificial intelligence.
A
Answered by: Anne Milton
Answered on: 15 July 2019

Ensuring that our children have the digital and computing skills needed for the future is a key priority of this government. Demand for high-level skills in computing will continue to grow in the years ahead and will be crucial to supporting a successful economy.

To meet the demand for high-level skills in computing, the government has introduced computing as a statutory national curriculum subject at all four key stages and reformed the computer science GCSE and A Level. The reformed GCSE, introduced for first teaching from September 2016, aims to ensure that all pupils understand the fundamental principles of computer science, including knowledge on artificial intelligence, programming, coding and data representation. The reformed A level places emphasis on programming, algorithms and problem solving.

In March 2018, my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, committed to making no further changes to the national curriculum beyond those that had already been announced in response to teacher feedback. Currently there are no plans to make further changes to the national curriculum during this Parliament.

In November 2018 DfE launched the National Centre for Computing Education (NCCE), backed by £84 million in new funding. The NCCE is run by a coalition of STEM Learning, the British Computing Society and Raspberry Pi and supported by industry.

The department is introducing T Levels as a high quality, technical alternative to A levels. The first T levels will start in September 2020, with all routes available from September 2022. Digital is one of the first subjects that will be rolled out in 2020. The department is also designing new apprenticeship standards that are more responsive to the needs of business both now and in the future, ensuring that employers can secure the skills they need to succeed.

Finally, the government recently announced further investment to drive up skills in artificial intelligence (AI) and data science and support more adults to upskill and retrain to progress in their careers or find new employment.

Up to 2,500 people from underrepresented groups will have the opportunity to retrain and become experts in data science and AI, thanks to a £13.5 million investment to fund new degree and Masters conversion courses and scholarships at UK academic institutions over the next three years.

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