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 2019 session below. We welcome your feedback on this service.

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UIN

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 Ian Austin
(Dudley North)
Asked on: 29 June 2017
Department for Education
Department for Education: Correspondence
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much her Department spent on correspondence that was sent by (a) Ministers and (b) Parliamentary Private Secretaries in each financial year since 2009-10.
A
Answered by: Mr Robert Goodwill
Answered on: 24 July 2017

I am sorry, but the Department does not hold information about correspondence sent by Parliamentary Private Secretaries, and the information about Ministers’ correspondence is not available other than at disproportionate cost.

Q
(Easington)
Asked on: 30 June 2017
Department for Education
Employment: Disadvantaged
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps she is taking to prevent embedded elitism within the professions and higher-paying careers from restricting access to such careers for working-class students.
A
Answered by: Mr Robert Goodwill
Answered on: 24 July 2017

Improving social mobility requires support from all parts of society: government, employers and civic organisations. The Secretary of State recently spoke at the launch of the Social Mobility Employers Index. The Index highlights how employers, including government, are taking steps to ensure talented people from all works of life can access good jobs. I strongly encourage employers to sign up to the Index next year.

We are also taking further specific action. In the Industrial Strategy we set out that we are reviewing the current careers offer for people of all ages. We will build on the best international evidence to publish a comprehensive careers strategy later this year.

The Careers & Enterprise Company will also ensure every secondary school in an Opportunity Area has an Enterprise Adviser, and will provide, for every young person, four encounters with the world of work. This support will focus the whole education community in areas of the country where social mobility is lowest.


Q
Asked by Joan Ryan
(Enfield North)
Asked on: 05 July 2017
Department for Education
Schools: Knives
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of introducing mandatory requirements for schools to take effective safeguarding measures against knife crime.
A
Answered by: Mr Robert Goodwill
Answered on: 24 July 2017

There are no circumstances in which it is acceptable to take weapons into school. Doing so is likely to be a criminal offence and may have serious consequences.

The Department for Education issues statutory guidance to schools, Keeping children safe in education (KCSIE, September 2016), to which all schools must have regard when carrying out their duties to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. KCSIE is clear that all school staff have a responsibility to provide a safe environment in which children can learn. Schools have a statutory power to search for, and confiscate, prohibited items such as knives and weapons.

The Department for Education has produced advice for schools, Searching, screening and confiscation: advice for schools (updated September 2016,) which makes it clear that school staff can search pupils and their possessions without consent where there are reasonable grounds to do so. If a pupil refuses to be searched, the school may bar them from the premises.

The Government has taken steps to tackle behaviour and discipline in schools. Teachers’ powers to search pupils have been strengthened by adding to the list of prohibited items and allowing schools to search for any items banned by the school’s rules. As well as a more general power to search for items that have been, or could be, used to cause harm or break the law, teachers can also search for prohibited items.

Keeping children safe in education is available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/keeping-children-safe-in-education--2.

Searching, screening and confiscation: advice for schools is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/searching-screening-and-confiscation.

Q
Asked by Dan Jarvis
(Barnsley Central)
[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: 05 July 2017
Department for Education
GCSE: Disadvantaged
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Social Mobility Commission's report: Time for Change: an assessment of government policies on social mobility 1997-2017, what steps her Department is taking to improve the attainment of children eligible for free school meals at GCSE.
A
Answered by: Mr Robert Goodwill
Answered on: 24 July 2017

The Department for Education welcomes the Commission’s report which considers efforts to improve social mobility over the last twenty years. The Commission rightly concludes that too often life chances can be determined not by effort and ability but by where you come from, who your parents are and which school you attend.

Educational achievement is at the heart of government’s commitment to make this is a truly meritocratic country and we have spent over £11bn since 2011 - almost £2.5bn this year alone - through the pupil premium to tackle educational inequality. The pupil premium provides schools with additional money to raise the attainment of disadvantaged pupils, most of whom are current or past free school meal claimants, of all abilities. This complements our work since 2010 to raise standards for curriculum, assessment and accountability, and our £72 million investment in Opportunity Areas where we are working to break down the barriers to social mobility that too many still face.

The government has provided the Education Endowment Foundation with £137 million to expand the evidence base and communicate to schools what works best to raise the attainment of disadvantaged pupils; schools are held to account for their use of the pupil premium through Ofsted inspection and information in performance tables. Further information about the pupil premium is available at https://www.gov.uk/pupil-premium-information-for-schools-and-alternative-provision-settings.

The gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers, measured by the department's gap index, has narrowed by 9.3 per cent at age 11 and 7.0 per cent at age 16 (GCSE) since 2011, the year the pupil premium was introduced. The 2016 GCSE figures show ongoing narrowing of the gap from 3.80 points to 3.78 points. This means better prospects for a more prosperous life as an adult. But we know there is more to do; the Department will set out further details on policy to tackle social injustice in due course.

Q
Asked by Royston Smith
(Southampton, Itchen)
Asked on: 10 July 2017
Department for Education
Social Services: Southampton
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many young people Southampton City Council supports for child services.
A
Answered by: Mr Robert Goodwill
Answered on: 24 July 2017

I am sorry, but we do not collect data on the total number of children local authorities support through children’s services departments. We do publish data on numbers of ‘children in need’ in each local authority area.

A child in need is defined under the Children Act 1989 as “a child who is unlikely to reach or maintain a satisfactory level of health or development, or their health or development will be significantly impaired, without the provision of services, or the child is disabled.”

The number of children in need at 31 March 2016, for Southampton City Council was 3,444.

This information is publically available in table B1 of the “Characteristics of children in Need 2016-17” main tables, which can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/characteristics-of-children-in-need-2015-to-2016.


Q
Asked by Kate Green
(Stretford and Urmston)
Asked on: 10 July 2017
Department for Education
Primary Education: Breakfast Clubs
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what her policy is on offering free breakfasts for all primary school children.
A
Answered by: Mr Robert Goodwill
Answered on: 24 July 2017

As announced by the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the School System on 4 July we will not be pursuing universal breakfasts for primary school children and we will be retaining the existing provision for universal infant free school meals.

We will however invest in a breakfast club programme as announced in the Childhood Obesity Plan in August 2016. This committed £10 million a year of the Soft Drinks Industry Levy to expand breakfast club provision in up to 1,600 schools. Further details of the programme will be announced in due course.

Q
Asked by Royston Smith
(Southampton, Itchen)
Asked on: 11 July 2017
Department for Education
Children: Sports
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what funding her Department provides to local authorities for offering free sporting activities during the summer holidays.
A
Answered by: Mr Robert Goodwill
Answered on: 24 July 2017

The department does not provide any direct funding to local authorities, specifically for offering free sporting activities during the summer holidays. However, we want all children to be healthy and active, and the government supports sporting activities for children through a number of programmes.

Since 2013 we have provided over £600 million of ring-fenced funding to improve PE and sport in primary schools, and have committed to doubling the primary PE and sport premium to £320 million a year from September 2017 using revenue from the soft drinks industry levy.

Schools have the freedom to decide how best to use the funding based on the needs of their pupils, and some schools may elect to provide extra-curricular activities for pupils during the school holidays. This however is a decision for the school, based on their local circumstances.

In addition to providing funding through the premium there are also a number of initiatives underway across government to improve levels of physical activity in children. Public Health England, Disney and Sport England are collaborating on the Change4Life '10 Minute Shake-ups', and will be providing additional funding to support the initiative and get children between the ages of five and 12 active over the summer holidays. Sport England is investing up to £40 million into projects which offer opportunities for families with children to get active and play sport together outside school.

Q
Asked by Darren Jones
(Bristol North West)
Asked on: 11 July 2017
Department for Education
Department for Education: Public Expenditure
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment she has made of the effect on forecasted funding for her Department in the event that the UK leaves the EU and only operates as a member of the WTO in its trading relationship with the EU.
A
Answered by: Mr Robert Goodwill
Answered on: 24 July 2017

As part of our preparations for exiting the European Union, the Government is in the process of carrying out a programme of rigorous and extensive analytical work across departments. This programme will contribute to our exit negotiations with the European Union and inform our understanding of how EU exit will affect the United Kingdom’s domestic policies and frameworks. This Department’s interests will be fully considered as part of this process and we are planning for a range of scenarios, working alongside HM Treasury and the Department for Exiting the European Union.

Q
(Liverpool, Wavertree)
[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 2017
Department for Education
Educational Psychology
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many educational psychologists were employed in all local authorities in (a) 2016 and (b) 2017.
A
Answered by: Mr Robert Goodwill
Answered on: 24 July 2017

The head count of educational psychologists reported as employed by all local authorities in England in November 2016 is 1,600. This figure will undercount the actual number of educational psychologists because only 64 per cent of local authorities provided data in the latest year. Information is not yet available for 2017.

Q
Asked by Deidre Brock
(Edinburgh North and Leith)
Asked on: 11 July 2017
Department for Education
Department for Education: Mass Media
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many public engagements for which a media calling notice was issued were attended by a departmental Minister in each of the last 12 months.
A
Answered by: Mr Robert Goodwill
Answered on: 24 July 2017

I am sorry, but information on ministerial attendance at public engagements for which a media calling notice was issued is not readily available or held centrally and could be compiled only at disproportionate cost.

Q
Asked by Stella Creasy
(Walthamstow)
[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: 13 July 2017
Department for Education
Department For Education: Private Finance Initiative
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if she will publish the value-for-money framework which her Department applies to all private finance 2 projects.
A
Answered by: Mr Robert Goodwill
Answered on: 24 July 2017

The department has no framework of its own for assessing value for money; instead it follows the framework set out by HM Treasury in the Green Book, “appraisal and evaluation in central government”.


Q
Asked by Tracy Brabin
(Batley and Spen)
[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: 13 July 2017
Department for Education
Department for Education: Ministers
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, for what reason (a) the number of Ministers of her Department has reduced by one in the current Parliament and (b) there is no longer an early years Minister in her Department.
A
Answered by: Mr Robert Goodwill
Answered on: 24 July 2017

As the new Minister for Children and Families, the early years and childcare agenda is an important part of my portfolio and a top priority for me and for this Government.

I am committed to ensuring that all children have access to high quality early education, which the evidence shows has a positive impact on a child’s outcomes later in life. Bringing early years under the same portfolio as my other responsibilities is a valuable opportunity to make even more progress on important cross-cutting issues including social mobility and improving outcomes for special educational needs and disadvantaged children.

A full list of my Ministerial responsibilities are available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/ministers/minister-of-state-children-and-families.

Q
(Arfon)
Asked on: 14 July 2017
Department for Education
Department for Education: Brexit
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many staff in her Department have responsibilities relating to the UK leaving the EU.
A
Answered by: Mr Robert Goodwill
Answered on: 24 July 2017

The department has four members of staff working full time on co-ordinating and contributing to cross-department and cross-government work on EU exit. These staff are supported by a range of civil servants across the department who lead on specific policy areas and whose work includes, but is not limited to EU exit work.

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