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 Lord Lexden
Asked on: 26 November 2018
Department for Education
Teachers: Pensions
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the ability of maintained and independent schools to afford the increase in the employer’s contribution to the Teachers’ Pension Scheme announced in October.
A
Answered by: Lord Agnew of Oulton
Answered on: 10 December 2018

In the schools sector, the department currently proposes to cover the costs of maintained schools, academies, independent special schools and non-maintained special schools. The department will be consulting shortly to form an assessment on the impact these costs will impose on the sector.

Q
Asked by Lord Lexden
Asked on: 26 November 2018
Department for Education
Teachers: Pensions
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have received representations from the Independent Schools Council about the forthcoming increase in the employer’s contribution to the Teachers’ Pension Scheme; and if so, what reply they have given.
A
Answered by: Lord Agnew of Oulton
Answered on: 10 December 2018

The government has received a number of representations from employer representatives including the Independent Schools Council, to both the Department for Education (DfE) and to Her Majesty’s Treasury (HM Treasury), about the proposed increase in employer contributions and the impact this would have on their schools. HM Treasury and the DfE will be responding imminently.

Q
Asked by Lord Lexden
Asked on: 26 November 2018
Department for Education
Teachers: Pensions
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what were their reasons for increasing the employer’s contribution to the Teachers’ Pension Scheme.
A
Answered by: Lord Agnew of Oulton
Answered on: 10 December 2018

A number of factors determine the cost of providing pensions, most significantly by the Superannuation Contributions Adjusted for Past Experience (SCAPE) rate. The SCAPE discount rate is the central measure of the affordability of public service pension schemes; it is based on the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) forecasts for long-term Growth Domestic Product growth. In light of the material change to the OBR forecast compared to the forecast at Budget 2016, and based on the methodology for setting the SCAPE rate as agreed in 2011,
HM Treasury took the decision to set the SCAPE discount rate at 2.4% plus Consumer Price Index from 1 April 2019. This reduction in the SCAPE rate has resulted in an increase to employer contributions in the Teachers Pension Scheme of 7.2 percentage points.[1]

[1] based on an implementation date of 1 September 2019.

Q
Asked by Lord Lexden
Asked on: 26 November 2018
Department for Education
Special Educational Needs: Appeals
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the reply by Viscount Younger of Leckie on 22 November (HL Deb, cols 325–8), whether they will conduct an inquiry into reports that local councils spent £100 million in four years to prevent parents obtaining support for children with special needs, losing nine out of ten cases.
A
Answered by: Lord Agnew of Oulton
Answered on: 10 December 2018

The government does not have any plans to conduct such an inquiry.

The government has made fundamental changes to the way the special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) support system works for families. The system is now more person-centred with significant direction given to local authorities, and other bodies, to engage effectively with families.

Local authorities should respond appropriately to any SEND Tribunal appeal. In doing so, they will inevitably incur costs. When families make appeals, the local authority will need to judge how to respond to them and in doing so, must put the interests of the child or young person first.

The government are investing £20 million until March 2020 to improve the quality of local information, advice and support services available to families, and to provide guidance and training to local authorities to help improve the quality of education, health and care (EHC) plans.

Parents have the right to ask that an independent school, approved under Section 41 of the Children and Families Act (2014) and published in a list available to all parents and young people, be named on their EHC plan.

The local authority must, after consultation with the school, name the requested school unless specific criteria apply. These conditions are that the school would be unsuitable for the young person’s needs, incompatible with the efficient education of others or an inefficient use of the local authority’s resources.

Parents may also make representations for a place at an independent school that is not on the Section 41 list and the local authority must consider their request. While not under the same conditional duty to name the provider, the local authority must have regard to the general principle that children should be educated in accordance with their parents’ wishes if this is compatible with the provision of efficient instruction and does not cause unreasonable public expenditure.

Grouped Questions: HL11793
Q
Asked by Lord Lexden
Asked on: 26 November 2018
Department for Education
Special Educational Needs: Private Education
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the reply by Viscount Younger of Leckie on 22 November (HL Deb, cols 325–8), whether they will ensure that all local councils respect the right of parents of children with special needs to nominate a local independent school on an education health and care plan.
A
Answered by: Lord Agnew of Oulton
Answered on: 10 December 2018

The government does not have any plans to conduct such an inquiry.

The government has made fundamental changes to the way the special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) support system works for families. The system is now more person-centred with significant direction given to local authorities, and other bodies, to engage effectively with families.

Local authorities should respond appropriately to any SEND Tribunal appeal. In doing so, they will inevitably incur costs. When families make appeals, the local authority will need to judge how to respond to them and in doing so, must put the interests of the child or young person first.

The government are investing £20 million until March 2020 to improve the quality of local information, advice and support services available to families, and to provide guidance and training to local authorities to help improve the quality of education, health and care (EHC) plans.

Parents have the right to ask that an independent school, approved under Section 41 of the Children and Families Act (2014) and published in a list available to all parents and young people, be named on their EHC plan.

The local authority must, after consultation with the school, name the requested school unless specific criteria apply. These conditions are that the school would be unsuitable for the young person’s needs, incompatible with the efficient education of others or an inefficient use of the local authority’s resources.

Parents may also make representations for a place at an independent school that is not on the Section 41 list and the local authority must consider their request. While not under the same conditional duty to name the provider, the local authority must have regard to the general principle that children should be educated in accordance with their parents’ wishes if this is compatible with the provision of efficient instruction and does not cause unreasonable public expenditure.

Grouped Questions: HL11792
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