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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Asked on: 15 May 2018
Department for Education
Children in Care: Health Services
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they intend to introduce the pilot for integrated physical and mental health assessments for looked-after children, announced during the passage of the Children and Social Work Act 2017.
Asked on: 15 May 2018
Department for Education
Children in Care: Health Services
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government which professional bodies they have consulted about the development of the pilot for integrated physical and mental health assessments for looked-after children, announced during the passage of the Children and Social Work Act 2017.
Asked on: 15 May 2018
Department for Education
Children in Care: Health Services
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to ensure that the integrated physical and mental health assessments for looked-after children announced during the passage of the Children and Social Work Act 2017 are able to identify speech, language and communication needs.
Asked on: 15 May 2018
Department for Education
Children in Care: Health Services
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government which professionals they anticipate being involved in undertaking the pilot for integrated physical and mental health assessments for looked-after children, announced during the passage of the Children and Social Work Act 2017.
Asked on: 15 May 2018
Department for Education
ICT: Education
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report After the reboot: computing education in UK schools, published by the Royal Society in November 2017, which revealed that 54 per cent of schools do not offer GCSEs in computing studies; and whether they intend to take forward any of the report's recommendations.
Asked on: 29 March 2018
Department for Education
Grangewood School
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what guidance they intend to give to the Newham local education authority to ensure that the education of pupils of Grangewood Independent School in Forest Gate is safeguarded following the school's closure.
A
Answered by: Lord Agnew of Oulton
Answered on: 16 April 2018

If an independent school closes, the parents of children of compulsory school age who were attending the school are responsible for ensuring they receive a suitable full-time education. If they wish to apply for a state school place rather than attending a different independent school, they can make this request to the local authority (LA). The relevant LA has a duty to ensure that sufficient school places are available for children living in its area. Based on the latest data, there are around 2,400 unfilled primary places in good or outstanding schools in Newham.

Asked on: 08 March 2018
Department for Education
Schools: Labour Turnover
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the effect of the public sector pay cap on the recruitment and retention of staff in schools.
A
Answered by: Lord Agnew of Oulton
Answered on: 27 March 2018

The public sector pay cap is no longer in place and we are now adopting a more flexible approach. Research suggests that pay is not the main driver of teachers leaving the profession, and teachers tend not to leave for better paid jobs.

The average salary of classroom teachers aged between 21-30 is £27,000 compared to an average salary of £25,000 for all 21-30 year old graduates. The employer contribution to the Teachers’ Pension Scheme on behalf of the teaching staff average 16.4%, a significant benefit that should be taken into account when considering the overall remuneration available to teachers.

The remit letter to the School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB), stated that the STRB should utilise this flexibility to target the next pay award to promote recruitment and retention.

The fundamental changes to teachers’ pay that have been introduced over the last four years, following the STRB’s recommendations, have given greater autonomy to schools to decide how to reward their staff. This increased flexibility helps schools to attract and retain the best teachers.

Asked on: 12 March 2018
Department for Education
First4Adoption
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact on the statutory provision of adoption of the closure of First4Adoption on 31 March; and how they plan to fund adoption services thereafter.
A
Answered by: Lord Agnew of Oulton
Answered on: 26 March 2018

First4Adoption has operated under the department’s National Gateway for Adoption contract since its launch in 2012. The contract ends on 31 March 2018.

First4Adoption is an information service for prospective adopters. The government does not expect the contract’s end to impact the statutory provision of adoption. The department intends to ensure that materials developed under the contract remain accessible and free to access so that prospective adopters can still benefit from this information.

Local authorities, Regional Adoption Agencies (RAAs) and Voluntary Adoption Agencies will continue to provide further advice and information to prospective adopters.

The government funds local authority children’s services, including adoption, through the local government finance settlement. In addition, the government continues to invest in adoption through the development of RAAs, the funding of 16 new Practice Improvement Fund projects and the Adoption Support Fund, which has provided more than £66 million to support thousands of families since launching in May 2015.

Asked on: 08 March 2018
Department for Education
Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that all schools teach awareness of violence against women and girls.
A
Answered by: Lord Agnew of Oulton
Answered on: 23 March 2018

The government is ensuring young people have the knowledge to challenge attitudes about abuse and consent. This year the Home Office is delivering a third phase of their acclaimed teen abuse campaign “Disrespect NoBody”. The campaign, which originally launched in February 2016, aims to prevent the onset of domestic violence in adults by challenging attitudes and behaviours amongst teenage boys and girls. The campaign is targeted at 12 to 18 year old boys and girls and aims to prevent them from becoming perpetrators and victims of abusive relationships.

The Department for Education is currently considering how best to ensure pupils are taught about healthy and respectful relationships as part of Relationships Education in primary schools and Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) in secondary schools. We have issued a call for evidence, on the scope and content of Relationships Education and RSE and on the future status of Personal, Social, Health and Economic education. We are currently considering the responses, of which we have received over 23,000, and representations arising through the engagement process. Later this year we plan to consult on draft regulations and guidance before laying regulations in the House for debate.

Schools and colleges are already required to have regard to the statutory safeguarding guidance ‘Keeping children safe in education’ (KCSIE) when carrying out their duties to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. KCSIE reflects current best practice in safeguarding and sets out that the best interests of the child should always come first.

Asked on: 08 March 2018
Department for Education
Apprentices: Taxation
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of trends in apprenticeship starts since the introduction of the apprenticeship levy in April 2017.
A
Answered by: Lord Agnew of Oulton
Answered on: 22 March 2018

There have been over 1.2 million apprenticeship starts since May 2015 and we want to achieve three million apprenticeship starts in England by 2020. We have published progress on numbers of apprenticeships starts within the department’s further education and skills statistical first release. The first quarterly release for the 2017/18 academic year is attached.

The previous year has seen significant changes for employers. We continue to work with employers to adjust and refine the levy. Employers have two years to spend their levy funds, and feedback shows that they are taking their time to plan high quality apprenticeship training that meets their specific needs.

Our reforms put quality at the heart of the apprenticeship programme and increase investment and engagement in training employers’ workforces for the future.

Asked on: 08 March 2018
Department for Education
Foster Care
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to increase the provision of foster placements.
A
Answered by: Lord Agnew of Oulton
Answered on: 22 March 2018

An independent review of fostering, commissioned by the department, and published in January 2018, made a number of recommendations on how to improve provision of foster parents. The Education Select Committee, in their report published in December last year, also made recommendations. Both reports are attached.

The government is carefully considering the recommendations of these reports, and will publish responses to both in the spring.

Foster Care in England Review (PDF Document, 1.65 MB)
House of Commons Fostering Report (PDF Document, 832.57 KB)
Asked on: 08 March 2018
Treasury
Children: Day Care
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of reducing eligibility for Employer Supported Childcare on access to childcare for working parents.
A
Answered by: Lord Bates
Answered on: 21 March 2018

The eligibility criteria for Employer-Supported Childcare has not been reduced.

We are gradually replacing Employer-Supported Childcare with Tax-Free Childcare which will extend eligibility for childcare support to nearly 1 million more families.

Asked on: 08 February 2018
Department for Education
Special Educational Needs: Speech and Language Disorders
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, whether the current tender for the provision of strategic support to the workforce in mainstream and special schools includes specialist speech, language and communication needs provision; and if not, how they intend to fund such specialist provision for children beyond March.
Answered on: 22 February 2018

In March 2017 the department agreed a one year contract with I CAN, on behalf of The Communication Trust (TCT), to develop sustainable programmes and resources to help the workforce develop their skills in supporting children and young people with Speech, Language and Communication Needs (SLCN). That contract is due to end, as planned, at the end of March 2018.

The department is currently procuring a new Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) strategic workforce contractor, to help schools develop improved knowledge and skills among their staff, in relation to specific impairments. This contract will include work to promote existing resources and training, as well as identifying and filling any gaps in provision.

The government is committed to supporting those with SLCN and will do more to embed knowledge and ensure good practice is disseminated and understood widely. The new Social Mobility Action Plan (SMAP), ‘Unlocking Talent, Fulfilling Potential’, attached, prioritises work in the early years to close the word gap and improve early language acquisition for disadvantaged children. The SMAP includes proposals for continuing professional development training and an early language assessment tool for health visitors and early years practitioners, to ensure that any language delays can be picked up and the right support put in place quickly. The department expects to invite tenders for this work and welcomes bids from all suitably qualified organisations or consortia.

The department is also encouraging bids for the Strategic School Improvement Fund and the Teaching Leadership Innovation Fund, which focus on improving provision for pupils with SEND. The Education Training Foundation is also being funded to increase the capability and capacity of the workforce to respond to the needs of students in further education.

The department will continue to respond to all correspondence on this issue, setting out how the department will ensure that children with SLCN have the right support in place.

The government wants to ensure that all practitioners continue to be able to make good use of the wealth of materials, resources and training that the TCT have developed. It is expected that the member organisations of the TCT will share the training and materials, supported by our new SEND strategic workforce contractor. The department is in regular discussion with TCT about how best to achieve this beyond March 2018.

Unlocking Talent, Fulfilling Potential (PDF Document, 2.63 MB)
Grouped Questions: HL5553 | HL5554
Asked on: 08 February 2018
Department for Education
Special Educational Needs: Speech and Language Disorders
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what response they intend to make to the petition signed by 22,000 teachers, early years practitioners and speech and language therapists opposing the cuts in funding announced by the Department for Education; and whether they will communicate the reasons for their funding decision to those working in the sector.
Answered on: 22 February 2018

In March 2017 the department agreed a one year contract with I CAN, on behalf of The Communication Trust (TCT), to develop sustainable programmes and resources to help the workforce develop their skills in supporting children and young people with Speech, Language and Communication Needs (SLCN). That contract is due to end, as planned, at the end of March 2018.

The department is currently procuring a new Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) strategic workforce contractor, to help schools develop improved knowledge and skills among their staff, in relation to specific impairments. This contract will include work to promote existing resources and training, as well as identifying and filling any gaps in provision.

The government is committed to supporting those with SLCN and will do more to embed knowledge and ensure good practice is disseminated and understood widely. The new Social Mobility Action Plan (SMAP), ‘Unlocking Talent, Fulfilling Potential’, attached, prioritises work in the early years to close the word gap and improve early language acquisition for disadvantaged children. The SMAP includes proposals for continuing professional development training and an early language assessment tool for health visitors and early years practitioners, to ensure that any language delays can be picked up and the right support put in place quickly. The department expects to invite tenders for this work and welcomes bids from all suitably qualified organisations or consortia.

The department is also encouraging bids for the Strategic School Improvement Fund and the Teaching Leadership Innovation Fund, which focus on improving provision for pupils with SEND. The Education Training Foundation is also being funded to increase the capability and capacity of the workforce to respond to the needs of students in further education.

The department will continue to respond to all correspondence on this issue, setting out how the department will ensure that children with SLCN have the right support in place.

The government wants to ensure that all practitioners continue to be able to make good use of the wealth of materials, resources and training that the TCT have developed. It is expected that the member organisations of the TCT will share the training and materials, supported by our new SEND strategic workforce contractor. The department is in regular discussion with TCT about how best to achieve this beyond March 2018.

Unlocking Talent, Fulfilling Potential (PDF Document, 2.63 MB)
Grouped Questions: HL5552 | HL5554
Asked on: 08 February 2018
Department for Education
Communication Trust
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to support the work of the Communication Trust after March 2018; and if so, how.
Answered on: 22 February 2018

In March 2017 the department agreed a one year contract with I CAN, on behalf of The Communication Trust (TCT), to develop sustainable programmes and resources to help the workforce develop their skills in supporting children and young people with Speech, Language and Communication Needs (SLCN). That contract is due to end, as planned, at the end of March 2018.

The department is currently procuring a new Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) strategic workforce contractor, to help schools develop improved knowledge and skills among their staff, in relation to specific impairments. This contract will include work to promote existing resources and training, as well as identifying and filling any gaps in provision.

The government is committed to supporting those with SLCN and will do more to embed knowledge and ensure good practice is disseminated and understood widely. The new Social Mobility Action Plan (SMAP), ‘Unlocking Talent, Fulfilling Potential’, attached, prioritises work in the early years to close the word gap and improve early language acquisition for disadvantaged children. The SMAP includes proposals for continuing professional development training and an early language assessment tool for health visitors and early years practitioners, to ensure that any language delays can be picked up and the right support put in place quickly. The department expects to invite tenders for this work and welcomes bids from all suitably qualified organisations or consortia.

The department is also encouraging bids for the Strategic School Improvement Fund and the Teaching Leadership Innovation Fund, which focus on improving provision for pupils with SEND. The Education Training Foundation is also being funded to increase the capability and capacity of the workforce to respond to the needs of students in further education.

The department will continue to respond to all correspondence on this issue, setting out how the department will ensure that children with SLCN have the right support in place.

The government wants to ensure that all practitioners continue to be able to make good use of the wealth of materials, resources and training that the TCT have developed. It is expected that the member organisations of the TCT will share the training and materials, supported by our new SEND strategic workforce contractor. The department is in regular discussion with TCT about how best to achieve this beyond March 2018.

Unlocking Talent, Fulfilling Potential (PDF Document, 2.63 MB)
Grouped Questions: HL5552 | HL5553
Asked on: 24 January 2018
Department for Education
Further Education: Apprentices
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many further education colleges lost their allocation of non-levied apprenticeships funding in the recent Education and Skills Funding Agency procurement process; and in which regions were those colleges.
A
Answered by: Lord Agnew of Oulton
Answered on: 07 February 2018

189 colleges of further education (FE) held contracts with the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) to deliver apprenticeships prior to this procurement. The ESFA received bids from 182 of these FE colleges in the procurement, of which 10 have not been offered awards. Six of these were because the bids did not meet the minimum scoring threshold, and the remaining four were due to the awards falling below the £200,000 minimum contract value, set to ensure viable contracts for providers, employers and the ESFA. The 10 colleges are dispersed around England as shown in the table below.

East Midlands

0

East of England

1

Greater London

3

North East

0

North West

2

South East

1

South West

1

West Midlands

2

Yorkshire & Humber

0

All FE colleges with apprentices already in training will continue to receive funding until they have completed their learning. In addition, subject to limits on the number of starts, we have offered all existing providers that were unsuccessful in the procurement a three-month extension of their current contracts to the end of March 2018, allowing them to take on new starts. All providers who are on the Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers are still able to deliver to levy paying employers.

Potential providers were required to indicate the sectors and regions in which they would be delivering apprenticeships in their tenders. We are confident that non-levy paying employers can access high quality apprenticeship training to support their growth and success, regardless of where in the country they operate in.

We will continue to keep this under review and take action where necessary.

Grouped Questions: HL5085 | HL5086
Asked on: 24 January 2018
Department for Education
Further Education: Apprentices
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of further education colleges losing their allocation of non-levied apprenticeship funding on (1) local employers, and (2) existing, and (3) potential, local apprentices.
A
Answered by: Lord Agnew of Oulton
Answered on: 07 February 2018

189 colleges of further education (FE) held contracts with the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) to deliver apprenticeships prior to this procurement. The ESFA received bids from 182 of these FE colleges in the procurement, of which 10 have not been offered awards. Six of these were because the bids did not meet the minimum scoring threshold, and the remaining four were due to the awards falling below the £200,000 minimum contract value, set to ensure viable contracts for providers, employers and the ESFA. The 10 colleges are dispersed around England as shown in the table below.

East Midlands

0

East of England

1

Greater London

3

North East

0

North West

2

South East

1

South West

1

West Midlands

2

Yorkshire & Humber

0

All FE colleges with apprentices already in training will continue to receive funding until they have completed their learning. In addition, subject to limits on the number of starts, we have offered all existing providers that were unsuccessful in the procurement a three-month extension of their current contracts to the end of March 2018, allowing them to take on new starts. All providers who are on the Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers are still able to deliver to levy paying employers.

Potential providers were required to indicate the sectors and regions in which they would be delivering apprenticeships in their tenders. We are confident that non-levy paying employers can access high quality apprenticeship training to support their growth and success, regardless of where in the country they operate in.

We will continue to keep this under review and take action where necessary.

Grouped Questions: HL5084 | HL5086
Asked on: 24 January 2018
Department for Education
Further Education: Apprentices
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that further education colleges which have lost their allocation of non-levied apprenticeship funding can still deliver apprenticeships to local people and employers.
A
Answered by: Lord Agnew of Oulton
Answered on: 07 February 2018

189 colleges of further education (FE) held contracts with the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) to deliver apprenticeships prior to this procurement. The ESFA received bids from 182 of these FE colleges in the procurement, of which 10 have not been offered awards. Six of these were because the bids did not meet the minimum scoring threshold, and the remaining four were due to the awards falling below the £200,000 minimum contract value, set to ensure viable contracts for providers, employers and the ESFA. The 10 colleges are dispersed around England as shown in the table below.

East Midlands

0

East of England

1

Greater London

3

North East

0

North West

2

South East

1

South West

1

West Midlands

2

Yorkshire & Humber

0

All FE colleges with apprentices already in training will continue to receive funding until they have completed their learning. In addition, subject to limits on the number of starts, we have offered all existing providers that were unsuccessful in the procurement a three-month extension of their current contracts to the end of March 2018, allowing them to take on new starts. All providers who are on the Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers are still able to deliver to levy paying employers.

Potential providers were required to indicate the sectors and regions in which they would be delivering apprenticeships in their tenders. We are confident that non-levy paying employers can access high quality apprenticeship training to support their growth and success, regardless of where in the country they operate in.

We will continue to keep this under review and take action where necessary.

Grouped Questions: HL5084 | HL5085
Asked on: 16 January 2018
Department for Education
Schools: Admissions
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they have taken to ensure that schools whose admission arrangements were found by the Office of the Schools Adjudicator to have contravened the School Admissions Code have now changed their arrangements so as to comply with the code.
A
Answered by: Lord Agnew of Oulton
Answered on: 01 February 2018

Where the Schools Adjudicator determines that a school’s admission arrangements do not comply with the School Admissions Code, the admission authority has a statutory duty to revise its admission arrangements to give effect to the Adjudicator’s decision within two months of the decision or by 28 February following the decision, whichever is sooner, unless an alternative timescale is specified by the Adjudicator.

The Government expects admission authorities to comply fully and Department for Education officials always follow up cases where admission authorities are required by the Adjudicator to take action.

An Adjudicator’s decision is binding and enforceable by the Secretary of State.

The Department of Education is not proposing any changes to who can submit objections to the Schools Adjudicator in relation to school admission arrangements.

Grouped Questions: HL4783
Asked on: 16 January 2018
Department for Education
Schools: Admissions
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of whether proposed changes to who can object to school admissions arrangements will have a disproportionate effect on parents from low income backgrounds.
A
Answered by: Lord Agnew of Oulton
Answered on: 01 February 2018

Where the Schools Adjudicator determines that a school’s admission arrangements do not comply with the School Admissions Code, the admission authority has a statutory duty to revise its admission arrangements to give effect to the Adjudicator’s decision within two months of the decision or by 28 February following the decision, whichever is sooner, unless an alternative timescale is specified by the Adjudicator.

The Government expects admission authorities to comply fully and Department for Education officials always follow up cases where admission authorities are required by the Adjudicator to take action.

An Adjudicator’s decision is binding and enforceable by the Secretary of State.

The Department of Education is not proposing any changes to who can submit objections to the Schools Adjudicator in relation to school admission arrangements.

Grouped Questions: HL4782
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