Written statements

Government Ministers and a small number of other Members of the two Houses can make a written statement to one or both Houses.

Written statements are published below shortly after receipt in Parliament. They also reproduced in the next edition of the Daily Report and of Hansard in the relevant House.

Written statements made before 17 November 2014 were published only in Hansard:

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Department for Education
Made on: 19 December 2017
Made by: Justine Greening (The Secretary of State for Education )

Update on Relationships, and Sex, Education

Through the Children and Social Work Act 2017 we legislated to place a duty on the Secretary of State for Education to make regulations requiring:

  • All schools providing primary education in England to teach age-appropriate ‘relationships education’ to pupils receiving primary education; and

  • All schools providing secondary education in England to teach age-appropriate ‘relationships and sex education’ to pupils receiving secondary education.

The Act also created a power for the Government to make regulations requiring personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE) to be taught in all schools. It is already compulsory in all independent schools.

I am today launching a call for evidence to gather the views of teachers, parents, and most importantly, young people to help us shape relationships education in primary school and relationships and sex education in secondary school. Our aim is to help our young people to stay safe and be better prepared to face the challenges of the modern world.

The current statutory guidance for teaching relationships and sex education was last set in 2000. It needs updating to reflect today’s world as it does not address risks to children that have emerged over the last 17 years, including cyber bullying, ‘sexting’ and staying safe online. The call for evidence will invite views on age-appropriate content that builds young people’s knowledge and understanding over time, including:

  • how to recognise, understand and build healthy relationships, including self-respect and respect for others, commitment, boundaries and consent, tolerance, and how to manage conflict, and also how to recognise unhealthy relationships, addressing issues such as bullying, coercion and exploitation;

  • understanding different types of relationships, including friendships, family relationships, dealing with strangers and, at secondary school, intimate relationships;

  • safety online, including use of social media, cyberbullying, sexting; and,

  • how relationships may affect health and wellbeing, including the importance of good mental health and resilience.

Schools will continue to have flexibility over how they teach these subjects so that they can ensure their approach is sensitive to the needs of their pupils and, in the case of faith schools, in accordance with the tenets of their faith. Schools will ensure that parents are fully consulted on their approach. As now, primary schools do not have to teach sex education and the Government has no proposal to change this, but if primary schools do choose to teach sex education, parents will be able to withdraw their children from these lessons.

We are also seeking views on the future of PSHE. The call for evidence will close on 12 February 2018. It forms part of the wider engagement process we are conducting with the education sector and other experts to inform the development of these subjects. The engagement process, supported by our education adviser, executive headteacher Ian Bauckham CBE, will be followed by a formal consultation on draft regulations and guidance before regulations are laid in the House for debate.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS367
Department for Education
Made on: 14 December 2017
Made by: Justine Greening (The Secretary of State for Education and Minister for Women and Equalities)

Social Mobility Action Plan: Delivering Equality of Opportunity through Education

Today, 14 December 2017, I am publishing Unlocking Talent; Fulfilling Potential: A plan for improving social mobility through education.

This is an ambitious plan to put social mobility at the heart of education policy, helping to make Britain fit for the future. It sits alongside the work of other Departments, and brings together a coherent, concerted approach to begin to level up opportunity right across the education system.

Our education reforms are raising standards in schools: compared to 2010 there are now 1.9 million more pupils in good and outstanding schools. Our introduction of a central focus on phonics is transforming literacy rates for young children. There are record numbers of young people in education or training and more disadvantaged young people going to university.

But, in our country today, where you start still all too often determines where you finish. And while talent is spread evenly across the country, opportunity is not. If we are to make this a country which truly works for everyone, there is much more to be done to deliver equality of opportunity for every child, regardless of who they are or where they live.

We are under no illusion that this will be easy. Nor that education can do it alone. But it does play a vital role – equality of opportunity starts with education.

This plan will deliver action targeted towards the people and the places where it is needed most through five key ambitions. Firstly, there is an overarching ambition to provide additional support to parts of the country that need it to ensure no community is “left behind”. Then there are four life stage ambitions:

Ambition 1: Close the word gap in the early years: children with strong foundations start school in a position to progress, but too many children fall behind early. We need to tackle development gaps, especially key early language and literacy skills, including by boosting investment in English hubs and professional development for early years professionals.

Ambition 2: Close the attainment gap in school while continuing to raise standards for all: the attainment gap between disadvantaged children and their more affluent peers is closing. But these pupils still remain behind their peers. We will build on recent reforms, and raise standards in the areas that need it most. This will include more support for teachers early in their careers, providing clear pathways to progression, and getting more great teachers in areas where there remain significant challenges.

Ambition 3: High quality post-16 education choices for all young people: we have more people going to university than ever before, including more disadvantaged young people, but we need to expand access further to the best universities. We are delivering a skills revolution including working with business to make technical education world class, backed by an extra £500 million pounds investment at the March 2017 Budget.

Ambition 4: Everyone achieving their full potential in rewarding careers: employment has grown, but we need to improve access for young people from lower income backgrounds to networks of advice, information and experiences of work through a new type of partnership with businesses and employers. We will also support adults to retrain/upskill.

To achieve these ambitions, we are shifting the way we work. We are focusing on what works: putting evidence and the heart of our approach, embedding and extending successful reforms, and spreading best practice.

We are also shifting focus on building lasting success through partnership: asking employers, education professionals, voluntary groups and many others to step up and join a united effort across the country to put social mobility at the heart of their work too.

Improving opportunity for the next generation of young people is one of the great challenges of our time; everyone must play their part. But the prize is huge: a country in which talent and potential are what matters more. A country where everyone can be at their best.

The plan will be published on the Department for Education’s website and copies will also be placed in the House Libraries.

Unlocking Talent; Fulfilling Potential (PDF Document, 2.63 MB)
This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS341
Department for Education
Made on: 23 October 2017
Made by: Justine Greening (Secretary of State for Education and Minister for Women and Equalities )

Equalities update

On 29 June I informed the House that women normally resident in Northern Ireland would no longer be charged for abortions received in England. Since the date of the announcement, the three main providers of abortions in England have not been charging residents of Northern Ireland. I am grateful to them and we will be reimbursing them for these services. We have now developed our ongoing plans for delivering this commitment, and I am pleased to update you on the arrangements.

We intend that women from Northern Ireland will access the service through existing providers of abortions in England, in the same way that women in England do. We have invited providers of abortions in England to apply for funding to extend their service provision to women from Northern Ireland. The funding will be accessed via a grant scheme that will be administered by the Department of Health. The cost of this service will be met by the Government Equalities Office with additional funding provided by HM Treasury. A small number of procedures will continue to be provided through the NHS where this is necessary for medical reasons. NHS providers will also be reimbursed by the Department of Health.

Women from Northern Ireland seeking medical support in England will be eligible for:

  • A consultation with an abortion provider in England, including an assessment of whether the legal grounds for an abortion are met;

  • The abortion procedure;

  • HIV or sexually transmitted infection testing as appropriate;

  • An offer of contraception from the abortion provider; and

  • Support with travel costs if the woman meets financial hardship criteria.

This is comparable with the service that women in England receive. We are establishing a central booking service that will be run by one of the providers who will be selected as part of the grant award process.

The central booking service will simplify the process for women who choose to access these services. It means that women from Northern Ireland will have a single telephone number to call and an appointment will be made with the most appropriate provider, based on the woman’s requirements, her medical condition and the availability of the providers. The central booking service will be operational before the end of the year. In the meantime women from Northern Ireland will continue to make their own arrangements with the providers, but will not be charged.

My original statement was clear this does not change the position in relation to the provision of abortions in Northern Ireland, which is a matter for the Northern Ireland Executive and the Northern Ireland Assembly. That remains the case. Our proposals do not include the provision of any services in Northern Ireland.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS190
Department for Education
Made on: 14 September 2017
Made by: Justine Greening (The Secretary of State for Education and Minister for Women and Equalities)

Update on Primary Assessment in England

Primary education is fundamentally important to ensuring that every child receives the best possible start in life. As I set out in my statement to Parliament in March this year, the primary assessment and accountability system has a crucial role to play in ensuring that every child, no matter what their background or where they go to school, benefits from a high-quality primary education.

Last October, I set out my intention to establish a settled, trusted primary assessment system. To help us move towards this, we published earlier this year parallel consultation documents on the long-term future of primary assessment and on future assessment arrangements for children working below the standard of the national curriculum tests. These consultations considered a number of the key issues facing the primary assessment and accountability system, including how the assessment system can help teachers to prepare pupils to succeed at school, the starting point from which to measure the progress that schools help children make in primary school, and how end of key stage teacher assessments could be improved. The consultations closed in June and I am grateful to the many people and organisations, and particularly the headteachers and teachers, who took the time to provide thoughtful, considered responses.

Having considered the views expressed, I am today publishing the government’s responses to both consultations, which set out how we will establish a stable and effective primary assessment system. These documents include commitments to:

  • improve the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile by: revising the Early Learning Goals to make them clearer and align them more closely with teaching in key stage 1; this will support us to meet our manifesto commitment to strengthen the teaching of literacy and numeracy in the early years. We will also strengthen the way assessment information is passed on to Year 1 teachers; and review the guidance and moderation process to reduce administration burdens;

  • improve school-level progress measures, and give schools credit for the education that they provide to their pupils in the reception year, year 1 and year 2, by introducing a statutory assessment in reception to replace the existing key stage 1 baseline;

  • reduce workload and administration burdens on teachers by making end-of-key stage 1 assessments non-statutory in all-through primary schools, once the new reception baseline has become established, with national sampling to be introduced so that we can continue to monitor standards;

  • remove the statutory duty to report teacher assessment in reading and mathematics at the end of key stage 2 from the 2018 to 2019 academic year onwards which will form part of our drive to bear down on unnecessary administrative burdens, while keeping our rigorous key stage 2 national curriculum tests in these subjects, which will enable schools to uphold high standards while also reducing workload and administrative burdens on teachers;

  • improve the way that writing is assessed, so that teachers have more scope to use their professional judgment when assessing pupil performance;

  • aid children’s fluency in mathematics through the introduction of a multiplication tables check, from the summer of 2020, to be administered to pupils at the end of year 4. This will help us to deliver on our commitment that every child will know their times tables off by heart by the time that they leave primary school; and

  • improve the statutory assessment of pupils working below the standard of national curriculum tests by extending the interim pre-key stage standards to cover all pupils engaged in subject specific learning, and by piloting the Rochford Review’s recommended approach to assessing pupils who are not yet engaged in subject specific learning.

We will continue to work closely with headteachers, teachers and all those with an interest in primary education as we implement these changes, building on the dialogue started by the consultation. It is by working together that we will achieve our goal of a proportionate assessment system that supports every child to meet their full potential.

Copies of both of these government responses will be placed in the libraries of both Houses of Parliament.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS140
Department for Education
Made on: 10 July 2017
Made by: Justine Greening (The Secretary of State for Education and Minister for Women and Equalities)

Teacher Update

The 27th report of the School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB) is being published today. Its recommendations cover the remit that I issued in October 2016. The report contains recommendations on the pay award for teachers that is due to be implemented from September 2017, which are consistent with the Government’s 1% public sector pay policy. Copies of the STRB’s 27th Report are available in the Vote Office, the Printed Paper Office and the Libraries of the House, and online at www.gov.uk.

The STRB has recommended an uplift of 1% to the minima and maxima of all pay ranges and allowances in the national pay framework, other than the minimum and maximum of the main pay range, to which they have recommended a 2% uplift. Following previous reforms, schools already have significant flexibility, within the pay ranges, to set pay for individual teachers, taking account of performance and retention. Nevertheless, those at the bottom of the main pay scale will receive an automatic 2% increase, a small proportion of teachers. As such it is consistent with the Government’s public sector 1% pay policy.

A full list of the recommendations is attached as an annex.

My officials will write to all of the statutory consultees of the STRB to invite them to contribute to a consultation on my acceptance of these recommendations and on a revised School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document and Pay Order. The consultation will last for three weeks.

I am grateful to the STRB for these recommendations and, subject to the views of consultees, I intend to accept all the key recommendations.

My detailed response contains further information on these matters.

STRB recommendations and response (PDF Document, 273.32 KB)
This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS35
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