Bishop of Durham asks Government about skills, diversity and pay in early years education

On 20th March 2019 the Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, received a written answer to a question on the early years education workforce:

The Lord Bishop of Durham:

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To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the report by the Education Policy Institute The early years workforce in England, published on 17 January; and what steps they intend to take in response to that report in particular the need to ensure increased (1) skills, (2) diversity, and (3) pay levels in the early education workforce. Continue reading “Bishop of Durham asks Government about skills, diversity and pay in early years education”

Bishop of Durham asks Government about schemes to address school holiday hunger

On 4th January 2018 the Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, received a written answer to a question on school holiday schemes to combat food poverty:

The Lord Bishop of Durham: To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they intend to consider the funding and provision of holiday programmes that would provide free meals and activities for children who would otherwise not have access to such arrangements. Continue reading “Bishop of Durham asks Government about schemes to address school holiday hunger”

Welfare Reform Bill – Bishop of Durham supports amendments about parents of young children

On 9th December 2015 the House of Lords considered the Government’s Welfare Reform and Work Bill in its second day of Committee. 

The Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, spoke in support of a group of amendments to clause 15 of the Bill, concerned with work-related requirements and Universal credit. The amendments, which were withdrawn after the debate, sought to make the work-related requirements in legislation take into account particular circumstances of parents with young children or those with disabilities.


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The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, I encourage the Minister to at least agree to go away and think very seriously about these amendments. The paramountcy of the welfare of the child, I am sure, we are all entirely agreed about. We know that the first two years of life are absolutely crucial to long-term life chances. The next two years matter as much again. So how we behave towards children in the first four or five years of life, before they go to school, is the most significant factor in their long-term life chances.

Continue reading “Welfare Reform Bill – Bishop of Durham supports amendments about parents of young children”

Bishop of Durham speaks on reducing child poverty and improving childcare

On 3rd June 2015, during the debate on the Queen’s Speech, the Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler, spoke on the need to provide good quality childcare, alleviate child poverty, and fully address the complex needs of families, in order to enable equality of opportunity at the start of life. The text of his speech is below and can be watched here:

14.06.10 Bishop of Durham 5The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, the stated intention of the Education and Adoption Bill is to,

“give all children the best possible start in life”.

Of course we all want this, so we must scrutinise carefully whether the proposals on adoption will produce it for children for whom adoption is the best route. Given that some of the most successful adoption agencies are small, localised ones, care will need to be taken in any move to regional agencies—which certainly has its strengths—so that the smaller agencies’ special skills and experience are not lost, particularly as they are often the most effective at placing and maintaining adoptions of the most hard-to-place children. Durham Family Welfare in my own area is a fine example. Continue reading “Bishop of Durham speaks on reducing child poverty and improving childcare”

Bishop of Derby highlights role of Church in providing childcare

On 18th March 2015 the Bishop of Derby, Rt Rev Alastair Redfern, spoke in a debate on affordable childcare, in which he focussed on the private, voluntary, and independent sectors. His speech is below, along with the related section of the Government’s response.

Bishop of DerbyThe Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, I, too, congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Sutherland, on chairing the committee, on introducing this debate and on enabling us to have TS Eliot as a frame alongside the pragmatism that we need in looking at this important issue. I rise with some trepidation, because I am perhaps the first speaker who was not a member of the committee, so I speak without that expertise behind me.

Continue reading “Bishop of Derby highlights role of Church in providing childcare”

Bishop of Sheffield welcomes support for families in Childcare Payments Bill

On 9th December 2014, the Bishop of Sheffield, the Rt Revd Steven Croft, took part in the Second Reading debate of the Government’s Childcare Payments Bill. The Bishop welcomed the provisions in the Bill to support low and middle-income families, but pressed the Government to ensure the Bill provided equity of delivery for families in receipt of Universal Credit, and also called on the Government to provide greater support for families with disabled children.

14.03.27 Bishop of SheffieldThe Lord Bishop of Sheffield: My Lords, from these Benches I warmly welcome the Bill, which will provide much needed assistance towards childcare costs for many middle-income and low-income families. I also welcome the careful expansion of the availability of childcare. However, there are two areas which I shall mention briefly where further attention may be needed. Continue reading “Bishop of Sheffield welcomes support for families in Childcare Payments Bill”

Bishop of Ripon and Leeds takes part in affordable childcare debate

On 9th January 2014, the Bishop of Ripon and Leeds took part in Baroness Massey of Darwen’s debate on affordable childcare.

R_LThe Lord Bishop of Ripon and Leeds: My Lords, I am very grateful indeed to the noble Baroness, Lady Massey of Darwen, for initiating this debate and for expressing so clearly the issues involved and, indeed still more, for her determined advocacy in this House and elsewhere of the rights and needs of children, especially those children who are most at risk within our society.

Childcare provision in this country has grown like Topsy. As we have heard from a number of examples comparing our own experiences when we were young parents with those of our children as parents now, the need for childcare has become more and more crucial to both parents and children, and as a mainstay of our culture as well of our economy. However, there is such a complex system, which is part universal and part not, with childcare vouchers in their varied forms as an additional complication. Rather strangely, there is also the danger that universal credit will actually make the situation more, rather than less, complex.

Continue reading “Bishop of Ripon and Leeds takes part in affordable childcare debate”