Bishop of Durham asks Government to invest in early years to improve social mobility

On 29th January 2020 the House of Lords debated a motion from Baroness Tyler of Enfield, “to ask Her Majesty’s Government how they plan to respond to the ten steps to improve social mobility contained in the Sutton Trust’s Mobility Manifesto, published in November 2019, and the recommendations of the Social Mobility Commission’s 2019 State of the Nation report.” The Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, spoke in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, I look forward to the maiden speech of the noble Lord, Lord Choudrey.

Opportunity, aspiration and education are critical to all having the best chance of being socially mobile. Giving children the best start in life is paramount, so we need more health visitors, better-targeted childcare for those least able to afford it and renewed opportunities for parents to interact with others. Will Her Majesty’s Government commit to a proper national early years strategy with an increased share of future spending?

Church of England schools in my diocese have found it difficult to implement our motto that “no child is left behind” because social mobility is a great challenge exacerbated by a poverty of aspiration. According to the Social Mobility Commission’s survey, less than a third of people living in the north-east think that there are good opportunities in our region.

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Bishop of Rochester asks Government about children of prisoners, improving fostering and adoption

17.10 Rochester3On 9th January 2020, Baroness Massey of Darwen asked the Government, “following their ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, what plans they have to promote children’s rights and well-being across government departments in this Parliament”. The Bishop of Rochester, Rt Revd James Langstaff, asked a follow-up question:

The Lord Bishop of Rochester: My Lords, I have two particular groups of children in mind whose well-being is often compromised. The first are those who have a parent or other primary carer on the cusp of going into custody. What plans do Her Majesty’s Government have to ensure that sentencers, including magistrates, are aware of the new guidance from the Sentencing Council on this matter? On looked-after children, what intentions do Her Majesty’s Government have to further promote the vocation—it is a vocation—to become a foster carer or an adopter? Continue reading “Bishop of Rochester asks Government about children of prisoners, improving fostering and adoption”

Bishop of Durham asks about funding for language learning for migrants

19.04.24 DurhamOn the 28th October the Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler, received a written answer to questions about English for Speakers of Other Languages.

The Lord Bishop of Durham:

(i) HL90 To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether any of the funds pledged to the Integration Areas Programme in the September spending round will be used for the provision of childcare services for English for Speakers of Other Languages participants.

 (ii) HL91 To ask Her Majesty’s Government how much of the funds pledged for the Integration Areas Programme will be used for English for Speakers of Other Languages provision.

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Vote: Children’s Homes etc. Motion

On 18th June 2019 the House of Lords voted on an Opposition regret motion to the Government’s Children’s Homes etc. Inspection Fees, Childcare Fees, Adoption and Children Act Register (Amendment) Regulations 2019. The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Dr Alan Smith, took part in the vote:

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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.

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