On 17th October 2019 Lord Watson of Invergowrie asked Her Majesty’s Government “what steps they will take further to the recent survey of local authorities in England which found that since 2014 approximately £400 million has been diverted from mainstream education budgets in order to pay for special needs education.” The Bishop of Coventry, Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of Coventry: My Lords, several heads in Coventry and Warwickshire have told me about the heavy demands on their energies and budgets from, to quote one primary head, children who are not on the SEN register but face horrific circumstances at home and so need extra help; for example, families who are homeless through domestic violence and children whose mental health is so poor—these are nine year-olds—that they threaten suicide. Does the Minister recognise the pressures on schools in mainstream education from children who do not meet the thresholds of special needs but who nevertheless have severe needs and require acute support? Is he confident that there is sufficient funding for them?
Continue reading “Bishop of Coventry asks Government what funds are available for pupils with severe needs”
On 1st October 2019 Lord Keen of Elie moved a draft order for approval: the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (Legal Aid for Separated Children) (Miscellaneous Amendments) Order 2019. The motion was agreed by the House, and the Bishop of Newcastle, Rt Revd Christine Hardman, contributed to the debate:
The Lord Bishop of Newcastle: My Lords, I declare an interest as a vice-president of the Children’s Society. I want to share my delight in the work of the Children’s Society and other children’s charities in helping to bring us to this point.
I warmly welcome the draft order amending the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 to bring immigration matters for unaccompanied and separated children within the scope of legal aid. That is a wonderful thing. Without this amendment, children outside their country of origin who are separated from their parent or care giver are at significant risk. The reinstatement of legal aid for separated children will be transformative for some of the most vulnerable children in our country.
Continue reading “Bishop of Newcastle welcomes legal aid decision for unaccompanied and separated children of immigrants”
On 25th September 2019 the House of Lords took note of the Government’s Spending Round 2019. The Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, contributed to the debate:
Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, like others, I welcome the fact that we are able to hold a debate on the spending round 2019. When the political point-scoring is redacted from the Chancellor’s original Statement, as I note it is on the GOV.UK website, there are aspects to welcome in the overall spending increase and some of the specific commitments. I am pleased that the Chancellor recognised in his speech that in the nation there are anxieties and divisions,
“between regions and communities, rich and poor, rural and urban, young and old”,—[Official Report, Commons, 4/9/2019; col. 180.]
and between black and white. The test for me is always around the impact of spending on the most vulnerable in our society. It is this that leads me to ask some questions.
Continue reading “Bishop of Durham responds to spending round with need for focus on society’s most vulnerable”
On 3rd September 2019 the Leader of the Lords, Baroness Evans of Bowes Park, repeated a Government Statement about the G7 summit in Biarritz. The Bishop of Durham asked a follow-up question about girls’ education in Burundi:
Lord Bishop of Durham: I return to the question of girls’ education in the Statement. As it happens, last week I was visiting the tiny east African country of Burundi, and one of the most impressive pieces of work that I saw there was with adult women who had not had education when they were girls and who have now gone through literacy and financial and business training and were running small businesses in their local rural communities. I welcome the fact that more money is being put into the education of girls and of children in countries torn by conflict, because Burundi is one such. Will the Minister explain a little more about how that might be put into practice, particularly in a nation such as Burundi—and there are others—where at the moment there are restrictions on the Foreign Office giving it money because of its internal conflict, and will she promise that DfID will be able to put money into such countries through this kind of system?
Continue reading “Bishop of Durham asks Government about funding for education of girls in Burundi and countries torn by conflict”
On 7th August 2019 the Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, received a written answer from Government regarding the children of restricted immigrants:
The Lord Bishop of Durham: HL17455 To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the answer by Baroness Williams of Trafford on 23 July (HL Deb, cols 668–70), how many children have been affected by having no recourse to public funds in each of the 54 local authorities; and what estimate they have made of the total number of children so affected. Continue reading “Bishop of Durham asks about welfare of children of those with restricted immigration status”
On 30th July 2019 the Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, received a written answer, from Lord Agnew of Oulton, regarding free school meals for children of those with no recourse to public funds because of their immigration status:
The Lord Bishop of Durham: HL17456 To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the answer by Baroness Williams of Trafford on 23 July (HL Deb, cols 668–70), what plans they have to review access to free school meals for children who are affected by having no recourse to public funds.
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On 30th July 2019 the Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, received a written answer from Government, in reply to three questions about children and vulnerable EU nationals and the EU Settlement Scheme:
The Lord Bishop of Durham: (i) HL17344 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the status of the guidance issued on 3 April to all local authorities and health and social care trusts in regard to the EU Settlement Scheme and looked-after children and care leavers; and whether it is mandatory for local authorities to follow that guidance.
(ii) HL17345 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what evidence was collected on the children who were non-UK European nationals accommodated under section 20 of the Children Act 1989, their family situations and possible vulnerabilities, before drafting the guidance on EU Settlement Scheme and looked-after children and care leavers issued on 3 April.
(iii) HL17346 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to evaluate the impact of the funding of support and its provision to vulnerable groups, including analysis of what future work is needed to ensure that vulnerable groups are able to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme after funding ends in March 2020. Continue reading “Bishop of Durham asks about EU Settlement Scheme, vulnerable groups and children”