On 16th November 2020 Baroness Massey of Darwen asked the Government ” what plans they have to incorporate the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child into legislation.” The Bishop of Durham asked a follow up question:
On 29th October the House of Lords considered the Government’s Education (Exemption from School and Further Education Institutions Inspections) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 in Grand Committee. The Bishop of Durham spoke on the Regulations, highlighting the need for postponement of Ofsted and schools inspections whilst the vcovid-19 pandemic is ongoing:
The Lord Bishop of Durham [V]: My Lords, I declare my interests as set out in the register. In welcoming warmly this new instrument to ensure that all schools are subject to inspection in the same way, we recognise the continuing value of inspections as a whole. I want to associate myself warmly with the comments made by the noble Baroness, Lady Massey, and the noble Lord, Lord Addington. However, although we welcome this instrument, we would also welcome the further postponing of Ofsted and school inspections, including the Section 48 inspections of schools with a religious designation, throughout the pandemic period. Continue reading “Bishop of Durham calls for postponement of Ofsted school inspections during ongoing covid-19 pandemic”
On 27th October 2020 Lord Woolley of Woodford asked the Government “following the announcements of the Welsh and Scottish Governments, as well as local councils, whether they will end the free school meals postcode lottery and provide free school meals for eligible children in England during the school holidays until Easter 2021.” The Bishop of Bristol asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of Bristol [V]: My Lords, although I agree with the Government that free school meals are not the long-term solution for holiday hunger, the reality is that it is now half-term and children are going hungry. Does the Minister agree that although the current crisis demands short-term solutions, there is also a much bigger question at stake? Will she tell us what sustained support the Government will be offering to address the concerns up to Easter 2021, and their plans to tackle the underlying and increasing issues of child poverty in the longer term? Continue reading “Bishop of Bristol asks Government to tackle school holiday hunger and long term child poverty”
On Monday 26th October Lord Carrington asked the Government “what assessment they have made of the impact of the COVID-19 catch-up premium on disadvantaged pupils.” The Bishop of Durham asked a further question:
The Lord Bishop of Durham [V]: My Lords, I declare my interests as set out in the register. I welcome the Government’s ongoing support of pupils through the catch-up premium and encourage the Minister to continue to give attention to disadvantaged pupils, who require significantly greater support than the average pupil. Given the specific difficulties relating to digital access for remote learning, can the Minister explain why access to computers for home use appears to have been drastically reduced just as schools have been legally required to provide online learning for those who have to stay at home? Continue reading “Bishop of Durham asks Government about access to computers for home learning use”
On 4th June 2020 Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale asked the Government “what action they will take to close any educational gaps arising from the school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic.” The Bishop of Winchester, Rt Red Tim Dakin, asked a follow-up question on apprenticeships.
The Lord Bishop of Winchester: My Lords, I want to highlight another example of educational institution closures affecting the educational attainment of young people, particularly those aged 16 to 19. I refer to the report published recently by the Sutton Trust highlighting the impact of lockdown, with 36% of apprentices having been furloughed and 61% of apprenticeship providers saying that their apprentices had lost out on work and learning. What assessment have the Government made of the impact on apprentices unable to continue on-the-job training, particularly those from more disadvantaged backgrounds? What additional support will Her Majesty’s Government offer to these individuals? Continue reading “Bishop of Winchester asks about impact of COVID-19 on apprenticeship schemes”
On 20th May 2020, Lord Watson of Invergowrie asked the Government “what action they are taking to publish scientific evidence which (1) ensures the re-opening schools on 1 June will be safe for pupils, staff and parents, and (2) includes the impact on the (a) national, and (b) regional, reproduction rates (R number) of COVID-19“. The Bishop of Winchester, Rt Revd Tim Dakin, asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of Winchester: My Lords, as with many schools, Church of England schools have remained open during the lockdown for the children of key workers and vulnerable children. Our teachers are working extremely hard to provide educational and pastoral support to our students at this time of unprecedented challenge. Can the Minister confirm whether school leaders will be granted the discretion to reopen at a pace dictated by their local circumstances and context, considering the significant mental, spiritual, physical and social impact that the current situation is having on children, especially those from the most disadvantaged and vulnerable families?
On 19th May 2020 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Andrew Selous MP, answered questions in the House of Commons on coronavirus, access to worship, family life, education, the clergy discipline process and hospital chaplaincy. A transcript is below:
The hon. Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, was asked—
On 14th May 2020 a statement was given regarding the reopening and operation of schools during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, asked a follow up question:
Lord Bishop of Durham: I am grateful to the Minister and the Secretary of State for meeting myself and the Church of England education team earlier in the week. The longer that children are learning from home, the wider the disadvantage gap that may well be developing. Does the Minister agree that the risks of not reopening schools in a managed and phased way are actually greater than the logistical challenges presented by reopening?
On 12th May 2020 Baroness Massey of Darwen asked the Government “what assessment they have made of the ability of schools to deliver the new compulsory elements of relationships and sex education curriculum from September 2020”. The Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, asked a follow up question:
The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, I declare my interests as stated in the register as chair of the National Society. In November, the Church of England produced a charter to support schools in preparing for the new compulsory elements of RSHE. It is important to us and our schools that we consult parents on how best to deliver this new material, to ensure that we provide a sensitive education enabling all pupils to flourish. Will Her Majesty’s Government reassess the delivery date of the new elements of RSHE to accommodate the current constraints on schools’ time and energy due to Covid-19?
On 3rd March 2020 The Earl of Clancarty asked the Government “what steps they are taking to improve the provision of arts and cultural services at (1) local, and (2) regional, level.” The Bishop of Worcester, Rt Revd John Inge, asked a follow-up question:
The Lords put questions to Government today on arts & cultural services at local & regional level. @BishopWorcester raised concerns about the devaluing of arts, culture & religion in the education system. pic.twitter.com/EEgRzU5BPg
The Lord Bishop of Worcester: My Lords, while the provision of arts and cultural services by local authorities is clearly crucial to our society’s well-being, does the Minister share the frustration felt by many of us at the increasingly utilitarian approach taken by schools and further and higher education, which often devalues arts and culture at a time when we know less about what skills will be required in the workplace of the future but we know that the sort of broad vision provided by arts and culture—and, perhaps, religion—will be invaluable? Continue reading “Bishop of Worcester raises concern about devaluing of arts, culture and religion in education system”