Bishop of Southwark asks Government about school admissions and clergy families

On the 7th September Lord Lexden asked the Government “whether they have plans to enable more children in care to obtain places in state and independent boarding schools”. The Bishop of Southwark asked a follow up question about clergy families:

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The Lord Bishop of Southwark: My Lords, as the Minister is aware, those who live in tied accommodation as part of their employment or the holding of an office have an unintentional structural disadvantage when it comes to their children’s schooling. This is ameliorated in the case of military families but not in the case of others, such as clergy and their children. Will Her Majesty’s Government now act to address this disadvantage by amending the code?

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Bishop of Gloucester highlights needs of vulnerable young people moving into adulthood

On 29th June 2017 the Bishop of Gloucester, Rt Revd Rachel Treweek, spoke during the final day’s debate on the Queen’s Speech. She highlighted the situation of vulnerable young people moving into adulthood, as care leavers, carers, refugees, those with disabilities and those in prison.

The Lord Bishop of Gloucester: My Lords, I will highlight something that I believe needs careful consideration as we think about education, health and welfare. It is the matter of vulnerable young people making the transition to adulthood. I am grateful for the aspirations I have heard to support families and give children the best start in life. As we strive for the fairness and flourishing of all, I am concerned that we have yet to see any emphasis on our most vulnerable young people as they move into adulthood. I would particularly like to draw the Government’s attention to five specific groups who need help as they transition to adult life: young people leaving care; young people who are carers themselves; young people with severe disability; young people who are refugees and asylum seekers; and young women at risk of offending and being imprisoned. Continue reading “Bishop of Gloucester highlights needs of vulnerable young people moving into adulthood”

Bishop of Ely on importance of life skills and character education

On 29th June 2017 the House of Lords held the final day of debate on the Queen’s Speech. The Bishop of Ely, Rt Revd Stephen Conway, spoke in the debate about countering extremism and the importance of character education.

The Lord Bishop of Ely: My Lords, like many in this House, I am sure, the events of the past few weeks have been very much on my heart and in my prayers, and in the aftermath of the terror attacks in London and Manchester, it is unsurprising that the Government have placed such an emphasis on counterterrorism and counterextremism measures in the gracious Speech. The Government are right to look at reviewing specific measures to tackle extremism and the places where extremist ideology is able to spread, but stopping extremist ideology where it already exists cannot be all that we do. Although we in this House may divide debates into topics and the Government into departments, as we know, in reality society is not just a series of policy areas, it is a rich fabric of connected life experiences of which education is formative for all. Its value in developing and defining the kind of society we want to become should never be underestimated. Continue reading “Bishop of Ely on importance of life skills and character education”

Votes: Higher Education Regulations 2016

On 5th April, a vote took place on a Regret Motion tabled by Labour’s Lord Stevenson of Balmacara to two Regulations changing student loan terms and amounts. The Bishop of Peterborough took part. Continue reading “Votes: Higher Education Regulations 2016”

Children and Social Work Bill: Bishop of Peterborough supports amendments on relationships and sex education

14.02 PeterboroughOn 4th April 2017 the House of Lords considered amendments made by MPs to the Government’s Children and Social Work Bill. Government Minister Lord Nash proposed that the Lords accept an amendment to provide compulsory relationships education at primary schools. The Bishop of Peterborough, the Rt Rev Donald Allister, spoke in favour of the amendment, which was accepted by the House.

The Lord Bishop of Peterborough: My Lords, I am very happy indeed to support government Amendments 12 and 13 on relationships and sex education and on PSHE. Compulsory provision and statutory guidance are necessary in these areas. The Church of England welcomes this and we very much look forward to the consultation.

We particularly welcome the decision to reverse the name and put “relationships” rather than “sex” at the heart of this policy. This is not about just sex or sex education. It puts sex in its proper context of committed and consensual relationships. But it is also about friendships, resilience, good disagreement and living with difference. It is about tackling bullying, self-image, social media, advertising and so much else. It is about supporting children and preparing them for adult life.

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Bishop of Ely highlights access to high quality education for young people receiving mental health treatment

ElyOn the 20th February 2017, Lord Oates asked the Government “how many secondary schools in England do not currently provide in-school counselling services for their students.” The Bishop of Ely, the Rt Revd Stephen Conway, asked a supplementary question.


Lord Bishop of Ely: My Lords, does the Minister agree that an excellent education in a medical setting for those with severe mental health issues is essential to their recovery? Will he join me in paying tribute to the importance of education in acute mental health settings, such as the Pilgrim Pupil Referral Units in Cambridgeshire, which provide a stable learning environment for children and young people? Continue reading “Bishop of Ely highlights access to high quality education for young people receiving mental health treatment”

Bishop of Norwich welcomes Technical and Further Education Bill

norwich121016bOn 1st February 2017, the House of Lords debated the Government’s Technical and Further Education Bill at its Second Reading. The Bishop of Norwich, Rt Revd, Graham James welcomed its proposals.

The Lord Bishop of Norwich: My Lords, I am glad to add my voice to the chorus of welcome for the Bill—on these Benches we are professionally interested in choruses.

Those who read the City & Guilds report Sense & Instability, which was published just over a couple of years ago, will remember the bleak picture painted there of three decades of skills and employment policy. The authors pointed out—with a degree of sardonic humour, I think—that, in 30 years, there have been 13 major Acts of Parliament dealing with these issues, enough reports to fill a medium-sized bookcase, no fewer than 61 Ministers and 10 occasions when skills and employment have shifted between government departments. “Tinkering”, “amnesia” and “disruption” were among the milder terms employed in that very powerful report. Continue reading “Bishop of Norwich welcomes Technical and Further Education Bill”