On 4th September 2019 the House of Lords considered a motion from the Leader of the Opposition to suspend the usual procedures for the taking of a Bill, in order to enable the House to take all stages of the European Union (Withdrawal) (Number 6) Bill 2017-19 on Thursday and Friday of that week.
A series of amendments were tabled to that motion by those objecting to that procedural change and those who disagreed with the Bill, which had been passed by MPs that day and would require Government to seek an extension of the Article 50 period for the UK to leave the EU.
A series of votes took place throughout the day and late into the night on the amendments tabled and also to bring an end to speeches by Members that were considered attempts to filibuster. A number of bishops took part in those votes, largely on the side of those Peers wishing to see the procedural changes made, and to ensure business could progress.
On 25th July 2019 Baroness Wheeler asked the Government “what assessment they have made of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services Budget Survey 2019 on the state of adult social care”. The Bishop of Ely, Rt Revd Stephen Conway, asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of Ely: My Lords, we have heard, properly, about the needs of the elderly. Will the Minister assure us that the needs of people with learning disabilities will be better addressed in any action the Government are likely to take, particularly since some 41% of the helpline calls to Mencap in April were from people very concerned about the loss of community care?
On 22nd July 2019 Baroness Bull asked the Government “what assessment they have made of the impact of weight- and shape-related bullying, criticism and teasing on long-term mental health”. The Bishop of Ely, Rt Revd Stephen Conway, asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of Ely: My Lords, the Children’s Society has done quite a bit of research into the profile of those involved in bullying. Many have had very unhappy lives. Does the Minister agree that it would be a good idea, in policy formation, if we spent more time talking to the children themselves and getting their case put more fully before us? The Children’s Society advocates that the Government systematically measure children’s well-being and use this to inform policy-making. Does the Minister accept the potential merits of measuring children’s well-being?
On 17th June 2019 Baroness Hussein-Ece asked the Government “what assessment they have made of the adequacy of the support received by people with a disability when they report any form of abuse to appropriate authorities”. The Bishop of Ely, Rt Revd Stephen Conway, asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of Ely: My Lords, it is important to consider also that there are various ways in which people with disability might be prevented from reporting abuse in the first place. In particular, some people with learning difficulties might not understand or recognise that they are being abused psychologically or financially. Does the Minister agree that information regarding abuse needs to be produced in accessible formats, such as easy read, and should ideally be produced in conjunction with people with disability themselves?
On 23rd May 2019 Lord Brooke of Alverthorpe ask the Government “what plans they have to sponsor research into the benefits of gaming for children’s mental health and wellbeing.” The Bishop of Ely, Rt Revd Stephen Conway, asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of Ely: My Lords, there has been much conversation already about research into gaming addiction among young people. My right reverend friend the Bishop of St Albans raised the issue of a mandatory pause function following calls from healthcare providers. As that was raised again in conversation and discussion around the Online Harms White Paper, will the Minister confirm that the Government are assessing the value of this function? Continue reading “Bishop of Ely asks Government about gaming addiction among young people”
On 26th March 2019 Lord Addington asked the Government “what is the average time without appropriate special educational needs support spent by students who have successfully appealed a decision to have an education, health and care plan.” The Bishop of Ely, Rt Revd Stephen Conway, asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of Ely: My Lords, I understand that the purpose of the 2014 set of reforms was to ensure a holistic approach by health, education and social care services in the support of children with special needs and of their families. But when appeals take place, I understand that it is not uncommon for social care services to say that they do not know the child. Are the Government ensuring proactive co-operation between health, social care and education services in supporting such children and their parents?
On 18th February 2019 Baroness Chakrabarti asked the Government “what progress has been made in meeting the recommendation of the Report of the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry, published in February 1999, that schools record all racist incidents and that the numbers of racist incidents are published annually on a school by school basis.” The Bishop of Ely, Rt Revd Stephen Conway, asked a follow up question:
The Lord Bishop of Ely: My Lords, the Minister will be aware that the Church of England is responsible for many schools where the majority of pupils are from a BME background. Those schools operate in great harmony. That is along with our initiative, Living Well Together. It would be good to hear more about how the DfE makes use of the information and statistics that it receives. There is an issue about holding the whole estate accountable, which cannot be left entirely to the local situation. Continue reading “Bishop of Ely asks Government about racist incidents in schools”
On the 29th January 2019, Rt Revd Stephen Conway, Bishop of Ely responded to a Government Statement on teacher recruitment.
The Lord Bishop of Ely: My Lords, I am grateful to the Minister for his Statement and for this way forward. First, he knows that the Church of England runs many small rural schools, and recruitment and retention is always a creative challenge. Have the Government considered how the strategy is to be rural-proofed for full application across the country?
On 16th January 2019 the Bishop of Ely, Rt Revd Stephen Conway received three written answers to questions, on school exclusions and the education of Gypsies, Roma and Travellers:
The Lord Bishop of Ely:
(i) To ask Her Majesty’s Government, following their Race Disparity Audits, what steps they are taking to ensure that educational institutions improve the standard of reading among Gypsies, Roma and Travellers aged 6–7.
(ii) To ask Her Majesty’s Government, following their Race Disparity Audits, what steps they are taking to ensure that educational institutions improve attainment at GCSE level for Gypsies, Roma and Travellers.
On 23rd October 2018 Baroness Lister of Burtersett asked Her Majesty’s Government ‘what assessment they have made of the impact on children of the £1,012 fee to apply to register their entitlement to British citizenship.’ The Bishop of Ely, Rt Revd Stephen Conway asked a follow up question:
The Lord Bishop of Ely: My Lords, has the Minister been in contact with the many school leaders who say that there are issues not only around identity, but around the economic harm done to children through food insecurity and their basic needs not being met? I wonder whether, even ahead of the review, an undertaking might be given to waive fees for the poorest children, particularly those who are looked after. Continue reading “Bishop of Ely asks Government about impact of citizenship fees on children’s welfare”