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 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 16th July 2019 in the House of Commons Emma Hardy MP (Lab) asked an urgent question to the Secretary of State for Education on whether “he will make a statement on what steps he is taking to counter misinformation about the content of relationship education in schools”. The Second Church Estates Commissioner, Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP, asked a follow-up question:
Dame Caroline Spelman: The Church of England, the largest provider of primary education, fully supports this updating of the guidance. As the Minister says, it has not been updated for the past 20 years, and childhood has changed greatly during that time. Does the Minister agree that one of the imperatives for this change must be to protect pupils and keep them safe in the complex online world that they inhabit? My heart goes out to the children caught up in all this.
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On 3rd July 2019 the Earl of Clancarty asked the Government “what support they are giving to people suffering from asthma, including on access to medicines”. The Bishop of Carlisle, Rt Revd James Newcome, asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of Carlisle: My Lords, given the recent report of an upsurge in acute asthma attacks among schoolchildren at the start of each school year, and given that—as we have already heard—there are three deaths per day from asthma in the UK, many of them preventable, what plans do Her Majesty’s Government have for encouraging better health education regarding the seriousness of this disease?
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On 19th June 2019 the Economic Secretary to the Treasury (John Glen) made a statement on supporting people in problem debt. The Second Church Estates Commissioner, Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP, asked a follow-up question:
Dame Caroline Spelman: I welcome this statement and the Government going beyond their original manifesto commitment. It gives me a chance to thank my citizens advice bureau, which has done fantastic work on debt rescheduling during my 22 years as an MP.
Does the Minister welcome the Church of England’s initiative to teach financial literacy in its primary schools, and would he encourage rolling out such an approach to prevention more widely?
Continue reading “Caroline Spelman highlights Church schools works in teaching financial literacy”
On 21st May 2019 Baroness Janke asked the Government “what steps they are taking to address the concerns raised by teachers in, and the findings of, the survey on child poverty published by the National Education Union on 14 April.” The Bishop of Winchester, Rt Revd Tim Dakin, asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of Winchester: My Lords, in a recent poll of teachers in England, 46% reported that holiday hunger had increased over the last three years. In my diocese, in Southampton alone 37% of children—many of whom are in working families—are living in relative poverty; that is, below the 60% median income line. Despite what she has already said, can the Minister give assurances that the Government will commit to reviewing their policies to reverse the rise in child poverty?
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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?
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On 25th February 2019 the Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Revd Steven Croft, responded to a Ministerial statement on Government proposals for draft regulations and guidance for relationships education, relationships and sex education, and health education. The Bishop welcomed aspects of the draft guidelines and asked about the provisions to teach about online safety:
The Lord Bishop of Oxford: My Lords, I thank the Minister for the repetition of the Statement and for the guidelines. The Church of England’s chief education officer has in particular welcomed the stronger impetus on teaching faith perspectives relevant to people of all faiths and none, irrespective of the kind of school that they attend, which is key to combating religious prejudice. I underline the concerns raised by noble Lords about resourcing.
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On 21st February 2019 Lord Bassam of Brighton asked the Government “whether they intend to reconsider recent changes to access to free school meals following their decision to delay the roll out of Universal Credit.” The Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, asked a question on the two-child limit:
The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, the two-child limit means that welfare reforms weigh particularly heavily on families with three or more children. What assessment have the Government made of the consequence of changes to free school meals that are set to impact on children with more than one sibling? Does the Minister agree that this policy will effectively harm children from large families through no fault of their own? Continue reading “Bishop of Durham asks Government about impact of two-child limit on access to free school meals”
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”