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MS-09 - Education F...
 
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MS-09 - Education Funding  

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General Goose
(@general-goose)
Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 362
20/06/2019 11:52 pm  

Mr Speaker,

This government is proud of its investment record in education. We have lifted the pay cap on teacher pay and more than doubled the pupil premium. Beyond this, we have made several targeted investments in education that are already delivering tangible boosts to the quality and efficacy of our schools. The government has, in both its budgets, provided increases to education funding above the means of inflation, allowing schools and teachers the leeway and the resources needed to embark on important priorities.

The purpose of this ministerial statement, then, is to inform the House on progress here and solicit further constructive debate. This is an issue, I think, where there is considerable cross party cooperation and with good reason. I invite all throughout the House to engage with this debate in a similarly constructive tone.

Key to our educational philosophy has been ensuring that no child is neglected, that every child is given the support needed to nurture their talents, pursue their passions, and achieve a decent standard of living in the future. This is the logic behind the pupil premium, providing a guarantee of opportunity and resources for every child, equipping headteachers with the flexibility they need to help provide all students with a decent education. In the last government, my party pioneered this concept and secured its introduction - and with both parties in the coalition committed to the pupil premium, we have already more than doubled it and are on track to spend £5 billion on it by the end of parliament. This is also why we have guaranteed that there is extra funding, above the rate of inflation, for addressing special educational needs.

Several subjects have been identified by the government as being areas where further investment is needed. We believe in the importance of both vocational and creative subjects, necessary for nurturing all manner of talents and fostering the skills our workers will need to prosper in the 21st century, and the importance of these subjects have been emphasised as we have increased funding. We have also ensured that some of the increased funding goes towards improving history education - for a knowledge of our past is to the betterment of our future - and foreign languages - essential in a globalising world. We have also boosted civics education, creating better informed citizens who are better aware of both their rights and their responsibilities in a democratic nation.

Physical education is important too, both for individual health and betterment and for the public health of society as a whole. That is why we have developed a “Sports and Schools” initiative, promoting friendly competition and training opportunities in a variety of sports and athletics disciplines, bringing together the local community in celebrations of young talent.

Life skills, too, are often neglected at school. We have provided funds for measures to rectify this, equipping schools to teach life skills. We are talking here about issues such as financial literacy, navigating the reams of paperwork that adult life often involves, dealing with a job interview, first aid. As part of this programme, physical and mental health wellbeing will be taught.

In expanding sex and relationship education, we have sought to provide every student with the necessary information needed. This includes proper education on safe sex, so young people are aware of how to prevent unwanted pregnancies and the spread of STIs. This includes proper education on consent - so young people are all taught that affirmative consent is always needed, that consent can be withdrawn at any time, that coercion and manipulation makes consent impossible. This includes teaching our children that there are all manner of healthy relationships and family structures and that everyone, no matter their situation, is entitled to the same rights and protections under the law. We have strived to do this in a manner where the appropriate experts, rather than politicians, decide on issues such as age appropriateness and the content of lessons.

In addition to this, the wellbeing of students has always been a priority of this government. This is reflected by higher school budgets - where I must draw attention to how the pupil premium has helped provide personalised tutoring and dedicated resources to the most vulnerable students - and the government's increased funding for free breakfasts and lunches. It is also reflected by dedicated, specific investments made in our two budgets. We have set up a school trip relief fund, a means-tested allowance to help students gain access to school trips and opportunities where previously financial restraints might not have permitted this. We are rolling out a programme of providing free contraception products - for students over 16 - and free sanitary products in our schools, doing this in a way to minimise any awkwardness or embarrassment that might come from procuring such products. Family finances should never be a barrier to good health in childhood.

A supportive school environment requires a strong and healthy natural environment too - that is better to learn in, better to relax in, better to play games in and enjoy one’s childhood. That is why we have also appropriated funds to helping all schools have access to parks or playing fields that merit a “Green Flag Award”, as a nationwide target, with access to lessons in horticulture, agriculture and wildlife management and conservation as a follow-up target.

The health and wellbeing of our students entails special attention being paid to mental health. In addition to our life skills classes, which will place a premium on mental health and wellbeing both in oneself and others, we are trialing new mental health policies in our school. We aim to have access to counselling services for all students, providing teachers with access to training courses that allow them to be cognizant of mental health and to spot mental health issues in the student body. Funds already appropriated are a down payment on this goal. It synchronises well with our dramatic investments in public health and mental health within the NHS.

Mr Speaker, our children and grandchildren will be taking up jobs and entering workplaces that we cannot even fathom right now. They will be addressing challenges we don't even know about. This is why we cannot just teach kids to memorise facts - we must develop character, resilience, social and emotional intelligence, a capacity to learn and innovate and create that no machine or automaton can ever rival. Mr Speaker, this government is investing boldly and proactively to ensure that the workforce of tomorrow is equipped to thrive in the workplace of tomorrow, and the citizens of tomorrow can help our democracy prosper as it faces uncertain challenges. The foundation of this vision is to provide children with a safe and nurturing learning environment. Mr Speaker, our work here has only started, but this government has the vision and drive to see it through.

Graham Adiputera (Lib Dem - Sutton and Cheam)
Deputy Prime Minister
Liberal Democrat Leader
Foreign Secretary
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Climate Change
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Technology

Parliamentary - 36
Media - 53
Policy - 48


Quote
Anita Redmond
(@anita-redmond)
MP for North Somerset
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 58
25/06/2019 6:16 pm  

Mister Speaker, 

 

I'd like to thank the Education Secretary for his statement and commend him for the efforts made thus far - we can likely all agree that education is a priority and anything which benefits our children is a step in the right direction. 

The Education secretary rightly points out that no child should be left behind, and meeting of their needs is critical to ensure this. Therefore, the one-size-fits-all system once employed by successive Governments is no longer applicable, nor effective - this includes for those who are not academically minded who are all too often written off by the system as 'disruptive' or even 'stupid'. Practicality is part of what makes our industry grow and work, and in turn helps teach other life skills other than how to pass exams and run finances. You cannot and should not squeeze a square peg into a round hole. Will the Education Secretary therefore agree with me that a new system to support those with difficulties in academia be developed to instead concentrate on specialist support for areas such as reading, writing, and basic life skills, whilst focusing more strongly on their abilities for practical work, much needed and hugely under supported in today's manufacturing industry, to ensure they are not left behind, but equally reduce our reliance on external and foreign supply of skilled workers to meet the ever-growing demand for these skills? I recognise the increased funding for vocational skills, but I would appreciate further details on how this will be used to deliver on it, rather than frittered away, and will this funding be ring fenced to ensure it isn't spent elsewhere if the system is not utilised on a school-by-school basis?

With this in mind, I also applaud the Government's proposal for life skills, but believe that once again there should be consideration for those who cannot deal with paperwork be realised when teaching, so that their time is not wasted, but equally nor is the teacher's. If we really are to walk away from 'one-size-fits-all', we must start to enact it via a credible system, starting now.

Mister Speaker, without a doubt sexual education is a growing concern amongst all of us. It is crucial that proper education be held in schools to prevent the spread of Sexually Transmitted Diseases, but also to ensure the importance of consent, as the Education Secretary rightly points out, that includes clarifying that every person, boy or girl, has the right to say no, and mean it. However, I do raise some concerns at the issuing of contraception in schools - Mister Speaker, I appreciate what the Government are trying to do in curbing teenage pregnancies, however I believe it is not the place of an educational establishment to be issuing contraceptive and sanitary products - however well-meaning the intention. Schools are a place of learning and have a number of different faiths, beliefs and cultures, and such actions can inadvertently affect any and all of these factors. I hope that when the change should come, the Government instead looks at teachers instead being able to recommend through to a GP or doctor, rather than issue such items themselves. I think it important in keeping a clear distinction between education, and health, in the same way as we train teachers to recognise mental health issues, but not deal with them - after all they are not doctors or therapists.

Education is an ever-changing, ever-growing aspect of Government responsibility, but it is also one which must cater for many different skills, abilities, faiths, and backgrounds. I therefore appreciate the Government's continued updates, but hope that they will work with us and the house to ensure that the move forward on education is inclusive and right for our future generations.

Rt. Hon. Anita Redmond MP
Conservative Member of Parliament for North Somerset
Shadow Education Secretary
Shadow Minister for Women & Equalities

Former Home Secretary (2014)
Total Experience: 65
Parliamentary: Novice (25)
Media: Novice (29)
Policy: Unknown (11)


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General Goose
(@general-goose)
Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 362
27/06/2019 10:00 am  

Mr Speaker,

Firstly, on a point of philosophical agreement, I can agree with the Right Honorable Member for North Somerset that, yes, a one-size-fits-all solution to education has been tried and it has, I think, failed, and that for some students a vocational or practical focused skillset is more worthwhile. We have made steps towards adopting the reforms that she speaks of - in addition to the increased funding for vocational skills, increased funding for life skills lessons and the flexibility associated with increased pupil premium spending will all help promote the goals that she speaks of, in such a way that allows local schools to pursue such policies in a way that is most in keeping with the economic realities and vocational opportunities in their area. Could we do more? Yes, certainly, and it is my hope that the resources will be available to further increase spending in these areas as time goes. In response to her question, the school grants I speak of under this section are all appropriately ring-fenced. 

As to the comments on life skills education, we are providing resources for the personalisation that is required there and we are, of course, encouraging these lessons to be, at the school level, adopted and implemented in keeping with the ethos of personalisation and practical improvements that motivates them at the governmental level. 

Regarding the issues surrounding sanitary and contraceptive products, I think it is very important that students all have access to these important health products in a way that is free from shame, free from violations of privacy, free from any risk of outside pressure. We are not, I can clarify, requiring teachers to be involved in the provision of these services themselves or asking them to adopt any role giving advice or support that they are not trained or prepared for. Adding a requirement that such changes require referral through a teacher is, I think, counter to much of the spirit motivating these changes and will diminish the good effects that result. We are instead distributing them through means of a network of confidential health clinics exclusively for school-children. 

Graham Adiputera (Lib Dem - Sutton and Cheam)
Deputy Prime Minister
Liberal Democrat Leader
Foreign Secretary
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Climate Change
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Technology

Parliamentary - 36
Media - 53
Policy - 48


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Dan
 Dan
(@dan)
Member A-team
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 139
30/06/2019 11:39 am  

Order!

The House shall now move onto other business.

Dan

A-Team


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Dan
 Dan
(@dan)
Member A-team
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 139
30/06/2019 12:03 pm  

Result

Labour

I'll refer you to this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bop4rr6sUQo

Conservatives

Great response from Shadow Education Secretary Anita Redmond, puts Adiputera through his paces.

1 + Parliament Redmond

Lib Dems

Again, well defended. You own the policy and start to make the major player in Government look a bit daft.

1+ Parliament Adiputera

 

Conservative/LD Draw (on the basis i can't decide)

Dan

A-Team


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