Schools and education

Continually making sure our schools are properly funded by supporting their bids for new funding to give our children the best possible start in life.

I should like to add my congratulations to the hon. Member for Birmingham, Edgbaston (Preet Kaur Gill) on a fine maiden speech. Many of us remember her predecessor with much fondness.

Mike Wood: Parents in Dudley South will welcome the offer of 30 hours of free childcare. With the scheme being rolled out across the country, will the Minister confirm how many applications for places have now been made?

 

Robert Goodwill Minister of State (Education)

Certainly, 216,384 parents have secured a code. Of those, as I have said, 71% have already found a place, and no doubt more are finding additional places this week.

Mike Wood: I declare an interest: my wife is a primary school teacher who is currently working as a teaching assistant.

Will the Chief Secretary ensure that both the rising cost of living and recommendations of the independent pay review bodies are properly taken into consideration in the setting of public pay policy for next year’s settlements?

 

Elizabeth Truss The Chief Secretary to the Treasury

Mike Wood: All Members will have their own examples of mental health casework. Often, those constituents will have attended an advice surgery or sent an email for help about a different problem entirely. It could be housing; it could be employment or welfare; it could even be a problem involving the criminal justice system. But it soon becomes clear, after a few questions and a little bit of probing, that the underlying problem is one of undiagnosed—or unsupported—mental illness.

Mike Wood: Perhaps the shadow Secretary of State could shed a little light on her own policy by responding to a question that has been asked in most of these debates but never properly answered. Would a Labour Government abolish existing grammar schools?

 

Angela Rayner Shadow Secretary of State for Education

It is a pleasure to follow so many distinguished speakers this afternoon. In particular, I would like to add my agreement to the arguments put forward by my hon. Friend
the Member for Filton and Bradley Stoke (Jack Lopresti) and my hon. and gallant Friend

Mike Wood: Could the hon. Lady explain why it is right for my constituents to be able to go to a grammar school in Birmingham but not to be able to go to a grammar school in Brierley Hill, because there is no existing provision there?

 

Angela Rayner Shadow Secretary of State for Education

In my contribution, I hope to explain exactly why we need to move away from selection and towards inclusion in our education system.

Mike Wood: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department is taking to support library provision.

 

Rob Wilson (The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport):

Mike Wood: Coventry University, Birmingham City University and the University of Wolverhampton recently launched a partnership to bring together their applied research and training expertise. Will the Secretary of State ensure that the measures in the Bill to implement Paul Nurse’s recommendations support such innovative collaboration, so that, as she says, the public investment in our research can add up to more than the sum of its parts?

 

Mike Wood:  I am proud to be a governor at Halesbury School, which has become a specialist autism school where more than a third of pupils have autism, many undiagnosed when they join the school. I am grateful to the deputy head, Amanda Appleby-Payne, for the insight she offered ahead of this debate.

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