I regularly meet the Secretary of State for Education to discuss school funding. We are providing a £1 billion package to help students catch up on lost learning, and that sits alongside the £100 million to boost remote education and the additional £7.1 billion of core funding for schools that we announced at the 2019 spending round.
I know that my right hon. Friend enjoyed his time in Stoke-on-Trent during winter last year, but he will also know that, sadly, the area of Stoke-on-Trent, Kidsgrove and Talke is ranked in the bottom 20% of the social mobility index. Sadly, we are also well below the national averages in both young and old taking up courses at levels 3 and 4. Will he set out the steps that the Department is taking to support further education? Does he agree that post-16 providers, such as Stoke-on-Trent Sixth Form College, play a vital role in levelling up opportunity and upskilling and retraining both young and old, enabling them to be better off than those before them?
As a former teacher, my hon. Friend speaks with great authority on such issues. I absolutely agree that a strong post-16 education system is vital to our recovery. That is why we have applied a range of flexibilities to the usual funding arrangements, and the Department for Education has set out further details.