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Written Answers — Department for Education: Free School Meals: Immigrants (24 Nov 2020)

Vicky Ford: We are working with departments across government to evaluate access to free school meals for families with no recourse to public funds. In the meantime, the extension of eligibility will continue with the current income threshold until a decision on long-term eligibility is made. At present, data is not available regarding the take up of free school meals by no recourse to public funds...

Written Answers — Department for Education: Question (23 Nov 2020)

Vicky Ford: Ensuring the adoption system is effective is a top priority for this government, and I am determined to tackle the bureaucracy and inefficiencies that can prevent children who need a stable, loving forever home from finding one quickly. I want to make sure that enough adopters are recruited for the children who need them, that they are matched swiftly to children and that they are properly...

Written Answers — Department for Education: Question (23 Nov 2020)

Vicky Ford: We announced on 24 August 2020 that local authorities will continue to receive supplementary funding for their maintained nursery schools for the whole of the 2020-21 academic year. The department has regular discussions at official and ministerial level about all aspects of the education system for the forthcoming spending review. We are committed to funding for maintained nursery schools...

Written Answers — Department for Education: Children and Young People: Mental Health Services and Social Services (23 Nov 2020)

Vicky Ford: The department has been working closely with local authorities to assess the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on children’s services, including any increases in demand, setting up dedicated regional teams that are in frequent contact. We are monitoring referrals to children’s services via our regional teams and via the Vulnerable Children and Young People survey, which collects data...

Written Answers — Department for Education: Pre-school Education: Coronavirus (23 Nov 2020)

Vicky Ford: I refer the hon. Member for Bolton South East to the answer I gave on 20 November 2020 to Question 114782 to my right hon. Friend, the Member for Bexleyheath and Crayford.

Written Answers — Department for Education: Pupil Premium: North of England (23 Nov 2020)

Vicky Ford: We are committed to levelling up opportunities to make sure everyone has a fair chance to realise their potential and no one is left behind. The pupil premium furthers this objective by helping schools improve the academic attainment and wider outcomes of pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds. Since the pupil premium was introduced in 2011, it has provided more than £18 billion of additional...

Written Answers — Department for Education: Pre-school Education: Coronavirus (23 Nov 2020)

Vicky Ford: Parent and pre-school children classes and groups need to meet necessary exceptions to continue during the November 2020 national restrictions. Where these are held in Ofsted registered settings, they should follow government guidance on the COVID-19 outbreak for early years and childcare providers. This is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid...

Education: Childcare Provision (23 Nov 2020)

Vicky Ford: We have made an unprecedented investment in childcare of £3.6 billion this year. Childcare settings have been prioritised for reopening, childcare bubbles have reduced pressure on working parents, and from next Easter, disadvantaged children will be able to take part in our holiday activities and food programmes all across the country.[Official Report, 24 November 2020, Vol. 684, c. 5MC.]

Education: Holiday Activities and Food Programme (23 Nov 2020)

Vicky Ford: Rolling out the excellent holiday activity and food programme for children across the country will mean that even more children will benefit from free healthy meals and enriching holiday activities. We have already written to all the local authorities with guidance. We will work closely with them, including sharing best practice from our pilot programmes, and we are appointing a national...

Education: Free School Meals: No Recourse to Public Funds (23 Nov 2020)

Vicky Ford: This Government are completely committed to free school meals, and no Government have ever been more generous with entitlements, extending eligibility to all infants and disadvantaged children in further education. But throughout the pandemic we also extended eligibility to groups with no recourse to public funds, and we continue to work across Government on longer-term eligibility for these...

Written Answers — Department for Education: Adoption (20 Nov 2020)

Vicky Ford: The department assess and address barriers to increasing adoption numbers on a regular basis. One barrier has been in recruiting the right adopters for the children waiting. To address this, the government is investing £1 million in adopter recruitment during the 2020-21 financial year, with a focus on generating an increase in people of all backgrounds coming forward to adopt children who...

Written Answers — Department for Education: Adoption (20 Nov 2020)

Vicky Ford: The department does not hold information on the number of all children in England who are adopted. The latest figures on the number of children in England who have been adopted from care are published in table H1 of the statistical release, entitled ’National tables: Children Looked after in England including adoptions 2018-19’, which is available here:...

Written Answers — Department for Education: Education: Care Leavers (20 Nov 2020)

Vicky Ford: Providing care leavers with the support they need to access educational opportunities that will allow them to reach their potential is one of my main priorities. We have already:Launched 3 care leaver social impact bonds (£5 million over 4 years), which use ‘payment by results’ contracts to support care leavers into education, employment or training.In August 2018, introduced a £1,000...

Written Answers — Department for Education: Care Leavers (20 Nov 2020)

Vicky Ford: I am committed to doing all I can to support our young people leaving care and ensure that turning 18 years old isn’t the ‘cliff edge’ it can be seen as. Since 2014, local authorities have been under a duty to provide financial support to enable young people in foster care to remain living with their former foster family to age 21 in a Staying Put arrangement. The department is...

Written Answers — Department for Education: Children: Social Mobility (20 Nov 2020)

Vicky Ford: Social mobility is a top priority across the department. Every child should have the same opportunity to express their talents and make the most of their lives. Evidence shows that what happens in children’s earliest years, before they start school, can have a huge influence on later outcomes. That is why the department has committed over £60 million to programmes to improve early language...

Written Answers — Department for Education: Residential Care Leadership Board (20 Nov 2020)

Vicky Ford: The Residential Care Leadership Board is no longer being convened because the board’s remit of responding to recommendations made in Sir Martin Narey’s 2016 Review of Residential Children’s Care, has been successfully completed. The department is taking steps to ensure that we draw on sectoral expertise through a range of different forums to address current issues affecting the sector,...

Written Answers — Department for Education: Schools: Mental Health Services (20 Nov 2020)

Vicky Ford: We know that the COVID-19 outbreak has had impact on children and young people’s wellbeing and mental health. That is why we are working on a range of support packages to ensure support is provided for all those who need it, without diverting funding from elsewhere. It is important for schools and colleges to have the freedom to decide what support to offer pupils based on their particular...

Written Answers — Department for Education: Pre-school Education: Coronavirus (20 Nov 2020)

Vicky Ford: We are continuing to fund childcare at the same level as before the COVID-19 outbreak, until the end of the calendar year, giving nurseries and childminders another term of secure income, regardless of how many children are attending. Early years settings will continue to benefit from a planned £3.6 billion funding in the 2020-21 financial year to deliver free early education and childcare...

Written Answers — Department for Education: Special Educational Needs: Finance (19 Nov 2020)

Vicky Ford: As a part of our major investment in education, the department has announced significant increases to high needs funding. This year, we have already provided an £780 million increase into high needs, which will be followed up by an additional £730 million in the 2021-22 financial year. This means that the high needs budgets will have grown by over £1.5 billion, nearly 25%, in just 2 years....

Written Answers — Department for Education: Pupil Premium (19 Nov 2020)

Vicky Ford: We are monitoring the eligibility for free school meals (FSM) and the pupil premium as part of the normal policy making process. We will collect definitive information on the number of pupils who are eligible for FSM at the October school census. We are committed to levelling up opportunities to make sure everyone has a fair chance to realise their potential and no-one is left behind. The...


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