Skip to main content

Educational Attainment

Volume 682: debated on Monday 12 October 2020

What steps his Department is taking to help ensure improvement in educational attainment in each region of the UK. (907344)

My Department is committed to raising standards across the country and levelling up opportunities for all. Our £1 billion covid recovery package includes a £350 million national tutoring programme targeted at disadvantaged pupils, and we continue to invest in the growth of strong academy trusts to drive attainment in areas facing particular challenges.

In blue wall constituencies such as North West Durham and more broadly across the north of England, it is quite clear that the Government’s lifelong learning announcement will really benefit people and communities disproportionately well, helping our Government’s levelling up agenda. What assessment have the Government made of the impact on earnings of individuals who gain a level 3 qualification, rather than sticking at level 2?

My hon. Friend raises an incredibly important point, because there is so much evidence that if people have an A-level equivalent qualification, the benefits that they will have throughout their life are significant, with an increase of 10% of average earnings for those who gain that qualification. That is why our lifetime skills guarantee is so vital to ensure that people right across the country have the opportunities that we want all our constituents to have.

Educational attainment depends very much on the quality of the teachers. In Scotland, teachers must attain a specified professional standard, which is not necessarily replicated in other parts of the UK. The General Teaching Council for Scotland has raised concerns about the United Kingdom Internal Market Bill and its implications for the profession in Scotland, so will the Secretary of State agree to meet the General Teaching Council for Scotland to discuss these concerns?

My right hon Friend is right to delay the exams, as announced today. What assessment has been made of the students who missed learning over the past six months in terms of the catch-up needed for the learning they have lost, and what is the plan, if students are sent home, to ensure that they carry on learning at home online?

My right hon. Friend raises the vital point that we need to ensure that we have continuity of education. I think every Member of this House recognises the value that all children gain from being in school with their teachers and having the opportunity to learn, and that is why issuing the direction of continuity of education and ensuring that schools are held accountable for delivering education even if pupils are having to isolate at home is so incredibly important. We need to ensure that every child, whether they are in the classroom or at home, is getting the education that they require.