Schools and education

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.

As the birthplace of the industrial revolution, Dudley is proud of its heritage, but we need economic stability to deliver a prosperous future. Will the Prime Minister come to launch the new enterprise zone in Brierley Hill and look at how we can attract more investment, create new jobs and develop the highly skilled workforce that our community needs?

 

David Cameron (The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party)

Mike Wood: Is it the shadow Minister’s party’s policy to retain existing academies? We are a little confused as to where it currently stands on the issue of the academy system.

 

Nicholas Dakin (Shadow Minister (Education))

Mike Wood: Does my hon. Friend agree that extending the system of finance so that more part-time and postgraduate students can receive funding is helping social mobility and providing greater opportunities for people who would otherwise not be able to have access to higher or postgraduate education?

 

James Cartlidge Conservative, South Suffolk

I thank
the right hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle (Alan Johnson) and my hon. Friend

Mike Wood: What steps the Government is taking to give parents a greater say in access to holiday and wrap-around care.

 

Sam Gyimah The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

Mike Wood: What assessment have the Government made of the need for greater capacity post-16 for special educational needs such as at the excellent new Pen’s Meadow post-16 facility in Pensnett, which I had the honour of opening on Friday?

 

Nicholas Boles The Minister for Universities and Science, Minister of State (Department for Business, Innovation and Skills) (Jointly with the Department for Education)

Mike Wood: What steps he is taking to increase the number of cadet units in schools.

 

Julian Brazier The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence

Mike Wood: Does the Minister share my concern that schools that wish to convert to academy status, such as Bromley Pensnett school in my constituency, are finding a series of obstacles being put in their way by the local authority? Will he ensure that the Bill stops local authorities blocking the improvements that are urgently needed to turn around the schools that need the most support?

 

Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education)

Mike Wood: Too many families in Brierley Hill and Wordsley in my constituency are unable to secure places at local schools. What plans do the Government have to meet demand for places in Dudley South?

 

Sam Gyimah The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

Mike Wood: Given the shadow Secretary of State’s welcome commitment to improving schools as quickly as possible, can he tell us whether his recent agreement would bring about those improvements more quickly or more slowly?

 

Tristram Hunt Shadow Secretary of State for Education

Mike Wood: Does the hon. Gentleman agree that there is a real need for greater and better capacity in vocational education for children with special educational needs, particularly for 14 to 19-year-olds?

 

Ian Austin Labour, Dudley North

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