Mike Wood: My hon. Friend is absolutely right. It is fantastic news that special educational needs and autism are finally part of initial teacher training. Does she agree that, to make a really big difference, we need to ensure that autism training is a core part of continuing professional development for teachers, so that we can get it into all classrooms?
Mike Wood: The Secretary of State referred to the welcome increase in the number of girls doing STEM subjects at A-level. What measures will the Government take to increase the number of girls choosing careers that require STEM subjects?
Justine Greening (Minister for Women and Equalities, The Secretary of State for Education)
Mike Wood: As we have heard, it has been 12 months since the Scottish Government were defeated, and they are still at the consultation stage, whereas in the four weeks since the House expressed a view on the two motions in question, the Government have announced a policy change on the level of next year’s tuition fees, and they have announced different terms of reference for the public pay review bodies. The Government have done exactly what the hon.
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