Questions for the Secretary of State for Education Watch

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DayneD89
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(Original post by Libertarian Party)
It has often been reported in the news about the fact that the teacher attrition rate is a cause for concern. In the Queen’s Speech the government pledged to ensure that all schools have a dedicated Mental Health representative on-site, presumably in order to address the issue of mental health problems among students only. Could the Secretary of State for Education tell the House what the government proposes to do to reduce the strain on the teaching profession and what it will do to safeguard the mental health of teachers?
(Original post by Government)
I thank the Libertarian Party for their question - a question that shows genuine concern for the currently untenable state of the education system. As will be evident in our Statement of Intent, we are highly aware of the current climate in the teaching profession - teachers, today, feel unmotivated, overworked and, put bluntly, ignored - facing unparalleled and seemingly unsurpassable worklands and, in turn, unprecedented levels of stress. This government - this Department - shall remain in full unremitting and indefatigable support and seek the fortification and consolidation of educational bursaries - as partially completed through the pragmatic actions of the Conservative Party in opposition last term - as to alleviate in part the stress and strain in regards to a systemic lack of supply. Similarly, for existing teachers, this department shall aim to remove all unnecessary bureaucracy including but not limited to risk assessment and National Curriculum Statutory Assessment Tests - tests that we, as both a government and department, no longer recognise any value in. We shall also be obligating that all teachers undergo a basic mental health awareness course to support not only their pupils but themselves - we will be offering a grace period for existing teachers to comply with said requirement.
Speakers note: Follow up question recieved too late to be included in exchange but I will put it in a poiler below. As it fell outside of this time I will neave it up to the SoS if they want to respond or not

(Original post by Labour)
You have yet comment on the recently submitted Selective Schools Bill. What are your views on schools being given the power to reject a pupil based on test results? Labour Party
(Original post by Government)
First and foremost, I urge the Right Honourable Opposition to look more carefully at the discussion apropos of their submitted bills. I did indeed ‘comment on the recently submitted Selective Schools Bill’ - I was actually 5th to do so - however, for the sake of transparency I will further delineate my position and the position of this Government on ‘selective schools’. Both the Government and myself wish to ensure that selective schools remain a central part of society. We do not believe that there should exist a single stand of education through which all must proceed through. Each and every pupil is unique - with his or her own talents, weaknesses and passions - ergo, we cannot possibly expect all pupils to conform to and unequivocally accept the same education. The talented, whether by their own accord or not, should be given the innate chance; the innate capability to experience education of a substantially elevated standard. Although I acknowledge the current implementation is far from ideal, the whole point of selective schools is to be a vehicle for social mobility - the gifted and talented from lower socioeconomic backgrounds are given the opportunity to be educated in establishments in order to receive a substantially ameliorated education - an education that would otherwise only be attainable in private institutions; an education they, ultimately, deserve. Furthermore, disregarding the concept of grammar schools, I am aware of comprehensive schools partaking in de facto selection whereby they are committed to offering places in a 25-50-25 split - 25% of places offered to high attainers, 50% to average and 25% to low attainers. The aforementioned system is highly progressive but would be outlawed were this Bill to pass. Answering more specifically your question, my Department and I believe that schools should indeed be able to reject studentsschools based on exam results - notably beyond GCSE - pertaining to the fact that were schools unable to accept or reject students based on examinations results e.g. GCSEs, said examinations would lose their inherent worth.
The floor is now upen to ask question of the SoS for education ns_2

Libertarian Follow Up
I would like to thank the right honourable member for their response and the measures they will implement to tackle the issues facing the profession. One thing that has not been mentioned, however, is the fact that teachers feel undervalued within our society. It was reported in 2015 by TES that 81% of those in the workforce felt undervalued by the wider public, a figure which increases to 91% among headteachers. Obviously, this is a complex issue, but how would the government propose to address this problem which is affecting the morale of our teachers and education professionals?
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WobblyBovine
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I apologise for my missing of your comment. I checked multiple times and somehow did not see it. However, I condemn the Secretary of State for Education for refusing to answer my question until after it was possible to submit follow-ups. If it was not your doing, then I condemn the Speaker for not allowing an exchange to take place.
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Saracen's Fez
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On a point of order, could the Speaker please explain why neither the Secretary of State JellyMilk nor I received the government's answer to the first question, from which to ask a follow-up?
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DayneD89
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(Original post by Saracen's Fez)
On a point of order, could the Speaker please explain why neither the Secretary of State JellyMilk nor I received the government's answer to the first question, from which to ask a follow-up?
Unfortunately by the time I had received the answer to the first question there was no time remaining to ask a follow up.
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ns_2
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(Original post by JellyMilk)
I apologise for my missing of your comment. I checked multiple times and somehow did not see it. However, I condemn the Secretary of State for Education for refusing to answer my question until after it was possible to submit follow-ups. If it was not your doing, then I condemn the Speaker for not allowing an exchange to take place.
(Original post by Saracen's Fez)
On a point of order, could the Speaker please explain why neither the Secretary of State JellyMilk nor I received the government's answer to the first question, from which to ask a follow-up?
I note your concerns; if it is permitted by DayneD89, I do not mind to receive a follow-up question outside of the allowed bounds - if an error or issue has occurred.
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WobblyBovine
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From where I stand, having received the previous comment from DayneD89, this appears to be a deliberate act to undermine the opposition.
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DayneD89
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(Original post by ns_2)
I note your concerns; if it is permitted by DayneD89, I do not mind to receive a follow-up question outside of the allowed bounds - if an error or issue has occurred.
You only have, as far as the house can force anyone to do anything, to answer a limited set of questions, though you are free to answer as many as you would like to
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Saracen's Fez
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(Original post by DayneD89)
Unfortunately by the time I had received the answer to the first question there was no time remaining to ask a follow up.
This is surely not on – the question was sent on Tuesday and if the Secretary of State is not able to provide an answer on that sort of turnaround (even when the Shadow Secretary of State chased it up on Thursday) then they should not be doing a question session.

I do ask that in the future the Prime Minister puts up ministers for question times who are sufficiently active to actually participate.
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CatusStarbright
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(Original post by DayneD89)
Unfortunately by the time I had received the answer to the first question there was no time remaining to ask a follow up.
I am confused here. I received government's reply to our first question from you after the deadline on Thursday evening (9.39pm when the deadline was 6pm) and I submitted our response early Friday morning. You've allowed us to have a late response, but not the Opposition. Can you explain this inconsistency?
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ns_2
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(Original post by DayneD89)
The floor is now upen to ask question of the SoS for education ns_2

Libertarian Follow Up
I would like to thank the right honourable member for their response and the measures they will implement to tackle the issues facing the profession. One thing that has not been mentioned, however, is the fact that teachers feel undervalued within our society. It was reported in 2015 by TES that 81% of those in the workforce felt undervalued by the wider public, a figure which increases to 91% among headteachers. Obviously, this is a complex issue, but how would the government propose to address this problem which is affecting the morale of our teachers and education professionals?
I, once again, thank the Libertarian Party for a salient question. As a Government and as mentioned in my first response, we are highly aware that teachers feel unmotivated, overworked and, put bluntly, ignored - facing unparalleled and seemingly unsurpassable worklands and, in turn, unprecedented levels of stress. We want to reward them for their unparalleled contributions to society.Ergo, in this Department's Statement for Intent, I will be requesting that the School Teachers’ Review Body once again produces an assessment of what adjustments should be made to the salary and allowance ranges for classroom teachers, unqualified teachers and school leaders to promote recruitment, retention and reward - pertaining to the fact that, regardless of one's political standpoint, one must acknowledge that education, when done well, is the best vehicle for social mobility - allowing those in poverty to break from the otherwise seemingly interminable cycle.

In direct response to the TES article - which I have found (https://www.tes.com/news/school-news...ty-survey-says), I wish to draw your attention to another one published just a few months afterwards (https://www.tes.com/news/school-news...iety%E2%80%99s), in which a poll reveals that "almost three quarters of the public believe that teachers are among those that contribute the most to society's wellbeing ... 73% of people feel teachers give as much to society as firefighters, with only doctors and hospital workers ranking higher." It is clear that society acknowledges the work of the teaching profession; but this acknowledgment is not being passed onto teachers who may then use it as motivation.
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Saracen's Fez
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(Original post by CatusStarbright)
I am confused here. I received government's reply to our first question from you after the deadline on Thursday evening (9.39pm when the deadline was 6pm) and I submitted our response early Friday morning. You've allowed us to have a late response, but not the Opposition. Can you explain this inconsistency?
The issue isn't that we were not allowed a late response, it's that the first time we saw the initial government answer was when it was posted in this thread tonight.
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ns_2
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(Original post by Saracen's Fez)
This is surely not on – the question was sent on Tuesday and if the Secretary of State is not able to provide an answer on that sort of turnaround (even when the Shadow Secretary of State chased it up on Thursday) then they should not be doing a question session.

I do ask that in the future the Prime Minister puts up ministers for question times who are sufficiently active to actually participate.
If your claim of a chase up by the Shadow SoS is correct, I regret to inform you that I, personally, did not receive information pertaining to said follow-up; had I done so, I would have immediately submitted my answer which was ready.

Regardless, I would be happy to answer any follow-up questions you may have.
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DayneD89
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(Original post by CatusStarbright)
I am confused here. I received government's reply to our first question from you after the deadline on Thursday evening (9.39pm when the deadline was 6pm) and I submitted our response early Friday morning. You've allowed us to have a late response, but not the Opposition. Can you explain this inconsistency?
Your late response wasn't included in the main debate either. Unfortunately I received a response to the labour question after that deadline as well so labour never got an opportunity for a second question.

As a small change to how this opperates I am considering accepting statements from parties who have waited more than 48 hours for a reply but still have remaining questions to ask. There wouldn't be time to get replies, but they could be included in the OP so they could still be answered in the thread.
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ns_2
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(Original post by Saracen's Fez)
This is surely not on – the question was sent on Tuesday and if the Secretary of State is not able to provide an answer on that sort of turnaround (even when the Shadow Secretary of State chased it up on Thursday) then they should not be doing a question session.

I do ask that in the future the Prime Minister puts up ministers for question times who are sufficiently active to actually participate.
DayneD89 - Did the Shadow Secretary of State chase it up? And if so, why wasn't I informed?
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DayneD89
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(Original post by ns_2)
DayneD89 - Did the Shadow Secretary of State chase it up? And if so, why wasn't I informed?
They did, though I was busy at the time and wasn't able to pass the message along. Ultimately it is only my responsibility to pass on questions and responses as quickly as possible.

I stray close to political waters here, but if your response was prepared it was your responsibility to send it to me and it was not my responsibility to chase it.

Edit: Having just checked my PMs I should point out that the follow up PM was outside the timeframe for this debate that I set anyway.
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ns_2
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(Original post by DayneD89)
They did, though I was busy at the time and wasn't able to pass the message along.
Thank you for confirming. JellyMilk, I apologise for any inconvenience but, as I have stated previously, I am happy to receive a follow-up question.
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WobblyBovine
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I thank the Secretary of State for pointing out my mistake, and offer my sincerest apologies. Given that the Right Honourable Gentlemen wishes to see diversity in the school system, does he believe that it should function more like a competitive market, including further academisation and expansion of free schools?
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username1751857
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(Original post by Saracen's Fez)
This is surely not on – the question was sent on Tuesday and if the Secretary of State is not able to provide an answer on that sort of turnaround (even when the Shadow Secretary of State chased it up on Thursday) then they should not be doing a question session.

I do ask that in the future the Prime Minister puts up ministers for question times who are sufficiently active to actually participate.
If the Shadow Educations Secretary sent a question as you claim this is the fault of the Speaker. He needs to make it clear with this new arrangement of Minister’s Questions what time he will reject answers/questions. As far as I know there was ample time for Labour to send a follow-up.

I always confirm with Secretaries if they are able to do it. I wouldn’t try using this situation to suggest inactivity when the Education Secretary is quite active and capable of answering questions. You should probably worry about your Shadow Justice Secretary’s activity who couldn’t even ask a follow up...
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WobblyBovine
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(Original post by CoffeeGeek)
If the Shadow Educations Secretary sent a question as you claim this is the fault of the Speaker. He needs to make it clear with this new arrangement of Minister’s Questions what time he will reject answers/questions. As far as I know there was ample time for Labour to send a follow-up.

I always confirm with Secretaries if they are able to do it. I wouldn’t try using this situation to suggest inactivity when the Education Secretary is quite active and capable of answering questions. You should probably worry about your Shadow Justice Secretary’s activity who couldn’t even ask a follow up...
There was a clear deadline, and there was ample time. But what am I supposed to follow up on, if I’m not given an answer?
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ns_2
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(Original post by JellyMilk)
I thank the Secretary of State for pointing out my mistake, and offer my sincerest apologies. Given that the Right Honourable Gentlemen wishes to see diversity in the school system, does he believe that it should function more like a competitive market, including further academisation and expansion of free schools?
Firstly, I wish to apologise for any misconceptions and inconveniences caused pertaining to the submission of questions. In response to your question, put bluntly, no. Although, both the Government and my Department do, indeed, wish to see diversity in the school system and do acknowledge the need for the general augmentation and amelioration of the education system, one must be aware that diversity does not entail competition. We are fervently against competition per se in the education system pertaining to the inevitable engenderment of divisions. As will be detailed in our Departmental Statement of Intent, it is our belief that schools should work together; schools should not be competing against each other - in the expectant hope that one fails, goes bankrupt or is forced into special measures. Linking back to my first response in regards to our opinions on selective schools and applying it to this question, selective schools and comprehensive schools do not have to be in competition as they cater to two different groups - these schools ought to work together to more appropriately and assiduously support each other as to, on a national level, ameliorate the standard of education and end the postcode lottery once and for all.
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