Worcester MP Robin Walker spoke today at Prime Minister’s Questions to highlight to the Deputy Prime Minister, and to the whole House, the work of his fellow Education Select Committee member Flick Drummond MP with her Children not in school (register) Bill.
Robin is passionate about ensuring that every child has the opportunity to benefit from the UK’s world-class education, which has recently been ranked as 4th best in the entire world and the best in the western world. While the Education Select Committee, which Robin chairs, is currently consulting on persistent absence and support for disadvantaged pupils the committee has made previous recommendations to the Government on how to tackle this issue in the interim.
Mrs Drummond MP’s Ten-minute rule bill would introduce a “children not in school” register so there is a framework to monitor children which are not in the education system. This would improve the ability of local authorities, like Worcester City Council, to undertake their safeguarding responsibilities more effectively and ensure that children who are not in mainstream education are receiving a suitable education. On this basis, Robin was happy to support the bill and to highlight its benefits at Prime Minister’s questions.
Today Robin asked:
“It is truly excellent news to see England rising up the international league tables for reading to become the highest performing country in the western world. That’s testament to the hard work of our teachers and the dedication of our Honourable Friend for Bognar (Nick Gibb MP) to follow evidence-based policy. But this progress will only be sustained if children are in school regularly and able to learn. So can I strongly commend to him and to the Government the Ten-minute rule bill presented by my Honourable Friend for Meon Valley (Flick Drummond MP), it has cross-party support, delivers on key recommendations of the Education Select Committee and the Children’s Commissioner. The Government should adopt it as soon as possible.”
The Deputy Prime Minister, Oliver Dowden, replied:
“My Honourable Friend is absolutely right to highlight those brilliant figures which show that we’ve now jumped to the 4th best in the whole world for reading, and I certainly see in schools that it’s much more demanding than it was in my day, and that’s tribute to the ministerial team who have done such a fabulous job. I will of course examine the details of the Ten-minute rule bill to which he refers.”