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Huw Irranca-Davies: Will the Minister tell us briefly why, after three years of repeated consultations by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Home Office, he has been unable to persuade any of the outside organisations, including the police, the Royal College of Nursing, the CWU and others, that his proposals are right? Is he telling me that he is going into the Committee stage with a closed mind? If so, we might have to object.

Mr Browne: What I am telling the hon. Gentleman is that we believe the dog control notices provide the right protection. This is a serious issue and there are serious proposals in the Bill to strengthen the protection for the public. We are bringing forward the extension for protecting the public in private areas, as well as in public spaces.

It was very moving when the hon. Member for Liverpool, Wavertree (Luciana Berger) gave a roll call of the victims of dangerous dogs. I pay tribute to the hon. Member for Bolton West (Julie Hilling) for the moving speech she made on behalf of her constituent, Jade Lomas Anderson. We are looking better to protect people who have the potential to be victims of dangerous dogs. I am pleased that the proposals for assistance dogs were widely welcomed.

I look forward to debating all these issues and more in Committee. The rights of victims should be at the heart of our deliberations. I have no doubt that the true mark of the Bill’s success will be fewer victims, fewer communities blighted by antisocial behaviour, and fewer victims of gun crime and forced marriage. This is an important Bill and I am pleased that it has broad support across the House. I commend the Bill to the House.

Question put and agreed to.

Bill accordingly read a Second time.


Motion made, and Question put forthwith (Standing Order No. 83A(7)),

That the following provisions shall apply to the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill:


(1) The Bill shall be committed to a Public Bill Committee.

Proceedings in Public Bill Committee

(2) Proceedings in the Public Bill Committee shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion on Tuesday 16 July 2013.

(3) The Public Bill Committee shall have leave to sit twice on the first day on which it meets.

Consideration and Third Reading

(4) Proceedings on Consideration shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion one hour before the moment of interruption on the day on which those proceedings are commenced.

(5) Proceedings on Third Reading shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion at the moment of interruption on that day.

(6) Standing Order No. 83B (Programming committees) shall not apply to proceedings on Consideration and Third Reading.

Other proceedings

(7) Any other proceedings on the Bill (including any proceedings on consideration of Lords Amendments or on any further messages from the Lords) may be programmed.—(Nicky Morgan.)

Question agreed to.

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Queen’s recommendation signified.

Motion made, and Question put forthwith (Standing Order No. 52(1)(a)),

That, for the purposes of any Act resulting from the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill, it is expedient to authorise the payment out of money provided by Parliament of:

(1) amounts ordered to be paid in respect of loss incurred in consequence of prohibition of access to premises;

(2) payments by the Secretary of State in respect of the Police Remuneration Review Body; and

(3) any increase attributable to the Act in the sums payable under any other Act out of money so provided.—(Mrs May.)

Question agreed to.


Motion made, and Question put forthwith (Standing Order No. 52(1)(a)),

That, for the purposes of any Act resulting from the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill, it is expedient to authorise:

(1) the charging of fees under the Act; and

(2) the payment of sums into the Consolidated Fund.— (Mr Jeremy Browne.)

Question agreed to.

Business without Debate


Motion made, and Question put forthwith (Standing Order No. 118(6)),


That the draft Children’s Hearings (Scotland) Act 2011 (Consequential and Transitional Provisions and Savings) Order 2013, which was laid before this House on 11 March, in the previous Session of Parliament, be approved.—(Nicky Morgan.)

Question agreed to.



That Mr David Amess, Mr David Anderson, Bob Blackman, Jane Ellison, John Hemming, Mr Marcus Jones and Ian Mearns be members of the Backbench Business Committee.—(Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, on behalf of the Committee of Selection.)


Mr Speaker: With the leave of the House, I shall take motions 7 to 10 inclusive.



That Sandra Osborne be discharged from the Defence Committee and Derek Twigg be added.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

That Thomas Docherty be discharged from the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee and Mrs Emma Lewell-Buck be added.

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That Steve Baker be discharged from the Transport Committee and Jason McCartney be added.

Work and Pensions

That Mr Aidan Burley be discharged from the Work and Pension Committee and Mike Freer be added.—(Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, on behalf of the Committee of Selection.)

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Young People (Barnsley Central)

Motion made, and Question proposed, That this House do now adjourn.—(Nicky Morgan.)

10.1 pm

Dan Jarvis (Barnsley Central) (Lab): It is a great pleasure to speak in tonight’s debate on an issue that is extremely important for Barnsley and the country.

In these times of austerity, there is huge pressure on my constituents, including young people. This is a tough time to be growing up. Barnsley is a great place to live and raise a family. It is an exciting place to work and a good location to set up a business. It is a place to build a life. It is a town with a proud history and what should be a bright future, and the young people of Barnsley Central are key to unlocking our town’s potential. Prospects for young people are uncertain, however, and many are concerned that we risk wasting a generation of talent.

There is no shortage of talent among young people in my constituency. I see this in the Barnsley youth choir, which will perform a concert later this month alongside the world-famous Hungarian Aurin choir; at Carlton community college, where four pupils were recently awarded the prestigious Diana anti-bullying award in recognition of their commitment in tackling bullying; and at Holy Trinity school, which I visited on Friday and met some outstanding pupils. I felt privileged to meet Calum Barnes, Alex Haycock, Alexandra Ryan-Moss, Callum Mitchell, Jessica Knowles, Eleanor Coles, Lucy Towers and Tariro Munega. I came away inspired by their ambition.

I know from my time in the Army that young people can and will do the most amazing things. I have seen at first hand young people demonstrating outstanding courage, professionalism, dedication and commitment, but the potential that young people possess must be encouraged, cultivated and celebrated. Developing young people’s potential ensures not only that every individual feels valued in society, but that the UK has a bright future. Young people must be given the chance to make this future a reality, however, and my concern is that the Government run the risk of letting this wealth of potential fall by the wayside by failing to put policies in place that protect young people from the worst effects of the economic crisis.

Although I intend to focus this debate on young people’s education and training opportunities, it is important to understand the context of the challenges facing young people at the beginning of their lives. The beginning of a child’s life should be filled with hope and happiness. Instead, children and their parents face real financial challenges, at an already difficult time. In 2011, the Prime Minister assured the House that

“The money for Sure Start is there, so centres do not have to close.”—[Official Report, 2 March 2011; Vol. 524, c. 295.]

However, the budget has been cut by a third, and there are now 400 fewer centres nationally compared with May 2011. In my constituency there has been a significant reduction in funding, with a cut of £6.9 million since 2010. The Prime Minister also promised “a major step forward” on child care in the recent Budget. In reality, many families are set to lose up to £1,560 a year, at a time when wages are stagnating.

Recently I visited Darton college, a brand new Building Schools for the Future school, like all the secondary schools in Barnsley. There I met some hugely talented

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students who were researching the impact of child poverty. Like me, they were struck by the statistics. Twenty-two per cent of children in Barnsley Central live in poverty—a completely unacceptable figure in this day and age—so children and their parents need all the support we can give them. By supporting them in their early years, we can provide families with a stable emotional and financial platform from which they can get the best possible start in life.

I would like now to focus this debate directly on education and training opportunities for young people in Barnsley Central. I acknowledge that some of the issues I will raise sit outside the Minister’s brief and are the responsibility of other Departments. Although I do not expect the Minister to respond on all these matters, I would like to make it clear that they affect education policy and are relevant to the debate.

Everyone deserves the best possible start in life, and equal access to a high quality education should provide this. After all, education is the key to success. Young people have a range of options open to them when they reach further education, from the study of A-levels and BTECs to apprenticeships and other vocational courses, but the Government are making it harder, rather than easier, for young people to access further and higher education. The decisions to abandon the education maintenance allowance, treble tuition fees and remove the Barnsley-inspired future jobs fund have delivered a triple whammy for young people in Barnsley Central hoping to get on the career ladder. Consequently, the number of young people in my constituency in further education is falling. In 2011-12, 8,600 young people from Barnsley Central started a further education course of one kind or another. This was 400 fewer than in 2010-11 and 1,400 fewer than in 2009-10.

Proposed reforms to the way in which A-levels are studied also threaten the future prospects of some of our young people. The restructuring of exams to make assessment linear rather than modular is likely to affect the provision of education and skills needed by young people in later life. I believe we must encourage children to develop skills in school that will enable them to adapt and respond to situations and opportunities they will face in life, not simply to regurgitate remembered facts for an exam—facts that are quickly forgotten. Surely we should be equipping our young people with a more rounded and flexible education, which will better prepare them for the modern work place, rather than resorting to the old “exam conveyor belt” system in an attempt to boost league tables.

Sarah Champion (Rotherham) (Lab): Last week I visited Newman school, which is a special needs school. I was struck by the vigour with which the school encourages young people to be empowered to have a voice and take an active role in society. Does my hon. Friend agree that these are also skills that children need?

Dan Jarvis: I am grateful for my hon. Friend’s intervention. It brings me on neatly to what I was about to say about the impact of some of the Government’s proposed reforms on special schools, which also echoes the point she has just made. I have two such schools in my constituency: Greenacre and Springwell. Both are excellent, well-led schools, with hugely committed teachers.

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I share the concern of my hon. Friend and many others about the impact of some of the Government’s reforms on the delivery of education, particularly in the context of assessment and examination in special schools. I am sure the Minister would agree that we must do all that we can to support young people with disabilities and additional needs.

The educational opportunities open to young people in Barnsley Central include an outstanding tertiary college. In the words of the Ofsted inspectors,

“Barnsley College provides an inspirational resource for the Barnsley community and a transformational one for many learners.”

However, I believe that, in order to create a level playing field for post-16 schools and colleges, we need to remove the basic funding differences. One issue that has been debated by Members in this House is the fact that the entitlement to free school meals in schools and academies does not extend to colleges. Another significant difference is that colleges have to pay VAT out of the money they receive for teaching and learning. The principal has informed me that if Barnsley college was treated the same as an academy for VAT, he would have around £1 million a year more to spend on teaching students.

Barnsley college also has a successful programme of encouraging community groups and school-age children to use its new building in the evenings and at weekends. The latest addition to this programme will be additional classes in English and maths, held on Saturday mornings. The principal has informed me, however, that he cannot grow that valuable work any further because Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs regards teaching children in colleges as a business use, and he will run the risk of receiving a huge bill if he tries to grow classes or activities for the community beyond their current level.

It seems reasonable that parents and politicians should be able easily to compare the performance of post-16 provision in schools and colleges. To enable this to happen, there needs to be a level playing field in the production of the data in the Department for Education league tables. We must also ensure that Ofsted applies the same standards and judgments to all post-16 providers, including the awarding of a clear separate grade at inspection for school and academy sixth forms. May I ask the Minister or a ministerial colleague to write to me about these specific issues relating to Barnsley college?

Leaving school or college is a time of fresh challenges and tough decisions for our young people. Those pupils who opt to go to university will face the daunting prospect of high tuition fees. Those young people who feel they cannot afford to do so face missing an opportunity to further their study. The rise in tuition fees has also had a significant impact on the number of young people applying to university. According to the latest figures from UCAS, university applications are down for a second year running—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker: Order. It is a long-established convention in this place that when someone is making a speech in an Adjournment debate, they are heard with courtesy and in silence. I ask the hon. Member for Suffolk Coastal (Dr Coffey) to observe that convention. If she does not feel able to do so, she can leave the Chamber.

Dan Jarvis: Thank you, Mr Speaker.

The figures for students in England show a drop of 6.5% from 2012. The coalition’s decision to raise tuition

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fees has made it even harder for young people, particularly those from less well-off backgrounds, to gain access to higher education.

The focus of this debate is on young people, but it is important to reflect for a moment on the huge contribution that teachers make to supporting them. It is a truism to say that we never forget a good teacher. I know that leadership in schools is hugely important, and in my constituency, we have some great head teachers, including Simon Barber at Holy Trinity, Neil Hutchinson at Carlton community college, Dave Whittaker at Springwell, Sue Hayter at Greenacre, Sharon Rossedes at Darton college, Nick Bowen at Horizon—just over the boundary in the neighbouring constituency—and Colin Booth, the principal of Barnsley college. I have also been inspired by many other teachers I have met, including Mat Wright, Phil Evans, Kathryn Smith, Leanne Crowther, Sharon Stacey, Steve Iredale, Kate Davies, Vicki Bruff, Eleanor Wright and many, many more.

However, the truth of the matter is that many, if not most, teachers feel undervalued. Many have told me how low morale is, and many have shared with me the fact that they struggle to sleep at night because of the pressure of the job. I recently received a letter from a maths teacher. He told me that over half his colleagues had considered leaving the profession last year. He said:

“The attacks on pay, pensions and conditions of service are without precedent...I feel angry. I feel undervalued, and as though I am a scape goat for the ills of society”.

What can the Minister say to him and the countless thousands of others in the teaching profession who feel like that? Will he come to Barnsley to meet teachers to discuss these matters and education more generally?

I want briefly to say something about apprenticeships and other vocational routes.

For too long, people have focused on the 50% who go to university; now it is time to focus on the other 50%—the forgotten 50%. For too long, politicians have viewed vocational and academic education in silos, leading to a focus on the latter at the expense of the quality and status of the former. Approaching further education as a whole will allow the benefits of both forms of learning to be experienced by a greater number of young people, offering a broader and richer education, better suited to the needs and the challenges of a modern economy because today’s apprentices face very different challenges.

Many young people can expect to go through several career changes in their lifetimes, requiring them to possess a more flexible and adaptable skill set. These new challenges demand a co-ordinated and hands-on approach from Government, as well as from figures in the business and education sectors.

Julie Hilling (Bolton West) (Lab): Does my hon. Friend agree that the downgrading of careers advice given to young people has contributed to some of the difficulties faced by young people not always knowing which is the best route for them, when they are not encouraged either to stay in education or to take up apprenticeships. That lack of good career guidance is detrimental to their future prosperity and health.

Dan Jarvis: I am grateful and completely agree with my hon. Friend. The decision young people make about their future career destinations is an incredibly important

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one. It can make such a difference if they are able to receive helpful and useful careers advice in tandem with other advice that they receive from schools.

The vast bulk of additional apprenticeship places created by the Government have come in the post-25 age range, with an increase of some 367%, but the latest figures show that 69,600 16 to 18-year-olds started an apprenticeship in 2012-13 compared to 79,100 in the previous year—a drop of over 12%. Those in the 16-to-25 category risk being left behind. Our country and the town I am proud to represent are clearly in need of fresh initiatives aimed at addressing youth unemployment, and it is my constituency that is helping to lead the way in the fight against youth unemployment.

Jim Shannon (Strangford) (DUP): Does the hon. Gentleman agree that initiatives could be used to encourage more young women to enter into apprenticeships, which is one of the markets waiting to be developed?

Dan Jarvis: I absolutely agree, but time is running short, so I must mention briefly an initiative in my constituency.

The Minister may recall that I have written to him about the “Barnsley apprenticeship pledge”—a pilot scheme pioneered by Barnsley college, which is working in partnership with nine of Barnsley’s major public and private sector employers to ensure that 2.5% of their work force are apprentices. Schemes such as the pledge not only provide skills for young people, but provide businesses with the opportunity to expand and tailor a work force that meets their needs.

Finally, I would like to touch briefly on the issue of youth unemployment. Despite the recent figures showing that overall unemployment is going down, the job market for young people is still extremely difficult. Youth unemployment continues to climb with a growing number of NEETs—those not in education, employment or training. According to the latest figures for my constituency, the number of people claiming jobseeker’s allowance is, at 7.4%, still higher than in May 2010. With 900 JSA claimants aged 18 to 24—a figure up from this point in 2011—youth unemployment continues to remain a serious problem in Barnsley.

The Government’s answer to youth unemployment was to introduce the Youth Contract, aimed at providing training and skills. However, the Youth Contract has been ineffective, and has failed significantly to gain employers willing to support the scheme. Fewer than 6,000 young people have been helped into permanent jobs—just 3.4% of young people on the Work programme. Those left behind are often people who are desperate for work, want to earn a living, get on the housing ladder, start families and contribute to our town—but there are simply not the jobs available.

This is a tough time to be growing up. There are genuine concerns about the need to ensure that young people secure the right education, training, apprenticeships and academic opportunities. My concern is that we are running the risk that the talents of thousands of our young people will go to waste. That is why we must talk up the importance of raising aspirations among young people. Research findings have shown that low aspirations are related to poor academic attainment and professional achievement—and that is an all too common trend in times of austerity. We must therefore take every single

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opportunity to encourage, inspire, persuade and, when necessary, cajole the young people in our constituencies to get on and realise their ambitions, hopes and dreams.

I urge the Minister and the Government to do all that they can to support the young people in my constituency and throughout our country, so that they can be given the best possible start in life. After all, they are the future of the country.

10.20 pm

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Skills (Matthew Hancock): It is a great pleasure to respond to the debate, not least because, as the hon. Member for Barnsley Central (Dan Jarvis) told us, the beginning of life is full of hope. I strongly agree with him about the need for and the benefits of aspiration and about the duty that we all have to encourage and strengthen it, and to support those who need nurturing as well as challenging those who are ready to rise to the challenge. Indeed, I agreed with much of what he said.

Let me now bring the hon. Gentleman up to date on some developments that he may consider to be in the spirit of support for Barnsley. He can help me, and help the Government, by telling his constituents about offers that can promote the very ambitions and goals that he has described.

Youth unemployment is undoubtedly a challenge throughout the country. It has been rising for far too long—its slow and sclerotic rise began in 2004—but, thankfully, it is now falling, and in Barnsley 210 fewer people aged between 18 and 24 are unemployed than a year ago. As the hon. Gentleman said, 900 are still unemployed, but that is the lowest figure for the last five years, and the figure is falling year on year. Things are moving in the right direction. While 900 young unemployed people are obviously 900 too many, make no mistake: we are focusing four-square on dealing with the problem, as the hon. Gentleman is urging us to do. The Youth Contract, which he mentioned, has helped about 6,000 people in Barnsley, and I think that, given the youth unemployment figure of 900, the ratio is pretty good.

The hon. Gentleman mentioned apprenticeships. The 75% increase in the number of apprenticeships over the last two years to more than 1,300 is very welcome. I pay tribute to Barnsley college, not only because, as the hon. Gentleman said, it is an outstanding further education college that does a huge amount of work for Barnsley and for the whole community, but because its success rate in apprenticeships is 96%—higher than the 74% national success rate. It is outstanding in terms of its Ofsted grade, but also in terms of results.

The town of Barnsley also benefits from being represented by a strong advocate, and there are areas of agreement between the hon. Gentleman and me. The first issue on which we agree is the need for more employer engagement in education. Young people need to be prepared not just for an academic future—important though that is—but for a life in work. They need to understand what work is: to understand not only its benefits but how to engage in it. It is crucial for social mobility that we help everyone to understand what it takes to get a good job, and to hold down a job or an apprenticeship.

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I also of course agree on the need to support disabled people and people with additional learning needs in Barnsley and across the country. I agree strongly with the hon. Gentleman about removing funding disparities. Our funding reforms for those aged between 16 and 19, which come into force this September, remove the system that was in place for 10 years or so, whereby funding was applied per qualification. That meant that those who took a lot of qualifications, who tend to be the best educated, ended up getting more funding for their education from 16 to 19, and those who did fewer qualifications got less funding. People in full-time education who were doing, say, one or two BTECS, equivalent to one or two A-levels, would be funded at about half the rate of a very bright pupil doing five A-levels. That was wrong. We have changed that so that every pupil will be funded according to the same formula, with the same basic rate, with adjustments so that those from disadvantaged backgrounds have slightly more. There are other alterations for those taking particularly expensive courses. However, the fundamental point is that we fund per pupil from 16 to 19. I hope that the hon. Gentleman supports that change.

The hon. Gentleman mentioned the issues of VAT and free school meals, both of which I recognise. On free school meals, we need to be careful what we wish for. Schools have a duty to provide free school meals to sixth formers, but they do not get funded for it. If colleges asked for the duty and we were to be fair and have a level playing field, we would give them the duty without giving them the funding for it. I am not sure that that is exactly what he is calling for. We give a bursary to support the most disadvantaged 16 to 19-year-olds, including some in Barnsley, who need additional support, including for school meals.

What the hon. Gentleman said about Saturday morning lessons in English and maths was interesting. I strongly agree with him that English and maths are crucial. All the evidence shows that, as well as being academic skills, they are the two most important vocational skills. I will look into what he said about Ofsted and see what the circumstances were. Of course, Ofsted is independent.

I agree with the hon. Gentleman strongly on another aspect: the importance of data, the league tables and the need for the tables to be on a level playing field. We need to show not only exam results in an equal way for different types of provider, but the various destinations that people go to. Exams are important but they are a means to an end. It is about what proportion of people get an apprenticeship, what proportion of people go to university, how many get into work and how many go on to further study. We are committed to bringing that richer, more detailed destination data into the public domain. I hope that he welcomes that.

There are some areas where we do not have a disagreement of purpose, but we do have a disagreement in terms of what the Government are doing. I agree with the hon. Gentleman about the importance of early years and of everyone getting a good start in life. Indeed, the Government are bringing in the offer for two-year-olds and extending the age range for the most disadvantaged two-year-olds to ensure that they have support to help them to get a good start.

I agree about the phrase “The forgotten 50%”, which we hear almost as an apology from some Labour Members. They have not been forgotten by us. The introduction,

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strengthening and development of the apprenticeship proposal is vital in ensuring that everyone gets a good start. We have made it clear that we want to see a new norm—that young people, when they leave school, go, of their own choice, either to a university or into an apprenticeship. Our job in government is to ensure that high-quality offers for each option are available, and higher apprenticeships in particular show that, if one goes into an apprenticeship, one can progress all the way through. I again heard at the weekend the Labour shadow Secretary of State saying he agreed with the 50% target for universities, but that can unwittingly push people into the wrong choices for them.

Finally, on the point about linear rather than modular exams, I entirely agree with the hon. Gentleman about education not being just a conveyor belt of exams, but modular exams are more of a conveyor belt. We saw last summer the difficulties that a modular system can get our education system into. Linear exams are precisely about testing people on what they have achieved at the end of their studies, rather than constantly asking them to learn for another exam and another exam, and to learn information just so long as they can get through

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the exam and the module. Instead it is about imbuing people with a deeper sense of what that knowledge conveys.

The drive for rigour and reform in our education system is something that progressive Members on both sides of this House ought to support. They ought to support it whether there are tight budgets or not, and whatever the reasons for those tight budgets are.

I hope the hon. Gentleman will look at the answers I have given about the apprenticeship programme, the new traineeship programme coming in in August, and the rising standards we are driving through in schools and colleges in Barnsley and across the country, and will reflect to his constituents not only that things are indeed tough but are getting better, but also that there is a great offer from a Government who are determined to support young people and to ensure that youth unemployment falls every year.

Question put and agreed to.

10.31 pm

House adjourned.