Education Select Committee to investigate social justice and ‘productivity’

Written by: Pete Henshaw | Published:

Social justice and “productivity” will be among the priorities for the new-look House of Commons Education Select Committee.

The agenda for the current Parliament has been agreed after the committee met for the first time under its new chair Robert Halfon MP.

Mr Halfon has said that school funding, GCSE reform and outcomes for disadvantaged children will also be subjects for scrutiny in the coming months and years.

The House of Commons Select Committees monitor the policy, administration and spending of government departments. The Education Committee scrutinises the work of the Department for Education and its associated arm’s-length bodies, including Ofsted.

The committee is investigative rather than legislative and it sets its own programme and chooses subjects for inquiries. The new-look committee consists of 11 backbench MPs – five Conservative MPs including the chair, five Labour and one SNP.

Mr Halfon said there would be further announcements about new inquiries in the coming weeks and the committee has confirmed it will be holding “early hearings” with the secretary of state for education, Justine Greening, Ofsted chief inspector Amanda Spielman, and Ofqual’s chief regulator, Sally Collier.

Mr Halfon MP said: “Social justice and productivity will be at the heart of our work on the Education Committee over this Parliament.

“How our education system helps to improve young people’s lives and puts them on the ladder of opportunity will be placed front and centre of our programme of work.

“We have agreed to look carefully at a number of subjects spanning higher education and value for money, the quality of Apprenticeships training and sub-contractors, public examinations and the life chances of children excluded from school.

“I’m pleased we will have an early opportunity to hear from the secretary of state on the work of the Department, including on school funding, this year’s changes to GCSEs and the implementation of the 30 hours’ entitlement to free childcare for three and four-year-olds.

“I am particularly keen to question the secretary of state on what the government is doing to improve the educational outcomes for children from disadvantaged backgrounds.”


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