APPG Chair Stephen Twigg MP, Ellie Reeves MP and Henry Smith MP asked questions about the learning crisis and global education in this week’s questions to the Department for International Development. MP for Lewisham West and Penge Ellie Reeves spoke about her recent meeting with the Send My Friend campaigners in her constituency and asked the Department to fund the Global Partnership for Education. See below for the questions and answers in full.

Stephen Twigg Chair, International Development Committee: Last week, the Select Committee on International Development published our first report of the Parliament on global education. I urge the Government to respond soon to our recommendation that we should fully fund replenishment of the Global Partnership for Education and to make that announcement as early as possible.

Rory Stewart: Minister of State (Department for International Development) (Jointly with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office): We will be announcing the refresh of our education policy early next year. The key thing, on which we agree absolutely with the Select Committee, is to drive up the quality of education. Attendance is right up, but far too many children are coming out entirely illiterate.

Ellie Reeves Labour, Lewisham West and Penge: I recently visited young Send My Friend to School campaigners at Sydenham School in my constituency. They spoke with great passion about the need for global education and why greater financing for education matters to them. What action will the Secretary of State take to ensure that this Government listen to those young people and show leadership by increasing funding for education through the Global Partnership for Education?

Alistair Burt Minister of State (Department for International Development) (Jointly with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office): We were and are the largest founder contributor to the Global Partnership for Education. With 387 million children expected to leave primary school unable to read, there is no doubt that the continuing efforts of the United Kingdom, along with others in the partnership, are important. As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State said earlier, we will publish a refreshed education strategy early in the new year. The hon. Lady can be sure that strengthening education systems around the world, and supporting teachers and children who may be marginalised through missing out on education, will be key parts of that.

Henry Smith Conservative, Crawley: I recently visited some schools in Africa where, in classrooms of more than 100 pupils, those with special educational needs, right at the back, had very little chance of accessing education. How will my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State—I congratulate her on her new position—prioritise disability support in education in developing countries?

Penny Mordaunt The Secretary of State for International Development:  I thank my hon. Friend for raising this subject, which is very close to my heart. He will not have long to wait—perhaps it will be a matter of hours—for my first announcement on how the DFID budget will support disability.

Photo: Parliament UK website