|Learning And Skills Bill [H.L.] - continued||House of Commons|
|back to previous text|
Amendment to the Employment Rights Act 1996
205. Paragraph 22 amends the definition of further education in section 63A of the Employment Rights Act 1996 (Right to Time Off for Study or Training) by removing the reference to Schedule 2 to the Further and Higher Education Act 1992 which is to be repealed by this Bill. Schedule 2 is currently used, in conjunction with the definition of further education in the Education Act 1996, as a means of identifying those persons who are ineligible for time off for study or training because they are in full-time further education. It limits the scope of the definition to courses listed in Schedule 2. This is no longer necessary. It is intended that the regulations, under section 63A, (Right to Time Off for Study or Training Regulations, 1999) (SI 1999/ 986) which define the standard of achievement and awarding bodies for the purposes of the right to time off will be amended to refer to the qualifications approved under clause 88.
Amendments to the Education Act 1996
206. Paragraph 24 repeals the duty LEAs have in respect of further education (see 'Local Education Authorities' section of the Background set out at the beginning of these Notes). Paragraph 23 is consequential to this change. Paragraph 25 gives LEAs the power to provide part-time provision for 16 to 18 year olds, including those outside their areas, in addition to their current power to secure full-time provision for this age group.
207. Paragraph 26 ensures that LEAs have powers to provide education and training to any individual from the age of 19 in their areas and beyond their areas.
208. Paragraph 27 amends section 408 of the Education Act 1996. Section 408 enables regulations to be made to require maintained schools, the LEA, governing body or headteacher to provide information on a range of matters such as the curriculum used in the school. The amendment will ensure that information can be required about the arrangements for qualifications described in clause 88(5) and approved for use by those under 19 and the courses leading to them.
Amendments to the School Inspections Act 1996
209. Paragraphs 28 to 30 amend the School Inspections Act 1996 so as to provide that the functions of the Chief Inspector for Wales regarding the inspection of schools; the registration of inspectors; the arrangements for schools' inspections; and inspections by registered inspectors do not apply in relation to her new remit in this Bill.
210. Paragraph 31 amends the School Inspections Act 1996 so as to require an inspector making a report about a school which provides sixth form education to send a copy of that report to the LSC (for schools in England) or CETW (for schools in Wales).
Amendment to the Education Act 1997
211. Paragraph 32 amends section 44(3)(a) of the Education Act 1997. The effect of this will be to reduce from 18 to 16 the age at which young people, about whom a school or FE institution is proposing to disclose information to a careers adviser, are entitled to prevent the disclosure taking place, if they so wish. Currently, it is the parents of young people under the age of 18 who may prevent such disclosure. This amendment is in keeping with the similar provision in clause 106 in respect of disclosure of information to persons working for or with the new support service for young people. As it is intended that Careers Service advisers will have a key role in the new service, it is important that these provisions on disclosure of information are consistent.
Amendments to the School Standards and Framework Act 1998
212. Paragraph 33 provides that, where a school's sixth form or a 16 to 19 institution is inspected as part of an area-wide inspection, an adverse report will trigger the same powers of intervention by the local education authority and the Secretary of State or National Assembly as similar reports after other types of inspection.
213. Paragraph 34 amends section 19(2) of the 1998 Act (which lists those bodies the Secretary of State or the National Assembly should consult before directing an LEA to close a school on special measures) by adding, in respect of schools providing post-16 education, the LSC or the CETW. This reflects the fact that the LSC and CETW will have primary duties at clauses 2 and 31 in respect of education and training provision for 16 to 18 year olds.
214. Paragraph 35 amends section 26 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 in order to put beyond doubt that the school organisation plan must include the LEA's intentions with regard to their provision of secondary education for children over compulsory school age. The present wording of section 26 could be construed as applying only to the duties of LEAs - which do not, and will not, extend to post-16 secondary education - and not to their powers to make such provision.
215. Paragraph 36 adds a new section 26A to the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 so that in England the schools planning process in future takes account of the plans published by the local LSC for the area. Under section 26 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998, every LEA must prepare annually a school organisation plan which sets out how the authority proposes to secure the provision of primary and secondary education for their area over a five year period. In particular, the plan should state how the authority proposes to remedy any excess or shortfall of places and what provision they intend to make for pupils with special educational needs. Under the Education (School Organisation Plans) (England) Regulations 1999, the school organisation plan in England is considered by the school organisation committee for the area, comprising the main local partners in the provision of education. If the committee is not able to reach unanimous agreement on the plan, it is passed to a schools adjudicator for consideration. In future, the local LSC's plan for post-16 provision must be taken into account by the LEA in preparing the school organisation plan and by the decision-makers in considering it.
EFFECTS OF THE BILL ON PUBLIC SECTOR FINANCES
216. The proposals in the Bill for the new LSC will require it to assume many of the responsibilities conducted by the FEFC, which will be dissolved, and TECs, whose licences will be terminated. As a result of the changes, the Government expects to secure administrative savings of at least £50 million per annum which will be invested in improving the quality of learning. In the short term this saving will be abated by costs arising from winding-up existing arrangements and establishing the new bodies. The current estimate of the transition costs of establishing the LSC and ALI over the next two years is between £60 and £65 million. These costs include the development of new IT systems, premises and a significant investment in staff training and development. There are also likely to be some restructuring costs in the DfEE and Government Offices for the regions. In 2000-2001, £25 million will be made available to meet the start up costs of the LSC. The remaining costs will be met from the savings made and from reprioritising other work.
217. Additionally, in future, local authorities will no longer receive funds for sixth forms and adult education through the Standard Spending Assessment, but from the new Learning and Skills Council. This is a change in the means by which public funding is allocated and the Government does not expect it to have any consequences for the level of public expenditure.
218. The proposals in the Bill give the Secretary of State new powers to provide services which support youth participation in education, i.e. the service to be known as the Connexions Service. The resources for this provision will come from the co-ordination of existing resources which are devoted to support and guidance services for young people. It is estimated that between £400 and £500 million is currently spent each year on these activities. The Government is also considering what additional funding will be needed and can be made available as part of its Year 2000 Spending Review.
219. The proposals in the Bill extend the duties of the Office for Standards in Education (OFSTED) by adding the inspection of provision in FE colleges for people up to the age of 19 and remove its duty to inspect further education made by local education authorities under section 15 of the Education Act 1996. Overall this will lead to some additional expenditure on OFSTED. It is not yet possible to provide an accurate estimate.
220. It is proposed that the new Adult Learning Inspectorate (ALI) should assess the quality of provision for adults and all work-based training, in place of inspection work currently managed through the Further Education Funding Council and the Training Standards Council. It will also take on the duty of inspecting further education provided by local authorities which is being removed from OFSTED. Overall the expenditure on inspection as a result of the Bill is not expected to rise substantially.
221. The Bill also proposes that a new National Council for Education and Training is established in Wales. This will bring estimated accrued savings in public expenditure of around £7.5m by 2003-2004. It is too early to provide an accurate estimate of the extent of the transitional costs of putting in place the new arrangements. New inspection arrangements are also proposed in Wales which will extend the functions of Estyn and there will be some additional public expenditure on this service. It is too early to provide a firm estimate. New arrangements to support youth participation in education are likely to require some additional public expenditure. Again, it is too early to provide an accurate estimate.
EFFECTS OF THE BILL ON PUBLIC SERVICE MANPOWER
222. The LSC and ALI will be non-departmental public bodies. Their staff will not be civil servants but will be paid out of public funds by the Secretary of State. The LSC and ALI are likely to employ a total of around 5000 staff. There will be an increase in the number of staff employed in the public service because some of the activities of the LSC and ALI were formerly conducted by private companies. Overall, it is likely, however, that the new arrangements will lead to a reduction by between 15% and 20% in the total number of staff, funded by public money, employed to administer post-16 education and training
223. The National Council for Education and Training for Wales will be an Assembly-sponsored public body. Its staff will not be civil servants but will be paid out of public funds by the National Assembly for Wales. As in England, there will be an increase in the number of staff employed in the public service. However, the new arrangements in Wales are likely to result in a reduction in the total number of staff funded by public money by at least 15-20%.
SUMMARY OF REGULATORY APPRAISAL
224. The Regulatory Impact Unit (RIU) in the Cabinet Office has been consulted and are content that these proposals will not impose a significant new burden on business or voluntary groups. The RIU does not require a regulatory impact assessment or statement.
225. The Bill is to come into force in accordance with one or more commencement orders made by the Secretary of State. Provisions relating to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland will come into force in accordance with separate commencement orders. Current plans are that the LSC and the CETW will take up the majority of their functions from April 2001.
EUROPEAN CONVENTION ON HUMAN RIGHTS
226. Section 19 of the Human Rights Act 1998 requires the Minister in charge of the Bill in either House of Parliament to make a statement, before Second Reading, about the compatibility of the provisions of the Bill with the Convention rights (as defined by section 1 of that Act). David Blunkett, the Secretary of State for Education and Employment, has made the following statement:
Bibliography of Relevant Documents
GLOSSARY OF TERMS AND ABBREVIATIONS
Commentary on Schedules 1 to 6 and Schedule 9 can be found within the Commentary on Clauses at the clause number listed in the final column.
Commentary for Schedules 7 and 8 can be found at the end of Part V.
There is no commentary on Schedule 10.
|© Parliamentary copyright 2000||Prepared: 27 March 2000|