|Education Bill [HL] - continued||House of Commons|
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Clause 54: Inspection of independent schools
115. This clause introduces Schedule 8 which contains consequential amendments of the Education Act 2002 relating to the inspection of independent schools.
Schedule 8: Amendments relating to inspection of independent schools
116. This Schedule contains a number of amendments to existing legislation, resulting from the removal of the category and responsibilities of 'registered inspectors' in England, which has a consequential impact on sections 163 and 164 of the Education Act 2002. This Schedule preserves the powers to inspect registered schools as currently set out in section 163 and rights of entry and related supplementary responsibilities in section 164. However, in amending these provisions, it also substitutes separate provisions for England and for Wales, to allow for the fact that in Wales, the role of registered inspector will continue, whereas in England it will cease.
Clause 55: Inspection of careers services in Wales
117. This clause makes new provision extending the remit of the Chief Inspector for Education and Training in Wales in relation to the inspection of careers services in Wales. Under section 8 of the Employment and Training Act 1973 the Assembly is under a duty to secure the provision of a careers service to certain persons receiving education, and under section 9 of that Act it has the power to provide careers services for others. The Assembly has made arrangements under section 10 of that Act to provide careers services in Wales. These are provided by a number of careers companies, limited by guarantee, which together make up Careers Wales. Although it is an all-age service its work is primarily directed towards provision of careers advice and guidance for young people and, in particular, young people aged 14-19 in education and making choices about learning and career options.
118. Careers services provided by the companies which form Careers Wales are currently inspected by the Chief Inspector for Education and Training in Wales under section 35 of the Teaching and Higher Education Act 1998. However these inspection arrangements are out of step with all other areas of inspection in Wales, particularly since the introduction of a new Common Inspection Framework from September 2004 by Estyn, and the existing legislation provides the Chief Inspector with only limited powers. In particular inspections of careers services can only be carried out at the Assembly's request.
119. The provisions in this clause will ensure that careers services in Wales are subject to a similar system of inspection as other education and training within the Chief Inspector's remit.
120. Clause 55 requires the Chief Inspector to inspect persons providing or arranging the provision of careers services in Wales at intervals which will be prescribed by regulations to be made by the Assembly.
121. Subsection (2) places a general duty on the Chief Inspector to keep the Assembly informed about the quality of the careers and related services provided in Wales.
122. Subsection (4) provides a power for the Assembly to make regulations governing the interval between the inspections of careers service providers.
123. Subsection (5) requires the Chief Inspector to provide the Assembly with such advice as requested on careers services in Wales, and, when asked to do so by the Assembly, to inspect any careers service provider.
124. Subsection (6) provides that the Chief Inspector may, of her own accord, give advice to the Assembly on matters relating to the provision of careers services or arrange for a careers services provider to be inspected at any time.
Clause 56: Inspection of services related to careers services in Wales
125. This clause makes new provision replacing that made under section 35A of the Teaching and Higher Education Act 1998 in relation to the inspection of education, training or advisory services provided by persons providing careers services, i.e. "related services" provided by careers companies in Wales. These related services are provided under arrangements made by the Assembly under section 2 of the Employment and Training Act 1973, or with the funding made available under section 12 (1) of the Industrial Development Act 1982.
126. Subsection (2) places a new general duty on the Chief Inspector for Education and Training for Wales to keep the Assembly informed about the quality of any such related services provided by persons providing careers services in Wales.
127. Subsection (3) requires the Chief Inspector to inspect these related services at intervals to be prescribed by regulations to be made by the Assembly.
128. Subsection (4) requires the Chief Inspector, when asked by the Assembly, to provide advice on the provision of these related services in Wales and to inspect any provider of these related services.
129. Subsection (5) provides that the Chief Inspector may, of his own accord, give advice to the Assembly on matters relating to the provision of these related services or arrange for the provider of any such services to be inspected at any time.
Clause 57: Inspections under clauses 55 and 56
130. This clause makes new provision, setting out the procedures for inspections in Wales under clauses 55 and 56. Such inspections have to be carried out by HMI or an additional inspector, in accordance with Assembly instructions or guidelines. Provision is made for rights of entry for inspectors, including rights to inspect records and documents and to take copies as required for the purposes of an inspection. Subsection (5) provides that it is an offence to obstruct an inspector or a person assisting him. Subsections (7) and (8) detail arrangements for the preparation of inspection reports.
131. Subsections (9) and (10) provide a new regulation-making power for the Assembly. In these regulations the Assembly will be able to require a person inspected under clauses 55 or 56 to prepare a written statement in response to an inspection report, and to set out matters to be covered in the statement, the timescale for its preparation and publication arrangements.
Chapter 7 - Supplementary
Clause 58: Inspection of computer records
132. This clause re-enacts section 42 of SIA 1996 without change. It allows any person engaged in the activities within Part 1 of the Bill reasonable access to computer records and associated materials and to inspect such records and materials.
Clause 59: Combined reports
133. This clause applies to inspections carried out under:
134. Subsection (2) allows for the reports of inspections carried out under two or more of the above mentioned provisions to be produced as a combined report. This provision gives the Chief Inspectors for England and Wales and others responsible for making inspection reports the flexibility to merge two or more reports into a single report.
135. Subsection (3) ensures that, where combined reports of different types of inspection are made, any legal requirements as to the publication or distribution of a report that apply to the different inspections apply equally to combined reports. Subsection (4) makes provision for the Chief Inspector for England (or for Wales) to publish combined reports in any manner he considers appropriate, but makes clear that this does not override any duties as to publication in other legislation.
Clause 61: Further amendments relating to school inspection
136. This clause introduces Schedule 9, setting out amendments to existing legislation as a consequence of the changes to categorisation of schools causing concern set out in clause 44.
Schedule 9: Amendments relating to school inspections
137. This Schedule contains a number of amendments to existing legislation which are consequential on the new inspection provisions and the removal of the current categorisation of a school with serious weaknesses and the introduction of the new significant improvement category. At present the Secretary of State, the Assembly and local education authorities have intervention powers in relation to a school with serious weaknesses, enabling them to add additional governors, take back a school's delegated budget or to provide for a governing body to be replaced with an interim executive board; in addition, the Secretary of State or the Assembly has power to direct a local education authority to obtain advisory services. The Schedule enables these powers to be exercised in relation to the new significant improvement category.
Clause 62: Power of Assembly to change inspection framework for Wales
138. This clause provides a new order-making power giving the Assembly flexibility to make changes to primary legislation to adjust elements of the inspection system in Wales. This will enable the Assembly, should it so wish, to mirror the approach being taken forward in England, either in part or in full.
139. Provisions in relation to school inspection in Wales in this Bill mainly re-enact existing provisions in SIA 1996, with minor amendments. In Wales a new inspection system was introduced under a Common Inspection Framework by Estyn, in September 2004. The Framework is underpinned by secondary legislation made by the Assembly. In addition, Estyn has issued guidance on notice of inspection, the role of self-evaluation and matching the scale of inspection to need.
PART 2: SCHOOL ORGANISATION
140. The following definition occurs in the notes in relation to Part 2:
141. Under existing legislation, local education authorities are required to invite proposals for new schools in circumstances where there is a need for an additional secondary school. The provisions in this Part extend this requirement to all circumstances where statutory proposals are needed to establish a new secondary school, whether as an additional school or as a replacement for one or more existing schools.
Clause 64: Proposals not requiring consent of Secretary of State
142. This clause amends existing legislation to exclude from section 28 of SSFA 1998 proposals for maintained secondary schools (and middle schools catering for pupils up to at least the age of 16) from those that may be published by local education authorities and promoters.
Clause 65: Publication of proposals with consent of Secretary of State
143. This clause inserts new section 28A into SSFA 1998 to provide for the publication of statutory proposals for new secondary schools (including middle schools catering for pupils up to at least the age of 16) by local education authorities and other persons ("promoters") with the consent of the Secretary of State. The principal provisions of the new section are as follows:
Clause 66 and Schedule 10: Proposals for new secondary schools in England and proposals under clause 66 for establishment of secondary schools: supplementary
144. This clause provides that a local education authority in England may publish a notice inviting proposals for the establishment of a secondary foundation or voluntary school or an Academy. Subsection (3) specifies the basic information that the notice must contain and provides that other information may be prescribed in regulations.
145. Subsections (4) to (6) provide for mandatory consultation by a local education authority before publishing the notice inviting proposals. Regulations can prescribe the persons who must be consulted and the matters which must be the subject of the consultation. They may also prescribe other requirements relating to consultation to be met by the local education authority, such as timing.
146. Subsection (7) provides that proposals brought forward in response to the notice must contain the information prescribed in regulations and be submitted to the local education authority before the date specified in the notice.
147. Subsections (8) to (10) provide that the local education authority must publish the proposals they receive, and that regulations may prescribe the time and manner in which this must be done. They also provide that the local education authority may publish their own proposals for a secondary community or foundation school, and that regulations may prescribe the information which they must contain. Regulations may require the authority to take steps to promote public awareness of any proposals.
148. Subsection (11) defines "secondary school" as including middle schools with an upper age of at least 16, but not including schools catering only for 16-19 year olds.
149. Subsection (12) introduces Schedule 10 which contains detailed provisions in relation to the consideration, approval and implementation of proposals under this clause. The Schedule replaces Schedule 8 to the Education Act 2002 which dealt only with additional secondary schools.
150. Subsection (13) makes provision for a situation where proposals relate to a school to be situated in a different local education authority area. The subsection provides that Schedule 10 is to have effect with modifications prescribed in regulations.
151. Subsection (14) repeals the provisions of the Education Act 2002 with respect to proposals for additional secondary schools.
Clause 67 and Schedule 11: Rationalisation of school places in England
152. Clause 67 introduces Schedule 11 which contains provision enabling the Secretary of State to direct local education authorities in England, or the governing bodies of maintained schools, to bring forward proposals for the rationalisation of school places, and for such proposals to be made by him. These arrangements replace those in Schedule 7 to SSFA 1998 and section 71 of the Education Act 2002 in relation to the addition of places where they are needed and the removal of surplus places.
Clause 68: Proposals for establishment of federated schools
153. Clause 68 provides that proposals for the establishment of new schools may relate to the establishment of schools as federated schools. ("Federated school" in this clause refers to a school which is federated under one governing body with one or more other schools.)
Clause 69: LEA not to establish school on opposite side of Welsh border
154. Clause 69 provides that the power of local education authorities to establish and maintain schools within the area of other local education authorities does not apply when that other authority are situated on the opposite side of the Welsh border.
Clause 70: Closure of rural primary schools
155. This clause provides that no primary school located in a rural area in England or Wales may be closed without full consultation with the registered parents of the school and the relevant parish, borough and district council in England or the community council in Wales; and consideration of the transport implications, overall and long-term impact on the local community, and alternatives to closure.
Clause 71 and Schedule 12: School organisation: further amendments
156. Clause 71 introduces Schedule 12 which contains further amendments relating to the organisation of schools. The Schedule updates various provisions to correspond to provisions of this Bill, especially in relation to proposals published under clause 66.
Clause 72: Closure of special schools: statutory consultation
157. This clause prohibits a local education authority from closing a special school in England or Wales unless the authority has consulted each local authority that send a pupil to that school and the parents of each registered pupil in attendance there.
PART 3: TRAINING THE SCHOOL WORKFORCE
158. The following definitions occur in the notes in relation to Part 3:
Clause 74: The Training and Development Agency for Schools
159. This clause renames the Teacher Training Agency as the Training and Development Agency for Schools to reflect their new role in relation to training and development for the whole school workforce.
Clause 75: Functions of the Agency
160. The Agency's objectives provide the framework within which they may exercise their functions. Subsection (2) extends the objectives of the Agency listed in section 1(2) of the 1994 Act to include matters in relation to all members of the school workforce. The Agency's objectives include encouraging suitable adults to take up careers in teaching and in other parts of the school workforce, improving the means by which they may do so, and generally contributing to raising the standards of teaching and of other activities carried out by the school workforce. Subsection (3) also provides context for the exercise of the Agency's functions. The Agency are required to have regard to the desirability of securing that the school workforce is well-fitted and trained to pursue a number of outcomes. In addition to the outcomes that feature within the Agency's objectives in the 1994 Act, these outcomes include the contribution of the school workforce to the well-being of children and young people, having regard to the matters mentioned in section 10(2) of the Children Act 2004, and their promotion of the behavioural development of children and young people. Subsection (5) defines what is meant by the school workforce.
Clause 76: Powers of the Agency in Wales
161. This clause allows the Agency to act in Wales as well as in England. However, the Agency must not do anything in Wales (except where the functions have been given to them by clause 94 or by regulations made under the Education Act 2002) unless they have been requested to do so by the Assembly and the Agency have given notice that they have agreed to such a request.
Clause 76: Membership etc. of Agency
162. Subsection (1) allows the Secretary of State to appoint members of the Agency, one of whom must be appointed chairman. There is no longer a restriction, either minimum or maximum, on the number of members. Provision in relation to the conditions of appointment, tenure and remuneration of members is made in Schedule 13.
Schedule 13: The Training and Development Agency for Schools
163. In the main, Schedule 13 reproduces Schedule 1 to the 1994 Act. The changes made within paragraph 1 are described in the context of clause 83. Paragraph 11 allows the Assembly to send a representative to meetings of the Agency and their committees. The terms of this representation mirror those which already apply to the Secretary of State and Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Schools in England under the 1994 Act and which are reproduced in paragraphs 10 and 12. Minor amendments have also been made to reflect current Government accounting practice.
Clauses 78 to 80: Powers of the Agency to provide financial support
164. These clauses describe the Agency's powers to provide financial support. They replace the Agency's existing funding powers under section 5 of the 1994 Act, orders made under section 16 of that Act and regulations made under section 50 of the Education (No. 2) Act 1986. The Agency will be able to provide to any person such financial support as they think fit in furtherance of their objectives. This power includes power to provide financial support to, for example, persons undertaking training as well as institutions or other bodies providing training as defined in subsection (3) of clause 78. References to training in this Part are to be read in accordance with clause 96(1).
165. Clause 79 allows the Agency to attach terms and conditions in relation to financial support they provide. This includes, in subsections (4) and (5), a new power for the Agency to control the charging of fees by training providers. It will remain the case, however, that the Agency will have to impose on a training provider any condition of grant governing the charging of fees that the Secretary of State or the Assembly require them to impose under Part 3 of the Higher Education Act 2004 (to which consequential amendments are made by Schedule 14).
166. In addition to the current requirement that the Agency must have regard to teacher training targets when reaching decisions on the provision of financial support, subsection (7) requires the Agency to have regard to any other forecast of demand for members of the school workforce that may be notified to them by the Secretary of State. There continues to be provision that the Agency must have regard to whether their funding practices may discourage institutions from obtaining revenue from other sources such as research and development activity (subsection (1) of clause 80), and that they must take into account the need to keep an appropriate balance between the support given to training providers of a denominational character and other training providers (subsection (2) of clause 80).
Clause 81: Grants to Agency by Secretary of State
167. This clause largely re-enacts the Secretary of State's funding power under section 7 of the 1994 Act. The Secretary of State continues to be prohibited from imposing terms and conditions relating to the admission of students or the selection of staff as a condition of funding (subsection (4)).
Clause 82: Grants to the Agency by the Assembly
168. This clause gives the Assembly power to pay grants to the Agency in respect of any activities undertaken at the Assembly's request in relation to Wales. The Assembly may set terms and conditions on grants to the Agency, and may require the Agency to impose a condition on a training provider in relation to the charging of fees under clause 79 (subsection (3)(b)).
Clause 83: Non-funding functions of the Agency
169. This clause provides the Agency with a new broad power to do anything they think fit in furtherance of their objectives. This will allow the Agency to undertake functions such as setting standards for the award of qualifications and the administration of schemes. This power includes power to do anything currently done by the Agency by virtue of orders made under section 16 of the 1994 Act. Subsection (2) provides that the Agency will be able to provide information, advice and other services to persons outside England and Wales. Subsection (3) enables the Agency to levy a charge for providing information, advice and other services under this clause.
170. Paragraph 1 of Schedule 13 makes more detailed provision as to the nature of the Agency's power under clause 83. The Agency will no longer be prohibited from borrowing money but paragraph 1(2) of Schedule 13 prohibits the Agency from borrowing money without the consent of the Secretary of State. This power will allow the Agency, for example, to make use of the Government Procurement Card where this would offer value for money benefits.
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