|Education And Inspections Bill - continued||House of Commons|
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621. This Part reinforces the role of local education authorities as the commissioners of educational services in their areas. Overall the provisions in this Part of the Bill are expected to be cost neutral for local education authorities as they already undertake much of the work involved in preparing existing school organisation proposals and in their work servicing School Organisation Committees, which will be abolished by this Bill. There will be costs to the Department associated with the increase in the number of competitions for new schools. These will mainly be in connection with additional consultancy and support services for potential school promoters. Actual costs will depend on the number of competitions held, and the frequency with which the Secretary of State decides that proposals for a new school may be determined without the need for a competition. However, our reasonable estimate is that these could amount to £3 million annually.
622. This Part makes further provisions in relation to maintained schools.
Foundation, voluntary and foundation special schools
623. There are no additional costs associated with the additional requirements for schools with a foundation that this Bill provides for. In relation to the funding of voluntary aided schools there will be a small saving to the Voluntary Aided Capital Programme and local authorities will be able to use the existing PFI credit funding stream to provide additional revenue funding to VA schools.
General duties of governing body of maintained school
624. The new duty on schools to have regard to the Children and Young Peoples Plan and to have regard to the views of parents do not have any cost implications.
625. The provisions in the Bill have no additional cost.
626. The provisions for school funding and the repeal of the code of practice as to the relationship between local education authorities and schools are both cost neutral.
627. This Part makes provision to enable local authorities to take more prompt and decisive action in relation to schools causing concern. It is expected that the extra numbers of "radical actions" that are required as a result of interventions is likely to be around 40 cases per annum. An additional £15 million is being made available to local education authorities to cover the cost of these interventions.
628. This Part makes provision for a new entitlement for all key stage 4 pupils in relation to study for two GCSEs in science and to ensure that every 14-19 year old is entitled to pursue any one of the new Specialised Diploma courses at an appropriate level for them, wherever they are in the country.
Entitlement to Double Science
629. The entitlement to double science will not entail any additional costs as it will only require schools to maintain their key stage 4 science provision at current levels.
630. The provisions for the National Entitlement will incur additional costs to the system in delivering the entitlement for all 14-19 year olds and collaboration between school colleges and others has a cost. At an aggregate level, over time, increased costs of vocational provision will be offset by a decline in the number of 14-19 year olds in the system due to demographic trends.
631. The costs of reform of the 14-19 phase of education has been supported over recent years by a number of grant initiatives and in the short term these will remain. However, they will be phased out. The Department will make £40 million available in 2006/07 and £70 million for 2007/08 to enable schools to secure a broader range of coalition and specialist provision at key stage 4. In addition the Department will also introduce a flexible fund for the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) to support 14-19 change and local coordination arrangements. The Department has allocated £15 million for this fund for 2006/07 and £15 million for 2007/08 with an expected additional contribution of £7 million from the LSC each financial year.
632. The new general duty will require local education authorities to take a more strategic approach to assessing the travel and transport needs of pupils. It is envisaged that local authorities will incur additional costs to implement and coordinate the new offer. The Department will make an additional £4 million per annum available to local education authorities to cover these costs.
633. Based on the current costs of providing free home to school transport, and local education authority estimates of the cost of providing dedicated buses for home to school transport it is estimated that the total cost of the extension of transport rights for low income groups of secondary age will be around £35 million.
634. Take-up of this offer will depend on a number of factors, most importantly on the number of parents who, with the support of choice advisers (broadly, persons appointed by local authorities to advise parents on choosing schools), state a preference for schools other than those they would have done had the extended transport offer not existed; and on the availability of places in the schools they state a preference for. Given these uncertainties, the Government estimates that around 30% of parents (40,000 pupils with 23,000 of these in County authorities) will take advantage of this offer. The full costs will not be realised for a number of years, as the extended rights will only come into operation as pupils change school. For the 30% take up, it is estimated that in the first academic year of the extended rights, costs for that financial year will be around £4.5 million, rising to £11.5 million in the second year, £18.5 million in the third, £25.5 million in the fourth, £32.5 million in the fifth, with the full cost of £35 million being reached only in the sixth financial year. There are sufficient resources, either within the Departmental Expenditure Limit or the local government settlement, to cover these costs.
635. The Government also proposes to provide a funding pot of £2.4 million per annum of additional revenue funding to support a series of authorities operating school travel schemes under new Schedule 35C to the 1996 Act (building to a maximum of £12 million per annum as additional cohorts are covered by the new arrangements). Under the co-funding arrangements, scheme authorities might expect to receive a total of an additional £2.4 million per annum (building to a maximum of £12 million) from parental contributions.
Food and drink provided on school premises
636. The Department anticipate that there will be additional costs in meeting the proposed new nutritional standards for school lunches, though some of these costs could be offset through future efficiency gains. It is anticipated that, where a child is entitled to free school meals, the extra costs will be met from existing baselines and that, where parents are charged for a school meal, the additional cost will either be reflected in the price of the meal or, in some areas, be met either partly or fully through subsidies at either local authority or school level.
637. The Department is providing £220 million to support transition costs for the next three years.
638. These costs need to be set against the potential heath, social and educational benefits to children as well as potential wider economic benefits.
Power to discipline
639. The provisions in the Bill to create a power for schools to discipline their pupils do not create any additional cost.
Parenting orders and contracts
640. It is expected that any additional costs that are incurred by schools or local education authorities in using parenting contracts will be minimal, and will need to be borne by the school or local education authorities from existing funds. As parenting contracts can help manage behaviour and prevent exclusions there are significant cost benefits to using them.
641. It is estimated that the additional cost to meet the provisions of the Bill in relation to excluded pupils will be £10 million to cover schools' costs and £6 million to cover local authorities' costs. Funding for this has been agreed and will be contained within the Dedicated Schools Grant.
642. The Bill provides for the creation of a single inspectorate to cover children and learners. Transitional costs are estimated to be between £13.5 million and £19.7 million in total and this will be met from existing inspectorates' and Departmental budgets. It is anticipated that there will be significant efficiency savings as the structural changes are fully implemented, which are estimated to be in the region of £6.4 million per year, quickly recouping the transitional investment.
Investigation of complaints by Chief Inspector
643. The Bill makes provision to establish Ofsted as a clear and accessible route for parents to register complaints where they have exhausted local complaints procedures. Additional costs are expected to be minimal and will be met out of current allocations.
Amendments of Part 1 of the 2002 Act
644. It is not expected that the provisions in this Bill to extend the power to innovate will lead to any significant increase in the number of applications for a Power to Innovate order. Any additional costs will be met within additional departmental allocations.
References to "local authority" or "children's services authority"
645. This provision provides for a power to change references to local education authorities or children's services authorities to local authorities and therefore has no cost attached to it. The additional cost to administer this power and to prepare the orders will be met from current departmental allocations.
Provision of information about persons receiving funded education
646. As local authorities already hold much of this data, any additional costs will arise from local authorities complying with the chosen mechanism for collection in the first year. Time savings will be made in authorities compiling aggregated data from individual records and in local authorities and the Department when clearing and applying creditability checks to returns.
Collaboration arrangements: maintained schools and further education bodies
647. The provision to allow further education institutions to collaborate will not incur any additional costs over and above those usually incurred by collaborating institutions.
Maintained nursery schools: amendment of section 496 and 497 of the Education Act 1996
648. This provides for the powers conferred upon the Secretary of State under sections 496 and 497 of the 1996 Act to be extended to cover maintained nursery schools. This may lead to an increase in the number of representations to the Secretary of State under those sections, but any additional cost will be met from existing expenditure limits.
Reform of the Functions of the Learning and Skills Council for England
649. The Bill makes provision for the transfer of some of the functions in respect of the arranging of transport for learners aged 16-19 from the Secretary of State to the Learning and Skills Council for England (LSC); and to extend the LSC's powers to provide other student support to students under the age of 16. The Department expect this to result in savings in running costs and the additional costs borne by the LSC will be met from existing allocations.
Amendment of section 29 of the Leasehold reform Act 1967
650. The Bill removes the requirement to obtain the Secretary of State's consent in relation to the imposition of certain restrictive covenants by universities and as such represents a cost saving to the Department.
EFFECT OF THE BILL ON PUBLIC SECTOR MANPOWER
651. The change to a more strategic role for local authorities, as commissioners of services rather than providers, will lead to more changes in the roles of local authority staff; however, we estimate that the overall effect will be negligible. The inspectorate reforms in Part 8 of the Bill will generate significant efficiency savings over time and, in consequence, are expected to include some reductions in overall staffing numbers.
SUMMARY OF THE REGULATORY IMPACT ASSESSMENT
652. The Regulatory Impact Assessment analyses the possible impact of the proposals on business, charities, voluntary sector organisations and the public sector. A copy will be placed in the Library of the House. It will also be available online at www.dfes.gov/ria and in hard copy from the Department for Education and Skills.
653. The provisions in the Bill are largely focused on public sector reforms. In the public sector, the majority of measures in the Bill are focused on achieving better value from existing programmes, both in terms of capital and revenue spending. However, there are additional costs for some elements of the Bill. These are outlined in section entitled Public Sector Financial Cost.
COMPATIBILITY WITH THE EUROPEAN CONVENTION ON HUMAN RIGHTS
654. Section 19 of the Human Rights Act 1998 requires the Minister in charge of a 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.) Ruth Kelly, the Secretary of State for Education and Skills has made the following statement:
"In my view, the provisions of the Education and Inspections Bill are compatible with the Convention rights."
655. In relation to the provisions on School Travel the Government has considered Article 2 of the 1st Protocol (the right to education). This only confers a right of access to educational institutions existing in a state at a given time. There is no positive obligation to subsidise a particular form of education in order to respect a parent's religious or philosophical convictions. Although the Government acknowledges that in certain circumstances different treatment in relation to school transport could conceivably give rise to a breach of Article 14 when read in conjunction with Article 2 of the 1st Protocol the provisions in the Bill itself do not contain any provisions which could violate Article 14.
Discipline, Behaviour and Exclusion
656. It is the Government's view that the duties imposed on the governing bodies and local authorities to make provision for full time education at certain times when a pupil has been excluded from school are compatible with Article 2 of Protocol 1 (right to education) and that they in fact promote the enjoyment of the right to education.
657. In relation to Article 3 (inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment) the Government's view is that proper guidance and appropriate use of the power to discipline should avoid Article 3 issues.
658. In relation to Article 4 (forced labour) the Government considers that requiring pupils to perform tasks of disciplinary value would not constitute forced labour but rather constitutes a normal and usual part of the school disciplinary regime.
659. The Government has considered the requirement that a school arranges reintegration interviews in the case of fixed term exclusion, when a pupil returns to school in light of Article 5 (the right to liberty and security of person). The duty does not actually require a parent to attend the interview and no physical or legal compulsion is exercised. If the parent fails to attend an arranged interview, or will not agree to attend one in the first place, this will be taken into account in deciding whether to impose a parenting order. This to some extent will affect the free choice of the parent to attend but it is not considered by the Government to amount to an interference with the right to liberty. The government has further considered Article 2 of Protocol 4 (the right to move freely within a state) in respect of reintegration interviews and does not consider it is engaged.
660. In relation to Article 8 (respect for private life and home) the government has considered the personal autonomy aspect of this right in relation to pupils and the discipline of school life. The power to discipline must be proportionate, justified in pursuance of a legitimate aim, necessary in a democratic society. The Government is of the opinion that the power to discipline is in pursuance of these educational and health and safety objectives and promotes the development of the individual which are legitimate aims and which are necessary to achieve in a democratic society. The disciplinary powers which require the greatest justification, exclusion, confiscation and detention, are expressly provided for and regulated by statute, and other disciplinary powers will be provided for and accessible in the schools behaviour
policy. It is the Government's view that this satisfies the requirement that the interference be in accordance with the law and is therefore Convention compliant.
661. In addition a pupil's right to privacy under Article 8 might be engaged by disciplinary measures involving the confiscation of property. However if the school's behaviour policy provided for such measures with the express intention to prevent bullying or to maintain good order and discipline then they would be in accordance with the law, and the Government considers that, bearing in mind the needs of the school community, they would be within the margin of appreciation for what is necessary in a democratic society for "public safety" or for "the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health and morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others".
662. The power to control and regulate a pupil's dress and appearance pursuant to the behaviour policy has been considered in relation to Article 8 and Article 9 but it is considered that general rules about dress and appearance which are proportionate, have been consulted on and are in the behaviour policy, can be justified and are Convention compliant.
663. In relation to Article 11 (freedom of assembly) the Government considers that segregating a pupil as a punishment or for the purpose of behaviour management does not amount to a breach as the right confers freedom of assembly for a purpose rather than the freedom to generally associate with others.
Parenting Orders and Parenting Contracts
664. It is acknowledged that the proposals for parenting orders engage Article 8 of the Convention since these have a compulsory nature. However the Government considers that the intervention is necessary in a democratic society, proportionate and in pursuance of a legitimate aim.
665. Parenting contracts in contrast are voluntary as a parent cannot be compelled to enter into it. However, the Government has considered the fact that there is a degree of pressure involved in light of the fact that refusal to enter into such a contract becomes a relevant consideration in the decision to impose a parenting order. However, even if Article 8 is engaged and this does constitute interference, the Government considers this is a justifiable and Convention compliant one.
666. The Government acknowledges that if Article 8 is in fact engaged the following considerations would need to be taken into account. As a parenting contract and a parenting order are not punishments but rather their object is to improve behaviour, the Government's view is that Article 7 of the convention (no punishment without law) is not engaged so as to require the definition of conduct which must be avoided. For the measure to be proportionate it will be necessary for a threshold to be set above the general normal childhood misbehaviour. It is acknowledged that any interference with Article 8 rights must be "in accordance with the law". The school's behaviour policy will indicate, though not exhaustively, what amounts to a breach of the policy. Further there will always be core conduct that would be recognised as "wrong" in the sense of morally wrong as with intentional disruption of lessons, or illegal such as assaulting staff or bringing a weapon into school.
Power to remove to a designated place
667. Clause 94 allows police or Community Support Officers to remove pupils to designated places and use reasonable force to do so. The Government believes that the restriction is minor in view of the fact that they would, but for exclusion, be at school, and so it does not materially interfere with normal rights and freedoms, prevents crime and disorder and is subject to an exception of reasonable justification.
Parent's duty to make arrangements for a child excluded from school
668. The parent's duty to make arrangements for a child excluded from school so that the child is not present in a public place has been considered. It is for the parent to decide what degree of supervision is required to discharge his or her duty. It is therefore the Government's view that the parent's right to liberty and to move within the State are not engaged, though it is accepted that it may be more difficult for the parent to enjoy this right in some cases.
Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills
669. The Government has considered the rights of entry in Part 8 of the Bill for the Chief Inspector and individuals authorised by the Chief Inspector. Entry to premises is a necessary part of the inspection process and enables the Chief Inspector to gather evidence and reach a considered view about standards in quality and compliance with the law. The Government acknowledges that exercising a right of entry to a business or domestic premises will engage Article 8. However it is considered that any resultant interference with the right to respect for private and family life is permissible under Article 8. The system of inspection to safeguard standards and ensure compliance with the law is necessary in a democratic society. It protects children in general (including those particularly vulnerable children who are receiving social services). It ensures that those who have powers to take enforcement action against providers who are providing sub-standard services are aware of failures.
670. There are associated powers to inspect documents and records including computer records. These are essential to ensure the power of entry can be of full effect. It is the Government's view that these can be justified on the same basis as the principle of the right of entry. Further as a public authority within the meaning of section 6 of the Human Rights Act 1998 the Chief Inspector will be obliged to exercise his powers in a way which is compatible with Convention rights.
671. The Government acknowledges that Article 1 of Protocol 1 may be engaged on the basis that the inspection and reporting process amounts to a control and use of the property. However the Bill makes little in the way of provision about privately-run institutions. The only example would be in relation to training which takes place at the premises of an employer. It is the Government's view that an adverse report would not amount to an unjustified interference with Article 1 of Protocol 1. It is in the general interest for there to be inspection of, and reporting on, training offered by employers for those aged 16-18 and such controls will ensure and maintain high standards of training.
672. The following clauses will come into force on Royal Assent: clauses 73 and 74 relating to food and drink on school premises; any provision of Part 8 so far as it confers power to make subordinate legislation; clause 146 and Schedule 16 concerning the extension of the power to innovate; certain general provisions.
673. The following clauses will come into force two months after Royal Assent: clause 6 (functions of local education authorities in respect of recreation); clause 45 (removal of requirement to issue code of practice under section 127 of the 1998 Act in relation to England); clause 97 (meaning of "maintained school" and "relevant school" in Chapter 2); clause 147 (power to repeal references to "local education authorities" and "children's services authorities"); clause 150 (amending sections 496 and 497 of the 1996 Act to include governing bodies of maintained nursery schools); clause 153 (amending section 29 of the Leasehold Reform Act 1967); and clauses 154 and 155 providing for a framework power for Wales.
674. All other provisions in the Bill will come into force in accordance with orders made by the Secretary of State (in the case of England) and the National Assembly for Wales (in the case of Wales).
ANNEX A - TERRITORIAL APPLICATION
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