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23 May 2006 : Column 1337

New clause 23— Parental ballot etc. on change of category from foundation school to community school—

‘(1) If it appears to the Secretary of State that at least one-fifth of the parents of pupils attending a foundation (or foundation special) school are in favour of a change of the category of that school to community (or community special) school, the Secretary of State must designate such person or body as he considers appropriate (“the designated body”) to act for the purposes of this section.

(2) The Secretary of State may, if he sees fit, designate the governing body of the school or the local education authority as the designated body.

(3) The designated body must initiate a proposal for the change of category referred to in subsection (1).

(4) The Secretary of State may by regulations make such provision as he considers exepedient to amend, vary or supplement the provisions of this Part in relation to proposals under subsection (3).

(5) A proposal under subsection (3) may be implemented only if the proposal has been approved by a ballot of parents of pupils attending the school to which the proposal relates.

(6) The Secretary of State may make regulations about ballots under subsection (5).'.

New clause 25— Duties of the schools commissioner—

‘(1) The Schools Commissioner shall establish and make publicly available a list of potential trustees whom he has approved as appropriate for the role in accordance with guidance from the Secretary of State.

(2) A local education authority shall not consider any proposals under sections 7, 9 or 10 or alterations under sections 17 or 20 made by organisations other than those approved and listed by the Schools Commissioner.

(3) School governing bodies shall not enter negotiations or foundation agreements with trustee partners who have not been approved by the Schools Commissioner.'.

New clause 35— Role of the schools commissioner—

‘(1) The Schools Commissioner shall promote fair access, choice, and diversity for all maintained schools.

(2) The Schools Commissioner shall provide advice and assistance to governing bodies and local education authorities in respect of—

(a) setting up new foundation schools, and

(b) an alteration of a maintained school to the category of foundation school, particularly with regard to supporting schools and raising standards in disadvantaged or deprived areas.

(3) The Schools Commissioner shall have responsibility for strategic oversight and monitoring of the admissions process in local authority areas, with particular regard to fair access and equitable admission policies for children with special educational needs.

(4) The Schools Commissioner shall monitor the collaboration and co-operation among new foundation schools.

(5) The Schools Commissioner shall report annually to both Houses of Parliament and, in particular, to the Education and Skills Committee of the House of Commons on his responsibilities and on his annual report.'.

New clause 38— Secretary of State's consent for community and community special school proposals—

‘The Secretary of State shall consent to the publication of proposals under subsection 7(5)(b)(ii) or subsection 9(1) as the case may be unless he is satisfied that the proposal so to be published would not result in the improvement of the quality of education for pupils in the area concerned.'.

23 May 2006 : Column 1338

New clause 44— School governing body to hold meeting of parents on change of category—


(a) a local education authority or the governing body of a maintained school wish to consider a proposal to make a prescribed alteration such as is mentioned in subsection 17(2), and

(b) the local education authority or the governing body is capable of proposing that alteration,

no decision to make the proposal shall be made without there having first been convened by the local authority or the governing body (as the case may be) a meeting at which the parents of pupils registered at the school concerned shall have been provided with the opportunity to discuss and make representations on a draft of the proposal.'.

New clause 53— Duty to encourage schools to become self-governing and to acquire a trust—

‘(1) A person to whom this section applies shall ensure that their functions relating to maintained schools are (so far as they are capable of being exercised) exercised with a view to encouraging all maintained schools to become self-governing, and to acquire a foundation.

(2) In this section “self-governing” in relation to a maintained school means a foundation, voluntary aided or foundation special school, or an Academy.

(3) This section applies to—

(a) a local education authority in England;

(b) the Secretary of State.'.

New clause 56— Abolition of surplus places rule—

‘A local education authority in England may not reject a proposal for the establishment or alteration of a maintained school solely on the grounds that it would create surplus places at other schools in the area.'.

New clause 57— Prohibition on the establishment of new community schools—

‘No new community or community special school may be established in England after the coming into force of this Act.'.

New clause 58— Role of local authorities—

‘(1) A local authority in England may not publish its own proposal for the establishment of new community schools.

(2) In exercising its functions in relation to school organisation a local authority in England must act with a view to commissioning school places rather than providing them directly.'.

New clause 61— Schools commissioner—

‘(1) There shall be a Schools Commissioner.

(2) The Schools Commissioner shall have a duty to encourage schools to become Trust schools.

(3) For the purposes of subsection (2), a Trust school is a foundation school with a foundation.'.

New clause 62— Power of Secretary of State to require a school to become a foundation school—

‘(1) If the Secretary of State determines that education at a school is unsatisfactory, he may by order require the governing body of a school to acquire foundation status.

(2) Where the Secretary of State issues an order under subsection (1), the governing body of the school shall publish proposals in accordance with sections 18 to 20.'.

New clause 64— Adoption of foundation status—

‘All existing maintained schools may apply to the Secretary of State to adopt foundation status, and the Secretary of State shall grant such foundation status unless there are overriding circumstances which make this impossible.'.

23 May 2006 : Column 1339

New clause 48— Register of institutions approved to act as a foundation of a school—

‘(1) The Secretary of State shall establish and maintain a register of all institutions approved by him to act as or take part in the foundation of a foundation school.

(2) In considering whether to approve an institution under this section, the Secretary of State shall consider evidence that the institution is—

(a) capable of contributing to the raising of school standards,

(b) capable of promoting community cohesion,

(c) not involved in activities inappropriate for children and young people,

(d) capable of conforming to the charitable objectives of the foundation, and

(e) able to demonstrate that its trustees are not involved in illegal activities or any other activities incompatible with the good reputation of any school of which it may be the foundation or in the foundation of which it may participate.

(3) An institution may not act as nor take any part in the foundation of a foundation school unless registered as approved by the Secretary of State under this section.

(4) Regulations under this section may make provision as to—

(a) the form and manner in which applications for registration are to be made;

(b) the documentary and other evidence which is to accompany applications for registration;

(c) the registration, on the establishment of the register, of institutions which have not made such applications;

(d) the matters which are to be recorded in the register against the institutions registered in it;

(e) the restoration and alteration of entries;

(f) the information contained in the register which may be made available for inspection by members of the public, and the circumstances in which and the conditions subject to which that information may be made available; and

(g) such other matters as may be determined by the Secretary of State.'.

Amendment No. 88, in page 7, line 2 [Clause 7], at end insert—

‘(ba) state whether or not the proposed school is to be a federated school'.

Government amendment No. 42

Amendment No. 15, in page 7, line 18 [Clause 7], leave out

‘with the consent of the Secretary of State,'.

Amendment No. 101, in page 7 [Clause 7], leave out lines 18 to 20.

Amendment No. 5, in page 7, line 28 [Clause 8], leave out subsection (1).

Amendment No. 102, in page 7 [Clause 9], leave out line 39.

Amendment No. 111, in page 8, line 6 [Clause 9], at end insert—

‘(2A) The Secretary of State shall not give consent for the establishment of a new community or community special school under subsection (1)(a) above unless—

(a) no other provider expresses an interest in establishing a similar school, and

(b) the local authority is rated “very good” or “good” by Ofsted.'.

Amendment No. 89, in page 9, line 28 [Clause 11], leave out ‘7, 9 or 10' and insert ‘9 and 10(1)'.

23 May 2006 : Column 1340

Amendment No. 90, in page 9, line 31 [Clause 11], at end insert—

‘(1A) Proposals under section 7 or 10(2) for the establishment of a new school in England must relate to the establishment of the school as a federated school.'.

Amendment No. 12, in page 12, line 30 [Clause 17], leave out ‘foundation or'.

Amendment No. 13, in page 12, line 32 [Clause 17], leave out paragraph (d).

Amendment No. 91, in page 12, line 39 [Clause 17], at end insert—

‘(g) any change from federated foundation school to non-federated foundation school.'.

Amendment No. 14, in page 13, line 17 [Clause 18], at end insert

‘, and

(iv) a change of category from foundation school to community school or from foundation special school to community special school.'.

Amendment No. 105, in page 14, line 34 [Clause 20], after ‘school,', insert ‘with or'.

Amendment No. 106, in page 14, line 37 [Clause 20], after ‘school,' , insert ‘with or'.

Amendment No. 107, in page 15 [Clause 20], leave out lines 1 to 23.

Amendment No. 108, in page 15 [Clause 21], leave out lines 25 to 41.

Government amendment No. 43

Amendment No. 96, in page 21, line 39 [Clause 31], after ‘description,', insert—

‘(aa) is registered on the list maintained by the Secretary of State under section [Register of institutions approved to act as a foundation of a school],'.

Government amendments Nos. 44 and 45.

Amendment No. 9, in page 21, line 43 [Clause 31], leave out ‘20' and insert ‘50'.

Amendment No. 10, in page 22, line 4 [Clause 31], leave out ‘20' and and insert ‘50'.

Amendment No. 11, in page 22, line 7 [Clause 31], leave out ‘20' and and insert ‘50'.

Government amendment No. 46

Amendment No. 92, in page 22, line 12 [Clause 31], after ‘foundation', insert

‘including its duties to act in a collaborative fashion with other maintained schools in the local authority area'.

Government amendments Nos. 47, 70, 84 to 86 and 71 to 75.

New clause 26— Requirements as to composition of governing bodies—

‘(1) The governing body of a maintained school, Academy, city technology college or city college for the technology of the arts may comprise—

(a) foundation governors;

(b) elected parent governors;

(c) staff representatives; and

(d) community representatives.

(2) Foundation schools shall not appoint a majority of governors who are foundation governors and in no case shall governors who are foundation governors outnumber elected parent governors.'.

23 May 2006 : Column 1341

Amendment No. 7, in page 2, line 14 [Clause 2], at end insert—

‘(3B) A local education authority may discharge its duty under subsection (3A)(a) in relation to secondary schools by encouraging a diversity of specialism among the community and voluntary schools which it maintains.'.

Alan Johnson: May I set out the Government’s position on the new clause and the other propositions in this group of amendments?

At the heart of the Bill is the Government’s desire and determination to ensure to ensure that every child is able to fulfil their potential. That means ensuring that every school achieves the standards of the best but, above all, it means ensuring that children from deprived backgrounds receive the same educational opportunities as more fortunate children. The determination that all of our children should able to fulfil their potential lies behind the school organisation provisions in part 2. We are creating a new system in which all schools operate with as much freedom as possible within a strong framework that guarantees fairness and promotes collaboration.

Clause 1 demonstrates our commitment in that respect, and it gives local authorities new duties to carry out all their education functions with a view to ensuring high standards for every pupil and, if our amendment is accepted later in proceedings, to promote fair access. Over the past nine years, we have made significant progress in achieving these aspirations. Last year’s results at every key stage were the best ever. We have radically reformed the work-force—there are more, better trained teachers supported by a wide range of professionals—and we have ensured that there are fewer schools in special measures. Schools that are in difficulties are turned round more quickly.

Those are impressive achievements, but we cannot afford to stand still. There are still too many underperforming schools and too many children, especially in deprived areas, who are not given the educational opportunities that they need. We know what works. The best schools are self-confident, with strong leadership and governance infusing everything that they do. They harness other available sources of expertise, whether from other schools, colleges, businesses or the voluntary and community sectors. We have seen the benefits of such an approach through the success of specialist schools and academies. The proposals in the Bill extend those opportunities to all schools and give local authorities a distinct new role as the commissioners, rather than the providers, of school places, the champions of parents and pupils and the guarantors of high standards.

Local authorities are central to the new system. Rather than sounding the death knell for local authority involvement in education, as some have suggested, if anything the Bill marks a rebirth of their role. There are new powers to intervene in failing schools and to take the lead in commissioning school places in line with the needs of the communities that they serve. For the first time local authorities will be able to propose expansion to or the addition of special educational needs provision to all maintained schools, and they will take a leading role in ensuring fairness and helping to overcome disadvantage.

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