Education And Skills Bill - continued          House of Commons

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Clause 144: General interpretation

178.     Clause 144 provides that the clauses in Part 1, Chapter 1 of Part 4, and clauses 131 and 149(9) are to be construed as if they were contained in the Education Act 1996 unless a different meaning is given in the clauses in the Bill in which case that meaning prevails. This means, in particular, that the general interpretation in section 579 of the 1996 Act, provision about guidance and notices in sections 571 and 572, and the Secretary of State's intervention powers in sections 496 and 497 apply to those clauses. Subsection (4) provides that sections 561 and 562 of the 1996 Act - which provide that the Act does not apply to a person in the service of the Crown or persons detained under order of a court - do not apply for the purposes of Part 1 of the Bill. Clause 50 makes special provision about Crown employment in relation to Part 1 of this Bill

Clause 146: Power to make consequential and transitional provision etc

179.     Clause 146 enables the Secretary of State to make supplementary, incidental, consequential, transitory, transitional or saving provision for the purposes of, in consequence of, or for giving full effect to, any provision of the Bill. Where such regulations amend or repeal primary legislation they are subject to the affirmative resolution procedure.


180.     Some provisions in the Bill will result in additional public expenditure. The costs are set out in detail in the accompanying impact assessment. New expenditure resulting from the Bill in the period up to 2010-11 will be met from within the Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) Settlements for 2008-11 for the Department for Children, Schools and Families and the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills. These are set out in the 2007 Pre-Budget Report and Comprehensive Spending Review document available at /report/pbr_csr07_repindex.cfm.

181.     The additional costs from Part 1 - the duty to participate in education or training - over and above the existing plans for participation of 16 to 18 year olds will fall largely in the period after 2011. The transition costs of the provisions and the direct costs of providing additional learning have been calculated in 2016-17 prices, the year after the provisions will be fully in force for all 17 and 18 year olds. It is assumed that the costs are spread evenly over the additional two years for which young people will participate, and then discounted in the second year by 3.5% in line with Her Majesty's Treasury guidance. The additional cost to the public purse per cohort in these terms is estimated as £760 million. The accompanying impact assessment also sets out the estimated costs of the duties related to raising the participation age outside of the public sector.

182.     The benefit to the economy of each additional cohort of young people above current plans that remain in education and training up to the age of 18 is estimated to be £2,400 million. This benefit will be attained over the life time of the young people.

183.     There will be additional costs to government resulting from Part 3 - provision of proper facilities for courses for people aged 19 and over. The cost to government each year is estimated to be £20 million in 2007/08 prices. In terms of improved wages, the estimated benefit to one year's cohort of individuals over the course of their lifetimes is £70 million in 2007/08 prices.

184.     The remaining provisions in the Bill will result in one-off public expenditure of recurring annual costs of less than £1 million in 2007/08 prices. A number of proposals in the Bill seek to ensure better value from existing programmes and will release some small savings which are set out in the accompanying impact assessment.


185.     We judge that the impact on public service manpower as a result of the provisions in this Bill will be small. The attached impact assessment sets out that increases in manpower will be required, most notably, for expanding the school and further education workforce as a result of the main duty in clause 2. Rationalising the regulatory regime for independent educational institutions and streamlining the system for approving qualifications will release some small manpower savings.


186.     The impact assessment for the Bill analyses the costs and potential benefits of the proposals and assesses their possible impact on race, gender and disability equality. Copies are available for Members in the Vote Office. It will also be available online at and in hard copy from the Department for Children, Schools and Families. The provisions in the Bill are largely focused on public sector reforms. There will be some impact on employers both in the private and voluntary sectors from the provisions in Part 1 of the Bill, for example, checking whether young people they are intending to employ have made appropriate arrangements to participate in education or training. The costs of these provisions to individual organisations will be small.


187.     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 European Convention on Human Rights (as defined by section 1 of that Act).

188.     Having considered the possible implications, the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families believes that the Education and Skills Bill [HC] will be fully compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights. There are some areas where it would be helpful to provide further comments for clarification, as follows.

Chapter 1 of Part 1: Duty to participate in education or training

189.     The Government has considered whether placing the primary duty to participate on the young person, with an ancillary but lesser obligation to assist on their parents, is consistent with ECHR law principles (given that where a child is of compulsory school age, the duty to ensure attendance rests solely on the parent).

190.     The Government's view is that having the primary duty to participate on the young person is in keeping with the general emphasis in domestic and ECHR case law on the increasing autonomy of young people as they approach majority and the need to uphold the rights and independent views of young people.

Chapter 2 of Part 1: Local education authorities and educational institutions etc

191.     Article 8(1) may be infringed by the requirement to provide and share data on young people. However, the Government is satisfied that the interference will be justified in line with Article 8(2). The proposals are to fulfil a social need and will be in pursuance of a legitimate aim - economic well-being - as the information collected and shared will be used for improving the general educational attainment of individuals and ensuring a more skilled workforce. The careers education and guidance provisions do not, in the Government's view, engage any of the Convention rights.

Chapter 3 of Part 1: Employers

192.     Article 6 is engaged where a local authority takes enforcement action against an employer (or quasi employer). The penalty that may be imposed is financial and recoverable as a civil debt in the county court. If the local authority decides to recover the amount of the penalty as a civil debt, the employer can make objections to the county court.

193.     The Government considers that the proposed system is compliant with Article 6 as the legitimacy of the fine is ultimately determined by the county court which is independent and impartial. It would also be possible to issue proceedings for judicial review in relation to an enforcement notice or a penalty notice.

Chapter 4 of Part 1: Parenting contracts and parenting orders

194.     The Government considered the impact of parenting orders when introducing the 2006 Act. As then, it is considered that the proposals for parenting orders clearly engage Article 8 of the Convention (right to privacy and family life), since these have a compulsory nature. However, it is considered that the intervention is necessary in a democratic society, proportionate and in pursuance of a legitimate aim.

195.     The Government considers that parenting orders made in the context of non-participation can be considered to be necessary in a democratic society, and that they are designed to balance the competing interests in Article 8(2), here the Community's right to act in the interest of the economic well being of the country against the parent's right to respect for private and family life.

196.     The Government recognises that there is a respectable argument that a parenting contract engages Article 8, and there is a degree of interference in privacy and family life. The family's autonomy in the philosophy of, and practical approaches to, rearing its children, and the goals, rewards and punishments set for the young person's behaviour and the route which they follow post compulsory education, become matters for discussion with persons outside the family, and a degree of explanation and accountability to a person outside the family is set up. If Article 8 is engaged, the threshold is such as to deliver the requirements of proportionality, justification in pursuance of a legitimate aim, necessary in a democratic society and in accordance with the law.

Assessments of effectiveness of education and training

197.     Article 8(1) may be infringed by the matching of data on the education and training of those aged 19 and over with information relating to their (a) income and employment histories; and (b) any state benefits claimed. However, the Government is satisfied that the interference will be justified in line with Article 8(2). The proposals are to fulfil a social need and will be in pursuance of a legitimate aim - economic well-being - as the information shared pursuant to these proposals will be used for assessing the economic value and effectiveness of the education and training received. In particular, the information shared will assist in the formulation of policy relating to the provision of education and training and assessing policy in relation to social security or employment as it affects the provision of, or participation in, training or education. The powers will be exercised in a way that is proportionate. Criminal sanctions are provided in relation to wrongful disclosure.

Part 4: Regulation and inspection of independent educational provision in England

Chapter 1: Independent Educational Institutions in England

198.     There is nothing in this Part of the Bill which would amount to an unjustifiable interference with Convention rights. Conceivably, Convention rights will be engaged when the Chief Inspector and the Secretary of State exercise their functions under this Part.

Part 5: Miscellaneous and general

Maintained schools in England: behaviour and attendance etc.

199.     Article 8, it appears, is engaged by the provisions conferring the new power of the governing body to require a registered pupil to attend at any place outside the school premises for the purpose of participating in any activities which are intended to improve his behaviour. Article 5 does not appear to be engaged, and to the extent Article 2 of Protocol 4 is engaged interference with it is defensible. Article 2 of Protocol 1 is thought not to be interfered with.


200.     Clause 149 provides for commencement. Clause 65, concerning the transfer of responsibility for assessments relating to learning difficulties of certain young persons between the ages of 16 and 25, comes into force on Royal Assent. Amendments and repeals that are consequential on this clause also come into force on Royal Assent.

201.     Two other provisions (clause 132) regarding the powers of National Assembly for Wales in respect of the inspection of education and training for children not above compulsory school age, and (clause 140) inspections of providers of initial teacher training in England come into force two months after Royal Assent.

202.     Two provisions (clauses 136 and 138) and the associated repeals and revocations are brought into force in accordance with provisions made by the Welsh Ministers.

203.     All other provisions may be commenced by the Secretary of State by way of a commencement order, but following consultation with the Department for Employment and Learning in Northern Ireland in respect of clauses 137(4) and 139, and with the Scottish Ministers and the Welsh Ministers in respect of clauses 71, 72, 73, 74 and 75.

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Prepared: 29 November 2007