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21 Nov 2007 : Column 1249

Jim Knight: I am aware of that. That syllabus requires the difference between science and the discussion of science to be made clear. The hon. Gentleman still has not come up with an answer to the question how the Conservative party would regulate new academies—

Mr. Gibb: I did, but the Minister clearly was not listening. Section 157 of the Education Act 2002 does that.

Jim Knight: It does not apply to independent schools.

The Mossbourne academy, as the hon. Gentleman rightly said, is an absolutely superb school. The Conservatives launched their document there yesterday. It follows the national curriculum very closely.

The hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Laws) asked whether local authority-sponsored academies would appoint principals and about the nature of governor involvement in those academies—for example in Manchester, where a Labour authority is sponsoring academies. Rather than appointing one governor, the local authorities that sponsor academies will appoint two. They would still be in a significant minority, while the private sector sponsor would appoint the majority of governors.

Mr. Laws: Will the Minister give way?

Jim Knight: I do not think that I have time.

My hon. Friend the Member for Huddersfield (Mr. Sheerman) talked about the importance of a systematic method for teaching reading. As a result of the Rose review, we think that that is synthetic phonics, but I always listen to my hon. Friend with care.

The hon. Member for Forest of Dean (Mr. Harper)—42 schools in his constituency are under threat from the BSF cuts proposed by his party—talked about a number of matters. He said that when schools face falling rolls they should close. I assume, therefore, that he is against our presumption against closing rural schools. However, I agreed with what he said about aspiration. I gazed at the Public Gallery, and noticed that a bunch of children were admiring his comments about how informative tours of the House are.

My hon. Friend the Member for Ealing, Acton and Shepherd's Bush (Mr. Slaughter) asked whether he could meet me to discuss problems of school organisation in his area. I should be delighted to do so, and to add my voice to the congratulations directed at Sir William Atkinson on his work as head teacher of the Phoenix school. I was also pleased to hear my hon. Friend talk about the importance of neighbourhood renewal funding, Sure Start and extended schools. Rather than talking about schools in isolation, we have to get things right for children in all the contexts in which they live and are supported by public services.

I was pleased to hear the hon. Member for Braintree (Mr. Newmark) talk about special educational needs, although it is unfortunate that no other Opposition Member did so. I have looked at the 50-odd—and I use the word “odd” advisedly—pages of the Conservative green paper, and only one paragraph of it mentions SEN. That is only one of the many gaps in that document, and I am sure that the hon. Gentleman will raise
21 Nov 2007 : Column 1250
concerns with his party about the exclusion policy that it sets out. We know that exclusions disproportionately affect people with SEN, especially those with complex conditions. Such problems can be difficult to diagnose, and members of the work force sometimes struggle to understand them properly. Students in those circumstances can be seriously disadvantaged by exclusion and, if they do not have the right of appeal, they have no opportunity to raise their concerns unless they can afford to go to court.

Michael Gove: Will the Minister give way?

Jim Knight: I would love to, but I do not have time.

I join my hon. Friend the Member for Bury, North in congratulating Elton high school, its head, Neil Scruton, and the head of its governors, Jeff Coles, on the job being done for his constituents. I agree that it is important that parents should choose schools, rather than the other way around. As ever, my hon. Friend stimulates us to think carefully about the words that we use in education debates, and I was especially struck by what he said about the use of the words “vocational” and “academic”. The Government envisage that diplomas will bring out the academic best in young people, through the motivation to learn that work-related learning supplies. The way to bridge the gap between those two alternatives is to mix the best elements that each offers.

My hon. Friend the Member for Bury, North asked a series of questions. Being limited in the amount of time available today, I shall do my best to answer them in a letter.

The hon. Member for Beverley and Holderness (Mr. Stuart) made it clear that he thinks that his party should put the country first when it comes to education, and I believe that he used the phrase “country before party”. A year ago, after some civilised and informed debates, Government and Opposition Front Benchers were near to agreement on that, and it is the hon. Member for Surrey, Heath who is constantly trying to define difference rather than putting his country first. If he believes that the policies in the green paper will do anything for social mobility, he needs to read the document more carefully.

The hon. Member for Bognor Regis and Littlehampton said that all hon. Members want prescription. I am glad that he acknowledges that there is a clear role for regulation and that all schools should adopt best practice, as enforced by Ofsted. Essentially, that is how most of the regulation passed by the House in respect of schools is enforced already, so that is another example of the Opposition borrowing our clothes. As for city technology colleges, the previous Conservative Government managed to establish 15 such colleges in their 18 years in power, whereas this Government have established 83 academies in 10 years. After 13 years, we will have 230, so I think that we are doing a little better in that respect.

We have had an engaging debate this afternoon, and it has given us another chance to go around the track and discuss leadership and the confusion evident in the Conservative party. We have been able to show the Government’s vision and the Opposition’s division. We lead on articulating the challenges that children face, as set out this week in the evidence given in respect of our
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children’s plan. We lead on setting out our answers to those challenges, both now and when the plan is published.

The Opposition have changed their minds about the critically important standard for reading. In September, they proposed that children should be kept back at 11, whereas now they say that they should be tested at six. They offer no answers as to where those branded failures at six will go—perhaps they will go to the sin bins along with the pupils who are excluded and unable to afford to appeal in court.

We led Conservative Front Benchers to abandon their support for selection, although that support is as strong as ever among their Back Benchers and in the shires. They still cannot answer the Buckinghamshire question, first raised by the hon. Member for Beaconsfield (Mr. Grieve), but their next change of heart must be their raid on BSF, to bypass local authorities. The unregulated creation of new schools might work for the privileged few who can get it together—I have set up co-operatives; I know how tough it can be—but that will fail the many in disadvantaged areas, and it will be paid for by areas elsewhere in the country that need new schools after decades of under-investment. That is why we should oppose this flawed Tory motion and back the Government amendment: back vision, back reform, back leadership and reject flip-flopping froth from an Opposition who have failed on reform.

Question put, That the original words stand part of the Question:—

The House divided: Ayes 166, Noes 358.
Division No. 6]
[4 pm


Afriyie, Adam
Ainsworth, Mr. Peter
Amess, Mr. David
Ancram, rh Mr. Michael
Arbuthnot, rh Mr. James
Atkinson, Mr. Peter
Bacon, Mr. Richard
Baldry, Tony
Barker, Gregory
Baron, Mr. John
Bellingham, Mr. Henry
Bercow, John
Beresford, Sir Paul
Binley, Mr. Brian
Bone, Mr. Peter
Boswell, Mr. Tim
Brady, Mr. Graham
Brazier, Mr. Julian
Brokenshire, James
Browning, Angela
Burns, Mr. Simon
Burrowes, Mr. David
Burt, Alistair
Butterfill, Sir John
Cameron, rh Mr. David
Campbell, Mr. Gregory
Carswell, Mr. Douglas
Cash, Mr. William
Chope, Mr. Christopher
Clark, Greg
Clarke, rh Mr. Kenneth
Clifton-Brown, Mr. Geoffrey
Cormack, Sir Patrick
Cox, Mr. Geoffrey
Crabb, Mr. Stephen
Curry, rh Mr. David
Davies, David T.C. (Monmouth)
Davies, Philip
Davis, rh David (Haltemprice and Howden)
Djanogly, Mr. Jonathan
Dodds, Mr. Nigel
Donaldson, rh Mr. Jeffrey M.
Dorrell, rh Mr. Stephen
Dorries, Mrs. Nadine
Duddridge, James
Duncan, Alan
Duncan Smith, rh Mr. Iain
Dunne, Mr. Philip
Ellwood, Mr. Tobias
Evans, Mr. Nigel
Evennett, Mr. David
Fabricant, Michael
Fallon, Mr. Michael
Field, Mr. Mark
Francois, Mr. Mark
Fraser, Mr. Christopher
Garnier, Mr. Edward
Gibb, Mr. Nick
Gillan, Mrs. Cheryl
Goodman, Mr. Paul

Goodwill, Mr. Robert
Gove, Michael
Gray, Mr. James
Grayling, Chris
Green, Damian
Greening, Justine
Greenway, Mr. John
Grieve, Mr. Dominic
Gummer, rh Mr. John
Hague, rh Mr. William
Hammond, Mr. Philip
Hammond, Stephen
Harper, Mr. Mark
Hayes, Mr. John
Heald, Mr. Oliver
Heathcoat-Amory, rh Mr. David
Hendry, Charles
Herbert, Nick
Hermon, Lady
Hoban, Mr. Mark
Hollobone, Mr. Philip
Holloway, Mr. Adam
Horam, Mr. John
Howarth, Mr. Gerald
Hunt, Mr. Jeremy
Hurd, Mr. Nick
Jack, rh Mr. Michael
Jackson, Mr. Stewart
Jenkin, Mr. Bernard
Johnson, Mr. Boris
Jones, Mr. David
Kawczynski, Daniel
Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Laing, Mrs. Eleanor
Lait, Mrs. Jacqui
Lancaster, Mr. Mark
Lansley, Mr. Andrew
Leigh, Mr. Edward
Letwin, rh Mr. Oliver
Lewis, Dr. Julian
Lidington, Mr. David
Loughton, Tim
Luff, Peter
Mackay, rh Mr. Andrew
Maclean, rh David
Main, Anne
Malins, Mr. Humfrey
Maples, Mr. John
Maude, rh Mr. Francis
McCrea, Dr. William
McIntosh, Miss Anne
McLoughlin, rh Mr. Patrick
Mercer, Patrick
Milton, Anne
Moss, Mr. Malcolm
Mundell, David
Murrison, Dr. Andrew
Newmark, Mr. Brooks
Osborne, Mr. George
Ottaway, Richard
Paterson, Mr. Owen
Penning, Mike
Penrose, John
Pickles, Mr. Eric
Prisk, Mr. Mark
Randall, Mr. John
Redwood, rh Mr. John
Rifkind, rh Sir Malcolm
Robathan, Mr. Andrew
Robertson, Hugh
Rosindell, Andrew
Scott, Mr. Lee
Shapps, Grant
Simmonds, Mark
Simpson, David
Simpson, Mr. Keith
Soames, Mr. Nicholas
Spelman, Mrs. Caroline
Spicer, Sir Michael
Spink, Bob
Spring, Mr. Richard
Stanley, rh Sir John
Steen, Mr. Anthony
Stuart, Mr. Graham
Swayne, Mr. Desmond
Swire, Mr. Hugo
Syms, Mr. Robert
Tapsell, Sir Peter
Taylor, Mr. Ian
Tredinnick, David
Turner, Mr. Andrew
Tyrie, Mr. Andrew
Vaizey, Mr. Edward
Vara, Mr. Shailesh
Viggers, Peter
Villiers, Mrs. Theresa
Wallace, Mr. Ben
Watkinson, Angela
Whittingdale, Mr. John
Wiggin, Bill
Wilshire, Mr. David
Wilson, Mr. Rob
Winterton, Ann
Winterton, Sir Nicholas
Wright, Jeremy
Young, rh Sir George
Tellers for the Ayes:

Mr. Richard Benyon and
Mr. Crispin Blunt

Abbott, Ms Diane
Ainger, Nick
Ainsworth, rh Mr. Bob
Alexander, Danny
Alexander, rh Mr. Douglas
Allen, Mr. Graham
Anderson, Mr. David
Anderson, Janet
Armstrong, rh Hilary
Atkins, Charlotte
Austin, Mr. Ian
Bailey, Mr. Adrian
Baird, Vera
Baker, Norman
Balls, rh Ed
Banks, Gordon
Barlow, Ms Celia
Barrett, John
Barron, rh Mr. Kevin
Battle, rh John
Bayley, Hugh
Beckett, rh Margaret
Begg, Miss Anne
Benn, rh Hilary
Benton, Mr. Joe
Berry, Roger

Betts, Mr. Clive
Blackman, Liz
Blackman-Woods, Dr. Roberta
Blears, rh Hazel
Blizzard, Mr. Bob
Bradshaw, Mr. Ben
Breed, Mr. Colin
Brennan, Kevin
Brooke, Annette
Brown, Lyn
Brown, rh Mr. Nicholas
Brown, Mr. Russell
Browne, rh Des
Browne, Mr. Jeremy
Bruce, rh Malcolm
Bryant, Chris
Buck, Ms Karen
Burden, Richard
Burgon, Colin
Burnham, rh Andy
Burstow, Mr. Paul
Burt, Lorely
Butler, Ms Dawn
Byers, rh Mr. Stephen
Byrne, Mr. Liam
Cable, Dr. Vincent
Cairns, David
Campbell, Mr. Alan
Campbell, rh Sir Menzies
Campbell, Mr. Ronnie
Carmichael, Mr. Alistair
Caton, Mr. Martin
Cawsey, Mr. Ian
Challen, Colin
Chapman, Ben
Chaytor, Mr. David
Clapham, Mr. Michael
Clark, Ms Katy
Clark, Paul
Clarke, rh Mr. Charles
Clarke, rh Mr. Tom
Clelland, Mr. David
Clwyd, rh Ann
Coaker, Mr. Vernon
Coffey, Ann
Cohen, Harry
Cook, Frank
Cooper, Rosie
Cooper, rh Yvette
Corbyn, Jeremy
Crausby, Mr. David
Cruddas, Jon
Cryer, Mrs. Ann
Cummings, John
Cunningham, Mr. Jim
David, Mr. Wayne
Davidson, Mr. Ian
Davies, Mr. Dai
Dean, Mrs. Janet
Denham, rh Mr. John
Devine, Mr. Jim
Dhanda, Mr. Parmjit
Donohoe, Mr. Brian H.
Doran, Mr. Frank
Dowd, Jim
Drew, Mr. David
Dunwoody, Mrs. Gwyneth
Eagle, Angela
Eagle, Maria
Efford, Clive
Ellman, Mrs. Louise
Engel, Natascha
Ennis, Jeff
Etherington, Bill
Farrelly, Paul
Farron, Tim
Featherstone, Lynne
Field, rh Mr. Frank
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Flint, Caroline
Follett, Barbara
Foster, Mr. Michael (Worcester)
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings and Rye)
Francis, Dr. Hywel
Gapes, Mike
Gardiner, Barry
George, Andrew
George, rh Mr. Bruce
Gerrard, Mr. Neil
Gibson, Dr. Ian
Gidley, Sandra
Godsiff, Mr. Roger
Goggins, Paul
Goldsworthy, Julia
Goodman, Helen
Griffith, Nia
Griffiths, Nigel
Grogan, Mr. John
Gwynne, Andrew
Hain, rh Mr. Peter
Hall, Mr. Mike
Hall, Patrick
Hamilton, Mr. David
Hamilton, Mr. Fabian
Hancock, Mr. Mike
Hanson, rh Mr. David
Harman, rh Ms Harriet
Harris, Mr. Tom
Harvey, Nick
Havard, Mr. Dai
Healey, John
Heath, Mr. David
Hemming, John
Henderson, Mr. Doug
Hendrick, Mr. Mark
Hepburn, Mr. Stephen
Heppell, Mr. John
Hesford, Stephen
Hewitt, rh Ms Patricia
Heyes, David
Hill, rh Keith
Hillier, Meg
Hodgson, Mrs. Sharon
Holmes, Paul
Hoon, rh Mr. Geoffrey
Hope, Phil
Hopkins, Kelvin
Horwood, Martin
Howarth, rh Mr. George
Howells, Dr. Kim
Hoyle, Mr. Lindsay
Hughes, rh Beverley
Hughes, Simon
Humble, Mrs. Joan
Hunter, Mark
Hutton, rh Mr. John
Iddon, Dr. Brian
Ingram, rh Mr. Adam
Irranca-Davies, Huw
Jackson, Glenda
Jenkins, Mr. Brian
Johnson, rh Alan

Jones, Helen
Jones, Mr. Kevan
Jones, Lynne
Jones, Mr. Martyn
Jowell, rh Tessa
Joyce, Mr. Eric
Keeble, Ms Sally
Keeley, Barbara
Keen, Alan
Keen, Ann
Keetch, Mr. Paul
Kelly, rh Ruth
Kemp, Mr. Fraser
Kennedy, rh Mr. Charles
Kidney, Mr. David
Knight, Jim
Kramer, Susan
Kumar, Dr. Ashok
Ladyman, Dr. Stephen
Lamb, Norman
Lammy, Mr. David
Laws, Mr. David
Laxton, Mr. Bob
Lazarowicz, Mark
Leech, Mr. John
Lepper, David
Levitt, Tom
Lewis, Mr. Ivan
Linton, Martin
Lloyd, Tony
Llwyd, Mr. Elfyn
Love, Mr. Andrew
Lucas, Ian
Mackinlay, Andrew
Mactaggart, Fiona
Mahmood, Mr. Khalid
Mallaber, Judy
Mann, John
Marris, Rob
Marsden, Mr. Gordon
Marshall, Mr. David
Marshall-Andrews, Mr. Robert
Martlew, Mr. Eric
McAvoy, rh Mr. Thomas
McCabe, Steve
McCafferty, Chris
McCarthy, Kerry
McCarthy-Fry, Sarah
McCartney, rh Mr. Ian
McDonagh, Siobhain
McDonnell, Dr. Alasdair
McDonnell, John
McFadden, Mr. Pat
McFall, rh John
McGuire, Mrs. Anne
McIsaac, Shona
McKechin, Ann
McKenna, Rosemary
McNulty, rh Mr. Tony
Meacher, rh Mr. Michael
Meale, Mr. Alan
Merron, Gillian
Michael, rh Alun
Miliband, rh Edward
Miller, Andrew
Mitchell, Mr. Austin
Moffatt, Laura
Mole, Chris
Moon, Mrs. Madeleine
Moran, Margaret
Morden, Jessica
Mudie, Mr. George
Mulholland, Greg
Mullin, Mr. Chris
Murphy, Mr. Denis
Murphy, Mr. Jim
Murphy, rh Mr. Paul
Naysmith, Dr. Doug
Norris, Dan
O'Brien, Mr. Mike
O'Hara, Mr. Edward
Oaten, Mr. Mark
Olner, Mr. Bill
Öpik, Lembit
Osborne, Sandra
Owen, Albert
Palmer, Dr. Nick
Pearson, Ian
Plaskitt, Mr. James
Pope, Mr. Greg
Pound, Stephen
Prentice, Mr. Gordon
Price, Adam
Primarolo, rh Dawn
Prosser, Gwyn
Pugh, Dr. John
Purchase, Mr. Ken
Purnell, rh James
Rammell, Bill
Raynsford, rh Mr. Nick
Reed, Mr. Andy
Reed, Mr. Jamie
Reid, Mr. Alan
Reid, rh John
Rennie, Willie
Robertson, John
Robinson, Mr. Geoffrey
Rogerson, Dan
Rooney, Mr. Terry
Roy, Mr. Frank
Ruane, Chris
Ruddock, Joan
Russell, Bob
Russell, Christine
Ryan, rh Joan
Salter, Martin
Sanders, Mr. Adrian
Sarwar, Mr. Mohammad
Seabeck, Alison
Sharma, Mr. Virendra
Shaw, Jonathan
Sheerman, Mr. Barry
Sheridan, Jim
Simon, Mr. Siôn
Simpson, Alan
Skinner, Mr. Dennis
Slaughter, Mr. Andy
Smith, rh Mr. Andrew
Smith, Ms Angela C. (Sheffield, Hillsborough)
Smith, Angela E. (Basildon)
Smith, Geraldine
Smith, rh Jacqui
Smith, John
Smith, Sir Robert
Snelgrove, Anne
Soulsby, Sir Peter
Southworth, Helen
Spellar, rh Mr. John
Starkey, Dr. Phyllis
Stewart, Ian
Stoate, Dr. Howard
Strang, rh Dr. Gavin
Straw, rh Mr. Jack

Stringer, Graham
Stuart, Ms Gisela
Stunell, Andrew
Sutcliffe, Mr. Gerry
Tami, Mark
Taylor, Ms Dari
Taylor, David
Taylor, Matthew
Taylor, Dr. Richard
Thomas, Mr. Gareth
Thornberry, Emily
Timms, rh Mr. Stephen
Tipping, Paddy
Todd, Mr. Mark
Touhig, rh Mr. Don
Trickett, Jon
Truswell, Mr. Paul
Turner, Dr. Desmond
Turner, Mr. Neil
Twigg, Derek
Vaz, rh Keith
Vis, Dr. Rudi
Waltho, Lynda
Ward, Claire
Watson, Mr. Tom
Watts, Mr. Dave
Webb, Steve
Wicks, Malcolm
Williams, rh Mr. Alan
Williams, Mrs. Betty
Williams, Mark
Williams, Mr. Roger
Williams, Stephen
Willis, Mr. Phil
Willott, Jenny
Wills, Mr. Michael
Wilson, Phil
Winnick, Mr. David
Winterton, rh Ms Rosie
Woodward, rh Mr. Shaun
Woolas, Mr. Phil
Wright, Mr. Anthony
Wright, David
Wright, Mr. Iain
Wright, Dr. Tony
Wyatt, Derek
Younger-Ross, Richard
Tellers for the Noes:

Tony Cunningham and
Mr. Sadiq Khan
Question accordingly negatived.
21 Nov 2007 : Column 1252

21 Nov 2007 : Column 1253

21 Nov 2007 : Column 1254

21 Nov 2007 : Column 1255

Question, That the proposed words be there added, put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 31 (Questions on amendments), and agreed to.

Mr. Deputy Speaker forthwith declared the main Question, as amended, to be agreed to.


Mr. Deputy Speaker: Report reached me during the Division that the Division Bells were not ringing in the area of the North Curtain Corridor and are unlikely to be operational again during the course of this sitting day. I allowed extra time before the doors were locked on the last occasion, and no doubt we will do the same thing when it comes to any further Division that the House may have.

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