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Division No. 31]
AYES
Brooke, Annette
Laws, Mr. David
NOES
Blackman, Liz
Butler, Ms Dawn
Creagh, Mary
Ennis, Jeff
Hodgson, Mrs. Sharon
Knight, rh Jim
McCarthy-Fry, Sarah
Sharma, Mr. Virendra
Simon, Mr. Siôn
Thornberry, Emily
Question accordingly negatived.
2.45 pm
Amendments made: 452, in clause 138, page 78, line 16, leave out ‘relation to’ and insert ‘respect of’.
This is a technical drafting amendment to achieve consistency with the wording of clause 138(1).
Amendment 453, in clause 138, page 78, line 22, leave out ‘this section’ and insert ‘subsection (1)’.
This amendment is consequent on amendment 458.
Amendment 454, in clause 138, page 78, line 23, at end insert—
‘( ) Subsection (5) applies in relation to a qualification or description of qualification in respect of which a determination under subsection (1) has effect.’.
This amendment is consequent on amendment 458.
Amendment 455, in clause 138, page 78, line 24, leave out ‘or 137 in relation to a’ and insert
‘, 131 or 137 in relation to the’.
This amendment adds Ofqual’s functions under clause 131 (power to set general conditions) to the list of functions which Ofqual must exercise for the purposes of implementing a determination made under clause 138(1).
Amendment 456, in clause 138, page 78, line 25, leave out ‘to which a determination under this section applies’.
This amendment is consequent on amendment 458.
Amendment 457, in clause 138, page 78, line 30, leave out ‘or will’ and insert
‘, will be or may reasonably be expected to’.
See Member’s explanatory statement for amendment 436.
Amendment 458, in clause 138, page 78, line 31, at end insert—
‘( ) A determination made under subsection (1) may be amended or revoked by the Secretary of State; and subsection (4) applies to the amendment of a determination as it applies to the making of a determination.’. —(Sarah McCarthy-Fry.)
This amendment gives the Secretary of State the power to amend or revoke a determination made under clause 138(1). If a determination is amended, it must be published as revised and notice of it given to Ofqual.
Clause 138, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 139

Assignment of numbers of hours of guided learning
Amendments made: 459, in clause 139, page 78, line 33, leave out ‘regulated qualification’ and insert
‘particular form of a qualification in respect of which it is recognised’.
This amendment and amendment 462 ensure that where a body is recognised in respect of a qualification which is relevant for 2008 Act purposes, it must assign guided learning hours to each individual form of the qualification awarded by it, such as a particular version of GCSE English.
Amendment 460, in clause 139, page 78, line 35, leave out ‘regulated’.
This amendment corrects a misuse of the term “regulated qualification” and clarifies that whether a qualification is relevant for 2008 Act purposes is to be determined in relation to the qualification as a whole and not in relation to individual forms of the qualification.
Amendment 461, in clause 139, page 78, line 38, leave out ‘regulated’.
See Member’s explanatory statement for amendment 460. This amendment is consequent on that amendment.
Amendment 462, in clause 139, page 78, line 40, after ‘to’ insert ‘the particular form of’.
See Member’s explanatory statement for amendment 459.
Amendment 463, in clause 139, page 79, line 1, leave out ‘regulated’.
See Member’s explanatory statement for amendment 460. This amendment is consequent on that amendment.
Amendment 464, in clause 139, page 79, line 3, leave out ‘most recently published’ and insert ‘then in force’.
This amendment ensures it is the criteria for assignment of a number of hours of guided learning which are in force for the time being that are applicable for the purposes of this section. Those criteria may not come into force immediately when published.
Amendment 465, in clause 139, page 79, line 5, leave out ‘regulated’.
See Member’s explanatory statement for amendment 460. This amendment is consequent on that amendment.
Amendment 466, in clause 139, page 79, line 7, leave out paragraph (b) and insert—
‘(b) in respect of a qualification which the body has determined is relevant for those purposes, a number of hours of guided learning to assign to a form of the qualification.’.
This amendment and amendment 475 are technical drafting amendments which recognise that whether a qualification is relevant for 2008 Act purposes is a matter which is to be determined by the relevant recognised body. This amendment is also consequent on amendments 459 and 462.
Amendment 467, in clause 139, page 79, line 9, leave out ‘Ofqual publishes revised criteria’ and insert ‘revised criteria come into force’.
This amendment ensures that the duty of a recognised body to review a determination under clause 139 applies when revised criteria for making those determinations come into force (rather than when they are published).
Amendment 468, in clause 139, page 79, line 17, leave out ‘regulated’.
See Member’s explanatory statement for amendment 460. This amendment is consequent on that amendment.
Amendment 469, in clause 139, page 79, line 20, leave out ‘the qualification’ and insert
‘a form of the qualification awarded or authenticated by the recognised body’.
See Member’s explanatory statement for amendment 459. This amendment is consequent on that amendment.
Amendment 470, in clause 139, page 79, line 22, leave out from ‘having’ to end of line 24 and insert
‘determined to assign that number of hours of guided learning to that form of the qualification’.
This amendment achieves the technical change referred to in the Member’s explanatory statement for amendment 466. It also ensures that any determination made by Ofqual to assign guided learning hours to a form of a qualification applies as if made by the relevant recognised body for all purposes.
Amendment 471, in clause 139, page 79, line 25, leave out ‘regulated’.
See Member’s explanatory statement for amendment 460. This amendment is consequent on that amendment.
Amendment 472, in clause 139, page 79, line 30, after ‘to’ insert ‘a form of’.
See Member’s explanatory statement for amendment 459. This amendment is consequent on that amendment and amendment 462.
Amendment 473, in clause 139, page 79, line 33, after ‘obtain’ insert ‘that form of’.—(Sarah McCarthy-Fry.)
See Member’s explanatory statement for amendment 459. This amendment is consequent on that amendment and amendment 462.
Question proposed, That the clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill.
Mr. Gibb: I rise to quiz the Minister about guided hours. The clause, as amended, now includes amendment 459 and the explanatory note to that amendment says:
“This amendment and amendment 462 ensure that where a body is recognised in respect of a qualification which is relevant for 2008 Act purposes, it must assign guided learning hours to each individual form of the qualification awarded by it, such as a particular version of GCSE English.”
When we debated that amendment, and similar matters earlier on in the debate, I asked the Minister: to which qualifications would those learning hours be applied? She indicated:
“As regards to the guided learning hours, that relates to raising the participation age, as agreed in the Education and Skills Act 2008. That creates a duty on young people above compulsory school age, but under-18, to participate in education or training.”——[Official Report, Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Public Bill Committee, 24 March 2009; c. 579.]
I thought that I had obtained from the Minister confirmation that that would not apply to qualifications applicable to those under the age of 18. Yet, now we seem to have passed an amendment to part of clause 139, where the explanatory note seems to say that it would apply to a particular version of GCSE English.
Will the Minister explain clause 139 and what qualifications it will apply to? Can she say how the guided hours are calculated and why? I would have thought that the number of hours required to teach a particular qualification was a matter for the professional judgment of teachers and not something that should be set down by legislation. I would be grateful if the Minister could clarify those points of confusion.
Sarah McCarthy-Fry: I am happy to clarify that clause 139 relates to the 2008 Act of raising the person’s participation age. It only applies to 16 and 17-year-olds. It applies to people studying in full-time employment and is the 280 guided learning hours that the 2008 Act duty applied to.
Mr. Gibb: I am still not clear whether that means all the GCSEs must have applied to them guided learning hours for each part of those GCSEs. That is the concern, that all such qualifications being taken by people under the age of 16 will have to have guided learning hours applied to them. Can the Minister confirm that that will not apply? She seemed to indicate earlier, in our deliberations of 24 March, that it would not be applicable to GCSEs
Sarah McCarthy-Fry: The legislation states that where a body offers a qualification that that body decides is relevant for the purpose of the 2008 Act—it may be used by young people in full-time employment to fulfil the duty to participate—that body must assign to the qualification a number of hours of guided learning. It is probably not applicable to GCSEs.
Mr. Gibb: I am grateful for that explanation. Does it apply to A-levels?
Sarah McCarthy-Fry: If someone has attained a level 3 qualification, which is the level of attainment demonstrated by obtaining A-levels in two subjects, the duty to participate does not apply.
Mary Creagh: I would like to take issue with what the hon. Member for Bognor Regis and Littlehampton said about it being down to individual teachers to decide. The issue of establishing guided learning hours and having it in legislation—being absolutely transparent across qualifications—is the guarantee of quality and comparability for the quality of the education that we are trying to give young people.
As I said, when I sat down and redesigned a master of business administration from a full-time structure into a modular structure that was to be delivered in two-week blocks over a two-year period, we had to look at the guided learning involved. We had to work out how our qualification was going to be safeguarded but at the same time give students some excellent experience and make sure that they were all coming out at the end with an equivalent qualification. The guarantee that that is happening is in the notional or guided learning hours that are attached to a qualification.
Mr. Gibb: I do not agree. What is needed in a qualification is specified knowledge that children need to have by the end of the period. For some children, that will be learned in quite a few learning hours, but for many it requires more. For a small minority, it may require a number of learning hours way beyond the average. The number of learning hours becomes a meaningless number for most students. Teachers will feel that such hours are an infringement of their professional autonomy.
My other reason for disliking the notion of guided learning hours is that they are used as equivalencies between things that do not have an equivalence. That is where we get into the self-tanning problem. A self-tanning module might require 40 learning hours to achieve the qualification. A module in physics A-level might require 40 learning hours. Therefore, for some reason, they are then deemed to have equivalence on the basis of those guided learning hours. We do not want to go down that route, because it is pretence, it is false and it will undermine the credibility of vocational qualifications. That is my concern about guided learning hours.
Clause 139, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 140

Criteria for assignment of number of hours of guided learning
Amendments made: 474, in clause 140, page 79, line 45, leave out ‘regulated’.
See Member’s explanatory statement for amendment 460. This amendment is consequent on that amendment.
Amendment 475, in clause 140, page 80, line 1, at beginning insert ‘form of the qualification’.
See Member’s explanatory statement for amendment 466.
Amendment 476, in clause 140, page 80, leave out line 2 and insert ‘form of the qualification’.
See Member’s explanatory statement for amendment 459. This amendment is consequent on that amendment and amendment 462.
Amendment 477, in clause 140, page 80, leave out line 4 and insert
‘qualifications or different descriptions of qualifications.’.
See Member’s explanatory statement for amendment 460. This amendment is consequent on that amendment.
Amendment 299, in clause 140, page 80, line 5, leave out ‘from time to time’.—(Sarah McCarthy-Fry.)
See Member’s explanatory statement for amendment 290.
Clause 140, as amended, agreed to.
 
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