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Lord Fraser of Carmyllie: I draw the noble Earl's attention and also that of the noble Earl, Lord Balfour, sitting next to him, to this fact. Clause 31 relates to schools which have to be registered under the Education (Scotland) Act. If I advance towards Clause 31, this provision seeks to ensure that in that context the inspectors of schools will have a duty to have regard—first to ensuring that the authority, the managers in question, fulfil their duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of the child. If accepted, the provisions would mean that the noble Earl, as a prep school boy, would know that someone was promoting and having regard to his welfare. When Her Majesty's inspectors of schools carry out their inspection under Section 66 of the 1980 Act, this provision would mean that they shall have a power to inspect the place to determine whether the welfare of that prep school boy is being adequately safeguarded and promoted there.

I do not disagree that it is desirable to have a degree

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of safeguarding and promotion of such welfare, but that seems to me the appropriate arrangement and not to provide for an unnecessary duality of registration and inspection.

The Earl of Mar and Kellie: I thank the noble and learned Lord for the distinction, and since we seem to be tangled up with the next amendment, I beg leave to withdraw this one.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 30 agreed to.

Clause 31 [Welfare of children in accommodation provided for purposes of school attendance]:

The Earl of Mar and Kellie moved Amendment No. 94:

Page 23, line 40, leave out from ("accommodated") to end of line 43 and insert—
("() The local authority of the area where the accommodation is provided—
(a) shall take such steps as are reasonably practicable at annual intervals to enable them to determine whether the child's welfare is adequately safeguarded and promoted while he is accommodated by the school; and
(b) shall, where they are of the opinion that there has been a failure to comply with the duty to ensure a child's welfare is adequately safeguarded and promoted while he is accommodated by the school within their area, they shall notify the Secretary of State.
() Any person authorised by a local authority may, for the purpose of enabling the authority to discharge their duty under this section (provision of accommodation), enter at any reasonable time any school within their area which provides accommodation for any child.".).

The noble Earl said: As has already been mentioned, this amendment concerns itself with the inspection of residential accommodation provided for school attendance. The Bill amends Section 125 of the Education (Scotland) Act 1980, and says that the owners and operators of all schools providing accommodation,

"shall have the duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of the child or young person while he is so accommodated". The Bill goes on to provide that there will be powers of inspection to ensure that this duty is being carried out. I understand that inspections are already taking place, but that on average those are being achieved on a quinquennial basis. As a lot of change can occur in a short time, inspection on a five-year basis is barely adequate.

The amendment lays down that the inspection shall be on an annual basis. The local authority will inspect the school each year. The local authority will have the power to report the school to the Secretary of State if the local authority believes there has been a failure to safeguard the child's welfare. The local authority would have the power to enter the school at any reasonable time to inspect the accommodation and to establish that the children's welfare is being satisfactorily safeguarded.

The amendment would ensure that all children are subject to the same standards of care, irrespective of the type of education selected for them by their parents. I beg to move.

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The Earl of Balfour: I feel that using the words "annual intervals" may be defeating a lot of the object that the noble Earl, Lord Mar and Kellie, has in mind. Perhaps I may draw your Lordships' attention to the bottom of page 22, where we have within the Bill the proposed new Section 67:

"A person duly authorised by a local authority may in the area of that authority, at all reasonable times, enter", so he can inspect as and when required and not on an annual basis.

I also feel to a great extent that what the noble Earl is saying is covered within the proposed new Section 67 and also in the proposed new Section 125A under Clause 31 which deals with the accommodation side. I do not think the amendment is necessary.

4.15 p.m.

Lord Macaulay of Bragar: In the light of what the noble Earl has just said, if I may say, with respect, he missed out an important part of new Section 67(1), which is that:

"A person . . . may . . . at all reasonable times, enter, for a relevant purpose".
When we look at the definition of a relevant purpose on the next page in subsection (2) we go back to the question of the rights of the children. New Section 67(2)(a) states:
"the purpose of making such examinations into the state and management of the establishment or place, and the condition and treatment of the person in it, as the person so authorised thinks necessary".
Those words might, in a broad scale of events, cover what the noble Earl, Lord Mar and Kellie, raised—the question of access by children to people who enter for a relevant purpose. The interests of the children do not seem to be specifically covered by that definition of a relevant purpose. It may be that at Report stage we should look at the definition of "relevant purpose" and perhaps include any person who enters the premises at any time to receive complaints from any person within the establishment, including a child. I may be misreading it, but it is quite an important point.

As I have said repeatedly, the theme of the Bill is children. Sometimes the children disappear out of the scene altogether and it becomes an administrative convenience as opposed to looking after the rights of children. That may have consequences in years to come in the European sector.

Lady Saltoun of Abernethy: There is just one thing I want to say about these amendments. Sometimes you would think that we are talking not about children but about angels. All children are not little angels. Children go to school and find that they do not like the food. They find the accommodation is not anything like they have been accustomed to. I certainly did when I was at school, and I was educated in what nowadays would be considered to be slum conditions. But it did not do me any harm. And it does not do an awful lot of them any harm. You have to be very careful about encouraging children to grumble and complain and to continually think they are being unfairly treated and hard done by. I just want to make that point.

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Lord Macaulay of Bragar: I doubt if any member of your Lordships Committee would claim to have been an angel when they were growing up.

Lord Fraser of Carmyllie: I reiterate what I said in relation to the previous amendment. We have two separate sets of arrangements here, some of them falling under the Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968 and some of them falling under the Education (Scotland) Act 1980. This amendment would alter the proposed Section 125A in Clause 31, amending the Education (Scotland) Act 1980.

There have been new arrangements applied in relation to the whole passage of this legislation. When the Standing Committee of another place met on 13 February in Edinburgh, I gave evidence to it. I explained in response to a question from the hon. Member for Edinburgh Leith that I was anxious to avoid having unnecessarily bureaucratic arrangements for the inspection of schools to ensure that the welfare of residential pupils was being safeguarded and promoted. There is no doubt about the desirability of ensuring the promotion and safeguarding of that welfare, but we wish to avoid anything that is unnecessarily cumbersome and bureaucratic. I hope I can assure the Committee that Clause 31 as it stands will ensure that the new welfare duty is regularly and thoroughly inspected to ensure that it is being complied with.

It is envisaged that HM inspectors of schools would undertake the inspection of the welfare of residential pupils with input as appropriate from the social work services inspectorate at the Scottish Office. The two inspectorates co-operate now and they will continue to do so. Indeed, a number of your Lordships will possibly recollect that Her Majesty's inspectors were recently commended publicly for their speedy and positive response to certain welfare matters at the Camphill Rudolf Steiner school in Aberdeen, and that work was undertaken with considerable support from the social work services inspectorate at the Scottish Office. We envisage that inspections of welfare provisions for residential pupils would be led by Her Majesty's inspectors of schools, in close association with the social work services inspectorate.

But I do not feel that it is possible to lay down firm operational guidelines dictating precisely the role of each inspectorate. Much would depend on the circumstances at the individual schools and the background to particular inspections. Her Majesty's inspectors have a rota of general inspections of all schools and, as at present, welfare matters would be a specific and significant element of such general inspections. The Clause 31 provision will give this added focus. In addition, a welfare inspection may be considered appropriate should a school wish, for example, to expand its residential provision or to make some change which would have an impact on its optimum role.

An inspection may also be necessary should a school be the subject of a complaint to the Secretary of State as regards its welfare provision. I hope that the noble Earl, Lord Balfour, is reassured by that. Dependent on

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whether specific concerns are identified in the preparation for an inspection or during the actual welfare inspection of a school, a greater involvement by the social work services inspectors may be appropriate. What I can assure the Committee is that there will be close association in the planning and conduct of these welfare inspections.

I note that the noble Earl has a particular concern about the frequency of inspections to ensure compliance. We propose that a maximum interval between such welfare inspections should be five years, but within that period there would also be scope for additional inspections, should that be appropriate, for the reasons I just outlined. We consider this to be both a reasonable and manageable frequency when added to the other contacts which Her Majesty's inspectors have with these schools.

Having separated out the two sets of provisions and given those reassurances, I hope that the noble Earl will be satisfied that we share his real concern for the welfare of children. We hope that the arrangements for inspection that we now provide will adequately safeguard and promote them.

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