Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page

The Lord Bishop of Ripon moved Amendment No. 32:

Page 11, line 47, at end insert--

("The Education (Schools) Act 1992 (c.38)

. In Section 13 of the Education (Schools) Act 1992, at the end of subsection (7) insert "including any pupils receiving nursery education under arrangements made under the Nursery Education and Grant-Maintained Schools Act 1996".
. In Section 18(1) of that Act, after the definition of "maintained school" insert--
" "nursery education" has the meaning given in section 1(2) of the Nursery Education and Grant-Maintained Schools Act 1996;".").

The right reverend Prelate said: My Lords, we come with a sense of relief to the final amendment to be moved to this Bill on Report. I hope that I shall not detain your Lordships long.

We have been talking about inspection by the new nursery inspectors. It is my understanding that, when nursery education is provided at maintained schools, the ordinary Ofsted inspections which take place will include nursery children. Under Section 13 of the Education (Schools) Act 1992, special provisions are made for certain schools to provide inspection by those who are aware of the denominational character of the school and, in particular, those Section 13 inspections include reference to collective worship, religious education and spiritual, moral, social and cultural development.

In the case of nursery education, there is no requirement to provide either collective worship or religious education. But clearly the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of children at the nursery age is of importance. Reference is made in Schedule 1 to the chief inspector's responsibility in that area.

With this amendment I merely wish to ensure that, when a Section 13 inspector visits a school in which there is nursery provision, he will be able to include the nursery

9 Jul 1996 : Column 285

children in his report and in particular will be able to make comments on the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of such children. I hope that the Minister will be able to give me some assurance on that. I beg to move.

Lord Henley: My Lords, I hope that I can persuade the right reverend Prelate that this amendment is unnecessary. But I also offer my congratulations and commiserations to him on sitting more or less the whole way throughout the Bill as a Trappist monk with the exception of the amendments which he moved himself.

I do not see what is to be gained from this amendment to the 1992 Act. Section 13 of the 1992 Act deals with the inspection of religious education where this is given otherwise than in accordance with an agreed syllabus. These inspections are distinct, as the right reverend

9 Jul 1996 : Column 286

Prelate will know, from those carried out under Section 9 of the 1992 Act, which are under the management of Ofsted.

Inspections carried out under Section 13 of the 1992 Act cover the quality of denominational education provided for all pupils in the voluntary and grant-maintained schools concerned, including four year-olds. This will continue to be the case after the grant arrangements in Clause 1 of the Bill are in place. Amendment No. 32 is therefore unnecessary. Accordingly, I ask the right reverend Prelate to withdraw the amendment.

The Lord Bishop of Ripon: My Lords, I am most grateful to the Minister for that assurance. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

        House adjourned at twenty minutes past ten o'clock.

Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page