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(3) In addition to having regard to guidance as required under sub-paragraph (1)(b) or (2), a local education authority, a governing body, a foundation body, trustees and the adjudicator, must also have regard, in particular, to the factors mentioned in sub-paragraph (4) in determining any of the following for the purposes of any of paragraphs A2 to A20A-
( ) In determining whether to make a reference to the adjudicator under sub-paragraph (1)(a), a relevant person must have regard, in particular, to any guidance given from time to time by the Secretary of State. .
(5) In determining whether to make an application to the adjudicator under sub-paragraph (3)(a), an appropriate person must have regard, in particular, to any guidance given from time to time by the Secretary of State.
( ) Paragraph A22 applies in relation to the further determination by the adjudicator, by virtue of sub-paragraph (1) or (3), of any matter for the purposes of any of paragraphs A2 to A20A as it applies in relation to the original determination of the matter.
( ) In determining whether to make an application to the adjudicator under sub-paragraph (13)(a), a relevant person must have regard, in particular, to any guidance given from time to time by the Secretary of State.
(4A) In determining whether to make a reference to the adjudicator under sub-paragraph (4)(b), the authority or, as the case may be, the relevant body, must have regard, in particular, to any guidance given from time to time by the Secretary of State.
(4B) Before making a reference to the adjudicator under sub-paragraph (4)(b), the authority or, as the case may be, the relevant body, must give the other notice of their intention to make the reference.
(5B) In determining whether to make a reference to the adjudicator under sub-paragraph (5A)(a), the local education authority or the relevant body must have regard, in particular, to any guidance given from time to time by the Secretary of State.
(5C) Sub-paragraph (5) applies in relation to the further determination of any matter by the adjudicator, by virtue of sub-paragraph (5A), as it applies in relation to the original determination of the matter.
The noble Baroness said: This is a probing amendment. We would like to see the Government further considering young carers welfare. Like looked after children, children who take on a caring role in the family are pupils who are at particular risk of not receiving sufficient support from the education system. About 3 million children in the UK are affected by disability in their families and 175,000 of them become young carers. It is estimated that the majority of young carers remain unidentified. We must ensure that these children are identified and offered the best support so that they can achieve their potential.
Amendment No. 142proposed by the noble Baroness, Lady Massey, and supported by the noble Baroness, Lady Walmsleywhich attempts to address the issue, is unsatisfactory. It is far too prescriptive and would unnecessarily restrict the freedom and autonomy of our schools. Our amendment will enable each school to develop a policy suited to its circumstances, ensuring that young carers are identified and their welfare promoted. It is drafted along the same lines as the discipline provisions. There is no substantive relation, but it seemed appropriate that a governing body would take a special interest in the welfare of young carers, and develop a policy suited to their particular school. That can be achieved without hindering the schools powers and freedoms to run their own affairs, and would offer each school the opportunity to safeguard the welfare of their own pupils.
I look forward to the Ministers response on this important matter. I am sure that many schools already take an interest in young carers, but it is important to emphasise that the amendment is not intended to create an index of young carers for all to see. I am well aware that many young carers may not wish to be identified in front of their classmates, or share their home situation. Their privacy should be respected. That message is terribly important. The aim of the amendment is to improve the support given to young carers, not to expose their personal lives to unwanted scrutiny. I beg to move.
Baroness Massey of Darwen: I shall speak to Amendment No. 142. I am not sure that the noble Baroness, Lady Buscombe, and I are all that far apart. I welcome the desire to help and support children in care in the Bill. I tabled Amendment No. 142 because young carers also deserve a better deal.
I have recently met many young carers and listened to their problems. I am grateful to the Princess Royal Trust for Carers and other support groups for supplying me with further information. A huge and recurring issue is that of schools not knowing that they have young carers, and having no policy or person in charge to cope with their needs. There is no need to identify them in front of their classmates, but people need to know that there is a problem, just like any other welfare problem.
Some young carers are caring for a parent with a physical or mental disability, or for a sibling. In both cases, they may find themselves late for school, unable to do homework on time or, sadly, missing school. I shall briefly illustrate my points. As the noble Baroness, Lady Buscombe, said, there are around 175,000 carers in the UK. Of these, 13,000 care for people for more than 50 hours a week. That is surely enough young people to mean that every local authority should have a young carer strategy as part of their children and young peoples plan. Young peoples health is often badly affected by caring through the night, having to lift a heavy adult and feeling isolated. These young people are often going through adolescence, and have the same emotional needs as others. Many suffer the additional trauma of bereavement, family break-up, loss of income or housing, and seeing the effects of illness or substance misuse in the family.
I am focusing on educational needs, but these needs go beyond education; a good reason for childrens services which link together to support the young person. Education is a big concern when we are looking at people missing school altogether. One child said:
Young carers should not be expected to carry inappropriate levels of caring which have an adverse impact on their development and life chances. However, there are children and young people who undertake caring roles ... there may be up to 30 young carers in a secondary school.
Schools should consider designating a member of staff to have responsibility for young carers. They can also contribute to schemes that support them, working with local authorities and voluntary agencies.
Only some schools identify and support young carers. There are stories of real success; for example, allowing young carers access to telephones in school so that they can contact their home in case of emergency, as well as real care on homework issues and links to other services.
If we are, insistent that Every Child Matters principles go right through the BillI think that we arethe rights of young carers should also be supported. Every school should have a lead professional who co-ordinates young carers support. Links between school and family are absolutely vital. Local authorities should provide free transport for young carers, and schools should work with young carers services as part of the extended schools and healthy schools programmes. I hope that the Minister will be sympathetic to my amendment. On behalf of young carers, I do not think it is too much to ask.
Baroness Walmsley: I wish to speak to Amendments Nos. 139A, 139B, 139C, 140A and 140B in this group. First, I shall mention Amendment No. 139 in the name of the noble Baroness, Lady Howarth of Breckland, who is unable to be with us. This is another place in the Bill where we believe the well being of the child should be added. The noble Baroness has placed it right up there with the duties of the governing bodies, where it should beat the basis of the activity of the school alongside the achievement of educational potential.
I have added my name to Amendment No. 142 in the name of the noble Baroness, Lady Massey, to which she has just spoken so effectively. The reason why I prefer her amendment to that of the noble Baroness, Lady Buscombe, is that it seeks to replicate the situation that applies to looked-after children, in that the school should have a dedicated teacher who is responsible for supporting that other particular group of very needy children who need particular support from the school. The fact that she has paralleled that situation which already exists for looked-after children with this other group of young carers who have different needs, but none the less very important needs, is what makes her amendment particularly attractive to me.
I shall not speak to Amendment No. 184B, as we have changed it and put it in a different place in the Bill. It belongs in the discipline section and the bullying section. We shall come to it later in our debates.
Amendment No. 139A adds academies, city technology colleges, and city colleges for the technology of the arts to the list of schools that must have regard to the relevant children and young peoples plan. The Minister is always telling us that those schools, although they are independent, are actually community schools. If that is so, there is no case for them to be excluded from the duty to have
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Amendments Nos. 139B and 140B have been suggested to us by the LGA. They would ensure that the Bill strengthens the contribution of schools to the improvement of all of the five well-being outcomes for children, as set out in the Children Act 2004, and not just educational attainment. Local authorities have, of course, embraced the provision of that Act. As a key plank of the Children Act 2004, local authorities are required, in conjunction with their local partners, and in consultationthis is most importantwith children and young people themselves, to produce the children and young people's plan. Government guidance describes the document as,
Both in the SI and in government guidance there is a clear onus on local authorities to ensure that the schools are consulted and have full input into the process. That onus is only in one direction at present. Schools are not currently required to act within the provisions of the plan once agreed. Given the obvious importance of schools in delivering the educational fulfilment and wider elements of the well-being of children, and given that the Government have described the children and young people's plan as an overarching plan for all services affecting children and young people, we believe that the onus on governing bodies to comply with local partners plans must be strengthened to ensure coherent and effective local delivery of the well-being of children and young people.
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