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The Lord Bishop of Ripon: Further to the comment just made by the noble Lord, Lord Lucas, in relation to voluntary aided schools, it is not the case that the LEA is the employer; the governing bodies of such schools are the legal employers.

Lord Swinfen: Where the LEA is the employer, the pension arrangements are probably that the LEA pays a set percentage of the salary, but if the education action zone gives the teacher an increment, who pays the extra on the pension? Will it be supplied by the education action zone or will the LEA be forced to pay the extra on the amount due as a pension? I wonder whether such points have been taken into account and properly thought through.

Baroness Blackstone: Of course that has been taken into account. I think that I have already said--if I did not, I apologise--that pensions will be unaffected by these arrangements. The pensions organisations for teachers will cover this and the employer--whether the governing body or the LEA--will be responsible.

The noble Baroness, Lady Blatch, asked me whether teachers' pay might go up or down. In theory, she is absolutely right: it is possible that under these arrangements teachers' pay could go down, but in practice I should have thought, as I have already implied, that it is fairly obvious that it will tend to rise. After all, we are trying experimentally to find a way to encourage good teachers to work in areas where raising standards is a big challenge. Therefore, it would not make much sense for an education action zone to lower the pay of teachers. However, I entirely accept that, theoretically, teachers' pay could go down under this legislation.

The noble Baroness also asked about the transfer of undertakings. Again, as I understand it, TUPE does not arise because employment does not formally transfer.

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With regard to the question from the noble Lord, Lord Lucas, I shall certainly set out clearly in a letter how the change, as he put it, will work when an education action zone decides that it wishes to suspend teachers' normal pay and conditions.

I hope that I have responded to the questions that have been put, but I repeat my offer to set this out at length in writing.

11.45 p.m.

Baroness Blatch: We will have to wait for the letter from the noble Baroness, which will have to cover a very large number of points. In response to my noble friend Lord Swinfen the Minister said that pensions would be unaffected. How can they be unaffected? If someone receives considerably more, perhaps by way of merit pay or another system for enhancing pay, that will give rise to enhanced pension contributions, including contributions by the employer. Is the noble Baroness saying that a teacher can receive pay on a better scale and yet the pension will be frozen at a lower salary rate? I cannot believe that that was what the noble Baroness meant.

Baroness Thomas of Walliswood: This point is particularly relevant where senior teachers are coming to the end of their career--precisely the very senior classroom teachers who may be the most desirable ones to become involved in action zones. Those teachers' pensions will be affected. Their employer will have to pay the additional pension no matter what happens because they will have earned it. I do not see how it can be unaffected. We appear to be receiving a series of contradictory answers.

One is also concerned about conditions, for example contact hours and so on. Those teachers whose salaries are not to be raised but who nevertheless have to work in less advantageous circumstances may have their noses put out of joint, to put it mildly. Does the noble Baroness suggest that teachers who are not worth additional money--all of these expressions are in inverted commas--will be dismissed or their employment terminated in some way and only teachers who are worth higher salaries will be employed in education action zones? When one looks at the detail it is hard to see how the system will operate.

Lord Swinfen: Will the Government top up local authority funding? They will not have budgeted for the increase in pensions that they will have to pay to the pension company. They will be bound to pay that if the salaries of some of the teachers in the action zones are increased. They will be paying a proportion of that salary as pension, for which they will not have budgeted.

Lord Tope: As I listen to the debate I become more and more concerned. We will have to await the Minister's letter to make the situation clear. It has already been said quite correctly that if a teacher's salary is increased then the pension contribution

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increases. The teachers' superannuation scheme is a final salary scheme. The teacher will be entitled to a pension based on his best salary in the last three years, normally the last year for obvious reasons. That is an ongoing commitment.

I speak from experience as a local authority leader. One agrees to a relatively small increase in salary but when the employee retires one has a very substantial commitment to the superannuation scheme. If that is to fall on the LEA at the behest of an education action zone perhaps for very good reason, the LEA will look for considerable reassurance and, I expect, recompense for the extra costs incurred over a very long period of time over which it has little or no control.

Baroness Blackstone: I said that pension rights will continue for teachers who move from a school or LEA employer to a forum, just as if they had moved from a foundation school to a community school, when the employer also changes.

These are complex issues associated with the teachers' superannuation scheme. It would be much more sensible if I were to set out exactly what the impact of this will be on the scheme and, indeed, the local education authorities which the noble Lord, Lord Swinfen, said will not have budgeted for such an impact. I should point out that we are talking about only 25 education action zones, a relatively small number of schools and a relatively small number of teachers who will be affected. Not all the education action zones will wish to suspend teachers' pay and conditions. It is important that we do not exaggerate the impact of such changes. But as I have already promised, I shall set this out in writing in detail.

Baroness Blatch: We shall have to wait. It is a great pity. The debate and the questions raised should have been anticipated and the information available. It was highly predictable that we should have a debate about the effect of this policy on teachers.

When the noble Baroness writes the letter covering the points raised in the debate, will she take into account also the way in which some of those outside bodies work? Certainly from the information I have already seen on the applications, longer days and more days in the year are being talked about. There is a suggestion of using hours before school starts for breakfast clubs. There is a suggestion of after-school clubs. All that will add considerably to the burden on teachers unless there are more members of staff. Therefore, it is conceivable that teachers will receive more pay. However, as my noble friend Lord Swinfen said, they may have to do a great deal more for it. Therefore, the benefit to teachers is neutral. They are working longer hours and therefore receiving more pay.

The noble Baroness said that pensions will be unaffected. Pensions will indeed be affected. As pay rises, so too will the contributions both from the teacher and the employer. As the noble Baroness and the noble Lord, Lord Tope, pointed out, we may well be talking about senior teachers because it may be the most experienced teachers who will move into those positions. Therefore, there will be an impact on pensions

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and final salary arrangements for local authorities. Some of those local authorities will be serving the most difficult areas. There will be pressures on them to find extra money and, as the noble Lord, Lord Tope, said, that extra money needs to be found for the life-time of those teachers, not simply for one or two years. It will be well beyond the period of time during which those action zones are in place.

These are complex issues to which we need some answers. We look forward to receiving the letter from the noble Baroness. In the meantime, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Tope moved Amendment No. 56:

Page 10, line 28, after ("appointment;") insert--
("( ) no fewer than two persons representing the local education authority responsible for maintaining the participating schools or, if there is more than one such authority, at least one person appointed by each of them;").

The noble Lord said: In moving Amendment No. 56, I shall speak also to Amendments Nos. 57, 58, 59, 60, 63 and 64. In view of the hour of night and the amount of business we have yet to transact, I shall be extremely brief because all these amendments very largely speak for themselves.

Amendments Nos. 56 and 59 are concerned to ensure that the local education authorities are represented on the education action forums. If what the noble Baroness, Lady Blatch, has told us is correct, and I have no reason to doubt it, it would be bizarre in the extreme if the vast majority of those education action zones, which are run by or involved with local education authorities, were not to be so represented. But it is appropriate that it should be stated clearly on the face of the Bill that they must be represented. Thereby they will retain the proper contact and influence that they should have, not least for the reasons which we discussed on the previous amendment.

Amendment No. 57 refers similarly to representation of teachers. They should be represented on the education action forum. That is right and proper. They are represented as of right on governing bodies and education committees. I should have thought it entirely right and appropriate that they should be represented, as suggested, also on the education action forums.

As regards Amendment No. 58, I know that the noble Lord, Lord Rix, has waited extremely patiently for a very long time to pursue the matter, not only this evening but also on the previous Committee day. I really do not want to steal his thunder by speaking to it now. Perhaps I may simply say that we warmly and wholeheartedly support his amendment and look forward to hearing what he has to say and, indeed, what the Minister has to say in response.

Amendment No. 60 seeks to preserve the general balance of interests and experience that exists at present so that no expertise and experience is lost in that way. Amendment No. 63 refers to the importance of maintaining proper interests in gender and in race. In

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passing, I should point out to the Committee that if there is any ethnic disadvantage these days it probably rests far more with white, young males than it does with any other members of ethnic minorities.

These are important amendments. I have spoken to them very briefly because of the hour of night. However, that should not in any sense indicate that they have any lack of importance in our view. They are extremely important and self-explanatory. I hope that we shall receive a positive response from the Government. I beg to move.

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