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Baroness Blackstone moved Amendments Nos. 222 to 228A:

Page 252, line 27, leave out ("and submitted").
Page 252, line 49, at end insert--
(" . Omit section 536 (medical inspection and treatment of pupils at grant-maintained schools).").
Page 257, line 21, leave out from ("(2),") to end of line 22 and insert ("omit the words from "and "alterations"" onwards,").
Page 258, line 39, at end insert--
(" . Schedule 28 (government and conduct of grant-maintained special schools) shall be omitted.").
Page 262, line 19, at end insert--
(" . In Schedule 6 (consequential amendments), omit paragraph 7.").
Page 263, line 20, at end insert--
(" . Omit section 50 (recoupment by local education authority of costs of teachers' premature retirement).").
Page 263, line 22, at end insert--
(" . In section 57 (minor and consequential amendments, repeals etc), omit subsections (2) and (3).").
Page 263, line 28, at end insert--

("Education (Schools) Act 1997 (c.59)

201A. In section 2 of the Education (Schools) Act 1997 (transitional arrangements for existing assisted pupils), after subsection (6) add--
"(7) Nothing in subsection (1) shall be taken as prejudicing the operation of any regulations under section 3 by virtue of which assisted places authorised to be provided under that subsection by a former participating school may instead be so provided by another such school or a new school created on the merger of such a school with another school."").

On Question, amendments agreed to.

7 Jul 1998 : Column 1221

Schedule 31 [Repeals]:

Baroness Blackstone moved Amendments Nos. 228B to 231:

Page 264, line 51, at end insert--
("1980 c. 44.Education (Scotland)Act 1980.In section 75A(9A), the word "and" immediately preceding paragraph (b).")

Page 267, column 3, leave out lines 13 and 14.
Page 269, column 3, leave out line 48 and insert ("In section 573, in subsection (2) the words from "and "alterations"" onwards, and subsections (4) to (6).").
Page 269, column 3, leave out lines 50 to 53 and insert ("Section 576(2).").

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Schedule 32 [Transitional provisions and savings]:

Baroness Blackstone moved Amendments Nos. 232 to 234:

Page 272, line 23, after ("effect") insert ("on and").
Page 274, line 27, leave out ("appointed day (as defined by") and insert ("day appointed under").
Page 274, line 43, at end insert--

("Limits on class sizes

.--(1) The transitional provision which may be made for the purposes of section 1 by regulations under section 141(1) includes provision with respect to any relevant time--
(a) for disapplying to any extent in relation to existing maintained schools (whether or not subject to compliance with any prescribed requirements) section 411(6), 416(1) or 426(1) of the Education Act 1996 (provisions about admission numbers);
(b) for otherwise modifying any of the provisions (whether statutory provisions or articles of government) which are relevant to the determination or publication of the arrangements--
(i) for the admission of pupils to such schools, or
(ii) for appeals by parents against decisions taken in relation to the admission of pupils to such schools,
or to the procedure relating to such appeals;
(c) for requiring or authorising bodies responsible for determining such arrangements to determine and publish fresh arrangements, subject to such consultation as may be prescribed, where arrangements previously determined (or previously determined and published) by them are to any extent inconsistent with the provisions mentioned in paragraph (b) as they have effect in accordance with the regulations.
(2) Regulations made in pursuance of paragraph (b) of sub-paragraph (1) may, in particular, modify the provisions mentioned in that paragraph so that they apply in relation to existing maintained schools with the addition of provisions whose purposes correspond to those of any of paragraphs 6(5), 10(5) and 11 of Schedule 23 to this Act.
(3) In this paragraph--
"existing maintained school" means--
(a) any county or voluntary school, or
(b) any grant-maintained school,
within the meaning of the Education Act 1996;
"relevant time", in relation to an existing maintained school, means any time after the coming into force of regulations under section 1 by virtue of which any limit on class size is to apply, or be varied, in relation to the school.").

On Question, amendments agreed to.

7 Jul 1998 : Column 1222

Baroness Blatch moved Amendment No. 234A:

Page 275, leave out line 4.

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, I seek to remove a line in the Bill which was, at one stage, the very last line in the Bill and something of an afterthought. There are now other passages in the Bill. It is on page 275 and refers to line 4.

This amendment seeks to remove the Secretary of State's powers to revoke or vary a grant-maintained school's right to disapply pay and conditions. This is an Oratory School amendment. That school fought quite hard for this facility to allow paragraphs 6(a) and (b) to be put into the Bill. At the very last minute appeared the words:

    "and any such order may be varied or revoked accordingly".

Either those grant-maintained schools are to be allowed to continue with that facility or they are not. We are very worried that the Government may have some future intention to remove it. I believe that there has been a genuine oversight here. I hope it is an oversight. I hope that the Government will agree to my amendment. I suspect, from the way that they have resisted almost everything that we have suggested, they will not. However, I ask them to look that school in the eye and say why the Secretary of State is to retain a power to revoke or to vary a grant-maintained school's right to disapply pay and conditions. I beg to move.

Lord Whitty: My Lords, I am tempted to respond to the somewhat excessive paranoia on behalf of the London Oratory. However, in this case and many of the others that have been referred to, the concern is misplaced. There is no ulterior motive behind those words. They simply serve to make paragraph 6 of the schedule work. But it is rather a complicated matter to explain.

Clause 13 of the Bill amends Section 3 of the School Teachers' Pay and Conditions Act. It does so by substituting a completely new section. Only two orders, including the one to which the noble Baroness referred, have been made under the existing Section 3 and those orders will still be in force when the entirely new Section 3 comes into force.

It is true that we have no wish to extend any such exemption to other schools but we have made it quite clear that we accept that the position relating to those schools should stand. Paragraph 6 of Schedule 32 is a saving provision. It serves to protect the existing orders from the effect of the repeal of the old Section 3. It provides that any such order which relates to a grant-maintained school which becomes a foundation or voluntary-aided school under the new framework shall continue to have effect.

The words in line 4 of page 275 provide that:

    "any such order",
that is, these orders,

    "may be varied or revoked accordingly".
That means that any such order can be varied or revoked under the powers previously contained in old Section 3 as though that section were still in force and notwithstanding its repeal. It therefore simply suggests the restoration of the pre-existing position.

7 Jul 1998 : Column 1223

Moreover, the orders are subject to Section 570(3) of the Education Act 1996 which provides that no order varying or revoking an order under old Section 3 could be made unless two preconditions apply. Those conditions are that the governing body initiates the process and that it must consult the school teachers concerned beforehand. Paragraph 6 operates to preserve that position. It does not grant to the Secretary of State any greater powers in respect of those two outstanding orders than he currently has. It certainly does not allow him of his own volition, as the noble Baroness suggested, to initiate a variation or revocation, nor does it alter the present position of the schools concerned. I therefore think the amendment is unnecessary and could be a restrictive provision should the schools themselves wish to vary the form of their exemption at a future date. I am sure that is not the intention of the noble Baroness, and I therefore ask her to reconsider and withdraw the amendment.

Baroness Blatch: My Lords, I find the answers more gobbledy-gookish as we go along. The provision states that,

    "any such order may be varied or revoked accordingly".
That gives a power to vary and a power to revoke. As these are schools that exist, as it states in paragraph 6:

    "The amendment made by section 13 of this Act shall not affect the operation of section 3 of the School Teachers' Pay and Conditions Act 1991, as in force immediately before that amendment comes into force, in relation to any order made under section 3 of that Act which--

    (a) is then in force; and

    (b) relates to a grant-maintained school which becomes a foundation or voluntary aided school on the appointed day in accordance with Schedule 2 to this Act",
if the Government have no intention of varying or revoking such an order, then we would not wish him to have this power. If he has the power, then we remain suspicious as to why he should need it. Therefore I do not understand it.

7 Jul 1998 : Column 1224

I am pleased that it was the noble Lord who put on the record the paranoia of the Oratory. It happens to be a particularly good school.

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