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Baroness Sharp of Guildford: The Minister is right in remarking that the debate on whether Clause 59 should stand part of the Bill should really have taken place on the first group of amendments that I moved this evening. In that sense, I accept that we have already discussed the issues. As I mentioned before, we may well return to them on Report. For the moment, I withdraw my opposition to the Question that the clause stand part of the Bill.

Clause 59 agreed to.

Clauses 60 to 67 agreed to.

Clause 68 [Joint inspections]:

Lord Haskel moved Amendment No. 196:

(b) the Inspectorate, where the majority of the students attending the institution are aged over 19,").

The noble Lord said: At Second Reading, the Minister spoke about the overlapping responsibilities of the two inspection regimes; that for 13 to 18 year-olds and that for those over 19. Indeed, we have had a lot more discussion on that subject this evening. The Minister told us that the adult learning inspectorate will be responsible for the inspection of adult work-based training and adult provision in FE colleges and that Ofsted will be responsible for other inspections.

As we have heard, there will be joint inspections of FE colleges and at work-based training where both adults and young learners are being trained. However,

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there must be a leading inspection body. It seems that there will be some turf wars, in particular, at the FE colleges, where both inspection teams may apply. Other noble Lords have referred to the possible difficulties.

The purpose of the amendment is to try to be helpful over such a possible conflict. It is reasonable for the relevant inspectorate to be determined by whichever is the largest group of learners to be inspected; Ofsted where the majority are under 18, and the adult learning inspectorate where the majority are over 18.

My amendment will relieve teachers at FE colleges of having to prepare for two inspections. The Minister will be well aware of the amount of effort that goes into preparing for inspections. For a start, there will be only one lot of paperwork. My proposal will be more efficient and effective in raising standards of preparation at FE colleges and in building a working relationship with the inspectorate. In that way, the Government can avoid the risk of the two inspection regimes having unequal status and so avoid the turf wars. After all, there are two different cultures to inspect: the part-time adult students and the full-time young learners. Each inspectorate has something to contribute and so they should be equal, as the noble Lord, Lord Dearing, said earlier. I hope that the Government find the suggestion helpful. I beg to move.

Lord Dearing: I rise to speak in broad support of the amendment. I have been involved in education for a number of years and throughout that period I have been concerned that we have had two cultures: the culture of what I describe as academic education and the culture of vocational--applied--learning. There has been a tendency for each to engage in disparagement of the other, to be proud of its own culture and not to profit from what the other has to offer. It is in pursuance of that feeling that in one report in which I was engaged I recommended to the previous government that the body I chaired--the School Curriculum and Assessment Authority--should merge with the National Council for Vocational Qualifications, so that the two cultures could learn from each other to the benefit of students. That recommendation was accepted and there is now one body comprehending both segments of learning. I was also engaged in a report in higher education, which was concerned with developing a unity and a coherence throughout the whole field of learning. Therefore, contrary to what others have argued, I see positive advantage in drawing on the expertise of both inspectorates--HMI-Ofsted and the FE Inspectorate. Each can profit by working with the other.

It was only because of my concerns about the specific provisions of Clause 68 that I spoke on the earlier amendment tabled by the noble Baroness, Lady Sharp. In contradistinction to Clauses 66 and 67, where the Bill proposes that the two heads of the inspection regimes should collaborate in working out an approach, under Clause 68, without qualification, Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Schools is put in the

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lead. It is for him to direct the inspection; it is for him to make a plan; it is for him, under the draft regulations, to determine how many from each inspectorate should be engaged; it is for him to make the report. I wonder why the Government should have concluded that the adult learning inspectorate should be placed in such a subordinate position when it is, I presume, the repository of the greatest experience and expertise of inspection in FE colleges.

It might be that one thought that the FE Inspectorate has not established the reputation--the well deserved reputation--of Ofsted for forthright, hard and effective inspections. Yet when I looked at the last annual report of the FE Inspectorate I did not find that it was a soft, punch-pulling report. Indeed, had the head of the FE Inspectorate the same remarkable talents of Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Schools to capture public attention and to catch the headlines, a remarkable critical headline could have been derived from his last report. Having said that 11 per cent of colleges did not have effective leadership, the report went on to say that,

    "we do not have a sufficient number of effective principals if the management of one in nine colleges (11%) is unsatisfactory".

As I read that, he was saying plainly that 50 principals were not up to their job. That is tough talk.

I do not see evidence in the report that the FE Inspectorate is a soft number. I am therefore concerned that there should, in this clause, have been a decision to put Her Majesty's Inspector of Schools unequivocally in the lead in every aspect of the inspection.

I invite the Government to consider, as the noble Lord, Lord Haskel, has proposed, leadership according to where the majority of the students are. I understand that in further education there are 4 million students, of whom 3 million are adult and 1 million are young people. That suggests that there might be scope in relation to the needs of pupils for the FE inspectorate to be in the lead.

The Government may consider that suggestion over-adventurous. They may be prepared to consider importing the principle that they have adopted in the two preceding clauses; namely, that there should be joint leadership of the inspection. Is that impossible? I cannot see why. For example, it is proposed in the draft regulations that the chief inspector must reflect the collective judgments of the inspectors who have conducted the joint inspection. If it is a requirement to reflect the judgment of the inspection team, which is a collective one, I cannot see a problem in the report not being that of Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Schools but a joint report by the two inspectorates.

I wonder whether the Government feel it essential, in advance of any actual experience of joint inspection--which, as I have argued, has much to commend it, bringing the experience of two cultures to bear--I wonder whether they feel it imperative, to enshrine so much of the detail of the arrangements in the main statute rather than in regulation. Are the Government prepared to consider at least--so as not

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to demean the standing of the adult learning inspectorate and thereby discourage first-rate people from applying to be its members (no one likes to be cast permanently in a subordinate role in one's career)--that the reports should be joint reports, and that the composition of the team should reflect the balance of the students in the institution?

While I should like to support the amendment moved by the noble Lord, Lord Haskel, I suggest to the Government that, if that provision is too much, there are lesser proposals that could be offered. I invite the Government to consider whether, on Report, they would see merit in moving from their present position.

10.15 p.m.

Baroness Blatch: There was a chief education officer in Cambridgeshire, when community education was first being piloted, who used to sit around the table with worthy people who used to talk stratospherically about education, ideas, and piloting this, and piloting that. Every now and again, he used to say, "What about the children?"--and brought everyone back to discussing what the whole thing was about.

I understand that this provision ought fundamentally to be about the quality of the teaching and learning of the students who are passing through the system, whether they are attending a school or college, or training in the workplace. The point made by the noble Lord, Lord Haskel, is material to one of the real issues; namely, the practical delivery. We can all use fine words about what we should like to see, how we should like people to work together, and how co-operation is better than being at odds with each other. But we are talking about two very separate cultures; and the way in which they interact practically on the ground is very important. The question I ask myself is: what about the institutions and the impact of what is happening on the students passing through them?

The point made by the noble Lord, Lord Haskel, relates to preparation for inspection. It is a very real issue in schools. It has been said by the chief inspector, and with some force, that many schools over-prepare for inspection. After all, the inspector is coming to make judgments about the quality of the teaching and learning in a school and to form a view about the outputs of that effort. Often, for very good reason, teachers are earnest and anxious to do the best and to show off their schools in the best possible light. But in order to prepare for the inspection, they overdo it. I have heard descriptions of vast numbers of laundry baskets lined up in halls filled with documents which the inspectorate team may want to see. The tradition of FEFC, which one presupposes ALI will follow, is very different. Preparation for that kind of inspection is also very different. It takes place over a long period and involves more visits to look at the systems in place and to test their robustness. If they are to merge in a practical sense so that individual inspectors work together in a single team within the same framework, something somewhere must change. Not only the inspectors and the framework within which they operate must change, but the way in which the very

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people in the institutions prepare for inspections must change. I do not believe that thought has been given to that. Certainly, there is no suggestion that there are to be regulations to that effect.

There are many in the school system--I referred earlier to the Association of Teachers and Lecturers--who look over the fence and see that the grass is greener on the other side. They rather like the adult approach to inspection and the idea of testing on the basis of self-evaluation. But if the Government are to put that system in place, it is important to spell out the way in which it is to work in practice. Schools, colleges and workplaces must change in order to prepare for what may be a very different form of inspection. One cannot simply put together the observational and evaluative-type cultures and expect nothing to change. If there is to be change, the nature of that change needs to be spelt out; the dots and commas must be in place. Because these institutions are very hard pressed because of the other demands on their time, not least their core task of teaching and training the young people who pass through their doors, the Government must say rather more than they have said up to now.

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