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The Lord Bishop of Blackburn: My Lords, I genuinely believe that the noble Lord, Lord Campbell of Alloway, is trying to be helpful to the House and, indeed, to the nation. He speaks for many in this concern. But I must say to him--as I say to the many who write to me and to the lady in one of the villages who decided she should give her bishop an "ear-wigging", as she described it today, on the basis of information, I gather, gleaned from the Daily Mail--that there is great misunderstanding in the country about the effect of the 1996 Education Act.

I believe that it undermines the proper authority of the governors of schools to say that we need to adopt a belt-and-braces approach so that there is a prohibition on the local authority. I much prefer this amendment to the previous amendment moved by the noble Lord, Lord Campbell, and I am grateful to him for redrafting it. But I believe that it undermines the power that has been given to governors of schools.

Also, I think it is time that somebody said that a good deal of this explicit material does not, in the 1990s, as it did in the 1980s, come from a few local authorities. It comes very largely from health trusts which use it because they are dealing with the sharp end of this problem and want it for training purposes; and it is then circulated.

However, I wish to reiterate that the noble Lord, Lord Campbell, speaks for many in this country who are worried about this matter. But we must get the message across that responsibility for it rests with governors. Therefore, it is not appropriate to deal with the issue in this Bill. But I am 100 per cent with the sentiment which the noble Lord is trying to express in this amendment.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: My Lords, since the Education Reform Act 1988, it is for the teachers and governors to decide whether and which material should be available and which should be used as a teaching resource.

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I can only repeat to the noble Lord, Lord Campbell, that these matters are now entirely outside the local authority. Whether Section 28 is retained or repealed makes no difference in terms of what may be taught in schools and who has authority as to what is taught in schools. In those circumstances, this amendment is unnecessary.

I completely support the point raised by the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Blackburn that it would be extremely helpful for governors up and down the country were everyone to say that the debate about Section 28 is not about what happens in the classroom. That is a matter for governors alone. It is extremely important that that is said.

Finally, I am aware of the material that has been on display in your Lordships' House. I have yet to see any evidence of any individual item of material having been approved by any member of any school governing body at any time.

Lord Campbell of Alloway: My Lords, I thank the noble Baroness for her reply. I am absolutely foxed as to how to deal with it. The noble Baroness says that it cannot make any difference whether Section 28 is repealed. It makes the whole difference because it is only if Section 28 is repealed that this effectively provides a new approach for a new way forward. The fact that the substratum of the argument has not even been understood leads me to a protest of amicable despair--and it is amicable and always shall be.

I am grateful to the right reverend Prelate. At least he understood what I was trying to do and to be understood is everything, even if one is disagreed with. I am grateful to the right reverend Prelate for that. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

8 p.m.

Schedule 1 [Executive arrangements: further provision]:

Lord Whitty moved Amendment No. 123:


    Page 62, line 22, leave out sub-paragraph (4) and insert--


("(4) In the case of a relevant English authority which maintains one or more Church of England schools, an overview and scrutiny committee or sub-committee to which this paragraph applies must include at least one qualifying person.
(4A) A person is a qualifying person for the purposes of sub-paragraph (4) if he is nominated by the Diocesan Board of Education for any Church of England diocese which falls wholly or partly in the authority concerned's area.
(4B) In the case of a relevant English authority which maintains one or more Roman Catholic Church schools, an overview and scrutiny committee or sub-committee to which this paragraph applies must include at least one qualifying person.
(4C) A person is a qualifying person for the purposes of sub-paragraph (4B) if he is nominated by the bishop of any Roman Catholic diocese which falls wholly or partly in the authority concerned's area.").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, in moving the amendment, I shall speak also to Amendments Nos. 124 to 127.

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These are relatively minor amendments to paragraph 6 of Schedule 1 dealing with Church representation on overview and scrutiny committees which deal with education in English education authorities. On Report, the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Blackburn, while welcoming our policy on that issue, questioned the language we had used in referring to representatives of the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church on overview and scrutiny committees. We have reconsidered the wording, and Amendment No. 123 reflects our further consideration.

I hope, therefore, that the right reverend Prelate's concerns are now largely met. The amendment makes it clear, as he requested, that the relevant bishop or bishops for Roman Catholic schools and the relevant diocesan board or boards for Church of England schools will nominate representatives to be appointed to those committees of the local education authority. The remaining amendments are tidying-up amendments. I beg to move.

The Lord Bishop of Blackburn: My Lords, I am enormously grateful for the Minister's response. It is simply a question of bringing into what is the contemporary practice of both Churches the manner in which representatives are chosen. I need say no more except to thank the Minister for his consideration.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Whitty moved Amendments Nos. 124 to 127:


    Page 62, line 31, after ("(4)") insert ("or (4B)").


    Page 62, line 40, leave out ("such of").


    Page 62, line 40, leave out ("in the authority's area") and insert ("maintained by the authority").


    Page 62, line 41, leave out ("as may be") and insert ("but which are").

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Schedule 3 [Standards Boards]:

Lord Whitty moved Amendments Nos. 128 to 175:


    Page 65, line 4, leave out ("Neither of the Standards Boards is") and insert ("The Standards Board for England (referred to in this Schedule as the Standards Board) is not").


    Page 65, line 6, leave out ("each of the Standards Boards") and insert ("the Standards Board").


    Page 65, line 7, leave out ("each") and insert ("the").


    Page 65, line 10, leave out ("Each of the Standards Boards") and insert ("The Standards Board").


    Page 65, line 21, leave out first ("a") and insert ("the").


    Page 65, line 32, leave out ("for England").


    Page 65, line 33, leave out sub-paragraph (2).


    Page 65, line 37, leave out ("either of the Standards Boards") and insert ("the Standards Board").


    Page 65, line 39, leave out ("for England").


    Page 65, line 42, leave out sub-paragraph (3).


    Page 66, line 2, leave out ("for England").


    Page 66, line 5, leave out sub-paragraph (5).


    Page 66, line 9, leave out ("either of the Standards Boards") and insert ("the Standards Board").


    Page 66, line 10, leave out ("that") and insert ("the").


    Page 66, line 11, leave out ("or (5)").

9 Mar 2000 : Column 1241


    Page 66, line 12, leave out ("either of the Standards Boards") and insert ("the Standards Board").


    Page 66, line 15, leave out ("Each of the Standards Boards") and insert ("The Standards Board").


    Page 66, line 18, leave out ("Boards for England") and insert ("Board").


    Page 66, line 21, leave out sub-paragraph (3).


    Page 66, line 24, leave out ("either of the Standards Boards") and insert ("the Standards Board").


    Page 66, line 28, leave out ("concerned") and insert ("for England").


    Page 66, line 29, leave out ("each of the Standards Boards") and insert ("the Standards Board").


    Page 66, line 32, leave out ("for England").


    Page 66, line 37, leave out sub-paragraph (2).


    Page 66, line 42, leave out ("for England").


    Page 67, line 4, leave out sub-paragraph (4).


    Page 67, line 13, leave out ("or (4)").


    Page 67, line 15, after ("the") insert ("Standards").


    Page 67, line 16, leave out ("Standards Board concerned") and insert ("Board").


    Page 67, line 17, at end insert--


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