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Lord Addington: Amendment No. 30 is in my name. I am fully aware that the inclusion of a list may not be a favourite form of amendment. This is not a totally inclusive list; it is merely items that shall be taken into account when talking about reasonableness. The definition of what is and what is not reasonable is effectively what we are talking about here.

The examples given in my amendment are ones for which we have briefing and which we have already discussed today in all cases. For example, the case of Nicky Crane is probably the most absurd example I have heard. He was somebody who was not allowed to leave a classroom a few minutes early. Anybody thinking about that situation for two or three seconds would be absolutely appalled by it.

The danger of a list amendment is that the list never stops. I suggest that the amendment of the noble Lord, Lord Ashley of Stoke, would be a better way of approaching the matter. However, we are trying to get some commitment as to what is reasonable in this context. Effectively, no one type of activity should be regarded as being unreasonable.

To go back to the great demon of anecdotal experience, throughout my educational career being dyslexic and rather less informed than today, I had certain teachers who went almost apoplectic at the idea of a tape recorder being used in class. That would not happen now because we have moved on. Also they found even more worrying the idea that you would not

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be take verbatim notes. Indeed, this stopped at university when I told the tutor in question that I would simply copy the notes out of the text book that he copied them out of--or rather read it.

With a little flexibility, one can get round most things. But we are trying to make sure there is no one activity that of itself is regarded as unreasonable. If the Minister can assure me that movement, technical assistance, or even some way of communicating with a person in class would itself not be reasonable, I should be a much happier person.

Baroness Darcy de Knayth: Very briefly, I support the spirit of both the amendments, and I hope the Minister will be able to come up with something that she can put on the face of the Bill that will remedy this.

Lord Rix: In the list of problems, we have not discussed making arrangements to accommodate the medical needs of pupils. I speak for Mencap of which I am president. We have heard some pretty horrendous stories over the past years of extraordinary rigidities in schools which insist on children leaving their health needs behind when they get to the school doors. I not only support the amendment, but support that clause in particular.

Baroness Blackstone: The aim of the amendments is to clarify what steps it could be reasonable for maintained schools and LEAs to take in order to prevent inclusion being incompatible with the efficient education of others. Members of the Committee will be pleased to know that maintained schools must already comply with the national curriculum inclusion statement. By virtue of Section 317 of the 1996 Act, they must also use their best endeavours to ensure that the special educational provision called for by pupils' special educational needs is made. For example, they should allow a learning support assistant into class if that is specified in a child's statement. I hope that is the kind of reassurance which the noble Lord, Lord Addington, wanted.

I am afraid I may be a disappointment to the Committee in saying that it would not be appropriate to seek to set out on the face of the Bill all the reasonable steps that maintained schools and LEAs could take to prevent a child's inclusion being incompatible with the efficient education of other children. This could unnecessarily restrict the inclusion of children in the future. After all, inclusion is a process, not a fixed state. What is unreasonable now may not be in years to come when I hope that schools will be far more inclusive and accessible. If we set out reasonable steps on the face of the Bill, changes to reflect the development of inclusion would require primary legislation, which we want to avoid.

We believe that these considerations are better suited to guidance and the clause provides for this. Maintained schools and LEAs will have to have regard to the guidance. I want to assure noble Lords that the Government want to work with all interested parties in drawing up the guidance and that we shall want to consult on it.

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Of course, it will be important to consider each case on its individual merits. But I hope that noble Lords were reassured by the examples I set out earlier of the sorts of pupils where we believe no reasonable steps could be taken to ensure that their inclusion was not incompatible with the efficient education of others. I said then and I will repeat again that many more pupils with SEN can and should benefit from a mainstream placement.

Guidance will underline that it will only be possible to demonstrate that a child's inclusion is incompatible with the efficient education of other children in a small minority of cases. Guidance will also address what factors might be taken into account when assessing what reasonable steps could be taken to overcome the incompatibility.

Having heard these reassurances, I hope that my noble friend, and indeed the noble Lord, Lord Addington, will feel able to withdraw their amendments.

Lord Ashley of Stoke: I have listened to my noble friend. She leans over backwards to help. However, I must say that guidance will be completely ignored by the kind of local education authorities and schools I have in mind because it is by no means strong enough. I recognise that she is doing what she can to help.

I am anxious that the Minister should understand that making these criticisms of specific aspects of the Bill in no way denigrates my warm support for it as a whole. It is a great Bill, but I am making these detailed points because the Government are slightly awry on them. I will of course withdraw this amendment and possibly return to it at a later date.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments No. 29 and 30 not moved.]

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton moved Amendment No. 31:

    Page 3, line 17, at end insert--

("( ) "Prescribed", in relation to Wales, means prescribed in regulations made by the National Assembly for Wales.").

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The noble Baroness said: In moving Amendment No. 31 I speak to the other government amendments in this group. This group of amendments is essentially technical and clarifies the powers and role of the National Assembly for Wales to reflect the devolution settlement. It is only right that, in areas where functions have been devolved to the National Assembly, it should be able to exercise its powers. Amendments Nos. 31, 123 and 124, taken together, give the National Assembly the power to make regulations in respect of duties in areas which have been devolved to Wales.

Amendment No. 64 will require the agreement of the Assembly when the DfEE makes regulations specifying the period within which a local education authority must comply with an order of the SEN tribunal. This reflects the devolution settlement under which matters relating to the tribunal are dealt with by the Secretary of State, but with the National Assembly's agreement.

Amendments Nos. 147 to 149, and 151 to 153, taken together, provide that directions relating to orders of the tribunal dealing with disability duties, which are reserved, should only be given by the Secretary of State and not by the National Assembly. Amendment No. 199 gives the National Assembly the power to commence specific sections of the Bill, in so far as they relate to Wales. Amendments Nos. 195, 200 and 201 make consequential changes which follow from this amendment. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 1, as amended, agreed to.

7.30 p.m.

Lord Davies of Oldham: I think this may be a convenient moment for the Committee to adjourn until Monday, 29th January at 3.30 p.m.

The Deputy Chairman of Committees: The Committee stands adjourned until Monday next. The Committee adjourned at half past seven o'clock.

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