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(c) refrain from implementing any amendment while Tribunal proceedings are pending.").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, this amendment would ensure that if a local education authority proposed to amend a statement to the extent of changing the school specified in that statement, it would not be able to put that into effect until the parent had had an opportunity to take an appeal through the tribunal.

Changing schools is a major disruption for a child, in particular if it takes places in circumstances where arguments are raging between the LEA and the parent, possibly resulting in the child then being reinstated in the same school a year later. That is the kind of disruption which we should seek to avoid.

I entirely take the point made by the noble Lord in Committee that a right to suspend the application of a change should not apply in trivial circumstances. For that reason, I have made it apply only to the most serious circumstances. I beg to move.

Baroness Blackstone: My Lords, Amendment No. 153 would put on hold any amendments to a statement while an appeal is heard. That would not be right. Putting an amended provision on hold until an appeal is heard by a tribunal and a decision is reached would delay the implementation of sensible decisions.

Amendments can be as small as, say, altering the number of hours of support provided by a learning support assistant from three to four. Putting on hold the provision of an extra hour of help for the child or the withdrawal of an extra hour which, in the opinion of the child's school and the LEA, the child no longer needs and which could be deployed elsewhere would not be sensible or in the interests of children with SEN.

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I am sympathetic to the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Lucas, about the cases where the amendment being proposed is to change the school named on the statement. Where there is the possibility that a child will be taken out of one school, placed in another and then taken back to the original school if the parents' appeal to the tribunal is upheld, there is a stronger case for the placement section of the statement to remain unamended until the tribunal has decided.

But, equally, there are other cases where the LEA wishes to amend the statement to name a different school simply because the child's needs can no longer be met by his or her current school. In those circumstances it is right that the LEA should name a more appropriate school and that the child should get the help that he or she needs at that school without undue delay.

It is important to remember that where the LEA makes the provision in an amended statement pending an appeal, parents will have the reassurance that if the tribunal agrees with them that the LEA has got it wrong, then the provision that they want will be made quickly after the tribunal's decision without an extended interruption. In the light of my remarks, I hope the noble Lord will feel able to withdraw his amendment.

Lord Lucas: My Lords, I hope that my amendment as drafted does what I said and not what the noble Baroness began by saying it did. So far as I can see, it sits under sub-paragraph (3)(a), which has only to do with a change of school. So far as I can see, it relates only to a change of school.

I listened to what the noble Baroness said about circumstances under which local authorities should be able to impose a rapid change of school. I shall consider that and read her response in Hansard. We may well return to this matter at Third Reading. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment No. 153, as an amendment to Amendment No. 152, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Lucas moved, as an amendment to Amendment No. 152, Amendment No. 154:

    Line 79, after paragraph 7, insert--

(" . After that paragraph, insert--

Application of duty to another local education authority

3B. The duty imposed under sub-paragraph (3) in relation to a preference expressed in accordance with arrangements made under sub-paragraph (1) shall apply also in relation to a school maintained by another local education authority.").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, this is a further attempt to do what I failed to do properly in Committee. There is a provision for mainstream schools that effectively says that if parents are living at the edge of one borough they can choose a school in the neighbouring borough, and that just because they are in the wrong borough they cannot be discriminated against in applying for that school.

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Circumstances appear to be arising whereby some local authorities will refuse to allow parents who wish to do so to send their statemented child to a school in another borough. The authority is putting difficulties in their way, saying that it will only name a school in its own borough because the rights in Section 411 of the 1996 Act do not extend to special educational needs. This amendment is simply an attempt to lift the sub-paragraph from Section 411 which allows parents the right to cross boundaries and include it in the SEN section, so that parents of SEN children have the same rights as the parents of children who are not so affected. I beg to move.

Baroness Blackstone: My Lords, Amendment No. 154 appears to be designed to secure for parents a right to express a preference for a maintained school in another LEA, and for that preference to be considered on the same basis as if it related to a school in their home LEA. If that is so, then the amendment is unnecessary.

Under the current arrangements, parents can already express a preference for a maintained school in another LEA's area and the home LEA must consider it on the same basis as a preference for one of its own schools. The home LEA must consult any school it is considering specifying in the statement before naming that school in the child's statement. If the parents' preferred school happens to be in the area of another LEA, the home LEA must also consult the other LEA.

Amendment No. 152 tabled in my name would ensure that the other LEA would receive a copy of the proposed statement or proposed amended statement to ensure full and informed consideration of whether the school could make the provision in the statement, which would include any provision to be arranged by the home LEA.

The home LEA should give full and careful consideration to the views expressed by the school and the other LEA, but the decision as to whether or not to name the school rests with the home LEA, which must specify the parents' preferred maintained school in a child's statement in accordance with paragraph 3 of Schedule 27 to the 1996 Act, unless it is unsuitable to the child's age, ability or aptitude or to his special educational needs, or the child's attendance at the school is incompatible with the provision of efficient education for the children with whom he would be educated or the efficient use of resources.

In the light of what I have said, I hope that the noble Lord, Lord Lucas, will feel able to withdraw his amendment.

Lord Lucas: My Lords, I am told that my amendments are unnecessary. I shall read what the noble Baroness said and check it with the difficulties that have been brought to my attention to make sure that there is no lacuna which needs to be filled. For the moment, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

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Amendment No. 154, as an amendment to Amendment No. 152, by leave, withdrawn.

On Question, Amendment No. 152 agreed to.

Schedule 1 [Responsible Bodies for Schools]:

[Amendments Nos. 155 to 158 not moved.]

Schedule 2 [Amendment of Schedule 3 to the 1995 Act]:

[Amen83dments Nos. 159 and 160 not moved.]

Schedule 4 [Modifications of Chapter II of Part IV of the 1995 Act]:

[Amendment No. 161 not moved.]

20 Feb 2001 : Column 808

Schedule 7 [Minor and Consequential Amendments]:

Baroness Blackstone moved Amendments Nos. 162 and 163:

    Page 48, line 8, leave out paragraph 9.

    Page 48, line 21, leave out paragraph 11.

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Schedule 8 [Repeals]:

Baroness Blackstone moved Amendment No. 164:

    Page 51, line 26, column 3, leave out from ("27") to end of line 28 and insert (", paragraph 3(4), paragraph 8(1)(b)(iii), in paragraph 9(1), the words "amend, or" and "10 or", and paragraph 10").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

        House adjourned at twenty-eight minutes before four o'clock.

Official Report of the Grand Committee on the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Bill [H.L.]

Wednesday 20th February 2001

The Committee met at half past three of the clock.

[The Deputy Chairman of Committees (Lord Ampthill) in the Chair.]

The Deputy Chairman of Committees (Lord Ampthill): Before I put the Question that the Title be postponed, it may be helpful to remind your Lordships of the procedure for today's Committee stage. Except in one important respect, our proceedings will be exactly as in a normal Committee of the Whole House. We shall go through the Bill clause by clause; noble Lords will speak standing; all noble Lords are free to attend and participate; and the proceedings will be recorded in Hansard. The one difference is that the House has agreed that there shall be no Divisions in the Grand Committee. Any issue on which agreement cannot be reached should be considered again at the Report stage when, if necessary, a Division may be called. Unless, therefore, an amendment is likely to be agreed to, it should be withdrawn.

I should explain what will happen if there is a Division in the Chamber while we are sitting. The Committee will adjourn as soon as the Division Bells are rung and will resume after 10 minutes

Title postponed.

Clause 1 agreed to.

Clause 2 [Application]:

On Question, Whether Clause 2 shall stand part of the Bill?

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