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Baroness Blatch: One argument that the noble Baroness employed against my amendment was that, when things went wrong, the procedures would be needed. I believe that she also said that parents can be persuaded to attend a school when things go wrong. I know of some schools where the head, the teachers and the governors work their socks off, yet where, frankly, sometimes things do go wrong. Those people would give their eye teeth for 20 per cent or more of their pupils' parents to attend their meetings and to take an interest in what is going on and appreciate what the school is trying to do to resolve some of the problems. In those circumstances, co-operation with parents would make all the difference. Those schools have to resort to non-traditional ways of holding meetings and have to employ far more innovation in order to persuade parents to go along. Therefore, I do not believe that that argument is of help.

The noble Baroness, Lady Sharp, was absolutely right. One problem in relation to regulations—we have read of more regulations passing through this House in recent times than I care to think about—is that they do not make allowance for each and every school. Whatever goes into regulations usually applies across the board. They may distinguish between primary and secondary schools or between one category of school and another. However, by and large, they usually refer to all schools in a particular group. Therefore, I am not sure that regulations are sufficiently sensitive to allow for the type of freedom that I believe, given the obligation in subsection (1), schools and teachers should have.

The other argument used by the noble Baroness was that regulations would act as a safeguard for parents who were concerned about what went on in schools. However, we have an inspectorate. When inspectors enter a school, they make judgments about the quality of the relationship between the school and its parents and the interaction between the school and the children. As I said in relation to previous amendments, the children are interviewed by the inspectors without their teachers being present.

In that way, one can obtain a feeling for the way in which a school is responding to its parents and the way in which the school is meeting its obligations under the law in terms of informing its parents. Certainly it would be possible for the inspectorate to pick up whether the school was meeting its obligations under subsection (1) of Clause 32 and, if it were, perhaps to make comment on the good, bad

14 May 2002 : Column 152

or indifferent way that a school was trying to meet that obligation and trying to increase the number of parents who attended meetings. I am not satisfied with the Minister's answer. Therefore, I wish to test the opinion of the Committee.

3.38 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 141) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 129; Not-Contents, 119.

Division No. 1


Addington, L.
Alton of Liverpool, L.
Anelay of St Johns, B.
Ashcroft, L.
Astor of Hever, L.
Attlee, E.
Avebury, L.
Beaumont of Whitley, L.
Blaker, L.
Blatch, B.
Bledisloe, V.
Boardman, L.
Boothroyd, B.
Brooke of Sutton Mandeville, L.
Burnham, L.
Buscombe, B.
Byford, B.
Caithness, E.
Campbell of Alloway, L.
Carlile of Berriew, L.
Carnegy of Lour, B.
Chadlington, L.
Chalfont, L.
Coe, L.
Colwyn, L.
Cope of Berkeley, L. [Teller]
Cox, B.
Cuckney, L.
Cumberlege, B.
Dean of Harptree, L.
Denham, L.
Dholakia, L.
Dixon-Smith, L.
Dundee, E.
Eccles of Moulton, B.
Elles, B.
Elliott of Morpeth, L.
Elton, L.
Ezra, L.
Falkland, V.
Finlay of Llandaff, B.
Flather, B.
Freeman, L.
Gardner of Parkes, B.
Geddes, L.
Geraint, L.
Gilmour of Craigmillar, L.
Glentoran, L.
Goodhart, L.
Gray of Contin, L.
Hanham, B.
Haslam, L.
Hayhoe, L.
Henley, L.
Higgins, L.
Holderness, L.
Holme of Cheltenham, L.
Hooper, B.
Hooson, L.
Howe, E.
Howe of Aberavon, L.
Howe of Idlicote, B.
Jenkin of Roding, L.
Jopling, L.
Kimball, L.
Lane of Horsell, L.
Linklater of Butterstone, B.
Livsey of Talgarth, L.
Lucas, L.
McColl of Dulwich, L.
Mackie of Benshie, L.
McNally, L.
Maddock, B.
Marlesford, L.
Masham of Ilton, B.
Mayhew of Twysden, L.
Michie of Gallanach, B.
Miller of Hendon, B.
Monson, L.
Montrose, D.
Mowbray and Stourton, L.
Moynihan, L.
Murton of Lindisfarne, L.
Newby, L.
Newton of Braintree, L.
Northesk, E.
Northover, B.
O'Cathain, B.
O'Neill of Bengarve, B.
Onslow, E.
Ouseley, L.
Park of Monmouth, B.
Pearson of Rannoch, L.
Plumb, L.
Prior, L.
Rawlings, B.
Redesdale, L.
Rennard, L.
Renton, L.
Rix, L.
Roberts of Conwy, L.
Rodgers of Quarry Bank, L.
Roper, L.
Rotherwick, L.
Sandberg, L.
Sandwich, E.
Scott of Needham Market, B.
Seccombe, B. [Teller]
Selsdon, L.
Sharp of Guildford, B.
Shutt of Greetland, L.
Skelmersdale, L.
Smith of Clifton, L.
Soulsby of Swaffham Prior, L.
Stevens of Ludgate, L.
Strathclyde, L.
Swinfen, L.
Taylor of Warwick, L.
Thomas of Gwydir, L.
Tope, L.
Vinson, L.
Vivian, L.
Waddington, L.
Wade of Chorlton, L.
Wakefield, Bp.
Wallace of Saltaire, L.
Walmsley, B.
Warnock, B.
Williams of Crosby, B.


Acton, L.
Ahmed, L.
Alli, L.
Amos, B.
Andrews, B.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Ashton of Upholland, B.
Bach, L.
Barnett, L.
Bassam of Brighton, L.
Berkeley, L.
Bernstein of Craigweil, L.
Bhatia, L.
Billingham, B.
Borrie, L.
Boston of Faversham, L.
Bragg, L.
Brennan, L.
Brookman, L.
Bruce of Donington, L.
Burlison, L.
Carter, L. [Teller]
Clark of Windermere, L.
Clarke of Hampstead, L.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Cohen of Pimlico, B.
Corbett of Castle Vale, L.
David, B.
Davies of Coity, L.
Davies of Oldham, L.
Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde, B.
Desai, L.
Dixon, L.
Dubs, L.
Evans of Parkside, L.
Evans of Temple Guiting, L.
Evans of Watford, L.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Faulkner of Worcester, L.
Filkin, L.
Fyfe of Fairfield, L.
Gibson of Market Rasen, B.
Gladwin of Clee, L.
Goldsmith, L.
Gordon of Strathblane, L.
Goudie, B.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Graham of Edmonton, L.
Gregson, L.
Grenfell, L.
Grocott, L.
Hardy of Wath, L.
Haskel, L.
Haskins, L.
Hattersley, L.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Hogg of Cumbernauld, L.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Howie of Troon, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Hunt of Chesterton, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Hussey of North Bradley, L.
Irvine of Lairg, L. (Lord Chancellor)
Jones, L.
King of West Bromwich, L.
Lea of Crondall, L.
Lipsey, L.
Lockwood, B.
Lofthouse of Pontefract, L.
McCarthy, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L. [Teller]
MacKenzie of Culkein, L.
Mackenzie of Framwellgate, L.
Mason of Barnsley, L.
Massey of Darwen, B.
Merlyn-Rees, L.
Milner of Leeds, L.
Mitchell, L.
Morris of Manchester, L.
Moser, L.
Nicol, B.
Northfield, L.
Orme, L.
Paul, L.
Pendry, L.
Peston, L.
Pitkeathley, B.
Ponsonby of Shulbrede, L.
Prys-Davies, L.
Puttnam, L.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Randall of St. Budeaux, L.
Rendell of Babergh, B.
Richard, L.
Serota, B.
Sheldon, L.
Simon, V.
Smith of Leigh, L.
Stallard, L.
Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Strabolgi, L.
Symons of Vernham Dean, B.
Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Temple-Morris, L.
Tenby, V.
Tomlinson, L.
Turnberg, L.
Turner of Camden, B.
Varley, L.
Weatherill, L.
Wedderburn of Charlton, L.
Whitaker, B.
Whitty, L.
Wilkins, B.
Williams of Elvel, L.
Williams of Mostyn, L. (Lord Privy Seal)
Winston, L.
Woolmer of Leeds, L.

Resolved in the affirmative, and amendment agreed to accordingly.

14 May 2002 : Column 153

14 May 2002 : Column 154

3.49 p.m.

The Chairman of Committees: I cannot call Amendment No. 142 as it is pre-empted by the result of the Division.

Lord Rix had given notice of his intention to move Amendment No. 142:

    Page 19, line 9, leave out paragraph (b)

The noble Lord said: Shall I be able to return to my amendment in some form or another on Report? If that is possible, I shall want to do so.

Lord Carter: It is pre-empted by the result of the Division, but the noble Lord may return to it on Report.

Baroness Blatch: Although the amendment of the noble Lord, Lord Rix, has fallen as a result of the Division, I believe that he is saying that there is still an outstanding point to be made. My understanding is that it will be possible to bring back a free-standing amendment on Report so that the matter can be considered at that time.

[Amendment No. 142 not moved.]

Clause 32, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 33 agreed to.

Clause 34 [Staffing of community, voluntary controlled, community special and maintained nursery schools]:

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