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Baroness Blatch: My Lords, I am sorry that the noble Lord is in a state of confusion over the matter. Let me make it clear: I am for innovation and the clauses on earned autonomy. In fact, we have tabled amendments to allow more schools rather than fewer to enjoy that. I am in favour of good practice, but therein lies the rub. The provision is not good practice; it is not thought through; and we have not received good answers about culpability, liability and protection of governors. How on earth will the extra time, money and effort be spent without any impact on the primary duty of a governing body, which is to manage its school?

I can only go by the words on the page. The letter that I cited from the noble Lord states "no bidding costs", not "lower bidding costs". So I was left with the impression that either someone else would pay them or that there would be no bidding. On profit, let me read from the noble Lord's letter, rather than refer to the words that he just used. The letter states:


I rest my case on that point.

3 Jul 2002 : Column 254

When the noble Lord described third parties, what he said was not consistent with the Bill. Third parties have been described variously as third parties with an interest in educational matters and third parties that are purely commercial but which would join schools to form companies to make profits, some of which may find their way back into schools. But today every example of a third party to which the noble Lord referred had a specific link with education: further education authorities; educational publishers; and the like. While not excluding them, does that mean that any third party must be one with a link with education?

Difficulties remain. A bit of a campaign is going on today about procedure, but my concerns about the clauses remain. We have passed each stage of the Bill hoping that many of our points would be taken on board; but they have not. Here we are at the final stage of the Bill and I believe that I am procedurally within my right to refer to those concerns at this stage and, if I wish, to press the amendments to a vote.

We live at a time when there is a shortage of teachers and, in particular, a shortage of teachers teaching the subjects for which they are trained. The Government hold unprecedented sums of money centrally, denying schools the full benefit of core funding. Innumerable new burdens have been imposed on governors. Many of our schools, as yet unspecified, are the sort of school that the Secretary of State would not touch with a bargepole.

The Bill creates further pressure on schools to form companies. Having three layers of management—the schools themselves and the companies, the local education authorities and the Secretary of State—is a recipe for chaos. We are not preventing schools from joining together to save money. We are not preventing them from behaving commercially. They already do so successfully, and we hope that they will continue to do so. The right reverend Prelate asked why, if independent schools could do it, individual schools could not. Individual schools can.

This is not a secondary education Bill: would that it were. The Government talk about changes to secondary education, but there is hardly anything in the Bill that spells out the detail of reform to secondary education. I believe that colleagues on the Liberal Democrat Benches join me in this view only: we should protect our schools and the education of our children.

5.1 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 7) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 183; Not-Contents, 141.

Division No. 1

CONTENTS

Aberdare, L.
Addington, L.
Alderdice, L.
Anelay of St Johns, B.
Arran, E.
Astor, V.
Astor of Hever, L.
Attlee, E.
Avebury, L.
Bagri, L.
Barker, B.
Bell, L.
Blaker, L.
Blatch, B.
Boardman, L.
Bowness, L.
Brabazon of Tara, L.
Bradshaw, L.
Brigstocke, B.
Brougham and Vaux, L.
Burnham, L.
Buscombe, B.
Byford, B.
Caithness, E.
Campbell of Alloway, L.
Carlisle of Bucklow, L.
Carnegy of Lour, B.
Carrington, L.
Chadlington, L.
Clark of Kempston, L.
Clement-Jones, L.
Coe, L.
Colwyn, L.
Cope of Berkeley, L.
Crickhowell, L.
Cumberlege, B.
Dean of Harptree, L.
Denham, L.
Dholakia, L.
Dixon-Smith, L.
Eden of Winton, L.
Elles, B.
Elliott of Morpeth, L.
Elton, L.
Ezra, L.
Fearn, L.
Feldman, L.
Ferrers, E.
Flather, B.
Fookes, B.
Forsyth of Drumlean, L.
Gardner of Parkes, B.
Garel-Jones, L.
Geraint, L.
Glentoran, L.
Goodhart, L.
Goschen, V.
Gray of Contin, L.
Greaves, L.
Hambro, L.
Hamwee, B.
Hanham, B.
Harris of Richmond, B.
Hayhoe, L.
Henley, L.
Higgins, L.
Hodgson of Astley Abbotts, L.
Hogg, B.
Holderness, L.
Holme of Cheltenham, L.
Home, E.
Hooper, B.
Hooson, L.
Howe, E.
Howe of Aberavon, L.
Howell of Guildford, L.
Hunt of Wirral, L.
Hurd of Westwell, L.
Jacobs, L.
James of Holland Park, B.
Jopling, L.
Kimball, L.
King of Bridgwater, L.
Kirkham, L.
Knight of Collingtree, B.
Lang of Monkton, L.
Lester of Herne Hill, L.
Linklater of Butterstone, B.
Livsey of Talgarth, L.
Lucas, L.
Luke, L.
Lyell, L.
McColl of Dulwich, L.
MacGregor of Pulham Market, L.
Mackie of Benshie, L.
MacLaurin of Knebworth, L.
Maclennan of Rogart, L.
McNally, L.
Maddock, B.
Mancroft, L.
Mar and Kellie, E.
Marlesford, L.
Methuen, L.
Michie of Gallanach, B.
Miller of Chilthorne Domer, B.
Miller of Hendon, B.
Monro of Langholm, L.
Montagu of Beaulieu, L.
Montrose, D.
Moynihan, L.
Murton of Lindisfarne, L.
Newby, L.
Newton of Braintree, L.
Noakes, B.
Northbrook, L.
Northover, B.
Norton of Louth, L.
O'Cathain, B.
Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay, L.
Onslow, E.
Oppenheim-Barnes, B.
Park of Monmouth, B.
Parkinson, L.
Patten, L.
Peel, E.
Perry of Southwark, B.
Perry of Walton, L.
Peyton of Yeovil, L.
Phillips of Sudbury, L.
Platt of Writtle, B.
Powell of Bayswater, L.
Razzall, L.
Reay, L.
Redesdale, L.
Rees, L.
Rennard, L.
Renton, L.
Roberts of Conwy, L.
Rodgers of Quarry Bank, L.
Roper, L.
Rotherwick, L.
Russell, E.
Ryder of Wensum, L.
Sainsbury of Preston Candover, L.
St John of Fawsley, L.
Sandberg, L.
Scott of Needham Market, B.
Seccombe, B. [Teller]
Selkirk of Douglas, L.
Selsdon, L.
Sharman, L.
Sharp of Guildford, B. [Teller]
Sharples, B.
Shaw of Northstead, L.
Shrewsbury, E.
Skelmersdale, L.
Smith of Clifton, L.
Steel of Aikwood, L.
Stevens of Ludgate, L.
Stewartby, L.
Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Strathclyde, L.
Swinfen, L.
Taverne, L.
Tebbit, L.
Thatcher, B.
Thomas of Gwydir, L.
Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Thomson of Monifieth, L.
Trefgarne, L.
Trumpington, B.
Tugendhat, L.
Vivian, L.
Waddington, L.
Wade of Chorlton, L.
Wakeham, L.
Walker of Worcester, L.
Wallace of Saltaire, L.
Walmsley, B.
Watson of Richmond, L.
Weatherill, L.
Wigoder, L.
Williams of Crosby, B.

NOT-CONTENTS

Acton, L.
Ahmed, L.
Alli, L.
Alton of Liverpool, 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.
Billingham, B.
Blackburn, Bp.
Blackstone, B.
Bragg, L.
Brennan, L.
Brett, L.
Brightman, L.
Brooke of Alverthorpe, L.
Brookman, L.
Brooks of Tremorfa, L.
Burlison, L.
Campbell-Savours, L.
Carter, L.
Chandos, V.
Chelmsford, Bp.
Christopher, L.
Clark of Windermere, L.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Cobbold, L.
Corbett of Castle Vale, L.
Craig of Radley, L.
Crawley, B.
Davies of Coity, L.
Davies of Oldham, L.
Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde, B.
Dearing, L.
Desai, L.
Dixon, L.
Donoughue, L.
Dormand of Easington, L.
Dubs, L.
Elder, L.
Evans of Parkside, L.
Evans of Watford, L.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Faulkner of Worcester, L.
Filkin, L.
Fyfe of Fairfield, L.
Gale, B.
Gibson of Market Rasen, B.
Gilbert, L.
Golding, B.
Goudie, B.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Grenfell, L.
Grocott, L. [Teller]
Hardy of Wath, L.
Harrison, L.
Haskel, L.
Hayman, B.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Hogg of Cumbernauld, L.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Howe of Idlicote, B.
Howells of St. Davids, B.
Howie of Troon, L.
Hoyle, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Hunt of Chesterton, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Irvine of Lairg, L. (Lord Chancellor)
Islwyn, L.
Janner of Braunstone, L.
Jay of Paddington, B.
Jeger, B.
Jenkins of Putney, L.
Jones, L.
Jordan, L.
Judd, L.
King of West Bromwich, L.
Kirkhill, L.
Laming, L.
Layard, L.
Lea of Crondall, L.
Levy, L.
Listowel, E.
Lockwood, B.
Lofthouse of Pontefract, L.
Macdonald of Tradeston, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L. [Teller]
MacKenzie of Culkein, L.
Mason of Barnsley, L.
Massey of Darwen, B.
Merlyn-Rees, L.
Milner of Leeds, L.
Mitchell, L.
Monson, L.
Morgan, L.
Morgan of Huyton, B.
Morris of Aberavon, L.
Morris of Manchester, L.
Nicol, B.
Orme, L.
Parekh, L.
Patel, L.
Pendry, L.
Peston, L.
Pitkeathley, B.
Plant of Highfield, L.
Radice, L.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Rea, L.
Rendell of Babergh, B.
Richard, L.
Roll of Ipsden, L.
Rooker, L.
Sainsbury of Turville, L.
Sawyer, L.
Scotland of Asthal, B.
Serota, B.
Sheldon, L.
Simon, V.
Strabolgi, L.
Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Thornton, B.
Tomlinson, L.
Turnberg, L.
Turner of Camden, B.
Uddin, B.
Varley, L.
Warner, L.
Warwick of Undercliffe, B.
Whitaker, B.
Whitty, L.
Wilkins, B.
Williams of Elvel, L.
Williams of Mostyn, L. (Lord Privy Seal)
Williamson of Horton, L.

Resolved in the affirmative, and amendment agreed to accordingly.

3 Jul 2002 : Column 257

5.14 p.m.

Clause 12 [Limits on powers conferred by section 11]:

[Amendments Nos. 8 to 10 not moved.]


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