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"(4) Regulations may make provision requiring the responsible person to notify prescribed persons of the fact that relevant nursery education or nursery education under consideration for funding provided by the responsible person is to be inspected under this paragraph.
(5) In sub-paragraph (4) "the responsible person", in relation to any relevant nursery education or nursery education under consideration for funding, means such person as may be prescribed."

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendments Nos. 115 to 120 not moved.]

Lord Filkin moved Amendment No. 121:


"(i) to the responsible person, and
(ii) to such other authorities and persons as may be prescribed.
(2) Regulations may make provision—
(a) requiring the responsible person to make a copy of any report sent to him under sub-paragraph (1)(b)(i) available for inspection by prescribed persons,
(b) requiring the responsible person to provide a copy of the report to prescribed persons, and
(c) authorising the responsible person in prescribed cases to charge a fee for providing a copy of the report.
(2A) In sub-paragraph (2) "responsible person" has the meaning given by paragraph 6A(5)."

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendments Nos. 122 to 124 not moved.]

Schedule 7, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 53 [Inspection of independent schools]:

On Question, Whether Clause 53 shall stand part of the Bill?

Lord Hanningfield: Clause 53 and Schedule 8 deal with changes to the inspection system of independent schools in England resulting from the removal of the category and responsibilities of registered inspectors. The status quo is therefore maintained in regard to Wales.

Therefore in regard to our earlier concerns about the removal of the category of registered inspectors—an issue that I am sure we will come back to later—these two amendments are designed to ensure consistency of approach by removing from this clause the abolition of registered inspectors in regard to the inspection of independent schools.

What, if any, work has been conducted as to the removal of registered inspectors in the independent school sector? Does the Minister envisage any particular concerns that might arise from such a move in regard to independent schools?
 
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Furthermore, I would be interested to learn whether the Minister consulted in the independent sector either before or after the plan to abolish registered inspectors was announced and if so what was the considered response.

Lord Filkin: Clause 53 and Schedule 8 amend Part 10 Chapter 1 of the Education Act 2002, which relates, as the noble Lord, Lord Hanningfield, said, to the inspection of independent schools. The amendments are of a technical nature and are required—as the noble Lord signalled—as a result of the discontinuance of the use of registered inspectors to inspect schools in England. Registered inspectors will still carry out inspections in Wales.

To make the changes, it has been necessary to provide separate clauses for England and Wales. No other changes to the inspection arrangements for independent schools are being made and the powers to inspect independent schools as set out in the current Section 163 and the rights of entry and related supplementary responsibilities in Section 164 remain.

In practice, registered inspectors have not been used in the inspection of independent schools in England since the power was introduced in Section 163(1)(a) of the Education Act 2002. All inspections carried out under Section 163(1)(a) have continued to be undertaken by Ofsted, and the removal of the power for inspection by registered inspectors has no practical effect.

Schedule 8 inserts a new Section 162A into the Education Act 2002 that replicates the provisions of existing Section 163 but removes the references to registered inspectors in Section 163(1)(a). The amendment relates to the inspection of independent schools by Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Schools in England only.

Schedule 8 also inserts new Section 162B, which replicates the provisions of the existing Section 164 in relation to inspections of independent schools in England, except that the reference in Section 164(1) to registered inspectors is removed and Sections 164(2)(3) and (4) are no longer relevant, as they refer to inspections conducted by registered inspectors.

Finally, Schedule 8 replaces existing Sections 163 and 164 of the Education Act 2002 to maintain the status quo for inspections of independent schools in Wales, where power to allow registered inspectors to conduct inspections will continue.

I hope that that explanation is clear, if fulsome. I shall write to the noble Lord, Lord Hanningfield, on the point about consultation. I hope that my explanation has been helpful. For those reasons, we believe that the clause should stand part of the Bill.

Lord Hanningfield: As I said, we will return to the issue of registered inspectors and whether we should have a new list of registered inspectors, an issue that seemed to emerge in the debate earlier in the week.
 
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I thank the Minister for his reply, which was very technical. He read it out very fast, and I did not assimilate all of it. He also promised to write to me. I shall read his reply with interest in Hansard.

Clause 53 agreed to.

Schedule 8 agreed to.

Clause 54 [Inspection of careers services in Wales]:

Lord Hanningfield moved Amendment No. 125:


(c) make an annual report to the Assembly that shall additionally be laid before Parliament concerning his activities carried out under sections 54 and 55."

The noble Lord said: Amendment No. 125 would compel the chief inspector in Wales to lay before the Assembly and Parliament an annual report of his activities regarding the inspection of the careers service in Wales.

There is no mechanism in the Bill whereby a suitable avenue is available for the monitoring and scrutiny of the chief inspector's activities with regard to inspecting the careers service. It is a new remit for the chief inspector in Wales, so it would seem appropriate that both the Assembly and Parliament should have an opportunity to be aware of how he conducts his activities.

The Minister might ask why Parliament should be included as well as the Assembly. However, it would be appropriate, as we are discussing the provisions, that Parliament should also receive a copy of his report. I beg to move.

Lord Roberts of Llandudno: We oppose the amendment. The time has come for us to trust the Welsh Assembly. We have given Wales devolution, and we say that they need more powers. This is an opportunity for us to show that we mean what we say.

We should show confidence in the Assembly and let it have the last word on the issue. We should accept the wording of the Bill.

Baroness Andrews: I welcome the noble Lord, Lord Roberts of Llandudno, to the Front Bench—what an eloquent start. If he supports the Government with that degree of conviction every time he stands up, we will be well pleased.

The noble Lord, Lord Hanningfield, wants to require the chief inspector to make an annual report to the Assembly on activities undertaken under Clauses 54 and 55, which relate to the inspection of careers services. As the noble Lord says, it is a new task for the inspection service. In addition, the amendment would require that the report be laid before Parliament.

Clauses 54 to 56 extend the remit of the Chief Inspector of Education and Training in Wales. We are pleased that the careers service in Wales will be brought under the same system of inspection as other
 
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education and training providers within the chief inspector's remit. It means that the same rigour is applied to the inspection of the careers service in Wales as has been applied to all other aspects of education and training. The provision will also give the power to inspect any provider of career services and to publish the findings. This is an important and welcome development. It will mean that there is more readily accessible information on the quality and standard of the services provided for young people in respect of Careers Wales. Inspection reports will provide a template for the Assembly working with Careers Wales to continue to improve the services provided and to take early action to address shortcomings.

Therefore, it is quite right that the chief inspector should be required to report every year and that the report be published. It will be an annual report to the Assembly. It is a kind of state of the nation report and that is why the Assembly is the right place to receive it. It will summarise the key findings.

As regards the laying of the report, Clause 20 requires that it is made and published by the Assembly, as is currently the case under the School Inspections Act read with the Government of Wales Act. As the noble Lord, Lord Roberts, said, education and training in Wales are devolved matters as a result of the provision in the Government of Wales Act which makes the National Assembly for Wales responsible for the funding of the inspectorate. As I have said, there is no doubt that a report on the state of the nation like this belongs with Wales.

I cannot avoid saying that to accept the recommendation of the noble Lord, Lord Hanningfield, to require a report to be laid before Parliament as well as the Assembly would alter the devolution settlement. We are not inclined to do that. It is the Assembly which is responsible for the direction of education policy in Wales and it is right that the chief inspector should report only to the Assembly on matters which fall within that function.

Parliament does have a wider remit and in particular as regards discharging duties related to the use of public money and the value for money obtained. There are already mechanisms: there is the Comptroller and the Auditor-General who can carry out examinations into and report on the finances of the chief inspector's office. The House of Commons' Public Accounts Committee can ask the Assembly's Audit Committee to take evidence. That is laid down in the Government of Wales Act.

I hope that both the noble Lord, Lord Roberts, and I have persuaded the noble Lord to withdraw his amendment on those grounds.


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