Education Bill

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The Minister for School Standards (Mr. Stephen Timms): I look forward to the hon. Gentleman moving on Report an amendment based on his JCR experiences.

The clause replaces section 512 of the Education Act 1996, which allows LEAs to provide and charge for meals, milk and other refreshments to prescribed persons receiving education. Changes to other legislation have made the original intentions less clear than they were. Some aspects of the legislation are at risk of becoming unworkable. The changes to the benefits and tax credits system have changed the background to these measures.

The Bill provides for an order-making power to allow the Secretary of State to add to the benefits allowances or tax credits that would entitle a child to receive a free school lunch. The Secretary of State can limit eligibility to families in receipt of particular tax credits by reference to their income level. I am glad to tell the Committee that the Secretary of State has agreed that those children who would have lost their entitlement to free school meals because of the changes proposed by the Treasury to the tax credit system will have their entitlement protected. We will adjust the free school meal eligibility criteria to secure free school meals for all children who currently receive them, and for others in similar circumstances in the future. The entitlement of about 100,000 children will be protected, and the changes will bring about the

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extension of free school meal entitlement to an additional 89,000 children in England and Wales. My hon. Friend the Paymaster General is now announcing that news to the Committee considering the Tax Credits Bill, not far from here.

The concerns expressed by Opposition Members about further changes are not warranted. The school can pay the cost of teachers' lunches. That is the current basis on which teachers are provided with free lunches, and nothing in the Bill will change that. That will also be true of meals given to visitors: the example of elderly people was cited. The Bill creates a new power for school governors to provide services to the community. Opposition Members need not be concerned that anything is lost in the arrangements; in fact, there are significant gains.

Mr. Brady: I have a small but significant point to make. I did not pick up one particular assurance from the Minister. He said that new section 512ZA states that every person should be charged the same price for the same quantity of the same item, but that is not the case. It is possible to offer different portions at the same price.

Mr. Timms: Nothing here changes the existing position of kind dinner ladies. That is the reassurance that the hon. Gentleman was hoping for.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 195 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 196

Further education institutions: fees

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Mr. Lewis: I shall move that the clause should not stand part, and I would like to explain why. Significant representations have been made about the clause from organisations such as the Association of Colleges, on the basis that the power already exists in the Learning and Skills Act 2000. We are satisfied that the clause would be superfluous.

Clause 196 disagreed to.

Clause 197

Further education institutions: records

Amendment made: No. 389, in page 119, line 15, leave out 'The Secretary of State may by regulations' and insert—

    'Regulations may'.—[Mr. Timms.]

Mr. Lewis: I beg to move amendment No. 390, in page 119, line 17, at end insert—

    '( ) The regulations may, in particular, impose a function on—

    (a) a local education authority, or

    (b) the governing body of a further education institution.'.

The amendment is purely technical. It relates to a power under section 218 of the Education Reform Act 1988, which is being repealed and re-enacted in the clause. The clause simply provides legal reinforcement for further education institutions to share records with other providers. The amendment ensures that the powers are complete. By virtue of the amendment,

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regulations can, for example, place specific obligations on governing bodies of further education colleges to keep and share records. I hope, therefore, that hon. Members will accept it.

Amendment agreed to.

3.30 pm

Clause 197, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 198 to 200 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Schedule 20 agreed to.

Clause 201

Recoupment: adjustment between

local education authorities

Mr. Lewis: I beg to move amendment No. 298, in page 120, line 34, leave out from 'education' to end of line 37.

This is a drafting amendment to remove the definition of further education from the clause. Such a definition is redundant because the clause applies only to primary and secondary education. The clause replaces the existing provisions that regulate payments between local education authorities. It is intended that, as now, the regulations will affect payments only for certain categories of pupils receiving education in a different authority from the one to which they belong. From April 2002, further education will be funded by the Learning and Skills Council, not by LEAs, so the clause does not apply to further education and the definition is not required.

Amendment agreed to.

Clause 201, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 202 and 203 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 204

Orders and regulations

Mr. Timms: I beg to move amendment No. 299, in page 121, line 23, at beginning insert—

    'Subject to subsection (1A),'

The Chairman: With this it will be convenient to take Government Amendments Nos. 300 to 302 and 391.

Mr. Timms: These are all minor technical amendments.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendments made: No. 300, in page 121, line 24, leave out from 'Act' to 'is' in line 25.

No. 301, in page 121, line 25, at end insert—

    '(1A) Subsection (1) does not apply to any order under—

    (a) section 161 or 186, or

    (b) paragraph 3(6) or 5 of Schedule 1.'

No. 302, in page 121, line 31, leave out 'section 83(3)(a)'.

No. 391, in page 122, line 1, after '(3)(c),', insert—

    '( ) section 124(2),'.—[Mr. Timms.]

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Clause 204, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 205 to 207 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 208

Transitional provisions etc.

Mr. Timms: I beg to move amendment No. 303, in page 124, line 6, at end insert—

    '( ) In this section ''statutory provision'' has the same meaning as in Chapter 1 of Part 3.'

This is a technical amendment that corrects an omission in the original drafting.

Amendment agreed to.

Clause 208, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 209 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 210


Mr. Timms: I beg to move amendment No. 284, in page 124, line 25, leave out 'and 63' and insert—

    'to 65 and Schedule 7'.

The Chairman: With this it will be convenient to consider Government amendment No. 423.

Mr. Timms: These are both minor and technical amendments.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendment made: No. 423, in page 124, line 33, after 'paragraphs' insert—

    'paragraphs 3A, 4A, 4B, 33B, 45A and 65A of Schedule 21, and section 209(1) so far as relating to those paragraphs,'.—[Mr. Timms.]

Clause 210, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 211 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Schedule 21

Minor and consequential amendments

Amendment made: No. 310, in page 184, line 27, at end insert—

    'Local Government Act 1972 (c. 70)

    In section 177 of the Local Government Act 1972 (provisions supplementary to sections 173 to 176 of that Act) for subsection (1A) there is substituted—

    ''(1A) Subsection (1) has effect without prejudice to the operation of—

    (a) regulations made by virtue of section 94(5C) or 95(3B) of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 (allowances for admission appeal panels);

    (b) paragraph 3 of Schedule 4 to that Act (allowances for school organisation committees); and

    (c) regulations made by virtue of section 49(5A) of the Education Act 2002 (allowances for exclusion appeal panels).''

    Local Government Act 1974 (c. 7)

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    In section 25(5) of the Local Government Act 1974 (certain bodies to which Part 3 of that Act applies)—

    (a) for paragraph (c) there is substituted—

    ''(c) an admission appeal panel constituted in accordance with regulations under section 94(5) or 95(3) of that Act,'',


    (b) at the end of paragraph (d) there is inserted


    (e) an exclusion appeal panel constituted in accordance with regulations under section 49 of the Education Act 2002.''.'—[Mr. Timms.]

Mr. Timms: I beg to move amendment No. 569, in page 184, line 38, at end insert—

    'Public Passenger Vehicles Act 1981 (c. 14)

    In section 46(3) of the Public Passenger Vehicles Act 1981 (fare-paying passengers on school buses), for the definition of ''free school transport'' there is substituted—

    '' 'free school transport' means transport provided by a local education authority free of charge—

    (a) in pursuance of arrangements under section 509(1) or (1A) or section 509AA(7)(b) or (9)(a) of the Education Act 1996, or

    (b) otherwise, in the exercise of any function of the authority,

    for the purpose of facilitating the attendance of persons receiving education or training at any premises;''.'.

The Chairman: With this it will be convenient to consider the following: Government amendments Nos. 311 to 313, 392 to 394, 424, 314, 395, 396, 483, 397, 315, 567, 316 to 318, 286, 398, 319, 320, 399 to 401, 321, 402, 403, 559, 322, 462, 323 to 326, 404, 327, 328, 405 to 407, 329 and 408.

Amendment No. 463, in page 190, line 39, leave out 'within the meaning of' and insert—

    'pursuant to a notice published under'.

Amendment No. 417, in page 192, line 7, at end insert—

    'In section 88 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 (Admission authorities and admission arrangements), after subsection 1(a) insert

    ''( ) in relation to an Academy, the proprietor of the Academy''.'.

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