Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments Eighth Report


APPENDIX II


Memorandum by the Department for Education and Employment


EDUCATION (INDIVIDUAL PUPILS' ACHIEVEMENTS) (INFORMATION) REGULATIONS 1997 (S.I. 1997/1368)

  By letter dated 9 July 1997 to the Department's Legal Adviser, the Joint Committee have requested a memorandum on the following point:

    "Explain why, having regard to the 23rd and the 6th Reports of the Committee of Sessions 1995-96 and 1996-97 respectively on instruments made under the predecessor statutory power to section 408 of the 1996 Act, this instrument, by regulation 4(5) and Schedule 3, requires to be included in the headteacher's report information relating to the educational achievements of all pupils at `schools in England'."

  1. The Education (Individual Pupils' Achievements) (Information) Regulations 1997 (S.I. 1997/1368) are made under section 408 of the Education Act 1996 ("the 1996 Act"). Section 408 refers to the prescription of a number of matters. Sub-section (1) provides that the Secretary of State may require by regulations "in relation to every maintained school, the local education authority, the governing body or the headteacher to make available . . . such information relevant for the purposes of any of the relevant provisions of this Part [Part V] . . . as may be prescribed". Section 408(2) (d) provides that such information may relate to "the educational achievements of pupils at such categories of school as may be prescribed . . . ".

  2. Regulation 4(5) of, and Schedule 3 to, S.I. 1997/1368 require the headteacher's report to include information "relating to the educational achievements of all pupils at schools in England . . . ".

  3. In both the Joint Committee's 23rd and 6th Reports in the Session 1995-96 and 1996-97 respectively on instruments made under the predecessor statutory power to section 408 of the 1996 Act, the Joint Committee concluded that required information under those instruments relating to the educational achievements of, respectively, "all pupils at schools in England" and "pupils for all schools in England" made an unexpected use of the statutory power. The Committee does not consider that it was Parliament's intention to allow the power granted to be exercised in the way that it is being. This view was expressed in relation to the Education (Individual Pupils' Achievements) (Information) (Amendment) Regulations 1996 (S.I. 1996/1146) and the Education (School Information) (England) Regulations 1996 (S.I. 1996/2585).

  4. The Department remains of the view that -

    (a)   references to "all pupils at schools in England" amounts to prescription as to categories of school; and

    (b)   that all schools in England are a category or categories of school as distinct from, for example, all schools in England and Wales.

  5. Nevertheless, the Department hopes to use the vehicle of its next Education Bill to amend section 408 of the 1996 Act in the way that the Committee has most helpfully suggested in its above Reports so as to meet the Committee's concerns.

14th July 1997


 
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