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Division No. 1

CONTENTS

Addison, V.
Ailsa, M.
Aldington, L.
Alexander of Tunis, E.
Anelay of St. Johns, B.
Archer of Weston-Super-Mare, L.
Ashbourne, L.
Astor of Hever, L.
Belhaven and Stenton, L.
Biddulph, L.
Blaker, L.
Blatch, B.
Boardman, L.
Bowness, L.
Brabazon of Tara, L.
Bridges, L.
Broadbridge, L.
Brougham and Vaux, L.
Burnham, L. [Teller.]
Butterworth, L.
Byford, B.
Cadman, L.
Caldecote, V.
Campbell of Croy, L.
Carnock, L.
Carr of Hadley, L.
Chalker of Wallasey, B.
Charteris of Amisfield, L.
Chelmsford, V.
Clark of Kempston, L.
Colwyn, L.
Courtown, E. [Teller.]
Craigmyle, L.
Cranborne, V.
Cumberlege, B.
Dacre of Glanton, L.
Davidson, V.
De Freyne, L.
Dean of Harptree, L.
Denbigh, E.
Denton of Wakefield, B.
Dixon-Smith, L.
Downshire, M.
Drogheda, E.
Dundee, E.
Eden of Winton, L.
Ellenborough, L.
Elles, B.
Elliott of Morpeth, L.
Flather, B.
Fraser of Carmyllie, L.
Gainford, L.
Gardner of Parkes, B.
Geddes, L.
Glenarthur, L.
Hamilton of Dalzell, L.
Hampden, V.
Harding of Petherton, L.
Harris of Peckham, L.
Hemphill, L.
Holderness, L.
HolmPatrick, L.
Ilchester, E.
James of Holland Park, B.
Jenkin of Roding, L.
Kelvedon, L.
Kenyon, L.
Kingsland, L.
Kitchener, E.
Lauderdale, E.
Leigh, L.
Long, V.
Lucas of Chilworth, L.
Lyell, L.
McColl of Dulwich, L.
McConnell, L.
Mackay of Ardbrecknish, L.
Macleod of Borve, B.
Malmesbury, E.
Mayhew of Twysden, L.
Miller of Hendon, B.
Milverton, L.
Monson, L.
Monteagle of Brandon, L.
Montgomery of Alamein, V.
Mountevans, L.
Mountgarret, V.
Mowbray and Stourton, L.
Moynihan, L.
Munster, E.
Murton of Lindisfarne, L.
Newall, L.
Northesk, E.
Norton, L.
O'Cathain, B.
Oxfuird, V.
Park of Monmouth, B.
Pearson of Rannoch, L.
Pender, L.
Perry of Walton, L.
Pilkington of Oxenford, L.
Plummer of St. Marylebone, L.
Prior, L.
Pym, L.
Rankeillour, L.
Rawlings, B.
Renton, L.
Renton of Mount Harry, L.
Romney, E.
Sainsbury, L.
Saltoun of Abernethy, Ly.
Sandwich, E.
Sharples, B.
Shaw of Northstead, L.
Strafford, E.
Strange, B.
Strathcarron, L.
Terrington, L.
Teviot, L.
Thurlow, L.
Trumpington, B.
Vivian, L.
Weatherill, L.
Westbury, L.
Wilcox, B.
Windlesham, L.
Young, B.

NOT-CONTENTS

Allen of Abbeydale, L.
Allenby of Megiddo, V.
Annan, L.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Ashley of Stoke, L.
Berkeley, L.
Blackstone, B.
Blease, L.
Brooks of Tremorfa, L.
Bruce of Donington, L.
Callaghan of Cardiff, L.
Carmichael of Kelvingrove, L.
Carter, L. [Teller.]
Castle of Blackburn, B.
Chandos, V.
Clancarty, E.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Cocks of Hartcliffe, L.
Darcy de Knayth, B.
David, B.
Dean of Beswick, L.
Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde, B.
Desai, L.
Dixon, L.
Donoughue, L.
Dormand of Easington, L.
Dubs, L.
Eatwell, L.
Evans of Parkside, L.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Gallacher, L.
Gilbert, L.
Gladwin of Clee, L.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Graham of Edmonton, L.
Hanworth, V.
Hardie, L.
Haskel, L.
Hayman, B.
Headfort, M.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Howell, L.
Howie of Troon, L.
Hoyle, L.
Hughes, L.
Irvine of Lairg, L. [Lord Chancellor.]
Jay of Paddington, B.
Jeger, B.
Judd, L.
Kilbracken, L.
Lestor of Eccles, B.
Lockwood, B.
Lofthouse of Pontefract, L.
Lovell-Davis, L.
McCarthy, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L.
Mallalieu, B.
Merlyn-Rees, L.
Mishcon, L.
Molloy, L.
Monkswell, L.
Morris of Castle Morris, L.
Murray of Epping Forest, L.
Nicol, B.
Parry, L.
Paul, L.
Peston, L.
Phillips of Ellesmere, L.
Plant of Highfield, L.
Prys-Davies, L.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Richard, L. [Lord Privy Seal.]
Sefton of Garston, L.
Serota, B.
Sewel, L.
Shepherd, L.
Simon of Highbury, L.
Stallard, L.
Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Strabolgi, L.
Symons of Vernham Dean, B.
Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Wallace of Coslany, L.
Walton of Detchant, L.
Whaddon, L.
Whitty, L. [Teller.]
Williams of Elvel, L.
Williams of Mostyn, L.
Winston, L.

Resolved in the affirmative, and amendment agreed to accordingly.

17 Jul 1997 : Column 1097

4.26 p.m.

Lord Pilkington of Oxenford moved Amendment No. 2:


Page 2, line 10, at end insert ("; or
( ) in the case of a school which normally provides both primary and secondary education and which has a single school number assigned to it and one participation agreement, on completion of his secondary education at that school.").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I shall not dwell too much on the detail of the amendment, which was discussed quite considerably in Committee. It concerns schools that make no distinction between their junior and senior sections. They are one school. The staff serve in both schools; the children play in the same school team, belong to the same orchestra and the same choirs and eat in the same dining hall.

In schools of that kind, which are enlarged--the independent day schools of England, mainly the former direct grant schools--the only pupils who would leave that school at age 11 would, under the present Bill, be in the assisted places. Pupils holding assisted places would have to leave at age 11. They would be the only children leaving that school.

17 Jul 1997 : Column 1098

Let me point out that, by 1997, there will be only 179 pupils in the category considered by this amendment. The cost to the state of keeping those pupils and not disrupting their education would be around £500,000, diminishing considerably year by year. The cost to the state of those pupils would be approximately the cost of refurbishing the Lord Chancellor's apartments; in other words, a minor cost in the bill of the state.

I accept totally what the noble Baroness said very convincingly at Second Reading. I agree with her that the Government have a different philosophy of education from that which we hold on these Benches. I accept the commitment put in the manifesto and that the Government have every right to implement their philosophy and get rid of assisted places. I do not object to that. In a democratic society, we accept the results of an election.

The purpose of the amendment is this. It is not the fault of those children who entered all-purpose schools that they have been caught in an ideological battlefield. The battlefield is of our making, not theirs. I repeat, Amendment No. 2 does not affect the Government's desire to fulfil their manifesto commitment. The kind of money that will be spent on those children is not large enough to stop the Government from fulfilling their desire to reduce class sizes. The amendment merely asks the Government to show concern for a small number of pupils--179 in 1997 and reducing rapidly over the next few years. That would cost £500,000 at the most and, in the end, one would be using one's power of paying a lump sum because the administrative costs would be more than the cost of supporting those children.

If the Government are not prepared to give ground on this, they will cause considerable disruption to those children. They will drive them out of the schools which their parents chose; they will drive them out as an isolated minority; surely there is room for compromise in that situation. I beg to move.

4.30 p.m.

Lord Hamilton of Dalzell: My Lords, when the Minister replies, will he tell me what one does if one has an assisted place at a school, in a category indicated by my noble friend Lord Pilkington, which is of a religious complexion? Where does one obtain a similar religious education if one cannot continue all the way through the programme?

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My Lords, in moving Amendment No. 2 the noble Lord, Lord Pilkington, explained that he is seeking to extend the entitlement of primary age assisted place holders at schools that provide both primary and secondary education. The noble Lord's intention is to give all such primary aged assisted place holders the right to hold their places until they complete their education--presumably until the age of 18.

Perhaps I may first set out why we will resist the amendment in principle before moving on to say how it falls technically short of its aims. We are honouring our

17 Jul 1997 : Column 1099

commitment to those on the scheme. The vast majority of places are at secondary school. By phasing out the scheme over seven years, secondary age assisted pupils will be able to complete their secondary education through to A-levels.

In practice, the amendment would mean an extension of the assisted places scheme far beyond what is reasonable. Providing primary aged pupils with an assisted place, some as young as five, through to age 18 would mean running the scheme for another 13 years. We never said that we would support primary aged assisted places at all-through schools. The noble Lord is wrong also about his numbers. The amendment would cover around 3,000 pupils in England, Wales and Scotland and the total cost of such provision would be £100 million to fund the education of those 3,000 or so assisted place holders through to age 18.

We have made a commitment to the 3,000 or so primary aged assisted place holders to fund their education through to age 11. That will cost in the region of £30 million. That is a generous and appropriate commitment in the circumstances. We estimate that the effect of the amendment could cost an additional £70 million, which is the difference between the two figures I quoted.


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