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Page 2, line 7, at end insert--
("( ) pupils in schools,
( ) the parents of pupils in schools,").

The noble Baroness said: I should like to make it quite clear that this is a probing amendment. I speak on behalf of the noble Lord, Lord Northbourne, who, unfortunately, is unable to be present today. We are now considering subsection (4) where we are looking at,

various parts of the whole education system. The point which could not fail to strike anyone is that, on reading the first part of the Bill, at no point is the word "pupil" mentioned. It seemed to me--and, indeed, to the noble Lord, Lord Northbourne--that that was something which should perhaps be looked at, if not corrected. At the end of the day, the whole purpose of this is for the benefit of pupils in schools or anywhere else. As I said, it is simply a probing amendment and one which is worthy of consideration.

I should also like to make it clear that so far as I am concerned--and I believe I can speak on behalf of the noble Lord, Lord Northbourne--we are not talking about representatives of pupils. But, in this whole matter, that is something which should be considered as, indeed, should the question of parents of pupils. Everyone is most conscious today of the important link between the support of parents for teachers and for pupils. They are all linked together as part of the education system. I should be most interested to hear

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the Minister's thinking on that matter. It is a probing amendment and one which I know is of particular interest to the noble Lord, Lord Northbourne. I beg to move.

Baroness David: I wonder whether the noble Baroness and the noble Lord, Lord Northbourne, listened to the winding-up speech of my noble friend Lord Whitty on Second Reading when he said that the GTC,

    "will bring together and reflect the interests of all of those who have a stake in ensuring the highest possible standard of teaching. It will include parents and employers".--[Official Report, 11/12/97; col. 352.]

Therefore, I believe that we have in that speech a commitment that parents will be involved.

The Lord Bishop of Ripon: I should like to refer to a point that I made on Second Reading; namely, the very substantial involvement of the Churches in the whole enterprise of education, especially their involvement in maintained schools. Something like one-third of all primary schools are in the voluntary sector, and something like one-fifth of all schools are in the primary sector with around one-third of teachers receiving their initial teacher training in Church colleges of higher education.

I simply want to make the simple point that each of the categories under consideration, including those mentioned in the amendment, reflect substantial Church involvement. Clearly the Churches were consulted when the embryo GTC was being formulated. I made the point on Second Reading--and will just repeat it--that in any consultation the Churches should be among those who are consulted because we have such a substantial interest in the matter.

Baroness Carnegy of Lour: There is an enormous menu of suggestions here. The Government have their own list of interests on the face of the Bill which they feel should be represented. I believe that the experience in Scotland is important here. Whatever may arise from discussion, I do not believe that Parliament should let the Bill go without establishing that this body should contain a majority of teachers. I should hope that those teachers would reflect the interests of all teachers both in maintained and in independent schools, and that they would be practising teachers. I know that the National Association of Head Teachers feels strongly about that. Someone may speak on that later.

I wish to draw the attention of the Government to something that has just happened in Scotland which the noble Baroness may or may not be aware of. It has been reported in the education press--I am sure this is correct--that the general teaching council in Scotland has just proposed a code of practice for teachers. That is an important move. The membership of that general teaching council contains a majority of teachers and the majority among the teachers are members of the Educational Institute of Scotland, which is the largest teachers' union in Scotland and includes head teachers, as the Minister is probably aware.

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It is interesting that the Educational Institute of Scotland has thrown out the recommendation I am discussing. As I understand it, that means that teachers on the general teaching council are acting absolutely independently of their union and are not politicising what they do. That is what I have been told by the registrar of that council. The teachers have acted in an objective way and have done what they feel is right and is their duty; namely, to propose a code of practice. However, that has been rejected by the union, which is by far the biggest union in Scotland. I do not know what will happen next but that is what has been reported.

That demonstrates that the Government should not be fearful of the way teachers will behave if they have a majority on the general teaching council. That is an important point. It is not enough for the Bill to state that the teachers should have a majority. In England and Wales there is a greater variety of kinds of school than in Scotland, where I believe almost all the schools involved in the general teaching council are state schools; and we do not have grant-maintained schools. That experience is relevant to the situation we are discussing. I hope that the Government will think about that. I believe that the Bill should not leave Parliament before it establishes a majority of teachers on the general teaching council. It is a matter of principle that Parliament should decide. Whatever teachers may say, it seems unlikely that they will want anything other than that. The Government should concede that point during the passage of this Bill, if possible during its passage through this Chamber. That is something that I feel strongly about.

Lord Peston: What are the other people who have amendments in this grouping doing in terms of speaking?

Lord Pilkington of Oxenford: I think I can explain the position. I wish to speak to Amendments Nos. 7, 9, 11, 12, 13 and 15. I hope that in doing so I shall give pleasure to all Members of the Committee as they all want flesh on the bones. I intend to give them all much juicy flesh. I hope that the Minister will support every word I say.

Amendments Nos. 7 and 9 relate to teachers outside the maintained sector. If this body is to mirror the pattern of other professional bodies--doctors and lawyers have been mentioned--it is absolutely inconceivable that the Government should restrict it to employees of the state. The body is not just concerned with schools that are supported by the state but with the whole of education. It is important that that is understood and seen to be the case. Every teacher ought to be able to share the advantages conferred by the council and should be able to contribute to it and feel part of it. It is good for the whole profession that there should be interchange between the two sectors. I am particularly glad that the Minister and many of her colleagues have expressed a desire to have closer co-operation with the independent sector. Therefore it would be unfortunate if that was not included on the face of the Bill.

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I have also mentioned the composition of the council. These are probing amendments, but I hope that the Minister can put her own flesh on the skeleton. I have included people outside teaching. The noble Lord, Lord Peston, and others have said that that is necessary and I agree with him. Teaching is not quite so specific a profession as medicine and law. As regards law, some feel that the legal profession is often too tightly controlled by members of that profession. As regards education I think the community at large will feel that that is even more the case. For those reasons I have suggested wider participation in the council. I have proposed a list of participants. I hope that other Members of the Committee will make further suggestions. Members of the Committee may wonder why I have included inspectors of schools. They may ask, is it not like putting the gamekeeper with the poacher? There is always a danger with such a body that there may be conflict between the profession and the inspectorate of the profession. In the history of English education there has often been conflict between those two bodies. If the council is to improve that relationship and to improve education generally it is desirable that it includes chief inspectors.

The noble Baroness, Lady Carnegy, has talked about disagreement in Scotland. I gather that there was a further disagreement where a Scottish teaching council turned down national curriculum tests. That could constitute a classic example of conflict between the inspectorate and the council. These things are better resolved in discussion. That is why I believe members of the inspectorate should be included in the council. I can only underline what the right reverend Prelate has said; namely, that voluntary aided and voluntary controlled schools should be represented. I might even go further and say that there should be representatives of the Churches who play a large part in aided schools--financial and otherwise--in making appointments and other such matters. I would also extend the participation to Jewish and Moslem schools. There could be conflict in those areas and the council will be involved in those areas. I should like to include representatives of commerce and industry on the council and one can think of members of various academic bodies too. This matter falls within a wide tradition of English regulation of education. When our predecessors in the previous century reformed many institutions of education and established new governing bodies they made sure that the members of those bodies were widely representative of the academic community and the community at large. Those are my suggestions.

I refer now to the way in which the participants should be chosen. It would be bad if the teaching side of this body were dominated either by the unions or by one section of the teaching profession. As the Committee is aware, certain teachers' unions tend to have a higher representation among people who teach in certain parts of the teaching profession. Some have higher representation in secondary education while others have higher representation in primary education. That has often caused conflict between the unions.

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I propose a system of constituencies to avoid that conflict. I do not wish to go into the full details of this but I can think of a constituency which represents voluntary controlled and voluntary aided schools. I can think of a constituency representing primary schools and others representing secondary schools, colleges of further education, kindergartens and so on. But within those constituencies the electors should be the teachers in the schools. In other words, it should not be a body nominated either by the union or by the executive. In this way one would involve the whole teaching profession. One would have a widely based body. One might wish to consider representation of headmasters.

I suggest three proposals: first, the inclusion of the independent sector; and, secondly, a widely based body. I do not say whether there should be a majority of teachers. If half the body was composed of teachers, in effect it would constitute a majority since representatives from teacher training colleges would belong to the same profession. That is a matter of detail. Thirdly, I propose the constituencies.

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