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Lord Goodhart: The noble Lord, Lord Williams of Mostyn, took issue with me over my description of the applicant in such cases being analogous to a prosecutor. That is little more than a play on words because this is a quasi-criminal procedure. It is certainly not an ordinary civil procedure. It is a quasi-criminal procedure in which the local authority or the chief officer of police is playing a role which is virtually indistinguishable from that of the prosecutor in a criminal prosecution. That is why I believe that the analogy is perfectly fair.

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Frankly, the noble Lord did not answer my question about why the discretion of the court should be excluded by requiring the consent of the applicant. It was said that removal would lead to a cottage industry in applying for discharges, but the noble Lord did not disagree with my statement that the decision of the local authority or chief officer would be capable of being judicially reviewed. Therefore, what is barred to lawyers by one route comes back through another. I strongly believe that this amendment represents a fairer and better system than that proposed by the Bill. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment, but it is one to which I may return on a future occasion.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

7.30 p.m.

[Amendment No.19 not moved.]

Lord Henley moved Amendment No. 20:

Page 2, line 27, at end insert--
("( ) Requirements specified in an anti-social behaviour order shall, as far as is practicable, be such as to avoid--
(a) any conflict with an individual's religious beliefs; and
(b) any interference with the times, if any, at which he normally works or attends an educational establishment.").

The noble Lord said: I shall speak to Amendment No. 20 briefly. I imagine that noble Lords prefer to adjourn for dinner fairly soon. I believe that we shall adjourn very soon after the Committee has dealt with this amendment. Amendment No. 20 is tabled as a probing amendment. To some extent I touched on it earlier when I asked particularly about those cases where an exclusion order had been made by the court and how an individual would be able to cope if, for example, his place of work was on one side of the excluded area and his place of residence was on the other side. I asked whether exceptions could be made.

For the sake of clarity, I should explain that the amendment has been lifted from Clause 9(4) where such an exclusion is set out. I should like to ask the Government why they believed it necessary to make an exception in Clauses 8 and 9(4), which deal with parenting orders, but not in Clause 1. I beg to move.

Lord Hardy of Wath: I feel rather uneasy about the amendment. In my experience two cases merit a cautious view in this area. The noble Earl, Lord Onslow, referred to the Salvation Army a few moments ago. Some years ago I experienced a serious problem. The congregation of a fundamentalist chapel gathered after evening service to sing hymns very loudly and, after a fairly long period, greatly upset all the people who lived nearby. Fortunately, they were persuaded to move away. However, had they not done so and had the situation today applied they would have been able to claim religious freedom. The second case was a much more serious matter. Some years ago an individual came to see me about a constituency problem. He lived in a terraced house which had a common yard. One day one of his neighbours came to that yard in which his children

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were playing and proceeded to slaughter a sheep. When he objected the neighbour said that that was his religious freedom.

This amendment would provide an excuse for that kind of behaviour. In my area--it will apply in many others--a great deal of attention, resources and care have been devoted to the promotion of good race relations. That kind of case imperilled those relationships. I believe that we must be careful not to provide an excuse for an individual who may exercise an extremely destructive influence in society. I hope that my noble friend will look at the amendment with very great care.

Lord Renton: My noble friend Lord Henley said that this amendment was intended to be a probing amendment. It gives rise to some difficulty. There are some religions which encourage antisocial behaviour according to our definition of it. Indeed, there is one religion that justifies the killing of a woman who has committed adultery. We would find ourselves in the greatest difficulty if we said that there was never to be a conflict with an individual's religious beliefs.

In case my noble friend intends to pursue this matter at a later stage, I observe that in paragraph (b) the word "works" is rather imprecise. Would working in the garden be a justification for an exemption? I believe that "earns a living" is more appropriate.

Lord Hylton: The merit of this amendment is that it draws to our attention the unintended consequences of the orders that will become possible under the clause. I ask the Government to think of the possible consequences of exclusion. For example, might an individual be excluded from access to his normal place of worship? It may be thought that there are plenty of places of worship for each denomination, but there are minority religions that may be very thin on the ground. This is a serious point. As the whole thrust of the Bill is the prevention of crime, I believe that anything, whether under an order or otherwise, that prevents people from going to their normal place of work or education is contrary to the spirit and intention of the Bill. The amendment raises very serious points, and I hope that the Government will consider them as fully as they deserve.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: I am entirely supportive of what the amendment seeks to achieve. We differ on the question of whether it is appropriate to include it on the face of the statute. We do not believe that such inclusion is right. We have said on a number of occasions that we propose to issue detailed guidance on the orders which will clearly set out that this kind of requirement should not if at all possible be included in an order. To put such a provision on the face of the Bill in this context is both unnecessary and may cause problems in itself.

As to the regime under Clause 9(4), the context is entirely different. That relates to parenting orders. It relates only to the parents of children under the age of 16. It is appropriate in that case to make specific reference to the parents' religious beliefs and education

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because one is dealing only with the parents of children under 16. This is a completely different regime which we believe is best dealt with by way of guidelines. I take the points that have been made. We intend to issue detailed guidelines on the nature of the orders. I hope that the noble Lord regards that as a sensible way of proceeding rather than putting it on the face of the Bill.

Lord Henley: I am entirely satisfied by what the noble Lord has said. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Hoyle: My Lords, I beg to move that the House do now resume. In moving this Motion, I suggest that the Committee stage begin again at 8.40 p.m.

Moved accordingly, and, on Question, Motion agreed to.

House resumed.

Children with Special Educational Needs

7.40 p.m.

Lord Addington rose to ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that appropriate provision will be guaranteed for those children with special educational needs who cannot reasonably be integrated into mainstream education.

The noble Lord said: My Lords, first, I thank all noble Lords who have put their name down to speak in this debate. We have just one regret, that we have only one hour to cover the subject with such an impressive list of speakers. I look forward to hearing the maiden speech and wise counsel of my noble friend Lady Linklater who has had considerable experience of special schools within the education system.

When we talk about special schools within the education system we are continuing an argument which has gone on at least since I joined your Lordships' House. Some people have always maintained their battle cry that everyone should be integrated within the system, while others have said that they should be educated outside it. Both sides of the argument have waxed and waned fiercely, sometimes inside the Chamber but more often outside. The arguments are often based on fears and dogma. I hope tonight that we shall be able to reach a compromise based on best practice. That is finally starting to be accepted across the whole spectrum.

I sought briefing on this subject from outside bodies. I was astounded by the six or seven replies I received. They all said virtually the same thing: inclusion--that is, bringing people into the education system where that is appropriate--is a good thing; integration is essentially a bad thing because it does not take into account special needs. At least that is what the term is thought to mean.

Special schools with back-up facilities and sheltered environments will be needed for the foreseeable future. That was something that was so universally endorsed

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that I began to doubt it. When everyone is on the same side one always thinks that something must be wrong somewhere. However I suspect that we do have it right. I suspect that, because I have heard the arguments before. It has taken us a long time to reach that level of consensus. Even the Government agree. We should all be worried by that. However, there are certain caveats.

The Government's Green Paper, Excellence for all Children, follows a series of best practice procedures, or something close to them. That is a position for which we have striven for a long time. I shall inject some politics into the discussion. There is always the question of how we will achieve that aim within current spending levels. Excellence in any field is never cheap. With a Government who accept the expenditure plans of the previous government, which my party thought could have been expanded, there is always the danger of going along the integration route as opposed to the inclusion route.

That is effectively care in the community--a concept which sounded so good but which was never given the resources, and indeed probably never could be given the resources, to enable it to work in the way envisaged. That is a worry that always nags at the back of the mind: the image of going down the right path without sufficient will to drive oneself to the end.

If we are moving towards inclusion, we must ensure that there is something to back it up. Special schools are centres of excellence and havens for some people within the school system. The people who are aware of the various special needs are centred at such places and have the resources to provide the necessary support.

Unless there is a vast increase in expenditure on education we shall never be able to match that across the board or in all schools. It is almost impossible. We must bear in mind that some types of learning and support for learning require sheltered environments and different teaching methods from those appropriate to mainstream education.

I promised myself that I would not start my speech by mentioning dyslexia. I shall use it as an example. A dyslexic learns language in a different way and has to be taught differently from someone who is not dyslexic. They need different types of teaching and so the common classroom is not appropriate for both groups.

With a little thought those with moderate disabilities can adjust themselves to the mainstream classroom. Many of the areas of worry can be removed from those with moderate difficulties. People with other disabilities--for example, those whose movement is impaired--can often be easily catered for in the classroom. There is no real problem for someone in a wheelchair, once that person is allowed inside the classroom. It is agreed that there is no reason why someone in a wheelchair, with a stick, or on crutches should not have access to a classroom. There are relatively cheap ways of overcoming the difficulties. Ramps can be installed. One chairlift per floor can be provided in a school. Such things can be done. That removes the problems for a whole group of disabled

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people. That leaves those people with specialist needs which are best met in a specialist teaching environment. That is the group about which we are talking.

When dealing with children or young adolescents, we must bear in mind that we are dealing with the most conformist group in our society. It is the group which is probably least tolerant towards those outside it. If we place a young person who is vulnerable, because his confidence has been damaged due to his academic failure in school, in such a situation such a person will probably be bullied. If we put someone with severe learning difficulties in a classroom without the appropriate back-up facilities, we might as well put a sign across their head saying, "Victimise here", because that is probably what will happen.

There is the further problem that young people who are placed in such an environment without the appropriate help tend to react badly to school discipline. I know dyslexics who feel, "If I cannot cope with the classroom, I shall ensure that no one copes, and I will disrupt it". If such a young person has not received the help needed to manage in the classroom, a specialist school may be the only answer.

The move towards inclusion could be greatly helped if the Government were prepared to find the appropriate resources or to restructure teacher training so that teachers were better equipped to recognise disabilities within the classroom. I know that the Government are studying that problem now. This is an opportunity for the Government to tell us how far they have gone towards ensuring that teachers have the skills required to give the necessary assistance.

The Government now have the chance to say that they will keep these necessary support structures. They will make available the appropriate resources and back-up to allow them to work and to enable them to be accessible to the rest of the school system. Without such support, there is a grave danger that the Government's best intentions will come to nought, especially if they allow the accountants or the balance sheet to rule their education policy.

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