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Baroness Maddock: My Lords, I thank the noble Baroness for her full reply, which was rather more informative than the last debate on the issue. We all agree that the needs of teachers seeking a headship qualification will be different. Of concern is the possibility that people who have not been involved in education could come forward and somehow obtain a headship qualification. I believe that the Minister was reassuring me that that would not be the case. I feel certain that the important issue of a headship qualification will be discussed further as the Bill progresses. People are excited about it and believe in it, so getting it right will be important. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 22 not moved.]

Baroness Blatch moved Amendment No. 23:

After Clause 12, insert the following new clause--

Qualifications of head teachers: regulations

(".--(1) Section 232 of the Education Reform Act 1988 (orders and regulations) shall be amended as follows.
(2) After subsection (3) there shall be inserted--
"(3A) A statutory instrument containing regulations made by the Secretary of State under section 218(1)(ab) shall be laid in draft before Parliament for approval by resolution of each House."
(3) In subsection (4)(b), after the word "216,", there shall be inserted the word "218(1)(ab),".").

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, I shall be brief. The debate that we have just concluded and that on my Amendment No. 20 at least placed on record a large number of our concerns about what is, at the end of the day, a good policy aim. It is therefore incumbent on the Government to use the affirmative resolution procedure by putting regulations before both Houses for approval, so that we may be absolutely certain that the arrangements made are consistent with the wishes of this House.

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6.30 p.m.

Baroness Blackstone: My Lords, I do not believe that our proposals are novel enough or contentious enough--despite what the noble Baroness said--to warrant the degree of parliamentary scrutiny that the affirmative resolution would involve. It may be helpful if I recap the important issues to be covered in regulations. The clause will enable the Secretary of State to make regulations requiring that head teachers taking up their first appointment in maintained schools and non-maintained special schools should hold a professional headship qualification. There is provision to make some exceptions to the requirement--such as for holders of the prospective Scottish headship qualification. I have already made clear in our earlier debates that my right honourable friend the Secretary of State would not wish to seek to bring the mandatory qualification into force until he can be certain that we shall have a sufficiently large pool of qualified candidates available. Moreover, we shall give good notice of the intention to bring this requirement into force.

Additionally, regulations will set out the nature of the professional headship qualification. I have already placed on the record our intention that, subject to further development and continued positive feedback, we intend that NPQH should be the mandatory qualification; and we have placed a wealth of background information in the Library of the House. So we anticipate that there will be nothing new to debate when we come to confirm that decision in regulations.

Nonetheless, the Secretary of State will be consulting widely before laying regulations on the mandatory qualification for headship. We shall consider carefully the issues which arise during consultation with a view to reaching a clear consensus before we proceed. All the key interest groups will have an opportunity at that stage to comment on the provisions.

We have accepted the case for following the affirmative resolution procedure in relation to other significant parts of the Bill in order to allow the House fully to debate significant details underpinning policy implementation. I cannot agree that there is sufficient further detail to be prescribed in regulations under Clause 12 to justify this. I hope that the noble Baroness will be prepared to withdraw her amendment.

Baroness Blatch: My Lords, again, the noble Baroness believes that if it is not contentious in her book, it is not contentious in anyone's book. I regard the definition of contention to be when people are concerned about the issue. Having spoken to many teachers, they think that the aim is laudable; that it is a good practical policy; and that it will be materially important in raising the standards of head teachers in our schools which in turn will raise the standard of education in our schools. However, there is much disquiet about the way in which it will be introduced. If the provision is brought in too quickly, if attempts are made to take shortcuts in order artificially to boost numbers where they are needed, it will be understood that the Government are doing so for all the wrong reasons.

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There is disquiet about the matter. It is an issue to which I shall return. In the meantime, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 13 [Requirement to serve induction period]:

Baroness Maddock moved Amendment No. 24:

Page 8, line 17, at end insert (", which shall not be less than one year in total").

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, I hope that the Government will be helpful. The amendment answers a problem raised in Committee. We were told that our amendment could not be accepted at Committee stage because the training of a teacher might be suspended through part of a year. The insertion of the phrase "in total" overcomes the criticism made of the original amendment. I need say no more. In the light of that, I hope that the Minister will be able to accept the amendment.

Lord Whitty: My Lords, when we debated the length of the induction period in Committee I made clear that it was our intention that the period should normally be one academic year. Amendment No. 24 as drafted would imply a full 12-month calendar year induction period. But no doubt the noble Baroness's intention is the same as the Government's. So there is, I think, nothing between us. I argued in Committee that given our intention to consult on the detailed operation of the new induction arrangements it would not be appropriate to prescribe the intended length of the induction period on the face of the Bill. But having listened to the noble Baroness today we are prepared to agree to bring forward a government amendment making clear that the induction period should not be less than one academic year. However, I do not accept the precise wording of the amendment. I hope that the noble Baroness will be prepared to withdraw the amendment. I hope that I can bring forward the government amendment during proceedings in this House.

I was not entirely clear whether the noble Baroness also referred to Amendment No. 25. Perhaps she will clarify that.

Baroness Maddock: My Lords, no, I did not. I was so carried away by the fact that there was no reason why the Minister could not agree to the amendment that I forgot to speak to Amendment No. 25. I apologise.

On Amendment No. 24, while it is not good practice to talk about what one did in another place, the situation reminds me of the many times I have spent in committees in another place. People will do anything but accept an amendment. They will take away one word, and reword the provision. Nevertheless, I am grateful that the Minister recognises the point we make. That is the most important consideration.

Before withdrawing the amendment, perhaps I may speak briefly to Amendment No. 25. We are not clear what "the appropriate body" means at line 24 on page 8. It could refer to Ofsted, the local education authority, or the Department for Education. If it referred to the school there might be considerable variation on the standard when deciding who had completed the

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induction year satisfactorily. If the general teaching council has the right to monitor the position we shall have a satisfactory standard across the board. That is in line with what we have said about the role of the general teaching council.

I may have messed up the procedure by speaking to Amendment No. 25, and I may need to give the Minister time to reply to that amendment before I withdraw Amendment No. 24.

The Lord Bishop of Ripon: My Lords, I wish to raise two points on Amendment No. 25. I hope that the Minister will be able to answer them.

The noble Baroness has already raised the matter of the appropriate body. I had understood that the TTA might be an appropriate body. I do not think she referred to it. If there were some tension between the TTA and the GTC, it would bring us back to matters we discussed previously.

What weight will be given to the recommendation of the head teacher in reaching any assessment? If a poor assessment is received, the head teacher may be part of the context within which the teacher undergoing the induction period may be performing badly. Practical factors could include the size of classes or the number of difficult pupils within a class. Those matters within a head teacher's control may affect a teacher's induction performance. More generally, the ethos of the school--the support given in the staff room and by the head teacher--may determine the outcome of the induction period. What weight is to be given to the recommendation of the head teacher?

Will the induction period be a once only opportunity? Let us suppose that a teacher fails an induction period. Will there be a further opportunity? I am thinking of similar arrangements in the Church of England for training periods for clergy. We have a year in which clergy are ordained deacons, at the end of which a recommendation is made about whether they should be ordained priests. Very often, if there is under-performance on the part of clergy in that preparatory period, it is as a result of the poor relationship between vicar and curate--in other words between the person doing the training and the person being trained. Sometimes, taking a person out of that context and putting him into a different one produces a different kind of outcome. Will it be the case that those who may fail a particular induction period will be given a second opportunity?

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