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Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: My Lords, I am sure that when the noble Earl has an opportunity to read Hansard tomorrow he will be able to see that I did not say that we shall never use force. I urged the noble Lord on the Liberal Benches to consider the measures that Her Majesty's Government and the Contact Group have already proposed, and to remember that there is an opportunity on 25th March to reconsider the position.

Lord Rea: My Lords, I thank my noble friend for answering my supplementary question at Question Time yesterday on the involvement of the Security Council in the Kosovo question. She has done so through the words of her right honourable friend the Foreign Minister. Does she agree that the Albanian people of Kosovo, under President Rugova, whom I met four years ago in Pristina, have shown remarkable patience in their passive resistance to the oppression that they have suffered to date under the Serbs--a patience which, I suggest, is now running out. What further steps can be taken to encourage

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the opposition, and eventually a change of regime in Belgrade, which I suggest is the only peaceful way in which the autonomy in Kosovo can be achieved?

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: My Lords, my right honourable friend, when he was in Belgrade last week, was able to give some encouragement to Dr. Rugova by having a meeting with him. As I indicated, Dr. Rugova rightly continues to advocate the peaceful pursuit of the legitimate political views of those Albanian people whom he represents. Her Majesty's Government have encouraged him to pursue that course of action. I am sure that Her Majesty's Government, the Contact Group and, I hope, our European partners will do the same in the coming weeks.

Lord Campbell of Alloway: My Lords, I wish to ask a very short question. In the context of the war crimes trials, which are a form of deterrent, as perhaps the noble Baroness will agree, how are the investigations to be made? How is identity to be established? I realise that there are difficulties. Is it the job of the monitors? What arrangements have been made? If contemporaneous or virtually contemporaneous arrangements are made, it is no effective deterrent.

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: My Lords, the Contact Group yesterday urged the office of the prosecutor of the international court in Yugoslavia to begin gathering information relating to the violence in Kosovo that may fall within its jurisdiction. The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia authorities have an obligation to co-operate with the international court. Contact Group countries will make available to the international court substantial information which is already in their possession. But it is part of the 10-point plan being urged upon the Belgrade Government at the moment that we see proper co-operation from them as well.

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: My Lords, can the Minister assure us that the preventive force in Macedonia will be maintained over the summer? I understand that nearly half the force is now made up of American troops, and there is some pressure for their withdrawal at the end of the current mandate. Can the Minister give us any indication whether the European allies will be prepared to replace and, if necessary, reinforce that important force, should the Americans withdraw?

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: My Lords, I believe that we must await the discussions of the next few days about the nature of any international force to be kept in the area beyond August this year. As my right honourable friend said in his Statement in another place, we wish to see some kind of force being kept there. The actual auspices under which such a force would operate are, I believe, a matter for discussion in the next few days, within the UN, NATO and elsewhere. We must await the outcome of those discussions.

Noble Lords: Beloff!

Lord Whitty: My Lords, I regret that we have now reached the 20 minute limit.

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Teaching and Higher Education Bill [H.L.]

Proceedings after Third Reading resumed.

5.3 p.m.

Clause 2 [Advisory functions of the Council]:

The Deputy Speaker (Baroness Turner of Camden): My Lords, I believe that Amendment No. 6 is not moved.

Baroness Blatch: My Lords, I understand that it is traditional that when a vote has been taken and an amendment agreed to, further consequential amendments in that group are accepted. Is that not so?

The Deputy Speaker: My Lords, I understand that certain amendments have been spoken to but not moved, so they must be formally moved.

Baroness Blatch moved Amendment No. 6:


Page 2, leave out lines 33 and 34.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Baroness Blatch moved Amendment No. 7:


Page 2, leave out line 39.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

The Deputy Speaker: My Lords, I have to say that if Amendment No. 8 is agreed to, I cannot call Amendment No. 9.

Baroness Blatch moved Amendment No. 8:


Page 3, line 1, leave out subsection (4).

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendment No. 9 not moved.]

Lord Whitty moved Amendments Nos. 10 and 11:


Page 3, line 5, at end insert--
("(4A) The Council may give advice on such matters falling within subsection (2) as they think fit to such persons or bodies as they may from time to time determine.
(4B) Any advice given by the Council on matters falling within subsection (2) shall be advice of a general nature.").
Page 3, leave out line 7 and insert (", (3) or (4A).").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I have spoken to these amendments which are of a technical nature. If there is no objection, I beg to move them both.

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Clause 3 [Registration of teachers]:

Lord Whitty moved Amendment No. 12:


Page 3, line 16, after ("employed") insert (", or otherwise engaged to provide his services,").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Baroness Blatch moved Amendment No. 13:


Page 3, line 17, leave out ("by the Secretary of State").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

10 Mar 1998 : Column 140

Earl Baldwin of Bewdley moved Amendment No. 14:


Page 3, line 21, at end insert--
("(5) Where the Council considers that a person on the register or who has applied for registration has fallen short of the professional standards appropriate to a place on the register, it may, having heard representations--
(a) admonish or issue a warning to that person;
(b) attach conditions to his registration;
(c) suspend him from the register for a specified period; or
(d) remove him from the register, either--
(i) immediately, or
(ii) at the end of a period of suspension, if it considers that conditions specified in the notice of suspension have not been met.
(6) Where the Council takes action under subsection (5) above, it shall issue a notice to the person concerned, setting out the action being taken and the grounds for its decision that he has fallen short of the professional standards appropriate to a place on the register.
(7) The powers conferred on the Council by this section are without prejudice to the powers of the Secretary of State under section 218(6) of the Education Reform Act 1988.").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, in moving this amendment, I wish to speak also to Amendments Nos. 15 and 16. The amendments provide for the general teaching council to have power to deregister as well as to register teachers. This issue was debated on Report, as noble Lords may recall, when I withdrew my amendment at that time (Amendment No. 15) for further consideration. The principle was widely supported, but a number of noble Lords made helpful suggestions which have been incorporated in the amplified provisions which we now have before us.

I think I need not spend much time in revisiting the merits of the case. In a sense, the amendments dot the "i"s of the amendment in the name of the noble Baroness, Lady Young, which we have just discussed. Without such a power as we have here the new council will lack any real teeth, will lack esteem, and may even find it hard to attract the right people to serve. Other professions have this power, even the newly-arrived osteopaths and chiropractors. It chimes in closely with the Government's new aim in Clause 1 for the council,


    "to maintain and improve standards of professional conduct".

The National Commission on Education advocated it. Logic and symmetry suggest that the council's powers should not be restricted to just one aspect of the register for which it is to be responsible. There is no intention of subsuming any of the Secretary of State's existing powers to bar teachers under the Education Reform Act 1988. That point was raised by the noble Lord, Lord Whitty, at Report. We have made this clear in subsection (7) of the new amendment. It is the professional--if you like, my Lords, the classroom--aspects, for example, issues of gross incompetence, with which the GTC will be concerned here.

There will doubtless come a time, and we have discussed it already, when the council, like its Scottish counterpart--and its Welsh counterpart under this very Bill--will take over all aspects of debarment. But it will be better able to do that when mechanisms are in place and experience has been gained in the matter of professional standards. For all those reasons, I believe it

10 Mar 1998 : Column 141

will be far from "premature"--let alone "dangerous", as the noble Lord, Lord Whitty, said at an earlier stage--to make this limited but important provision.

The amendment at Report stage spoke only of removing people from the register. The present amendment brings it more into line with other professional bodies by providing in subsections (5)(a) to (c) of Amendment No. 14 suspension, warning and conditional registration. These are important additions to outright removal which the GTC will need in its armoury. The matter of appeal was also raised at Report. It is catered for in Amendment No. 16 which comes under Clause 4(2) relating to future regulations. Subsection (6) of Amendment No. 14, requiring the council to put its decision in writing, is also drafted with the possibility of a subsequent appeal in mind.

Amendment No. 15 covers the making of regulations governing how the council conducts its hearings and determines its professional standards, among all the other aspects of the exercise of its powers. These are all matters which will properly be the subject of careful discussion between the profession and the Secretary of State, which it would be unwise to set in stone under Clause 3 at this stage.

I could elaborate further, but I think the provisions are clear and I hope I have said enough to explain what these amendments set out to do, drawing on the comments made at Report from various quarters, including the Government. I commend them to the House as a worthwhile measure--a limited but significant start to the council assuming real ownership of standards within the teaching profession, as well as responsibility for them. I beg to move.


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