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Baroness Blackstone moved Amendment Nos. 24 to 26:


Page 6, line 39, leave out ("and "employed"").
Page 6, line 41, leave out ("General Teaching").
After Clause 10, insert the following new clause--

Consultation about qualified teacher status

(". In section 218 of the Education Reform Act 1988, after subsection (2A) there shall be inserted--
"(2AA) Before making any regulations under subsection (2) or (2A) or making any provision by virtue of regulations made under those subsections as to the standards required of a person who wishes to become a qualified teacher, the Secretary of State shall consult either or both of the following (as appropriate)--
(a) the General Teaching Council for England, and
(b) after their establishment, the General Teaching Council for Wales."").

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Clause 11 [Supply of information relating to teachers]:

Baroness Blackstone moved Amendments Nos. 27 and 28:


Page 7, line 3, leave out ("General Teaching").

10 Mar 1998 : Column 152


Page 7, line 19, after ("Council") insert ("for England").

On Question, amendments agreed to.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Scottish Office (Lord Sewel) moved Amendment No. 29:


After Clause 11, insert the following new clause--

("Duty of the General Teaching Council for Scotland
Duty to have regard to needs of disabled persons

. At the end of section 1 of the Teaching Council (Scotland) Act 1965 (establishment of General Teaching Council for Scotland) there shall be inserted the following subsection--
"(3) In exercising their functions, the Council shall have regard to the requirements of persons who are disabled persons for the purposes of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995."").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I feel that I am making a brief guest appearance at this stage of the Bill. In moving Amendment No. 29 I should like to speak also to Amendment No. 56. Amendment No. 29 introduces a new provision which will require the General Teaching Council for Scotland to take into account the needs of disabled people in the course of its work. This introduces for Scotland a provision similar to that relating to the GTCs for England and Wales which was debated on Report. I am grateful to the noble Baroness, Lady Darcy de Knayth, for raising the matter at that time. I hope she accepts that the Government have responded positively. Amendment No. 56 is a purely technical amendment to insert this new provision in the list of those provisions in the Bill which extend to Scotland. I commend the amendments to the House.

Baroness Carnegy of Lour: My Lords, before the noble Baroness, Lady Darcy de Knayth, speaks, I thank the Minister for tabling the amendment. I was asked by the National Deaf Children's Society to help amend the Bill to match the amendments already made for England and Wales. In my researches I discovered that the noble Baroness, in her usual assiduous way, had been hard at work on the matter and had got the Government going on it. With great relief I was able to cease my activities. I have contacted the General Teaching Council for Scotland. The council tells me that in any case it deals with this matter assiduously and is very glad to have this proposal inserted into the Bill. Obviously, the Government will also have consulted that body.

Baroness Darcy de Knayth: My Lords, I warmly welcome this very useful amendment. I thank the Minister for his positive and speedy action. I thank also the noble Baroness, Lady Carnegy of Lour, for her remarks.

Briefly, I refer to another relevant point. In my letter of 3rd March thanking the Minister for his decision to table this amendment I asked whether he would consider tabling an amendment similar to the amendment to Clause 1(4) moved by the noble Baroness, Lady Blackstone, at Report stage. That is now Clause 1(6)(d) which requires the Secretary of State to have regard to the desirability of the council's membership reflecting the interests of persons concerned with the teaching of persons with special educational needs.

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I realise that the members of the GTC for Scotland are elected, nominated and appointed in different ways, but I very much hope that an acceptable mode can be found to achieve the same effect. I also realise that it is rash to interfere in Scottish affairs, particularly in the presence of the noble Baroness, Lady Carnegy, to whom, as I say, I am grateful for her remarks. However, the National Deaf Children's Society covers Scotland and that body feels that such an amendment is useful. It arrives late in the passage of the Bill through the House but it has yet to go to the other place. I raise the question now to give the Minister an opportunity to explain the Government's thinking on the matter. Whatever may be the response of the Minister, I thank him very much for tabling Amendments Nos. 29 and 56.

Baroness Blatch: My Lords, this gives me an opportunity to speak for my noble friend Lord Jenkin of Roding who is not able to be here. He is in the Netherlands but thanks the Government for all they have done for the disabled in this part of the Bill and in that part which pertains to England and Wales. I promised my noble friend that I would place that on record.

Lord Tope: My Lords, I too welcome the amendment. The noble Baroness, Lady Blatch, rightly referred to her noble friend Lord Jenkin of Roding. My noble friend Lord Addington will also be pleased to see the amendment as it addresses issues of particular concern to him. My noble friend would also be interested to hear the response to a question that I shall put to the Minister although a reply may not be possible today. Does the definition of disabled persons in the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 extend to people with dyslexia and learning difficulties? I do not know the answer: my suspicion is that it does not. That might have relevance in the context of a general teaching council.

Lord Sewel: My Lords, when I look back to the referendums Bills and the earlier stages of this Bill I find myself in a somewhat unusual position. I thank noble Lords for what they have said. From time to time I am also somewhat reluctant to intervene in Scottish business in the presence of the noble Baroness, Lady Carnegy of Lour. To deal with the matter raised by the noble Lord, Lord Tope, the straight answer is that I do not know either but I shall endeavour to find out and write to him. The noble Baroness, Lady Darcy de Knayth, raised a question about the membership of the GTC. I have asked officials in the education and industry department of the Scottish Office to discuss this matter with the General Teaching Council for Scotland. We shall consider whether it would be appropriate to table an amendment in another place. Therefore, the door is slightly more than ajar. I commend the amendments to the House.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

10 Mar 1998 : Column 154

6 p.m.

Clause 13 [Requirement to serve induction period]:

Baroness Blackstone moved Amendment No. 30:


Page 8, line 34, after ("period") insert ("of not less than one school year").

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, I undertook on Report to bring forward a government amendment making it clear that the induction period should not be less than one academic year. That has always been our intention but I am happy to make that intention clear on the face of the Bill. Amendment No. 30 fulfils that commitment and will ensure that the induction period is not less than one school year; that is, three school terms.

Our intention is that the induction period should normally be one school year. However, Amendment No. 31 will enable the Secretary of State to make provision as to the length of the induction period in any prescribed circumstances. It is intended to allow the Secretary of State to prescribe in regulations that the induction period will be longer for part-time teachers who will be required to serve an equivalent number of days in order to complete their induction period. It will also enable the Secretary of State to prescribe those requirements that will apply if there are interruptions in the induction period as a result of teachers being on extended sick or maternity leave. We intend to consult in our consultation document on such exceptions to ensure that the regulations can cover every eventuality. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Baroness Blackstone moved Amendment No. 31:


Page 8, line 36, at end insert ("in any prescribed circumstances").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendment No. 32 not moved.]

Baroness Blackstone moved Amendment No. 33:


Page 9, line 8, leave out first ("General Teaching").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Baroness Blackstone moved Amendment No. 34:


Page 9, line 9, at end insert--
("(2A) Once the Council or the General Teaching Council for Wales have been established, the Secretary of State shall consult one or both of those Councils (as appropriate) before making any determination as to standards by virtue of regulations made under subsection (2)(c).").

On Question, amendment agreed to.


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