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Lord Pilkington of Oxenford: I am glad to recognise another dinosaur! I accept that I was not a Member of the previous government, nor I think a Member of this House when the previous legislation was passed. The tendency has been to reiterate clauses from previous Acts as has occurred in this Bill. I am not being trade unionist on this. If a head teacher feels that to maintain discipline it has to be on the face of an Act of Parliament, there is something wrong with the relationship between the Government and teaching profession. Let us envisage a situation where there is fighting in the yard and the head teacher says, "It has nothing to do with me. It is not in an Act of Parliament".

The Government profess to be casting a new light on education. I am encouraging them in that. I ask that the vision should be realised in effect. But the Government prefer to tie themselves to old totems from Acts of Parliament that have been in existence for 50 years. This is not New Labour; it is old-fashioned government.

Lord Tope: It is new Tory.

Lord Pilkington of Oxenford: I hear "new Tory" being mentioned by noble Lords. It is better to trust the head teacher, master or mistress, to do the job than to tell them, "We mistrust you so much we have to put it

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on the face of the Bill". If that is done, those people will go by the letter of the law. I doubt that the noble Lord understands that.

Lord Tope: The noble Lord, Lord Pilkington, is right to say that it is not new Labour. The Minister himself in responding told us that it was old Tory and that is where it comes from. I am afraid that we see that too often.

I have total sympathy and support for what is in the Bill. It is clearly right and proper. However, I share a great deal of what the noble Lord, Lord Pilkington, said about the fact that the provision is included. Much though I support the objectives, it is yet another example of being too prescriptive in telling professionals how to do their job. If it is borrowed from the previous government, so be it.

I have a great deal of sympathy for what has been said. Although I support the provision, I question whether it needs to be included and whether it is not another case of the Government being far too prescriptive.

Lord Whitty: I wonder whether either noble Lord has considered the implication of removing the provision. What kind of signal would be given to head teachers and to people who follow our proceedings if we cross out a requirement for head teachers to have a responsibility for discipline? Whatever the merits of whether it ought to have been there in the first place, a detrimental impression would be given if we removed it at this stage.

Lord Tope: I am not sure that it is a defence to say, "We have included something which should not have been included but we cannot take it out because that would send the wrong signals." There is a changed circumstance. Might the creation of a general teaching council be an appropriate reason for removing provisions from a Bill? When we debated the GTC, many of us argued that this is exactly the kind of aspect for which it should be responsible. We are about to have a GTC undertaking that works so perhaps this is the time to remove such over-prescriptive legislation without sending the wrong message, as the Minister suggests. I do not believe that he has made his point.

Baroness Byford: The Minister asked what signals would be sent to the teaching profession. I believe that to say, "Here we trust you to do a good job. We are not going to prescribe, written down, what you should be about", would send a good signal. I thoroughly support the comments of my colleagues about being too prescriptive. The Government should not be negative but should embrace what we are saying and delete the provision. I do not believe that they should be afraid.

Lord Pilkington of Oxenford: I shall withdraw the amendment, so noble Lords need not worry; there will not be another vote tonight. English education has gone through a considerable amount of turmoil. I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Tope, that with the GTC we are

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moving into a new situation. In my experience, the teaching profession, with proper support from the Government, will behave responsibly. That is why we on this side of the Committee have argued about giving responsibility to schools. Our view is that if you hand out responsibility people will behave. The grant-maintained schools have shown that.

In consequence, we feel a certain amount of distress about putting on the face of the Bill the basic duties which are demanded of a head teacher. Do the Government want to ask people to trust them? This is like telling a bank cashier that he does not take £10 out of the till. It is as crude as that.

The Government will never gain the support of the teaching profession if they tell head teachers that one of their jobs is to promote good discipline. It used to be regarded as par for the course. Quite honestly, the Government are trying to combine stick and carrot and it will not work. They must decide where they stand. On the one hand they say they are giving 100 per cent. responsibility to the schools; on the other hand they believe that they must put on the face of the Bill every prescription that they can as regards the appointment of staff and so much else. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 181B and 181C not moved.]

Baroness David moved Amendment No. 182:

Page 47, line 23, after ("principles") insert (", taking account of children who may have special educational needs,").

The noble Baroness said: At last we come to exclusions. In moving this amendment, I shall speak also to Amendment No. 189. In these two amendments I have the support, at any rate in name and spirit, of the noble Baroness, Lady Darcy de Knayth, and the noble Lords, Lord Swinfen and Lord Northbourne, although they are not actually in the Chamber in the flesh. The purpose of Amendment No. 182 is to build into the behaviour and discipline policy the recognition of the need to respond to children's special educational needs. The purpose of Amendment No. 189 is to ensure that the governing body of a school considers whether a child has special educational needs when it is informed of an exclusion.

One of the difficulties that schools have is in identifying and addressing learning difficulties among those pupils who are demonstrating behavioural difficulties. This is not a new phenomenon. David Galloway's work in Sheffield in the early 1980s showed that teachers significantly overestimated the IQ of pupils excluded from school for behaviour difficulties. They construed them as being brighter pupils who were misbehaving rather than children who were having difficulties engaging with the curriculum and for whom learning difficulties might be a factor contributing to their behaviour difficulties.

Those findings were echoed more recently in the 1996 Ofsted report, Exclusions from secondary schools, 1995-1996, which identified significant levels of unrecognised and unmet learning difficulties among those pupils who were excluded. Carol Hayden reports

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similar findings in respect of primary school children and it is here that there has been a significant increase in the number of children excluded--indeed, very young children--which is really very upsetting.

Carol Hayden was the principal researcher on a national research project focusing on exclusions from primary schools. She argues that,

    "the evidence about children excluded from primary schools illustrates that they should be viewed primarily as children with special educational needs and/or children 'in need' and therefore entitled to the support and protection from the legislation which recognises these needs, rather than viewed as a discipline problem which requires appropriate sanctions, one of which is exclusion from school... The public debate about exclusion tends to focus upon 'naughty', 'bad' and 'ill-disciplined' behaviour and thus views the problem in terms of the need for stronger discipline in schools and more punitive action against those who break the rules. If, on the other hand, we look carefully at the mounting evidence about the circumstances of individuals who are excluded from school, we may decide to try to understand the factors at work in order to provide a considered and, we hope, more effective response".

It is precisely this considered response that may be missing in some schools. One of the difficulties is that children with behaviour difficulties who are seen as naughty, bad and ill-disciplined, may be dealt with through the pastoral side of the school rather than through the SEN side of the school. Where the two sides of the school's operation are not well dovetailed with one another, this may mean that pupils' behaviour and learning difficulties are not given the considered and staged response set out in the code of practice.

Evidence in the Ofsted report, The Implementation of the Code of Practice Two Years On, supports that view. The report showed that a significant number of schools do not put pupils with behaviour difficulties on their SEN register. The consequence of this is that neither their behaviour nor their learning difficulties, where these accompany the behaviour difficulties, are then addressed through the staged response of the code of practice.

These are two important amendments. I look forward to hearing what my noble friend the Minister has to say about them. I hope that he will be able to accept them. I beg to move.

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