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Lord McIntosh of Haringey: In the context of the School Standards and Framework Bill I do not think it would be appropriate for me to write to him about the policies of the Further Education Funding Council. If he wishes to raise that issue separately, he is free to do so.

Lord Lucas: I am merely using the quoted policy of the FEFC, which is after all a government organ, as an example of policy promulgated by this Government in asking the Government whether this is the policy the Government wish to import, or would be prepared to see imported, into the way local education authorities deal with their schools. Would they be happy to see this policy of the FEFC imported into the way in which the noble Lord, Lord Tope, deals with the schools under his command--in other words, if they start taking pupils from outside they will not be funded? That would be an effective answer to the problems of the noble Lord, Lord Tope. It is one that the Government are apparently allowing elsewhere in the education system. I do not require an answer for further education, but I want to know in the context of this Bill whether that approach, which is clearly part of the Government's policy for education, is one that they see as allowable for schools; and if not, why not?

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The Greenwich judgment causes some interesting anomalies in all areas. I ran across its effect the other day in the outskirts of Newcastle, where the children in the suburbs there have effectively taken over the local Northumberland secondary school, and people in the outlying villages stretching miles into the hinterland now have nowhere to go and have enormous cross-country bus trips. It is a problem that has to be dealt with sensibly and, I hope, by some co-operation and coherent thought. If the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, is able to provide us with some more of that today I shall be delighted. Otherwise, I look forward to the code of practice.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The noble Lord tempts me to my feet again. I thought I had made it clear that the code of practice will do its best to resolve all of those problems, but that it will not in practice be possible to do so in all circumstances. That is why, in responding earlier to the noble Baroness, Lady Blatch, I made it clear that, failing agreement, which we hope will be achieved in nearly all cases, there must be reliance on the adjudicator. I cannot wave a magic wand for the noble Lord, Lord Lucas, any more than I can for the noble Baroness, Lady Blatch.

Lord Lucas: Subject to the noble Lord, Lord Tope, feeling that he has heard all that he hopes to hear this evening--or at least, all that he has reason to hope to hear this evening--I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 211D, 211E and 212 not moved.]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey moved Amendment No. 212A:


Page 63, line 38, leave out subsection (8) and insert--
("(8) Regulations may make provision--
(a) specifying matters to which any consultation required by subsection (2) is, or is not, to relate;
(b) as to the manner in which, and the time by which, any such consultation is to be carried out;
(c) as to the manner in which, and the time by which, any notification required by this section is to be given;
(d) specifying matters which are, or are not, to constitute major changes in circumstances for the purposes of subsection (5)(b);
(e) authorising an admission authority, where they have in accordance with subsection (4) determined the admission arrangements which are to apply for a particular school year, to vary those arrangements to such extent or in such circumstances as may be prescribed;
(f) for the application of the requirements of subsections (5) and (6) to variations proposed to be made by virtue of paragraph (e), or to any prescribed description of such variations, as if they were variations proposed to be made under subsection (5);
(g) as to such other matters connected with the procedure for determining or varying admission arrangements under this section as the Secretary of State considers appropriate.").

The noble Lord said: It may be more convenient if I speak to Amendments Nos. 212B and 212C when the noble Baroness, Lady Blatch, has moved them. I am grateful to the noble Baroness for not moving Amendment No. 212, which would simply have removed subsection (8) of Clause 84.

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This amendment rewrites subsection (8), we hope giving effect to the views of the Delegated Powers Scrutiny Committee. The committee asked us to be more precise about the effect of the regulations.

What we are saying in Amendment No. 212A is that the regulations should determine which matters may or may not be consulted on; set out how consultation is to be carried out, including the timescale; set out how notification is to be given, including the timescale; define "a major change in circumstances" in subsection (5)(b), which would necessitate a variation in a school year of admission arrangements; set out the circumstances under which admission arrangements may be varied in the school year, and the extent to which they may be varied; require the adjudicator's approval for varied admission arrangements; and finally, provide for other matters relating to the procedure for determining or varying admission arrangements as the Secretary of State considers appropriate.

This amendment puts more detail onto the face of the Bill about what subsequent regulations made under this clause may cover in respect of the procedures for admission authorities to follow when determining or varying their admission arrangements. The Delegated Powers Scrutiny Committee has asked us to clarify the intentions behind Clause 84(8), and we are glad to do that in this amendment.

We believe it is right that regulations--not primary legislation--should cover the details of the procedure which an admission authority must follow when first determining its admission arrangements or subsequently varying them. It would not be appropriate for this level of detailed information to be included in primary legislation. As this is a brand new procedure, as part of our new admissions framework, it is right that we have the flexibility to make any necessary adjustments to regulations, rather than primary legislation, in the light of experience of the operation of the new framework. I beg to move.

The Deputy Chairman of Committees (Lord Cocks of Hartcliffe): I should tell the Committee that, if this amendment is agreed to, Amendments Nos. 212B to 213 inclusive will be pre-empted.

Baroness Blatch: My Amendments No. 212B and 212C were my way of dealing with the recommendations in the report of the scrutiny committee. I prefer my own way because, with the Government's Amendment No. 212A, we end up with the Secretary of State still having open-ended powers, as set out in paragraph (g). Under the original wording in Clause 84(8) there is power to vary admission arrangements,


    "as the Secretary of State thinks fit".

In paragraph(g) of the amendment, it is,


    "as the Secretary of State thinks appropriate".

Nevertheless, the Secretary of State is given powers to vary admission arrangements.

It would not be of concern if these provisions were on the face of the Bill if it were not for organisation committees and the adjudicator. The noble Lord is

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irritated by any return to the subject of organisation committees and adjudicators, but it is not possible to discuss this matter without thinking about the role of that new body and the powers that will be wielded by the adjudicator. At the end of the day, they will be inextricably linked in the mechanistic delivery of the code of practice. It will be the organisation committees that will deliberate over these issues.

A moment ago the noble Lord was upset that my noble friend Lord Lucas brought in the FEFC. In fact, the FEFC will be one of the groups sitting around the table in the organisation committee contributing to decisions, if they are made at organisation committee level, about school provision which affects admission policies.

I was pleased to have clarification from the noble Lord that at the end of the day a foundation school, with its own power as an admission authority, can be overruled by the deliberations of an organisation committee and the adjudicator. That is what the noble Lord said. If matters cannot be resolved at the local level by the organisation committee, it goes to the adjudicator, and, as the noble Lord rightly said, at the end of the day somebody has to make the decision. I would prefer it to be the admission authority--where the LEA is the admission authority, the LEA; and, where it is a foundation school, that foundation school. The context for the amendments is very important because we have this new phenomenon built into the Bill and the way in which the admissions code of practice will be delivered. I think that the noble Lord's Amendment No. 212A and my amendments are straightforward alternatives. I shall not press my amendments this evening, but I may well return at Report stage with a similar amendment to the open-ended power in paragraph (g).

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendments Nos. 212B, to 213 not moved.]

Clause 84, as amended, agreed to.

11 p.m.

Clause 85 [Reference of objections to adjudicator or Secretary of State]:


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