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Baroness David: My Lords, I confess that I am disappointed by the Minister's reply. I received a great deal of support from all around the House and thought we might influence her. I know that the noble Baroness, Lady Byford, did not exactly support my amendment, but she was at least sympathetic to the idea.

The amendment asks for facilitation. It does not say that this organisation "must" be set up; the amendment merely wants to make that possible. The Minister made a great thing about appointing people to the governing body and the education committee. But that would not change anything if those elected had no way of consulting the people they are meant to be representing. That is what the amendment was seeking to do.

I do not see that the amendment will create a lot more bureaucracy, as the Minister said. She said also that there has been an improvement in the way parents are led into schools. However, as has been said, some schools still do not encourage that. I shall not press the amendment today. I shall read carefully what my noble friend said and may come back to this at the next stage. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

5.45 p.m.

Baroness Seccombe moved Amendments Nos. 108 to 114:


After Clause 38, insert the following new clause--

("Grouping of community, voluntary aided, voluntary controlled and community special schools under a single governing body
Grouping of community, voluntary aided, voluntary controlled and community special schools under a single governing body

.--(1) A local education authority may resolve that any two or more community, voluntary aided, voluntary controlled and community special schools maintained by them shall be grouped for the purposes of this Chapter.

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(2) Where any schools are grouped under this section, they shall--
(a) be treated for the purposes of this Chapter as a single school; and
(b) have a single governing body constituted under a single instrument of government.
(3) A group shall be treated for the purposes of this Chapter--
(a) as a voluntary aided school, if it contains at least one voluntary aided school;
(b) as a voluntary controlled school, if it contains at least one voluntary controlled school and paragraph (a) does not apply;
(c) as a community special school, if it consists only of community special schools; and
(d) as a community school, if none of paragraphs (a) to (c) applies.
(4) In this Chapter--
"group" means two or more schools grouped under this section; and
"grouped school" means a school which forms a part of a group.
(5) Any reference in any enactment to the governing body or governors of a school shall be construed, in relation to any grouped school, as a reference to the governing body or governors of the group.").
Insert the following new clause--
Consent of Secretary of State as to grouping

(" .--(1) Subject to subsection (2), a local education authority shall, before resolving to group any schools under section (Grouping of community, voluntary aided, voluntary controlled and community special schools under a single governing body), obtain the consent of the Secretary of State to the proposed grouping.
(2) The Secretary of State's consent is not required if--
(a) the group will consist only of two primary schools;
(b) both of the schools serve substantially the same area;
(c) neither of the schools is a special school (as defined in section 337 of the Education Act 1996); and
(d) where they are in Wales, there is no significant difference between them in their use of the Welsh language.
(3) Where--
(a) two primary schools have been grouped in circumstances in which, by virtue of subsection (2), the Secretary of State's consent to the grouping was not required, and
(b) a change of circumstances occurs such that a proposal to group those schools made after that change would require his consent,
the local education authority shall obtain his consent to their continuing to be grouped.
(4) The Secretary of State may give his consent to any grouping (or continued grouping) of schools subject to such conditions as to the duration of the grouping as he sees fit to impose.
(5) Any dispute as to whether, for the purposes of this section--
(a) two primary schools are to be regarded as serving substantially the same area, or
(b) there is any significant difference between two primary schools in their use of the Welsh language,
shall be determined by the Secretary of State.").
Insert the following new clause--
Consent of, or consultation with, governing body as to grouping

(".--(1) A local education authority shall not pass a resolution under section (Grouping of community, voluntary aided, voluntary controlled and community special schools under a single governing body) applying to a voluntary school without first obtaining the consent of the school's governing body.

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(2) A local education authority shall not pass a resolution under section (Grouping of community, voluntary aided, voluntary controlled and community special schools under a single governing body) applying to a community or community special school without first consulting the school's governing body.").
Insert the following new clause--
Procedure for making or altering the instrument of government for a group

(". Schedule 12 shall apply, with such modifications as may be prescribed by regulations, for the purposes of making or altering the instrument of government of a group.").
Insert the following new clause--
Election of parent and teacher governors for a group

(". The instrument of government for a group--
(a) may provide for the local education authority to have power to determine, in relation to every election of parent or teacher governors, the school or schools within the group--
(i) the parents of registered pupils at which are entitled to stand and vote at the election, or
(ii) the teachers at which are entitled to stand and vote at the election,
as the case may be; and
(b) where it so provides, shall require the authority to ensure that the position after any such election will be that there is no school within the group which will not have had an opportunity to participate in accordance with paragraph (a) in the election of at least one of the parent or (as the case may be) teacher governors of the group.").
Insert the following new clause--
Review of grouping

(" .--(1) Where subsection (2) applies in relation to a school which is grouped with one or more other schools under section (Grouping of community, voluntary aided, voluntary controlled and community special schools under a single governing body), the local education authority shall review the grouping of those schools and consider whether or not it should be brought to an end.
(2) This subsection applies in relation to a school if proposals relating to it are made under any provision of Chapter II.
(3) Where on a review under this section a local education authority consider that any grouping of schools should be continued, and the Secretary of State's consent to the grouping, or to the continued grouping, of the schools was at any time required by section (Consent of Secretary of State as to grouping), the authority shall--
(a) report to the Secretary of State on the results of their review; and
(b) provide him with such information as he may reasonably require with a view to enabling him to consider whether or not the grouping should be brought to an end.").
Insert the following new clause--
Termination of grouping

(" .--(1) The Secretary of State may by order bring to an end any grouping under section (Grouping of community, voluntary aided, voluntary controlled and community special schools under a single governing body) in respect of which his consent was at any time required by section (Consent of Secretary of State as to grouping).
(2) Any grouping under section (Grouping of community, voluntary aided, voluntary controlled and community special schools under a single governing body) may, if the group does not contain a voluntary school, be brought to an end by resolution of the local education authority.
(3) Any such grouping may, if the group contains a voluntary school, be brought to an end--
(a) by resolution of the local education authority made with the agreement of the governing body, or

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(b) by one year's notice given either by the authority to the governing body or by the governing body to the authority.
(4) Any instrument of government for two or more schools which are grouped under section (Grouping of community, voluntary aided, voluntary controlled and community special schools under a single governing body) shall be taken to have been revoked--
(a) in the case of a group which was established for a specified period, at the end of that period, or
(b) at the time when the grouping is brought to an end in accordance with subsection (1), (2) or (3).").

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, with the leave of the House, I shall move Amendments Nos. 108 to 114 en bloc. I beg to move.

On Question, amendments agreed to.

[Amendment No. 115 not moved.]

Clause 45 [Maintained schools to have budget shares]:


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