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Baroness Blackstone: My Lords, I entirely accept that it is crucial for us to support our teachers and that we should do everything we can to boost their confidence, to raise the public esteem in which they are held and to increase the status of the profession. The Government will be introducing a whole variety of initiatives in that respect. My noble friend referred to the advanced skill teacher grade, which I mentioned earlier. I believe that that will be a most important new development. We have also just taken legislation through the House which will set up a General Teaching Council. That is also extremely important from the point of view of giving teachers some ownership of their professional standards.

We are introducing a new scheme of induction to support young teachers. They are among the group to which I believe my noble friend was referring when he talked about stress among teachers. I know that young teachers very often find the early years of teaching extremely stressful.

However, perhaps I may now turn to head teachers. My noble friend rightly singled them out for praise and attached a great deal of importance to them. They are very important; indeed, head teachers lead our schools. We are introducing a mandatory qualification for head teachers, together with the necessary training to go with it. That will help both to raise their status and to improve the management skills that they will need.

Finally, my noble friend mentioned early retirement among teachers. Again, that is something which went on all too frequently in the latter years of the previous government. This Government have no intention of allowing that to continue.

Baroness Carnegy of Lour: My Lords, can the Minister tell the House what the implications are as regards the increases in higher and further education? For the sake of clarification, am I right in thinking that, because those figures are stated in cash terms, higher education will receive a 5.7 per cent. increase in the year 1999-2000 in cash terms and that further education will receive 8.2 per cent.? However, if inflation should, unfortunately, stand at, say, 4 per cent., does that mean that higher education will receive 1.7 per cent., while further education will receive 4.2 per cent.? Is that what the figures really mean?

Having said that, perhaps I may now make one comment that I meant to make earlier. I am most interested in the Sure Start programme. Indeed, I look forward to hearing more about that and how it will work, together with seeing how it develops, bearing in mind the enormous sum of money that has been put into it. There are great possibilities in that respect.

Baroness Blackstone: My Lords, the noble Baroness is absolutely right that the figures she quoted initially were set out in cash terms. However, the figures she

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quoted for the real-term improvements are not correct. It will be 5.5 per cent. in real terms for further education colleges, as against 8.2 per cent. in cash terms. In higher education, the figure will be 3 per cent. in real terms.

As regards the Sure Start initiative, this is a new interdepartmental programme for pre-school children and their families in areas which are most in need of extra support. It will provide a range of services to promote the physical, intellectual and social development of young children, especially those who are in any way disadvantaged. By the year 2001-2002, Sure Start funding will be £184 million. There will be a further £250 million for the extra nursery places that we shall be providing for three year-olds, together with a further £170 million for childcare provision. I hope that that answers the noble Baroness's questions.

Lord Pilkington of Oxenford: My Lords, as a former teacher, I hope that I do not seem too mercenary in what I say. I realise that esteem is very valuable; but it does not buy the bread or pay the mortgage. Therefore, can the Minister say what proportion of the money that we are discussing has been allocated to teachers' salaries? Further, can she say what allowance has been made for any rise in the rate of inflation?

Baroness Blackstone: No, my Lords; I cannot give the noble Lord those figures. Teachers' salaries are set by an independent review committee. It will be for that body to advise the Government as to what would be an appropriate increase in salaries. However, the Government will be asking the bodies that are responsible for the pay of teachers--whether in schools or in the post-school sector--to take into account the questions of recruitment, retention and morale which I mentioned earlier.

Government of Wales Bill

5.8 p.m.

Proceedings after Third Reading resumed on Clause 5.

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish moved Amendments Nos. 3 and 4:

Page 3, leave out lines 37 and 38.
Page 4, line 1, leave out subsection (6).

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Clause 6 [Calculation of electoral region figures]:

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish moved Amendments Nos. 5 to 7:

Page 4, line 15, leave out ("electoral region") and insert ("additional member").
Page 4, line 22, leave out subsection (2).
Page 4, leave out lines 27 to 30 and insert ("for a registered political party under subsection (1)(b) is referred to in this Act as the electoral region figure for that party.").

On Question, amendments agreed to.

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Clause 7 [Return of electoral region members]:

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish moved Amendments Nos. 8 to 13:

Page 4, line 32, leave out ("or individual candidate").
Page 4, line 34, leave out ("or individual candidate").
Page 5, line 1, leave out subsection (4).
Page 5, line 11, leave out ("or individual candidates").
Page 5, line 18, leave out from ("figure") to end of line 20.
Page 5, line 22, leave out ("or individual candidates").

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Clause 8 [Constituency seats]:

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish moved Amendment No. 14:

Page 5, line 33, leave out from ("vacancy,") to end of line 36 and insert ("the Assembly member for the Assembly constituency shall be returned under the simple majority system.
(3A) No election held under this section shall call into question the election of Assembly members for the Assembly electoral region in which the Assembly constituency was included at the last ordinary election.").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Falconer of Thoroton moved Amendment No. 15:

Page 6, line 6, after ("section") insert ("and section 9").

The noble and learned Lord said: My Lords, in moving the above amendment, I shall speak also to Amendment No. 20. Amendment No. 15 is a drafting amendment. The minor changes to Clause 8(9) extend the description of "presiding officer" to Clause 9 as well, thereby enabling us to delete subsection (8) of that clause.

Clauses 8 and 9 deal with the arrangements for filling casual vacancies in constituency and electoral region seats respectively. There are references in both clauses to the role of the "presiding officer" of the assembly. Clauses 8(9) and 9(8) make clear in identical words that, in relation to the vacancy arrangements, the term "presiding officer" includes anyone performing the functions of a presiding officer; for example, a deputy. This amendment does away with the repetition. I am grateful to the noble and learned Lord, Lord Simon of Glaisdale, for his helpful suggestions which inspired the amendment. I urge the House to accept the amendment. I beg to move.

Lord Simon of Glaisdale: My Lords, I am grateful for this welcome shortening of the Bill. Will the Government accept the comparable amendments, Amendments Nos. 30, 31 and 33? Amendment No. 32 may be more arguable, but those three are exactly similar to the ones that the noble and learned Lord has just mentioned. In other words, there is a repetition in all three clauses of a definition. By referring in the first to the other two sections by name--just as in the present case--the other two can be eliminated.

This Third Reading follows Report stage with the very minimum interim period that is allowed; in other words, three clear working days. On this occasion, one of those days was a Friday. Unfortunately, I could not get hold of a secretary on Friday. Therefore, the noble

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Lord, Lord Williams, will have received my letter on this matter only yesterday. Even with all his courteous promptitude he obviously has not had time to deal with it. I hope that in order that later amendments can be shortened, the noble and learned Lord can tell me that the Government will accept the comparable amendments, Amendments Nos. 30, 31 and 33.

5.15 p.m.

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: My Lords, I am sorry to disappoint the noble and learned Lord, Lord Simon of Glaisdale, but we shall not accept Amendments Nos. 30, 31 and 33. We do not think that they are comparable for the following reason. Amendments Nos. 30, 31 and 33 which the noble and learned Lord proposes in effect insert one definition of "enactment" in one clause which then covers three clauses in the Bill. The difficulty with that is that there is a compendious definition of "enactment" in the definition section of the Bill. If the reader of clauses without the new definition did not know that there was a special definition, he or she would go to the definition section and might get the wrong definition of the word "enactment". Therefore, there is that difference between Amendments Nos. 30, 31 and 33 and Amendments Nos. 15 and 20 which we have just discussed.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

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