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Baroness Blackstone: I said that the judgment that a sixth form is inadequate will in every case be made by Ofsted's independent inspectors; and that the judgment will be about quality of provision and not its cost. I am sure that, when looking at quality of provision, the chief inspector will have to take into account whether money is being misspent, whether there is a total failure to make provision in a sensible way and using resources properly. In that sense, of course value for money is part of it. But I want to reiterate that small sixth forms, especially in rural areas, which of course will have somewhat higher costs than larger sixth forms' unit costs, will not be punished because they have higher costs.

Baroness Blatch: I am grateful for that answer. I am not talking only about small sixth forms in rural areas. The sixth forms may have small subject areas either because of the number of takers for a subject or because a minority subject is provided by a school. It is the subjectivity of the people making the judgments on cost. Unit costs could be high as a result of teaching a minority subject or small numbers of people taking a subject.

I am not satisfied with the answer. I wish to take the opinion of the Committee

4.8 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 209) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 79; Not-Contents, 114.

Division No. 1


Aldington, L.
Astor of Hever, L.
Attlee, E.
Belstead, L.
Biffen, L.
Blaker, L.
Blatch, B.
Brabazon of Tara, L.
Bridgeman, V.
Brougham and Vaux, L.
Burnham, L. [Teller]
Buscombe, B.
Butterworth, L.
Byford, B.
Campbell of Croy, L.
Cockfield, L.
Colwyn, L.
Cope of Berkeley, L.
Courtown, E.
Cranborne, V.
Crickhowell, L.
Darcy de Knayth, B.
Dean of Harptree, L.
Denham, L.
Elles, B.
Elliott of Morpeth, L.
Elton, L.
Flather, B.
Fookes, B.
Gardner of Parkes, B.
Geddes, L.
Gilmour of Craigmillar, L.
Glentoran, L.
Gray of Contin, L.
Haslam, L.
Hayhoe, L.
Henley, L. [Teller]
Holderness, L.
Hooper, B.
Howe, E.
Hurd of Westwell, L.
Hylton, L.
Jenkin of Roding, L.
Knight of Collingtree, B.
Laird, L.
Lamont of Lerwick, L.
Lucas, L.
Lyell, L.
McColl of Dulwich, L.
McConnell, L.
Mackay of Ardbrecknish, L.
Mackay of Drumadoon, L.
Mancroft, L.
Mayhew of Twysden, L.
Mowbray and Stourton, L.
Murton of Lindisfarne, L.
Northesk, E.
Norton of Louth, L.
O'Cathain, B.
Onslow, E.
Palmer, L.
Pearson of Rannoch, L.
Plummer of St. Marylebone, L.
Porter of Luddenham, L.
Rees, L.
Rogan, L.
Saltoun of Abernethy, Ly.
Seccombe, B.
Selborne, E.
Skelmersdale, L.
Strathclyde, L.
Swinfen, L.
Thomas of Gwydir, L.
Trefgarne, L.
Trumpington, B.
Warnock, B.
Wharton, B.
Windlesham, L.
Young, B.


Addington, L.
Ahmed, L.
Allenby of Megiddo, V.
Alli, L.
Amos, B.
Ampthill, L.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Ashley of Stoke, L.
Ashton of Upholland, B.
Bach, L.
Barker, B.
Bassam of Brighton, L.
Blackstone, B.
Borrie, L.
Bradshaw, L.
Brett, L.
Brooke of Alverthorpe, L.
Brookman, L.
Bruce of Donington, L.
Burlison, L.
Carter, L. [Teller]
Christopher, L.
Clarke of Hampstead, L.
Cledwyn of Penrhos, L.
Clement-Jones, L.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Cocks of Hartcliffe, L.
David, B.
Davies of Oldham, L.
Desai, L.
Dholakia, L.
Donoughue, L.
Dormand of Easington, L.
Dubs, L.
Elder, L.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Faulkner of Worcester, L.
Filkin, L.
Gale, B.
Gavron, L.
Gladwin of Clee, L.
Goldsmith, L.
Goodhart, L.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Graham of Edmonton, L.
Hardy of Wath, L.
Harris of Greenwich, L.
Harrison, L.
Haskel, L.
Hayman, B.
Healey, L.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Howells of St Davids, B.
Howie of Troon, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Irvine of Lairg, L. (Lord Chancellor)
Janner of Braunstone, L.
Jay of Paddington, B. (Lord Privy Seal)
Jenkins of Putney, L.
Judd, L.
Laming, L.
Lea of Crondall, L.
Levy, L.
Lovell-Davis, L.
Macdonald of Tradeston, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L. [Teller]
McIntosh of Hudnall, B.
MacKenzie of Culkein, L.
Mackenzie of Framwellgate, L.
Mallalieu, B.
Massey of Darwen, B.
Milner of Leeds, L.
Molloy, L.
Murray of Epping Forest, L.
Paul, L.
Peston, L.
Pitkeathley, B.
Plant of Highfield, L.
Prys-Davies, L.
Puttnam, L.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Randall of St. Budeaux, L.
Rea, L.
Rendell of Babergh, B.
Richard, L.
Rodgers of Quarry Bank, L.
Rogers of Riverside, L.
Scotland of Asthal, B.
Serota, B.
Sewel, L.
Sharp of Guildford, B.
Shore of Stepney, L.
Simon, V.
Smith of Clifton, L.
Stallard, L.
Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Stone of Blackheath, L.
Strabolgi, L.
Symons of Vernham Dean, B.
Taylor of Gryfe, L.
Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Thomson of Monifieth, L.
Tope, L.
Tordoff, L.
Turner of Camden, B.
Uddin, B.
Walker of Doncaster, L.
Watson of Richmond, L.
Whitaker, B.
Whitty, L.
Wilkins, B.
Williams of Elvel, L.
Williams of Mostyn, L.
Young of Old Scone, B.

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.

17 Feb 2000 : Column 1357

4.18 p.m.

Clause 98 agreed to.

Schedule 7 [Inadequate Sixth Forms]:

[Amendment No. 210 not moved.]

Lord Bach moved Amendment No. 210A:

    Page 69, line 33, leave out ("5") and insert ("5B").

The noble Lord said: A number of other amendments are grouped with this amendment. On behalf of my noble friend Lady Blackstone, I shall deal with them in two sets. The first, which amends part I of Schedule 7 and Schedule 8, relates to inspection and reporting arrangements. The second set, consisting of Amendments Nos. 211 and 212, amends Part III of Schedule 7. It relates to the decision-making process on statutory proposals to close an inadequate sixth form or to discontinue an inadequate 16 to 19 institution.

The significant amendments in the inspection and reporting set are Nos. 210F and 210L which will put in place the necessary legal underpinning for the actions to be taken following an adverse inspection report about a school sixth form or LEA-maintained 16 to 19 institution.

These actions come into two categories. First, there are provisions for inspection reports to be made and copies to be sent to those who have an interest, including parents of pupils at the school or institution concerned, and made available to the wider community. Amendment No. 210F provides for the same requirements to apply where there is a report that a school has an adequate sixth form as are already in place for school inspection reports. Amendment No. 210L similarly provides for the same requirements to apply where a report on an LEA-maintained institution states that it has serious weaknesses as are already in place for reports which state that a school requires special measures. These include procedures, where an adverse judgment is made in a contracted-out inspection, for the chief inspector to decide whether an adverse report is indeed appropriate.

Secondly, there are the procedures which governing bodies and LEAs will be required to follow in the light of the adverse report, which will form the basis of their efforts to restore the sixth form or 16 to 19 institution to health. The governing body will draw up and publish an action plan and the LEA will prepare a parallel statement of the action which it will take to support the school.

Amendment No. 249B provides that a report on an LEA-maintained 16 to 19 institution as part of an area inspection can trigger the powers of LEAs to intervene in schools causing concern, and so provides

17 Feb 2000 : Column 1358

consistency with other types of inspection. The amendment will also secure that, if such an institution previously had an adverse report, a subsequent report as part of an area inspection which states that the school is no longer causing concern will mean that LEA powers to intervene are no longer triggered.

All of these provisions will ensure that procedures for dealing with inadequate 16 to 19 provision in schools and LEA-maintained institutions will follow very closely those which have resulted in a higher success rate in turning round schools in special measures or with serious weaknesses. These procedures are explained in the department's circular No. 6/99. We intend to issue similar guidance about inadequate 16 to 19 provision, which will also cover matters for which no statutory provisions are required; for instance, the monitoring of schools' progress by Ofsted's inspectors.

Of the other amendments in the group, I would mention only Amendment No. 249A, which provides for the LSC/CETW to receive copies of all inspection reports for schools with sixth forms and LEA-maintained 16 to 19 institutions, not only adverse reports. The remaining amendments are technical or consequential.

I turn briefly to the second group of government amendments, Nos. 211 and 212. They correct a technical omission in Schedule 7 in relation to the decision-making process on proposals by the LSC to close a sixth form or discontinue a 16 to 19 institution maintained by a local education authority. The amendments thereby bring Schedule 7 into line with the equivalent provisions in the School Standards and Framework Act 1998. That Act provides for proposals for change in school organisation made by LEAs and school governing bodies in England to be considered by local school organisation committees, with referral to the schools adjudicator in certain circumstances.

There are four sets of circumstances in which the school organisation committee must make referrals to the adjudicator under the 1998 Act: first, where the committee has voted on school organisation proposals, but has been unable to reach a decision; secondly, where the committee has not voted on the proposals by the end of the period set out in regulations and the person who published the proposals requests referral.

The third and fourth sets of circumstances apply to the committee's consideration of changes to proposals already approved; for example, to modify the date of implementation or to remove the duty to implement the proposals. These cases are similarly referred to the adjudicator where the committee has not been able to reach a decision or where it has taken no action within a specified time.

The amendments secure that all these circumstances are fully applied to the consideration of proposals made by the LSC under the Bill. Regulations will be made to match those applying to the consideration of LEA and governing body proposals under the 1998 Act. We shall, for example, provide by regulations made under Schedule 4 to the 1998 Act that, in voting

17 Feb 2000 : Column 1359

on LSC proposals and any subsequent changes, the members within each group on the school organisation committee will collectively have a single vote and that the voting must be unanimous for a decision to be reached.

I am sorry that I have taken so long in explaining the purposes of these government amendments. I beg to move.

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