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Baroness Sharp of Guildford moved Amendment No. 228:


The noble Baroness said: The amendment relates to a discussion on Tuesday on the roles of the chief inspector of adult education and of Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Schools in England.

In Clause 103(2) the amendment would substitute "the Chief Inspector of Adult Learning" for "Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Schools in England". The Minister has made clear that the prime purpose of the new Connexions Service and youth support service will be to address a different group from the one addressed to date. Its agenda is closer to that of the chief inspector of adult learning than that of Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Schools in England. The agenda is closer to the role of the further education community than to the schools community. The Minister assured us that the role of the Careers Service in schools will continue. We are pleased that that is so.

Nevertheless, given the new agenda in terms of social exclusion, the importance of links between the education providers and the Connexions service and the role of encouraging those young people to move

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back into education and training, in particular into vocational training, we believe that it would be more appropriate for that person to be the chief inspector of adult learning rather than Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Schools. I beg to move.

Baroness Blackstone: Let me start with Amendment No. 228. The advantages and disadvantages of placing responsibility for inspecting the new service with Ofsted compared with the adult learning inspectorate, have been carefully considered. The balance of advantage favours Ofsted because Ofsted's remit and expertise are more relevant to the new service than the adult learning inspectorate's. So here I disagree fundamentally with the noble Baroness. The provision inspected by the adult learning inspectorate will focus more on adult provision. The new Connexions service will be a broad provision aiming to address young people's barriers to participation and achievement in learning.

We believe that Ofsted is well positioned to carry out this inspection. It has relevant broad experience, which includes LEA-wide inspections. These are focused on educational standards and school improvement issues but cover a wide range of LEA activity, including effective partnership working and LEA support to pupils in particular categories. Ofsted's experience makes it decisively the better choice for the inspection of the Connexions service.

At this point it may be helpful to say something about how we envisage links with other inspectorates working. The multi-agency nature of the Connexions service means that Ofsted will need to work closely with other inspectorates. We believe this can work well on a non-statutory basis. Ofsted already successfully works through protocols with the Audit Commission and with a number of inspectorates, in particular the Social Service Inspectorate and the Prison Service Inspectorate.

I turn now to Amendment No. 231A. It would have no practical effect on the inspection of careers information, advice and guidance for adults but, rather bizarrely, would remove the Secretary of State's duty to arrange for inspection of careers information, advice and guidance for young people. Perhaps I should once again confirm that information, advice and guidance provision for adults will be inspected. It may be recalled that in Tuesday's debate I set out the Government's intention that careers provision for adults will be inspected by the independent Accreditation Board established by the Guidance Council.

I set out in response to earlier amendments today that careers provision for young people will be part and parcel of the Connexions service and that we expect providers of careers services for young people to be key partners in this service. I have also set out why we believe that Ofsted should have responsibility for inspecting the Connexions service. Clearly, Ofsted should also have responsibility for inspecting careers service provision for young people. This is what

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subsection (2) of Clause 108 will give effect to. And this is how the Secretary of State will fulfil the duty in subsection (1) in respect of 19 year-olds and under.

I very much hope that with those assurances the noble Baroness will feel able to withdraw her amendment.

The Earl of Listowel: I was too slow to rise to speak to Amendment No. 230A in the name of my noble friend Lord Northbourne before the Minister rose. I hope that it will be for the convenience of the Committee if I speak to it now.

Representatives of the Youth Service have asked for clarification. Will the Ofsted inspectors have a duty, or indeed be entitled, to refer in their reports to the adequacy, in their opinion, of the funding of services? Without such a possibility, those who are asked to provide services may be in the position of being asked to make bricks without straw. If the Government want the fullest co-operation from the voluntary as well as the statutory sector, perhaps it would be wise for that assurance to be given.

Baroness Blackstone: It is always open to Ofsted to comment on the adequacy of funding for services.

Baroness Sharp of Guildford: I thank the Minister for her reply with regard to my amendment. I did not expect the noble Baroness to agree with me on the issue. We on these Benches continue to feel that it would be right for the chief inspector of adult learning to be the person to inspect the Connexions service. We shall withdraw the amendment but we may wish to return to it on Report.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 229 to 230A not moved.]

Clause 103 agreed to.

Clause 104 agreed to.

Clause 105 [Information: supply by public bodies]:

[Amendment No. 231 not moved.]

Clause 105 agreed to.

Clause 106 [Recreation and social and physical training]:

[Amendment No. 231ZA not moved.]

Clause 106 agreed to.

Clause 107 agreed to.

Clause 108 [Careers Services]:

[Amendments Nos. 231A to 233 not moved.]

Clause 108 agreed to.

6.45 p.m.

Baroness Sharp of Guildford moved Amendment No. 234:


    After Clause 108, insert the following new clause--

PROVISION OF CAREERS EDUCATION IN SCHOOLS AND COLLEGES

(" .--(1) The Education Act 1997 shall be amended as follows.

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(2) For section 43 substitute--
"Provision of careers education in schools and colleges.
43.--(1) All registered pupils and students at a school or college to which this section applies must be provided, during the relevant phase of their education, with a programme of careers education.
(2) This section applies to--
(a) county and voluntary schools;
(b) grant-maintained schools;
(c) maintained or grant-maintained special schools (other than those established in hospitals);
(d) city technology colleges and city colleges for the technology of the arts;
(e) pupil referral units; and
(f) institutions within the further education sector.
(3) It is the duty of each of the following to secure that subsection (1) is complied with, namely--
(a) in the case of a school falling within subsection (2)(a) to (c) the governing body of the school and its head teacher;
(b) in the case of a school falling within subsection (2)(d), the proprietors of the school and its head teacher;
(c) in the case of a pupil referral unit, the local education authority maintaining the unit and the teacher in charge of it; and
(d) in the case of an institution within the further education sector, the governing body and the principal or head of the institution.
(4) Each of sections 496 and 497 of the Education Act 1996 (default powers of Secretary of State) shall, in relation to the duty imposed by subsection (3) above, have effect as if any reference to a body to which that section applies included a reference to the proprietors of a school falling within subsection (2)(d) above.
(5) For the purposes of this section the relevant phase of a pupil's or student's education is the period--
(a) beginning at the same time as the school year in which the majority of pupils in his class attain the age of 14; and
(b) ending with the expiry of the school or college year in which the majority of pupils or students in his class attain the age of 19.
(6) In this section--
"career" includes the undertaking of any training, employment or occupation or any course of education;
"careers education" means education designed to prepare persons for taking decisions about their careers and to help them implement such decisions;
"class", in relation to a particular pupil, means--
(a) the teaching group in which he is regularly taught, or
(b) if he is taught in different groups for different subjects, such one of those groups as is designated by the head teacher of the school or the principal of the college, the case of a pupil referral unit, by the teacher in charge of the unit."

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(3) After section 45 insert--
"Extension or modification of provisions of sections 43 to 45.
45A.--(1) The Secretary of State may by regulations extend the scope of operation of section 43 or section 44 by substituting for the period specified in section 43(5) or section 44(10)(a)(i) such other period as is specified.
(2) The Secretary of State may by regulations make provision for extending the scope of operation of section 43, 44 or 45 to primary schools or to any specified description of such schools, to secure that a programme of careers education is provided for any specified description of persons attending such institutions."").

The noble Baroness said: The new clause would require the insertion in the Education Act 1997 of a number of new sections requiring post-16 education and training providers to put in place continuing programmes of careers education guidance for 16 to 19 year-olds. Currently the duty relates only to 14 to 16 year-olds, under Section 43(5) of the 1997 Act. Drop-out rates, however, remain very high in the 16 to 19 year-old group and in the transition towards university. Too few students receive sufficient information, advice and guidance about work-based modern apprenticeship options and similar options post-18.

The new sections would require the Secretary of State to secure adequate resources for schools, colleges and bodies providing the Careers Service under Sections 8, 9 and 10 of the Employment and Training Act 1973 and to fulfil this additional duty. Section 46 of the 1997 Act would remain as the provision for the Secretary of State to choose to exercise this power to extend the duty with regard to primary schools and in early secondary years. But the amendment is suggested as an essential part of the joined-up thinking within the Department for Education and Employment by addressing the needs of the post-16 students with continued learning to assist them in making successful future career path decisions and transitions. I beg to move.


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