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("( ) The common set of principles shall cater for the different types of learning, including workplace learning and training.").

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, Amendment No. 134 deals with the concern that the joint inspection framework will not accommodate workplace training. I hope, again, that the Minister will regard that as important.

The classroom is a different place from the college, and the college is a different place from the employer's workplace. Therefore, any training provided should recognise the cultural differences between the different training and education providers. I beg to move.

4.15 p.m.

Baroness Blackstone: My Lords, I am grateful for the opportunity to address amendments to Clause 67. Although the common inspection framework has been mentioned in debates on other amendments, rather surprisingly, these are the first amendments which deal directly with it. Again, I do not want to surprise the noble Baroness too much. However, this is an area where I agree with what lies behind the amendment. I regard the matter as important. Work-based training is enormously important. It is a route for

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many young people, and should probably be so for larger numbers of young people than has been the case in the past.

I agree that these are important considerations and I therefore have no difficulty in principle with a great deal of what the noble Baroness said. The CBI set out similar arguments.. Indeed, the noble Baroness may have been in touch with the CBI on this matter. It is self-evident that the common inspection framework is a document that must be flexible.

The wording of Clause 67(1) is important. There must be,

    "a common set of principles applicable to all inspections ... under this Part [of the Bill]".

That means that the principles must apply, for example, to the inspection of A-level Latin in sixth-form colleges; vocational qualifications; adult evening class provision and the work-based environment.

It will be no easy task to get that right; I am the first person to admit that. At the same time, as an optimist I am confident that it is possible to achieve it. Perhaps this is a good opportunity to explain to the House that some important preliminary work has taken place. I am enormously grateful to the three existing chief inspectors. Chris Woodhead from Ofsted, Jim Donaldson from the Further Education Funding Council inspectorate, David Sherlock of the TSC and many of their staff have been working extremely hard to draw up the draft framework which is a "prototype" of the statutory framework. It will therefore be possible, probably next month, to have non-statutory consultation on the framework principles. That will be in addition to the three-month statutory consultation which can take place only after enactment of the Bill.

I agree that it will be important to ensure that the new post-16 inspection system takes into account the special nature of workplace learning. As the TSC is one of the three partners developing the framework document, I am confident that we shall get it right. I know that it will express the same sort of sentiment expressed by the noble Baroness today.

Employers have a great deal of confidence in the TSC. It was highly commended recently by the CBI for the way it has developed a rigorous and positive system for inspecting work-based provision. I am sure that we shall not find that employers are discouraged from offering training. We must certainly avoid that. One of the great challenges we face is to get every employer in this country to offer training to all employees.

I do not believe that Amendments Nos. 134 and 135, tabled by the noble Baroness, are necessary. We do not need any additional qualification on the face of the Bill. If we were to put a reference to workplace learning in this clause we should logically have to do the same for further education colleges or perhaps for the various different types of qualification. If we were to add more provisions, as in the amendment, we could run into the danger of making the framework less flexible, not more so. I hope that the noble Baroness will accept my reassurances about the way in which workplace learning will not only be accommodated

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but given substantial support and priority. In the light of that, I hope that she will feel able to withdraw her amendment.

Baroness Carnegy of Lour: My Lords, before the noble Baroness sits down, perhaps she can confirm a matter which she has not stated in the answers given today. One of the basic principles of learning is that one must start with a person's experience to date. The noble Baroness will know that from her previous distinguished service at Birkbeck College. It is critical that one should begin with a person's experience. An adult or young adult will have more experience than a very young person.

Can the Minister confirm that a set of principles will include the basing of teaching on a person's experience to date? Work-based education has the great advantage, however young the worker, of a common experience of the work being done, and that is where one can begin. The Minister has not said that.

I am making a single point in perhaps a somewhat complicated way. Will the set of principles include basing teaching on a person's experience to date, and if that person is at work, on his or her experience at work? If the set of principles includes that, the amendment will not be necessary.

Baroness Blackstone: My Lords, I have to be a little careful here in the sense that it is not right for Ministers to prescribe the nature of teaching; how it should be done and the methodology to be used, whether through the work-based route or college-based route. At the same time, I entirely accept the principle set out by the noble Baroness, Lady Carnegy. One must take into account the experience of a young person or adult. That must be done by adult information and guidance, which we discussed earlier, when advising on the kind of programme to be entered. It must also be taken into account when we are setting up the type of programme to be followed by a young person on the work-based route.

I also accept the comments of the noble Baroness about the fact that those undertaking work-based education will share with their peers a common experience. That is a matter on which those undertaking the training and education to be provided should draw in their teaching. These are all matters for the inspectorates to take into account when carrying out their inspections. I am sure that they will do that.

Baroness Blatch: My Lords, I am at least comforted to hear that not just the principles but the training will include understanding the nature of the different providers. I should like to read exactly what the Minister has said, but I am encouraged. I accept some of the reasons given for not putting it on the face of the Bill. However, it is very important in the light of Pepper v. Hart that we have something which is quite unequivocal on the face of the Bill to show that this will be recognised. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 135 not moved.]

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Clause 73 [Additional functions of the Chief Inspector for Wales]:

Baroness Blackstone moved Amendments Nos. 136 and 137:

    Page 32, line 3, leave out from ("Part") to ("as") in line 4.

    Page 32, line 4, at end insert--

("( ) The functions specified under subsection (3) may include functions with respect to training of or for teachers, lecturers, trainers or other persons engaged in the provision of education or training which is brought within the remit of the Chief Inspector for Wales by this Part.").

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Clause 96 [Qualifying accounts]:

Lord Rix moved Amendment No. 138:

    Page 42, line 12, at end insert--

("( ) conditions relating to the provision or arrangement of support to enable persons with learning difficulties to manage an account;").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I am delighted to see, perhaps untypically at this tea-time hour, that your Lordships' House is gradually filling up. However, I am too old a thespian not to recognise that it is not I, with my individual learning accounts amendment, who am the star attraction, but the following amendment, No. 138A. I remember that once I played the Theatre Royal, Glasgow, and we broke the house record, playing to absolute capacity for eight performances on the trot. I knew it was not entirely due to me, but regretted that in fact it was because the famous Glaswegian Jimmie Logan was in the cast with me. So I am aware of when I am not the star attraction!

This is a probing amendment which seeks to ensure that individual learning accounts will be available to all adult learners, including those with learning difficulties who may require support in making decisions regarding how best to use their account and in managing their finances. I regret that I was unable to move this amendment at Committee stage, but better late than never, for individual learning accounts are a major strand in the Government's programme for life-long learning. The accounts will provide a mechanism to help individual learners to plan and manage their own learning. Learners will invest their own money in their accounts, but they are also intended to be a vehicle for government and employer contributions. The Government have already announced a package of financial incentives for the launch of individual learning accounts which will benefit learners considerably.

It is worth remembering that people with disabilities are more than twice as likely as other people to have no formal qualifications and are only half as likely to be in employment. Those who are employed typically work in low-paid jobs and many, particularly those with severe learning difficulties, depend entirely upon state disability benefits. I must stress that those statements come from the DfEE's own reports and are not figments of my fevered imagination. I, and indeed the entire Post-16 Consortium, therefore welcome the introduction of any scheme which seeks to eliminate financial barriers to life-long learning, and we

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recognise the importance of establishing a mechanism for individuals to plan their own finances to support their learning aspirations.

It is crucial that individual learning accounts, and the incentives attached to them, are open to all learners, including those with learning difficulties. Incentives such as discounted computer literacy courses could open up a variety of new opportunities for adults with learning difficulties who have not had a chance to learn such skills in the past.

I believe that all learners should have the opportunity to benefit from holding an account independently, but that help should be provided to make this possible.

Lessons can be learned from the experience of "direct payments", a mechanism for local authorities to make cash payments to community care users for the purchase of their own support. Research from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation has shown that people with learning difficulties and disabilities have been excluded from pilot schemes. Others have been denied access to the scheme on the grounds that they lack competence, even though there has been no support available to assist them. Many have found it difficult to obtain accessible information about direct payments in the first place, and others who use the scheme have found it difficult to obtain accessible information about what choices are available to them.

Research concluded that continuing support is needed to enable people with learning difficulties to use a scheme such as direct payments successfully. Development work with people with learning difficulties and their supporters was deemed to be a necessary initial step. However, it was pointed out that no additional funding had been allocated for development work or for the operation of support systems.

What I am asking the Government, through this amendment, is to ensure that lessons are learned from the operation of the direct payments scheme and are applied to the operation of individual learning accounts. I should like to see a commitment on the face of the Bill that ensures that people with learning difficulties, with the necessary support, manage their own individual learning accounts and that there is a commitment to the proper resourcing of support systems so that people with learning difficulties are not excluded from incentives to life-long learning. I beg to move.

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