Lord Roberts of Conwy: My Lords, perhaps I may briefly note the fact that Wales is entirely excluded from the proposals relating to city colleges and academies. I can think only of one reason for that--namely, that the National Assembly did not foresee certain circumstances in which they would be needed. In that case, we should all remind ourselves of a saying I once heard Nye Bevan utter--namely, that one of our troubles is that we plan for society as it is rather than for society as we would wish it to be.
I welcome very much the youth services support referred to in the last group of amendments, but I am somewhat surprised that this initiative is not being made applicable to Wales as well. What is good enough for England is usually good enough for Wales.
Baroness Blackstone: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Baroness, Lady Sharp, and to the noble Lords, Lord Baker and Lord Roberts, for their support for this idea. City academies are intended as a radical solution to very intractable problems. Perhaps I may say to the noble Baroness, Lady Sharp, that they are in no sense a gimmick. They are designed to try to find our way through a problem with which successive governments have found it difficult to deal. Let us be clear. They are not the only solution. And nor are we intending to impose them on unwilling communities.
Perhaps I may say to the noble Baroness, Lady Blatch, that it would be unthinkable for us to set up city academies against local opposition. In most cases the LEA or the school itself will publish the proposals which lead to a school closing so that a city academy can be set up. In very rare cases the Secretary of State could use his powers under the School Standards and Framework Act to propose the closure of a school which is already seriously failing. But, in doing that, he would want to take account of local views.
The noble Baroness asked whether pupils who have been at a school which is being closed, with a city academy being formed in its place, would go on as pupils in the city academy. We certainly expect that the vast majority of pupils at schools replaced by city academies will transfer to the city academy. However, it would be a mistake to try to lay down hard and fast rules now which could not possibly take account of particular cases. For example, the establishment of a city academy may be part of a reorganisation where several schools are closing or changing size. Two schools might be merged and be replaced by a single city academy. Where that happened, pupils might prefer to transfer to another local school rather than to the city academy. Parents might also choose to send their children to a school other than the city academy. What we are clear about is that we do not want to create surplus places.
The noble Baroness asked about the difference between CTCs and city academies. The noble Lord, Lord Baker, was perfectly happy to have city academies that would be slightly different from CTCs.
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The first respect in which they will be different is that, unlike CTCs, the creation of city academies will not create surplus places and in that sense threaten other schools in the area. Secondly, and perhaps even more importantly, they will have fair and open admissions systems. CTCs were set up able to interview applicants and take into account rather subjective criteria, such as parental commitment. Finally, city academies will be required to use their specialist status to benefit other schools too. Those are all important differences.
Perhaps I may respond to what the noble Lord, Lord Roberts, said about Wales. The provision does not apply to Wales because the National Assembly decided that it did not want these powers. The noble Lord will have to go back to his colleagues in the National Assembly on that point.
I return to the points raised by the noble Baroness, Lady Sharp. I can assure the House that governance arrangements for city academies will be transparent and will ensure that they do reflect best practice from the maintained and independent sectors on all the key issues--from child protection to financial probity, the involvement of parents, and so on. I have already given an assurance about admissions arrangements. The LEA will also have the ability to make representations to the Secretary of State should it have concerns about them. I accept that proper arrangements for pupil support are essential and we will ensure that the funding agreement for each city academy gives proper attention to that. But city academies are to have the freedom to devise new solutions. That is the whole point of them. We do not want them to be constrained in what they are doing.
For all schools, working to ensure that pupils achieve their full potential is by far the most important task. We know that careful monitoring of pupil achievements is the key to achieving high standards. That work must be first and foremost the responsibility of the school itself. The prospectus makes it clear that city academies will set targets against agreed performance indicators.
I hope that, taken together with my earlier comments, the noble Baroness will feel that we have given adequate reassurances about our plans for city academies. In particular, I hope that the House will agree that our plans give city academies the freedom they need to be truly innovative and that they also protect the interests of the young people who will attend them and the other schools in the area. With that in mind I trust that the noble Baroness will feel able to withdraw her amendment and join the House in agreeing with the Commons amendments.
Baroness Sharp of Guildford: My Lords, I thank the Minister for her reassurances on these issues. It is clear that if city academies are to succeed they have to be in the heart of their local communities and work extremely closely with their local education authorities. I take on board the Minister's assurances that that will be the case. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
Amendment No. 162A, as an amendment to Commons Amendment No. 162, by leave, withdrawn.
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On Question, Motion agreed to.
163After Clause 112, insert the following new clause--
CITY ACADEMIES: LAND
(" .--(1) Schedule (City academies: land) contains provisions about land in relation to city academies.
(2) That Schedule does not apply to land in Wales.")
164After Clause 112, insert the following new clause--
CITY ACADEMIES: FINANCIAL PROVISIONS
(" . In section 483 of the Education Act 1996 (city colleges: financial provisions) after subsection (3) there shall be inserted--
"(3A) If the school is a city academy, subsection (3) shall apply with such modifications (if any) as may be specified by the Secretary of State by order."").
165After Clause 112, insert the following new clause--
CITY COLLEGES AND ACADEMIES: SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL NEEDS
(" . After section 483 of the Education Act 1996 there shall be inserted--
"City colleges and academies: special educational needs.
483A.--(1) This section applies in relation to any child falling within subsection (2) if the condition in subsection (3) is satisfied.
(2) A child falls within this subsection if--
(a) he is a child for whom a statement is maintained under section 324, and
(b) he attends (or proposes to attend) a school which is a city technology college, a city college for the technology of the arts or a city academy.
(3) The condition in this subsection is satisfied if--
(a) the school is approved by the Secretary of State under section 347(1), or
(b) the Secretary of State consents to the child being educated at the school.
(4) The Secretary of State may by regulations make provision for securing that arrangements are made--
(a) for making the special educational provision specified in the statement;
(b) for making any non-educational provision specified in the statement.
(5) Regulations under subsection (4) may require or authorise a local education authority--
(a) to make payments to the school in respect of the child, or
(b) to provide any other assistance to the school in respect of the child.
(6) No condition or requirement imposed by virtue of section 482(4)(a) is to prevent a local education authority making payments or providing assistance by virtue of subsection (5).
(7) This section does not apply to schools in Wales."").
166After Clause 112, insert the following new clause--
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.--(1) Section 1 of the Superannuation Act 1972 (persons to or in respect of whom benefits may be provided by schemes under that section) shall apply to persons falling within subsection (2).
(2) This subsection applies to a person if--
(a) he has rights and obligations as a pensioner or deferred pensioner under a salary related occupational pension scheme, and
(b) the rights and obligations arose by virtue of his or another person's employment with any of the employers specified in subsection (3).
(3) The employers are--
(a) a person with whom the Secretary of State or the National Assembly for Wales has made arrangements under section 2 of the Employment and Training Act 1973 and who is specified in an order made by the Secretary of State or is of a description so specified;
(b) a company which is a subsidiary of a person falling within paragraph (a) and which is specified in an order made by the Secretary of State or is of a description so specified.
(4) A scheme under section 1 of the Superannuation Act 1972 (a new scheme) may not be made in relation to the persons falling within subsection (2) unless--
(a) the trustees of the occupational scheme consent in writing to the new scheme being made,
(b) the rights of the persons under the new scheme are no less generous than their rights as they existed under the occupational scheme, and
(c) the obligations of the persons under the new scheme are no more onerous than their obligations as they existed under the occupational scheme.")
167After Clause 112, insert the following new clause--
(" .--(1) This section has effect for the purposes of section (Pensions).
(2) Rights in relation to a person include--
(a) all forms of right to or eligibility for the present or future payment of a pension to or in respect of him;
(b) a right of allocation in respect of the present or future payment of a pension.
(3) A deferred pensioner is a person who has rights under the occupational scheme but is neither a pensioner under it nor a person to whom rights are accruing under it by virtue of his employment.
(4) "Salary related occupational pension scheme" has the meaning given by section 93(1A) of the Pension Schemes Act 1993.")
168After Clause 112, insert the following new clause--
(" .--(1) A function exercisable by virtue of section 1 of the Superannuation Act 1972 in consequence of section (Pensions) or of paragraph 6(1) of Schedule 1 may be exercised by (or by employees of) such person as may be authorised in that behalf by the person whose function it is.
(2) An authorisation given by virtue of subsection (1) may authorise the exercise of a function--
(a) either wholly or to such extent as may be specified in the authorisation;
(b) either generally or in such cases as may be so specified;
(c) either unconditionally or subject to the fulfilment of such conditions as may be so specified.
(3) An authorisation given by virtue of subsection (1) is to be treated for all purposes as if it were given by virtue of an order under section 69 of the Deregulation and Contracting Out Act 1994 (contracting out of functions of Ministers and office-holders).
(4) An authorisation given by virtue of subsection (1) may be revoked at any time by the person who gave it.")
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169Before Clause 113, insert the following new clause--
WALES: PROVISION OF INFORMATION BY PUBLIC BODIES
(" .--(1) For the purpose of the provision in Wales of services mentioned in subsection (2), any of the persons or bodies mentioned in subsection (3) may supply information about a young person--
(a) to a local authority;
(b) to any other person or body involved in the provision of the services.
(2) The services are--
(a) services provided in pursuance of section (Provision of services) of this Act,
(b) services provided in pursuance of any of sections 2, 8, 9 and 10 of the Employment and Training Act 1973 (training and careers services), and
(c) services wholly or partly funded in pursuance of section 12 of the Industrial Development Act 1982 (careers in industry).
(3) The persons and bodies are--
(a) a local authority,
(b) a Health Authority,
(c) the National Council for Education and Training for Wales,
(d) a chief officer of police,
(e) a probation committee, and
(f) a youth offending team.")
170Clause 113, page 52, line 29, at end insert--
("(12) Sections 496 and 497 of the Education Act 1996 shall have effect as if--
(a) the duties and powers referred to in those sections included duties imposed and powers conferred by virtue of this section, and
(b) in relation to those duties and powers, the bodies to which those sections apply included the governing body of a relevant school, the governing body (within the meaning given by section 90(1) of the Further and Higher Education Act 1992) of a further education institution and an appropriate body for the purposes of subsection (2)."").
171Clause 114, page 52, line 45, leave out ("and")
172Page 53, line 2, at end insert (", and
( ) who is receiving, or in the Secretary of State's opinion is likely to receive, post-16 education or training (within the meaning of Part I of this Act) or higher education (within the meaning of the Education Reform Act 1988).")
173Page 53, line 10, leave out subsection (6) and insert--
("(6) In its application to Wales this section shall have effect with the following modifications (in addition to those specified in section (Wales)--
("(a) the reference to Part I of this Act shall be construed as a reference to Part II, and
(b) the reference to section 13 shall be construed as a reference to section 41.")
174After Clause 114, insert the following new clause--
TRAINING PROGRAMMES: CESSATION OF FUNDING
(" .--(1) This section applies to a company if--
(a) it has entered into an arrangement with the Secretary of State with a view to receiving payments under section 2(2)(d) of the Employment and Training Act 1973 (arrangements in respect of training) in connection with the provision of facilities,
18 Jul 2000 : Column 844
(b) before the passing of this Act the company has received notice from the Secretary of State that he intends to terminate the arrangement mentioned in paragraph (a),
(c) the company's memorandum and articles of association are in a form approved by the Secretary of State generally or specifically for purposes connected with arrangements of the kind described in paragraph (a), and
(d) the company's memorandum of association requires all income and profits to be applied towards the promotion of the company's objects and not to be distributed to members.
(2) Unless the Secretary of State consents in writing, a company to which this section applies may not after the passing of this Act--
(a) take action of a prescribed kind, or
(b) cause or permit a person to take action of a prescribed kind.
(3) In subsection (2) "prescribed" means prescribed by order of the Secretary of State; and the action which may be prescribed under that subsection includes, in particular--
(a) making a disposal or payment of a prescribed kind or in prescribed circumstances,
(b) incurring expenditure of a prescribed kind or in prescribed circumstances, and
(c) entering into a transaction of a prescribed kind or in prescribed circumstances.
(4) A company to which this section applies shall comply with a written direction from the Secretary of State given after the passing of this Act which requires it to transfer an asset to--
(a) a specified body, or
(b) the Secretary of State.
(5) Before giving a direction to a company under subsection (4) the Secretary of State shall consult the company.
(6) Where a company to which this section applies takes, causes or permits action in contravention of subsection (2) the High Court may on the application of the Secretary of State make any order which seems to it appropriate.
(7) An order under subsection (6) may, in particular--
(a) provide for a contract or other agreement to be of no effect;
(b) vary the terms of a contract or other agreement;
(c) require money to be paid to the Secretary of State by or on behalf of the company to which this section applies;
(d) require money to be paid to the Secretary of State by or on behalf of any other specified person;
(e) require the Secretary of State to pay to a specified person compensation of an amount specified in the order or determined in accordance with the order.
(8) Section (Wales) shall not apply to this section; but in the application of this section to a company which operates in Wales--
(a) a reference to the Secretary of State in subsection (1)(a) and (b) shall be construed as a reference to the Secretary of State or the National Assembly for Wales,
(b) the functions conferred or imposed on the Secretary of State by subsections (2) to (6) shall be exercisable by the National Assembly, and
(c) a reference in subsections (2) to (7) to the Secretary of State shall be taken as a reference to the National Assembly.")
Lord Bach: My Lords, I beg to move that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendments Nos. 163 to 174. All of these amendments have been spoken to, respectively, with Amendments Nos. 117, 155 and 162. I beg to move.
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Moved, That the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendments Nos. 163 to 174.--(Lord Bach.)
On Question, Motion agreed to.