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The Deputy Chairman of Committees: The noble Lord will be able to do so when we come to the amendment. There are other amendments before it.

[Amendment No. 121A not moved.]

The Deputy Chairman of Committees: If Amendment No. 122 is agreed to, I cannot call Amendment No. 123.

Baroness Blatch moved Amendment No. 122:


The noble Baroness said: I should prefer to see something on the face of the Bill and, if necessary, in a schedule to the Bill rather than requiring yet more regulations. It is, thus, an argument to cut down bureaucracy as well as the secondary regulations that follow from a primary Bill. I beg to move.

Baroness Blackstone: We need to clarify what is education and what are associated services for the purposes of the planning duty. The face of the Bill is not the right place to do that, so we need regulations, as that would be more appropriate.

We have already discussed the regulation-making power in Clause 10. We need a separate regulation-making power for the purposes of Clauses 10 and 13, because the coverage of the two duties will be somewhat different. The services covered by the planning duty will be narrower than the anti-discrimination duties since the planning duty is limited to improving the physical environment of the schools. It would be unrealistic and indeed unreasonable to expect LEAs and schools to plan for activities that take place away from schools' premises, over which the LEA and the school have no control.

When speaking to a similar amendment on Clause 10, I said that the regulation-making power will allow us to clarify the position where there are grey areas as to whether a service constitutes education or whether it is an associated service. These regulations underpin the planning duty and will make sure that LEAs and schools are clear what that duty entails. In the light of this, therefore, I hope that the noble Baroness, Lady Blatch, feels able to withdraw the amendment.

Baroness Blatch: I have no choice but to withdraw the amendment. I am concerned about the plethora of information and regulation. If the Government have done the work on this--it is a Bill that will go on the statute book very quickly--they will be aware of the distinction between associated services and education. In view of some of the earlier debates in Committee, it will be difficult to have a defining line between the two. We need to make a distinction between associated services and education to avoid the real danger of grey areas. For many children, education is more than just the teaching of English, mathematics and science. We

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have given many examples of that. I am sorry that that cannot be done in the Bill or a schedule to it so that we could all see it now. I have no choice but to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Baroness Blackstone moved Amendments Nos. 123 and 124:


    Page 12, line 31, leave out ("The Secretary of State may by regulations") and insert ("Regulations may").


    Page 12, line 39, leave out subsection (11) and insert--


("(11) In relation to Wales--
"prescribed" means prescribed in regulations; and
"regulations" means regulations made by the National Assembly.").

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Baroness Blatch moved Amendment No. 125:


    Page 13, line 3, leave out from ("to") to end of line 11 and insert ("the arrangements and facilities available and planned for the assistance of disabled pupils").

The noble Baroness said: The last part of Clause 13 lists what the governors of a school have to include in their annual plan of work to be done to make the school more accessible for young people with disabilities. Such a list makes the Bill excessively bureaucratic and the items in it will inevitably become the only information given in the report.

Rather than attempting to list some of the information that is expected to be included in the annual plan, it is better to make a general requirement to cover all the arrangements and all the facilities available and planned for the assistance of disabled pupils.

My amendment follows the same thrust, but its aim is to reduce bureaucracy and to make the requirement to meet obligations for disabled people more understandable and more flexible in terms of the particular needs of the young people and the particular provision to be made by schools and LEAs. I beg to move.

Baroness Blackstone: We are competing with the elements and I am not sure that I heard everything that the noble Baroness, Lady Blatch, said, but I think I got the gist of it.

The clause amends Section 317 of the Education Act 1996 to impose an additional duty on maintained schools to include information on the accessibility plans they have prepared under the planning duty in their governors' annual report. Maintained schools are already required to include certain information about what they have done for disabled pupils.

We are confident that the provision is clear as it stands. Changing the wording would probably cause confusion for maintained schools.

There is a fine balance to be struck between placing duties on schools and reducing burdens on them. I recognise and sympathise with the point made by the noble Baroness. We do not want to add undue extra burdens. Maintained schools will simply have to include their accessibility plans--which will have already been drawn up--in their governors' report.

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We must ensure that we get the information we need. Being vague about the information to be included in the annual report will probably be unhelpful to schools. In the light of that, I hope that the noble Baroness will withdraw the amendment.

Baroness Blatch: I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 13, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 14 [Accessibility strategies and plans: procedure]:

4.15 p.m.

Baroness Sharp of Guildford moved Amendment No. 126:


    After Clause 13, insert the following new clause--


REPORTS BY CHIEF INSPECTOR
(" . Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Schools shall report to the Secretary of State on--
(a) the quality of the provision made by schools for children with special educational needs and disabilities;
(b) the extent to which schools have used their delegated budget to meet the needs of children with special educational needs and disabilities;
(c) the quality of policies drawn up by schools under section 317(5) of the Education Act 1996;
(d) the extent to which the objectives for schools' policies are achieved;
(e) the quality of the plans drawn up by schools under section 28D of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995; and
(f) the extent to which the plans drawn up under section 28D of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 have been implemented by schools.").

The noble Baroness said: I shall speak also to Amendments Nos. 127 and 128. These three amendments come from the Special Educational Consortium. Initially they look remarkably similar. However, they would fulfil three different purposes. Amendment No. 126 ensures that Ofsted monitors aspects of the school's performance in respect of its duties to children with special educational needs and disabilities.

The second amendment, Amendment No. 127, is to ensure that the LEA monitors the school's provision for children with special educational needs and disabilities. Amendment No. 128 is to ensure that Ofsted monitors the performance of the LEAs and reports to the Secretary of State on what the LEA is doing in respect of children with special educational needs and disabilities. It also creates an additional duty to draw up regulations to monitor LEAs in this respect.

I should like to take a little time to explain the amendments at greater length. A number of concerns lie behind Amendment No. 126. The first is that Ofsted should report from time to time on how well schools are doing in meeting their responsibilities to children with special educational needs and disabilities. Secondly, the special educational needs and disabilities issues should be addressed together. Thirdly, there should be greater clarity about the use of schools'

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delegated budgets in relation to special educational needs. We touched on that issue in discussing the first set of amendments.

The first concern, that Ofsted should report from time to time, and that school accessibility plans should be inspected by Ofsted, is addressed by government Amendment No. 121, which we have now accepted. We welcome this amendment and the recognition that this aspect of schools' work needs to be inspected.

The second concern that this amendment is designed to address is that of the separate structures around special educational needs and disabilities which will lead to duplication of effort. The aim is to find a range of ways to bring together approaches to special educational needs and disability issues.

It is hoped that by bringing the monitoring of schools' responses to special educational needs and disabilities together in national inspection, Ofsted would support a more integrated approach to the two aspects of work, and report from time to time on how schools are doing nationally.

The remaining concern that underlies this amendment is the lack of clarity about the special educational needs element in the school's delegated budget; namely, how much it should be and what it ought to be used for. Schools have a statutory duty to set out in their special educational needs policy how they allocate resources to work with children with special educational needs. A study in 1995 by the University of the West of England highlighted the fact that many schools were not addressing this aspect of the policy adequately; some were not addressing it at all. Work arising from a more recent study in education with the evaluation of parent partnership services suggested that there was currently little change in the situation.

I know that the Government have been consulting on the revised code of practice on these issues, and that they are also consulting at the same time on the revision of the Special Educational Needs (Information) Regulations. Changes had been proposed that would require greater clarity in relation to the budget that is delegated to schools for SEN work and what it should be used for. However, many people who saw the draft code of practice did not see those changes in the proposed regulations, and there has been no mention of these since. There is no reference to them in the SEN update published in December 2000 which sets out the Government's response to the consultation process on the code of practice.

I am looking for a reassurance that the Government are proposing to go ahead with proposals for the revision of these regulations, which would be welcomed, as well as some detail about what the revised regulations would require.

I turn to Amendment No. 127. Section 127 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 sets out the statutory framework to the code of practice for securing effective relationships between local education authorities and maintained schools. Many of the frameworks developed by the local education

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authorities under this code of practice are focused primarily on the national curriculum key stage outcomes for children at the schools. Some LEAs include indicators of school effectiveness in meeting special educational needs. However, the concern underlying the amendment is to ensure that special educational needs issues are addressed as a matter of course within those responsibilities.

The second concern is that disability issues should be addressed within the same framework and at the same time. This second concern is a theme for the Special Educational Consortium throughout the Bill; namely, that if special educational needs and disability issues are not addressed side by side in the same clauses, they will become separated and efforts made to address those issues will be duplicated unnecessarily.

In tabling Amendment No. 127, we seek a reassurance that the special educational needs code of practice will, when the revision is completed, reflect the monitoring duties of the LEA and make explicit reference to the importance of including special educational needs and disability measures of school performance within the monitoring framework developed under the School Standards and Framework Act. Secondly, we seek a reassurance that the code of practice for securing effective relationships between the local educational authorities and maintained schools will in future make reference to the need to monitor school performance on special educational needs and disabilities.

Finally, I turn to Amendment No. 128A. The purpose of the amendment is to ensure that Ofsted monitors the performance of local education authorities in respect of their duties to children with a disability or with special educational needs; to ensure that Ofsted reports its findings to the Secretary of State; and to create a duty to draw up regulations to monitor the performance of local education authorities in the performance of their duties to children with special educational needs or a disability.

Part of the purpose of the amendment mirrors that of Amendment No. 126; namely, to ensure that Ofsted inspects the local education authority's accessibility strategy. That purpose is now being met by the Government's Amendment No. 115. We welcome the amendment and the recognition that that aspect of the work of LEAs needs to be inspected.

The second subsection of this clause, however, seeks to establish performance indicators relating to the performance of LEA duties on special educational needs and disability. Currently, the Audit Commission uses two indicators of how LEAs are performing on special educational needs: first, the number of statements maintained by the LEA; and, secondly, the percentage of statements drawn up within the statutory timescales.

While those two indicators are of interest, they are quite inadequate to reflect the wider work of the LEAs on this issue. We should like to see LEAs monitored on a much wider range of issues, to include measures of

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parental satisfaction, measures of success in meeting SEN in the early years and other indicators such as the information provided for schools and for parents, indicators on the allocation of resources to SEN and indicators on the outcomes for children with SEN or disabilities. Such monitoring would not necessarily have to be undertaken by Ofsted or the Audit Commission but we know that there has been some consideration of those issues within the department and we should like it to be considered as a prerequisite for these purposes. We want to know what is the Government's thinking on the monitoring of LEA performance in special educational needs duties and to seek some reassurances that that work is going ahead. I beg to move.


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