|Previous Section||Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|
Baroness Scotland of Asthal: My Lords, first, I am very happy to confirm to my noble friend that the committee did not suggest that the security of this country should be jeopardised in any way. The committee made various comments about Part 4. I hope I made it clear that in his response my right honourable friend did not fail to take the committee's recommendations into consideration, but made it clear that, from the Government's point of view, the level of threat that pertained in the past had not decreased so as to make us confident that the changes which my noble friend suggests are appropriate.
As for Section 123, I take on board what my noble friend saysthat the committee recommended that there should be two separate debates on those matters. Those matters are for the usual channels to determine, as I know she knows only too well.
Lord Hylton: My Lords, is it not clear that risks of terrorism can arise both from citizens of this country as well as from foreign nationals? Does the Minister agree that both categories should be dealt with by due process of law, which is not the case at present?
Baroness Scotland of Asthal: My Lords, I join issue with the noble Lordcertainly both categories need to be determined appropriately. However, I hope that no one in your Lordships' House will forget that the whole reason why we have Part 4 of the ATCS Act is to provide an immigration power that allows the Home Secretary to detain a foreign national whom he reasonably believes to be suspected as an international terrorist, whose presence in the United Kingdom is a risk to national security, but who cannot currently be removed from the United Kingdom. Those individuals fall into a very specific category, and that is our difficulty.
As for ensuring that those individuals have access to legal representation, I hope that noble Lords will accept that they have very generous access to legal representation and can make proper challenges to their detention, as they have in fact done.
Baroness Scotland of Asthal: My Lords, we have taken those matters into consideration. Each and every recommendation of the committee's review will be considered, so noble Lords can rest assured on that matter.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Education and Skills (Baroness Ashton of Upholland): My Lords, in January 2003, over 99 per cent of head teacher and deputy head teacher posts in maintained schools in England were filled. The vacancy rates for both heads and deputies were lower than at any time since the Government came to power. Through the work of the National College for School Leadership, professional headship training is now being offered to more serving and prospective school leaders than ever before.
Baroness Perry of Southwark: My Lords, I thank the noble Baroness for that reply, but is there not something seriously wrong when Education Data Surveys has just reported that 40 per cent of all headships in the south-east had to be re-advertisedthey were advertised at least twice and some of them more oftenand that in the country as a whole 30 per cent of all primary headships and 25 per cent of all secondary headships had to be re-advertised? Do not the Government recognise that their own policies of interfering in the day-to-day management of schools, the heavy bureaucratic burden that they have placed on schools with regulations as well as a punitive regime of naming and shaming have meant that good and creative people are no longer willing to come forward for the job?
Baroness Ashton of Upholland: My Lords, not surprisingly, I do not agree with the noble Baroness's final statements regarding the role of government. It is very important that we see our relationship with schools as a partnership working together to ensure that our children get the best possible education. I have
Lord Dearing: My Lords, I wonder whether the Minister is aware that while the new framework of inspections by Ofsted is widely welcomed, there are concerns that the interpretation of the new framework has led a minority of inspection teams to concentrate on weaknesses to the detriment of producing a balanced assessment of a school, and that that can damage education. Will she confirm that possibility with the Chief Inspector and the adequacy of the means of appeal against an inspection report?
Baroness Ashton of Upholland: My Lords, we are aware of the issues that have been raised in the Times Educational Supplement and elsewhere. Her Majesty's Chief Inspector and my honourable friend David Miliband are looking at that. Some noble Lords may have picked up that Mr Miliband said on 8 January that we are looking to a new system of better focused inspections which will be introduced from this year. That will shift the emphasis towards self-evaluationsomething that I believe the noble Lord, Lord Dearing, would welcome, as, indeed, would other noble Lords. Detailed proposals on that will be published by Her Majesty's Chief Inspector next month.
Lord Pilkington of Oxenford: My Lords, is the Minister happy regarding the qualifications of teachers who teach modern languages, physics and mathematics? I gather from statistics that many do not have qualifications in those subjects. Is the Minister happy that such teachers should teach those complicated subjects without having qualifications in them?
Baroness Ashton of Upholland: My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Pilkington, will appreciate that his question is slightly wide of the Question on the Order Paper. However, as he indicated, it is very important to ensure that our children get the best possible teaching. That is, indeed, why we have introduced a series of measures to support those students who may go on to teach what we describe as shortage subjects. I am sure that the noble Lord will support us in doing that.
Baroness Sharp of Guildford: My Lords, is the Minister confident that the new national professional qualification for head teachers that has recently been introduced is on the right lines? I believe that its reception has been somewhat mixed and that some head teachers are rather unhappy about it.
Baroness Howe of Idlicote: My Lords, to what extent, if at all, do arrangements exist for the enhancement of salaries payable for headship posts in deprived areas, which should take account of the extra work and responsibility involved? Is not that a very important principle to affirm and one which might well lead to more suitably qualified applicants coming forward?
Back to Table of Contents
Lords Hansard Home Page