Children, Schools and Families Bill


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Mr. Coaker: No doubt, I will be corrected if I get this answer wrong. My hon. Friend is making a good point. If he is asking about the rights of a teacher and what would happen in those or any circumstances, let me say that employment law would normally apply. Normal industrial tribunals and other procedures and processes would be available.
2.15 pm
Mr. Purchase: Those assurances need to be absolutely clear before the whole Bill is passed in the Chamber. These are important questions, and people in the teaching profession will want to know their legal position as a result of being granted a licence to teach. If it puts them in a similar position to doctors, architects and so on, questions will need to be answered to reassure teachers that it is for precisely the purposes that the Minister has outlined: to assist the development of the teaching profession and to get it more clearly identified as a profession. Even though a teacher might be employed by the state, a liability might still accrue. Should the licensing system not make it explicit, teachers need to be reassured that that liability remains, as the Minister has suggested, with the local authority or the school itself.
Mr. Coaker: I will check the important point that my hon. Friend makes. I think that what I have said is right; if not, I will correct it later. My understanding is that the relationship between pupils, parents and teachers will not change in any way. If there is an employment issue, the normal employment law is available. However, I will check that, and if I am wrong, I will clarify it. My hon. Friend is right to say that we must have certainty. I think that there is certainty, but I will ensure that that is the case.
Mr. Purchase: I simply want to say that such assurances are necessary for the morale of the profession.
Mr. Coaker: I agree, and my hon. Friend makes an important point. There need to be assurances so that there is certainty about the legal position, as we have seen with other provisions in the Bill. I have said that if there is an issue that needs to be clarified, or if an assurance on certainty needs to be given—whether that is requested by my hon. Friends or Opposition Members—I will do that.
I referred to doctors because the system is similar in many ways. A licence is granted to doctors. Information is then collected on how they keep their practice up to date and the professional development and courses they undertake. After five years, the information is looked at to see whether it has been successfully completed, and then the licence is renewed. It is not used as a way of striking off bad doctors; there is a separate process available.
Teaching is a fantastic profession, and I return to something I said to the hon. Member for Bognor Regis and Littlehampton: if this is good enough for doctors and lawyers, why is not good enough for teachers? Of course there will be difficulties, which sometimes can be challenging. I should say to the hon. Member for Yeovil that he needs to keep the faith. If he thinks that the licence to practise is important, we should look to see how we can overcome the difficulties.
We are working with the GTC to try to deal with issues of practicality. Of course there will be challenges regarding how best to proceed. The GTC is asking whether we have got something right or whether it should be changed, and we are working with it to deliver a workable policy.
I do not agree with the other Conservative amendments. My hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, North-East will be pleased to know that licences to practise will apply to academies, but one of the amendments would provide that the measure should be not applied to academies. The independent report that the hon. Member for Yeovil wants is unnecessary.
For decades, the teaching profession has quite rightly been asking that it is accorded the status that it deserves. The fact that, in many cases, CPD has been substandard, inadequate or non-existent is simply unacceptable. A contractual right to continuous professional development, alongside a licence to practise, is difficult to introduce, but it is a prize that we should all strive to achieve. That is what the clause is about. It will raise the status of the profession and give the teachers of this country a standard of professional development that they have not had before. With those comments, I ask the hon. Member for Bognor Regis and Littlehampton to withdraw his amendment.
Mr. Gibb: I listened carefully to the Minister. His comparison with the medical profession—the GMC and the royal colleges—would have more strength if the chief executive of the GTC was not opposed to the policy. He is not mildly opposed to it—making his points behind the scene, as one would expect—but making his opposition clear in public. He said that the measure would be “unduly burdensome”, and that he would need
“assurances that it won’t be another layer of accountability in the system”.
He also said that there was a
“lack of information from the Department...about how the scheme will work”.
That leads us to the conclusion that we have a cobbled-together policy at the tail end of a Government. It is the kind of policy to which schools object. As Dr. Daniel Moynihan said in his evidence, it would be a
“tick list of two pages-worth of items in the core professional standards”——[Official Report, Children, Schools and Families Public Bill Committee, 19 January 2010; c. 24, Q33.]
We have become all too familiar with such tick-box approaches over the past years. In view of the opposition from the education world and within government, I will press for a Division on clause stand part, but I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Question put, That the clause stand part of the Bill.
The Committee divided: Ayes 9, Noes 7.
Division No. 11]
AYES
Coaker, Mr. Vernon
Cryer, Mrs. Ann
Flint, rh Caroline
Johnson, Ms Diana R.
Linton, Martin
McCarthy, Kerry
Prentice, Bridget
Purchase, Mr. Ken
Waltho, Lynda
NOES
Brooke, Annette
Gibb, Mr. Nick
Laws, Mr. David
Loughton, Tim
Stuart, Mr. Graham
Timpson, Mr. Edward
Wiggin, Bill
Question accordingly agreed to.
Clause 23 ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Clauses 24 and 25 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 26

Home education: England
Question put, That the clause stand part of the Bill.
The Committee divided: Ayes 9, Noes 7.
Division No. 12]
AYES
Coaker, Mr. Vernon
Cryer, Mrs. Ann
Flint, rh Caroline
Johnson, Ms Diana R.
Linton, Martin
McCarthy, Kerry
Prentice, Bridget
Purchase, Mr. Ken
Waltho, Lynda
NOES
Brooke, Annette
Gibb, Mr. Nick
Laws, Mr. David
Loughton, Tim
Stuart, Mr. Graham
Timpson, Mr. Edward
Wiggin, Bill
Question accordingly agreed to.
Clause 26 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Schedule 1

Home Education: England
Mr. Gibb: I beg to move amendment 307, in schedule 1, page 38, line 9, after ‘shall’, insert ‘, for its own internal use’.
The Chairman: With this it will be convenient to discuss the following: amendment 210, in schedule 1, page 38, line 9, after ‘a’, insert ‘notification’.
Amendment 254, in schedule 1, page 38, line 10, leave out from first ‘of’ to ‘to’ and insert ‘providing support’.
Amendment 152, in schedule 1, page 38, line 12, at end insert—
‘(1A) The register referred to in subsection (1) shall not be publicly available.’.
Amendment 211, in schedule 1, page 38, line 25, leave out ‘applied to’ and insert ‘provided the required information to notify’.
Amendment 255, in schedule 1, page 38, line 25, leave out ‘applied to’ and insert ‘notified’.
Amendment 256, in schedule 1, page 38, line 25, leave out ‘for the child’s details’ and insert ‘, that the child’s details are’.
Amendment 213, in schedule 1, page 38, line 32, leave out ‘or (7)’.
Amendment 257, in schedule 1, page 38, line 32, leave out from ‘(6)’ to end of line 33.
Amendment 151, in schedule 1, page 38, line 35, at end insert—
‘(2A) A decision under subsection (2) shall be made within 20 working days of the receipt of the application from the parent by the local authority.’.
Amendment 212, in schedule 1, page 38, line 35, at end insert
‘within 10 days of receiving the notification with the required information from the parent.’.
Amendment 258, in schedule 1, page 39, line 2, leave out from ‘(6)’ to end of line 3.
Amendment 259, in schedule 1, page 39, leave out lines 6 and 7.
Amendment 215, in schedule 1, page 39, leave out lines 8 and 9.
Amendment 216, in schedule 1, page 39, leave out lines 15 to 17.
Amendment 261, in schedule 1, page 39, leave out lines 19 to 27.
Amendment 214, in schedule 1, page 39, leave out lines 30 to 34.
Amendment 262, in schedule 1, page 39, leave out lines 35 to 39.
Amendment 263, in schedule 1, page 39, line 40, leave out ‘An application’ and insert ‘ A notification’.
Amendment 264, in schedule 1, page 40, line 4, leave out ‘in connection with an application’ and insert ‘following a notification’.
Amendment 265, in schedule 1, page 40, leave out lines 10 and 11.
Amendment 217, in schedule 1, page 40, leave out lines 14 to 45 and insert—
Amendment 266, in schedule 1, page 40, line 15, leave out ‘an application for registration of’ and insert ‘notification of’.
Amendment 70, in schedule 1, page 40, leave out lines 17 to 19.
Amendment 267, in schedule 1, page 40, leave out lines 17 to 28.
Amendment 107, in schedule 1, page 40, line 22, leave out from ‘which’ to ‘any’ in line 23.
Amendment 108, in schedule 1, page 40, line 26, leave out from ‘provide’ to ‘prescribed’ in line 27.
Amendment 153, in schedule 1, page 40, line 28, at end insert—
‘(f) the prescribed information mentioned in paragraph (b) shall not be burdensome and need not require detailed curriculum or teaching plans.’.
Amendment 268, in schedule 1, page 40, leave out lines 29 to 45.
Amendment 269, in schedule 1, page 41, line 2, leave out ‘an application’ and insert ‘a notification’.
Amendment 270, in schedule 1, page 41, line 9, leave out from ‘which’ to ‘on’ in line 10 and insert ‘notification of a child’s details’.
Amendment 218, in schedule 1, page 41, leave out lines 12 to 24 and insert—
‘(4) The registration period ends when—
(a) the parent and child move to live outside the local authority area;
(b) the child is no longer of compulsory school age;
(c) the parent notifies the local authority that the child is no longer being home educated;
(d) the local authority notifies the parent that a school attendance order has been served.’.
Amendment 271, in schedule 1, page 41, line 17, leave out ‘or (c)’.
Amendment 272, in schedule 1, page 41, leave out lines 18 to 24 and insert—
‘(5) If the child ceases to be of compulsory school age, the registration period ends with the date on which the child ceases to be of compulsory school age.’.
Amendment 285, in schedule 1, page 43, line 43, leave out from ‘whom’ to end of line 44 and insert
‘notification has been made under subsection 19B(1)’.
 
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