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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 March 2006, 18:09 GMT
Education & Inspections Bill
AIM
The bill requires local authorities to promote choice, diversity and high standards, to respond to parents unsatisfied with their local schools and to identify children missing from education

MAIN PROVISIONS
TIMETABLE
Responsible department: Education & Skills
Origin: House of Commons
Introduced: 28 Feb 2006
Second reading: 15 March 2006
Committee stage: 20 & 23 March, 25 & 27 April 2006, 2,9 & 11 May 2006
Report stage: 23 & 24 May 2006

LORDS
First reading: 25 May 2006
Second reading: 21 June 2006
Committee stage: 5, 12, 18, 20 & 25 July 2006
Report stage: 17, 19, 20 & 24 October 2006
Third reading: 31 October 2006

ROYAL ASSENT: 8 November 2006
  • Enables every school to become a foundation school, acquire a foundation and allow that foundation to appoint a majority of governors
  • Such schools must establish a parents' council to reflect their views
  • Reaffirms the existing ban on selection by ability and proposes a ban on interviewing
  • Empowers local authorities to intervene quickly and effectively with regard to failing schools
  • Local authorities will be obliged to offer free school transport to help the poorest families
  • Enables nutritional standards to be applied to all food and drink supplied on school premises
  • Empowers all staff to discipline pupils for bad behaviour, even when they are not in school
  • Parents are to be held responsible for excluded pupils
  • Extends the scope of parenting orders and contracts

    KEY VOTES
    15 March 2006
    Commons Second reading
  • Second reading vote
    Ayes: 458, Noes: 115
  • Timetable vote
    Ayes: 300, Noes: 290

    24 May 2006
    Report stage votes in the following order:-

  • Govt amendment on new community schools
  • Ballot of parents on change to foundation schools
  • Conservative amendment to increase difficulty of setting up community schools
  • Tory amendment banning new community schools
  • Rebel amendment limiting secretary of state's veto
  • Rebel amendment on vetting potential sponsors of foundation schools

    BACKGROUND
    Tony Blair's proposals to hand greater autonomy over to state schools have divided the Labour party. At second reading, 52 labour MPs rebelled and a further 25 abstained leaving ministers to rely on support from opposition benches.

    In order to appease Labour rebels who fear the creation of a two-tier system, the government has amended plans for all schools to be self-governing; local authorities could now open new 'community schools'.

    OPPOSITION
    The main opposition to the bill has been organised by a group which has produced an 'Alternative White Paper'.

    Key members include John Denham, Nick Raynsford and Baroness Estelle Morris and they stress they are for the main thrust of the bill and are not left-wing trouble-makers.

    Despite concern that the prime minister's reforms have now been watered down too much, the Conservatives are still under a three-line whip to support the bill.

    But they have tabled amendments to attempt to return the bill to its original, pre-concession form.



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