Education and Adoption Bill update

October 2nd, 2015

Amendments have been made to the Commons Briefing Paper on the Education and Adoption Bill to cover the Bill’s Second Reading and Commons Committee stages. Read the full Paper here.

The updates to the Commons Briefing Paper indicate that none of the Opposition’s proposed amendments were accepted at the Second Reading or Commons Committee stages. Of particular note:

  • Proposed amendments to the provisions dealing with warning notices to schools would have provided a minimum 15-day working period for a school to respond and a requirement that action specified in a warning notice should be ‘reasonable’. The Minister rejected the amendment saying that flexibility was required in setting deadlines for schools and that the Minister was under a ‘common law’ obligation to ensure that action specified was reasonable;
  • In response to proposed amendments concerning the definition of ‘coasting schools’ (see the illustrative regulations published by the government and Rachel Kamm’s post of 18 July 2015 here), the government confirmed that it would consult about approaches to addressing ‘coasting’ in alternative provision schools (e.g., PRUs) “in due course”.
  • The Minister also confirmed that Government did not intend to apply the same definition of coasting to special schools, but that it did intend to consult on how to identify ‘coasting’ in such schools.
  • The Minister added that even where a maintained school met the ‘coasting’ definition and the Secretary of State had been notified (as required by the Bill), the Regional Schools Commissioner would make an assessment of whether the school had the capacity to improve. Schools may receive support from national leaders of education or a neighbouring high-performing school. They could also be directed to ‘enter into arrangements’ – e.g., enter into a contract to receive advice, or collaborate with other schools, or could be given academy orders.

Holly Stout

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