Education and Inspections Bill
Lord Adonis (Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Schools), Department for Education and Skills; Labour)
My Lords, it is quite commonfor schools to appoint people with multiple responsibilities, as the noble Lord will know when he visits schools. However, to exercise this power, there must be a genuine occupational requirement.
The noble Lord, Lord Avebury, asked about consultation. We consulted our social partners some time ago through the workforce agreement monitoring group, which includes the NASUWT, the Association of School and College Leaders, the ATL, the PAT, the GMB, Unison and the T&G. The official who services that group sent me an account of its meeting last Thursday and the previous meeting during which it discussed the issue. I shall read it out so that the noble Lord can see that there has been full consultation:
"We initially discussed this with partners some time ago, and they were supportive of the measures being taken. However, they were somewhat alarmed following the misleading reports last week"—
in the media, following the campaign against this proposal, to which my noble friend referred—
"so we updated them at WAMG last Thursday as to what the amendment actually did. They were all content—NASUWT commented that they were at a loss to see what all the fuss was about. They all recognise that these were minor amendments that were a sensible response to ensuring remodelling took place in VA schools, and that VC and religious foundation schools were not unnecessarily hamstrung as to what role their head could play".
That is the reality. I invite the House to stand by these changes.