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Education Bill [HL]

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:45 pm on 24th January 2005.

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Photo of Baroness Howe of Idlicote Baroness Howe of Idlicote Crossbench 6:45 pm, 24th January 2005

I support the amendment, which was moved so persuasively by the noble Baroness. It is crucial that, with all the legislation protecting their rights, children have the ability to exercise those rights. Spelling it out in this way within the education system, which is still not seen as part of the total well-being concept in the Children Act, will help very much.

As has already been said, one worrying aspect is the number of children whose parents may not be on their side—perhaps for understandable reasons. But there is a need for an independent person who can speak on their behalf when decisions such as this are taken. I have to say that, quite apart from the examples that we have heard from other noble Lords, a number of these children are in this situation because truancy has been allowed to develop over a long period. On occasion, no doubt the school is all too delighted not to have within its premises children who might be disruptive.

I think that the amendment would spell out the position beautifully and I hope very much that it will receive the consideration that it deserves.