Academies Bill [HL] — Report (2nd Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:45 pm on 7th July 2010.

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Photo of Lord Lucas Lord Lucas Conservative 4:45 pm, 7th July 2010

My Lords, in this group I have Amendment 10A, which follows on from the discussion in Committee about the effects of Clause 1(6)(d). My noble friend Lord Hill said that paragraph (d) would not prevent an academy from reaching out to areas that were not in its immediate vicinity in order to broaden its intake. It would not prevent a grammar school that became an academy from maintaining its current and typically wide catchment area. Also, to take it even further, it would not prevent an academy from being or becoming a boarding school. I asked my noble friend what, under those circumstances, the paragraph would prevent that the Government wish to prevent. He has not replied, so I presume that there is nothing and that therefore the paragraph has no function. That is my reason for returning to the matter on Report.

On the amendment tabled by the noble Baroness, Lady Royall, the crucial bit of the model academy funding agreement appears to me to be clause 12(c). Reading that, I do not see what in the agreement-although, like my noble friend Lady Walmsley, I have not parsed it as carefully as I might-updates the requirement as the general admissions requirements change. It seems to me that an academy that was created tomorrow would be for ever stuck with today's admissions arrangements, even if we improved them in a year's time. I do not see what in the model funding agreement rolls the requirements forward. That would also apply to SEN requirements and other matters that are dealt with in clause 12. I would be grateful if my noble friend could give me some comfort about what keeps academies current.