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 The Earl of Listowel The Earl of Listowel Crossbench 4:45 pm, 7th July 2010

My Lords, Amendment 10C follows an amendment to the Bill that I tabled in Committee. It would put admissions to academies on the same basis as those to maintained schools. I am bringing this back at this stage because I was grateful to the Minister for his helpful letter on this point, and I wanted to give him the opportunity to put on record what he said in that letter. I am very grateful for the pains he has taken to clarify this point. I am also grateful for the special measures that he has taken with regard to SEN. However, listening to the opening statement of the noble Baroness, Lady Royall, on this group of amendments, I remain concerned. I declare my interest as a trustee of the fostering and adoption voluntary agency, TACT, which works in England, Scotland and Wales.

It was a great step forward when the previous Administration some years ago made the admission of children in care to schools an absolute priority. I was troubled to hear the noble Baroness talk about admissions interviews. I am reminded of a concern that many foster parents will not feel particularly pushy for their children; they have other concerns. If it were possible for the Minister to say that he will at least consider including in the annual report an assessment of any impact on the admissions of looked-after children to academy schools, that would be comforting. I look forward to his response.