My Lords, I note the criticism of our plans by the noble Lord, Lord Watson, but I do not believe I have heard any plans at all from the Opposition Benches recently in relation to education. I would be very interested to hear their thoughts. We have only just made this consultation document available so it is completely understandable that people have not had a chance to read it; it is quite long. In answer to his point about academies, paragraph 13 on page 7 says:
“These proposals complement our wider approach to school improvement and our drive to build capacity in the system through multi-academy trusts. It remains the Government’s ambition that all schools ultimately benefit from the autonomy and freedom to innovate and to meet the needs of their community that academy status brings, and we will be supporting schools to make this transition”.
As far as the timescale is concerned, as I have said before in this House on this matter, we intend to have a thorough consultation. We are asking for an open debate and when we have analysed the responses, of which I am sure there will be many, we will reflect and design the precise details of our plans and bring them forward to your Lordships’ House in due course. We believe that it will be possible to enact our plans in a way that benefits the wider school system as a whole.
With regard to the points made by the noble Baroness, Lady Pinnock, about house prices and rental accommodation, I am afraid she lost me. I do not really follow the argument so I think we had better have a private conversation about that. I would be interested to understand that better.