Amendment 114A

Part of Schools Bill [HL] - Committee (5th Day) – in the House of Lords at 6:15 pm on 22 June 2022.

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Photo of Lord Storey Lord Storey Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Education) 6:15, 22 June 2022

I was slightly diverted there. I am going to be very brief. I am diverted because—is Amendment 123 in this group? Yes, it is.

I will perhaps ask the Minister a question. Any teacher who is teaching children in a school has to have disclosure and barring clearance. Regarding the practice—and I do not complain about this—where some home educators use teachers either to teach their own children, not all the time but occasionally, and maybe a group of children, presumably those teachers have to also have safeguarding qualifications. What I am trying to say in this amendment is that there are cases—and this actually was raised with me by some home educators—where, for example, and I think this is very good practice, the children will meet other adults who are not qualified teachers but have particular expertise in a particular area to instruct or teach their children. What this amendment seeks is to ensure that those adults also have safeguarding clearance. I do not know what the current situation is on that.

I also want to respond to the point in Amendment 129, which my noble friend Lord Addington signed. This is the issue which I still struggle with. For those pupils who are permanently excluded from school—and in the vast majority of cases they are young people with special educational needs—if there is not a pupil referral unit on the site of the school, they get moved to an alternative provider. As we have discussed, I think in Written and Oral Questions, many local authorities, often because there is a shortage of places or because they have not got the money, look for the cheapest provider. I had a meeting yesterday with Ofsted, which told me—I was absolutely horrified by this—that one unregistered provider charges £50 a day plus taxi fares, including the £50, almost just to look after that child. That child could have special educational needs, so this cannot be allowed to go on. We need to take a firm hand. I am sort of having a second go at this, because I was chairing the session today at the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Education. The Minister on special educational needs spoke about this and I was very reassured, but hoped I could be reassured from our Minister on this issue as well. Other than that, that is all I want to say.