Clause 20 - Admissions

Part of Special Educational Needs and Disability Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 12:00 pm on 3rd April 2001.

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Photo of Tim Boswell Tim Boswell Shadow Spokesperson (Business, Innovation and Skills), Shadow Spokesperson (Business, Innovation and Skills), Shadow Spokesperson (Education and Employment) 12:00 pm, 3rd April 2001

The Minister gives me an unavoidable challenge by taunting me about the need not to create additional paperwork. She is right about that, but I am not as sanguine as she is about the wider implications. If a child is disruptive, the nature of the disruption and the damage caused to other pupils might be entirely germane to what happens. If, for example, the behaviour of a child in year 11, whose parents were worried about the conduct of GCSEs, became intolerable and prejudiced the performance of other children, the school might decide to exclude him or her. A sibling in year nine might display similar behaviour—there are often family rivalries; I have a local case in mind—and it would be entirely relevant to know something about it.

Against that—and I make the point only because the Minister needs to debate it in drawing up the regulations—we do not, of course, want to wash in public the dirty linen of the behaviour of individuals. In matters of exclusion, particularly in the context of discrimination, it must be shown to the satisfaction of the general public and of the individual minority communities that there is a fair and principled basis across the piece. That would be relevant if, in a local LEA with maintained schools, one school made many exclusions but had successful appeals, while another with a broadly similar population did not.

I am not asking for a weekly law report of every decision. Nor do I need a final answer on the training pack today, but the Minister might consider whether chairmen of appeals panels who think that something has a wider application—a phrase used already in one of today's amendments—might be encouraged to report it and share it with others.