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 Margaret Hodge Margaret Hodge Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education and Employment) (Employment and Equal Opportunities) 12:00 pm, 3rd April 2001

I can perhaps provide some reassurance to the hon. Gentleman. The DRC will produce guidance on how the appeals panels should operate. I am sure that he has seen our guidance so far on the DDA, which contains examples of good practice and possible discrimination issues to which members of the panel should have regard. That guidance is a helpful way to disseminate information on previous cases. An anonymous digest of decisions, not case reports, is published annually. That is a better way in which to disseminate knowledge from previous appeals.

Overall, we are giving new powers to the DRC and others to mount formal investigations if they feel it appropriate. If an institution's appeals are persistently overturned or if it persistently has children admitted through the appeals mechanism, there might be something wrong with the procedures undertaken by that school. Such a case could be subject to the appeals mechanism. Schools and LEAs have an anticipatory duty not to discriminate, and that duty is crucial. I hope that that will deal with many of the issues raised by the hon. Gentleman.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 20 ordered to stand part of the Bill.