Clause 72 - Interpretation of Part 6

Part of Education Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:45 pm on 15th January 2002.

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Photo of Andrew Turner Andrew Turner Conservative, Isle of Wight 4:45 pm, 15th January 2002

I am intrigued by my hon. Friend's argument and by the Minister's answer. The word ''maturities'' in a physical context is relatively easy to understand, but in a developmental context, the word will be of great interest when we are considering the definition in clause 72 because we are looking at attainment targets. The definition as it applies in clause 72 suggests to me that different attainment targets will be set for pupils of different abilities and different developmental stages. Perhaps ''maturities'' means developmental stages in the psychological context?

I am very glad to see the word ''maturities'' if it means what my hon. Friend has suggested as it would give greater scope to the providers of education to take account of the different developmental ages of different pupils. Like my hon. Friend, however, I am still intrigued to hear further from the Minister.

Mr. Touhig: I do not know if I can shed much more light on this.

Those who have been involved in education—teachers and other practitioners—will have different levels of measurement for maturity. As I have said, it could be subjective in the case of social skills or behavioural skills, but those who will be teaching our young people will understand what is meant by it. In fact, these words were used in the Education Act 1996, which was passed by the previous Government.