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Clause 1

Part of Education and Skills Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 1:45 pm on 31st January 2008.

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Photo of Jim Knight Jim Knight Minister of State (Schools and Learners), Department for Children, Schools and Families, Minister of State (Department for Children, Schools and Families) (Schools and Learners) 1:45 pm, 31st January 2008

I can see that there is a certain logic to the hon. Gentleman’s argument. However, we have carefully examined the trajectories and we have seen some improvement in participation, but it is incremental improvement. We think that the combination of all these measures will get us to 90 per cent. in the timeline that we have been talking about in relation to implementing the Bill. When we considered the challenge of the last 10 per cent. and the importance of doing something for that 10 per cent., because those are probably the most disadvantaged young people in our country and the ones who would benefit most from education and training, the view was that only through compulsion could we get to them. That is not because they will think, “Oh, goodness me, it’s now the law that I have to do it.” It is more that, for us in the Department, for local authorities and for our non-departmental public bodies—for the whole system—we have a much stronger driver, beyond our passion for social justice, to make the policy work. I am referring to developing things such as the range of informal training that we will talk about under clause 4.