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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

If I received a submission and was asked to make a decision about whether to commission that sort of research, I would say that there are many factors to take into account. I have set out all the changes to be made to the schooling system pre-16 to make it more engaging and productive, and to improve standards. It is very difficult for any academic to properly predict what the effect on absence will be by the time the measure comes into effect. Assuming it is not a middle-school system, the current year 6 cohort that is currently in its last year of primary school will be the first year affected by the measure. To predict how that cohort will respond to the changes that are taking place and what they will do in respect of absence thereafter is too difficult an issue to provide value-for-money research. I shall consult my officials later, and if I find out that we have commissioned such research, I will let the Committee know and tell hon. Members what it says—but I will also ask the officials how they managed to get approval.