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Clause 1

Part of Education and Skills Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:15 pm on 31st January 2008.

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Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Shadow Minister (Education) (Schools) 2:15 pm, 31st January 2008

The debate has been interesting. The hon. Member for Yeovil made a compelling speech setting out the arguments against the use of compulsion to raise the participation age to 18. Both parties share the Government’s aspiration and objective of raising participation in educational training—of course it is the right thing to do. The disagreement between us is about how we should do so, and whether simply passing a law or changing the criminal law is the most effective way of dealing with the problem. The Opposition do not believe that to be the right approach. My hon. Friend the Member for North-East Hertfordshire made an illuminating speech that showed that his extensive experience of visiting projects that help the most vulnerable young adults—young youths—in the country, has informed his genuine concern about literacy. He is right: groups that are engaged, as opposed to just talking about it, with those people have a genuine concern about literacy. The hon. Member for Llanelli, who made a quip about how “Yeovil” was pronounced in the phonics alphabet, revealed herself as one of those people who oppose synthetic phonics as a method of teaching children to read.