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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

My recollection is that Martina Milburn from the Prince’s Trust said they had great concerns about compulsion. Nigel Haynes, the chief executive of Fairbridge, asked what evidence there was that compulsion had an effect. He said that the fact that the young people with whom they deal came because they wanted to and stayed because they wanted to meant that there was a stronger motivation for change. Rainer said that it strongly opposed the proposed attendance orders. Those people actually deal with young people, and they do so effectively. Fantastic work is done by such groups. They are either opposed to, or concerned about, compulsion. Opposition Members are therefore not convinced that compulsion is the way to help those 10 per cent. of people to whom the Minister referred.

A few years ago, the Public Accounts Committee looked into the question of why dropout rates in higher and further education were so high. The National Audit Office found that one of the key reasons was a lack of preparation in secondary school for young people going on to further and higher education. If the NAO says that there is a lack of preparation in secondary education for further and higher education, what more lack of preparation do the young people whom we are talking about face in their school years? They are not equipped to go on to training or a form of further education: that was the essence of my argument this morning.

There are deep-seated problems why 23 per cent. of 16-year-olds do not go on to further education or training. The Minister said that 90 per cent. was not enough compared with other countries, but 23 per cent. of our young people are not entering further education. Something is fundamentally wrong. It is a more intractable problem than just changing the law and hoping that things will be put right.