Clause 13

Education and Skills Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:30 pm on 7th February 2008.

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Notification of non-compliance with duty imposed by section 2: educational institutions

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)

I beg to move amendment No. 137, in clause 13, page 6, line 37, at end insert—

‘(1A) Where a local education authority—

(a) itself provides services in exercise of its functions under section 54(1), and

(b) receives a notice under subsection (1) relating to a person to whom this Part applies who belongs to the area of another local education authority, it must as soon as reasonably practicable give notice to the service provider for the other local education authority of the circumstances notified to it under subsection (1).

(1B) Subsection (1C) applies where, in exercise of its functions under section 54(3)(b), a local education authority makes arrangements with another person (“the provider”) for the provision of services.

(1C) The arrangements must secure that, as soon as reasonably practicable after receiving a notice under subsection (1) relating to a person to whom this Part applies who belongs to the area of another local education authority, the provider gives notice to the service provider for the other local education authority of the circumstances notified to the provider under subsection (1).’.

Photo of John Bercow John Bercow Conservative, Buckingham

With this it will be convenient to discuss Government amendments Nos. 138 to 141.

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)

I will move on from my surprise that Opposition Members do not support making the necessary practical arrangements to provide support for post-16 learners and other individuals.

Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Shadow Minister (Education) (Schools)

I cannot let the Minister get away with that parody of clause 12. It is not about educational support for young people aged 16 or 17; that comes both after and before clause 12. It is about simply identifying people to whom the Bill applies and putting their names and identities on a database.

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)

I am sure, Mr. Bercow, that you wish me to address clause 13 rather than go back to debate clause 12, but clearly I disagree with the hon. Gentleman about the importance of clause 12.

The purpose of clause 13 is to ensure that learning providers tell Connexions when a young person drops out of learning. We want that to be straightforward and a light burden on the learning provider. For instance, a large specialist college is likely to take young people from a number of local authorities and that is why we only require them to notify their local Connexions office. In his evidence, the principal of Bedford college said, I think, that he worked with as many as 100 local authorities. Once a young person drops out, the Connexions  office where the young person lives is responsible for intervening to provide support. Therefore amendment No. 138 makes it clear that the Connexions service that is notified that a young person has dropped out must ensure that the information is passed on to the Connexions service where the young person lives. Without the amendment it would be possible for a 16 or 17-year-old to drop out of learning and not receive support—at the time when they needed it the most—even though a Connexions office would be aware that they had dropped out. The amendment formalises existing procedures for the operation of the Connexions database and service.

The remaining amendments are technical ones, necessary for the provision to have the desired effect. Amendment No. 138 makes clear the wording that describes whether the local authority provides the Connexions service itself or through arrangements with another body.

Amendments Nos. 139 and 140 make the reference in clause 13 to clause 54 more specific. They refer to particular subsections of clause 54: subsection (1), which is where the local authorities’ duty to provide the Connexions service is set out, and subsection (3)(b), which provides for local authorities to make Connexions services available by providing them themselves or by making arrangements with other parties.

The final amendment, No. 141, makes it clear that “services” in clause 13, line 19, page 7, refers to Connexions services as a whole. I therefore commend the amendments to the Committee.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendments made: No. 138, in clause 13, page 7, line 16, after ‘authority’ insert ‘itself’.

No. 139, in clause 13, page 7, line 17, after ‘under’ insert ‘subsection (1) of’.

No. 140, in clause 13, page 7, line 18, leave out ‘those functions’ and insert

‘its functions under subsection (3)(b) of that section’.

No. 141, in clause 13, page 7, line 19, leave out ‘such’.—[Jim Knight.]

Clause 13, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.