Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Clause 26 and Schedule 1 are on the way out.

Update on the wash-up, (which should be viewable at some stage here.)

Clause 26 of the CSF Bill, along with Schedule 1 appear to be on the way out, if these amendments are to be believed.

"BARONESS MORGAN OF DREFELIN

LORD LUCAS

The above-named Lords give notice of their intention to oppose the Question that Clause 26 stand part of the Bill.


Schedule 1

BARONESS MORGAN OF DREFELIN

Baroness Morgan of Drefelin gives notice of her intention to oppose the Question that Schedule 1 stand part of the Bill"

The BBC seems to confirm that this is the case.

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UPDATE: Letter from Balls to Michael Gove, which was on line but the relevant site appears to be experiencing difficulties:

Letter to Michael Gove on the Children, Schools and Families Bill

07/Apr/2010

"Below is my letter to the shadow schools secretary Michael Gove on the Children, Schools and Families Bill. Many of the important provisions in this Bill have had to be dropped because the Conservatives have refused to allow them to go forward.

Dear Michael,

I want to put on record my deep regret that you have not been prepared to support key measures in the Children, Schools and Families Bill including; guaranteed 1 to 1 tuition for children who fall behind; compulsory home school agreements so all parents support our teachers to keep discipline; statutory PSHE including sex and relationships and financial education; and proper protection for home educated children.

It is our very clear intention to ensure that all the measures you have rejected are included in a new bill in the first session of the new Parliament.

I believe that every child falling behind in English and maths should be guaranteed the small group and one to one support they need to catch up and make progress so that they are secure in the basics and ready to learn in secondary school. Such tailored support should no longer be the preserve of the wealthy and privileged few but a core component of the curriculum. I am deeply disappointed that you do not agree.

Schools have clear statutory powers to discipline pupils for bad behaviour that occurs in school or on the way to and from school. We have given schools the power to search pupils for weapons and other items without pupils consent, and all school staff members have the legal power to use reasonable force both to prevent a crime or injury and to maintain good order and discipline amongst pupils. Our measures to strengthen Home School Agreements would give schools new and stronger powers to ensure all parents support schools to maintain good behaviour including the possibility of a court-imposed parenting order. As behaviour expert Sir Alan Steer reported recently “It is important that schools have the confidence of knowing that they operate within a legal system that supports their endeavours and that both parents and schools know that the use of a parenting order is a possibility”. I believe parents and the profession will be extremely concerned and disappointed at your refusal to back teachers and headteachers.

The reforms to the school curriculum in the Bill would ensure that children and young people are equipped with the knowledge and skills they, and future employers, want and need. The reforms to the Primary curriculum following Sir Jim Rose’s extensive expert review will provide greater flexibility for schools to tailor teaching to the needs and interests of their children while also focusing on the basics of literacy, numeracy and ICT. These proposed changes have been widely welcomed by primary schools across the country, and many Heads and teachers will be disappointed by your refusal to support them.

I am especially disappointed that, despite our conversation yesterday, you could not agree to make PSHE statutory in all state-funded schools. There is now widespread agreement that statutory PSHE is essential to prepare young people for adult life, and our reforms would ensure that by reducing the age of parental opt-out to 15, all children receive at least one year of compulsory sex and relationship education (SRE).

There is a large body of evidence showing that good SRE leads to young people taking greater responsibility and waiting longer to have their first sexual experience and thus reduced teenage pregnancy rates. It is because of this the provisions of the Bill had received such significant support in Parliament and more broadly across the sector, with faith groups and with parents.

As I explained yesterday, your insistence that parents should have a right to withdraw their children until they reach the age of 16 – the age at which they are in many respects considered adults – makes it impossible for us to proceed. Both British and European case law do not support an opt-out up to the age of 16. As I explained when we discussed yesterday, that amendment would have meant that the bill would not have been compliant with the ECHR. Your insistence that the age limit must be increased to 16 would have made the entire bill non-compliant with UK and European law and, therefore, our lawyers advised me that, as Secretary of State, I had no choice but to remove all the PSHE provisions.

This is a very significant set back, which will deny many young people proper and balanced sex and relationships education. I also strongly disagree with your insistence that children and young people attending academies should be excluded.

It is also very disappointing that your refusal to allow us to proceed to make PSHE statutory will set back our plans to ensure that all pupils receive high quality financial education from 2011.

I was very surprised that you have opposed all of our provisions to drive further and sustained school improvement. The provisions taken out of the bill today on school improvement partners; intervention powers and the school report card are the building blocks for a world class 21st century schooling system that meets the needs of every pupil so they can achieve their full potential. They would also provide parents with the information that they tell us they need to make informed decisions with their children about the future and the removal of these provisions prevents us from delivering the fairer system of accountability we have promised to schools.

Improving teaching underpins the best possible education for all pupils, and the proposed licence to practise would have firmly established the professional standing of the workforce and provided teachers with the status they deserve alongside a contractual entitlement to CPD. I am sorry you do not agree.

Finally, you and your colleagues have been clear about your opposition to the proposed registration scheme for home educators. I do believe this is profoundly misguided and will put children at risk in the future. We have always been clear that the vast majority of home educators do a good job and that they have nothing to fear from the proposals we brought forward. However, without our reforms the small minority of children at risk will remain so. By opposing these provisions you have removed a potentially valuable tool for local authorities in their work to safeguard all children.

I understand that in some instances there are issues of principle that divide us. And I also recognise that, following the decision by the shadow Chancellor not to protect the schools budget this year, you have to find a very hefty and immediate cut to the DCSF budget in 2010-11, which the Institute for Fiscal Studies estimates at £1.7bn. But I do believe the interests of children would have been better served had you agreed to these provisions reaching the statute book. Your refusal means the loss of a number of key provisions that would have made a significant difference to the lives of children and their families.

It is a great pity that you have put at risk improvements in our schools, support for pupils and the well-being of our young people. I will be campaigning to ensure that this Government is returned and that these measures do make it on the statute book in the first session of the new Parliament.

Yours sincerely,

ED BALLS MP


6 comments:

Anonymous said...

We won't be voting for Mr Balls. His desire that the state should take over as parent of first resort and his apparent inability to listen to anything home educators told him, these don't inspire any confidence in us here.

The fact that he looks mad enough to want to be leader of the Labour party...well, we should all be running scared.

Eyehearer said...

Excellent to see this online !!!!!! Thank you ! Home ed. has become a persecuted minority under this government...and look how manipulative Ed Balls is!!

eyehearer.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

'I do believe this is profoundly misguided and will put children at risk in the future.' This from a man who is responsible for organisations - schools - that only in the past few weeks failed to protect a young boy suffering an ultimately fatal asthma attack in school, that failed the young primary pupil sexually abused by her fellow pupils in a Welsh school, and failed the young lad murdered at Victoria Station by a bunch of schoolkids in school uniform. I'm aghast at Ball's remark, deeply shocked and upset. If anyone is 'profoundly misguided, it's him. I'm disgusted by the recent activities of this Labour government, particularly will regard to their misrepresentation of home education. They should be ashamed of themselves. I will not be voting for them.

mum6kids said...

YES!!! I think the fat lady is singing! (or is that the sound of Balls, Badman and their trolls shrieking?)
Oh the relief!
I think I was pretty hopeful about the HE bits but to win on the forced sexual grooming bit too is brilliant.

I know this probably isn't the end but for now - back to just educating the children...and deciding how to vote.
Now then, shall I vote for another term of Balls....?

Jeremy said...

Ed Balls has made a little video. He says:

"[The Conservatives] are saying ... "no" to our reforms to home education as well. It's really disappointing because these are reforms which have been supported by young people and parents right across the country."

Carlotta said...

Good grief. That is just too mendacious and sickening. If anyone out there is not au fait with the history...the huge majority of home educating young people DID NOT SUPPORT his proposed reforms for them. He is lying in this regard.