The coalition government’s second major Education Bill was published today (27th January 2011). Broadly it implements the proposals set out in the White Paper – “The Importance of Learning” – published in November 2010.

The Bill  includes provisions on , interalia, league tables, the curriculum, schools inspections, including a new set of priorities  for Ofsted , extending the Academies scheme to post 16 providers and alternative providers  (under the Bill for example, pupil referral units, where excluded  pupils  are taught, will be allowed to become academies, and free schools will be able to be set up for disruptive pupils),extending  the freedom of colleges and reform of student fees and loans. Schools will be required ‘ to ensure that ‘all registered pupils at school are provided with independent careers guidance during the relevant phase of their education’

It abolishes five Quangos . These include somewhat unexpectedly, the TDA- the others being the GTCE , QCDA, YPLA,SSSNB.  The YPLA will be replaced by an Education Funding Agency.

The Bill contains policy changes from both the Department for Education (DfE) on schools and from the Business Innovation and Skills Department (BIS) on further education and universities.

The explanatory notes that accompany full Bill can be seen

Part 1: Early years provision

Makes it possible to introduce free early years provision for children of two years of age from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Part 2: Discipline

Extends the power of members of staff at schools and further education institutions to search pupils without their consent for an item that has been, or is likely to be, used to commit an offence or cause injury to the pupil or another, or damage property, and to search for items banned under the school rules.

Reforms the process for reviews of permanent exclusions. A review panel may uphold the original decision to exclude or recommend the case be reconsidered. If it considers that the decision of the governing body was flawed when viewed in the light of the principles of judicial review it can direct the responsible body to reconsider the matter, but the review panel does not have the power to order reinstatement.

Repeals the duty on schools to give 24 hours’ written notice of a detentionto parents, and the duty on all schools to enter into a behaviour and attendance partnership with other schools in their area.

Part 3: School workforce

Abolishes the General Teaching Council for England (GTCE), the Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA)  the School Support Staff Negotiating Body (SSSNB) ) enabling the relevant functions of the GTCE and the TDA to be undertaken by the Secretary of State and where appropriate by Welsh Ministers.

Introduces restrictions on the public reporting of allegations made against teachers. It restricts the publication of any information that would identify a teacher who is the subject of an allegation of misconduct that would constitute a criminal offence where the alleged victim of the offence is a registered pupil at the school. These restrictions remain in place until the teacher is charged with a criminal offence. This restriction also covers supply and peripatetic teachers.

Part 4: Qualifications and the Curriculum

Abolishes the Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency (QCDA). The Bill provides for the relevant functions of the QCDA to be transferred to the Secretary of State.

Repeals the duty on local authorities, schools and governing bodies to secure access to the diploma entitlement for 16 to 18 year olds and pupils in the fourth key stage.

It also amends legislation relating to provision of careers education and guidance and repeals the duty on local authorities, schools and governing bodies to secure access to the diploma entitlement for 16 to 18 year olds and pupils in the fourth key stage.

Part 5: Educational institutions: other provisions

Repeals the duty on local authorities to appoint a school improvement partner in each maintained school.

The schools adjudicator will no longer be able to make modification to a school’s admissions arrangements in response to a complaint or a referral.

Introduces a cap on the amount local authorities and the governing bodies of maintained schools in England are allowed to charge for the provision of school meals, milk etc.

Introduces a presumption that when local authorities set up new schools they will be Academies (including free schools).

Makes it possible for one or more, but not all, of the schools in a federation to become an Academy without first having to go through the statutory process to leave the federation.

Changes the inspections framework for schools, providing for the exemption of certain categories of school and further education institution from routine inspection.

Extends the Secretary of State’s power to close schools to all schools eligible for intervention, rather than (as at present) only those deemed by Ofsted to be in need of special measures.

Repeals the power for parents to make complaints about schools to the Local Commissioner.

Repeals the change of the name of pupil referral units to short stay schools.

Part 6 : Academies

Allows the establishment of 16 to 19 Academies and alternative provision Academies and removes the requirement for Academies to have a specialism.

Changes the consultation requirements for the setting up of an Academy, and to the way a school in a federation becomes an Academy.

Increases the Secretary of State’s ability to make land available for free schools.
Part 7: Post-16 education and training

Abolishes the Young People’s Learning Agency for England (YPLA) transferring powers to the Secretary of State.

Retains the commencement of raising the participation age legislation in 2013 (to age 17) and 2015 (to age 18) whilst removing the requirement to commence enforcement procedures on young people, parents and employers in relation this.

Part 8: Student finance

Applies the university tuition fees cap for full-time courses on a pro rata basis to part-time courses, and increases the cap on the interest rates that can be charged on new student loans.


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