Clause 20

Part of Children, Schools and Families Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 1:30 pm ar 4 Chwefror 2010.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of David Laws David Laws Shadow Secretary of State (Children, Schools and Families) 1:30, 4 Chwefror 2010

I am, as ever, grateful to the Minister. This is a huge opportunity, and I agree with all that he said about the deficiencies in the existing accountability regime. The problem is that that does not take us any further. It is one thing for the Government to say that the existing accountability regime is poor, but it is another for us to vote through something that does not deal with the deficiencies of that regime. The policy has four weaknesses. First, it should be administered not by the Department, but by Ofsted or the local authorities. Secondly, and most importantly, there is no new content, even though the Government make a virtue of that in the impact assessment, in contrast to the comment made by the hon. Member for Battersea. All the system does is to consolidate things that are already available, and that is part of the problem because the things already available are not doing to the job.

Thirdly, there are already other mechanisms for assessments to be made of the non-educational attainment elements. That happens in all the Ofsted reports. Indeed, the model of the school report card reports the Ofsted judgments on behaviour, safeguarding and other issues. Finally, we have still not resolved the problem of whether or not there should be a grade. It is important to the people working in the establishments that they should have confidence that the grade is derived in a sensible way. Even the Government’s report highlights the possible anomalies that will arise when we grade, for example, one school as grade 2 on effectiveness, pupils’ behaviour and safeguarding and, at the same time, there is an overall score of A. There is already a discrepancy and we need a thought-out and considered process of reconciling an overall grade given by a report card and the fact that it is different from the grade given by Ofsted.

My problem is not that the policy is not well-meaning and not that it is unnecessary, but that it is not right. We are told by people in schools and those who represent teachers and parents, “Don’t legislate for things that are half-baked. Don’t do things that will deliver additional levels of cost and bureaucracy but will not do the job.” It is with sadness that I say that although I will not press any of the amendments to a Division, we will want to divide on clause stand part. I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.