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Clause 3

Volume 978: debated on Tuesday 12 February 1980

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Grouping Of Schools Under Single Governing Body

I beg to move amendment No. 3, in page 4, line 14, at end insert—

'(5) Any arrangement under this section may if it does not relate to any voluntary school, be terminated at any time by the local education authority by whom it was made, and any such arrangement which relates to a voluntary school may be terminated by agreement between the local education authority and the governing body constituted by the arrangement or, in default of agreement, by one year's notice served by the local education authority on the governing body or by one year's notice served by the governing body on the local education authority.'.
Subsection (5) empowers the Secretary of State to bring to an end, either in whole or in part, the grouping arrangement of schools. The provision ensures that he is in a position to enforce the Government's long-term policy that, in so far as it is practicable, each school should have its own governing body if he considers that at some time in the future an authority has been dilatory in bringing that about.

The Association of County Councils has pointed out that as presently drafted the clause makes no provision enabling a conscientious authority to degroup its governing schools of its own initiative.

On reflection, we agree that there should be such a provision, and the amendment simply repeats the provision presently made in section 20(5) of the 1944 Act for existing grouping arrangements. We are grateful to the ACC for drawing the Government's attention to this, and I shall be surprised if the House does not accept the amendment.

Briefly put, we wish that every school should eventually have its own governing body. Certain authorities feel that that would be too expensive in the short term because of the number of clerks required for the servicing of the governing bodies. As the Bill stands, the break-up into individual governing bodies can be enforced by the Secretary of State. The ACC asked for an amendment only to be tabled so that they could be broken up as soon as they could be serviced properly. It is a servicing amendment.

Amendment agreed to.