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Powers Of Local Education Authorities

Volume 82: debated on Monday 1 July 1985

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education and Science
(Mr. Peter Brooke)

I beg to move amendment No. 1, in page 2, line 21, leave out `under the Education Act 1944'.

With this it will be convenient to discuss Government amendment No. 2.

These two amendments are tabled in response to one tabled by Lady David in another place which she withdrew on the understanding that the Government would table their own amendment along similar lines.

The effect of amendment No. 2 is to cause the Bill to be cited and construed as one with the other Education Acts, thus emphasising that the Bill forms part of that body of education law. Amendment No. 1 is purely consequential.

As a result of the main amendment, the Secretary of State for Education and Science will be able to exercise a number of the general powers conferred on him by the Education Act 1944 in relation to activities under the Bill, including in particular sections 67, 68 and 99.

Sections 67 empowers the Secretary of State to determine disputes between local education authorities and governors. Sections 68 and 99 and default powers permitting the Secretary of State in the last resort to issue directions where he considers that an authority or body of governors is acting unreasonably or in breach of its powers and duties under the Education Acts. The power to vary or revoke orders or directions conferred by section 111 of the 1944 Act will also apply to orders and directions made under the Bill.

It is the Government's hope that only in very rare cases will it be necessary to exercise these powers. They are powers which the Secretary of State already has but very rarely uses in their educational context, and it is not our intention that the Secretary of State should intervene in the commercial matters covered by the Bill, except as a last resort.

Amendment agreed to.

Question proposed, That the clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill.

12.45 am

When my hon. Friend has considered the matter, he might write to me to explain exactly what clause 2(7) means.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 2, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 3 ordered to stand part of the Bill.