Formal Minutes

Wednesday 9 March 2005

Members present:

Mr Barry Sheerman, in the Chair
Mr David Chaytor
Valerie Davey
Mr Nick Gibb
Mr John Greenway
Helen Jones
Jonathan Shaw
Mr Andrew Turner

The Committee deliberated.

Draft Report (Secondary Education), proposed by the Chairman, brought up and read.

Ordered, That the Chairman’s draft Report be read a second time, paragraph by paragraph.

Paragraphs 1 to 55 read and agreed to.

A paragraph-(Mr Andrew Turner)-brought up and read as follows:-

“There is a clear difference of view among the Committee on what approach the Government should adopt on school admissions.  The Committee’s conclusions are set out in paragraphs 56-85 following.  Paragraph 85A summarizes the conclusions of a minority of members.”

Question put, That the paragraph be read a second time.

The Committee divided.

Ayes, 2
Mr Nick Gibb
Mr Andrew Turner

Noes, 4
Mr David Chaytor
Valerie Davey
Helen Jones
Jonathan Shaw

Paragraphs 56 to 85 agreed to.

Another paragraph-(Mr Andrew Turner)-brought up and read as follows:-

“85A A minority of members concluded that:

There was insufficient evidence that the use of what the majority call ‘unacceptable oversubscription criteria’ [para 60] caused sufficient mischief to justify tougher regulation or strengthening of the powers of the School Adjudicator to intervene where no complaint had been received.  Indeed the evidence was that schools were increasingly compliant with the Government’s guidance.

 The assertion that use of a particular admission criterion shifts the balance from ‘parents choosing schools to schools choosing pupils’ is a wrong.

The shortage of places in schools which command the confidence of parents is a much greater evil than particular admission criteria.  Government policies to improve the supply of ‘good’ school places: by improvement and intervention strategies; by promoting new Academies and by encouraging the creation of new sixth forms (see para 132); by permitting independent schools to join the maintained sector, and by their presumption in favour of ‘good’ schools expanding, and the proposals of the major Opposition party to encourage investment of private capital in school-building and management, and paying for pupils to attend independent schools whose charges do not exceed the cost of a maintained school, should be commended for their potential to redress that shortage.

There is a clear division between, on the one hand, those who think that schools should not be allowed to do anything for which there is no evidence of benefit and, on the other, those who think that schools should be allowed to do anything unless there is overwhelming evidence of disbenefit.  The latter position is reinforced by the Government’s stated willingness to encourage innovation.”

Question put, That the paragraph be read a second time.

The Committee divided.

Ayes, 2
Mr Nick Gibb
Mr Andrew Turner

Noes, 4
Mr David Chaytor
Valerie Davey
Helen Jones
Jonathan Shaw

Paragraphs 86 to 122 agreed to.

Paragraph 123 read.

Question put, That the paragraph stand part of the report.

The Committee divided.

Ayes, 6
Mr David Chaytor
Valerie Davey
Mr John Greenway
Helen Jones
Jonathan Shaw
Mr Andrew Turner

Noes, 1
Mr Nick Gibb

Paragraphs 124 to 130 read and agreed to.

Paragraph 131 read.

Question put, That the paragraph stand part of the report.

The Committee divided.

Ayes, 5
Mr David Chaytor
Valerie Davey
Mr John Greenway
Helen Jones
Jonathan Shaw

Noes, 2
Mr Nick Gibb
Mr Andrew Turner

Paragraphs 132 to 153 agreed to.

Summary agreed to.

Resolved, That the Report be the Fifth Report of the Committee to the House.

Ordered, That the Chairman do make the Report to the House.

Ordered, That the provisions of Standing Order No. 134 (Select committees (reports)) be applied to the Report.

Several papers were ordered to be appended to the Minutes of Evidence.

Ordered, That the Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence taken before the Committee be reported to the House.

The Committee further deliberated.

 [Adjourned till Tuesday 15 March at half-past Nine o’clock.