Committee questions Schools Minister

20 January 2009

The House of Lords Merits of Statutory Instruments Committee take evidence from Jim Knight MP, Minister of State for Schools and Learners at the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF), from 3.45pm.

The Merits Committee is carrying out an inquiry into the cumulative impact on schools of statutory instruments (eg regulations) issued by government.

In the 2006-07 Parliamentary session, DCSF produced more statutory instruments (SIs) than any other Government Department; in subsequent sessions, the Department has continued to issue large numbers of regulations. Most of these affect schools.

The Merits Committee has received comments from a range of organisations representing schools, teachers and parents, which highlight the problems caused by the volume of regulation, and by shortcomings in the Government’s handling of SIs.

Commenting Lord Filkin, Merits Committee Chairman, said:

"Since we launched our inquiry, we have received extensive evidence from schools practitioners and others that demonstrates how hard they find it to cope with the welter of schools-related regulations from Government, and casts doubt on their efficacy as a means to bring about desired improvements.

"We know that the Government is working towards the end of improving the education system. However, the evidence before us raises questions about whether such wide-ranging regulation is the right means to do so.

"We look forward to hearing the response of the Schools Minister to these criticisms."

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