The Academies Bill continued its passage through the Lords on Wednesday 8 July. Members of the Lords discussed the remaining clauses of the Bill, including payments under academy agreements, academy orders, transfer of school surpluses and other property, and the charitable status of academy proprietors.
Among the topics discussed were:
- discipline and behaviour policies, including arrangements for ‘hard to place’ pupils and appealing against exclusions
- admissions arrangements, including admissions criteria and selection in relation to academy schools, and arrangements for ‘schools with a religious character’
- requirement to provide age-appropriate, play-based care and education
- composition of academy school governing boards
- provision for pupils with low-incidence special educational needs or disabilities.
Members voted on the following amendments:
- amendment nine, creating a curriculum requirement to provide personal, social and health education, proposed by Baroness Massey of Darwen. This motion was defeated.
- amendment 26, requiring that the Secretary of State for Education should be satisfied relevant parties have been consulted, proposed by Baroness Royall of Blaisdon. This motion was also defeated.
The third reading of the Academies Bill is scheduled to take place on Tuesday 13 July.
Day one of the report stage of the Academies Bill
Members voted on amendment three, extending academy freedoms to primary schools, proposed by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath, and this motion was defeated.
Issues under discussion during the course of debate included:
- the impact of new academies on neighbouring schools
- surplus school places
- the Building Schools for the Future programme
- financial arrangements and assistance for academies, including equity with other schools
- the size of school populations, including the ability of primary and small schools to become academies
- the place of faith based schools.
Further line by line examination of the Bill takes place during report stage and allows Members to revisit issues discussed previously. All suggested changes to the Bill can be discussed and votes can take place.