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Lords concludes line by line examination of Schools Bill

1 July 2022

A group of students in a school classroom facing away from the camera. One student in the centre has raised their hand

The House of Lords concluded detailed check of the Schools Bill during committee stage, on Monday 27 June.

Subsequently, the government committed to removing the first 18 clauses and two schedules of the bill at report stage, following concerns raised by members across the House.

Report stage is expected to begin on 12 July.

The Schools Bill aims to empower the government to make new regulations regarding the operation of academies, funding for mainstream schools, school attendance, the register of independent institutions and teacher misconduct.

Line by line examination

Committee stage is the first chance for line by line examination of the bill.

Monday 27 June

Members discussed amendments (changes) to the bill on a range of subjects, including:

  • the condition of school land and buildings, and school building safety
  • reporting on spoken language and communication skills
  • creating a COVID-19 recovery plan for schools.

Catch up

Next steps

Report stage, an opportunity to closely scrutinise elements of the bill and make changes, is expected to begin on 12 July.

Explore further information

Read background on the bill in the House of Lords Library Schools Bill briefing.

What's happened so far?

Committee stage day five: Monday 22 June

Members discussed amendments (changes) to the bill on a range of subjects, including:

  • school attendance orders
  • the relationship between local authorities and home educators
  • timeframes for the registration of children not in school
  • mental health support
  • unregistered education providers and Ofsted powers
  • the charitable status of independent educational institutions
  • safeguarding of children.

Catch up

Committee stage day four: Monday 21 June

Members discussed amendments (changes) to the bill on a range of subjects, including:

  • careers education in primary schools
  • parental rights to review school curriculum material
  • setting mandatory topics in the national curriculum, including digital skills, financial literacy and life skills, and making offering work experience mandatory in schools
  • supporting greater collaboration between schools, academies and colleges
  • funding for specialist education services for children and young people with sensory impairment, and closing the education attainment gap for young people with SEND
  • a review of policy on children not in school, registration, data collection and protection.

Catch up

Committee stage day three: Wednesday 15 June

Members discussed amendments (changes) to the bill on a range of subjects, including:

  • whether specialist schools should be required to become academies and join Multi Academy Trusts (MATs)
  • consultation requirements on schools becoming academies or joining MATs
  • fundraising within MATs
  • reforms to the national funding formula for schools
  • funding to provide transport costs for students aged 16-19
  • assessing the impact of schools funding in rural areas
  • providing funding for mental health support
  • free school meals and pupil premium funding
  • the government also committed to provide further clarification on the draft law before report stage, following concerns members have raised at committee stage so far.

Catch up

Committee stage day two: Monday 13 June

Members discussed amendments (changes) to the bill on a range of subjects, including:

  • tackling unregistered schools
  • creating secure schools and academies, and consultation with local government
  • the charitable status of academies
  • ministers' powers to apply and disapply education legislation, and consultation
  • the religious designation of church schools
  • making academies subject to local government guidance on admissions
  • requiring academies to employ qualified teachers and follow guidance on teacher pay and conditions
  • collective worship and assemblies in academies with a religious character.

Catch up

Committee stage day one: Wednesday 8 June

Members discussed amendments (changes) to the bill on a range subjects, including:

  • limiting the breadth of, or removing, ministers' powers created by the bill to set academy standards
  • setting consultation requirements, including with teachers and parents, for new regulations affecting academy standards
  • adding pupils' mental health and SEND provision to standards that are set for academies
  • governance of academies, including requiring academy trusts have at least two parent trustees, or ensuring each academy in a MAT has an individual governing body.

Catch up

Second reading: Monday 23 May

Members discussed the main issues in the bill and drew attention to specific areas where they thought amendments (changes) were needed during second reading. Topics covered during the debate included: 

  • improving the standard of reading, writing and maths in primary schools
  • supporting schools to join multi-academy trusts
  • reforming the school funding system to give all children the same opportunities
  • developing an attendance policy for schools, trusts, governing bodies and local authorities
  • introducing a register for children not in schools
  • broadening the scope of the current teacher misconduct regime 
  • careers advice and development for teachers and students
  • funding areas of educational underperformance
  • keeping schools well maintained, safe and operational
  • doing more for children with special education needs and disabilities
  • children's mental health
  • powers for government in the bill and capacity of the Department for Education to deliver regulation.

Members speaking

Baroness Barran (Conservative), Minister for the School System, opened the debate and responded on behalf of the government.

Members speaking in the debate included:

  • Baroness Brinton (Liberal Democrats), former chair of the Cambridgeshire Learning and Skills Council
  • Lord Lingfield (Conservative), director of the Centre for Education & Finance Management Limited
  • Baroness Morris of Yardley (Labour) adviser to the Institute of Effective Education
  • Lord Nash (Conservative), trustee of the Education Policy Institute

Find out more about the issues discussed:

Image: Adobe