Leader magazineASCL - Association of School and College Leaders

ASCL briefs MPs on bill


ASCL sent a briefing paper to relevant MPs and Lords in December setting out several issues with the Children, Schools and Families Bill - the latest education bill to make its way into Parliament.

ASCL welcomes several aspects of the bill:

  • strengthening home-school agreements and parental involvement to improve behaviour

  • extending the role of school improvement partners to cover all the objectives under Every Child Matters

  • creating a compulsory register of home educated children to ensure a good standard of education

  • allowing partnerships of school governing bodies greater flexibility over their spending

However, the briefing focused most attention on several areas of the bill with which ASCL has concerns. The first of these is the Pupil and Parent Guarantees, which could open the flood gates for increased litigation against schools.

ASCL also opposes the proposal to require home-school agreements to be personalised for each individual pupil. An equally nonsensical idea is the proposal for a additional survey of parents carried out by local authorities.

Increasing the secretary of state's powers to direct local authorities to issue warnings to failing schools is another area of concern. Decisions as to whether schools as failing are best left to local authorities, as involving the secretary of state creates a perverse incentive for local authorities to issue warnings notices as a first rather than last option, in order to be seen to be taking decisive action.

Finally, ASCL believes that legislation to create a Licence to Practise is premature and unwise - a full cost-benefit analysis should first be conducted to determine whether such a measure would be beneficial. Instead of creating a Licence to Practise, the government should focus on working with school leaders to develop existing performance management and strengthen the established competency procedure for teachers.

The bill was scheduled for its second reading in the House of Commons in mid-January. ASCL will continue to meet with the bill team and work with MPs and Lords to put forward amendments to the bill.

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