Leader magazineASCL - Association of School and College Leaders

Queen's Speech marks new moves

The Queen's Speech on 6 November contained three bills of interest to ASCL members: the Education and Skills Bill, the Children and Young People's Bill and the Draft Apprenticeships Bill.

The first certainly has had the highest profile, with Ed Balls' announcement the day before the Queen's Speech of additional funding and resources for 17-18 year olds' education and training.

In addition to raising the participation age to 18, this bill proposes a duty on local authorities to ensure students participate and a duty on employers to allow them to do so. Much of the debate is likely to be around how the participation order is enforced; ministers have said that the intent is not to criminalise students, and ASCL will continue to argue for carrots rather than sticks.

The purpose of the Draft Apprenticeships Bill is to determine what legislative powers are needed to regulate and promote this option, including creating an entitlement to apprenticeships for 16-18 year olds.

The Children and Young People's Bill comes out of the white paper Care Matters: Time for Change and deals primarily with children in care. Most of the bill is aimed at social service provision but education does come into the picture, particularly in a proposed statutory basis for the role of designated teacher. It also would ensure that children in care do not move schools in Years 10 and 11 except in exceptional circumstances.

ASCL will be monitoring the bills' progress closely as they go through Parliament and will advise MPs where necessary to increase the odds of a satisfactory outcome for members and for students.

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