Magazine article Public Finance

Amended Education Bill Wins Qualified Backing

Magazine article Public Finance

Amended Education Bill Wins Qualified Backing

Article excerpt

Ministers have secured sufficient support to see the education Bill over its first parliamentary hurdle but further battles are likely, education experts predict

The publication of the Education and Inspection Bill on February 28 won the qualified backing of senior figures both inside and outside the Labour Party following the government's climbdown over some of its more controversial aspects.

Launching the Bill, Education Secretary Ruth Kelly said it marked the next phase in the government s drive to raise standards in schools.

Barry Sheerman, chair of the Commons education select committee, said Parliament in dialogue with government had improved the proposals. He predicted a Labour majority on the Bill at the second reading debate on March 15.

Sir Jeremy Beecham, Labour vice-chair of the Local Government Association, called for the Bill to be supported. He said the ban on schools interviewing parents, stronger powers for local authorities to intervene in underperforming schools and the ability for councils to put forward community schools were all to be welcomed.

'Although we will want to discuss further points of detail as the Bill progresses through Parliament, we are now confident that this is a Bill that Labour in local government and indeed, every Labour MP, can support on second reading,' Beecham said. …

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