Home Education in the House of Lords Today


We can expect home education to be mentioned in the House of Lords today [23.5.22] because it is the second reading of the Schools Bill which is proposing a register of children not in school, to include home educated children. The Schools Bill has started in the Lords rather than the House of Commons so this is the very beginning of the process of turning these proposals into law.

NB everything that follows assumes that things do go according to plan and that members of parliament do not need more than the minimum time to discuss the Schools Bill. It feels unlikely that this will be the case because quite apart from the children not in school register and the proposed new scheme for regulating independent educational institutions (ie classing them as independent schools subject to inspection etc) there are also many controversial proposals about schools funding and all schools becoming academies and joining multi-academy trusts.

Second reading in the Lords is the first opportunity for peers to debate the key principles and main purpose of a bill and to flag up any concerns or specific areas where they think amendments (changes) are needed.

Any member can speak during second reading – this stage can indicate those members particularly interested in a bill, or a specific aspect of it, and those who are most likely to be involved in suggesting changes at later stages.

Members who wish to speak at second reading need to add their name to a list which is called the ‘speakers list’. There is a deadline for signing up a few days before the debate. If you want to know who has put themselves down to speak, go to https://whatson.parliament.uk/lords/ then scroll down to Schools Bill and click on the right arrow where it says “speakers list published” which at the time of writing gives me https://whatson.parliament.uk/event/cal38626 Final information about the list can be found on the Lords Whips Speakers List page Lastly, if you want to know the order in which everyone is tabled to speak eg if you want to hear what a particular peer might say, then you need to look at “today’s list” https://www.lordswhips.org.uk/todays-lists

The Hansard page for 23rd May currently says “An uncorrected, “rolling” feed will be updated here throughout the day starting approximately 3 hours after the sitting commences. This will be replaced with a corrected, searchable version by 6am the next working day. “

If you prefer to watch the debate, it will be available on https://www.parliamentlive.tv/Lords

The Schools Bill will not be discussed line by line until committee stage ie this is NOT what will happen at second reading, as stated above the purpose of second reading is to debate the key principles and main purpose of a bill and to flag up any concerns.

Committee stage usually starts around two weeks after second reading.

Here is the Lords Forthcoming Business page https://www.lordswhips.org.uk/fb where you can find links to more information including recess (break) days https://www.lordswhips.org.uk/recess-dates from Friday 27th May to Sunday 5th June ie I would expect those days to be taken out of the two week calculation.

Currently I have found the first day of committee as Wednesday June 8th https://whatson.parliament.uk/lords/2022-06-08/ the second day as Monday June 13th https://whatson.parliament.uk/lords/2022-06-13/ and the third day on Wednesday June 15th https://whatson.parliament.uk/lords/2022-06-15/

The Children Not in School Register appears towards the END of the Schools Bill hence as it is discussed in order, home education would not be expected on the first day of committee ie no earlier than w/c 13.6.22

After committee stage there is report stage. Report stage gives all members of the Lords a further opportunity to examine and make amendments (changes) to a bill. It usually starts 14 days after committee has concluded. If 15th June is the last day of committee, then report could be expected at the beginning of July.

The final stage in the Lords is third reading which could be fitted in before parliament breaks up for the summer on July 21st. The bill then goes to the Commons after the recess ie in September or early October and the same procedure is followed there ie first and second reading, then committee, report, third reading. PLEASE NOTE THAT THIRD READING IS NOW NOT TILL SEPTEMBER AT THE EARLIEST – ADDED AUGUST 6TH.

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