Government proposals for a compulsory register of children not in school will be debated in the House of Lords some time around June 20th 2022. The Department for Education has introduced measures in the new Schools Bill which has started its parliamentary journey in the House of Lords rather than the House of Commons.
The debate takes place via discussion of amendments (changes) which have been put forward by members of the House of Lords. You can track amendments by clicking on the Publications tab of the Schools Bill and then further clicking on Amendment Paper which at the time of writing stands at (10) meaning there have been 10 iterations of the amendments.
Each new version supersedes the last so check the most recent date, until the final marshalled list is published on the day of debate.
As I explained in a previous post, members of the House can table amendments to highlight what they view as problematic aspects of the Bill. This doesn’t mean there is a vote on the day and the Bill is directly changed in the way the amendment proposes. That’s not how it works. It is more about seeking to influence the Government in the longer term.
A cluster of amendments from across the political spectrum sends a message to Government that certain clauses in the Bill will not pass into law unchallenged, so a crude but effective metric is just to count the mentions of a particular clause.
Clause 48 – the register itself – who is in scope, not just a home education register
Clause 49 – sanctions for not registering in the first place or not providing full registration details – use of the School Attendance Order process
Clause 50 – new harsher penalties for not complying with the School Attendance Order which may have come about from problems with registration as per clause 49
Clause 51 – notes that Schedule 4 at the end of the Bill has further technical detail arising from clauses 48 – 50
At the time of writing early on June 9th, amendments about the register itself – clause 48 – start on page 43 at amendment 97A and go on to page 59; amendments about sanctions for not complying – clause 49 – start at page 59 and go on page 64; amendments to harsher penalties when sanctions are imposed – clause 50 – can be found on pages 64 to 65.
Amendments about Schedule 4 can be found in the supplement to the marshalled list.
The only amendments which DO change things immediately are Government amendments ie amendments put forward by the Minister responsible for taking the Bill through the respective House.
Please see my earlier blog post for more information about the rules and conventions for amendments in terms of changing the wording, getting something taken out entirely, staggering the introduction of certain measures in relation to others etc.
NB I gave the likely date of June 20th at the outset because the clauses dealing with registration start at clause 48 and go up to clause 51, which are towards the end of the Bill. This means that discussion of amendments to these clauses will not take place until the earlier clauses have been dealt with ie probably not before day 4 (June 20th)
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