Politics

Schools bill delayed as new PM Truss reviews reforms

Landmark legislation was due to be discussed again in the Lords next week

Landmark legislation was due to be discussed again in the Lords next week

Exclusive

The passage of the government’s flagship schools bill has been delayed by the new government amid a review of current reforms, Schools Week has learned.

The third reading of the bill in the House of Lords, which was due to take place next Wednesday, has now been postponed to a date “to be announced”, according to Parliament’s website. Peers have been told it won’t take place next week.

Schools Week understands new prime minister Liz Truss and her team are reviewing all current legislation, including the schools bill, following her victory in the Conservative leadership election on Monday.

The landmark legislation, which aims to establish a new accountability regime for schools, create a new register of children not in school and greater powers for Ofsted, was already in trouble.

Earlier this year, ministers were forced to slash clauses one to four of the bill, which related to academy standards and intervention powers, and promised to come back with updated plans.

It followed widespread criticism of the proposals, with the Department for Education accused of an attempted “power grab”.

It also comes at a time of uncertainty and high ministerial turnover at the DfE.

Kit Malthouse, appointed on Tuesday, is the fifth education secretary in a year. Will Quince, the third schools minister to serve since last September, was moved to the health department last night.

It is not know who will take his place, or whether Baroness Barran, who has steered the bill through the Lords, will remain as academies minister.

Kelly Tolhurst was appointed as a minister of state yesterday, but her exact role has not been confirmed, and Truss’s reshuffle of junior ministers is ongoing.

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