Academies, Politics

Schools bill rowback? Barran to ‘clarify position’ after Lords criticism

Minister's intervention suggests the government may be preparing to climb down on some of the more controversial measures

Minister's intervention suggests the government may be preparing to climb down on some of the more controversial measures

The government intends to “clarify” its school reform plans following widespread criticism of its landmark schools bill, the academies minister has said.

Baroness Barran told the House of Lords today that she was “acutely aware of the strength of feeling” about the draft law, over which the government has been accused of a power grab.

The legislation seeks sweeping new powers over schools and how they operate.

It would broaden the government’s power to remove academies from failing trusts and replace boards of trustees, and allow ministers to set standards about a very broad range of issues, such as governance, staff pay and the length of the school day.

But Barran’s intervention today suggests the government may be preparing to row back on some of the more controversial measures.

Last month, former education secretaries and ministers from across the political divide lined up to criticise the bill, and the criticism has only deepened during the current “committee” stage in the Lords.

The next stage is the report stage, which offers a further opportunity to debate and amend the bill. This is supposed to take place in July, before the summer recess.

Barran said today that peers “can be reassured that when we return to the bill at report stage, I will be able to clarify and confirm the government’s position having heard the views of the house at committee”.

“Any such statement will reflect the government’s position and will be subject to the usual processes of agreeing policy and will be shared ahead of report.”



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