HL Deb 23 June 1998 vol 591 cc203-4

124 After Clause 27, insert the following new clause—


(".—(1) This section applies to training leading to an external qualification which is provided in Wales in pursuance of arrangements made by the Secretary of State under section 2(2)(f) of the Employment and Training Act 1973.

(2) The Chief Inspector shall, if requested to do so by the Secretary of State, arrange for any person providing training to which this section applies to be inspected under this section.

(3) A request by the Secretary of State under this section may relate to one or more such persons, and shall specify—

  1. (a) the person or persons concerned, and
  2. (b) the form or forms of vocational training to which the inspection is to relate.

(4) Before making any such request the Secretary of State shall consult the Chief Inspector as to the matters to be specified in the request in accordance with subsection (3).

(5) Any inspection under this section shall be conducted by one or more of the following, namely—

  1. (a) any of Her Majesty's Inspectors of Schools in Wales, or
  2. (b) any additional inspector authorised under paragraph 2 of Schedule 1 to the School Inspections Act 1996;
but such an inspector or inspectors may be assisted by such other persons (whether or not members of the Chief Inspector's staff) as the Chief Inspector thinks fit.

(6) In conducting an inspection under this section, the inspector or inspectors shall act in accordance with any instructions or guidelines given from time to time by the Secretary of State.

(7) Where an inspection under this section has been completed, the inspector or inspectors shall make a written report on the inspection, and shall send the report to the Secretary of State.

(8) The Secretary of State may arrange for any report of an inspection under this section to be published in such manner as he considers appropriate; and section 42A(2) to (4) of the School Inspections Act 1996 shall apply in relation to the publication of any such report by the Secretary of State as they apply in relation to the publication of a report by the Chief Inspector under any of the provisions mentioned in section 42A(2).

(9) In this section— the Chief Inspector" means Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Schools in Wales; external qualification" means a vocational qualification awarded or authenticated by such person or body as may be specified in or under regulations.").

Lord Whitty

My Lords, I beg to move that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 124. I shall also speak to Amendment No. 125.

The situation in Wales, as provided for in this clause, is that the Chief Inspector of Schools in Wales should include the inspection of government funded vocational training and careers services, and the amendment to the Long Title is simply a consequence of that inclusion.

The Office of Her Majesty's Chief Inspector in Wales already carries out inspections of further education colleges on behalf of the Further Education Funding Council for Wales. That is unlike the situation with Ofsted in England. Given the links between work-based vocational training and that carried out in colleges, it makes sense for the same body to arrange the inspection of both aspects. In Wales OHMCI also inspects the quality of careers education provided by schools and colleges. The inspectorate therefore has considerable knowledge in this area and there is logic in drawing on this expertise to enable the chief inspector to inspect the work of the careers service. The extension of the chief inspector's remit would therefore streamline the current arrangements and in particular it would end the arbitrary division of inspection responsibilities between careers education carried out in schools and colleges and the work of the careers service. The providers and the services to be inspected would be specified by the Secretary of State for Wales in the first instance and agreed with the chief inspector. Inspection would be carried out by the office of the chief inspector, with the inspectorate free to draw in specialist staff to support this work, as appropriate, and the framework of inspection would be non-statutory, implemented through contracts with the organisations concerned.

This is a useful amendment reflecting the different situation in Wales.

Moved, That the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 124.—(Lord Whitty.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.