Lib Dems back down over schools’ duty

An amendment to the Education and Inspections Bill that would have required maintained schools to co-operate with other services to promote and safeguard the welfare of children has been withdrawn.

The Liberal Democrats’ amendment would have required the governing body of maintained schools to act in accordance with councils’ children and young people’s plans rather than to have regard to them.

The party’s children’s spokesperson Annette Brooke said the measure was necessary because the Children Act 2004 had not placed a duty on schools to co-operate with other partners. She said the bill’s proposals to give schools more autonomy had made her “more concerned” about the missing duty.

But she withdrew the amendment after assurances from schools minister Jacqui Smith. Smith said the proposed duty would be “totally at odds with the ethos” of the children and young people’s plan, which was “one of partnership, not compulsion”.


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