All 1 Debates between Baroness Flather and Baroness Benjamin

Wed 26th Oct 2011

Education Bill

Debate between Baroness Flather and Baroness Benjamin
Wednesday 26th October 2011

(12 years, 7 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Baroness Benjamin Portrait Baroness Benjamin
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My Lords, I thank the Minister for the letter dated 14 October that he sent to the noble Baroness, Lady Hughes, in which he gave assurances that Ofsted’s inspections will consider how well schools provide the well-being of those to whom equalities issues apply and that equalities issues will underpin the whole approach to inspection and will include all protected groups under the Equality Act 2010. It is also good to learn that Ofsted will consider how well gaps are narrowing between the performance of different groups of pupils both in the school and nationally because, as we all know, the gap in social mobility is growing wider among certain groups. It is important that schools are judged on the quality of their teaching, which should cater for the range of needs to help all pupils to progress and to inspire them to have high aspirations in a fair and equal way and, as the Minister said in his letter, free from bullying and harassment because of their culture or background, from which so many children in our schools suffer. I am delighted that these issues are being addressed and that the well-being of all children is being taken into consideration.

How can we make sure that equality issues are delivered in schools day in, day out? What measures will be put in place if schools do not comply with these ideals? I ask these questions because just today I received an e-mail from a supply teacher with a complaint from children who feel that their equality issues have been violated in a school during a lesson. They have asked me for help and guidance, so I would like the Minister to help me with my guidance. I will be interested to hear his answer to this question.

Baroness Flather Portrait Baroness Flather
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My Lords, I shall speak to my Amendment 78, which is in this group. It is a very simple amendment to put community cohesion back on the list of items Ofsted will inspect. When I learnt that it had been taken out, I was very perturbed because if schools have responsibility for community cohesion, as I have been told, I believe that it is necessary for Ofsted to look at what they are doing for it. I think that this is more than ever an extremely important area for schools to concentrate on. It is about not racism or equality; it is about the community in which they live and being part of that.