** Update, 27 May 2016 **
In her response to the debate on the Queen's Speech, the Secretary of State for Education responded positively to my speech and announced that she hoped that the Committee would participate in consultation on the Bill.
We await the detail of the Secretary of State's plans.
In my speech in the House of Commons this afternoon, I invited the Secretary of State to publish the Education for All Bill in draft form.
The Education for All Bill follows from the Government’s White Paper Educational Excellence Everywhere, which was published in March.
The proposals the Government put forward in the White Paper proved controversial, and since then the Government has amended its plans to take account of the public and parliamentary responses. There are many issues in the Bill which will require close consideration, not least the question of the point at which the education provided by a local authority ceases to be ‘viable’.
Governments have published Bills in draft form when policy is technical, controversial, or simply requires more thought. Parliament takes a closer look and makes recommendations for the Bill’s improvement.
Responsibility for looking at draft Bills usually lies with the relevant select committee. Should the Secretary of State take up my suggestion and publish the Bill in draft, my colleagues and I on the Education Committee would be happy to look at the Government’s plans in detail.
Part of the Bill will deal with the way schools are funded. The Department for Education is currently consulting on its proposals for new national funding formulas. This commitment to consultation should be applauded and in my view, extended to the rest of the Bill.
The debate will continue for the rest of this afternoon, and you can watch it online on Parliament Live TV – my speech starts just after 2.16pm.
I hope that the Government will take this opportunity to make the Education for All Bill as good as it can possibly be. By publishing the Bill in draft, the Secretary of State will help the Education for All Bill avoid the fate of the White Paper.