Education Bill Designed To Expand Academies And 'Restore Discipline' Becomes Law

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Education secretary Michael Gove | PA

Education Secretary Michael Gove's plans to restore discipline in schools and expand the academies programme in England has cleared the House of Lords.

The Education Bill, which has already been agreed by MPs, passed its final stages in the upper chamber.

The Bill aims to expand academies across England, improve classroom behaviour and offer better protection to teachers, including pre-charge anonymity when pupils accuse them of criminal offences.

It would also free "outstanding" schools and colleges from routine Ofsted inspections, abolish five quangos, reintroduce same-day detentions, and allow teachers to search pupils for banned items.

Other measures include more early-years care and a "real and progressive" rate of interest on university student loans.

When the Bill was introduced to the Lords earlier this year, Labour education spokeswoman Baroness Jones of Whitchurch warned it could lead to "a market-dominated education system" and questioned what it meant for the school system as a whole.

Education Minister Lord Hill of Oareford said the legislation aimed "to strengthen the autonomy of schools and colleges, to back heads and teachers as they go about their jobs, and to move away from top-down prescription".

But Lady Jones and Lord Hill both agreed that the Bill had been improved by scrutiny in the Lords.

Only Government-backed amendments have been made to the Bill in the Upper House and the changes will now be considered by MPs before the legislation reaches the statute book.