The HE Byte

Schools Bill 2022 – England

This page was being updated as the Bill progressed through Parliament. The Bill was officially taken off the table on 7 December. The most recent revision of this page took place on 17 December 2022.

December 2022.

This Bill has been abandoned by the Government

On Wednesday 7 December, Education Secretary, Gillian Keegan MP, appeared before the Education Committee Select Committee.

It did not take Chair, Robin Walker MP, long to ask her the question which brought to an end three months of rumour and speculation.

In early September, shortly after the election of Liz Truss as Conservative Leader and therefore Prime Minister, reports began to circulate that her cabinet was going to abandon it. When Rishi Sunak replaced her, the Bill’s future was unclear. However, subsequent comments from ministers seemed to suggest that the Bill was not going to be pursued.

House of Lords Bill Flow Chart - ABANDONEDKeegan removed any doubts when she answered Walker’s question with this simple statement “I can confirm that the Schools Bill will not progress in the third session.”

However, that statement was followed by several concessions to those who continue to press for registration of children educated otherwise than in state supervised schools which, as we have highlighted previously, is intended by the DfE to be a first step which will be followed by two other more egregious steps. These are firstly to monitor all these children, and secondly to assess what they are being taught.

The sops she offered to the Committee were [emphasis added]:

  • “A lot of the Schools White Paper is being implemented and did not require legislation in many cases, but we know that there has been interest, particularly in a couple of areas around legislating for children not in school and a register. I know that has been something the Committee has been pushing. Let us just say, we have heard your concerns and it is definitely a priority.” [Q237]
  • “Right now, from what I understand, we can go quite a long way to achieving our aims to push this through non-legislative steps. We talked a little bit about the priority, and the registration safeguarding issue is a priority in terms of that too, but that is because we think we can go a long way not only in mainstream funding but also to improve the funding for special educational needs and high needs.” [Q243]
  • We definitely remain committed to legislating for children who are not on the school register, and we will continue to work until we make sure that they are all receiving a safe and suitable education. I cannot commit to dates or times because there is a process that has to be gone through and I do not have full control of it, but this is as much of a commitment and a priority for me as it is for the Committee.” [Q246]

The full transcript of the hearing can be read here and the original recording is available here.

The following video is a compilation of the key segments of the hearing, being questions Q237, Q243 & Q246 in the transcript, quoted in part above.

Related Bytes

Published Bill Documents

We recommend the Parallel Parliament’s Schools Bill page.

Unlike Parliament’s own website, links to all the relevant documents are displayed in a single list. The “Timeline of Bill Documents and Stages” list is ordered with the most recent publication at the top. Above that is a “Latest Key documents” list, which saves searching for the more important ones.

Official Parliamentary pages

Home page: Schools Bill [HL] – Parliamentary Bills

Various information is available via the ‘Publications ‘,News‘ & ‘Stages‘ tabs, but this information is more readily accessible on the Parallel Parliament website cited above.

Direct links to key PDF documents listed on the Publications tab:

Resources provided through this website

MPs and Confidentiality

Information for home educating families contacting their Member of Parliament

Editable table containing extracts from the Bill:

These were tools for individuals to use to do their own work on understanding and tracking the Bill’s progress. They cover the sections listed below, not the whole Bill.

Sections included: 49, 50 & 51 (CNiS registers) | 57 (Independent educational institutions) | 64 (Powers of entry and investigation – independent educational institutions)

Only containing relevant Bill clauses as it was updated after the Committee stageContaining relevant Bill clauses and Lords Report stage amendments (updated 15 July)
Open Document FormatOpen Document Format
Word Document FormatWord Document Format
Portable Document FormatPortable Document Format

Notes on formats available:

    • Open Documents (odt) original formatting – space for you to type notes
    • Word Documents (doc) formatting may not be as reliable – space for you to type notes
    • Portable Documents (pdf) best for printing – can only be annotated on screen

Archived files (PDF only):

Flow charts of a Bill’s progress through both Houses

Click on the links below each image to download the file type you prefer

House of LordsHouse of Commons

In December 2022 it was announced that a Third reading of the Bill would not be proposed in the Lords - see above for more details.

The Bill never reached the Commons, so none of these stages were timetabled.

House of Lords Bill Flow Chart
Original graphic file
best for sharing on social media, etc.
Graphic file
best for sharing on social media, etc
Original PDF file
best for printing
PDF file
best for printing

If you want a more detailed explanation of the different stages of Government Bills in both Houses and how these differ, we highly recommend the Institute for Government’s Explainer “How are bills amended by Parliament?” For example it clarifies why all but the Government’s own amendments were either withdrawn or not moved in the Committee stage, “Amendments are routinely tabled, but rarely pushed to a vote at committee stage.” The reason for this is given in the Report stage section of the table on that page, “Any amendment can be made so long as it has not already been defeated during committee stage.” Thus withdrawing them allows the proposer more time to gather support for their amendment to be carried at a later date.

Helpful publications from others

It is impossible to list every item written by members of the various EHE organisations, communities and their supporters, so here is a very small selection which we hope you will find helpful.

Taunton Home Education

During the Second reading debate Baroness Meacher stated, “No doubt we have all had a briefing from Taunton Home Education asking us to oppose Parts 3 and 4. I have to say that I do not believe that these parts have anything really to do with Taunton Home Education, or indeed any other upstanding educational organisation.”
This is not the place to rebut Meacher’s misguided faith. We are pleased however that Taunton Home Education have given us permission to post their briefing here:

Ed Yourself | Fiona Nicholson

Helpful analysis of each stage of the Bills progress through Parliament – most recent item at the bottom of the list.

Counting Children | Schools Bill briefing | data protection

A god place for information on the data protection aspects of the Bill.