Supplementary memorandum submitted by
the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (DR07)
I thought it would be helpful if I expanded
on the answer I gave the Committee on funding issues affecting
Further Education Colleges.
As part of the transformation programme for
the further education and training sectors, I announced on 19
June extra one-off funding of £43 million in 2002-03. The
money is from reallocated underspends and will fund:
extra capital grants for the delivery
of E-learning and upgrading vocational training facilities;
innovative activity to improve retention
and success rates among young people who have dropped out or require
extra support/mentoring to succeed;
qualifications and training for college
support staff, where only about 20 per cent are known to have
a relevant qualification; and
newer areas such as developing new
teaching and learning frameworks.
I also announced that I would only consider
additional funding for pay initiatives in 2002-03 for FE teachers
and non-teaching staff in the light of the spending review settlement
because such funding would generate new commitments for future
A greatly simplified Learning and Skills Standards
Fund was introduced in April 2002. The Fund available to the LSC
for 2002-03 is £179 million compared with £160 million
in 2001-02. The growth includes £15 million, originally to
improve apprenticeships, which has been merged with the Fund.
The new Fund also covers Adult and Community Learning for the
first time. Thus it is incorrect to think that the fund has grown
significantly compared with last year.
At present the LSC have only allocated part
of the Learning and Skills Standards Fund for 2002-03. This first
round of allocations was from the local standards fund and was
based mainly on student numbers or contract value. A further allocation
from the local fund will follow shortly and take account of improvement
Around 30 per cent of the Fund is held centrally
in an "Investment Fund", which will all be allocated
to providers during the year in response to inspection findings
and serious concerns, to reward Beacon colleges and to help develop
Centres of Vocational Excellence.
Amersham and Wycombe College were allocated
£80,386 in the first round of allocations from the local
element of the standards fund, not £32,000 as reported in
the hearing. The college will receive a further allocation shortly.
The LSC now target the standards fund on need.
This is made clear in the Grant Letter and in the LSC's Quality
Improvement Strategy. Colleges do not have a right to the same
level of standards funds year on year. Under the previous fund
many of the strands designated for specific purposes were time
limited. Colleges usually receive above average funding to remedy
weaknesses but we expect them to improve so that the need and
support can then be directed elsewhere.