Select Committee on Education and Skills Minutes of Evidence

Supplementary memorandum from Mr Ivan Lewis MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Young People and Learning (DfES 11)

  During my evidence session on 21 November 2001, I promised further clarification on several issues:

(1)    Response to Andrew Turner's request for targets linked to the five general objectives. (Q. 253)

  The five aims set out at the beginning of the speech underpin one of the Department's three objectives, namely "to enable all young people to develop and to equip themselves with the skills, knowledge and personal qualities needed for life and work". A full statement of the Department's objectives can be found in the DfES document "Education and Skills: Delivering Results—A Strategy to 2006", which also contains the associated targets. Targets relating to the five aims include those for achievement at ages 14, 16 and 19, up to the year 2004.

  In addition, the Secretary of State for Education and Skills and the Learning and Skills Council have endorsed the target, proposed by the Modern Apprenticeship Advisory Committee, that 28 per cent of young people should enter Modern Apprenticeships by the age of 22, by 2004.

    (2)    Response to Jeff Ennis's request for evidence in terms of young people who qualify for EMAs in terms of breakdown of those going on to vocational courses as opposed to academic courses as against the non EMA areas. (Q. 255)

  The EMA evaluation includes some 20,000 interviews with young people and their parents. The data collected includes courses studied and qualifications obtained but there has been limited analysis of this aspect so far. There is evidence that young people in EMA pilot areas are more likely to be studying for vocational qualifications than young people in the control areas—but without further analysis it isn't possible to say if this is an EMA effect or merely the result of lower previous attainment in the pilot areas. We will discuss with the evaluators how best to explore the issue once they have completed their work on analysing the attainment data.

    (3)    Response to Paul Holmes's request for information on "global figure" for rolling out the EMA programme across the country. (Q. 268)

  Within the original 15 pilot LEAs, which are the focus of the evaluation, four variants of an EMA approach are being examined. The cost of a national scheme would depend on which EMA model was chosen. These 15 LEAs were chosen on the basis of the research design. However the extension to a further 41 LEAs focused on areas with low participation and high deprivation. So in the third of the country now covered by the pilot there are proportionately more EMA eligible young people than would be the case nationally. We expect to spend around £156 million on EMAs in the 56 pilot LEAs in 2001-02.

    (4)    Response to Paul Holmes's requests for information regarding guarantees for sixth form funding. (Q. 309)

  The guarantee was first given in the summer of 1999. As I indicated to the Committee it has been repeated many times, most recently in this year's manifesto.

  The RTG is based on the information LEAs have provided to the DfES through their Section 52 budget statements about delegated funds allocated to schools with sixth forms in the baseline year of 2000-01. We consulted LEAs on those figures between August and September this year. We then uprated the figures, revised where necessary in the light of this consultation, for inflation at a rate of 3 per cent per year for two years. This is because the LSC begins funding sixth forms from the start of the 2002-03 financial year. This process gives a baseline RTG for each school, which has been notified to the LSC.

  The LSC is currently finalising its first sixth form funding allocations, which it intends to issue in early December. For each school sixth form two calculations are made. The first is what the school would receive for 2002-03 under the RTG. The second is what it would receive under the LSC's own funding forumla.

  For the RTG calculation the LSC will adjust the baseline figures provided by the DfES to reflect pupil number changes. They will compare the pupil numbers that underpinned the 2000-01 LEA allocations, as shown on the Section 52 statements, with the latest available figures, which were supplied to the DfES in the September 2001 pupil count. They will use the sum of £2,600 per pupil, both for losses or gains in numbers, to derive an adjusted real terms guarantee. This is the figure that the LSC will use when making the 2002-03 allocations, and is the figure below which the school's sixth form funding will not fall.

  The LSC will also calculate what each sixth form would receive under its own funding formula, again using pupil number data from the September 2001 pupil count, plus data from the same return on the qualifications that are being studied by those pupils.

  Where the real terms guarantee figure is the higher of the two totals, we have made it clear that a school will receive that amount. Where the formula figure is higher we have always said that schools will receive that amount subject to overall affordability.

  The LSC will also carry out this process in future years. So I can reassure you that a sixth form will not lose the real terms guarantee if it loses a few pupils one year. It will have it recalculated each year in line with changes in pupil numbers, just as its formula funding level will be recalculated each year.

Ivan Lewis MP

December 2001

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