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10 Feb 2003 : Column 543W—continued

Bureaucracy Task Force Review

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the time scale is for the bureaucracy task force review of the higher education sector. [94074]

Margaret Hodge: The Government will respond to the Better Regulation Task Force report "Higher Education: Easing the Burden" in February. As I have already announced, I have set up a stakeholder group, chaired by Professor David VandeLinde, the Vice-Chancellor of Warwick University, to implement the appropriate recommendations and to identify other areas where we can remove unnecessary bureaucracy in higher education.

Further Education

Mr. Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many students in (a) further education colleges, (b) sixth form colleges, (c) schools and (d) other centres of learning have completed (i) NVQs and (ii) GNVQs in each year since 1997. [89314]

Margaret Hodge: The number of awards of (i) NVQs and (ii) GNVQs made to candidates, by centre type, in each academic year since 1997 are in the following tables. Information for GNVQs for 2000–2001 is not available on a consistent basis to previous years because of changes to the data collection procedures that came into affect after the launch of Curriculum 2000.

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The number of full NVQs awarded per year now appears to have peaked. There are three main reasons for this:

My hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Young People and Audlt Skills has asked the Government's three key partners in this area (QCA, Learning and Skills Council and Sector Skills Development Agency) to produce proposals to develop and implement a new framework for all vocational qualifications. The partners are due to report by the end of March 2003.

GNVQs at all levels are gradually being replaced by other vocational qualifications. In September 2000 New Vocational A levels, also known as AVCEs (Advanced Vocational Certificates of Education) replaced Advanced GNVQs. The first full AVCE awards were made at the end of the 2-year cycle in summer 2002.

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NVQ awards by assessment centre by year in the UK
Awards (thousands

Centre type1997–981998–99199920002000–01
FE college/Tertiary college172.6164.0181.6168.0
Sixth form college1.
Adult education centre3.
University or other higher education centre4.
Private training provider191.8170.9163.9130.1
Local government/central government.NHS
Voluntary organisation(16)(16)(16)00
HM prison/youth offender institution1.2(16)1.41.2
Armed forces4.
Overseas centre0.

(16) Less than 1000

(17) Numbers may not add up to row and column totals due to rounding


National information system for vocational qualifications

GNVQ awards by assessment centre by year in the UK

Centre type1997–981998–991999–2000
FE college/Tertiary college54.658.358.7
Sixth form college10.711.111.2
Adult education centre(18)(18)(18)
University or other higher educationcentre(18)(18)(18)
Private training provider(18)(18)(18)
Local government/central government/NHS(18)(18)(18)
Voluntary organisation0.00.00.0
HM prison/youth offender institution(18)(18)(18)
Armed forces0.00.00.0
Overseas centre0.0(18)(18)

(18) Less than 1000

(19) Numbers may not add up to row and column totals due to rounding


National information system for vocational qualifications

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many shortage subject bursaries has been awarded to new further education lecturers; and what changes he plans in the scheme for these bursaries. [92762]

Margaret Hodge: There have been 174 applications approved by the Learning and Skills Council for 'Golden Hello' payments between 1 October 2002 and 13 January 2003 to new recruits to further education teaching in designated shortage subject areas. Take up to date has been modest but we are working with the Learning and Skills Council to develop better awareness of Golden Helios. We intend to review the scheme to ensure it is effective and appropriately targeted.

Higher Education

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills with reference to his recent White Paper Cmnd 5735 on The Future of Higher Education, what plans he has to ensure that students from the poorest backgrounds will not be deterred from applying to universities which charge the maximum graduate contribution per year; and if he will make a statement. [93748]

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Margaret Hodge [holding answer 29 January 2003]:As set out in "The Future of Higher Education" (Cm 5735), fair access means that the opportunities that higher education brings are available to all those who have the potential to benefit from them, regardless of their background. We know that raising participation and standards through our reforms of secondary and further education is critical to widening access.Our unified AimHigher programme will raise aspirations among young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Students from the poorest backgrounds will be eligible to have up to £1,100 of their fees paid, and student grants of 1,000 will be reintroduced for those from low income families From 2006 any university which wishes to charge variable fees will be required to have an Access Agreement which will be approved and monitored by the Access Regulator The Regulator will seek to extend current good practice through, for example, bursary schemes and other financial measures. The maximum fee will be capped in real terms for the duration of the next Parliament at £3,000. Additionally no student or family will have to pay fees before or while they are studying. Students will be able to defer their fees as for the current maintenance loans. The threshold at which repayment starts will be raised to 15,000, to make repayment easier for everyone. Repayments are income contingent and no real interest will be charged on student loans. Graduates will only be expected to pay back what they have borrowed in real terms.

Mr. George Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the drop-out rates were (a) in the first year, (b) in the second year and (c) in the third year for undergraduates in each university and higher education institution in each of the last five years. [94702]

Margaret Hodge: The available information on drop-out rates, showing first year and full course figures for each HE institution in the UK, is contained in "Performance Indicators in Higher Education", published annually since 1999 by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE). Copies of the four publications can be found in the House Library.

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The latest edition, published in December 2002, gives figures for students starting full-time first degree courses in the United Kingdom in 1999–2000. Table 3 shows rates of non-continuation after the first year of study and Table 5 gives drop-out rates across the full course.

Figures published in 2002 by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) show that the UK as a whole has one of the lowest non-completion rates among OECD countries.

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