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Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many parents have taken part in the Family Resolutions Pilot Project to date; and how many have accepted mediation services as part of the project. 
Margaret Hodge: As at 15 March 25 cases, comprising 50 parents, have been referred to the Family Resolutions Pilot Project and six cases, comprising 12 parents, have attended the (CAFCASS-conducted) parent planning stage of the project.
Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what estimate she has made of the funding gap between sixth-form colleges and school sixth-forms in each of the last three financial years. 
Dr. Howells: The Department's main measure for what the funding gap between school sixth-forms and further education colleges is the difference in funding rates for an AS/A2 qualification. In 2002/03 the difference was 10.5 per cent.
For the academic year 2003/04, base funding rates per qualification increased by 3 per cent. for school sixth-forms and by 4.5 per cent. for further education colleges on a broadly comparable basis. In 2004/05, funding rates for colleges meeting their targets increased by 5 per cent., while those for school sixth forms rose by 4 per cent. We expect to see this trend continue in the 2005/06 academic year.
Mrs. Anne Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) if she will make a statement on reducing the funding gap between school sixth forms and further education colleges in Cambridge; 
However, we have brought up funding levels for further education (FE) as we said we would, without penalising schools. The Learning and Skills Council's (LSC) funding rates per course in FE have been rising faster than school sixth forms and the gap has narrowed.
The current funding gap between school sixth forms and further education colleges is a direct consequence of the 1992 Further and Higher Education Act and the removal of the incorporated FE sector funding systems from local authority control. This resulted in a divergence from local authority systems which has resulted in funding level differences. These differences were made more apparent when all post-16 funding became the responsibility of the LSC in 2001.
Dr. Howells: It is our policy to ensure that those groups of people benefiting from fully funded further education provision will continue to do so. We will continue to provide fee concessions arrangements that help unemployed people, those on income based benefits, and retired people and working families on low incomes, to access further education. We will continue to make substantial levels of public funding available to all which covers the largest part of the cost of courses, but we also expect adult learners, who can afford to do so, to make a contribution to the costs of their learning. Those people already qualified at Level 2, or not in one of our priority groups, will on average pay a higher fee contribution in 200506 unless they qualify for fee concessions.
Mrs. Anne Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what plans she has to ensure that fee concessions remain in place for those aged over 60 years who wish to study at a further education college in Cambridge. 
Older people will continue to be eligible for concessions funded by my Department through the Learning and Skills Council if they are receiving an income based benefit such as housing benefit or council tax benefit, and they may be eligible for fee concessions if they are receiving the pension credit. Learners of any
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age will also have access to literacy, numeracy and English language courses free of charge. Colleges in Cambridge will continue to have considerable discretion in setting fees and, although we want colleges to raise more of the income they voluntarily forgo, we have no plans to stop colleges offering additional concessions if appropriate.
Mr. Truswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment she has made of the impact in Leeds of moving Learning and Skills Council funding to (a) Basic Skills and (b) the National Employer Training Programme on (i) the funding of courses for adults at Level 3, (ii) fee concessions for students aged over 60 years wishing to study at further education colleges and (iii) the level of fees for courses above Level 2. 
The Government's Skills Strategy, reaffirmed in the White Paper published on 22 March, sets clear priorities for public funding to support the drive to ensure that employers have the skills they need to be successful, and individuals have the skills they need to be employable and personally fulfilled. These priorities include tackling the nation's legacy of low skills, with a drive to ensure that adults have the basic skills of literacy, numeracy and English language; and focussing the investment of public funds on helping individuals reach their first full Level 2 qualification. But the White Paper also recognises the importance of higher level skills, and sets out measures to strengthen support for provision at Level 3 and above. However, given that higher levels of qualifications have higher rates of return for employers and individuals, it is also important that this should be reflected in the relative contributions employers and individuals make to the costs of such training. The Learning and Skills Council has announced that its fee assumption will rise from 25 per cent. to 27.5 per cent. in 2005/06 with public funds
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continuing to meet at least 72.5 per cent. of learning costs. Young people, those studying basic skills or for a first Level 2 qualification will receive free tuition as will those people on income based benefits. We shall continue to offer fee concessions to older learners on income based benefits or who receive the pension (guarantee) credit.
Derek Twigg: The Department does not fund the Fischer Family Trust, but does contract with them for specific pieces of work. Financial records in the Department show that the following amounts have been paid to the Trust over the last five years:
Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills which formerly independent schools have joined the state sector in each of the last five years, broken down by (a) local education authority and (b) school type. 
|2000||Brent||Avigdor Hirsch Torah Temimah Primary||Voluntary aided|
|2001||Birmingham||AI-Hijrah Secondary||Voluntary aided|
|2001||Bradford||Feversham College||Voluntary aided|
|2004||Hackney||Ruth Lunzer Lubavitch Jewish Girls Primary||Voluntary aided|
|2004||Bury||Manchester Mesivta Secondary||Voluntary aided|
|2004||Wandsworth||Gatton VA Primary||Voluntary aided|
|2005 to date||Salford||Beis Yaakov Jewish High||Voluntary aided|
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