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11 Jul 2005 : Column 830W—continued

Access to Learning Fund

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what resources she has set aside for the Access to Learning Fund for each year between 2005 and 2008. [10045]

Phil Hope: The funds set aside for the Access to Learning Fund for each year between 2005 and 2008 are set out in £ millon's in the following table.
£ million
2005/06(96)(5508010097)66.8
2006/07(96)65.8
2007/08(96)57.9


(96)The above figures include DfES'/HEFCE's contribution to administration. HEFCE's contribution for 2006/07 and 2007/08 is estimated and is based upon the council's actual contribution of £1.5 million for 2005/06, uprated by inflation (2.5 per cent.) for each year. Higher education institutions may use up to 3 per cent. of their total allocation for administrative purposes.
(97)The figure for 2005/06 includes £1.85 millon transferred from the Department of Health (contribution for NHS means tested bursary recipients).


Adoption

John Hemming: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what restrictions on adopting children apply to people who are overweight. [7878]

Maria Eagle: There are no blanket restrictions on people who are overweight from applying to adopt a child. The adoption agency has a duty to children needing adoptive families to satisfy itself that the prospective adopter has a reasonable expectation of continuing to enjoy good health, and that they have sufficient health and vigour to meet the many varied demands of a child throughout his childhood and into adulthood.

A person's weight could be a contributory factor to the state of his health, either now or in the future, and if so this will be brought out in his medical report produced by his GP. If there is any medical condition which might affect the prospective adopter's capacity to care for a child, this is taken very seriously and explored thoroughly to obtain as much information as possible to enable a decision to be made on his suitability to adopt a child. If an adoption agency decides that it does not propose to approve the prospective adopter, the reasons must be sound and defensible. The prospective adopter has the right to challenge that qualifying determination by either making representations to the adoption agency or applying to the independent review panel to review his case.

Adult Education

Mr. Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what discussions she has had with (a) the Association of Colleges, (b) unions representing staff in the further education sector and (c) other concerned bodies about Learning and Skills Council funding allocations for adult education for 2005–06; [10739]

(2) what discussions she has had with the sector skills councils about Learning and Skills Council funding allocations for adult education for 2005–06. [10740]


 
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Bill Rammell: I last met with the Association of Colleges (AoC) on 27 June 2005 and with NATFHE on 23 June 2005 when we discussed further education, including adult education, funding issues among other matters. I expect to meet again with the AoC later this month and with NATFHE later in the year. I, and my ministerial colleagues, have also discussed funding issues and concerns with a number of other organisations and groups and with individual colleges and providers. I recently held two meetings with hon. and right hon. Members to discuss the further education funding settlement for 2005/06. Ministers are due to have met with all sector skills councils by the end of this year and will be happy to discuss any funding issues that may arise.

Helen Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what criteria are used for appraising adult education colleges. [10710]

Phil Hope: All providers that are funded by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC), including adult education colleges, are responsible for the effective management of their own processes for strategic planning, self-assessment and quality improvement. Local LSCs undertake an annual planning review with those providers that have agreed a three-year development plan with the LSC. These review discussions focus on the provider's contribution to the local LSC's plan and agreed priorities, progress towards achieving agreed strategies and performance measures, and the management of associated risks.

Adult education colleges are inspected on a four-year cycle using the Common Inspection Framework for allpost-16 providers. This framework, published by Ofsted and the Adult Learning Inspectorate, is based on standard principles for inspection used across Government.

Advertising

David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much the Department spent on advertising in each of the last five years. [10254]

Maria Eagle: My Department's expenditure on advertising for the last five years is set out as follows:
Advertising spend (£ million)
2000–0123.9
2001–0216.6
2002–0311.3
2003–0417.0
2004–0511.8




Note:
All expenditure is exclusive of VAT.



Aim Higher

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the funding will be for Aim Higher in 2006–07. [10048]

Bill Rammell: The funding for Aim Higher in 2006–07 is set out in the following table:
 
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Funding sourceAmount (£000)
DfES77,000
HEFCE(98)10,000
Department of Health600
Total87,600


(98)To be confirmed.


This includes money for Aim Higher publicity, evaluation, and national projects as well as funds distributed to local partnerships.

Apprenticeships

Mr. Hood: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much funding has been allocated by the Learning and Skills Council to apprenticeships for (a) 16 to 18 and (b) over 19-year-olds in 2005–06. [8857]

Phil Hope: This is a matter for the Learning and Skills Council. Mark Haysom, the Council's Chief Executive, will write to my hon. Friend with this information and a copy of his reply will be placed in the House Library.

Letter from Mark Haysom to Mr. Jimmy Hood, dated 8 July 2005:

Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will introduce an additional apprenticeship facility for young people who cannot meet the learning requirement of the full apprenticeship but who want to work and engage in flexible learning. [10433]

Phil Hope: The content of each apprenticeship framework is designed by the business led Sector Skills Councils in the context of a blueprint agreed between the Department and key stakeholders. Achievement of the full framework is intended to be the minimum requirement for qualified status at either Level 2 or Level 3 within a particular industry. The basic elements of the framework,—NVQ, technical certificate, key skills and any other qualifications designated by the sector—form that minimum requirement and are intended to provide as much flexibility as possible while maintaining quality and standards across industries. However, for some young people initial assessment will indicate they may not be able to complete all elements of the framework. A number of other programmes may be suitable for young people in this position. In particular for 16 to 18-year-olds we are piloting a programme to encourage young people in jobs without training to take up learning opportunities. The programme will start in April 2006. For those over 19 and without either basic
 
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skills or a first Level 2 qualification we are putting in place the National Employer Training programme to deliver high quality flexible qualifications in the workplace.

Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment she has made of the drop-out rate for apprenticeships; and what causes she has identified. [10434]

Phil Hope: The Learning and Skills Council measures the number and proportion of young people who complete all the elements of their apprenticeship framework. The completion rate in academic year 2002/03 was 27 per cent., so far in 2004/05 the rate is 35.7 per cent. To further improve completion we have adopted a Performance Indicator for 2007/08 to increase the number of completions by 75 per cent. from 43,000 to 75,000. To achieve this, the Department and the LSC will continue to research and address the reasons for non-completion, which will vary from sector to sector and from employer to employer. Overall, the main reasons that have been identified are: poor quality learning provision; inappropriate or inflexible frameworks, or elements of frameworks; and inadequate initial assessment of apprentices' capabilities. We also have anecdotal evidence of young people not completing due to promotion at work. While this might be seen as a 'good' reason, we are keen that young people and their employers understand the value of completing the full framework, both to productivity and future employability. The LSC will continue with its programme to root out poor provision by withdrawing contracts where necessary. According to the Adult Learning Inspectorate in 2001–02 the level of inadequate provision was 60 per cent. In 2003–04 that had fallen to 34 per cent.

The content of apprenticeship frameworks are set by Sector Skills Councils within a blueprint set by the Department and other key stakeholders. This offers as much flexibility to sectors as possible while maintaining overall standards across industries. Effective initial assessment remains crucial to ensuring that young people have a realistic chance of completing their programme. Providers are judged on the systems they have in place to do this. We will also be focusing our future marketing activity on ensuring that apprenticeships and their value are better understood.

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many school leavers are expected to take up apprenticeships in 2005–06 in (a) Lancashire and (b) Chorley. [9610]

Phil Hope: This is a matter for the Learning and Skills Council. Mark Haysom, the Council's Chief Executive, will write to my hon. Friend with this information and a copy of his reply will be placed in the House Library.

Letter from Mark Haysom to Mr. Lindsay Hoyle, dated 8 July 2005:

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Mr. Cameron: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the cost of modern apprenticeships and their successor schemes have been in each year since their introduction. [10770]

Phil Hope: Apprenticeships in England are funded through the work based learning for young people budget of the Learning and Skills Council. This budget covers Apprenticeships, Advanced Apprenticeships, NVQ Learning and Entry to Employment. The following table shows estimated spending by the LSC since it was established in 2001.
£ million


Academic year

Total WBL budget
Estimated apprenticeship spend
2001/02673467
2002/03828539
2003/04791560
2004/051,037810

Before the LSC was established apprenticeships were funded by the Training and Enterprise Councils (TEC). Disaggregated data showing the amount of funding spent on apprenticeships from their work based learning for young people budget in this period is not available.


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