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Tuition Fees

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what representations she has received from teacher training institutions in respect of the likely effect of charging the full £3,000 tuition fees on student take-up of the Postgraduate Certificate in Education. [11096]

Jacqui Smith: The TTA received letters from the universities of Keele and East Anglia on this subject. Both institutions wanted to ensure that sufficient financial support was available for trainees in order to secure recruitment onto courses. However, the TTA has recently reviewed its range of financial incentives for trainee teachers on Postgraduate Certificate in Education courses to ensure such support is available.

Uxbridge Academy

Mr. Randall: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills whether she expects the proposed new 16 to 19 Academy based on Brunel University's Uxbridge campus to improve the London borough of Hillingdon's post-16 participation rate; and what balance of curriculum levels is intended for the Academy. [11500]

Jacqui Smith: We do expect the Brunel HSBC Education Trust Academy to increase post 16 participation rates in Hillingdon. It will be in a strong
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position to do this through its location on a university campus with access to Brunel University's facilities and expertise. It will also provide enrichment and placement opportunities for other schools.

Data from the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) shows that four of the six west London boroughs (Ealing, Hammersmith and Fulham, Hillingdon and Hounslow) have post-16 participation rates below the national average with participation rates in Hillingdon as low as 73 per cent. (2003). A particular issue in west London is the relatively low participation rate of white students (67 per cent.), particularly boys. This variation is also reflected in Higher Education participation rates where 30 ward areas within the six boroughs have been identified as having low participation.

The Academy aims to attract students who might not otherwise have remained in education at age 16. The curriculum to be offered by the Academy will principally cover education at levels 2 and 3. The sponsors expect about 50 per cent. of the intake to progress from level 1 to 2 and 50 per cent. to progress from level 2 to 3. They recognise that some students will require additional support before commencing level 3 courses in the Academy's specialisms of science, technology, maths and Chinese. There will be extensive discussions with education professionals and local providers to ensure that a suitable curriculum, which complements existing provision, is available for the students.