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14 Nov 2005 : Column 927W—continued

Adult Further Education

Mr. Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much of the adult further education budget was allocated to (a) all level 3, (b) full level 3, (c) part level 3 and (d) first full level 3 qualifications in each year between 2000–01 and 2004–05. [25724]

Bill Rammell [holding answer 7 November 2005]: The following table shows how much of the adult further education (FE) budget was spent on level 3 qualifications between 2002/03 and 2004/05 1 .

All level 3 (£ million)396410418
Of which
Full level 3174200212
AS level242426
Notional level 3198186181
Distribution (percentage)
Full level 343.948.750.6
AS level6.05.96.1
Notional level 350.145.443.3

The DFES and Learning and Skills Council (LSC) jointly commissioned research into the prior qualifications of adult learners in further education (FE). This survey showed that 45 per cent. of adults on full level 3 courses were studying for their first full level 3.

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many learners have applied successfully for the adult learning grant. [27031]

Phil Hope: Since the Adult Learning Grant pilots commenced in September 2003, there have been 10,811 successful applications received from learners. In academic year 2005/06 there have been 3,027 successful applications so far.

Mr. Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the average level of individual contributions was to fees for adults in further education in (a) 2003–04, (b) 2004–05 and (c) 2005–06. [25475]

Bill Rammell: In 2003/04 and 2004/05 adult learners in Further Education (FE) were assumed to contribute 25 per cent. of the basic course cost of their learning unless fees were remitted because the learner was receiving an income based benefit or on a Skills for Life programme. This proportion increased to 27.5 per cent. in 2005/06, and will rise again in 2006/07 to 32.5 per cent. and to 37.5 per cent. in 2007/08. In average terms, this means a rise from an hourly rate of £1.42 this year to £1.94 by 2007/08.
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However, we know that historically many FE providers choose to waive the fees for some of these 'fee-paying' learners:

The Skills Strategy White Paper set out a vision for transforming the way in which the Learning and Skills sector can support higher national investment in skills, which included ensuring that the state, employers and individuals all contribute towards the costs of their learning, in line with the benefits received by each.

In order to increase the levels of fees collected, from 2005/06 the LSC agreed a fee income measure with each FE funded provider. To assist providers in developing a strategic approach to, the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) published a good practice guide to fee income earlier this year.

Clearly, with the increase in the fee assumption, it will be important that FE providers recover as much money as possible from learners as employers..

A-level Grades

Mr. Wills: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many A and A* grades at GCSE were achieved in schools serving the 2,000 least deprived wards in the country in each year from 1997. [25923]

Jacqui Smith: The following table gives the numbers of A* and A grades in GCSEs 1 achieved by students in schools in the 25 per cent. least deprived Super Output Areas 2 .

2 Deprivation classified within the English Indices of Deprivation.

(6) 2005 figures are provisional; figures for previous years are final.

Anti-bullying Initiatives

Mr. Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) how many initiatives the Government have announced to combat bullying in schools since 1997; [25383]

(2) how much the Department has spent on anti-bullying measures and campaigns in each year since 1997; [25379]

(3) how the Department assesses the effectiveness of anti-bullying initiatives. [25377]

Jacqui Smith: The Department is deeply concerned about the distress bullying causes and the effect it has on lives and we are determined to help schools reduce and respond to bullying.
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Since 1997 our work has included conferences and events to disseminate good practice, alongside the development of guidance and resources for schools. The anti-bullying Charter for Action has fostered a wide consensus among schools, the voluntary sector, and professional associations. We have supported an award scheme to share and celebrate the excellent work of schools and children and young people in this area. We have given funding to the voluntary sector to embed effective practice and offer training and support to schools, children and young people and their parents. We have run a number of public information campaigns encouraging children to 'tell someone' and to support their friends. Anti-bullying work is embedded in the Primary and Secondary National Strategies Behaviour and Attendance strand, including through the Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning (SEAL) materials. Details of specific initiatives follow.

The figures for the anti-bullying strand of the Improving Behaviour and Attendance strategy are given as follows:

Figures for earlier years are not available because the anti-bullying strand of behaviour work was not disaggregated.

We assess the success and effectiveness of our anti-bullying work as follows.

Qualitative evidence of success and effectiveness.

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We have no statistical evidence, for example of a decline in incidents, available to show the impact and effectiveness of our strategy. This is because nationwide statistics on bullying are not available and we think it would be very unwise to make an estimate (although racist incidents in schools do have to be reported).

Bullying cases appear to be reported more often now than previously but we have no hard evidence that bullying is increasing or that it is affecting more children. Indeed it could be seen as a measure of effectiveness that as more children feel confident enough to report bullying it is likely that the number of recorded cases will rise.

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