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23 Nov 2005 : Column 2078W—continued

Further Education

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will list courses under nine hours which further education colleges offered in their initial prospectuses for 2005–06; and which of these she expects will be affected by the changes in funding proposed in Priorities for Success. [28755]

Bill Rammell: On 21 October 2005, I made an announcement, setting out the Government's strategic direction for the learning and skills sector for the coming period. My main purpose for doing so was to ensure the 2006/07 funding allocations process began with a clear and concise message on the principles that will underpin funding over the next two years.
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In addition, the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) published 'Priorities for Success'-a document that sets out the funding strategy for the next two years in more detail. This document is available on the LSC's website.

Although more funding will be going into the sector, we will focus funding even more strongly on key priorities of raising participation and achievement 14–19 and driving down the skills deficit in the adult workforce. This will mean that less provision outside these priority areas can be supported at previous levels, and that there has to be a new balance of responsibilities between government, employers and learners to achieve this.

The LSC are currently seeking views of its proposed funding changes for 2006/07 including the funding of very short courses. These very short learning aims (below nine guided learning hours [glh]) currently funded by the LSC fall into four groups; very short Skills for Life programmes, University for Industry (Ufl) Learn Direct programs, very short programs within the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) and other very short programmes.

From 2005/06 Skills for Life courses will be incorporated into larger programmes aiming towards the achievement of qualifications and will still be funded but in a different form. University for Industry Learn Direct courses and very short learning aims accredited within the NQF will also still be funded but other very short programmes will not.

The resource required to list all relevant courses in all 2005/06 college prospectuses would exceed the disproportionate cost threshold for answering Parliamentary questions. However, the generic names for very short programmes are listed in the four groups outlined.

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Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to the answer of 9 November 2005, Official Report, column 595W, on further education, where the input of regional development agencies complements that of other bodies in tailoring further education courses to local needs. [31259]

Bill Rammell: The Department allocates funds for education and training in the post-16 learning and skills sector to the Learning and Skills Council (LSC). The LSC works closely with Regional Skills Partnerships, whose role is to bring together key partners including the Regional Development Agencies, the Skills for Business Network, Jobcentre Plus, local authorities, and the LSC, to ensure that emerging skills needs are identified and addressed, and that further education courses are tailored to local needs.

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills whether data are held centrally on the attendance of students on post-16 courses. [28585]

Bill Rammell: There are no centrally held records on whether or how often students attend the courses they are registered on.

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