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6 Dec 2005 : Column 1162W—continued

Geography Focus Group

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to the answer of 21 October 2005, Official Report, column 1265W, on geography, whether she has received the report from the Geography Focus Group. [34832]

Jacqui Smith: The Geography Focus Group discussed their findings with Lord Adonis on 9 November, and put forward broad recommendations to improve the teaching and learning of geography. The Royal Geographical Society and Geographical Association, who lead the focus group are now developing more detailed proposals.

Higher Education

Mr. Holloway: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what steps are being taken to ensure that the removal of the right to appeal of international students who apply for initial entry clearance will not disadvantage UK universities when competing in the overseas market of the UK higher education sector. [34564]

Bill Rammell: We are determined to ensure that UK universities remain attractive study destinations for international students. The current process of submitting an appeal and hearing a decision is bureaucratic and time-consuming and can sometimes drag on beyond the start date of a student's course. Under the new system, students who are refused a visa will be able to re-apply with the benefit of guidance and advice. This will be much faster and easier than at present.

In addition, the Home Office and UKvisas are working together to make sure that the quality of initial decision making on visa applications is of a high standard. UKvisas are enhancing the role of the Independent Monitor to review the standard of decision making on visas, improving the training for entry clearance officers, and are recruiting a network of regional managers to spread good practice.

Identity Cards

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what estimate she has made of the (a) total and (b) net cost of (i) integrating the proposed identity card scheme into her Department's IT systems and (ii) the ongoing operation of the scheme within her Department. [31107]

Bill Rammell: The Department for Education and Skills has, in consultation with the Identity Cards Programme, developed its current best estimate of the cost of using the ID Cards Scheme to support the services which it oversees and these costs have been incorporated into the business case. The Department is represented on the Ministerial Committee on Identity Cards which oversees the work on benefits planning and realisation.

In deriving these estimates account has to be taken of the types of use required to support the particular services which this Department oversees. Not all services will require a high degree of integration between the ID Cards Scheme and other IT systems. Where there
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may be a need for integration, some costs can be absorbed into the usual cycles of system upgrades and technology refreshes.

We cannot release the detailed estimated costs for integrating IT systems and the ongoing operation of the Identity Cards Scheme within the Department and the services which it oversees at this stage as these elements may be acquired from the market. The estimates are therefore commercially sensitive and to release them may prejudice the procurement process and the Department's ability to obtain value for money from potential suppliers.

Learning and Skills Council

Mr. Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much has been allocated to 14to 19 skills and quality reform by the Learning and Skills Council in (a) 2005–06, (b) 2006–07 and (c) 2007–08. [35185]

Bill Rammell: The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) is funded by the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) through an annual Grant Letter that sets out the Government's key priorities for the LSC.

The following table sets out the information requested, as allocated to the LSC for 2006–07 and 2007–08 as part of the 2006–07 Grant Letter issued on 31 October 2005. Allocations for 2005–06 were included in the LSC document Priorities for Success" October 2005.

Latest allocations
Planned expenditure
14–19 Reform128.24898,250101,950
Adult Skills Reform166,825202,977214,276
Quality Reform152,476128,565124,399
14–19, Skills and Quality Reform Total447,549429,792440,625

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to her most recent grant letter to the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) in which funding blocks A to E replace the previous five funding blocks set out in the grant letter; and if she will break down the LSC budgets proposed in November 2004 by the same categories used for this year's budget. [30817]

Bill Rammell: The information requested on the LSC budgets proposed in the November 2004 grant letter, by the categories used in the 2006–07 grant letter which was issued on 30 October 2005 are as follows:
15 November 2004 grant letter

£ million
Learning participation6,696.46,840.57,123.8
School sixth forms1,784.41,828.91,906.4
Local intervention and development195.5195.5195.5

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Presented in 30 October 2005 grant letter format

£ million
A. Participation8,062.58,257.08,616.5
B. Learner support and development613.8607.9609.1
C. LSC capital399.8474.8595.8
D. Administration245.9248.2235.4
E. AME expenditure0.00.00.0

The figures from the November 2004 grant letter have been overtaken by the inclusion of the education maintenance allowance (Block E—AME Expenditure) and a range of additional resource transfers to the LSC. Revised figures as in the 2006–07 grant letter, issued on 30 October, are shown in the following table.
£ million

A. Participation8,267.68,521.58,884.5
B. Learner support and development817.5704.8728.0
C. LSC capital393.8468.8595.8
D. Administration254.8252.2239.5
E. AME expenditure403.0511.0529.0

The following table breaks down the learner support and development figures at Block B aforementioned.
£ million
B. Learner support and development2005–062006–072007–08
Learner support funds122125130
Other financial support717581
14–19, Skills and quality reform460430441
Capacity and infrastructure1667779

(12) Final total do not agree with the aforementioned table because of roundings.

The aforementioned table excludes AME expenditure (education maintenance allowance) which is a separate line (Block E) in the grant letter.

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 599W, on the Learning and Skills Council, what the amount of funding was from each source referred to in the last 12 months for which figures are available; and why this funding is delivered via the Learning and Skills Council. [31258]

Bill Rammell: Further education colleges and other providers responsible for the delivery of post-16 learning opportunities offer a wide range of provision that is fully funded by the LSC.

They also offer provision where funding does not come from the LSC but comes directly from a range of sources including those in my earlier reply to the hon. Gentleman. The following table shows the volume of funding from each source for provision that is delivered by colleges but not funded by the LSC for the academic year 2004/05. Most of this funding is provided directly to providers by these organisations, or generated directly by the providers themselves, without reference to the LSC.
6 Dec 2005 : Column 1165W

2004/05(13)£ millions
Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE)233.6
Tuition fees328.9
Employer fees and contracts77.4
Local education authority and schools49.4
New deal16.1
University for industry (UFI)9.3
Other education contracts144.6
Research grants73.5
Catering, residences and conferences97.7
Other income generating104.4
Investment income and interest38.0

(13) Note that data for seven colleges (less than 2 percent.) have not yet been received, and these figures will be subject to audit by the colleges' financial statement auditors. Some change should therefore be expected

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