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14 Dec 2005 : Column 2077W—continued

Missing Children

Helen Southworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills which local authority children's services have agreed joint protocols with their local police authority for management of cases of children reported missing from home or care. [36478]

Maria Eagle: This information is not collected centrally.

Part-time Students

Dr. Francis: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what (a) financial and (b) other support her Department provides for part-time students in higher education; and if she will make a statement. [37613]

Bill Rammell: This Government continue to build upon the improved support for part-time students introduced in 2004/05. In the current academic year, a statutory fee grant of up to £885 (for a student studying at 75 per cent. of the equivalent full-time course) and a course grant of up to £250 are available for students domiciled in England and Wales. The grants are means-tested in order to target funding most effectively.

From 2006/07 fee grants for English students studying in England will be increased by 27 per cent. (compared to 2005/06). That means that a student studying at 75 per cent. intensity could receive up to £1,125 in fee support. In addition, the course grant of up to £250 will continue to be available. The National Assembly for Wales will be responsible for determining student support arrangements for Welsh-domiciled students from the academic year 2006/07.

Part-time students who need additional financial help with fees or other costs may be provided with discretionary support through their Higher Education Institution (HEI). My Department is allocating £12 million to support part-time students at HEIs in England during 2006/07, an increase from £3 million in 2005/06.
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It is for individual institutions to determine the type and amount of pastoral and other support they provide for their students.

Public Service Agreements

Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how the quality of data used to measure progress against the need to improve the basic skill level of adults as required by 2004 Public Service Agreement target number 13 is assessed. [29198]

Phil Hope: The detail about measurement issues relating to the improvement in adult basic skills levels to achieve the 2004 PSA target 13 is described in the technical note, published by HM Treasury.

In addition to the information within the technical note, over 80 percent. of the data used to measure the target comes from the ILR. Measures the Learning and Skills Council undertake to assess the quality of this dataset include:

Quarterly administrative statistics on qualifications will also be collected directly from awarding bodies. This will be used to verify Learning and Skills Council, prison service and Jobcentre Plus data on achievements, assess the coverage of these sources and allow adjustments for under-coverage.
Spending review 2004—DFES PSA targets—technical notes

TargetTechnical note
Tackle the adult skills gap
13. Increase the number of adults with the skills required for employability and progression to higher levels of training through:
improving the basic skill levels of 2.25 million adults between the launch of 'Skills for Life' in 2001 and 2010, with a milestone of 1.5 million in 2007; and reducing by at least 40 percent. the number of adults in the workforce who lack NVQ 2 or equivalent qualifications by 2010.
Working towards this, one million adults in the workforce to achieve level 2 between 2003 and 2006.
The first part of this target covers those aged 16 and above in England, who have left compulsory education excluding those in school sixth forms.
The target refers to individuals significantly improving their basic skills. This could be through public or privately supported provision. Publicly supported provision is largely funded by the Learning and Skills Council, but also includes provision through, Jobcentre Plus, the Prison Service and other Government funded routes. The LSC are also proposing to have this target.
Improvement refers to the individual passing an appropriate attainment threshold in:
Literacy, Numeracy or ESOL at Entry Level 3, Level 1or Level 2 mapped to the National Standards developed by the Qualification and Curriculum Authority.
Key Skills test in Application of Number or Communication at Levels 1 or 2
GCSEs in Maths or English.
There will be portfolio-based assessment for some, especially those at the lowest skill levels. The target refers to numbers of adults not qualifications.
Progress will be monitored through collation of administrative statistics on recruitment, retention and achievement from the Learning and Skills Council and other relevant sources. This data will be received quarterly. Additional sources include quarterly data of learning within the Prison Service and Jobcentre Plus. To improve timeliness, quarterly administrative statistics on qualifications will also be collected directly from Awarding Bodies. This will also be used to verify LSC, Prison Service and Jobcentre Plus achievements, assess the coverage of these sources and allow adjustments for under-coverage.
The time lag between qualifications and data collected by the LSC is about six months and for Awarding Body data is about three months.
The target period began on 1 April 2001 and ends on 31 July 2010 at the end of the academic year 2009/10. Final data on achievement will be available in Autumn 2010. A milestone of 1.5 million achievements by 2007 will be reported against in Autumn 2007.
The second part of the PSA target covers attainment of all economically active adults in England between the ages of 18–64 (males) or 18–59 (females). Economically active adults, who also constitute what is meant by the workforce", are either employees, self-employed or unemployed according to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) definition and thus actively seeking work.
Progress towards the target will be measured in terms of the increase in the number of economically active adults with a level 2 or higher qualification between 2001 and 2010.
The data used to monitor progress towards achieving the target come from the Autumn quarter of the LFS (available in January of the following year).
All achievements recorded through the LFS, whether gained through public or private investment, will count towards the target This reflects the nature of the target as a shared ambition, whose achievement is dependent not just on Government interventions and funds but also on the voluntary actions of employers and individuals choosing to spend time and private resources on achieving qualifications.
The baseline for 2010 is the Autumn 2001 LFS figure (when 16.0 million economically active adults had at least a level 2 qualification whilst 7.1 million were below level 2). After allowing for the estimated increase in the size of the workforce between 2001 and 2010, achievement of a 40 percent. reduction in the numbers without a level 2 requires an additional 3.6 million first level 2 or higher qualifications over that period. From spring 2007 the LFS is likely to change from being a seasonal quarterly survey to calendar quarters. The 4th quarter (sampling in October, November and December) will provide the closest comparison to the old Autumn quarter (sampling in September, October and November) used to set the target baseline. Therefore the final target outturn will be assessed using the 4th quarter of the 2010 LFS.
The baseline for the 2006 milestone target is autumn 2002 to be assessed against the autumn 2006 quarter of the LFS.
The Level 2 threshold is reached by obtaining any of the following: Five or more GCSEs at grades A*-C; an intermediate GNVQ; an NVQ level 2 or any other equivalent Level 2 qualification; one A-level (grade A to E); 2 AS levels (grades A to E) or any other full Level 3, Level 4 or Level 5 qualification.
Figures related to this target have been previously published in an annual statistical first release (SFR) since 2001, most recently in The Level of Highest Qualification Held By Young People and Adults: England 2003". published on 5 February 2004. The SFR is within the National Statistics remit.

The Labour Force Survey was re-grossed in spring 2004 in line with the 2001 Census results. Estimates published before this date will not be consistent with those published subsequently. However, future publications will present a consistent record of progress since the base year.

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