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University Funding

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much funding has been allocated per student to universities in each year since 1997. [52669]

Bill Rammell: The unit of funding per full time equivalent higher education student 1 studying at an English institution 2 is shown in the following table.

Figures in real terms (2004–05 prices)

Funding per planned student(167)(5508830168)Amount (£)

(167) Figures rounded to the nearest 10, using September 2005 GDP deflators.
(168) Funding covers DfES block grant to the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and Teacher Training Agency (TTA), and public and private contributions to the cost of tuition. Figures from 1999–2000 do not include earmarked grants for capital. In addition to the funding included, the HE sector also received funding in support of research via the research councils and funds for measures to widen access.

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Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what plans her Department has to fund key skills education in universities. [52670]

Bill Rammell: Higher education institutions (HEIs) are autonomous organisations and are responsible for their own programmes of study and training of lecturers.

The Government are committed to expanding higher education to deliver the skills and attributes that individuals need to succeed in employment. We are taking steps to encourage the embedding of work-related skills in higher education provision by introducing measures that bring together key stakeholders including the higher education sector, employers, sector skills councils and other professional bodies.

Value for Money

Mr. Gauke: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what steps she has taken to improve the (a) value for money and (b) quality of goods and services procured by local education authorities; and what effect these measures have had on the cost of such procurements. [52039]

Jacqui Smith: This Government are committed to improving efficiency and value for money in education and have taken a number of steps to achieve this in local authorities, including:

We will be measuring efficiency gains from a range of specific initiatives which contribute to our Gershon efficiency target, including local authority provision. These are set out in our Efficiency Technical Note. In most cases, the gains are recyclable at the frontline into other activities rather than being clawed back by the Department. The Department is reporting progress towards our overall efficiency target through existing departmental reporting processes. We reported progress towards our target in the Departments Autumn Performance Report and will report further progress in the Departmental Annual Report which we expect to publish in April.
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Wider Opportunities Pilots

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much additional funding will be made available under the Wider Opportunities pilots in 2006–07. [53164]

Jacqui Smith: The 13 Wider Opportunities pilots have come to an end but have certainly informed our wider policy for instrumental and vocal tuition at KS2. Guidance based on the pilots will be issued to schools at the end of this month to help them make best use of their new music allocation of £26 million.

During 2006–2007, schools will receive £3 million to take forward this work. £1 million will be invested in musical instruments and £1 million in workforce development. In addition to their £60 million baseline allocation, music services will receive £1.5 million specifically to expand instrumental provision at KS2.

During 2007–08, a further £25 million will be invested—£23 million for schools, and £2 million for instruments and workforce development.

Young Carers

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what guidance her Department have given to further and higher education establishments on the support they should offer to young carers. [51522]

Maria Eagle: Statutory responsibility for supporting young carers who have been assessed as children in need lies with the local authorities concerned, and my Department issued guidance with the Department of Health in August 2005 on the Carers and Disabled Children Act 2000 and the Carers (Equal Opportunities) Act 2004.

Further education and higher education institutions are self-governing independent bodies. Each institution is responsible for its own arrangements to widen participation and to facilitate their students' access to learning.

The Department's guidance to administrators of the discretionary Access to Learning Fund covers students with caring responsibilities, although this is chiefly designed with adult carers in mind. Young carers in full time education-that is, with at least 12 guided learning hours per week-may be eligible for Education Maintenance Allowances (EMAs). Although in general a weekly allowance payment is only made to a student where they have attended all required sessions, a college has discretion to authorise an absence caused by caring responsibilities. Learning providers should not, however, authorise a student's absences regularly for this reason.

Where caring responsibilities are frequently interrupting attendance patterns, there is a need for institutions to explore solutions personally with the learner Best practice recommended by DfES Circular 10/99 is to offer a learner with caring responsibilities a
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named member of staff to contact when they are unable to attend, and examine whether alternative care arrangements can be made. This may entail a learning provider renegotiating a learner's attendance pattern to accommodate their commitments, whilst still meeting the minimum number of hours required under their personal learning agreement.
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Young carers aged over 16 who provide at least 35 hours of care a week may be entitled to Carer's Allowance, where they are undertaking less that 21 hours a week of supervised study, and institutions will need to take this into account when considering appropriate arrangements for enabling young carers to access learning.