|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Phil Hope: The Level 3 trials are now operational in three LSC regions including the north west. Detailed operational information is not held centrally by the Department but it is collected by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC). Mark Haysom the LSCs Chief Executive has written to my hon. Friend and a copy of his reply has been placed in the House Library.
I have been asked by the Secretary of State for Education and Skills to respond to questions you posed regarding what evidence is collected on the performance of Train to Gain skills brokers, what assessment has been made of the satisfaction levels of those using such brokerage services, Level 3 Trials and any assessment that has been made in the north west.
The performance of Train to Gain skills brokers against set targets is monitored and reported on a monthly basis. Monthly management information evidence includes employer engagement, employer size, sector data; skills broker referral destinations; earner profile. and employer satisfaction with the service provided by skills brokers. Performance against these targets has been reported each month since April 2006 and the information is used to manage the skills brokerage contractors.
An independent survey of the skills brokerage service has been in place since the launch of Train to Gain to in April 2006. The survey measures employers' satisfaction levels with the independence, impartiality and responsiveness of the skills brokerage service. The current national satisfaction level with the service provided by skills brokerage organisations is 85.7 per cent.
The level .and trials have been running in the region since August 2006. In the first six months of operation the Trials did not perform well, with negligible learners on programme As a consequence an early assessment of the Trials was carried out with providers within the region.
The assessment of the Trials resulted in the Department for Education and Skills and the Minister for Skills agreeing to allow the LSC to amend the policy. This has reduced policy conflicts that existed between mainstream further education and the trials.
The LSC spent the early part of 2007 working with providers and skills brokers to both re-contract and communicate the policy changes. The changes are now implemented and the leaner numbers in all trial regions are increasing steadily month on month.
Performance is still lower than we had anticipated but monitoring and further research is ongoing to ensure that issues relating to performance are understood.
Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what percentage of pupils gained five A* to C grades at GCSE including English and mathematics in schools with (a) fewer than 1,000 pupils, (b) 1,000 to 1,500 pupils and (c) more than 1,500 pupils in the latest period for which figures are available. 
Mr. Jamie Reed: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what programmes are in place to assist those with impaired hearing to develop basic lip reading and sign language skills. 
Mr. Dhanda: Lip reading and sign language courses are offered through LSC-funded further education provision and are funded in exactly the same way as other vocational courses. In the 2005/06 academic year, 20,607 learners enrolled on LSC-funded lip reading and sign language courses (20,092 on sign language courses and 515 on lip reading courses.)
The majority of the cost of learning is supported by public funds, but the learner is also expected to contribute to the cost of their learning, unless certain
conditions apply: for example, learners on income-related benefits are eligible for fee remission, as are learners aged 16 to 18 years; and individual providers may choose to waive a full fee or charge a reduced fee. In 2004/05 lip reading classes were free to more than 80 per cent. of learners either as a result of national policy or at the discretion of the provider.
Mr. Dhanda: We recognise the importance of lip reading and sign language for the deaf and hard of hearing. Lip reading and sign language are eligible for LSC funding but do not form part of the Governments Skills for Life definition of provision commonly referred to as basic skills as they are not mapped to the national literacy and numeracy standards.
The majority of the cost of learning is supported by public funds, but the learner is also expected to contribute to the cost unless certain conditions apply: for example, learners on income-related benefits are eligible for fee remission, as are learners aged 16 to 18 years; and individual providers may choose to waive a full fee or charge a reduced fee. Some providers also have access funds that they are able to make available to individuals to help with the costs of a course. In 2004/05 lip reading classes were free to more than 80 per cent. of learners either as a result of national policy or at the discretion of the provider.
Mr. Dhanda: In the 2005/06 academic year, 20,607 learners in England enrolled on LSC-funded lip reading and sign language courses (20,092 on sign language courses and 515 on lip reading courses.) In the Copeland constituency in the same period, 12 learners enrolled on sign language courses and none on lip reading courses. Of the 12 learners enrolled on sign language courses, none were recorded as having impaired hearing.
Greg Mulholland: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what recent assessment his Department has made of the progress made towards meeting the target of 50 per cent. participation in higher education by 2010. 
Bill Rammell: The PSA target is to increase participation in higher education towards 50 per cent. of those aged 18 to 30. The main measure for tracking progress on increasing participation is currently the higher education initial participation rate (HEIPR). This is the sum of the HE initial participation rates for individual ages between 17 and 30 inclusive. It covers English-domiciled first time entrants to HE courses, which are expected to last for at least six months, at UK higher education institutions and English further education colleges, and who remain on their course for at least six months. The latest available figures are shown in the table.
|Higher education initial participation rate for 17 to 30-year-olds|
|HEIPR (Percentage)||Number of initial participants|
1. The HEIPR is usually published to the nearest integer, but the figures are included to one decimal place to inform comparisons over time.
2. Numbers are quoted to the nearest thousand.
Methodological Revisions to the Higher Education Initial Participation Rate (HEIPR), published by DfES.
These figures show that the higher education initial participation rate has increased by 2 percentage points between 1999/2000 and 2004/05, representing 29,000 additional initial participants over the period.
In the face of significant and ongoing growth in the key age-groups in the underlying population, further progress will be similarly challenging. Still, the funded places provided to the Higher Education Funding Council allow for some growth in the participation rate. In addition, demand for higher education remains strong. Figures from UCAS show that the number of applicants from England accepted onto UK higher education courses starting in 2005 increased by 8.9 per cent. in comparison to 2004 (301,798 in 2005 against 277,079 in 2004). In 2006, the number of accepted applicants from England fell by 4.2 per cent. compared to 2005, but this was still up by 4.4 per cent. compared to 2004. The latest figures for 2007 entry (showing the position as at mid-January, which normally represents around 75 per cent. of the final total) show there has been a large increase in applicants from England (up by 7.1 per cent. compared to 2006, and also slightly up by 2.4 per cent. compared to 2005). These figures suggest that more progress on this target is possible.
Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what percentage of half days were missed as a result of unauthorised absence in schools with (a) fewer than 1,000 pupils, (b) 1,000 to 1,500 pupils and (c) more than 1,500 pupils in the latest period for which figures are available. 
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what support is available in addition to educational maintenance allowances for those 16-19 trainees who require assistance with accommodation and other living expenses. 
Phil Hope: This is a matter for the Learning and Skills Council, who operate learner support schemes for 16 to 19-year-olds on behalf of the DfES. Mark Haysom, the Councils Chief Executive, has written to my hon. Friend with the information requested and a copy of his reply has been placed in the House Library.
I am writing in response to your recent Parliamentary Question that asked, What support is available to those 16-19 trainees, in addition to Education Maintenance Allowances, who require assistance with accommodation and other living expenses?
There are a number of other Learner Support Schemes from which a young person can access financial support. Aside from Education Maintenance Allowance; a young person may be eligible to receive financial assistance with accommodation and living expenses from the Residential Support Scheme and the Discretionary Learner Support Fund (DLSF).
The Further Education Residential Support Scheme enables learners to access education that is not available within reasonable daily travelling distance of the learners home address. The scheme will pay for residential accommodation and can also help with the associated travelling costs of living away from home.
DLSF are available to students who are experiencing financial hardship. Unlike an EMA this is not a weekly allowance but it does provide financial help via a system of one-off payments for students with particular needs.
Funds are held locally and allocated on a discretionary basis. DLSFs can help with the costs of transport, childcare, residential lodgings and course related costs such as books, materials and equipment. It is also available for domestic emergencies. It does not have an income threshold but it is aimed, specifically, at those in greatest need; because of this it is usually income tested in some way.
Whilst the LSC provides LSF funding, it is administered by a young persons Learning Provider or Local Authorities (LAs). It is for these organisations to decide their own policies in respect of the distribution of DLSFs and to defend these policies locally. Learners should contact their Learning Provider to find out whether they are eligible.
I hope that you find this information addresses your question.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) how many local authorities have (a) completed and (b) are planning to complete a large scale voluntary transfer; and how many have (i) set up and (ii) are planning to set up an arms length management organisation; 
(2) how many local authorities which have not yet carried out a large scale voluntary transfer or set up an arms length management organisation (ALMO) have chosen as their current preferred option for housing (a) retention, (b) transfer, (c) an ALMO, (d) a private finance initiative and (e) a mix of those options; and how many have no option formally signed off. 
|Delivery route fully established (LSVT complete; ALMO with funding; PFI contract signed)||Delivery route in development|
|(1 )Only one authority has not yet had an Options Appraisal signed off.|
(2) Includes one or more of the delivery routes some of which include HRA-PFI, only considered fully established when all delivery routes are funded).
Of the 20 local authorities undertaking a mixed model approach which covers two or more of the options; five have completed an LSVT and 10 are pursuing this option, 12 have established an ALMO and three are developing one and four are continuing to manage some part of their stock directly.
There are 14 local authorities with HRA PFI schemes, several have more than one scheme at different stages of development; there are 12 signed HRA PFI contracts in 10 local authorities and a further 10 proposals in nine local authorities.
The high-level annual performance assessment of local authority childrens services undertaken by Ofsted, with, until 2006, the Commission for Social Care Inspection, does not make a scored judgment specifically on services for such children. However, it considers such services in reaching a judgment on the councils overall performance on childrens services. The letter summarising the 2006 annual performance assessment of East Sussex, issued by the two inspectorates on 1 November 2006, notes as a key strength the family support service for children with disabilities.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|