The latest figures released by UCAS show that by 30 June, the number of students applying to enter higher education in 2007 was up by 6.3 per cent. on the same point in 2006, and was also up on the bumper year of 2005. This means that applicants are the highest ever at this point in the application cycle.
Mr. Andrew Smith:
To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills if he will make a statement on the role and contribution of the adult
residential colleges designated under section 28 of the Further and Higher Education Act 1992. 
Bill Rammell [holding answer 25 July 2007]: The adult residential colleges designated under section 28 of the further and Higher Education Act 1992 are a small, distinct group of colleges which were brought into the further education (FE) sector in 1993 in order to be eligible to receive public funding alongside other further education colleges.
The role of these colleges, which are all registered charities, differs according to their historical background but all focus primarily on helping adults who currently have either no or few qualifications often due to financial, personal or social barriers experienced in the past and who are seeking a return to learning. The residential facilities provide a network for personal and learning support encouraged through events and activities outside the formal timetable.
Courses range widely from those designated to develop personal skills and the basic skills necessary for employability to those resulting in formal academic and vocational qualifications. Some colleges also offer higher education courses or help prepare students for progression to university.
Mr. Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what the terms of reference are of the Learning and Skills Council's review of the adult residential colleges; and when he expects the review to report. 
Bill Rammell [holding answer 25 July 2007]: The Learning and Skills Council has commissioned work from RCU Market Research Unit which will comprise a wide ranging review of the four adult residential colleges (Hillcroft, Fircroft, Ruskin and Northern) in England. The review is underway and is looking at the following areas:
the curriculum offer, student profile and achievements, mission and ethos of the colleges;
value for money;
the residential bursary scheme, managed by Ruskin college on behalf of the four colleges;
the profile of the teaching and other staff in the four colleges;
other resources of funding that the four colleges receive;
the socio-economic benefits of the four colleges;
the Capital and disability Discrimination Act support the colleges receive.
The final report from the review is due in October 2007. It is not intended for publication as it will contain commercially sensitive data from which the individual colleges could be identified. The report will be used as intended by the LSC and the colleges to take work forward and review future funding and other arrangements for this provision.
In World Class Skills: Implementing the Leitch Review of Skills in England we have said that business-facing should be a description with
which any higher education institution feels comfortable. An increasing number of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) already seem comfortable being recognised as responsive to the needs of employers and their workforces, in ways that are consistent with their mission.
A group of five universities are being supported by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) as third stream as second mission institutions (Brighton, Central England in Birmingham, DeMontfort, Sheffield Hallam, and Hertfordshire Universities) and these are exploring how such institutions can address issues relating to the countrys productivity and competitiveness, in addition to pursuing their widely-recognised teaching activity.
Beyond this, currently a further seven HEIs are funded under HEFCEs employer engagement pilots initiative and exploring links with work force development. The Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF)£238 million for 2006/07is an important source of support for all HEIs, helping the sector to engage in a broad range of knowledge transfer activities with business, public sector and community partners, for direct or indirect economic benefit.
HEFCEs latest annual HE Business Community Interaction survey illustrates the wide range of HEIs forging links with business and the community (including via the Skills for Business Network) and raising income from various activities, such as business-funded research, consultancy contracts and continuing professional development courses.
Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills pursuant to the answer of 10 July 2007, Official Report, column 1407W, on higher education: business, which universities have expressed an intention to make their core mission business facing. 
Bill Rammell: Individual higher education institutions (HEIs) will decide whether they should best be described as 'business-facing', and in which contexts. However, several have undertaken action that should make them more clearly 'business-facing'. The university of Hertfordshire is one that has recently done so. Government wishes to see many more institutions becoming comfortable with this term, or alternative ones, that accurately describe their significant level of collaboration with business and their wider communities and the value that they and their partners perceive in such links.
A group of five universities are being supported by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) as 'third stream as second mission' institutions (Brighton, Central England in Birmingham, DeMontfort, Sheffield Hallam, and Hertfordshire universities) and these are exploring how such institutions can address issues relating to the country's productivity and competitiveness, in addition to pursuing their widely-recognised teaching missions.
To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how much additional funding his Department has provided to support business facing universities in each of the last three years; and how much such funding his
Department will be providing in each of the next three years. 
Bill Rammell: The Department has a policy of encouraging universities to increase their interaction with business. The Higher Education Innovation Fund, which provides funding to all Higher Education Institutions in England, is a key incentive. The funding for this programme has increased from £187 million for the two academic years 2004/05-2005/06 to £238 million for 2006/07-2007/08. The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) has allocated £60 million of its research funding (QR) in 2007/08 by reference to research grants and contracts from business. And HEFCE fund a range of projects that respond to, and increase, employer demand for workforce development. Future funding allocations will be announced at the appropriate time.
Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills whether his Department intends to take measures to recognise achievement by leading business facing universities. 
Bill Rammell: The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and officials will continue to monitor the levels of interaction between higher education institutions (HEIs) and employers as indicated by HEFCEs annual HE: Business and Community Interaction survey of HEIs (HE-BCIS).
Although many HEIs are playing a significant role in fostering productivity and economic growth, through activities as diverse as contracted research for businesses and the provision of continuing professional development (CPD) courses, numerous ones are in receipt of specific funds from HEFCE to support projects, which in itself gives some recognition of progress and achievements in this area.
This funding includes £238 million for the third round of the Higher Education Innovation Fund. One portion of this was allocated by competition to large-scale collaborative initiatives including partners from business and community organisations and another recognised the extent of HEIs existing business interactions as indicated by the HE-BCIS survey.
HEFCE supports a range of project activity exploring ways to grow and respond to employer demand for HE-level skills within their work forces, notably three regional Higher level Skills Pathfinders and, currently, eight single-institution employer engagement pilot projects. There are also five third stream HEI projects to demonstrate the potential economic benefits of such a focus by institutions.
The council also funds 74 Centres for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETLs) that recognise and reward excellent teaching practice, and several involve HEIs, or substantial parts of them, working closely with business in areas such as work-based learning.
|Entrants( 1, 2) to undergraduate courses from Great Yarmouth parliamentary constituency, UK Higher Education Institutions( 3) , academic years 1996/97 to 2005/06
|(1) Covers students on full-time and part-time modes of study.
(2) Position at 1 December each year.
(3) Excludes The Open University.
Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), all figures are rounded to the nearest five.
Mr. Boris Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many members of staff were employed by (a) the Higher Education Funding Council for England, (b) the Learning and Skills Council and (c) each sector skill council in each of the last 10 years; and what the expenditure on salaries was by each organisation in each year. 
|Higher education funding council for England
|Number of staff as full-time equivalent
|Salary costs( 1) (£000)
|(1) Includes salary costs, national insurance payments and pensions payments.
HEFCE Annual Accounts
|Learning and skills council
|Year ended 31 March
|Admin pay (£000)
|(1) Provisional figures.
Admin pay covers salaries, social security payments, pension costs and consultancy costs.
LSC Annual report and Accounts
The Learning and Skills Council became operational in April 2001. The figures provided are for the average number of staff employed by the LSC each year and include temporary staff and agency staff. The reduction in the average number of staff in post between 2006 and 2007 is a consequence of the announcement in September 2005 by Mark Haysom, the Learning and Skills Councils chief executive, of proposals for a new structure for the organisation. This process is expected to result in a reduction in the LSCs overall establishment figure (that is the number of posts required to run the organisation) from around 4,700 to around 3,630a reduction of almost 1.100 posts. This will achieve estimated savings of up to £40 million, which could be released to the front line for the further benefit of learners. As a result, the LSC will have a strong regional and local capacity, spending less time on transactional processes and more time developing relationships with key partners and stakeholders.