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Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what (a) higher education institutions, (b) further education institutions, (c) schools and (d) other organisations have received money under the Aimhigher Initiative. 
Partnerships draw up plans showing how they intend to use their allocations to benefit learners and to meet the aims of the Aimhigher programme. Funds are then distributed to schools, colleges, higher education institutions and other organisations via lead higher education institutions (HEIs) and local authorities.
Schools, colleges and lead HEIs account for these funds through the accountability arrangements that apply to their individual sectors in respect of the public funds they receive. Information on which individual organisations receive Aimhigher funds from lead HEIs and local authorities is not, however, held centrally, and can only be provided at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what recent assessment his Department has made of progress towards meeting the target of 50 per cent. participation in higher education by 2010. 
Bill Rammell: In Higher Education at WorkHigh Skills: High Value we set out our long term vision that the UK should be a world leader on high level skills and in the upper quartile of OECD rankings by 2020. Consistent with that vision, we have set a long term primary target to increase the proportion of the workforce with high level skills from 31 per cent. now to over 40 per cent. by 2020. The target to increase participation in Higher Education towards 50 per cent. of those aged 18-30 with growth of at least a percentage point every two years to the academic year 2010-11 will support this and is measured by the higher education initial participation rate (HEIPR).
We have known for a long time that student applications fell for 2006/07the first year of variable fees. We also know that they recovered strongly for 2007/08, to resume an upward trend. The fall in applications in 2006/07 has, unsurprisingly, caused the HEIPR for that year to fall to 40 per cent. We would expect to see an increase in the HEIPR for 2007/08 reflecting the 6 per cent. rise in student applicants from England for 2007/08 university entry compared to 2006/07.
Joan Ryan: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many students resident in Enfield North constituency entered higher education in each of the last 10 years. 
Bill Rammell: HEFCE's Young participation in higher education publication includes the proportion of young people who enter higher education at age 18 or 19 by parliamentary constituency, although this only covers the years up to 2000. Participation rates based on this work are given on the supporting POLAR website:
|Table: Proportion of young people who entered higher education at age 18 or 19|
Young Participation in Higher Education, published by HEFCE
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills which university vice-chancellors have made representations to him on the 2009 funding review for higher education in the last 12 months. 
Bill Rammell: We have received no representations from vice-chancellors on the subject of the independent review of the first three years of the new fee arrangements for full-time undergraduates, although the subject is occasionally touched on in discussions that Ministers have with a range of stakeholders.
Our policy remains that there should be an independent review that makes recommendations for Parliament to consider. Ahead of that there are a number of pressing questions about what Government and universities should do over the next 10 to 15 years to ensure we have a world class system of higher education. It is on these questions that Government, universities and others should now focus.
Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills (1) what the retention rate for medical students (a) undertaking courses leading to qualification as a doctor and (b) on widening participation programmes undertaking courses leading to qualification as a doctor was in the last period for which figures are available; 
(2) what proportion of medical students entering medical education courses for (a) training leading to qualification as a doctor and (b) training leading to qualification as a doctor under the widening participation schemes successfully qualified as doctors in each of the last five years for which figures are available. 
Bill Rammell: The most recent national figures for retention are from 2004-05. The proportion of young full-time first-degree entrants to medicine, dentistry and veterinary science courses who left by the end of the first year was 1.9 per cent.
Several medical schools run schemes to encourage applications from bright students from disadvantaged or non-traditional backgrounds, but data on admissions, costs and student outcomes for these schemes are not collected centrally.
Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what estimate he has made of the average total cost of medical education per student leading to qualification as a doctor for (a) a student on a conventional medical degree course and (b) a student on an extended medical degree programme (EMDP) in the last period for which figures are available; how many students participate in the EMDP and other widening participation programmes; how much the EMDP and other widening participation programmes have cost; and what plans he has for the future of such schemes. 
Bill Rammell: Several medical schools run schemes to encourage applications from bright students from disadvantaged or non-traditional backgrounds, but data on admissions, costs and student outcomes for these schemes are not collected centrally.
The following table shows the notional Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) teaching grant associated with assumed full-time undergraduate medical students (in all years) for 2008-09. The grant is referred to as notional grant because HEFCE does not separately identify funding for medical students in institutions grants. The sector average rate of notional HEFCE grant per full-time student from the attached table is £11,191.
|2008-09 student numbers and notional teaching grant for medicine|
|Institution||2008-09 full-time undergraduates||2008-09 notional grant|
1. The 2008-09 notional grant includes notional mainstream teaching grant and targeted allocations (excluding widening participation).
2. Institutions may also receive income for medical students through tuition fees and Department of Health sources. Medical students may also contribute towards other formulaic HEFCE allocations such as for capital grants.
3. Institutions receive a block grant from HEFCE and do not necessarily distribute funding in the same way it has been calculated.
4. The student numbers for clinical and pre-clinical medicine have been taken from institutions Higher Education Students Early Statistics (HESES) Survey for 2007-08 plus any additional student numbers for medicine for 2008-09.
5. The student numbers are for full-time undergraduates only and are fundable by HEFCE; part-time, postgraduate taught and non-fundable students are excluded.
Derek Conway: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what guidance his Department has provided to local education authorities on the effects of the Age Discrimination Regulations 2006 on their funding arrangements for further education. 
Bill Rammell: The Government are committed to ensuring equal opportunities for all learners, and that learning serves the needs of the whole community, including older people both within and outside the work force. Our strategy for World Class Skills and our reforms of wider adult learning are designed to ensure that everyone, whatever their age or background, has the opportunity to improve their skills, prospects and quality of life.
The Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006 provide protection from discrimination on the grounds of age in the area of employment and vocational training. They mean that further education and training providers are not allowed to set age limits for access to training unless they can show objective justification why there is a real need to apply such limits. The Government have decided that all courses at further and higher education institutions are covered by the age regulations, whether they are specifically vocational or more general in nature. This ensures that there is a unified and consistent approach to age-related practices and policies in relation to all such provision.
I must stress that the legislation does not bar providers from offering fee discounts. Many colleges and other providers have longstanding, formal, informal and discretionary arrangements based on age when deciding eligibility for fee concessions. These are entirely at the discretion and cost of individual providers.
My Department has not issued guidance to local education authorities on the effects of the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006 because it would not be appropriate to do so. I refer the hon. Member to my written statement on 16 May 2007, Official Report, column 35WS:
Guidance on the vocational training aspects of the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations is available on the DTI website. It is aimed at, amongst others, providers of further and adult education. The guidance makes it clear that age related practices, such as age related fee concessions, may be objectively justified where they are a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim. It is for providers to produce evidence of such objective justification if called upon to do so, or to take their own legal advice if necessary. Guidance on objective justification is also available on page 30 of the ACAS guidance on the Age Regulations.
Mr. Douglas Alexander [holding answer 2 June 2008]: According to information obtained from the Ministry for Transport and Aviation and the Governor of Helmand there has been no rail track laid in Helmand since 2001.
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