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7 July 2008 : Column 1379W—continued


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Table 2 (b)—new PhD students at Leeds university
Financial year Total new students at Leeds

2001/02

88

2002/03

73

2003/04

87

2004/05

101

2005/06

87

2006/07

84

2007/08

82

Note:
Figures for 1999-2001 are not available.

Essex University: INTO

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills whether he has had discussions with the University of Essex on proposals by that university to enter into a public-private partnership with the private education company INTO; and if he will make a statement. [215442]

Bill Rammell: We welcome the principle of partnerships between higher education institutions and both public and private sector education providers which can lead the innovative delivery of high quality services. However, we would not expect to discuss individual projects with institutions and we have had no discussions with Essex or any other university in relation to private education companies.

European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what information, communication and dissemination work in the UK the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training is undertaking in 2008-09. [216642]

Bill Rammell: In 2008/09 the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (Cedefop) will disseminate news, analyses and reports on vocational training in Europe, principally for senior-policy makers and VET experts in the UK, through direct contact, networks, websites, publications and seminars. In the UK, the Qualification and Curriculum Authority (QCA) helps disseminate Cedefop’s work through a dedicated website.

Cedefop’s websites have around 15,000 UK visitors each month. Study visits are co-ordinated by Cedefop to exchange ideas and best practice. In 2008, 246 UK experts will participate and 23 visits will be held in the UK.

Graduates

Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many and what proportion of working-age people had a degree or equivalent qualification in each year since 1997, broken down by local authority; and if he will make a statement. [215819]

Bill Rammell: The number of women aged 19-59 and men aged 19-64 in England who hold at least a level 4 qualification increased by nearly 1.9 million between quarter 4, 1997 and quarter 4, 2007. The proportion increased by 8.6 percentage points from 22.3 per cent. to 30.9 per cent.


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The supply of graduates has been rising steadily and we know employer demand for graduates remains high. Most large employers (81 per cent.—LSC survey on recruitment and training among large employers, 2008) see a level 4 qualification or above as a good indicator for skills. We want to ensure that graduates have both the specialist and broader skills which employers value and that their employment rates remain high.

Through “Higher Education at Work - High Skills: High Value” we are consulting on our high-level skills strategy and will consider carefully the responses to help us take forward our plans to improve graduate employability and to raise the skills and capability of those already in work.

DIUS uses the Annual Population Survey (APS) and its predecessor, the Annual Local Area Labour Force Survey (ALALFS) to provide estimates about numbers and proportions of the population with a degree or equivalent qualification for English local authorities. These local estimates are available at:

Series are available via this link back to 2001/02 for both the working-age population (i.e. women aged 16-59 and men aged 16-64 (16-59/64)) and the 19-59/64 population which is now the focus for DIUS reporting. Data for earlier years for the 16-59/64 population are also published by the Office for National Statistics via the NOMIS website at:

However, it should be noted that all these local estimates are currently undergoing revision following the reweighting of all underlying datasets to reflect more up-to-date population estimates from ONS. The DIUS series will be revised in August. The updating of the NOMIS series will be completed in the coming months.

Higher Education: Admissions

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what estimate he has made of the number of university courses for which foundation degrees are not accepted as a basis for entry. [214169]

Bill Rammell: Universities are increasingly accepting foundation degrees as a suitable entry qualification for honours degrees. Over half (54 per cent.) of the students who qualified with a foundation degree in 2004-05 immediately progressed to an honours degree in 2005-06 and other foundation degree graduates may progress to a honours degree later in their careers.

As well as providing a progression route to honours degrees, foundation degrees are a valuable qualification in their own right and offer flexible work-focused qualifications designed with employers to meet their skill needs at that level.

Higher Education: Greater London

Mr. Evennett: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many residents of (a) Bexleyheath and Crayford constituency and (b) London entered higher education in each of the last 10 years. [216358]


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Bill Rammell: The latest available information is shown in the table. Comparable figures for the 2007/08 academic year will be available in January 2009.

Entrants( 1) to undergraduate courses from Bexleyheath and Crayford parliamentary constituency and London Government office region, UK higher education institutions, academic years 1997/98 to 2006/07
Academic year Bexleyheath and Crayford parliamentary constituency London Government office region( 2)

1997/98(3)

395

57,145

1998/99

455

70,385

1999/2000

490

73,625

2000/01

540

76,980

2001/02

605

81,100

2002/03

625

88,130

2003/04

675

89,465

2004/05(4)

675

93,900

2005/06

725

92,150

2006/07

715

89,450

(1) Figures are on a snapshot basis as at 1 December to maintain a consistent time series across all years and are rounded to the nearest five. Figures include the Open university but exclude those on writing up, sabbatical or dormant modes of study.
(2) Figures for London Government office region include double counting as entrants from Bexleyheath and Crayford will also be included in the London Government office region figures.
(3) Figures for 1997/98 exclude the Open university because there are no figures available for entrants to undergraduate courses at the Open university by local authority for this year.
(4) The increase in entrants between 2004/05 and 2005/06 may be greater than in reality as a consequence of a problem identified with data submitted by the Open university (OU) in the 2004/05 academic year.
Source:
Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA).

Labour Market

Jeff Ennis: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what discussions he has had on the provision of a comprehensive labour market information service; what consideration he has given to involving the private sector in developing the service; and if he will make a statement. [214973]

Bill Rammell: The Leitch Review of Skills identified the need to improve the quality of labour market information (LMI). The UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) which was launched in April 2008, has a role in monitoring the whole employment and skills system and is well-placed to take this work forward. The UK Commission will be producing a new enhanced standard and framework for sectoral LMI, and a range of products to support the use of labour market information.

In addition, the UK Commission will seek to improve the quality of LMI, which is collected and analysed by partners, to ensure its suitability, rigour, consistency and reliability across the UK. Employers are actively engaged in the work of the Sector Skills Councils in producing their sector-specific labour market information.

Languages: Adult Education

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what his policy is on extending foreign language capability as part of lifelong learning courses. [216646]


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Bill Rammell: The Government recognise the importance of modern foreign language skills to employers to improve their competitiveness in the global economy. The approach taken by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) in the light of the decline in adult participation rates in these subjects recognises the key role providers have in reversing this trend by stimulating demand and revitalising the curriculum to equip more adults and young people with modern language skills. To this end each local area is expected to have a core adult learning offer that reflects and responds to the spectrum of individual adult and employer needs.

In addition, the LSC also funds a range of learning opportunities for individual adults within its safeguarded budget for personal and community development (lifelong) learning. Courses to develop foreign language capability are also funded through this budget.

We will continue to give priority to provision for groups of individuals both in the workplace and in the community who are in greatest need of learning.

As part of the national teaching and learning change programme the Quality Improvement Agency on behalf of the Department has developed a suite of foreign language teaching resources which support teachers, tutors, trainers and managers to raise standards of practice and deliver learner success across the foreign language FE curriculum.

On the 16 June 2008 the latest in the suite of foreign language teaching materials, produced for the QIA by Cliffhanger Studios, won a Royal Television Society Award for Innovation in Education, beating off tough competition from the BBC.

National Institute for Medical Research

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills (1) what discussions have been held with Barnet Council over the future use of the National Institute for Medical Research site at Mill Hill after the Institute’s operations are relocated to the UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation; [214860]

(2) what the purchase price was of the Brill Place site for the UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation; how this was funded; and by whom; [214862]

(3) what his latest estimate is of (a) the cost of and (b) timescale for (i) construction of and (ii) relocation of each of the constituent organisations to the UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation; how the cost will be funded; and by whom; [214864]

(4) what the purchase price was of the Temperance Hospital site, previously planned to be the location for the UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation’s relocated National Institute for Medical Research; when this purchase was completed; how and by whom it was funded; how much has been spent on (a) (i) security and (ii) maintenance at the site so far, (b) preparatory studies and design work for the now aborted move and (c) professional fees in respect of the purchase of the site; what the reasons were for the decision that the site was not suitable; what is now anticipated to be the future use of the site; and if he will make a statement; [214865]


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(5) what discussions have been held with Camden Council over planning matters arising from the proposed UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation (UKCMRI); when it is anticipated a planning application will be submitted; what discussions have been held with the local community in the vicinity of Brill Place over the proposed UKCMRI; and if he will make a statement; [214868]

(6) what level of containment laboratories will be provided at the UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation; and if he will make a statement; [214869]

(7) what estimate he has made of the number of (a) scientific, (b) other professional and (c) other staff who are likely to move from the National Institute for Medical Research, Mill Hill to the UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation; and if he will make a statement; [214870]

(8) what discussions have been held with the (a) police, (b) security services and (c) Health and Safety Executive over (i) safety and (ii) security issues, including biosecurity, at the proposed UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation site; and if he will make a statement. [214872]

Ian Pearson: These are matters for the Medical Research Council (MRC) and its partners. I will ask the chief executive of the council to write to my hon. Friend.

Overseas Students: Israel

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills (1) what steps he has (a) taken and (b) plans to take to promote studying at British universities in Israel; and if he will make a statement; [216349]

(2) how much was spent by his Department promoting British universities in Israel in the last 12 months. [216351]

Bill Rammell: The Government are seeking through the second phase of the Prime Minister's initiative for international education (PMI2), to maintain and enhance the UK's position as a leading study destination. Marketing UK education, including but not exclusively higher education, is a core component of the PMI2 and this function is exercised by the British Council on the Department's behalf. The British Council is involved in a range of activities to support higher education links between the UK and Israel with around £450,000 spent in 2007-08 on these activities.

Students: Finance

Martin Linton: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many students resident in the London Borough of Bexley made applications to the Access to Learning Fund in the last period for which figures are available. [215058]

Bill Rammell: 360 students with a home address in the London borough of Bexley made applications to their higher education institutions for assistance from the Access to Learning Fund in 2006-07.


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Students: Loans

Stephen Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what estimate he has made of the number of individuals from whom the Student Loans Company has continued to collect payments although the debt had been cleared in each year since 2001. [206301]

Bill Rammell: The Student Loans Company’s (SLC) best estimate of the number of borrowers it has continued to collect repayments from although their loan has been paid off for each year since 2001 is shown in the following table. The estimated 20,900 borrowers with income contingent repayment (ICR) loans who made overpayments in 2006-07 represented just 1.9 per cent. of the total number of borrowers who were eligible to make repayments had their earning passed the £15,000 earnings threshold. Over-repayments from borrowers with mortgage style loans are not included because any over-repayments once their loan has been cleared will only arise where the borrower has failed to cancel repayment arrangements with their bank.


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