Cross-border provision of public services for Wales: Further and higher education - Welsh Affairs Committee Contents

Supplementary memorandum submitted by the Association of Colleges

  I am writing to clarify the AoC written submission for your Committee's inquiry into Cross-Border provision. Alun Michael MP highlighted paragraph 10 of our submission which stated the following:

    "The people who lose out from these rules and processes are Welsh-domiciled learners. English colleges are restricted in their ability to recruit and tailor their courses to local students, who are thereby pushed to study at Welsh colleges even if less convenient or less suitable. This applies in reverse to English domiciled learners who live close to Welsh colleges (for example near the Shropshire /Powys border)".

  As colleges based in England side are unable to advertise their courses direct to potential learners over the border, Wales-domiciled learners may be unaware of the full range of options available. We do not have any specific evidence, other than anecdotal, of potential learners remaining to study in Wales because of a lack of information about courses in England. It would be difficult to assess whether a student may have, in certain circumstances, taken an alternative course of action if they had been fully aware of all the options.

  We would argue, however, in order for student choice be maximised there needs to be a full range of information, advice and guidance available. We are pleased to note that, through Clause 66 of the Education and Skills Bill which is currently being considered by Parliament, a duty will be placed on schools to provide independent advice and guidance. We understand that this Clause applies to schools in England and Wales.

  Mr Michael also asked for figures to show the trend in numbers of Wales and England-domiciled learners studying on the "other" side of the border to allow for a direct comparison. The information AoC supplied to the Committee was taken from the Learning and Skills Council's Individual Learner Record (ILR) whereas fforwm's figures came from the Welsh Assembly Government. AoC can only access the England ILR information already provided.

Julian Gravatt

Director of Funding and Development

26 June 2008

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