10 May 2011 : Column 19P

10 May 2011 : Column 19P


Tuesday 10 May 2011

Presented Petition

Petition presented to the House but not read on the Floor

ESOL Funding

The Petition of students at Loughborough College, Leicestershire,

Declares that the Petitioners are concerned about the Government’s proposed new approach to English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), particularly the funding changes to such courses proposed in the Government’s Investing in Skills for Sustainable Growth document.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to consider with caution any changes to ESOL funding to ensure that they do not disproportionately affect marginalised and vulnerable people who are currently studying on ESOL courses.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.




Education Maintenance Allowance

The Petition of residents of Leicester and the surrounding area,

Declares that the Petitioners oppose the abolition of the Education Maintenance Allowance; notes that a substantial number of young people are in receipt of the Education Maintenance Allowance in Leicester; and further notes that education can provide a better future for young people.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government not to abolish the Education Maintenance Allowance.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Sir Peter Soulsby , Official Report, 15 March 2011; Vol. 525, c. 273.]


Observations from the Secretary of State for Education:

We announced in October 2010 our intention to end the Education Maintenance Allowance scheme because it was a very expensive way of supporting young people to continue in education or training and was not well targeted on those who are facing the greatest financial barriers to participation.

On 28 March 2011 we announced a new £180 million 16-19 bursary fund. From September 2011, schools, colleges and training organisations will be able to target support towards those young people who most need

10 May 2011 : Column 20P

support to enable them to continue their education and training post-16. We also announced proposed transitional arrangements to help the majority of young people who are presently in receipt of Education Maintenance Allowance.

We are currently consulting on the proposed arrangements. Further details of the proposals and the consultation can be found at:

http://www.education.gov.uk/consultations/. The consultation ends on 20 May 2011.

Refurbishment of Hillbourne School, Poole

The Petition of residents of the Borough of Poole,

Declares that Hillbourne School in Creekmoor Ward is in urgent need of refurbishment.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons asks the Department for Education to make the school the highest priority for resources as they become available.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Mr Robert Syms , Official Report, 8 March 2011; Vol. 524, c. 878.]


Observations from the Secretary of State for Education:

On 20 October, the Chancellor announced that Department for Education’s capital budget would be £15.8 billion over the four-year comprehensive spending review period. This settlement is extremely tight, with a 60% reduction in 2014-15 compared to 2010-11. Over the next few years our priority is to reduce the country’s budget deficit. This is essential, as the amount we are currently spending on debt interest payments could be used to rebuild or refurbish 10 schools every day.

We know that there are schools such as Hillbourne School in need of refurbishment, which have missed out from previous Government capital programmes, and that people feel they have therefore been treated unfairly.

The Capital Review, recently published on the DFE website, recommends that funding for capital should be directed at ensuring there are enough school places available locally and addressing poor condition. Although the Government are yet to respond to the review we are clear that a new system should prioritise areas which are experiencing high pressures to increase the number of school places, and those with buildings in the most need of repair.

Even where funding is tight, it is essential that buildings and equipment are properly maintained, to ensure the health and safety standards are met, and to prevent a backlog of decay building up that is expensive to address. Therefore, in 2011-12, £1,337 million will be available for capital maintenance for schools, with over £1 billion being allocated for local authorities to prioritise to maintenance needs. In addition, £195 million will be allocated directly to schools for their own use.

The capital allocation for 2011-12 for Poole borough council and its schools was announced on 13 December. The council will now need to consider how it prioritises the available funding, having regard to the building needs of the schools in its area.