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University Access Courses

Lord Desai asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Adonis: The available figures on registrations on the access to HE courses recognised by the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) are as follows:

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These QAA figures are based on ones collected from its authorised validating agencies and so do not include access to HE programmes that are not QAA-recognised. QAA does not hold data prior to 1996-97, and the robustness of data pre-2000 cannot be guaranteed as the current data checking procedures were not then in place. QAA does not collect registration data by subject or by type of institution so cannot provide a breakdown of the number of enrolments in science subjects or further education colleges.
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There should be no registrations of 17 year-olds on QAA-recognised courses as these result in external qualifications and are not eligible for Learning and Skills Council (LSC) funding for students under 19.

The numbers of certificates awarded by AVAs on QAA-recognised access to HE courses are as follows (certificates should only be awarded by AVAs to those students who successfully complete a QAA-recognised access to HE course)

It would be misleading to present the number of certificates as a proportion of registrations as those registered on part-time courses may not be intending to complete their course within the year they registered in.

Figures on the proportion of those registered who gained university places to do degrees are not available from QAA or the Higher Education Statistics Agency.


Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord McKenzie of Luton: An updated table showing the standard VAT rates and registration thresholds for the 25 European Union member states is set out below:
Registration Thresholds
Member StateStandard Rate (%)Sterling1Euro equivalent
Czech Republic19£21,15830,731
Greece19£6,196 (G) or £2,754 (S)9,000 or 4,000
France19.6£52,532 (G) or £18,589 (S)76,300 or 27,000
Ireland21£35,113 (G) or £17,556 (S)51,000 or 25,500
Malta18£25,474 (G) £16,730 (S-high inputs) £10,052 (S-Low inputs)37,000 24,300 14,600
Portugal19£6,868 (G) or £8,585 (S)9,976 or 12,470
Slovak Republic19£25,43736,946

Source: Europa website

Note: Currency Conversion rate is €l = £0.6885

(G): Goods

(S): Services

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War Pensions: Smoking-related Diseases

Baroness Park of Monmouth asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Drayson: Under the rules of the war pension scheme, pensions are not generally awarded in respect of conditions that are due to the use or effects of tobacco. This reflects the long-standing position of successive governments over more than 50 years that the scheme was never intended to provide compensation for the consequences of habits that are matters of personal choice, such as smoking and drinking. There are no plans to change this approach.

Waterways Ireland

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: The Waterways Ireland policy on bullying and harassment, which is available in the Library, details the procedures to be applied in the event that allegations are made against any employee including the directors or the chief executive.

Young Offender Institutions

The Earl of Listowel asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: All young offender institutions operate a personal officer scheme. The introduction of the offender management model currently being developed will result in changes in the way individual offenders are managed. Personal officer schemes will be reviewed as part of the implementation of the model, but the personal officer will continue to play a key role.

The Earl of Listowel asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The early period in custody is recognised as a very vulnerable time for young people, therefore a number of procedures have been designed to relieve their distress and enhance safety. On arrival into custody, every young person is interviewed to determine their immediate needs and level of vulnerability. This screening process assesses the likelihood of the young person self-harming and i
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dentifies the need for further in depth assessment. Where a risk of self-harm or suicide is identified, appropriate action is taken to minimise it. The Youth Justice Board, in partnership with H M Prison Service, is currently developing an improved screening process to be piloted in six establishments during 2005.

Information is provided to the young person on the reception process and the support available to them if they feel under stress or depressed, and they are offered the opportunity to telephone someone who may be concerned about their well-being. They are also given a first night pack (including reading and writing materials, a radio and phone card or equivalent) and any additional items required. Diversionary materials, such as magazines/newspapers (and televisions/videos where possible) are provided in reception.

Following the first night, every young person starts an induction process which introduces them to the culture and rules of the establishment and details the support available to them. During this process a personal officer/caseworker will be assigned to them to act as an advisor and source of day-to-day support.

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