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Volume 130: debated on Monday 21 March 1988

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To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science which polytechnics in England and Wales provide specialist non-advanced further education on a nationwide basis; what subjects are covered by such provision; and how he intends that such provision should be funded following the establishment of the Polytechnic and Colleges Funding Council.

There is no settled definition of specialist non-advanced further education. The Government have said that it will be open to local education authorities, as part of their duty to secure the provision of adequate facilities for further education in their areas, to contract for the continued provision of non-advanced further education courses in polytechnics and colleges which, under the provisions of the Education Reform Bill now before Parliament, will transfer to the new polytechnics and colleges funding council (PCFC) sector. Local education authorities' will receive credit for such provision in that grant-related expenditure. The Government are also ready to consider, in consultation with the local authority associations, whether it would be desirable to put the PCFC in funds to support a tightly defined category of further education courses whose provision in PCFC institutions is essentially national in character.