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Adult Education

Volume 410: debated on Monday 18 August 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what his estimate is of the cost of the guarantee of free tuition to help adults study for a Level 2 qualification in (a) 2003–04, (b) 2004–05 and (c) 2005–06; and if he will make a statement. [130720]

[holding answer 17 September 2003]: The new entitlement to free tuition for adults studying for a first full level 2 qualification will be phased in from 2004–05: we expect to introduce the entitlement on a partial basis in academic year 2004–05. Subject to experience in that first year, the entitlement will proceed to roll out nationally from 2005–06. This will enable us to test out the impact on demand. The cost will depend on learner take-up of the entitlement. We have to target a greater proportion of state funding towards priority groups, so those with the greatest need have opportunities to acquire relevant skills and qualifications. Over time, colleges and other providers will need to better focus their resources to support this aim.