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Sign Language

Volume 449: debated on Tuesday 25 July 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills which colleges offered a British Sign Language course for the academic years (a) 2003-04, (b) 2004-05, (c) 2005-06 and (d) 2006-07; which colleges expect to offer such a course in 2007-08; and what public funding supported or is planned to support such courses in each year. (86912)

Data on the particular courses offered by colleges are not held centrally. However, the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) holds information on which FE providers have at least one LSC-funded learner taking a British Sign Language course for 2003/04 (336 providers in total) and 2004/05 (312 providers). A list of these FE providers will be placed in the House of Commons Library. Full year figures for 2005/06 are not yet available as the academic year which spans 1 August to 31 July has not finished, but an initial list based on enrolments at 1 October 2005 will also be provided in the House Library. Full-year information for 2005/06 is likely to be available in December 2006.

FE college planning data for 2006/07 or 2007/08 at the level of individual courses are not required by the Learning and Skills Council. The Learning and Skills Council plans provision with FE providers at a higher and more aggregated level i.e. Full level 2 achievements, etc.

In 2004-05 the LSC funded 641,000 learners with learning difficulties and/or disabilities at a cost of around £1.5 billion. Continuing investment in this provision remains a priority, which was confirmed in our 2006-07 Grant Letter to the LSC and the LSC has in turn made clear in its strategic planning guidance the priority it attaches to this provision.