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Schools: Further Education

Volume 463: debated on Tuesday 17 July 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what plans he has to increase the number of schools with post-16 provision; and if he will make a statement. (149885)

In the 14-19 education and skills implementation plan published in December 2005, we set out our plans to create 50,000 additional 16-19 school, college and work based learning places by September 2007. We will ensure that in every area, young people have access to high quality post-16 learning opportunities in schools, colleges and work-based learning.

We believe in encouraging successful and popular schools to develop sixth form provision. We have introduced the ‘sixth form presumption’ that sixth form proposals will be approved from high performing specialist schools that are awarded a vocational specialism, Over three years, we anticipate that this will enable around 60 schools to add new post-16 provision. thirteen schools successfully applied to open sixth form provision in 2006/07 through this route, and a further 27 are eligible to do in 2007/08.

Additional school sixth forms will also be created to meet local need as a result of other proposals from local authorities and schools, through the Academies programme, through local Building Schools for the Future capital investment strategies and as a result of 16-19 competitions (which are run by the Learning and Skills Council where there is a need for substantial new post-16 provision that is not met through an academy or a ‘presumption’ proposal). In parallel, we have also introduced the ‘FE presumption’ which encourages high performing colleges to expand to provide additional places for 16 to 19-year-olds.