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Further Education: Finance

Volume 464: debated on Monday 15 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what estimate he has made of the annual cost of bringing per capita funding of pupils aged 16 to 18 years old in further education colleges in line with funding levels in secondary schools. (154337)

Following a consultation earlier this year the Learning and Skills Council will introduce, from 2008/09, a new, common funding methodology for all 16 to 18-year-old learners. This will ensure that comparable funding is offered for comparable activity, irrespective of the type of institution providing the education and training to the learner.

Per capita funding for pupils aged 16 to 18 years old is at a broadly comparable level in school sixth forms and further education colleges. In 2005-06 per capita funding for full time equivalent 16, 17 and 18-year-old learners in further education colleges was £5,000. In 2006-07 we estimate this will rise to £5,100 but this will not be confirmed until final student numbers are available later in the year.

For 16, 17 and 18-year-olds in school sixth forms the level of funding per pupil was £4,900 in 2005-06, this rose to £5,200 in 2006-07.

Funding figures for school sixth forms and colleges are not directly comparable as a range of factors affects them including the mix of provision offered, achievement and retention levels and the location in which the provider is based. It is also impossible to get an entirely accurate full-time equivalent learner figure for college students whereas for schools, as almost all pupils study full-time in sixth forms, the pupil count is precise.