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Education: Pharmacy

Volume 472: debated on Tuesday 26 February 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills if he will add pharmacy courses to the list of courses exempt from the forthcoming changes to equivalent or lower qualifications students. (175744)

The vast majority of pharmacy students already study the subject as a first degree rather than as an equivalent or lower level qualification. The redistribution of £100 million by 2010 would enable the same number of pharmacy students to be funded as now but with even more studying the subject as a first degree. In that way we will increase and widen participation which is our top priority. We also value those who have already got a first HE qualification and who want to retrain in a different subject. There will be opportunities for them available, for example, through Foundation Degrees and employer co-funded provision.

In addition, there will be a review mechanism each year to look at individual subjects of particular economic or social importance. We are asking the Funding Council each year to look at levels of demand for subjects which might in future be regarded as key because of their economic or social significance, and to advise us on the best way forward. The first such review should take place starting in December 2008, in the light of entry data for the 2008/09 academic year. That would be an opportunity to have another look at pharmacy and other subjects in the light of the data that will then be available.