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Further and Higher Education

Volume 480: debated on Thursday 16 October 2008

10. To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what recent steps the Government have taken to increase the numbers of students in further and higher education. (227258)

Government spending on higher education has increased by 24 per cent. in real terms from 1997-98 to 2008-09 to more than £8 billion a year. A record 1,156,000 places are funded in 2008-09. So far, acceptances for 2008 entry show a rise of 7 per cent. on 2007 Planned further education spending on adult skills will increase from £4.8 billion in 2007-08 to £5.3 billion by 2010-11. This will support around three million funded adult learners per year. To date, we have exceeded our Skills for Life target for 2010, and increased the number of adults in the work force qualified to level 2 to 2.1 million compared with 2001.

13. To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many higher education students are studying in further education colleges. (227263)

The latest available figures show that in 2006-07, there were (provisionally) around 131,000 students studying for a higher education qualification in a further education college in England.

Final figures for 2006-07 will be available early next year.

21. To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what steps he is taking to ensure further education college courses meet the needs of employers. (227271)

FE colleges play a valuable role in delivering Train to Gain and Apprenticeships programmes, responding to the needs of employers to ensure their employees have the skills they need to remain competitive. We are investing £18 million pounds through the World Class Skills Programme to help FE colleges to help them respond to employer demand. The Training Quality Standard for Employer Responsiveness and the National Skills Academies will also strengthen colleges' ability in this area.