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Entry to Learning Programme

Volume 486: debated on Thursday 15 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what recent progress has been made in the Entry to Learning Programme; and if he will make a statement. (247254)

The Entry to Learning pilot programme was announced in the Children's Plan in December 2007. It builds on the successful work that is already done by innovative third sector and local authority funded provision in restoring the confidence and self-esteem of young people who are not in education, employment or training (NEET). The programme aims to improve young people's progression from this provision to more formal learning to ensure that they are able to advance and gain the skills and qualifications they need to succeed.

Having developed the Entry to Learning programme with input from the Learning and Skills Council and a number of experienced third sector providers, we invited all local areas to express an interest in taking part in the pilot in July 2008. We received over 30 expressions of interest and selected four local areas for the first phase of the pilot: Brighton and Hove (with East Sussex), Birmingham, Sandwell and Lancashire.

Working closely with these areas and building on lessons from the Activity Agreement and Allowance Pilot, we developed a detailed specification for Entry to Learning to guide local areas as they developed their plans for implementing the programme.

Grant letters were issued to all four local areas in November 2008, formally beginning the pilots and allowing the local areas to recruit project managers for the programme. All four areas submitted detailed implementation plans, which were signed off by my Department in early December. The local teams are now engaged in delivery against these plans, recruiting the trusted adults who will support young people through this programme.