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Further Education: Admissions

Volume 498: debated on Tuesday 27 October 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families whether statutory guidance to be issued under clause 43 of the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Bill will ensure colleges are able to refuse admission to a potential student felt to pose a threat to the safety of their students or staff; and if he will make a statement. (295627)

Clause 44 of the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Bill (as amended in Lords Committee (previously clause 43)) is intended to enable local authorities to support young people, particularly the most vulnerable, in securing a suitable learning place in which they can thrive and achieve. It gives local authorities powers to require institutions within the FE sector to provide a specified young person, aged 16-19, with education suitable to their requirements. This will be particularly important within the context of the forthcoming raised participation age in supporting young people to fulfil their duties to participate.

In exercising these powers, we would expect local authorities to consider both the individual needs of the learner and that of the institution. The power will not undermine providers' duties to safeguard and ensure the health and safety of both their staff and students. It is expected that the statutory guidance made under clause 44 will include guidance on these specific considerations. This guidance will be subject to full public consultation prior to local authorities assuming their responsibilities.