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Adult Education: Finance

Volume 507: debated on Monday 15 March 2010

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what estimate has been made of the number of learners with a learning difficulty and/or a learning disability whose education provision will be funded by the Skills Funding Agency in (a) 2009-10 and (b) 2010-11; and if he will make a statement. (322361)

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills routes funding through the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) for the provision of Further Education (FE) and training for adult learners aged 19 and over.

For the 2009/10 academic year this included funding for all learners aged 19 and above with a learning difficulty or disability (LDD). For the 2010/11 academic year responsibility for funding learners with LDD aged between 19 and 25 with high level needs will pass to the Young People’s Learning Agency and local authorities. Funding for all other learners aged 19 or over will be the responsibility of the Skills Funding Agency.

Investing in FE and skills training for these learners remains a priority and we remain committed to maintaining future opportunities for them. This means making available the right level of support so that FE colleges and training organisations are able to meet their needs.

The number of learners aged 19 and over learning in mainstream provision with a self declared LDD varies from year to year depending on demand, but has been around 200,000 each year from 2006/07 to 2008/09 academic year (the latest whole year for which data is available).

The LSC Statement of Priorities 2009-10 (November, 2008) and the Skills Investment Strategy 2010-11 (November 2009) confirmed our commitment to at least maintain these volumes for the 2009/10 and 2010/11 academic year. The actual numbers supported will depend on demand.