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Education: Post-16 Funding

Volume 715: debated on Thursday 10 December 2009

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government with reference to press notice 2009/0230 issued by the Department for Children, Schools and Families on 30 November, whether they expect local authorities to ensure sixth form colleges can access Building Schools for the Future funding. [HL463]

Pursuant to the Answer of 21 July 2009 (Official Report, col. 1403W), I restate that we have made our intention clear to bring sixth-form colleges within the scope of the Building Schools for the Future programme. That remains our position. We will make the details clear as soon as we are able.

My officials are working with the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) and Partnerships for Schools to establish the arrangements, which we will consult upon with local authorities, through the LGA, in due course. They will be up and running to be used for any new expenditure from April 2011. The only projects that the LSC is currently approving are those which colleges fund themselves.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government which (a) schools, and (b) colleges, received funding from the 16–19 capital fund in each of the past four years for which figures are available; and what funding will be available from this source in (1) 2010–11, and (2) 2011–12. [HL465]

Details of which schools and colleges received capital funding are an operational matter and, as such, details are held by the Learning and Skills Council. I have passed the Question to the chief executive and asked that he write to the noble Baroness and place a copy of his reply in the Library of the House.

DCSF and LSC are currently reviewing the precise level of current and possible commitments against the budget for 2010-11. To ensure affordability within the current spending review any projects that can be funded must be able to complete by 31 March 2011. Funding for 2011-12 will be subject to the next spending review.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what changes have been made in the past three years to the guidance provided to local authorities when considering whether to approve an application from a school to establish a sixth form; and whether the guidance covers whether such approval should be predicated on the availability of capital funding for such a sixth form. [HL466]

The department's Expanding a Maintained Mainstream School by Enlargement or Adding a Sixth Form guidance is available from the department's school organisation website, and this also lists a history of changes to the guidance. While most changes have been minor and technical, we have made two significant and relevant changes. First, we have extended the period in which suitable schools may rely on the presumption to add a sixth form from one to two years; and, secondly, while reaffirming the right of high performing secondary schools to add post-16 provision, stressing the need for them to consider wider provision in their area and to collaborate with other 16-19 partners in drawing up plans.

The guidance also makes clear that the decision-maker should be satisfied that any capital funding required to implement proposals will be available. This is not something specific to sixth form proposals, but is a requirement common to all school organisation proposals.