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Higher Education: Equality

Volume 715: debated on Wednesday 16 December 2009

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many further education colleges have been inspected between 2006 and 2009 and found to be failing or sub-standard in meeting their equality obligations; and what action has been taken. [HL718]

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many further education colleges since 2006 have been found to be in non-compliance with statutory equality duties; what enforcement actions have been taken; and what results have been recorded. [HL719]

The number of colleges inspected between 2006 and 2009 and found to be failing or sub-standard in meeting their equality obligations is a matter for Ofsted. I have asked Her Majesty's Chief Inspector to write to you to provide these details and advise you of what action they have taken.

Colleges are autonomous bodies responsible for ensuring for themselves that they are fully compliant with statutory duties, including through their governing bodies. The LSC does, however, impose as part of its funding agreement with colleges, a requirement that they must comply with all statutory responsibilities. The LSC is responsible for ensuring this happens. I have therefore written to the LSC asking it to provide you with details of how many colleges have been found to be in non-compliance and what action has been taken.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what efficiency savings or budget reductions are proposed for further education colleges in 2010–11; and what equality impact assessments have been undertaken to determine the effect on learners in deprived areas. [HL720]

In 2010-11 financial year after efficiency savings, total investment in adult training places delivered through FE colleges and training institutions will increase by 3 per cent to £3.5 billion compared with 2009-10.

As part of Budget 2009 it was agreed that £340 million efficiency savings would be made from the further education (FE) and skills sector in 2010-11 financial year. The Skills Investment Strategy 2010-11 (November, 2009) sets out how this level of savings can be achieved. £100 million of savings will be achieved by reviewing the funding provided to deliver partners, including the Learning and Skills Improvement Service. The remainder of savings will be achieved from the funding routed through the Skills Funding Agency (which will replace the Learning and Skills Council from April 2010) to FE colleges and training institutions.

In making these savings we have sought to protect front-line services and focus on improving value for money by only buying high quality provision and maximising the contribution toward training from businesses, which are the main beneficiaries of the skills system.

The potential impact of funding changes on FE colleges and training providers and their ability to deliver to priority groups of learners was considered when taking decisions on where savings should be made. At the national level we have ensured that funding is better focused on provision that will support our priority groups of learners including those with learning difficulties and/or disabilities, individuals out of work and those with a low level of skills in line with our statutory entitlements.

The LSC will now undertake discussions with individual colleges and training institutions to agree funding allocations for the 2010-11 academic year. It is through these discussions that any issues relating to the mix and balance of their provision will be considered.