Supplementary memorandum from Stephen
I would first like to thank the Committee for
inviting me and giving me the opportunity to say a few words about
my ministerial remit. I am responding to some outstanding queries
that were raised during the Committee meeting of the 17 July that
I was unable to respond to at that time.
Jonathan Shaw asked whether I would expect the
Children and Young People's Unit (CYPU) to have an input in development
of the policy for asylum seeker children to be educated in accommodation
I should say that the CYPU does not assume direct
responsibility for all policies pertaining to children and young
people, but helps to provide a framework within which those policies
can be developed, through the over-arching strategy for children
and young people (due to be published by the end of the year)
and the "Core Principles" of involving children and
young people in the decisions that affect them.
The CYPU has not had a specific role in developing
the policy on education for asylum-seeking children as lead responsiblity
for asylum seekers generally is with the Home Office. The Home
Office has formed an integrated inter-departmental planning process,
working with other relevant service-providing departments to ensure
that provision for asylum-seeking children is improved. The Home
Office consulted with the Department for Education and Skills
at an early stage and both Departments have worked together to
develop the policy.
Mr Shaw also asked how many asylum seeker children
are taught in England. We do not ask LEAs to collate information
of this nature and if we were to do so, it would be quickly out
of date. However we have an estimate from the Refugee Councila
very reliable source who say that "there are approximately
80,000 children of asylum seekers and refugees in schools in the
UK, 62,000 of whom are in Greater London and represent 6 per cent
of the total school population in this region".
Schools receive funding for these children in
the same way that they do for all other children on their school
roll, through the Educaton Standard Spending Assessment. Other
funding is available through the Ethnic Minority Achievement Grant,
which all LEAs are eligible for and through a small grant made
available for children of asylum seekers who are in schools in
the Home Office identified dispersal areas.
David Chaytor asked whether it is still the
Government's policy to equalise the funding between sixth forms
The Government remains firmly committed to bring
up level of funding of colleges to that of school sixth forms.
However, as we have repeatedly made clear this will take time
and must be done as resources allow. Given the different ways
in which schools and colleges are funded and the very much broader
remit of colleges, comparisons on the funding of school and colleges
of further education are far from straight forward. It is worth
noting that all post-16 funding is now the responsiblity of the
Learning and Skills Council and that the differences in the funding
systems for school sixth forms and FE colleges are being removed.
Mr Chaytor also made reference to the announcement
that Education SSA for schools will increase by 3.5 per cent and
FE funding to increase by 1 per cent which he felt would increase
the differential rather than reduce it.
The 3.5 per cent real terms increase for Education
Standard Spending and the FE 1 per cent real terms increase are
not comparable. From this financial year school sixth forms are
not funded through Education Standard Spending but by the Learning
and Skills Council. The 3.5 per cent increase, which is to total
Education Standard Spending, will therefore have no bearing on
a differential between school sixth forms and FE colleges. The
increase for FE is to core unit funding per FE student and the
1 per cent annual real terms rise over the spending review period
compares to the real terms reductions in plans for core FE unit
funding in previous years. In return for this additional funding
we will be asking colleges to commit to targets for performance
Detailed allocation of the settlement for schools,
school sixth forms and further education beyond the announcements
mentioned above is still being considered. I can confirm that
we expect later in the year to be able to commit further substantial
resources to the FE sector for the 2003-06 period. These resources
will be linked to other aspects of the reform agenda on which
we are currently consulting through "Success for All".
Decisions and announcements on them will be made following the
end of the consultation period (30 September). We believe that
this commitment to significant long-term investment recognises
the central role the sector plays in meeting our learning goals
and delivering the skills the economy needs.
Jeff Ennis questioned whether the profile of
the type of courses that EMA students undertake will change in
terms of the current balance between academic and vocational courses.
We have sent the Select Committee members copies
of the 2nd year report "Education Maintenance Allowance:
The first two yearsA Quantitative Evaluation" (and
the Research Brief) and also copies of the report of the "Evaluation
of Education Maintenance Allowance pilots: Leeds and LondonFirst
Year Evidence" (and the Research Brief) so they can look
at the evidence in some detail.
The key points from the evidence appear to be
that the EMA does appear to encourage a greater proportion of
young people to take vocational courses either on their own or
alongside academic studies and achievement by EMA recipients in
pilot areas at the end of these courses is at the same levels
as their counterparts in the control areas, despite having lower
attainment at 16. It is still too early in the analysis to say
much about the types of courses studied by young people after
two years on EMA. This information will be published next year.
During the proceedings Valerie Davey asked whether
funding for the London Centre for Gifted and Talented Children
would be made available centrally or whether LEAs would be expected
to contribute. As the Committee will be aware, the Secretary of
State announced on 1 July, as part of the London Challenge, that
she would make available £10 million over the next three
years to support gifted and talented education in London. Our
plans for this provision are still under development. Although
we expect that public funding will be drawn largely from the £10
million already announced, I would not want to rule out the possibility
that schools might make a contribution by paying for services
provided to them, particularly those that benefit from Standards
Fund Grant intended for this purpose.
I hope that I have answered all the Committee
members' queries satisfactorily.
Stephen Twigg MP