HL Deb 22 May 1985 vol 464 cc396-8WA
Lord Nugent of Guildford

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they can yet make a statement about the amount of expenditure and the activities to be supported through education support grants in the financial year 1986–87 in England.

Baroness Cox

The Education (Grants and Awards) Act 1984 empowers my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Education and Science to pay education support grant to local education authorities in England. Education support grants were first available in the 1985–86 financial year, when a total of £30 million of expenditure was planned for. Of the planned £30 million, expenditure of £29.5 million has been approved for support.

It is intended that education support grant will again be available in 1986–87. Expenditure so supported will amount to some £40 million in that year. It is proposed that £18.8 million of this total of planned expenditure will be accounted for by continuing expenditure arising from projects first approved in 1985–86. Roughly £21.5 million will be available to support expenditure on new activities and on the extension of existing ones. Grant will be paid at the rate of 70 per cent. of the amount of expenditure approved for support through education support grants.

My right honourable friends the Secretaries of State for Education and Science and for Wales will shortly lay before Parliament draft regulations setting out the new and extended purposes for or in connection with which they propose to pay education support grants in 1986–87. Those regulations will amend the Education Support Grants Regulations 1984 and will be subject to approval by both Houses of Parliament. The laying of the amending regulations follows consultations that my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Education and Science has had with the Association of County Councils and the Association of Metropolitan Authorities and consultations that my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Wales has had with the appropriate local authority organisations in Wales.

The following table shows the new and extended activities which my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Education and Science proposes should rank for education support grants in England in 1986–87, the amount of expenditure for each, a provisional assessment of the number of LEAs likely

Category New expenditure envisaged to be supported through ESGs in FY 1986–87 (cash) Provisional assessment of number of LEAs to be supported Likely length of support
I. The teaching of science and technology as part of primary education £2.5 million up to 44 3 years
II. Pilot projects to improve the quality or range of the curriculum provided in primary schools in rural areas. £0.5 million around 6 2–5 years
III. Pilot projects to meet the educational needs of those from ethnic minorities, to promote harmony between different racial groups, or in other ways to prepare pupils and students for life in a multi-ethnic society. £1.0 million between 20 and 30 3–5 years
IV. The provision of retraining and updating courses directed towards the needs of industry and commerce (PICKUP). £1.6 million around 36 up to 2 years
V. The development of the use of information technology at further education establishments, by providing equipment, preparing or providing course material and computer software, and training teachers employed at such establishments. £9.0 million the majority 1 year
VI. The planning, development and co-ordination of provision to meet the educational needs, including the need for guidance, of those who are unemployed (excluding those currently receiving full time education) £1.6 million about half of all LEAs 2 years with a possible extension for a further year
VII. The provision of data processing equipment, accessories and software for use in the management of further education establishments. £1.0 million the majority 2–3 years
*VIII. The development, provision and appraisal of courses of initial training for school governors. £0.1 million around 10 2 years
*IX. The provision of services to support parents in the teaching of children under five with special educational needs. up to £1.2 million around 35 a maximum of 3 years for any one LEA
*X. The provision of computerised learning aids at further education establishments for use by students with special educational needs. £0.5 million the majority 2 years
*XI. The strengthening of college-employer links to improve the quality and relevance of NAFE provision. £0.5 million around 25 1–2 years
*XII. Action within the education service to combat the misuse of drugs. £2.0 million the majority 1 year [with a possible extension for a further year]
*New activities to be supported in 1986/7.

to be supported and the length of support. The precise division of the £21.5 million available for new and extended activities between these purposes and the number of authorities to be supported will not be settled until applications have been received ed and considered.

Should Parliament approve the regulations, a circular inviting bids will be sent to all education authorities in England. It is proposed that authorities be asked to submit bids by 1st October 1985 in order that decisions on the bids to be supported should be announced prior to the settling of budgets in 1986–87. It is envisaged that decisions on applications will be announced in December 1985.

In order to assist local education authorities in considering how they might respond to the Government's proposals, copies of a draft of the circular will shortly be sent to each local education authority under cover of a letter making clear that the regulations to which it relates are subject to the approval of both Houses of Parliament. Copies will also be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.