HC Deb 15 January 1987 vol 108 c278W
Mr. Best

asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he is able to announce his decisions on local authority higher education provision in 1987–88; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Nicholas Edwards

Having consulted the Welsh Joint Education Committee and the Welsh Counties Committee I have decided that the advanced further education quantum for 1987–88 should he set at £34.1 million. This represents a 10 per cent. increase between 1985–86 and 1986–87. However, I have decided that £300,000 of the quantum should he used to fund the following selective initiatives:

  • Development of in-service training courses to increase the supply of Welsh medium secondary school teachers;
  • Development of arrangements for the commercial exploitation of institutions' facilities and expertise;
  • Development of provision for continuing education and professional up-dating (PICKUP).

The Wales Advisory Body has agreed to invite local authority institutions to submit competitive bids under these headings and to advise me on the distribution of the £300,000.

I have received advice from WAB on the planned disposition of academic provision and the number of student places on higher education courses in local authority colleges in Wales. The WAB proposals provide for a groth of nearly 1 per cent. between estimated enrolments of 13,528 full-time equivalents in 1986–87 and target student numbers of 13,636 for 1987–88. The proposals provide for a continued emphasis to be given to courses in science, engineering and other vocational disciplines and for sub-degree and part-time provision to be protected.

The WAB has also provided advice on how the AFE quantum, net of the £300,000 for selective initiatives, should be distributed between local authorities, and I have also consulted the WJEC and the WCC about this. The proposals for distributing the quantum are related to the proposals for target student numbers for 1987–88 by institution, mode of attendance and subject; and they allow additional funding for degree and postgraduate courses. Following a review of funding for the mono-technic colleges, WAB has recommended that Dyfed and Gwynedd should continue to receive some cash protection for 1987–88 in respect of the College of Librarianship Wales and the Normal college Bangor.

I have decided to accept the WAB's advice on academic provision and student numbers and on the methodology for distributing the quantum. The local education authorities have been informed of these decisions and of their individual allocations.

Copies of a note explaining the methodology by which the AFE quantum for 1987–88 is being distributed have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

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