§ Dr. Lynne Jones
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if she will make a statement on the criteria on which decisions to approve applications to open a sixth form are based; and in what circumstances she would reject the advice of the Further Education Funding Council on such applications. 
§ Mr. Paice
The Secretary of State has regard to the following criteria when considering proposals from schools for the addition of sixth forms:
- whether the proposals will significantly increase choice and diversity in the area concerned;
- whether there is a basic need for new provision and, if not, whether the viability of existing good quality provision would be adversely affected if the proposals were approved;
- whether the provision will be of sufficient size and quality to deliver a reasonably wide-ranging curriculum; and
- whether the provision will be delivered at reasonable cost.
We look at each proposal on its merits in the light of these criteria and taking account of all the circumstances, including any objections. If the Further Education Funding Council objects to a proposal, its comments are considered alongside those of other interested parties and of the proposers.