§ Mr. Boswell
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will make a statement on the extent of current involvement by higher education institutions in local learning partnerships and on the future development of this involvement. 
§ Mr. Wicks
Of the 101 Learning Partnerships now established across England, 67 directly involve higher education institutions (HEIs) as members while many others are engaging with HEIs in other ways (for example, through thematic or geographical working groups tackling specific local issues). The DfEE—alongside regional and local partners—is working to further improve links between Learning Partnerships and all those local and regional bodies with an interest in post-16 learning. I fully expect that to result in increased involvement of HEIs in the work of Learning Partnerships.