§ Margaret Hodge
All local education authorities have access to the European Commission's education, training and youth programmes, as well as the European social fund. Funding under each of these programmes is awarded on a competitive basis following a bidding round. Local authorities are well placed to encourage institutions and schools in their areas to take advantage of the opportunities the programmes offer, and can also apply for project funding themselves.
The Socrates programme aims to promote the European dimension in the field of education, and covers all phases of education from primary schools to higher education, including activities focused on adult education and ICT and distance learning; the Leonardo da Vinci programme funds vocational training, and the youth programme focuses on non-formal learning. The European social fund supports the development education and training systems as part of lifelong learning policy in the wider context of strengthening economic and social cohesion.
Further details of the bidding procedures and activities covered can be found at the Commission website http: //europa.eu.int/comrn/dgs/educationculture/ and on the ESF at http: //www.dti.gov.uk/europe/mf1.htm.