HC Deb 10 June 2002 vol 386 cc1053-4W
Mr. Hunter

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what strategy she has in place to recruit and train new staff in further education colleges. [58266]

Margaret Hodge

We are supporting colleges' recruitment strategies by making available over £310 million from 2001 to 2004 through the Teaching Pay Initiative, so that colleges can reward high quality teaching. From September this year, new teachers in shortage subject areas may qualify for payments of £4,000 under the "Golden Hellos" initiative and later this year, subject to the passing of legislation by Parliament, we will introduce a pilot scheme to help to pay off, over time, the student loans of newly appointed teachers in shortage subjects in England and Wales.

We are supporting the professional development of FE teachers and staff through targeted assistance to colleges of £175 million in 2002–03 from the LSC's Learning and Skills Standards Fund. We have also introduced training bursaries for FE teachers in pilot institutions.

Recruiting and training new staff is just one element of the Government's plans to improve the quality and responsiveness of further education. We have therefore started a debate with the sector and will announce later this year our proposals for implementing a strategy, supported by the outcomes of the Spending Review, to raise standards and performance and meet employer and skill needs.

Dr. Pugh

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what plans the Government have to change the balance in pay levels between further education colleges and secondary schools. [57509]

Margaret Hodge

Teachers in maintained schools are subject to national schoolteachers' pay and conditions. Further education sector colleges are run by independent corporations established under the Further Education and Higher Education Act 1992 and there is no national pay structure in place. Colleges are free to establish pay scales that meet their needs and can be agreed with their staff. This Government has acknowledged the historic funding gap between schools and FE and we have pledged to bring up levels of funding and ensure upward convergence over time. Annual funding for FE has increased by over £1.1 billion between 1997 and 02–03, up to around £4.3 billion. With a further increase of £300 million planned next year, the real terms increase in total funding between 1997 and 03–04 will be 26 per cent. The Teaching Pay Initiative (TPI) budget is £311 million over the period 2001–04. This is to reward excellent teaching and is over and above any general pay rise. The additional investment we are making in the FE sector should help meet the pay aspirations of their staff.

Dr. Pugh

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many further education colleges have not implemented the 2001 pay award for further education lecturers. [57508]

Margaret Hodge

The Department does not collect this information centrally. However, we understand from the Association of Colleges that 17 per cent. of colleges have not implemented the 3.7 per cent. pay award recommended by the Association of Colleges and the trade unions. However, 73 per cent. of colleges paid the recommended 3.7 per cent. pay award and 10 per cent. of colleges exceeded the 3.7 per cent. pay award.

Helen Jones

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many additional places for 16 to 19 year old students in full-time further education will be created in Warrington in 2003; and what the average cost per student of funding those additional places will be. [56680]

Mr. Ivan Lewis

[holding answer 16 May 2002]: The information requested is subject to funding negotiations between colleges and local LSCS that will conclude later this year.

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