HC Deb 16 October 2002 vol 390 cc874-5W
John Mann

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will make a statement on the definition which she uses of full-time education. [74788]

Mr. Miliband

There is no legal definition of full-time education for state maintained schools. In providing full-time education to pupils, LEAs should look to DfES Circulars 7/90 and 11/99 as to the number of hours recommended for pupils at each key stage. Neither circular imposes a statutory requirement on LEAs, but provides guidance only. Circular 7/90 establishes a general guide to good practice on lesson time, which OFSTED echo in their guidance. The suggested weekly lesson times are as follows:

Age Hours
5–7 21
8–11 23.5
12–14 24
14–16 25

Information on Circulars 7/90 and 11/99 can be accessed at www.dfes.gov.uk/guidanceonthelaw/

For further education purposes, students classified for statistical purposes as full-time are defined as those enrolled on programmes of at least 450 guided learning hours per year, or for at least 150 guided learning hours per tri-annual period or more than 16 guided learning hours per week for shorter courses.

For higher education, the Higher Education Statistics Agency's definition is: The Funding Councils have agreed that a common definition of full-time is that the years of programme of study must involve a minimum of 24 weeks study.

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