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Education and employment minister James Paice has launched a ground-breaking consultation on the funding of educati...
Education and employment minister James Paice has launched a ground-breaking consultation on the funding of education and training for 16-19 year olds.

The consultation looks at both the costs of different forms of education and training for 16-19 year olds and the options for securing greater convergence in the funding methodologies for the different education and training sectors.

Speaking at the opening ceremony for the Skillbuild International Selection Competition in London yesterday, Mr Paice said:

'We have achieved a great deal over the last decade to increase the diversity and cost effectiveness of our education and training. However, if this is to be sustained, then the competition on which it is based must be fair.

'Currently, the ways in which we fund school sixth forms, colleges and work-based training routes are very different. I want to see greater convergence in these funding arrangements to create a more consistent framework on which to develop post-16 education and training.

'The consultation is a key stage in this process. It will help us to identify the funding mechanisms best suited to improving standards, encouraging fair competition between providers, securing better value for money and promoting greater choice and diversity.

'I look forward to a constructive dialogue and am confident that this will lead to real improvements in the education and training open to our young people.'

The consultation examines current funding arrangements in each sector, sets out the advantages convergence might bring, and discusses the common principles that could be incorporated into future funding mechanisms. Views are invited by October 4, 1996.

The comparison of funding levels for 16-19 year olds in school sixth forms, the FE sector and work-based training indicates that:

-- nationally, the average cost to the public purse of securing three GCE A Levels in the school sixth form and FE sectors is broadly similar;

-- nationally, the public funding needed to achieve a level 3 vocational qualification in the FE sector is higher than in the work based route (this probably reflects significant employers' contributions to the latter); and

-- there is considerable variation in costs within each sector.

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