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Further Education: Social Mobility

Question for Department for Education

UIN 129821, tabled on 25 February 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to improve social mobility in post-16 education for people in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England.

Answered on

2 March 2022

People in Coventry, the West Midlands, and throughout England can benefit from Further Education provision and specific skills polices, which can improve the social mobility of learners.

The department wishes to ensure that more people from disadvantaged backgrounds can undertake apprenticeships. We continue to pay additional funding to employers and training providers to support them to take on young apprentices, apprentices with learning difficulties and disabilities, and care leavers. We are supporting the largest ever expansion of traineeships which are tailored to the needs of 16-24-year-olds, providing an opportunity to further develop skills.

Skills Bootcamps offer free, flexible courses of up to 16 weeks, giving people the opportunity to build up sector-specific skills and fast-track to an interview with an employer. There are several Skills Bootcamps available across Coventry and the West Midlands to support adult learners to gain in-demand skills in key sectors such as digital and HGV driving. The department will continue to expand the programme further following the announcement of £550 million additional funding at the Autumn Budget 2021.

The department is committed to ensuring that T Levels are accessible to as many students as possible. We are rolling out the T Level Transition Programme, a one-year preparatory programme that supports young people to access T Levels.

The department has implemented support in Further Education to facilitate participation by the most disadvantaged students including:

  • Extra funding in the national funding formula for 16–19-year-olds - provided to institutions for students with low prior attainment, or who live in the most disadvantaged areas.
  • Allocating over £530 million in the 2021/22 academic year to enable colleges, schools, and other providers to recruit, support, and retain disadvantaged 16- to 19-year-olds and to support students with special education needs and disabilities (SEND).
  • Providing a range of financial support for students who need it to enable them to participate in post-16 education, including free meals, bursaries to help with the cost of education plus support for childcare and residential costs where required.
  • Applying disadvantage uplift through the Adult Education Budget distributed by the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA), comprising increased funding for learners living in deprived areas.
  • Providing funds to providers through the ESFA AEB to help adults overcome barriers to learning.

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) will help to level up and create opportunity across the UK for places and people most in need. The first priority for the UK Shared Prosperity Fund will be a locally delivered new adult numeracy programme, Multiply, to help hundreds of thousands of adults improve their maths.

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