Committee (5th Day)
Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Bill
Baroness Garden of Frognal (Liberal Democrat)
I shall speak also to Amendment 152, which is grouped with this one. Both amendments deal with the transfer of funding under new structures and new organisations, and reflect concerns raised by the Association of Colleges.
New offender learning contracts between education providers and the LSC are due to begin on
Amendment 152 would ensure that funding for young offenders was ring-fenced. As part of its responsibilities, the Young People's Learning Agency will pass funding to local authorities in order for them in turn to fund education and training in young offender institutions. As we have discussed, young offenders are often the least well educated among their age group, with the most desperate need for an improvement and enhancement in their skills and qualifications. We know how important education is in this context and the part that it plays in avoiding reoffending on release. The amendment would ensure that local authorities were not tempted to divert some of the funding provided for young offender institutions into mainstream funding elsewhere in their area.
We can already see that there will be considerable pressures on local authorities to fund the 16 to 18 provision in colleges and schools. There is a danger that there will be little equivalent pressure to fund the education for young offenders. What reassurance can the Minister offer that funding will be ring-fenced for this most vulnerable group of learners?