Clause 30 - General duties of relevant authority

Part of Higher Education Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 9:10 am on 4th March 2004.

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Photo of Graham Allen Graham Allen Labour, Nottingham North 9:10 am, 4th March 2004

The hon. Gentleman makes an important point and makes it sincerely. We are quite close on the matter, so I will not make the partisan point that his party voted against both Sure Start and educational maintenance allowances, which might have assisted. However, I would like him to address the fact that it is not enough for universities to be involved with the strata in our secondary schools that may go to university. If the problems that he rightly highlights are to be tackled, universities must be part of the wider educational family and involve themselves much lower down the pecking order, as it were. That way, more youngsters can rise to the level at which all the access stuff, on which I commend the universities, will seriously come into play. Universities must get involved a lot earlier. If they do not do so voluntarily, however, they must be encouraged to do so through effective regulation, which is what the Bill is trying to do.