Clause 6

Part of Further Education and Training Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 12:15 pm on 12th June 2007.

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Photo of Sarah Teather Sarah Teather Shadow Secretary of State for Education 12:15 pm, 12th June 2007

I take the hon. Lady’s point, but that is not what I was getting at. The point that I am trying to make is that much of what has been said about diversity relates to competition between private providers, who come in and provide one type of course, as opposed to colleges that provide a range of courses. However, I accept the hon. Lady’s point about a sixth form versus an FE college environment, which is valid.

Colleges have expressed concern that private providers will often undercut them on the cost of a particular course, because private providers do not do many of the more complex things that colleges do, such as providing for vulnerable young people or working with schools on their increased flexibility programme, for which all colleges complain that they are not fully funded. It is therefore quite easy for colleges as a whole to be undercut, and all that I am trying to establish is whether we will continue to safeguard the whole range of courses that young people may want to take, rather than focusing on different types of providers who provide the same course.