To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, if he will take steps to ensure that students undertaking a level 6 diploma in professional dance are consistently regarded as being in higher or further education for the purpose of housing benefit and access to student loans and financial support.
An Upper Tribunal of HM Courts and Tribunal Service affirmed in July 2013 that, for the purposes of Housing Benefit, all courses of Level 4 and above were courses of higher education, and students undertaking a Level 6 Diploma in professional dance are not eligible for Housing Benefit. This decision was to be disseminated to all Local Authorities to ensure any Housing Benefit payment discrepancies would cease.
For the purposes of Higher Education student support, a course must be designated in accordance with the relevant Education (Student Support) Regulations. A key eligibility requirement is that a course should lead to an award granted by a body with UK degree awarding powers. These Level 6 Diplomas are not granted by such a body and therefore are not eligible for HE student funding.
The Department continues to provide funding through the Dance and Drama Awards scheme for a small number of dance and drama higher vocational Diplomas.