ASCL comment on EPI further education report

07/11/2019
Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, comments on the Education Policy Institute’s report ‘Further Education Pathways’.
 
Commenting on the Education Policy Institute’s report ‘Further Education Pathways’, Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:

This report shows that warm words about improving the prospects for young people following vocational pathways ring hollow without the investment in further education that is so clearly and urgently needed

We hope the new T levels being introduced from next year will be a roaring success, but we are concerned that schools and colleges must deliver them within a context of woefully inadequate levels of government funding

Neither will the additional money being put into T levels cover their increased costs of delivery

It is hardly the most propitious of circumstances in which to launch a new qualification which the government has proclaimed as ‘gold standard’.

The EPI report also demonstrates that we must do more to improve the literacy and numeracy skills of young people who currently struggle to gain the coveted Grade 4 ‘standard pass’ in GCSE English and maths.

The stark fact is that about one-third of 16-year-olds fall short of this bar each year, not by accident but because it is designed into the system of grade distribution. 

We absolutely must give them more support to develop these vital skills but condemning them to a sense of failure via academic cliff-edge exams is not the best way to build their confidence

We need a new approach and ASCL has proposed a new-style of qualification, a Passport in English, and in time maths, which students would be able to take at the point of readiness between 15 and 19, and which could be built upon progressively over time.