Anne Murdoch, college leadership adviser at the Association of School and College Leaders, responds to a paper from the Higher Education Policy Institute, ‘Connecting the Dots: The Need for an Effective Skills System in England’.
“Colleges and sixth forms are doing their level best to provide young people with a variety of pathways to fulfilling careers. But, as this report makes clear, they are doing so in the context of a system that is critically underfunded and lacks a clear and overarching skills strategy. The government has added to the confusion by its plans to defund many BTECs and similar qualifications – one of the parts of the system which works well – in an effort to steer young people on to T-levels. Recently, however, the Prime Minister has said that he intends to replace T-levels with a new qualification, the Advanced British Standard. It is chaos.
“We desperately need a national strategy for post-16 skills which is well-coordinated and well-resourced. The economic growth that the government is finding so elusive is absolutely dependent on the country having an excellent skills base and it should be a priority to support technical education in a way that delivers this objective. That would be great for the nation and it would be great for young people.”