Plans for a new Tech Bacc were announced by the government today.

It will be introduced for courses beginning in September 2014 and be reported for the first time in the college and school sixth-form performance tables in January 2017.

The Tech Bacc will be a performance measure marking achievement by young people aged 16 to 19 in three areas.

Skills Minister Matthew Hancock said: “The Tech Bacc will be a mark of achievement for young people who successfully study three key elements — a rigorous high-quality vocational course, maths and literacy.

“We are being clear to our young people about the skills they need to succeed and get good jobs. We want an education system in which everyone can reach their potential.

“Our reforms to post-16 qualifications, including the introduction of the new Tech Bacc will do that.

“They will incentivise the development of high-quality courses and incentivise schools and colleges to offer the courses that get young people on in life.

“We expect all bright students who want to go into technically skilled jobs or apprenticeships to aim for the Tech Bacc.”

A government spokesperson said the TechBacc represented one of the final stages in its work over the past two years to implement the 27 recommendations of Professor Alison Wolf’s review of vocational education. All recommendations have been implemented or are being implemented, they said.

Professor Wolf’s report in 2011 found that “at least 350,000 young people in a given 16-19 cohort are poorly served by current arrangements”.

Her report continued: “Their programmes and experiences fail to promote progression into either stable, paid employment or higher level education and training in a consistent or an effective way.”

Professor Wolf said: “A really good and practical vocational course, allied to strong English and maths, can provide a fantastic start to adult life. I am delighted that the government is recognising this.

“The introduction of the Tech Bacc will encourage colleges and schools to offer a programme that combines all three at a high level, and this is excellent news for vocational education.”


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  1. So a school offering a vocational course is a good thing? If you gave impartial advice to a 16 year old it would be to go and do a high quality apprenticeship or a course in a college, but the advice won’t be impartial will it? Not to Ms Wolf, why didn’t you suggest that schools get their teaching of English and maths right before encouraging them to hang onto our young people for another few years and fail them vocationally?

  2. Hear Hear Phil Hatton. Schools started (unsuccessfully) delivering vocational qualifications/apprenticeships but soon dropped them when they no longer contributed to the achievements they were targeted with.
    Most schools that dabble/dabbled with vocational qualifications are the ones that struggle reaching decent A-C grade GCSEs (particularly in Maths and English) and need to generate their income/success rates one way or another.
    If the government invested in quality training providers (offering the same capital funding as colleges for example) instead of investing and re-investing in failing schools and colleges – learners would at least have some chance of success after leaving school.
    The government should also impose (in statute) the requirement of schools to offer impartial Advice and Guidance. Advice and Guidance should also be made a limiting grade in Ofsted inspections for schools.