Labour: BTECs defunding delay ‘doesn’t go far enough’

Kate Green has called for a four-year moratorium on scrapping any applied general qualifications

Kate Green has called for a four-year moratorium on scrapping any applied general qualifications

Ministers’ one-year delay to defunding many BTECs and other applied general qualifications does not go far enough, the Labour Party has warned.

Addressing today’s Association of Colleges annual conference, shadow education secretary Kate Green called on the government to introduce a four-year moratorium on scrapping any of the qualifications so that none are removed before 2025 – as called for by the House of Lords.

Education secretary Nadhim Zahawi last night announced that qualifications like BTECs, which will be subject to a planned cull of level 3 qualifications that overlap with T Levels and A-levels, would not have their funding stripped until at least 2024 instead of the original plan of 2023.

He also revealed that the requirement for T Level students to achieve level 2 English and maths by the end of their course will be removed.

Green said today: “For me this doesn’t go far enough. Some BTECs will survive – but the secretary of state won’t tell us which. That undermines confidence among employers and students.

“The announced removal of the requirement for GCSE English and maths to access T Levels came without any indication of what support will be put in place to ensure students do achieve these essential skills, or how the additional need for work placements that might result will be accommodated.

“Meanwhile, pilots continue with the English and Maths GCSE requirement in place – what does last night’s announcement mean for these students?”

She added: “Ensuring the right choices remain for all students, is so important especially for the most marginalised, and that’s why Labour will continue to urge ministers to take the time to get all this right and to accept our amendment passed in the Lords with cross party support for a four-year moratorium on scrapping BTECs.”

Green also used her speech to reiterate Labour’s plans for skills.

It includes the creation of a new “further education recovery premium” – which would essentially be a post-16 pupil premium – as well as a commitment to giving every school and college access to a professional careers advisor one day a week.

A Labour government would also reinstate the equivalent of at least two weeks of compulsory work experience, Green said.

FE Week is media partner for this year’s AoC conference. Read our edition coming out on Friday for full coverage of the event.

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