Conservative Party Conference 2017

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Conservative Party Conference 2017

Friday, 06 October 2017

The Conservative Party Conference 2017 took place in Manchester from 01-04 October. Speeches that are most relevant to those interested in technical and professional qualifications include the Prime Ministers ‘British Dream’ speech and Justine Greening’s speech on education and skills. Importantly, both of these speeches made reference to T-levels, which is an important indication that implementation of this reform is still very much alive and kicking.

Justine Greening’s speech: Education and skills will unlock our nation’s talent, focused on education and skills being at the heart an ambition to have a country that works for everyone. The speech included confirmation of funding for the Strategic School Improvement Fund (£140m), Maths Hubs (£6m) and English Hubs (£12m). Of the reforms to technical education, the Minister stated that:

  • These are going to deliver choice for those great young people, and skills for our employers.
  • We will pursue excellence in Further Education, as we have in our schools, and we will introduce T-levels, technical qualifications that will be every bit as rigorous and respected as academic A-Levels.
  • We will make sure that the technical education ladder is going to reach every bit as high as the academic one.

The Minister also used her speech to announce the next wave of 27 Degree Apprenticeship projects and to confirm the increased amounts graduates can earn every year before they start paying back their fees from £21,000 to £25,000.

Prime Minister’s Speech: Renewing the British Dream, understandably had a much broader coverage than the Education Secretary’s speech but did make a specific reference to T-levels and Institutes of Technology and the need to focus on skills training so we can achieve ‘A first-class technical education system for the first time in the history of Britain’.