July 14, 2021

Commenting on the government’s publication of the review, Tom Bewick, chief executive said:

“Despite all the consultation responses that the Department for Education received, it is disappointing to see that government continues to focus on the number of regulated qualifications, instead of supporting course diversity and real careers choices for young people post-16.

“The Federation has always supported the need for a housekeeping exercise and to remove qualifications at L3 that are obsolete or no longer certificate.

“But the notion in a British economy, with over 75,000 different job roles currently available, that the number of qualifications made available can be reduced to a mere handful is fanciful. If policymakers listened to parents, learners and college community leaders, as much as to employers, they would know that.

“The outcome of this particular review is taking the country in the wrong direction. It will not help level up across the regions of England and it will result in less opportunities for disadvantaged learners in future.”

“Moreover, the 1944 Education Act tried to track young people into three clearly defined routes, albeit at 11 years old: of grammar, technical and secondary modern schools – equivalent to today’s idea of making 16 year olds take only A-Levels, T-Levels and Apprenticeships from 2024.

“We know the tripartite post-war education experiment failed and this latest approach from the government, albeit an approach to tracking learners at 16 years old, has the potential to fail as well.

“As the former distinguished secretary of state for education, Lord Baker, said recently: what the government is proposing here smacks of a form of ‘educational apartheid.’”

“Frankly, learners deserve better.”