Letter from Secretary of State for Education, Gavin Williamson

The Secretary of State for Education, Gavin Williamson, has written to our Chief Executive, Tom Bewick. The letter responds to a number of key requests that the Federation has made to the Department to support our members, their centres, and learners engaged on vocational and technical qualifications.

Williamson states that he will ‘shortly provide a fuller response that sets out how we, along with Ofqual and the Institute, will manage further changes to the summer examinations as well as to planned reform of technical education’, before outlining some activities currently underway to support our sector and apprentices.

Read the full letter here.

In response, Tom Bewick says:

I’m delighted that the Secretary of State has recognised the crucial role the awarding and assessment industry is making to support learners, apprentices and employers to get through the unprecedented challenges of Covid-19. 

It is refreshing to see that Mr Williamson acknowledging there are still many unanswered challenges that his department, working with FAB’s members, will need to work through. These include a swift resolution to how we assess functional skills qualifications, as well as how we maintain the integrity of the vocational and technical qualifications system more broadly. 

FAB has always supported the government’s efforts to continue to try and support apprentices during these difficult times of strict social distancing measures. And I applaud those end-point assessment organisations who are doing just that. But what we won’t do is cave into pressure from some providers who may want to use the crisis to try and water down the standards. Quality has to stay central to everything that the reformed apprenticeship system in England was meant to do.


You can monitor the latest developments on COVID-19 and the industry’s response here.