Inquiry examining effectiveness of post-16 qualifications launched

The Education Committee has launched an inquiry examining how effectively post-16 qualifications, such as A levels, T levels, BTECs and apprenticeships, prepare young people for the world of work.

The Future of Post-16 Qualifications inquiry will consider the Government’s latest proposed changes for post-16 qualifications, including its reforms to post-16 qualifications at level 3 and proposals in the Skills and Post-16 Education Bill, which is currently going through Parliament.

It will also examine the strengths and weaknesses of the current qualifications system, how T levels are being delivered, and the possible benefits of introducing a baccalaureate system that would allow young people to study a greater blend of academic and vocational subjects.

Rt Hon Robert Halfon MP, Chair of the Education Committee said: “The Government’s Lifetime Skills Guarantee and 42% funding increase announced in the Autumn Budget are welcome initiatives to help rocket-boost the skills agenda but the post-16 curriculum must be robust enough to meet the challenges of the modern economy. With the Fourth Industrial Revolution and an increasingly digital age where AI is king, we must ensure proper attention is paid to the fundamental link between education and employment.

“The purpose of the post-16 curriculum is threefold; it must educate students, it must prepare them for the future world of work and meet the country’s skills needs, and it must deliver for every young person by closing the attainment gap particularly for disadvantaged pupils to create a level playing field. Our inquiry will address these issues and consider whether the current qualification pathways equip students with the skills they need to climb the ladder of opportunity.

“Rather than create a binary system of academic A-Levels and vocational T-Levels, should we think more broadly to create a parity of esteem between vocational and academic learning? A new, baccalaureate-style system, similar to the International Baccalaureate already used in 150 countries, that allows students flexibility and the scope to blend high-quality academic and vocational routes could be the solution.

“If we want our young people to compete for the jobs of tomorrow and deliver a skills revolution, we need to remove the false dichotomy between vocational and academic achievement that has unfairly constrained our young people for decades.”

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