T-levels: Too big to fail?

The Government continues to roll out its programme of T-levels,  new technical qualifications in England, originating from a review commissioned by David Cameron and then a White Paper published by Teresa May The first 3 T Levels were launched in September 2020, in digital, construction and childcare.  A further 7 began in September 2021 (2 … Continue reading T-levels: Too big to fail?


BTEC funding – a one year reprieve (so far)

The Skills Bill is currently completing its progress through Parliament where  some of the most vocal opponents to the proposals to defund BTECs have been members of the House of Lords - in particular former Secretaries of State for Education,  Ken Baker, the instigator of the National Curriculum under Mrs Thatcher, but now a campaigner for … Continue reading BTEC funding – a one year reprieve (so far)


‘Skills, Skills, Skills’ – Sunak’s £1.6 billion for the T’s.

To help tweak the  “skills revolution” Chancellor Sunak will provide £1.6 billion for 16-19 education.  Though much less than college bosses have called for, a large amount of this will be funding for  100,000 16- to 19-year-olds studying for T-levels, the new and controversial technical-based qualifications launched in three vocational areas in September 2020 at the height of the … Continue reading ‘Skills, Skills, Skills’ – Sunak’s £1.6 billion for the T’s.


Huge opposition to defunding BTECs

The DfE has published the results of the latest ‘consultation’ on its proposals for Level 3 post-16 qualifications.   government_responseDownload In reality this has been a limited exercise. Academic qualifications were always going to remain in their current form, with A-levels continuing to be the main route into HE.  But the government has already decided that … Continue reading Huge opposition to defunding BTECs


A-levels. Not as golden as they once were

In Post-16 Educator 104 http://post16educator.org.uk/ Created to replace the Higher School Certificate in 1951 and with only 3% of the cohort sitting them,  A-levels continued to be  elite or ‘gold standard’ qualifications, educationally narrow, with  universities having a major influence over their syllabus content.  Until 1953 A-levels were only graded as pass or fail, at … Continue reading A-levels. Not as golden as they once were


BTEC funding facing the chop?

Eleven organisations including most of the teacher unions and the NUS  have issued a statement warning of government plans to cut funding for vocational qualifications that overlap with the new T-levels. In particular there’s concern about the future of the tried and trusted BTEC qualifications. 0621-joint-position-statement-on-agqs-final1-1Download Of course the old-style teacher assessed BTEC qualifications no … Continue reading BTEC funding facing the chop?


Reforming the upper secondary curriculum

Until relatively recently,   discussion  about an alternative curriculum for 14-19, the upper secondary years bloomed, with a variety of initiatives promoting either ‘over-arching’ certificates to link and equate academic and vocational learning, or even their full integration in a general diploma. Yet  maybe a certain weariness was already creeping in, not helped by the fact … Continue reading Reforming the upper secondary curriculum

As Education ministers pull plug on vocational qualifications, what future for BTECs?

The government has announced a further pruning of vocational and technical education.  According to the DfE, there are some 12 000 different qualifications - many of which, it argues have few or no students.  In this respect the decision to cull  almost half of them, could as the Department claims, represent an attempt to bring … Continue reading As Education ministers pull plug on vocational qualifications, what future for BTECs?

UTCs. Another expensive failure?

What's happened to University Technology Colleges - the 14-19 schools created by one time Secretary of State Kenneth (now Lord) Baker? Citing ‘academic snobbery’ for the failure to establish proper technical education in this country, which he argues has caused skill shortages and contributed to further industrial decline, Baker has established  60 UTCs with  employer … Continue reading UTCs. Another expensive failure?

25 T-Levels coming your way!

  The government has just published another Action Plan (apparently this is the third!)  for T-levels, now buoyed by the enthusiasm of Secretary of State Gavin Williamson ‘a former FE student myself’ for vocational alternatives. Having much in common with Labour’s Specialist Diplomas, there are some important differences. Unlike the post-16 Ts, the Dips started … Continue reading 25 T-Levels coming your way!