Tens of thousands of sixth-form students could be left without a suitable study programme under the Government’s “reckless” plans to reform post-16 vocational qualifications, a report suggests.
Young people will “pay the price” if proposals to withdraw funding for a number of applied general qualifications (AGQs), such as BTecs, go ahead, a coalition of education and employer groups has said.
A report by the Protect Student Choice campaign predicts that the planned reduction in the number of AGQs – combined with slow growth in the number of students taking the Government’s new flagship technical courses (T-levels) – will create “a significant gap in the qualifications landscape”.
There is a risk that at least 155,000 young people – 13% of all sixth-form students in England – will not be able to access a course of study that meets their needs in the future from 2026, the analysis suggests.
The report warns: “This is turn will stymie progression to higher education and employment and widen the skills gap faced by employers.”
The coalition – which includes unions and organisations representing colleges and schools – is calling on the Government to “pause and review” the implementation of its reforms in light of concerns.
AGQs are Level 3 qualifications, which include BTecs, for students who want to undertake a broad study of a specific vocational area.
The Department for Education (DfE) is planning to remove funding for a number of post-16 qualifications that “overlap” with T-levels in England – which are considered to be broadly equivalent to three A-levels.