Policy Update: Amendments to the Skills and Post-16 Education Bill

A policy update in response to the amendments made to the Skills and Post-16 Education Bill.

A number of new measures (amendments) are being introduced to the Skills and Post-16 Education Bill at the Report stage on 12 October. The Bill began its legislative passage in the Lords, and the Report stage is the penultimate stage in the Lords before it goes to the Commons. The Bill aims  ‘to transform the skills and training landscape and help level up opportunities across the country.’

The law will be changed to give equality to technical education in careers advice in schools, so all pupils understand the wide range of career routes and training available to them, such as apprenticeships, T Levels, or traineeships, not just a traditional academic route. The government also intends to make it a criminal offence to provide, arrange or advertise these cheating services for financial gain to students taking a qualification at any institution in England providing post-16 education including universities.

Additional measures being introduced to the Bill include enabling sixth form colleges with a religious faith designation to become a 16-19 Academy, boosting diversity in 16-19 academies, and allowing more faith school providers to open 16-19 academies with a religious character.

The Bill, underpins the government’s transformation of post-16 education and skills as set out in the Skills for Jobs White Paper. The reforms outlined in the Bill will the government believes help to create more routes into skilled employment in sectors the economy needs such as engineering, digital, clean energy and manufacturing, so more people can secure well-paid jobs in their local areas, levelling up the nation and supporting communities to thrive.

As FE Week pointed out ‘It is unclear at this stage exactly how careers advice laws will be changed beyond the Technical and Further Education Act 2017, known as the Baker Clause.

The 2017 legislation says a school “must ensure that there is an opportunity for a range of education and training providers to access pupils for the purpose of informing them about approved technical education qualifications or apprenticeships”.

And careers advice guidance already states that “schools and colleges must explain technical education routes alongside academic routes and should not attempt to promote HE as a better or more favourable route than FE or apprenticeships”.


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