Further Education

Part of Opposition Day — [10th Allotted Day] – in the House of Commons at 4:47 pm on 18th November 2015.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Nicky Morgan Nicky Morgan Minister for Women and Equalities, The Secretary of State for Education 4:47 pm, 18th November 2015

No. I am not giving way further.

These new routes will take young people from compulsory schooling into employment and the highest levels of technical competence, which for many will mean moving on to apprenticeships as quickly as possible. Young people taking one of these routes will be able to specialise over time in their chosen field, gain a work placement while in college, and then move into an apprenticeship when they are ready.

To deliver the reforms, we are delighted that we can work closely with an independent expert panel. I am sure that even the hon. Member for Manchester Central can bring herself to welcome it, as it is headed by Lord Sainsbury, former Minister for science and innovation in the Labour Government. We are grateful to the panel members, including, as we have heard, Professor Alison Wolf, Simon Blagden and Bev Robinson. The Government will work with the panel to improve technical and professional education, making sure that all young people follow a programme of study that allows them to see clearly how it leads to the world of work.

For many young people, an academic path will be the clear choice, so we are reforming A-levels. Giving universities a greater role in how A-levels are developed has been an important part of the Government’s plans to reform the qualifications. Their involvement will ensure that A-levels provide the appropriate foundation for degree-level study. We have introduced linear A-levels, making sure that young people spend less time in exams and more time learning and studying. The new qualifications will return the A-level to the gold standard international status that it used to enjoy, undoing years of grade inflation and dumbing-down presided over by the Labour party.

All these reforms represent a major opportunity for post-16 institutions. The sector has the opportunity to seize hold of the agenda and shape its own future. Apprenticeships growth alone will represent a huge potential income stream for colleges.