Post-16 sector needs resources more than reform, says ASCL in response to Advanced British Standard

The Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) has today submitted a response to the government’s consultation on the Advanced British Standard. 
Kevin Gilmartin, Post-16 Specialist at the Association of Schools and College Leaders, said: “The post-16 landscape has for too long been overlooked and underfunded, but while the focus the sector is now receiving as a result of the Advanced British Standard (ABS) is welcome, the approach that has been taken is fundamentally flawed. 

It is wrong to use a new qualification as a starting point for 16-19 reform, without first consulting on the principles of what we want students to study at this age. If there are not enough teachers in the system in the first place, then the proposals stand little chance of being successfully implemented, let alone attracting the support of the sector. The ABS could have represented a pivotal moment in re-imagining the purpose of our 16-19 curriculum and a chance to agree with the profession which issues most need to be addressed. Unfortunately, this opportunity has been missed.

Right now the post-16 sector needs resources, namely investment in teachers, buildings and level of per-student funding, much more urgently than it needs further reform. T-levels still need time to bed in and yet the government’s present Level 3 reforms to defund many BTECs and other similar qualifications – which are taken by many thousands of young people – are continuing apace. This risks removing a proven and popular pathway for young people, destablising the post-16 system, and causing uncertainty and concern in schools and colleges across the country. The proposal for the ABS – which would replace A-levels and T-levels in 10 years’ time – only adds to this uncertainty.”

ASCL’s full consultation response is available to read here