Post-16 and HE

Applied general qualifications - February 2018

What is the context? Post-16 vocational education is undergoing a number of developments such as T levels, in response to the Sainsbury review and subsequent Skills Plan.

ASCL positionApplied general qualifications (AGQs), such as BTEC level 3, are an important and established part of the educational landscape. They are taken by large numbers of 16-19 year-old students, both as an entire programme and blended with other qualifications such as A levels. They provide both a tried and tested route to employment and an important progression route to higher education.

Why are we saying it? ASCL believes strongly that none of the proposed developments adequately replaces the AGQ and the quality and flexibility it provides.

Closure of Supporting Professionalism in Admissions (SPA) - October 2017

ASCL recognises the enormous contribution SPA has made to practice in HE admissions. It is regrettable that the HE community through UCAS has chosen to withdraw funding. The function of protecting applicants needs to be taken on by another body such as the new Office for Students. 

Higher education student finance - October 2017

ASCL welcomes the Parliamentary Education Committee inquiry into value for money in higher education. Student finance represents one of the most significantinvestments young people make. It is vital that they can trust in a fair and transparent system which ensures that repayment thresholds keep pace with inflation and interest rates are proportionate.

Degree apprenticeships - June 2017

Employers and HE institutions involved in recruiting to degree apprenticeships should ensure the channels used to advertise vacancies and process applications are clear, transparent and accessible to all - and are inclusive of the wide range of qualifications learners take – not just A levels. Over time we are in favour of a central portal, as is provided by UCAS for undergraduate applications.

Destination data - October 2016

Transparent and detailed accountability measures of post-16 education are vital for informing students and their families. They also drive and inform improvement within the system. However, data needs to be accurate, valid and to reflect performance. 

It is often in a student’s best interest to transfer between providers or pathways before completion. In previous census data this was neither fully recorded nor checked. Retrospective use of this data as outcome and destination measures is misleading.

Area reviews of post-16 education – October 2015

The Area Review Process of Post-16 Education and Training is in danger of producing a series of recommendations which only result in structural reform in the sector and fail to reflect any educational vision.

The subsequent reduction in the number of providers with fewer curriculum and training pathways on offer will damage the life chances of many of our young people.

A level marking – October 2015

ASCL has serious concerns that the reliability and quality assurance of A level marking is strained to the limit. The high stakes impact of this on the wellbeing and prospects of our young people is too important to be ignored.

Government needs to work with Ofqual and awarding bodies to review processes and examiners’ conditions of work. ASCL will work with awarding bodies to improve the supply of examiners.

Post-16 funding – July 2015

ASCL welcomes Professor Alison Wolf’s “heading for the precipice” report. The inadequate level of post-16 funding combined with swingeing cuts to adult skills endangers quality of provision and sustainability of FE. Communities are in danger of losing the training essential for the employability of many of their young people.

Level 2 maths and English post-16 – April 2015

ASCL supports the principle of post-16 students without a prior GCSE grade C continuing to study English and maths courses. We are concerned however, that the use of achievement in this as an unofficial limiting judgement reduces the likelihood of these students being able to access places.  The development of appropriate courses, which may not necessarily be GCSE, for all learners remains a priority.

Adult education courses – April 2015

This is a time when this country needs to invest in its workforce, their education and training. Many people, including young adults, benefit from adult learning courses to help them acquire the skills they need to get a job. In order to ensure that the country has the well-educated and fully trained workforce that it needs for its future prosperity the post-19 sector needs a sufficient level of funding.

Post-16 English and maths October 2014

ASCL believes that functional skills are more appropriate than GCSE for some students and the decision about which qualifications to study is best taken on an individual basis not by central government.

Post-18 students October 2014

Reduction of funding for students over the age of 18 unfairly disadvantages many vulnerable students. ASCL strongly urges government to reconsider this decision.

Retaking courses - October 2014

The refusal to fund students retaking courses is iniquitous. The decision over students retaking a course should lie with the professional judgement of the provider who will be held to account by Ofsted and EFA.

Post-16 funding – February 2014

ASCL believes that the continuing real term reduction in Post-16 funding threatens curriculum and teaching such that students in schools and colleges are unable to access suitable adequate and meaningful provision. Coupled with this we believe some courses and opportunities will be unavailable to students outside the large conurbations.

Post-16 funding – December 2013

Education funding should be treated equitably from 0-18 years and not have a cut-off at 16 years, as at present. Reducing the funding for post-16 makes no sense given the raising of the participation age.