Rachael Maskell MP for York Central is one of 118 MPs and peers that have written to the recently-appointed Secretary of State for Education Nadhim Zahawi urging him to make an “early reassessment” of the Department for Education’s plan to remove funding for the vast majority of applied general qualifications such as BTECs.
The letter was sent to support the #ProtectStudentChoice campaign, a coalition of 21 organisations that represent and support students and staff in schools, colleges and universities.
In July, the Department confirmed plans to introduce a twin-track system of A levels and T levels (a new suite of technical qualifications), where most young people pursue one of these qualifications at the age of 16. As a result, funding for most BTEC qualifications will be removed.
In the letter to the Education Secretary, the MPs and peers say this new system “will leave many students without a viable pathway after their GCSEs, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds” and report concerns from the education sector that “removing the vast majority of BTECs will lead to students taking courses that do not meet their needs, or dropping out of education altogether”.
Under current proposals, larger BTEC qualifications (equivalent in size to 2 or 3 A levels) will be scrapped if the government deems they “overlap” with A levels or T levels. But the MPs and peers call for the option to study BTECs to be retained as they “are a different type of qualification that provide a different type of educational experience – one that combines the development of skills with academic learning”.
Rachael Maskell MP says:
“I’m supporting the cross-party campaign to keep the funding for BTEC courses, BTECs combine development of skills with academic learning and have strong respect from business and industry. Retaining BTECs for students to learn will be both welcomed by the education sector, but also by the sectors in our economy who have seen a talented, skilful workforce produced by BTEC courses.
“Whilst welcoming the introduction of T levels, the option for students to study BTECs should be retained. There are currently 250,000 pupils studying BTECs, some are the equivalent in size to two or three A Levels and they are a really important option for young people to stay in education after their GCSEs.”