Schools must stop blocking employers and colleges from speaking to their students about alternative non-academic options to A-levels and university, the education secretary has said. The Independent reports.
Damian Hinds has warned the government will take action against schools that are still refusing to open their doors to organisations that want to promote apprenticeships and vocational courses.
Speaking to The Independent, Mr Hinds said: “I want schools to be talking about the whole range of things that they might do after 16 or after 18 including apprenticeships and college options.
“I think it is important that children have that knowledge. It is not for everybody to be pursuing a university route, and there are plenty of other really high-quality options and routes available.”
But schools are still flouting their legal duty under the Baker clause as retaining pupils – and the funding that comes with them – has become more desperate amid cuts, sector leaders say.
Mr Hinds has called on schools that are refusing to show youngsters a range of options to change their practices. “We expect that [the Baker clause] to happen and if it doesn’t then it is possible to take further action,” he warned.
Mark Dawe, chief executive of the Association of Employment and Learning Providers, believes schools watchdog Ofsted should be able to downgrade a school for non-compliance with the clause.
He said: “Unfortunately, apprenticeship training providers are still reporting difficulties getting access to pupils, especially in schools with sixth forms that either need the funding or who feel that success is simply measured by the number of students who win places at university. Faced with the possibility of £50,000 of student debt, pupils of all abilities should be given a fully informed choice about their options, which include higher and degree level apprenticeships that allow them to earn good money while they learn.”
Read the full article Schools failing to promote vocational qualifications face government crackdown
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