Following the publication of the Education Select Committee report on the future of post-16 qualifications, NFER Research Director on education to employment and social mobility, Dr Lisa Morrison Coulthard, said:
“We strongly support the report’s emphasis on the need for caution and further evaluation on the effectiveness of T Levels as the primary technical route to further education and employment. Our own research indicates the qualification has issues in terms of accessibility and suitability which present new challenges and barriers for young people, especially those who are disadvantaged. We therefore support the call for a delay in the removal of funding for tried and tested Applied General Qualifications (AGQs) until the evidence confirms T Levels are an effective pathway and a vehicle for social mobility.
“We echo calls for the Government to commission a review of the long-term decline in 16–19-year-old apprenticeship starts. Evidence on the impact of this decline is clear – the number of opportunities for young people transitioning from education to employment is being severely hampered. Finally, we welcome the call for a review of 16-19 funding, including offering more targeted support for disadvantaged students. The FE sector has been subject to decades of underfunding and investment is urgently needed to ensure the delivery of post-16 education and training which gives young people the right skills for the future.”