Williamson: ‘FE white paper could be revolutionary’

Education secretary Gavin Williamson tells Commons Education Select Committee that the FE white paper will drive reform
29th April 2020, 12:42pm

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Williamson: ‘FE white paper could be revolutionary’

https://www.tes.com/magazine/archive/williamson-fe-white-paper-could-be-revolutionary
Fe White Paper: 15 Questions It Must Answer

The muted FE white paper could be “really revolutionary”, education secretary Gavin Williamson told the Commons Education Select Committee today.

Pressed on the fate of the Augar Review for post-18 funding, published last year, the education secretary said that the department’s planned response had been pushed back so it could be published alongside a spending review.


Background: Keegan: FE White Paper to offer ‘vision’ for sector

Opinion: Post-16 education needs reform. Now is the time

T levels: Government fully committed to T-level delivery in 2020


He said: “We have done a considerable amount of work and we have recently set up a white paper task force with Keith Smith from the department leading it in terms of further education that will be one of the key elements in terms of our response to the Augar review. 

“The FE white paper is an area of the department’s work that I think could be really revolutionary to drive reform in this vital sector.”

Introduction of T levels

Questioned on why the new T level qualifications were still to be rolled out from September despite concerns from employers and colleges because of coronavirus, Mr Williamson said:  “This was a programme that had absolute cross-party support with the Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats supporting the introduction of T levels.

“We are proposing to bring forward three T level qualifications across 55 providers across the UK, I personally think the introduction of T levels and actually raising the status of technical and vocational qualifications is one of the most important tasks that this government has.

“I am very keen to make sure we continue with this programme and we have been working really closely with a small number of providers and we think as we roll this programme out we reckon we can learn a lot by the experience of doing it but we also to give young people the opportunity to benefit from this really brilliant qualification.

“I think as the equivalent of an A level with a status of an A level that is going to have a really transformational impact. Technical and vocational qualifications are really important.

“I want to see it happen and I want to make it happen and I don’t want to see youngsters missing out on the opportunity of having that choice.” 

Earlier this month, apprenticeships and skills minister Gillian Keegan wrote to colleges to say the government was “fully committed” to T level delivery in September and set out support for initial providers.

Concerns had been raised across the sector over how feasible it was for T levels to be delivered in September as planned. Shadow FE and HE minister Emma Hardy has called for them to be delayed, as has the Federation of Awarding Bodies chief executive Tom Bewick

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