Agnew: Schools have responsibility to allow FE access

Too many young people still do not have access to information about all post-16 options, says education minister

Lord Agnew has written to schools urging them to open their door to colleges.

Lord Agnew has urged schools to open their doors to colleges and apprenticeship providers. In a letter sent to headteachers today, the education minister said this was a “crucial moment” when many young people would be considering their options for September.

He said he understood it could be challenging to bring in university technical colleges, FE colleges, apprenticeship providers and new institutes of technology – especially if a school has its own post-16 offer. “But we all have a responsibility to support young people to make choices based on their skills, interests and aspirations,” he said.  

Background: Milton: 'Too many providers blocked from going into schools'

News: Schools failing to publicise A-level alternatives

More from the minister: Report cash crises earlier, Agnew tells colleges

Baker clause

The so-called Baker clause was introduced in 2018, and means every school is obliged to allow further education providers access to students to inform them of their options.

“As headteacher, you are under a statutory duty to publish a policy statement setting out details of the opportunities for providers of technical education and apprenticeships to visit your school/s to talk to all Year 8-13 pupils, and to make sure the statement is followed,” Lord Agnew wrote.

“I am grateful that many schools are taking steps to comply with this legislation, commonly known as the ‘Baker clause’. However, too many young people are still not given the chance to learn of different environments open to them and find out if technical education is right for them.”

He explained there were a number of ways in which schools could fulfil their statutory duty – including schools and technical education providers organising joint events that introduce all pupils to post-14 and post-16 options in one place, using the Careers and Enterprise Company’s free compass tool, or utilising the National Careers Service careers advice and guidance, which is available through its website and national helpline.

WorldSkills UK and The Apprenticeships Support and Knowledge for Schools and Colleges Programme (ASK) also offered information, he said.

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Julia Belgutay

Julia Belgutay

Julia Belgutay is deputy FE news editor for Tes

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