Further education election plans lack detail, warns EPI

None of the general election manifestos are clear enough about GCSE resits, apprentices or T levels, says EPI

Kate Parker

Election 2019: The main parties' pledges on FE remain unclear, warns the Education Policy Institute

None of the political parties have provided enough detail on how technical education will be addressed by a new government, according to the Education Policy Institute (EPI) think tank. 

In a report released today, the EPI analyses all the Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat, Green and Brexit Party manifestos in detail, and concludes that when it comes to FE, all party policy remains quite unclear.

The report says: “There is little detail across manifestos on how technical education will be addressed in a new government. Our assumption is that current government policy on reforming qualifications including T levels will continue, but there is no detail on what funding will be provided and how quality will be ensured. 

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“No parties make reference to numeracy, literacy or the 'forgotten third' – save it being implied by some pledging significant funding uplift in further education. Again, we have to assume that current government policy will continue; for example, the requirement for some to resit English and maths GCSEs to achieve a basic level of qualification. There needs to be more explicit commitment and closer consideration of how best to tackle these issues.

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“On apprenticeships, there is no clear focus from any party on the potential benefits of recruiting younger apprentices, and no clear plan on improving their quality.”

The report also says that policies on post-18 are “particularly disappointing”. It says that plans to scrap tuition fees – put forward by Labour and the Green party – may not improve participation, or the access of vulnerable groups. 

Of Labour’s plans, the EPI says: “There is no evidence that these costly measures will be effective in improving education outcomes, access or participation, and given Labour's strong stated commitment to social justice, it is surprising and disappointing that it has decided to make this its highest priority. “

The report is also dubious about the Lib Dems' "Skills Wallets", saying it’s not clear whether or not they will provide value for money, and says that the Conservative’s non-commitment to close the funding gap between the 14-16 and 16-19 phases “lacks any coherent rationale.”

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Kate Parker

Kate Parker is a FE reporter.

Find me on Twitter @KateParkerTes

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