Hinds hints at BTECs and applied generals reprieve

Education secretary Damian Hinds speaks up for BTECs, acknowledging that not all students are suited to A levels

Julia Belgutay

a levels applied generals BTEC vocational exams

The education secretary has given his strongest hint yet that applied general qualifications (AGs) are here to stay.

The government said in its T-level action plan that “T levels will replace most of the technical provision currently funded for 16- to 19-year-olds”, leaving a question mark over the future of the applied general. This category of qualification includes BTECs and Cambridge Technicals.

Following the Sainsbury review, it had been expected that they would be axed. But the future of applied generals is now still to play for, and they are being considered in the government's review of level 3 qualifications.

Asked this morning whether he thought BTEC qualifications were “just as good” as A levels, Damian Hinds told BBC Breakfast: “Yes. There is a role for a whole range of qualifications and, obviously, different young people are suited to different courses of study. They have different ambitions and all of those are very important.”

He said A-level results day was “a day for thinking about options”, and there were “other opportunities beyond university”.

Level 3 qualifications

BTECS are one of a whole range of applied generals, which are level 3 qualifications and also include Cambridge Technicals. Last year, 209,000 16- to 18-year-olds were working towards AGs; over half (54 per cent) of them in a general FE, sixth-form or a specialist college.

In its response to the T-level consultation, the Department for Education said it planned to proceed with its review of level 3 qualifications to decide which should be funded for school leavers. A levels, as well as T levels, will be excluded from the review.

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Julia Belgutay

Julia Belgutay

Julia Belgutay is head of FE at Tes

Find me on Twitter @JBelgutay

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