Lord Baker: Scrapping Btecs 'an act of vandalism'

Btecs are 'of particular help to disadvantaged young people', says former education secretary Lord Baker of Dorking

Julia Belgutay

Lord Baker of Dorking says scrapping Btecs is an act of educational vandalism

Scrapping Btecs would be an "act of educational vandalism", former education secretary Kenneth Baker has said.

Lord Baker of Dorking said Btec qualifications had been established for decades and were internationally recognised. "They are a particular help to disadvantaged young people. Research by the Social Market Foundation has found that 44 per cent of white working-class students who enter university have studied at least one Btec and 37 per cent of black students enter with only Btec qualifications," Lord Baker added.

"The government proposes to withdraw funding from some Btecs in 2022 and to abolish virtually all of them in 2023. This is an act of educational vandalism." 

Need to know: Btecs that overlap with T levels to lose funding

Opinion: Why removing student options would be disastrous

More: Some 'won't get level 3' after qualifications reform

Earlier this month, the Department for Education confirmed plans to defund any Btecs and other applied general qualifications that overlap with the new T levels, with the aim to make apprenticeships, A levels and T levels the main progression routes after GCSEs. 

In a letter to education secretary Gavin Williamson today, 12 organisations, including the Sixth Form Colleges Association and the Association of School and College Leaders, said it was impossible to square the government’s stated ambition to "level up opportunity with the proposal to scrap most Btecs".

The organisations said: “It is clear from the government’s recently published response to the review that your department has ignored the concerns expressed by us (and most other respondents) about the proposal to remove funding for the vast majority of applied general qualifications such as Btecs. 

“These are well-established, well-respected qualifications that play a vital role in helping young people progress to higher education or employment, and in meeting the skills needs of employers. For many students, studying one or more applied general qualifications will be a more effective way of accessing, remaining in, and progressing from 16-19 education than studying A levels or T levels.” 

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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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