Schools ‘are not actually implementing’ Baker clause rules

The chair of the Commons Education Select Committee challenges skills minister over what she is doing to implement the requirements of the Baker clause

Robert Halfon and Anne Milton spoke at a Westminster Hall debate on the government's skills strategy

Skills minister Anne Milton has said “it’s quite early days” when it comes to implementing a new law which requires schools to open their doors to FE providers to let pupils know about vocational routes.

In a Westminster Hall debate, the Commons Education Select Committee chair and former skills minister Robert Halfon challenged the current skills minister Anne Milton on what she was doing to make sure schools were undertaking their duty to implement the Baker clause.

The new legal duty came into force in January, requiring schools to open their door to colleges, training providers and university technical colleges (UTCs). FE providers must be granted access to students to make them aware of the options available to them at 14-16, post-16 and post-18 level.

Mr Halfon said: “What is she doing to enforce that? Because there are suggestions and there have been a number of reports that schools are not actually implementing the legislation.”

'National skills service'

Ms Milton said: “I’m very, very mindful of it, which is why I’m having regular, I think weekly or every other weekly, certainly once a month with the careers team at the Department for Education because he rightly says – the need to do this was only brought in in January so it’s quite early days.

The DfE minister added: “I will watch this because the proof is in the pudding about whether it actually happens. He so rightly pointed out that teachers could do with [some advice] because if you are a classroom teacher who has left school, gone to university and got your degree and your teaching qualification [you] never yourself have experienced the world of work outside your school or institutional environment, and I think that is critical.

“I was suggesting it to a number of careers professionals the other day. I think it would be really worthwhile, particularly in the local economy so they understand the needs of people and business working locally and they can tailor their whole approach”.

Earlier, Mr Halfon had said in order to drive social justice, the government should “merge the duplicate careers organisations into a national skills service that goes into schools and ensures that students have the opportunity to do skills-based careers”.

In March, the DfE told schools they must now set out on their websites how providers can request access to speak to pupils about FE courses and apprenticeships. 

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