Schools failing to publicise A-level alternatives

Call for Ofsted action as report claims schools aren't enabling FE providers to tell pupils about their offering

Tes Reporter

baker clause, ippr, utcs, fe, further education, research

Schools are failing in their duty to enable further education providers to tell pupils about alternatives to A levels, research suggests.

According to data from the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), the majority of institutions do not allow access to pupils so they can be told about opportunities to gain technical qualifications.

The Baker clause – named after its author, Lord Baker – is part of the Technical and Further Education Act, and requires all schools to issue a "provider access statement".

This must set out how FE providers can engage with a school's pupils and inform them about options.

One year after the clause came into effect, the IPPR has conducted research based on a sample of more than 100 schools across England.

The poll found that almost two-thirds (63 per cent) have failed to issue a provider access statement.

A survey of 68 FE providers in England revealed that 70 per cent of them found it difficult to access local schools to talk about their offer.

And 31 per cent said the situation has improved since the clause introduced.

In a bid to tackle any non-compliance, the IPPR is suggesting that Ofsted should be made responsible for assessing whether the practice is being followed.

It also calls for the government to develop an online resource tool that enables young people to see what technical courses are available to them.

IPPR researcher, and the report's lead author, Dean Hochlaf, said: "There is widespread evidence that schools are not meeting very basic statutory requirements to let their students hear from a variety of providers.

"The government must get serious about enforcing the Baker clause.

"Young people should be free – and encouraged – to choose the course that best reflects their ambitions and aspirations.

"To do this, they need to understand the opportunities that lie ahead as well as the variety of high-quality options available locally."

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