https://dfemedia.blog.gov.uk/2017/08/10/2442/

Education in the Media: 10 August 2017

Today’s blog focuses on the number of young people looking to go to into higher education, and the further education choices available to young people.

Higher education

Today, 10 August, The Guardian, Financial Times, BBC and a number of other outlets have reported on a release by The Sutton Trust about fewer young people aspiring to go to university.

The Sutton Trust’s poll, done by Ipsos MORI, shows that just under three-quarters (74%) of young people think that they are likely to go into higher education, down from 81% in 2013. The report cites funding as a key reason for this.

These figures aren’t backed up by what we are seeing in reality. Young people are more likely to go to university than ever before – particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The department has taken a number of steps to make sure that loans for higher education are sustainable and fair. This includes university graduates only paying back their loans when they are earning over £21,000 and that loans are written off altogether after 30 years.

More generally with further and technical education options, the department is providing greater choice. This includes introducing new T levels backed by over £500 million a year once up and running and creating prestigious new Institutes of Technologies. As well, the department is rolling out more Degree Apprenticeships, which are providing employers with the higher level technical skills they need to improve productivity, and giving young people an equally valid career route as going to university.

Universities Minister Jo Johnson said:

The reality is that young people are more likely to go to university than ever before, with entry rates for 18-year-olds rising every year since 2012. Those from disadvantaged backgrounds are 43 per cent more likely to enter higher education than in 2009.

Our student finance system ensures that costs are split fairly between graduates and the taxpayer. However, there is still more to do to ensure that students get value for money. That is why we have created a new regulator, the Office for Students, that will hold universities to account for teaching quality and student outcomes through the Teaching Excellence Framework.

We also want technical education to stand side-by-side with traditional academic routes. We are reforming and investing in apprenticeships and technical qualifications to allow people to choose a route that is right for them.

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