https://dfemedia.blog.gov.uk/2019/03/20/wednesday-20-march-2019-essay-mills-and-post-16-education/

Wednesday 20 March 2019: Essay Mills and Post-16 Education

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Today’s Education in the Media blog looks at essay mills and our ambition to streamline post-16 education.

Essay Mills

Today, Wednesday 20 March, the Education Secretary Damian Hinds has called on technology and online firms to block payments to essay writing companies, also known as ‘essay mills’. There has been coverage on this from BBC Online, the Guardian, the Telegraph, the Mail, the Independent and the Sun. The Education Secretary has also taken part in a series of interviews across broadcast and radio, including with LBC, TalkRadio, the Today Programme, Sky News, BBC 5 Live and BBC Breakfast.

Tackling the issue of essay mills is a key challenge in order for us to preserve and champion the quality of the UK as a world-leader in higher education. Technology giants such as Google and YouTube have responded to the calls and are already taking steps to remove advertisements and promotional content – we want all organisations with the capacity to help, to follow suit.

Education Secretary Damian Hinds said:

Sadly there have always been some people who opt for the easy way and the internet has seen a black market in essay writing services spring up. However, no matter how easy it is to access these services now, it doesn’t change the fact that this is cheating, and students must understand it is unacceptable.

It is simply unethical for these companies to profit from this dishonest business which is exploiting young people and it is time to stamp them out of our world-class higher education sector.

I am determined to beat the cheats who threaten the integrity of our system and am calling on online giants, such as PayPal, to block payments or end the advertisement of these services – it is their moral duty to do so.

There has been some positive progress made by some in the tech sector but it is vital that we all unite to clamp down on this practice and the companies that are feeding on it.

Post-16 Education

Yesterday, Tuesday 19 March, we announced the launch of a consultation to review qualifications on offer at level 3 and below – excluding A Levels and GCSEs. This has received coverage from the Guardian, Schools Week, FE Week and TES.

This move is the latest step in the Government’s drive to boost the quality of education and training available to young people post-16. Over 12,000 qualifications are leaving young people and employers unclear over which ones will provide them with the skills they need, but a move which includes the introduction of new T Levels from 2020, and more high quality apprenticeships will help to consolidate and streamline options for post-16 learners.

Education Secretary Damian Hinds said:

We have made huge progress to boost the quality of education and training on offer for young people. From 2020 we will start to roll out new T Levels which will offer young people high-quality technical courses alongside our world class A Levels. These will be the gold standard choice for young people after they take their GCSEs.

But we also want to make sure that all options available to students are high-quality and give them the skills they need to get a great job, go on to further education or training, and employers can be confident they can access the workforce they need for the future.

We can’t legislate for parity of esteem between academic and technical routes post 16. But we can improve the quality of the options out there and by raising quality, more students and parents will trust these routes.

You can read more about this consultation here.

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