Today’s Education in the Media blog celebrates vocational results day as well as addressing stories on university admissions and the English A level.
Vocational Results Day
Today, Wednesday 14 August, the Education Secretary has addressed students who have studied vocational Level 3 qualifications such as BTECs who are receiving their results.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said:
This week is the culmination of years of hard work for thousands of young people. It is right that their efforts are celebrated across the country as well as on the front pages – but getting a good set of A levels and then a degree is only half the story.
As the first Education Secretary to personally take charge of further education and skills, I’m going to make sure that those people who opt to take a technical or vocational qualification are given the proper recognition for their hard work.
Some people will be getting their technical and vocational results today – and from next year, students finishing their GCSEs will be able to take one of our new T Levels as a high-quality technical course that will carry the same UCAS points equivalent to 3 of our world-class A levels.
Young people and their parents can be confident that T Levels will be just as stretching as their academic equivalents and will offer progression to the next level whether that is landing a great job, an apprenticeship or going on to do a degree. As the technical ‘gold standard’ option for young people post-16, T Level results will be also be published on the same day as A levels from 2022.
But it doesn’t stop there, we are continuing to work with employers to raise the profile of and to create more exciting, high-quality apprenticeship opportunities. We are also reviewing other post-16 qualifications so young people can be confident that whatever option they choose after their GCSEs they will be high-quality, and will set them on a clear path to a job, further education or training.
Technical and vocational educational has played second fiddle to traditional academic options for too long. In three years’ time the look and feel of results day will be very different, with students getting their T Level results celebrating their hard work alongside those getting their A levels.
Yesterday, Tuesday 13 August, the Labour Party issued a press release saying that the system for those going to university should move to a post-qualification admissions system, which would eradicate the use of predicted grades as a factor. This has received media coverage from BBC Online, the Financial Times, the Independent, the Guardian, the Times, I News, the Sun, the Mail and the Mirror.
A Department for Education spokesperson said:
Last year there were a record rates of 18 year olds from disadvantaged backgrounds going to university, which is up more than 50 per cent from ten years ago.
Universities must ensure their admissions practices are fair, to ensure everyone can access higher education, or they will face action. The Office for Students and Universities UK are already undertaking a review of university admissions to look at how well current practices serve students and we urge all groups to support them to see how they can be improved.
A Level English
Today, the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) has issued a press release on the uptake of A level English, saying that action is needed to address a decline in the take-up of the subject. This was covered by the Telegraph, the Guardian, the Mail, the Times and the Sun.
Studying English language and literature at A level builds students’ understanding and appreciation of our language and literary heritage, and it remains a highly valued subject.
A Department for Education spokesperson:
It is positive to see an increase in the uptake of STEM subjects at A level in recent years, reflecting the rise in demand for people with skills in these areas, whilst English remains one of the most popular subjects.
We are confident that the reformed GCSEs in English are better preparing pupils for further study at A level.