https://dfemedia.blog.gov.uk/2019/10/30/ensuring-access-to-high-quality-technical-education/

Ensuring access to high quality technical education

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Today our blog looks at a report by the National Audit Office on University Technical Colleges (UTCs). We also look at a roundtable hosted by the Universities Minister on student accommodation, and articles for Care Leavers Week by the Education Secretary and the Children’s Minister.

University Technical Colleges

Today, Wednesday 30 October, the National Audit Office published a report about University Technical Colleges. The report was laid in Parliament on Monday and reviews the progress made since the UTC programme began in 2010. This was covered by BBC Online and the Independent.

A Department for Education spokesperson said:

We’re committed to ensuring people have access to high-quality technical education across the country, and University Technical Colleges are helping to deliver on that, with 21% of pupils progressing into apprenticeships after completing their post 16 education, more than double the national average.

As this report recognises, we have taken significant action to support and raise the profile of University Technical Colleges to make sure they continue to play a role in our diverse education system and provide the skills that employers need.

Student Accommodation

On Monday 28 October, the Universities Minister Chris Skidmore met representatives from the student accommodation sector. The meeting was called to discuss improvements to student accommodation following reports of delayed construction, which left hundreds of first year students in temporary accommodation last month. This has been covered by BBC Online.

Universities Minister Chris Skidmore said:

For thousands of students, starting university means moving away from home for the first time - and universities and accommodation providers must better support them with this transition.

Students can pay significant amounts for their accommodation, and it is unacceptable to let them down at a stressful time in adapting to new surroundings - often in different parts of the country.

Poor accommodation, high living costs and a lack of information can seriously affect student welfare and mental health, so providers must be held to account.

With the number of students expected to rise sharply due to demographic changes in the 2020s, now is the time to prepare and think ahead about how we deliver and regulate student accommodation for the future.

Accommodation is a central issue of the student experience and it is the duty of accommodation providers, HE institutions and Government to think carefully about what needs to happen in the future. We must make sure the awful and disappointing situations that we have witnessed this autumn with students being let down on the accommodation they were promised are not repeated.

Children in Care

Today, the Yorkshire Post published an article by the Education Secretary Gavin Williamson, focusing on children in care. The article, published in today’s paper and online, says supporting children in care is a priority for the Government.

In addition to this, City AM published an article by the Children’s Minister Michelle Donelan, who talked about the opportunities being provided by businesses and companies who have signed up to the Care Leavers Covenant, including Chelsea Football Club, the Heathrow Academy and London Fire Brigade who this week joined the list of 99 companies pledging their support to care leavers.

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