Post-16 provision hit the headlines this month, with T-levels receiving poor take-up, amid calls for investment in other vocational qualifications.



Only one in eight sixth-forms plan on offering at least one T-level route, according to a new survey.

The report Post-16 Institutions Omnibus Wave 7 Findings found that more than half of those offering the qualification felt their staff would need specialist CPD to be able to deliver the courses successfully.

The top three most common courses post-16 institutions plan to offer are: Business and Administration (12%), Health and Science (12%) and Digital (11%). 


State of post-16 provision

The report also sought views on a range of other issues around delivering post-16 education.

With regards to careers education, nearly all providers (98%) had a careers leaders to oversee their careers programme, and also provided personal guidance to students – but it did not make clear whether this was 1-to-1 support that is so vital to ensure proper careers education, information, advice and guidance (CEIAG). Just 15% of post-16 state providers held the Quality in Careers Standard kitemark.

On the issue of recruitment, 42% said that the quality of applicants had not improved over the last three years. Maths teachers were the most difficult to recruit.

Providers had made improvements in their ability to support pupils with mental health issues. Nine out of 10 of staff said they could spot the signs.


Culling qualifications

Government is to press ahead with plans to cut all funding to post-16 qualifications that overlap with the new T-levels and A-levels. 

The purpose is to simplify the choices available, and ensure only ‘qualifications that meet a high-quality bar’ are allowed to continue, said the DfE. The new measures are out for consultation – you have until 15 January 2021 to have your say.


‘Invest in vocational courses’

In other news, a survey by World Skills UK revealed that three-quarters of the public want the government to invest in high-quality skills, apprenticeships and vocational qualifications to help young people survive in an economy post Covid and Brexit.

‘As we build a skills-led economic recovery from Covid, we must focus on excellence, not just competence, and ensure that we develop a first-class skills system for young people and their employers,’ said CEO Dr Neil Bentley-Gockmann.

A report from the Sutton Trust out this month showed that students from disadvantaged backgrounds would see their future earnings fall even further as a result of lost learning due to Covid – by three times more than for those from better-off homes.


In other news October 2020:

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