Numerous schools are not allowing further education (FE) providers to promote alternatives to A-levels, claims a report from the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR).
The Baker clause: One year on reveals that less than two-thirds of England’s schools are currently acting in according with the clause, which came into effect in January 2018.
The legislation determines that “schools must ensure that ‘a range of education and training providers’ have access to pupils from year 8 to year 13, so that they can be informed about what technical education and apprenticeship opportunities are available to them,” said IPPR.
As Study International explains, the Baker clause forms part of the Technical and Further Education Act 2017. The IPPR said compliance has been “very poor.”
Of the 101 schools that were evaluated, just two in five (37.6%) are adhering to the requirements.
The report states that the majority of technical education providers believe the clause has failed to deliver its goals. Over two-thirds (70.1%) said it is hard to access schools in the local area, while 31.3% believe the situation has improved over the last 12 months.
Meanwhile, a number of institutions have complained of selective compliance when it comes to the clause. Some thought they were given access to certain students, such as those who didn’t perform as well academically or didn’t want to attend the school’s sixth form.
To guarantee greater compliance, the report suggests that Ofsted should be responsible for evaluating compliance with the clause. Also, a single, online resource toolkit should be created to make sure students and parents are aware of the options.
The current lack of compliance will undoubtedly hinder the government's aim to create three million apprenticeships by 2020. Young people who are unaware of possible routes in vocational education will negatively impact course enrolment rates.
T-levels are being introduced by the government as part of England’s technical education system reform. T-levels are designed to be a high-quality qualification and the technical alternative to A-levels, with rollout expected by the government from the 2020-2021 academic year.
Although technical and vocational education has been typically perceived as providing less value to pupils compared to more traditional pathways, critics say this type of qualification could help to tackle issues like youth unemployment. It also offers a more viable educational route for pupils who prefer an alternative to academic study.