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LSBU Vice-Chancellor responds to Spring Budget Statement

LSBU Vice-Chancellor Professor David Phoenix responds to the Chancellor's Spring Budget statement announcing a major review of post-16 education
09 March 2017

LSBU Vice-Chancellor Professor David Phoenix responds to the UK Government’s announcement of the ‘biggest overhaul of post-16 education in 70 years'.

The policy, which was announced in this week's Spring Budget, would see the investment of £500 million into technical education in an effort to improve the current system, which ranks poorly in comparison to other Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries.

Prof. Phoenix said: “I am pleased to see the Government has recognised that if the UK is to thrive outside of the EU then we will need to counteract the years of neglect that technical education has suffered. The new investment is as welcome as it is necessary.

“In particular, the introduction of maintenance loans for those studying technical subjects at a higher level is something that we have previously proposed. It will provide much needed support to individuals seeking to move from lower skilled positions into more advanced technical and professional roles.”

The Government proposals follow an independent review of technical education undertaken by Lord Sainsbury and published last year, which argued that a simplification of the current complex system was required. In response the Chancellor has announced that the current 13,000 technical qualifications will be replaced with 15 new ‘T-Levels’, each providing a clear route into a particular profession.

Prof. Phoenix added: “I would however urge caution in the implementation of these new qualifications. These qualifications have to provide core education alongside technical knowledge if they are to be widely recognised and prepare people for careers in the 21st century. More than new qualifications, we need greater collaboration between schools, colleges and universities. This will provide learners with the opportunity to sample the different forms of learning and to find out which is best for them. Only when we have greater collaboration between educational providers; technical pathways which involve education as well as skills; and genuine choice for students will we begin to achieve parity of esteem between academic and non-academic education."