‘No 16-18 year old left behind’ – key takeaways
NCFE recently teamed up with Campaign For Learning to launch a new policy paper titled: ‘No 16-18 year old left behind’.
The collective paper, penned by ten leading authorities from across the education sector, delved into the challenges that the Government face to help ensure that young people fulfil their duty to participate in further education up until their 18th birthday.
In this article, Michael Lemin, Policy and Research Manager at NCFE shares his thoughts on the top ten takeaways from the paper:
1. Two challenges
The issue of ensuring educational participation for 16-18 year olds is twofold. The new Conservative Government must ensure that no 16-18 year old is left behind during a period of an expanding cohort of 16-18 year olds, while at the same time, level-up attainment of 16-18 year olds with special education needs and from lower income households.
2. Funding beyond the cost of provision
Tackling these two key challenges will require funding the 16-18 phase of education and training more equitably compared to pre-16 education and higher education. But the funding question goes beyond funding rates for provision and between academic and technical education. A more generous, extensive, equitable and less complex system of financial support to parents and young people in full-time education and apprenticeships is needed.
3. 16-18 year old’s must be in it to win it
To achieve GCSEs in maths and English, Level 2 or Level 3 qualifications, 16-18 year olds must be participating in recognised education and training in the first place. Education policy makers should desist from putting the cart before the horse. As the population of 16-18 year olds in England breaks the two million mark by 2024, now is the time for the Conservative Government to make effective the duty to participate to the 18th birthday.
4. Full-time study for two years from 17 to achieve a Level 3 will not suit everyone
Whether a transition year at 16 is intended to facilitate progression to A levels or T-levels to achieve a Level 3, two years of full-time study will not be suitable for every 17 year-old. Some young people might decide they have had enough of full-time study, however excellent the content and structure of T-levels might be. Others might wish to stay-on and benefit from the promise of a work placement but decide on financial grounds they cannot afford to do so. The prospect of some money from minimum wage jobs at age 17, 18 and 19 might outweigh the limited amount of child benefit and uncertain eligibility for child tax credits to their parents, and uncertain eligibility for the 16-19 Bursary Grant and diminishing changes of getting a ‘Saturday’ job.
5. Review availability of advanced apprenticeships for 16-18 year olds
Advanced Apprenticeships for 16-18 year olds are an alternative pathway from A levels and T-levels to increase attainment at Level 3. Some 17 year olds might wish to progress to an Advanced Apprenticeship after completing a transition year. Advanced Apprenticeships are seen as the gold standard for apprenticeships and there has been debate about limiting public funding to Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeships only. The reality is that the number of Advanced Apprenticeships at both 16 and 17 is a relatively small fraction of each cohort. Even at age 18, the share is 4.5% or about 29,500. Crucially, the low number of Advanced Apprenticeships at age 16-18 predates the Apprenticeship Levy. The new Conservative Government should consider what steps can be taken to expand Advanced Apprenticeships for 16-18 year olds.
6. Don’t forget Level 2 and below
The laudable aim of increasing progression and achievement at Level 3 by 16-18 year olds should not blind policy makers of the importance of Level 2 and below qualifications to many young people. For some, the achievement of a Level 2 or a Level 1 qualification followed by a job is a personal success.
7. A brave decision to remove funding for Level 2 apprenticeships
Any decision to cease funding Level 2 apprenticeships from the Apprenticeship Programme Budget would have a negative impact on 16-18 year olds. The Government would need to insure against a rise in the number of 16-17 year olds not meeting the duty to participate by funding an extra 62,000 places in full-time education at a cost of £250m.
8. Maintain Level 2 qualifications
Achieving a Level 2 before progressing to a Level 3 is the norm in 16-18 education. Level 2 qualifications should be maintained in full-time further education and form part of the T-Level Transition Programme.
9. GCSE Maths and English Re-sits: The BREXIT Issue of 16-18 Education
Nothing quite like the maths and English GCSE re-sit policy ignites such polarised views in 16-18 education. It is the BREXIT issue of the 16-18 phase. Progress is being made, but at what cost? For those who make the grade, the benefits should not be dismissed, but for those who repeatedly fail the impact can be devastating. Consider, for example, 16-18 year olds with special education needs. At age 16, 22% have a GCSE grade 4+ in maths and English: by age 19, the proportion is 30%. This is of immense credit to them and their teachers. Many others, however, will have failed not once but twice or sometimes even more. Compromises are in short supply but we need to break the re-sit impasse urgently.
10. Child benefit to parents of apprentices and EMAs for young people
To underpin participation, and enhance the chances of achievement of all levels of education, the new Government should use the Budget and Spending Review to assess improvements to 16-18 financial support. On the one hand, it should consider extending eligibility of child benefit to parents with 16-18 year olds on apprenticeships. On the other, it should re-introduce Education Maintenance Allowances paid to 16-18 year olds in full-time further education.
The full ‘No 16-18 year old left behind’ policy paper with articles from authors including the Education Policy Institute, Association of Colleges, Learning and Work Institute and the Resolution Foundation is available to view and download now.
Latest News from
Adapting to the new normal - supporting apprentices through COVID-1922/07/2020 11:15:00
COVID-19 has had a substantial impact on education in recent months.
Team Leader apprentice successfully completes end-point assessment with EPA Plus15/07/2020 14:33:00
Tony Rossiter has successfully completed end-point assessment for the Level 3 Team Leader/Supervisor apprenticeship standard.
Bold action from the Chancellor – but more is needed14/07/2020 09:15:00
Michael Lemin, Senior Policy Specialist at NCFE, unpacks the detail of the Chancellor’s economic statement, including the positive commitments made to youth employability and the questions that are, as yet, unanswered for the wider skills sector.
Revolutionary Forces discussion paper – top takeaways13/07/2020 09:20:00
In our recent discussion paper published in partnership with Campaign for Learning, a host of experts from across the FE, labour market economics, employment and mental health sectors explored the revolutionary forces facing the UK economy and what the Government needs to include in its post-16 white paper to ensure that as a sector, we’re prepared for the road ahead.
Adapting delivery methods following COVID-19 – what does the future hold?09/07/2020 09:15:00
Hear from Learning Curve Group as they take a look at the impact that COVID-19 has had on education and what this means for the future of the sector.
The FE sector needs the revolutionary post-16 white paper that has been promised now more than ever07/07/2020 15:43:00
A paper published yesterday by NCFE and our friends at Campaign for Learning is urging the Government to ensure that the plans outlined in the forthcoming post-16 white paper are sufficiently flexible to meet the immense changes facing the UK economy.
Adapting to the new normal - supporting learners01/07/2020 12:43:00
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a great deal of disruption to learning, the impact of which will be felt long into the next academic year and possibly beyond.
Adapting to the new normal - supporting staff01/07/2020 09:15:00
COVID-19 has had a substantial impact on education in recent months. While we may not understand the true extent of these changes on the future of the sector, it’s critical that we start forward planning, so you and your colleagues feel prepared and supported for what’s to come.
Vocational qualifications improve your learners’ employability skills29/06/2020 09:15:00
Ensuring young people leave their formal education ready for the workplace is a difficult task but one which providers have been challenged to deliver on as part of their careers education and commitment to employability skills.