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AoC responds to the King's Speech

07 November 2023

David Hughes 5

Responding to the King’s Speech today, David Hughes, chief executive of Association of Colleges, said:

“It is good to see that the Government recognises the importance of education and skills to the nation.

“The principles of the Advanced British Standard – more teaching time for 16 to 18-year-olds, a broader curriculum, and higher prestige for technical routes – are good, and are in line with what AoC has been campaigning for.

“We will work with the Department for Education to ensure that the design and implementation recognises the immediate concerns about the reputation risk for T levels and the risks of too rapidly defunding existing Level 3 qualifications. We will be keen to explore how the ABS might work for young people who have struggled in school, for disadvantaged students and for adults.

"Colleges will be central to implementing the ABS and will need support to develop their facilities and equipment as more hours of contact time roll out for more students. That will also require support for better pay in the college sector so that the workforce can grow in line with student number.

“Colleges are vital in increasing the number of people taking high-quality apprenticeships, but as set out in our Opportunity England report published in the summer, we believe that the system needs a fundamental rethink, including on how apprenticeships can be integrated into a wider system, simpler progression routes, a focus on young people and on new job starters and a review of the levy.”

“The DfE has shown a commitment to working with the sector on all of this. AoC is keen to embrace Government plans and ensure that they deliver for members and the students they serve, while also raising awareness of the challenges of the current reforms including GCSE resits, T levels, staffing levels, and FE pay.”

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