HEPI Report on value of Applied Generals

HEPI Report on value of Applied Generals

In a new paper published by the Higher Education Policy Institute (www.hepi.ac.uk), Holding Talent Back? What is next for the future of Level 3?, sponsored by Pearson, 11 different authors consider the Westminster Government’s controversial reforms to Level 3 qualifications, including BTECs.

While the Government has confirmed that many Applied General qualifications can continue to play a role in the Level 3 landscape, with ‘significantly less than half’ defunded, the issue as recognised by the Rt Hon. the Lord (David) Willetts in his Foreword, is which qualifications ‘will survive [by the end of all these reforms] and how many students will be able to study them.’ 

Collectively, the chapters argue that England risks closing off a useful and proven route for students from a wide range of backgrounds, including those hoping to reach higher education.

This has long been a UVAC argument. We believe that the needs of a large cohort of young people will only be met if a broader choice of qualifications at 16 – 18 is offered. A failure to offer a broader choice also puts the long-term success of the T level at risk – which could assume the position as the default alternative to A levels. We believe these issues could be resolved by offering two academic choices the ‘academic’ A level and the ‘applied academic’ Applied General and appropriate combinations of A levels and Applied Generals.

The authors also argue that the new T Levels, which are designed to sit place alongside A Levels, are welcome but still need to prove themselves. The report argues their success should not rest on shutting off tried-and-tested options that are popular with employers, higher education institutions and students. Other contributors include Mary Curnock Cook (Pearson), John Cope (UCAS), Salsabil Elmegri (NUS), Sarah Freedman & Sarah Taunton (Ark), Professor Grame Atherton (NEON), Professor Hubert Ertl (Federal Institute for Vocational Education (BIBB) in Germany), Steve Wallis (NCG), Johnny Rich (Push & Engineering Professors’ Council), and Professor David Phoenix (LSBU Group).