The Prime Minister announced today the creation of a new Advanced British Standard that will combine academic and technical education for 16-19 year olds, which, the government says, will put technical and academic education on an equal footing and ensure that all young people leave school knowing the basics in maths and English, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has announced.
The new Advanced British Standard will bring together the best of A Levels and T Levels into a single new qualification. Students will take a larger number of subjects at both ‘major’ and ‘minor ’level, with most studying a minimum of five subjects at different levels – for example, three majors alongside two minors. Importantly, students will have the freedom to take a mix of technical and academic subjects, giving them more flexibility over their future career options.
Under the new plans, every student will for the first time be required to study some form of maths and English to age 18. This will help reverse the long-term trend whereby too many students – particularly the most disadvantaged – leave school without achieving the minimum standard in literacy and numeracy. This change will bring England into line with other major western economies such as France, Germany, Japan and the USA.
Students will also spend more time in the classroom, increasing taught hours to a minimum of 1,475 hours over two years. Currently, a typical A Level student in England studying three subjects is taught for 1,280 hours over two years, and a typical technical student for 1,000 hours. This is significantly lower than Denmark, the Netherlands, and Norway, all of whom deliver over 1,600 hours. Children in Italy are taught for over 1,700 hours, and in France and many US states they get over 2,000 hours in the classroom.
Responding, UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said:
“Putting vocational education on the same footing as academic education is long overdue and sectors like hospitality will stand to benefit when this plan comes to fruition.
“With T-Levels being pinpointed as playing a major role in the creation of the new Advanced British Standard, there needs to be rapid development of the hospitality and tourism T-Levels. This is essential to ensuring our sector is adequately equipped to benefit from the new system.
“However, this is a long-term ambition that will take time and there remains the need for short-term action. In particular, reform of the apprenticeship levy to give businesses more control of the funding and flexibility of where it is spent.”
In his speech, the Prime Minister also announced that the rest of the HS2 project will be stopped and replaced with ‘Network North’, with £36 billion of funding.
“It’s very disappointing that a major infrastructure project like HS2 is being scrapped but investment in transport across the north of England, connecting cities and improving transport links, is positive. This investment will benefit commuters and leisure travellers alike,” Kate Nicholls said.
“It is important that the country is as interconnected as possible and that infrastructure projects remain under constant review.”