Education questions – Monday 12th June 2023
Technical Education at Secondary Schools
Rob Butler (Aylesbury) (Con)
9. What assessment she has made of the adequacy of technical education pathways at secondary schools.
The Minister for Skills, Apprenticeships and Higher Education (Robert Halfon)
To complement our reformed, more rigorous GCSEs, we are ensuring that high-quality vocational and technical qualifications are available. We have introduced new technical awards at key stage 4 in engineering, technology and many other subjects, and we have our own prestigious T-level offerings for those from 16 years old onwards.
I am very proud to have Aylesbury University Technical College in my constituency. It provides excellent technical education for young students on a specialist pathway, but not everywhere has those specialist schools. As such, a proposal has been made to my right hon. Friend’s Department to introduce UTC-style courses in mainstream schools for some pupils who are perhaps better suited to that type of education at key stage 4. What progress has the Department made in assessing the feasibility of such courses, which would provide the qualifications, employment skills and work experience that are so important to today’s economy?
My hon. Friend is a champion of UTCs, and he knows that they are equipping students with the skills that employers need. I congratulate Aylesbury UTC on the new health and social care suite it is opening later this month. As he mentions, Baker Dearing Educational Trust has proposed a pilot for a technical curriculum in a small number of existing schools, and the Department will take a decision on that shortly.