The Sainsbury Review and Post-16 Skills Survey

Fri Jul 22 09:36:00 UTC 2016

On 8 July 2016, the government published the report of an independent panel set up to review post-16 technical education (The Sainsbury Review) plus their Post-16 Skills Survey which outlines how the review’s recommendations should be implemented.

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  • The report recommends more distinct routes through to further study and employment. 
    • Students can follow an ‘academic’ pathway at 16, with A levels and Applied General qualifications such as BTECs, or a ‘technical pathway’, which could be either school/college-based or employer-based.
  • Two important aspects of these pathways are the ‘bridging provision’ and the ‘transition year’.
    • The bridging provision will support students who start or complete the academic pathway but want to progress to employment or an apprenticeship, and will support those on the technical pathway who want to continue to HE.
    • The transition year will be designed to support those students not yet ready to start on the main programmes available for the academic or technical pathways.
  • The report identifies 15 broad ‘routes’ to cover all the main occupational areas.
    • Each route will consist of a number of defined occupations, and just one qualification for each occupation or cluster of occupations, normally available at both level 2 and level 3.

This review is all about what happens in post-16 education. There is no intention to change policy at Key Stage 4.

Academic pathway

Changes are already well underway in the academic pathway, with new A levels and new Applied General qualifications being introduced. Students following this pathway will be able to take A levels, Applied Generals or a combination of the two.

Technical pathway

The technical pathway will require a high level of student engagement with employers and for many occupations there will need to be significant training resources (workshops, equipment etc) and specialist staff. The review suggests that funding for particular routes could be restricted to providers which meet appropriate criteria. This suggests that not all routes will be available in all colleges, and that some routes will be difficult for schools to provide. Nevertheless, there is an expectation that some schools will be able to deliver some occupations in some routes.

Existing Tech Level and Technical Certificate qualifications will continue until they are replaced by the new qualifications that are accepted into each route. The first two routes are scheduled to be in place for September 2019.

Much of the detail underpinning delivery of the Skills Plan is still to be confirmed, but some key dates are:

  • October 2017 – first standards in two routes are approved
  • February 2019 – new qualifications for those two routes are approved
  • September 2019 – first teaching of new qualifications
  • September 2021 – first certificates issued on successful completion
  • September 2022 – all 15 routes available.

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