How will the Baker Clause affect FE?
On 2nd January 2018, the Baker Clause came into effect, meaning schools must open their doors to FE providers for the first time.
The legislation was proposed by the former education secretary Lord Baker last year, and has now been written into law. The Baker Clause means schools must now allow vocational training and apprenticeship providers to advertise their courses to pupils aged 13-18.
When the clause was first introduced, it was thought that schools wouldn't be pleased. For a long time, schools have used grades and university places to measure success, which is one of the reasons academia was always pushed. The Baker Clause move is a huge step for FE. It represents a welcome shift towards learner-led careers advice, and means pupils leaving school will now understand all the options available to them.
What can FE providers advertise?
- At age 14 – studio school, university technical colleges and FE colleges
- At age 16 – FE colleges, sixth form colleges, work-based training and apprenticeships
- At age 18 – apprenticeships and university degrees
How will the Baker Clause affect you?
Schools are there to support students and make sure they get the best start in life – and the Baker Clause will help schools do just that. There are hundreds of FE providers in the UK, so schools will have to manage the process carefully to make sure headteachers don't get bombarded with approaches.
FE already plays a vital role for young people across the country – and now it's going to be more important than ever. The Baker Clause will enable providers to talk to students themselves, and get more young people enrolled on their programmes. But the clause won't just increase FE's popularity, it will help change attitudes towards vocational and technical training altogether. Along with last year's apprenticeship reforms – the introduction of the levy, new standards and higher apprenticeships – vocational training has been turned on its head!
Mark Dawe, the boss of AELP, said: 'training providers have links with all the local apprenticeship employers and their current apprentices, so why wouldn't you use them to turn the apprenticeship reforms into a game-changer for young people?'. Hear, Hear!
The Baker Clause is good news for students. In the past, pupils have been pushed down the academic route, even if it wasn't a good fit for them. This led to many young people becoming disengaged with education as they never found a learning environment that was right for them. Thanks to the Baker Clause, students will now have all the options explained to them, and will be able to choose a path that plays to their strengths – whether that's college training or a higher apprenticeship. It means the UK will have more young people in careers they enjoy and excel in – which is great news for productivity as a whole – and reduce the numbers of NEET (young people not in education, employment or training).
Careers advice has been failing young people for too long, so the Baker Clause is a welcome change of policy. It's going to have a huge impact on everyone in education – especially as the sector has already experienced huge changes over the last 12 months.
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